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Why the April 14th Missiles-Invasion of Syria Was a Historic Turning-Point

Eric Zuesse

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The April 14th invasion was the apogee, the turning-point downward, for American hegemony, the end of the mono-polar world or U.S. dictatorship that ever since 24 February 1990 the U.S. Government has imposed on all of its foreign allies for them to join the U.S in imposing against Russia — the only other nuclear super-power and thereby the only effective counter-weight to America’s global dictatorship. The strategy, ever since that time, has been to pick off, one-by-one, Russia’s allies, and bring them into NATO, so as to place missiles right on and near Russia borders, and, effectively, compel Russia to surrender to the will of America’s leaders.

The embarrassing ineffectiveness of the April 14th invasion — it didn’t even get the OPCW, Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons, to cancel its planned investigation of the evidence in Douma Syria regarding whether it was Assad and Putin who have been lying, or instead Trump and his foreign allies who were lying — caps what is actually the U.S. Government’s defeat in its decades-long plan for global hegemony, global dictatorship.

The Washington Post reported, on April 16th, that Trump is angry at his “aides” for their falsehoods, misrepresentations to him about what the result would be if he were to select a particular policy-option — their false advice and predictions on the basis of which he had made the decisions that he had decided, on the basis of their advice, to make, and which results did not happen as they had predicted. It reported that:

Growing angrier, Trump insisted that his aides had misled him about the magnitude of the expulsions [of Russian diplomats]. “There were curse words,” the official said, “a lot of curse words.”

In that news-article was made clear that his “aides” had persuaded him that if he expelled lots of Russian diplomats, he would satisfy not only the American newsmedia but the leaders of allied countries, which would then expel at least as many diplomats as the U.S., in order for the U.S. President to be able to be leading a real “alliance” against Russia, and not to be, essentially, pursuing a go-it-alone anti-Russia policy (and thus hardly any global dictator at all).

The WP article indicated that Trump strongly wants to win Putin’s support for his anti-Syria and anti-Iran policies (apparently, Trump is 100% committed to the policies of the royal Saud family and of Israel’s aristocracy, to conquer both Iran and Syria), and that Trump is dumbfounded that European leaders are not following through with the necessary support (of Saudi Arabia’s and of Israel’s policies). (Though George Herbert Walker Bush had intended on 24 February 1990 that the U.S. would be the global dictator; Israel and the Sauds jointly took control of the U.S. Government, and Trump is even more committed to those two aristocracies than Obama was. And, yet, even with the U.S. aristocracy’s support, the Sauds and Israel are failing to achieve their demands.)

Russia resists, and now no reasonable person can question — despite America’s spending ten times what Russia does on the military — that Russia’s weapons are vastly more reliable than America’s are. (If you click on the video, start viewing at around 1:30:00.) This is a failure also of the corrupt leaderships of America’s allies that joined in the invasion, who now can know that in any country where their billionaires can make profits from war (e.g., Lockheed Martin, BAE, etc.), corruption will flourish even more than ‘defense’ spending does. Why are the Sauds and Israelis being served by America’s foreign policies (against Syria and Iran)? It’s because that is the way for America’s aristocracy to generate wars and to cause the profits of the hundred top military contractors to soar. The only winners are those super-rich who are on the taking side of their government’s expenditures — and, secondarily, their mega-bankers who benefit also from those nations’ continuously soaring debts to fund the permanent-war-for-permanent-‘peace’ economies. Aristocracies thrive on nothing so much as the sale, to other governments, of wars, and of debts — other governments are their essential market. If an aristocracy’s allies don’t buy, that aristocracy will die. Mainly, aristocrats sell to governments weapons, and then sell, to the public, those governments’ debts.

Finally, the massive corruption in the U.S. military (what Eisenhower had called the “military-industrial complex”) has come home to roost. Not even the projected increases in U.S. ‘defense’ spending (and soaring federal debts) will be able to address the problem — the only result of doing yet more of the same will simply be yet further escalation of the corruption, and of the foreign corpses, cripples, and refugees. For only the most corrupt to be on the receiving end of the benefits cannot be sustained forever. The aristocracies are coming to the end of their tethers, and won’t be able to grab all that they crave to have (which is everything). The U.S. aristocracy’s dream of establishing “Nuclear Primacy” is likewise just a fantasyland.

Russia is now making the commitment to its allies clearer, upping the ante, but if the only allies that the U.S. can get behind its campaign for the Sauds and Israel remain UK and France, then perhaps Trump will prefer a face-saving way out, over invading Russia. However, given the unlimited greed of Trump’s masters, there could be a nuclear war even without any expectation that it would have a ‘winner’. For some people, being (or remaining) king of the hill is even more important than staying alive. Unless some NATO members quit the alliance, the prospect of avoiding World War III will remain unlikely. If Turkey quits NATO, that optimistic prospect will suddenly become likely. Turkey’s President Erdogan holds the most important cards of all.

The Saker remains pessimistic:

Facts [such as this] simply don’t matter. And neither does logic. All that matters are perceptions!

And the perception is that “we” (the AngloZionist rulers and their serfs) “kicked” Assad’s “ass” and that “we” will “do it again” if “we” feel like it. That is all that matters in the Empire of Illusions which the AngloZionist Hegemony has become.

The failed missiles-invasion of Syria might be a turning-point in reality; but, if it’s not also a turning-point in the way that Western publics view reality, then WW III will probably come soon. Can the human lemmings be fooled all the way off the cliff? Fooled much farther, we’ll all fall.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010

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Middle East

Chinese purchases of Iranian oil raise tantalizing questions

Dr. James M. Dorsey

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A fully loaded Chinese oil tanker ploughing its way eastwards from two Iranian oil terminals raises questions of how far Beijing is willing to go in defying US sanctions amid a mounting US military build-up in the Gulf and a US-China trade war.

The sailing from Iran of the Pacific Bravo takes on added significance with US strategy likely to remain focused on economic rather than military strangulation of the Iranian leadership, despite the deployment to the Gulf of an aircraft carrier strike group as well as B-52 bombers and a Patriot surface-to-air missile system.

As President Donald J. Trump, backed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, appears to be signalling that he is not seeking military confrontation, his administration is reportedly considering a third round of sanctions that would focus on Iran’s petrochemical industry. The administration earlier this month sanctioned the country’s metals and minerals trade.

The sailing raises the question whether China is reversing its policy that led in the last quarter of 2018 to it dramatically reducing its trade with Iran, possibly in response to a recent breakdown in US-Chinese trade talks.

“The question is whether non-oil trade remains depressed even if some oil sales resume, which I think it will. That’s the better indicator of where Chinese risk appetite has changed. Unfortunately Iran‘s reprieve will be limited—but better than zero perhaps,” tweeted Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, head of Bourse & Bazaar, a self-described media and business diplomacy company and the founder of the Europe-Iran Forum.

A Chinese analyst interviewed by Al Jazeera argued that “China is not in a position to have Iran’s back… For China, its best to stay out” of the fray.

The stakes for China go beyond the troubled trade talks. In Canada, a senior executive of controversial Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei is fighting extradition to the United States on charges of violating US sanctions against Iran.

Reports that Western companies, including Kraft Heinz, Adidas and Gap, wittingly or unwittingly, were employing Turkic Muslims detained in re-education camps in China’s north-western province of Xinjiang, as part of opaque supply chains, could increase attention on a brutal crackdown that China is struggling to keep out of the limelight.

The Trump administration has repeatedly criticized the crackdown but has stopped short of sanctioning officials involved in the repressive measures.

Bourse & Bazaar’s disclosure of the sailing of the Pacific Bravo coincided with analysis showing that Iran was not among China’s top three investment targets in the Middle East even if Chinese investment in the region was on the rise.

The Pacific Bravo was steaming with its cargo officially toward Indonesia as Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was touring his country’s major oil clients, including China, in a bid to persuade them to ignore US sanctions.

A second tanker, the Marshal Z, was reported to have unloaded 130,000 tonnes of Iranian fuel oil into storage tanks near the Chinese city of Zhoushan.

The Marshall Z was one of four ships that, according to Reuters, allegedly helped Iran circumvent sanctions by using ship-to-ship transfers in January and forged documents that masked the cargoes as originating from Iraq.

The unloading put an end to a four-month odyssey at sea sparked by buyers’ reticence to touch a cargo that would put them in the US crosshairs.

“Somebody in China decided that the steep discount this cargo most likely availed … was a bargain too good to miss,” Matt Stanley, an oil broker at StarFuels in Dubai, told Reuters.

The Pacific Bravo, the first vessel to load Iranian oil since the Trump administration recently refused to extend sanction exemptions to eight countries, including China, was recently acquired by China’s Bank of Kunlun.

The acquisition and sailing suggested that Bank of Kunlun was reversing its decision last December to restrict its business with Iran to humanitarian trade, effectively excluding all other transactions.

The bank was the vehicle China used in the past for business with Iran because it had no exposure to the United States and as a result was not vulnerable to US sanctions that were in place prior to the 2015 international agreement that curbed Iran’s nuclear program.

China’s willingness to ignore, at least to some extent, US sanctions could also constitute an effort to persuade Iran to remain fully committed to the nuclear accord which it has so far upheld despite last year’s US withdrawal.

Iran recently warned Europe that it would reduce its compliance if Europe, which has struggled to create a credible vehicle that would allow non-US companies to circumvent the sanctions, failed to throw the Islamic republic an economic lifeline.

In a letter that was also sent to Russia and China, Iran said it was no longer committed to restrictions on the storage of enriched uranium and heavy water stocks, and could stop observing limits on uranium enrichment at a later stage.

Russian president Vladimir Putin warned in response to the Iranian threat that “as soon as Iran takes its first reciprocal steps and says that it is leaving, everyone will forget by tomorrow that the US was the initiator of this collapse. Iran will be held responsible, and the global public opinion will be intentionally changed in this direction.”

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Middle East

The Iran Question

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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Will there be war with Iran?  Will there not be war with Iran?  The questions are being asked repeatedly in the media even though a single carrier task force is steaming up there.  The expression is old for the latest carriers are nuclear powered.  Imagine the mess if it was blown up.

There are two kinds of weapons in the world … offensive and defensive.  The latter are cheaper, a fighter plane compared to a bomber.  If a country does not (or cannot afford to) have offensive intent, it makes sense to focus on defense.  It is what Iran has done.  Moreover, its missile centered defense has a modern deadly twist — the missiles are precision-guided. 

As an Iranian general remarked when questioned about the carrier task force:  some years ago it would’ve been a threat he opined; now it’s a target.  Iran also has a large standing army of 350,000 plus a 120,000 strong Revolutionary Guard and Soviet style air defenses.  In 2016 Russia started installation of the S-300 system.  It has all kinds of variants, the most advanced, the S-300 PMU-3 has a range similar to the S-400 if equipped with 40N6E missiles, which are used also in the S-400.  Their range is 400 km, so the Iranian batteries are virtually S-400s.  The wily Putin has kept trump satisfied with the S-300 moniker without short-changing his and China’s strategic ally.  The latter continuing to buy Iranian oil.

Iran has friends in Europe also.  Angela Merkel in particular has pointed out that Iran has complied fully with the nuclear provisions of the UN Security Council backed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action i.e. the Iran nuclear deal.  She is mustering the major European powers.  Already alienated with Trump treating them as adversaries rather than friends, they find Trump’s bullying tiresome.  President Macron, his poll ratings hitting the lowest, is hardly likely to engage in Trump’s venture.  In Britain, Theresa May is barely able to hold on to her job.  In the latest thrust by senior members of her party, she has been asked to name the day she steps down.

So there we have it.  Nobody wants war with Iran.  Even Israel, so far without a post-election government does not want to be rained upon by missiles leaky as its Iron Dome was against homemade Palestinian rockets.

Topping all of this neither Trump nor Secretary of State Pompeo want war.  Trump is as usual trying to bully — now called maximum pressure — Iran into submission.  It won’t.  The wild card is National Security Adviser John Bolton.  He wants war.  A Gulf of Tonkin type false flag incident, or an Iranian misstep, or some accident can still set it off. 

In Iran itself, moderates like current President Hassan Rouhani are being weakened by Trump’s shenanigans.  The hard liners might well want to bleed America as happened in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Iran’s game just started

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By announcing that Iran will begin keeping its excess uranium and heavy water, the Islamic Republic now sends a firm and clear message to the west, exactly one year after U.S. president, Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from its nuclear deal with Iran. 

At this point, it seems that Iran has made a wise decision. Over the last year, the European troika has not only done anything to revive the nuclear deal or bring any kind of benefit to the Iranian nation, but they have actually backed up U.S. by developing new plans to undermine Iran’s “missile work”, and diminish its “power in the region” as well as its “nuclear technology”.  

As stated in clauses 26 and 36 of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), if the other side fails to meet its obligations, Iran is entitled to partially or completely end its commitments as well. So, Iran’s recent decision could be analyzed both on legal and strategic terms. 
However, it seems that the strategic aspects of Iran’s decision are even more important than its legal aspects. This decision is strategically important because it stops Washington and European troika to carry out their anti-Iran scheme, a dangerous scheme that they actually started devising when Trump took the office in 2017.  

At the time, Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, and Emmanuel Macron, the French president played a major part in carrying out the west scheme. A scheme based on enforcing Iran to keep its “nuclear promises” and stay committed to a “distorted nuclear deal” while “U.S. had abandoned the deal”, and at the same time, trying to “diminish Iran’s power in the region” and “reduce its missile activities”. 

All other actions of Europeans toward Iran were also simply targeted at carrying out this major plan, including how they constantly changed their strategies toward Tehran, and how Germany, U.K. and France intentionally delayed in launching the alternative trade mechanism (Instex) with Iran.  

Now, Iran’s decision to keep its Uranium and heavy water is definitely in compliance with JCPOA, and more importantly, it will seriously undermine the “American-European” joint plan against Iran. This also explains why French government was so distressed by Iran’s new nuclear strategy and had such a quick reaction, considering that Emmanuel Macron, the French president and Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Foreign Minister both have had important roles in carrying out the American-European anti-Iran scheme. 

At any rate, what is clear now is that the game has just started! And the Iranian political system and specially the foreign ministry have a great mission to run this game wisely.  

In following days, the European troika might want to force Iran into changing its decision by threats such as reviving the European Union sanctions against Iran or even taking Iran’s case to the United Nations Security Council (so that Trump administration can meddle in Iran’s affairs). But, it is time for Iran political system to be adamant in its decision.  

The Iranian Foreign Ministry should clearly ask the Europeans to choose one of these options, either Iran will “further reduce its commitments to the nuclear deal” or the Europeans should do something practical to “protect the rights of Iranian nation”. 

It is also necessary that the Iranian political system reveals the American-European joint anti-Iran scheme to the people so that the true nature of Europeans is showed to Iranians. In that case, Europe and specially the European troika will completely lose their reputation.    

First published in our partner Tehran Times

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