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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Trump’s Demagoguery Goes Off the Rails


Trump’s Demagoguery Goes Off the Rails
FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 20.02.2019 | WORLD / AMERICAS

Trump’s Demagoguery Goes Off the Rails

It may seem oxymoronic, but President Trump is living proof that lunatics can think big. Not content with “only” threatening regime change in Venezuela, the American leader is expanding his mission to rid the Western hemisphere of socialism, with Cuba and Nicaragua next in line for US “salvation”.
In a particularly unhinged speech last weekend in Miami, Florida, Trump declared Venezuelan President Nicolas Madura a “Cuban puppet” and “failed dictator”. Trump denounced socialism with a verve that has not been heard from a US president since the depth of the Cold War more than 30 years ago.
“In Venezuela, and across the Western hemisphere, socialism is dying and liberty, prosperity and democracy are being reborn,” said Trump inferring the “Troika of Tyranny” that his national security advisor John Bolton – another lunatic – previously coined to describe Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.
The Miami Herald reported Trump’s speech as a “harbinger” for regime change in the three Latin American countries.
Trump’s claim of “democracy being reborn” is a bit hard to take at a time when this president is declaring state-of-emergency powers at home to push through his faltering border wall “vanity project”. Dozens of US states are suing Trump for “presidential over-reach of executive powers”. Constitutional scholars are warning of an incipient shift to fascism under Trump.
For Trump to then proclaim he is spearheading freedom and liberty for the entire Western hemisphere is a foreboding sign that his megalomania is spectacularly out of control.
The prospects of the US military fighting a war in Venezuela, let alone Cuba and Nicaragua as well, are in the realms of impossible fantasy. But with this Commander-in-Chief the fantasy is being entertained.
Trump in his Miami speech delivered a mafia-like ultimatum to the Venezuelan military. Either it supports the US-anointed minor opposition figure Juan Guaido who declared himself “acting president” of Venezuela almost a month ago, or the armed forces face obliteration, said Trump.
With the tone of an organized crime boss, Trump warned that Venezuela’s defense forces were “risking their lives” by supporting the “failed dictatorship” of “former” President Maduro. “If you choose this path, you will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out. You will lose everything,” added Trump.
In response, President Maduro slammed Trump for his “Nazi-like speech” and for daring to threaten his country’s military with annihilation if it does not submit.
The criminality of the occupant in the American White House is astounding. The brazen threat of aggression against another nation – as well as implicitly against Cuba and Nicaragua – is on par with the fascism of the 1930s leading up to World War II.
The flying in of US military cargo planes to Colombia and Brazil purportedly laden with food aid for Venezuela is a flagrant cover for mounting an armed incursion. In close coordination with the CIA-groomed opposition figure Juan Guaido, the US is contriving a deadline of this weekend for the aid supplies to be allowed entrance into Venezuela.
President Maduro is refusing to permit the US material into his country. Venezuela’s armed forces are resolutely in support of the government in Caracas and therefore can be counted on to block any attempt to force the US aid across the borders from Colombia and Brazil. The impasse may, however, provide pretext for US military intervention.
The impending crisis whipped up by Trump with Venezuela seems insane. The South American country may be in economic turmoil, but it is hardly a humanitarian catastrophe meriting such drama. Besides the turmoil has largely been instigated by Washington slapping sanctions and asset freezes on Venezuela’s lifeline oil economy. If the US were to lift its illegal sanctions on the country then much of the chaos would subside.
For the Trump administration to declare a minor opposition figure as the “recognized president” of Venezuela is an audacious violation of international law and norms. Shamefully, several European states have sought to legitimize Washington’s subversion in Venezuela.
Of course, subverting the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro has the all-important prize of allowing US capital to get its hands on Venezuela’s colossal oil wealth.
Another motive is to eradicate any “threat of good example” in Uncle Sam’s presumed backyard. If Venezuela can be subjugated, then the Trump administration has Nicaragua and Cuba next in its cross-hairs for regime change. There is also the benefit of suppressing any political opposition domestically within the US, with a campaign against socialism in the Western hemisphere used to smear emerging socialists at home.
Still another motive for Trump is to desperately find a patriotic purpose with which to mobilize his support base. Despite his blustering campaign promises, Trump has delivered very little to his voters over the past two years. With his 2020 re-election bid in sight, Trump’s faltering border wall project is perhaps the most embarrassing failure. Not able to deliver on his “vanity project”, Trump is casting around for an alternative cause célèbre.
“Fighting socialism” in Venezuela and elsewhere in the Western hemisphere is Trump’s next star-turn. But how absurd can it get? Trump is presenting himself as more messianic than Cold War hawks in Washington during past decades when they could at least plausibly invoke Soviet expansionism as a propaganda threat.
Trump’s lunatic demagoguery is going big – off the rails.

Pakistan Envoy: Some Countries Want to Create Misunderstanding between Islam Abad, Tehran

February 19, 2019
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Iranian ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost has said some countries, which are actually promoting terrorism, are trying to create misunderstandings between Iran and Pakistan; however, peace lovers across the world are aware of conspiracies behind such inhuman attacks.
Talking to IRNA news agency in Islamabad the ambassador said Iran and Pakistan are fully aware of the challenges of terrorism and have the ability to take practical steps to address the issue.
He warned that some countries which don’t want to see close relationship between Iran and Pakistan could take negative steps to disrupt this strong relationship.
He said that Iran expects Pakistan to take practical steps and intelligence based operations on joint border to eliminate terrorism and respond positively for joint cooperation with Iran.
Mehdi Honardoost noted that Iran and Pakistan hold very important position in the Islamic world and the region, but unfortunately, some regional countries instead of spending their money on the welfare of poor Muslim people are wasting their money to divide the region of the Middle East.’
He strongly believed that close cooperation among regional states is a key to solve regional issues and countering the conspiracies of imperialist forces against Muslim world. He regretted that some regional countries are pursuing agenda of anti-Islam forces by spending huge amount of money to promote terrorism.
The Iranian envoy said that today serious efforts are needed to root out terrorism but the policy of double standards, classifying good or bad terrorists and using the phenomenon of terrorism as a tool is a major hurdle in this regards.
He said for the last forty years Iran has been rendering immense sacrifices to eliminate the menace of terrorism and has suffered huge human and financial losses in this regards.
He added that despite all these sacrifices the statement of Saudi official against Iran shows that he wants to distort the facts and tries to divert the world’s attention from the “Saudi aggressive approach.”
The diplomat expressing his views said that unfortunately in recent days the world has witnessed tragic incidents in South and West Asia which also affected close cooperation among the regional states.
‘Iran believes in regional cooperation and our collaboration with Pakistan is a major part of that,” noted the ambassador.
Mehdi Honardoost added that last week suicide attack on a bus carrying the Islamic Republic Guard Corps (IRGC) personnel martyred 27 and wounded 13 in southeastern Iran.
He said Jaish al-Adl, claimed responsibility for the incident that is backed by some aggressive countries of the region.
He further added, ‘We believe that the aim of this attack is to harm the close relationship between Iran and neighboring countries and to create instability in the region.’
Mehdi Honardoost said that no country in the world can escape from its responsibility to eliminate terrorism and the cooperation among the regional countries to address the issue is inevitable.
He was of the view that so-called alliance against terrorism is a mere eye wash. “We need a strong will and determination to root out terrorism,” said the Iranian envoy.
Source: Websites

Saudi Arabia Heart of Evil in Region, World: IRGC Official

The second-in-command of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps [IRGC] slammed Saudi Arabia as “the heart of evil” in the Middle East region and the entire world as well, emphasizing that the Islamic Republic has been making plans for defeating its enemies and avenging the blood of its terror victims.
Speaking during a ceremony commemorating the victims of a recent terrorist attack in southeastern Iran on Tuesday, Brigadier General Hossein Salami warned that the assault, which was carried out by Saudi-backed terrorists, is not just one isolated terrorist incident; rather, it stems from “a dangerous strategy” which has emerged at the global level.
Iran’s IRGC forces “have been standing up to the ominous triangle of the US, the Zionist regime and the regional Arab reactionary governments, and that is no easy task,” Salami said.
“Today, Saudi Arabia is the heart of evil in the region and the world,” the IRGC official added.
Last week, an explosives-laden car rammed into a bus in Iran’s Sistan-and-Baluchestan Province, killing 27 IRGC personnel and wounding 13 others.
The so-called Jaish ul-Adl terrorist group, based in Pakistan and linked to al-Qaeda and the Saudi regime, claimed responsibility for the bombing.
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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The CIA is using Turkey to pressure China



While Turkey has fostered economic links with China in order to solve its economic crisis, it has also publicly denounced the repression of the Uyghurs, basing its accusations on false information. Beijing sent a very cold reply. Everything is happening, now that Daesh has disappeared from Iraq and Syria, as if Ankara was once again running secret operations on behalf of the CIA, this time in Xinjiang.


 | DAMASCUS (SYRIA) 
JPEG - 49.7 kbChinese Uyghur jihadists in Syria.
For the last few weeks, the Turkish Press has been talking about the fate of the Uyghurs, the Turkish-speaking Muslim population of China. The political parties of the opposition, including the Kemalists, have been outdoing one another to condemn the Han repression of this minority and its religion.
This effervescence follows:
- The report by the Jamestown Foundation on the « 73 Chinese detention centres » [1] ;
- The Radio Free Asia campaign, which broadcast a number of interviews with ex-prisoners of the Chinese camps, and went so far as to pretend that China had outlawed the Coran (sic) [2] ;
- The campaign launched on 13 November 2018 by the United States and their allies of the Human Rights Council in Geneva against the repression of Islam in China [3] ;
- And the hearing, organised in Washington on 28 November 2018 by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, (CECC), on « the repression of religions by the Chinese Communist Party » [4]. Thus we learned that between one and three million Uyghurs are being submitted to electrical torture in the re-education camps. These accusations have been reprised by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
It was in this context that the spokesman for the Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hami Aksoy, published a communiqué on 9 February 2019 officially condemning the « Chinesation » … of « the ethnic, religious and cultural identities of the Turkish Uyghurs » and the death in prison of the famous poet Abdurehim Heyit, who was serving an « eight-year » sentence of confinement for « one of his songs » [5].
The following evening, China published a 26-second video by the spurious dead man. In it, he declared : « My name is Abdurehim Heyit. Today is the 10th of February 2019. I am the subject of investigations into the suspicion of violation of national laws. I am now in good health and have never been abused ».
On the following day,11 February, the spokesman for the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hua Chunying, launched into a severe criticism of Turkey’s « errors » and « irresponsibility » [6].
While the imprisonment of at least 10,000 Uyghurs implicated in terrorist activities is attested, the number of between one and three million definitely is not.
Already by 1 June 2017 and on 13 December 2018, the Chinese had published two documents – one of them concerning Human Rights in Xinjiang, [7] and the other on The Protection of Culture and Development in Xinjiang [8].
JPEG - 40.5 kb
Islamist prisoners at the Deradicalisation Camp in Lop.
However, the Communist Party doesn’t really know how to manage political Islam. It analyses the question from the viewpoint of a particular past, that of the Cultural Revolution and the outlawing not only of Islam, but all religions. After having established freedom in this matter, it is now witnessing the rebirth of the divisions of the Civil War, and the multiplication of jihadist attacks [9]. On 1 February 2018, it launched a new religious policy aimed at assimilating Islam by suppressing certain identity practises [10]. The members of the Party are obliged to provide the example by refusing to eat halal. Nonetheless, 24,400 mosques are open in Xinjiang for the 13 million Muslims.
For twenty-five years, Uyghur organisations have been clamouring for the creation of an independent state, first of all secular and now « Islamic » (in the political sense, not religious according to the Muslim Brotherhood’s definition of the term), in Eastern Turkestan (according to medieval title of Xinjiang). They were immediately awarded CIA support against the Beijing authorities.
- In 1997, the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) was created, and left the region to undergo training in Afghanistan with the Taliban and certain elements of Al-Qaïda. It quit political Islam and is directly funded by the CIA.
- In September 2004,a « government in exile for Eastern Turkestan » was founded in Washington by Anwar Yusuf Turani. It is a reconstruction of the alliance between the Kuomintang and Taïwan, in the prolongation of the Chinese Civil War (1927-1950).
- In November of the same year, in Munich, a world Congress of the Uyghurs was created, of which Rebiya Kadeer became President. It favours ethnic separatism.
The latter two entities are financed by the National Endowment for Democracy, an agency of the « Five Eyes » group [11].
Serious rioting broke out in Xinjiang, first of all in February 1997, then in July 2009. The demonstrators claimed that they belonged to the Uyghur separatist movement, Kuomintang Communism, and political Islam.
Beijing calmed the situation down by offering the Uyghurs certain privileges, for example, dispensing them from obeying the one-child policy (today abandoned) [12].
The US campaign against the repression of the Uyghurs seems to be compromised by the investment of Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, in the Xinjiang authorities [13]. Prince is not only the principal businessmen specialised in the creation of private armies, he is also the brother of Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s Secretary for Education. His security agents are apparently mercenaries working on behalf of Bingtuan, a Han militia in Xinjiang.
It so happens that during the 1990’s, when the present Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the head of the Millî Görüs and Mayor of Istanbul, he supplied a rear base for various Islamist terrorist movements, whether they were Tatars, Chechens or Uyghurs [14].
The question must therefore be asked – is the Turkish declaration against the Han repression of the Uyghurs a simple interior stance in order to avoid being over-run by the opposition parties, or is it a new state policy which conforms to the former responsibilities of President Erdoğan in the CIA terrorist strategy ?
The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) was very active during the war against Syria, with the support of the National Intelligence Organization (NİT). For many months, 18,000 Uyghurs (including at least 5,000 jihadist combatants) lived secretly in al-Zambari, a Syrian town on the Turkish frontier in the governorate of Idleb. They maintained their position with the help of the German and French special forces [15].
While President Donald Trump is preparing for a commercial struggle with Beijing, everything seems to be developing as if a reconciliation has occurred between the CIA and Turkey, aimed at planning further secret operations against China.
Translation
Pete Kimberley


[1] “List of government bids related to re-education facilities”, Jamestown Foundation, May 15, 2017.
[2] “According to Washington, Peking has just banned the Koran (sic)”, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 6 October 2017.
[3] “Western Campaign for the Rights of Chinese Islamists”, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 18 November 2018.
[4] This Committee, created in 2001, is composed of 15 members : 5 from the Senate, 5 from the House of Representatives, and 5 from the federal government. The Trump administration has not yet named anyone to sit on this Committee.
[5] “Turkey condemns China”, Voltaire Network, 9 February 2019.
[6] “China responds to Turkey”, Voltaire Network, 11 February 2019.
[7] “Human Rights in Xinjiang – Development and Progress”, Voltaire Network, 1 June 2017.
[8] “Cultural Protection and Development in Xinjiang”, Voltaire Network, 13 December 2018.
[9] “Jihadists returning from Syria: already more than 150 dead in China”, Voltaire Network, 6 November 2014.
[10] “China revises regulation on religious affairs”, Voltaire Network, 7 September 2017.
[11] The « Five Eyes » is a military alliance founded during the Second World War, comprising Australia, Canada, the USA, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. It also manages the Echelon interception system as well as the « promotion of democracy ».
[12] « Que se passe-t-il dans le Xinjiang ? », par Domenico Losurdo, Traduction Marie-Ange Patrizio, Réseau Voltaire, 12 juillet 2009.
[13] “Erik Prince invests in China”, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 7 February 2019.
[14] During his alliance with Russia, President Erdoğan suspended his system for the support of Tatar and Chechen Islamists. See: « L’Ukraine et la Turquie créent une Brigade internationale islamique contre la Russie », par Thierry Meyssan, Télévision nationale syrienne , Réseau Voltaire, 12 août 2015
[15] “The 18,000 al-Qaeda Uighurs in Syria”, Translation Roger Lagassé, Voltaire Network, 21 August 2018.

Russia and China Are Containing the US to Reshape the World Order


Russia and China Are Containing the US to Reshape the World Order

Russia and China Are Containing the US to Reshape the World Order

Fortunately the world today is very different from that of 2003, Washington’s decrees are less effective in determining the world order. But in spite of this new, more balanced division of power amongst several powers, Washington appears ever more aggressive towards allies and enemies alike, regardless of which US president is in office.
China and Russia are leading this historic transition while being careful to avoid direct war with the United States. To succeed in this endeavor, they use a hybrid strategy involving diplomacy, military support to allies, and economic guarantees to countries under Washington’s attack.
The United States considers the whole planet its playground. Its military and political doctrine is based on the concept of liberal hegemony, as explained by political scientist John Mearsheimer. This imperialistic attitude has, over time, created a coordinated and semi-official front of countries resisting this liberal hegemony. The recent events in Venezuela indicate why cooperation between these counter-hegemonic countries is essential to accelerating the transition from a unipolar to a multipolar reality, where the damage US imperialism is able to bring about is diminished.
Moscow and Beijing lead the world by hindering Washington
Moscow and Beijing, following a complex relationship from the period of the Cold War, have managed to achieve a confluence of interests in their grand objectives over the coming years. The understanding they have come to mainly revolves around stemming the chaos Washington has unleashed on the world.
The guiding principle of the US military-intelligence apparatus is that if a country cannot be controlled (such as Iraq following the 2003 invasion), then it has to be destroyed in order to save it from falling into Sino-Russian camp. This is what the United States has attempted to do with Syria, and what it intends to do with Venezuela.
The Middle East is an area that has drawn global attention for some time, with Washington clearly interested in supporting its Israeli and Saudi allies in the region. Israel pursues a foreign policy aimed at dismantling the Iranian and Syrian states. Saudi Arabia also pursues a similar strategy against Iran and Syria, in addition to fueling a rift within the Arab world stemming from its differences with Qatar.
The foreign-policy decisions of Israel and Saudi Arabia have been supported by Washington for decades, for two very specific reasons: the influence of the Israel lobby in the US, and the need to ensure that Saudi Arabia and the OPEC countries sell oil in US dollars, thereby preserving the role of the US dollar as the global reserve currency.
The US dollar remaining the global reserve currency is essential to Washington being able to maintain her role as superpower and is crucial to her hybrid strategy against her geopolitical rivals. Sanctions are a good example of how Washington uses the global financial and economic system, based on the US dollar, as a weapon against her enemies. In the case of the Middle East, Iran is the main target, with sanctions aimed at preventing the Islamic Republic from trading on foreign banking systems. Washington has vetoed Syria’s ability to procure contracts to reconstruct the country, with European companies being threatened that they risk no longer being able to work in the US if they accept to work in Syria.
Beijing and Moscow have a clear diplomatic strategy, jointly rejecting countless motions advanced by the US, the UK and France at the United Nations Security Council condemning Iran and Syria. On the military front, Russia continues her presence in Syria. China’s economic efforts, although not yet fully visible in Syria and Iran, will be the essential part of reviving these countries destroyed by years of war inflicted by Washington and her allies.
China and Russia’s containment strategy in the Middle East aims to defend Syria and Iran diplomatically using international law, something that is continuously ridden roughshod over by the US and her regional allies. Russia’s military action has been crucial to curbing and defeating the inhuman aggression launched against Syria, and has also drawn a red line that Israel cannot cross in its efforts to attack Iran. The defeat of the United States in Syria has created an encouraging precedent for the rest of the world. Washington has been forced to abandon the original plans to getting rid of Assad.
Syria will be remembered in the future as the beginning of the multipolar revolution, whereby the United States was contained in military-conventional terms as a result of the coordinated actions of China and Russia.
China’s economic contribution provides for such urgent needs as the supply of food, government loans, and medicines to countries under Washington’s economic siege. So long as the global financial system remains anchored to the US dollar, Washington remains able to cause a lot of pain to countries refusing to obey her diktats.
The effectiveness of economic sanctions varies from country to country. The Russian Federation used sanctions imposed by the West as an impetus to obtain a complete, or almost autonomous, refinancing of its main foreign debt, as well as to producing at home what had previously been imported from abroad. Russia’s long-term strategy is to open up to China and other Asian countries as the main market for imports and exports, reducing contacts with the Europeans if countries like France and Germany continue in their hostility towards the Russian Federation.
Thanks to Chinese investments, together with planned projects like the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the hegemony of the US dollar is under threat in the medium to long term. The Chinese initiatives in the fields of infrastructure, energy, rail, road and technology connections among dozens of countries, added to the continuing need for oil, will drive ever-increasing consumption of oil in Asia that is currently paid for in US dollars.
Moscow is in a privileged position, enjoying good relations with all the major producers of oil and LNG, from Qatar to Saudi Arabia, and including Iran, Venezuela and Nigeria. Moscow’s good relations with Riyadh are ultimately aimed at the creation of an OPEC+ arrangement that includes Russia.
Particular attention should be given to the situation in Venezuela, one of the most important countries in OPEC. Riyadh sent to Caracas in recent weeks a tanker carrying two million barrels of oil, and Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has taken a neutral stance regarding Venezuela, maintaining a predictable balance between Washington and Caracas.
These joint initiatives, led by Moscow and Beijing, are aimed at reducing the use of the US dollar by countries that are involved in the BRI and adhere to the OPEC+ format. This diversification away from the US dollar, to cover financial transactions between countries involving investment, oil and LNG, will see the progressive abandonment of the US dollar as a result of agreements that increasingly do away with the dollar.
For the moment, Riyadh does not seem intent on losing US military protection. But recent events to do with Khashoggi, as well as the failure to list Saudi Aramco on the New York or London stock exchanges, have severely undermined the confidence of the Saudi royal family in her American allies. The meeting between Putin and MBS at the G20 in Bueno Aires seemed to signal a clear message to Washington as well as the future of the US dollar.
Moscow and Beijing’s military, economic and diplomatic efforts see their culmination in the Astana process. Turkey is one of the principle countries behind the aggression against Syria; but Moscow and Tehran have incorporated it into the process of containing the regional chaos spawned by the United States. Thanks to timely agreements in Syria known as “deconfliction zones”, Damascus has advanced, city by city, to clear the country of the terrorists financed by Washington, Riyadh and Ankara.
Qatar, an economic guarantor of Turkey, which in return offers military protection to Doha, is also moving away from the Israeli-Saudi camp as a result of Sino-Russian efforts in the energy, diplomatic and military fields. Doha’s move has also been because of the fratricidal diplomatic-economic war launched by Riyadh against Doha, being yet another example of the contagious effect of the chaos created by Washington, especially on US allies Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Washington loses military influence in the region thanks to the presence of Moscow, and this leads traditional US allies like Turkey and Qatar to gravitate towards a field composed essentially of the countries opposed to Washington.
Washington’s military and diplomatic defeat in the region will in the long run make it possible to change the economic structure of the Middle East. A multipolar reality will prevail, where regional powers like Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran will feel compelled to interact economically with the whole Eurasian continent as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.
The basic principle for Moscow and Beijing is the use of military, economic and diplomatic means to contain the United States in its unceasing drive to kill, steal and destroy.
From the Middle East to Asia
Beijing has focussed in Asia on the diplomatic field, facilitating talks between North and South Korea, accelerating the internal dialogue on the peninsula, thereby excluding external actors like the United States (who only have the intention of sabotaging the talks). Beijing’s military component has also played an important role, although never used directly as the Russian Federation did in Syria. Washington’s options vis-a-vis the Korean peninsular were strongly limited by the fact that bordering the DPRK were huge nuclear and conventional forces, that is to say, the deterrence offered by Russia and China. The combined military power of the DPRK, Russia and China made any hypothetical invasion and bombing of Pyongyang an impractical option for the United States.
As in the past, the economic lifeline extended to Pyongyang by Moscow and Beijing proved to be decisive in limiting the effects of the embargo and the complete financial war that Washington had declared on North Korea. Beijing and Moscow’s skilled diplomatic work with Seoul produced an effect similar to that of Turkey in the Middle East, with South Korea slowly seeming to drift towards the multipolar world offered by Russia and China, with important economic implications and prospects for unification of the peninsula.
Russia and China – through a combination of playing a clever game of diplomacy, military deterrence, and offering to the Korean peninsula the prospect of economic investment through the BRI – have managed to frustrate Washington’s efforts to unleash chaos on their borders via the Korean peninsula.
The United States seems to be losing its imperialistic mojo most significantly in Asia and the Middle East, not only militarily but also diplomatically and economically.
The situation is different in Europe and Venezuela, two geographical areas where Washington still enjoys greater geopolitical weight than in Asia and the Middle East. In both cases, the effectiveness of the two Sino-Russian resistance – in military, economic and diplomatic terms – is more limited, for different reasons. This situation, in line with the principle of America First and the return to the Monroe doctrine, will be the subject of the next article.
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قنديل: إذا تجرّأت «إسرائيل» على الحرب ستُدمّر


فبراير 18, 2019

رأى رئيس تحرير «البناء» النائب السابق ناصر قنديل أنّ «ما يجري على ساحتنا الداخلية لا يمكن فصله أو مقاربته خارج سياق ما يجري في محيطنا والمنطقة والمشهد الإقليمي والدولي، فلبنان بقواه المكونة محلياً لا يمكن إلا أن يكون صداها، هو نتاج لتوجهات ورؤى تُرسم في الخارج، فالأطراف الذين يتشكل منهم النظام اللبناني على مدى عقود مضت، لم يكونوا مالكين لقرارهم، إذ استطيب اللبنانيون التسليم لنصف قرن للخارج، فالنيابات تصنع في الخارج والوزارات تشكل في السفارات، باستثناء ظاهرة المقاومة بعيدة من المزايدات السياسية، وكانت ظاهرة المقاومة، أول ظاهرة ردّت الاعتبار إلى السيادة اللبنانية والشعور بالوطن وبمفهوم الوطنية، وأعطت معنى للحرية والكرامة والعنفوان».

ونوّه قنديل في محاضرة لمناسبة ذكرى القادة الشهداء الشيخ راغب حرب والسيد عباس الموسوي والحاج عماد مغنية مع أربعينية انتصار الثورة الإسلامية في إيران، بدعوة من حزب الله، بعلاقة «محور المقاومة الاستراتيجية مع سورية وإيران والآن مع روسيا»، مشدّداً على أنّ «مفهوم الاستقلال ولد مع المقاومة».

وعن رفع الحظر السعودي عن لبنان، رأى أنه «حصل فقط بعد مجيء وزير خارجية إيران محمد جواد ظريف وما سبقه من كلام للسيد حسن نصرالله عن العروضات الإيرانية ودعم لبنان بلا شروط، وبعد التجربة المريرة التي خاضوها في سورية والعراق، وصلوا إلى يقين أن لا حلّ إلا المنافسة الإيجابية». وأشار إلى أنّ «الانقسام لا يزال قائماً على قضيتين أساسيتين هما سلاح المقاومة والعلاقة مع سورية».

واعتبر أنّ «الانتصار الذي تحقق على يد الإمام الخميني العام 1979 كان نقطة تحوّل تاريخية في مسار البشرية». وقال «يوم أطلق الإمام الخميني شعاره الشهير «اليوم إيران وغداً فلسطين»، كان يعبّر عن خطة وليس شعاراً، إذ بدون فلسطين يسقط إسلام الثورة».

وتحدث عن التحوّل العربي إلى السعودية وعن تجربة المقاومة «وحشد أميركا 130 دولة للحرب على سورية لكنها فشلت في حسم الحرب ووعدها بالنصر»، ولفت إلى أنّ «قوة محور المقاومة وانتصار المقاومة في سورية وغيرها وصمود وثبات إيران وكلام السيد حسن نصرالله أسّس لمعادلة سياسية بنى عليها الشارع الفلسطيني معنوياً».

وقال «لا حرب كبرى داخلياً ولا إقليمياً، لأن من يملك القدرة على الحرب أي محور المقاومة، لا يريدها ويعرف كلفتها على شعبه وبلده، لكن إذا تجرأت إسرائيل على الحرب فمن المؤكد أنها ستُدمّر ومصيرها على بساط البحث وجودياً. وفي لبنان نحن أمام معركتين، مزارع شبعا ومزارع الفساد، والاثنان محميان بالمعادلة اللبنانية ذات الامتداد الإقليمي ودولي».

وختم قنديل «نحن اليوم أمام انتقال من الاستراتيجية الوطنية الدفاعية إلى الاستراتيجية الوطنية للتحرير، وبالتالي المعركة مستمرة لتحرير مزارع شبعا ومزارع الفساد، هي معركة شعبية سياسية شرط ألاّ نسمح بأن تذهب بالاتجاه الطائفي».

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The End of the Observer Mission in Hebron

It acted as a restraint on the settlers’ worst excesses, writes Jonathan Cook.
You might imagine that a report by a multinational observer force documenting a 20-year reign of terror by Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers against Palestinians, in a city under occupation, would provoke condemnation from European and U.S. politicians.
But you would be wrong. The leaking in December of the report on conditions in the city of Hebron, home to 200,000 Palestinians, barely caused a ripple.
About 40,000 separate cases of abuse had been quietly recorded since 1997 by dozens of monitors from Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Italy and Turkey. Some incidents constituted war crimes.
Exposure of the confidential report has now provided the pretext for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to expel the international observers. He shuttered their mission in Hebron this month, in apparent violation of Israel’s obligations under the 25-year-old Oslo peace accords.
Israel hopes once again to draw a veil over its violent colonization of the heart of the West Bank’s largest Palestinian city. The process of clearing tens of thousands of inhabitants from central Hebron is already well advanced.
Any chance of rousing the international community into even minimal protest was stamped out by the U.S. last week. It blocked a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council expressing “regret” at Israel’s decision, and on Friday added that ending the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) was an “internal matter” for Israel.
Hebron. (Marcin Monko via Flickr)
Hebron. (Marcin Monko via Flickr)
The TIPH was established in 1997 after a diplomatic protocol split the city into two zones, controlled separately by Israel and a Palestinian Authority created by the Oslo accords.
The “temporary” in its name was a reference to the expected five-year duration of the Oslo process. The need for TIPH, most assumed, would vanish when Israel ended the occupation and a Palestinian state was built in its place.
Israel Granted Free Hand in Hebron
While Oslo put the Palestinian Authority formally in charge of densely populated regions of the occupied territories, Israel was effectively given a free hand in Hebron to entrench its belligerent hold on Palestinian life.
Several hundred extremist Jewish settlers have gradually expanded their illegal enclave in the city center, backed by more than 1,000 Israeli soldiers. Many Palestinian residents have been forced out while the rest are all but imprisoned in their homes.
TIPH faced an impossible task from the outset: to “maintain normal life” for Hebron’s Palestinians in the face of Israel’s structural violence.
Until the report was leaked, its documentation of Israel’s takeover of Hebron and the settlers’ violent attacks had remained private, shared only among the states participating in the task force.
However, the presence of observers did curb the settlers’ worst excesses, helping Palestinian children get to school unharmed and allowing their parents to venture out to work and shop. That assistance is now at an end.
Burial Plot of Abraham
Hebron has been a magnet for extremist settlers because it includes a site revered in Judaism: the reputed burial plot of Abraham, father to the three main monotheistic religions.
But that same place in Hebron became central to Muslim worship centuries ago, with the Ibrahimi mosque established at the site.
Israel’s policy has been gradually to prise away the Palestinians’ hold on the mosque, as well the urban space around it. Half of the building has been restricted to Jewish prayer, but in practice the entire site is under Israeli military control.
As the TIPH report notes, Palestinian Muslims must now pass through several checkpoints to reach the mosque and are subjected to invasive body searches. The muezzin’s call to prayer is regularly silenced to avoid disturbing Jews.
Faced with these pressures, according to TIPH, the number of Palestinians praying there has dropped by half over the past 15 years.
In Hebron, as at Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, a Muslim holy site is treated solely as an obstacle – one that must be removed so that Israel can assert exclusive sovereignty over all of the Palestinians’ former homeland.
 The Ibrahimi Mosque. (PalFest via Flickr)
The Ibrahimi Mosque. (PalFest via Flickr)
The Massacre of 1994
A forerunner of TIPH was set up in 1994, shortly after Baruch Goldstein, an Israeli army doctor, entered the Ibrahimi mosque and shot more than 150 Muslims at prayer, killing 29. Israeli soldiers aided Goldstein, inadvertently or otherwise, by barring the worshippers’ escape while they were being sprayed with bullets.
The massacre should have provided the opportunity for Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s prime minister of the time, to banish Hebron’s settlers and ensure the Oslo process remained on track. Instead he put the Palestinian population under prolonged curfew.
That curfew never really ended. It became the basis of an apartheid policy that has endlessly indulged Jewish settlers as they harass and abuse their Palestinian neighbors.
Israel’s hope is that most will get the message and leave.
With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in power for a decade, more settlers are moving in, driving out Palestinians. Today Hebron’s old market, once the commercial hub of the southern West Bank, is a ghost town, and Palestinians are too terrified to enter large sections of their own city.
TIPH’s report concluded that, far from guaranteeing “normal life,” Israel had made Hebron more divided and dangerous for Palestinians than ever before.
In 2016 another army medic, Elor Azaria, used his rifle to shoot in the head a prone and badly wounded Palestinian youth. Unlike Goldstein’s massacre, the incident was caught on video.
Israelis barely cared until Azaria was arrested. Then large sections of the public, joined by politicians, rallied to his cause, hailing him a hero.
Despite doing very little publicly, TIPH’s presence in Hebron had served as some kind of restraint on the settlers and soldiers. Now the fear is that there will be more Azarias.
Palestinians rightly suspect that the expulsion of the observer force is the latest move in efforts by Israel and the U.S. to weaken mechanisms for protecting Palestinian human rights.
Netanyahu has incited against local and international human rights organizations constantly, accusing them of being foreign agents and making it ever harder for them to operate effectively.
And last year U.S. President Donald Trump cut all aid to UNRWA, the United Nations’ refugee agency, which plays a vital role in caring for Palestinians and upholding their right to return to their former lands.
Not only are the institutions Palestinians rely on for support being dismembered but so now are the organizations that record the crimes Israel has been committing.
That, Israel hopes, will ensure that an international observer post which has long had no teeth will soon will soon lose its sight too as Israel begins a process of annexing the most prized areas of the West Bank – with Hebron top of the list.
Jonathan Cook is a freelance journalist based in Nazareth. He blogs at https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/.