Even some mainstream U.S. ‘news’-media (but none that are Republican) acknowledge the fact that Qasem Soleimani was among the most effective of all nations’ generals who fought against ISIS. Other mainstream U.S. ‘news’-media seem very reluctant to do so, because the entirety of America’s mainstream ‘journalism’ has spewed hatred against Iran’s Government after Iranians in 1979 succeeded at overthrowing the dictator Shah whom America’s CIA had installed in 1953 to end Iran’s democracy and to control the country, and he privatized the National Iranian Oil company and cut America’s aristocrats in on the profits from sales of Iranian oil. (Under George W. Bush, the U.S. Government did basically the same thing to Iraq’s oil industry.) So, America’s mainstream ‘news’-media, which are owned by the same aristocracy that imposed Iran’s dictatorship in 1953, have portrayed Iran’s #2 leader, General Qasem Soleimani, as a ‘terrorist’, instead of as the leading fighter against ISIS, which he actually was.
On 3 January 2020, Ilan Goldenberg, of the Democratic Party neoconservative Center for a New American Security, headlined in the Council on Foreign Relations’s Foreign Affairs, “Will Iran’s Response to the Soleimani Strike Lead to War?” and only two references to ISIS were there, both buried in his article: “He led Iran’s campaign to arm and train Shiite militias in Iraq — militias responsible for the deaths of an estimated 600 American troops from 2003 to 2011— and became the chief purveyor of Iranian political influence in Iraq thereafter, most notably through his efforts to fight the Islamic State (ISIS).” And: “ISIS retains an underground presence and could take advantage of the chaos of an American withdrawal or a U.S.-Iranian conflict to improve its position in Iraq.” So, it’s hard for a reader there to figure out that Trump actually assassinated ISIS’s main enemy.
On January 4th, Marketwatch headlined “Who was Qassem Soleimani, and why is his death a major development in U.S.-Middle East relations?” and there was only a single reference to ISIS, the source being Iran, which that article was criticizing: “In a tweet, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the strike that killed the general as an act of international terrorism: ‘The US act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani — THE most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al — is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation,’ he wrote on Twitter. ‘The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism,’ he said.”
Some of America’s mainstream ‘news’-media portrayed the killing of Soleimani as being damaging to America’s ability to continue occupying Iraq and therefore harmful to the fight against ISIS because the U.S. — not Iran and Russia — lead the fight against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. In other words: they presume that lie. Politico headlined on January 3rd, “How the Soleimani strike could kneecap the fight against ISIS” and opened:
The U.S. strike that killed Iran’s top military leader could put America’s fight against the Islamic State in jeopardy, opening the door to the reemergence of the terrorist group.
The Thursday night attack on Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani could also prompt the government in Iraq to kick U.S. troops out of the country, ending America’s mission to train the Iraqi military to fight terrorist groups.
U.S. troops have deployed to Iraq since 2014 to fight ISIS and train Iraqi forces with permission from the Iraqi government. As part of this agreement, Iraq asked the U.S. specifically not to target Iran within the country, a request America has now violated “in flagrant fashion” with the strike on Soleimani near the Baghdad airport, said Scott Anderson, a former legal adviser to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
“This is going to put a lot of pressure on those aspects of our relationship they have control over,” Anderson, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, said Friday. … “If we can’t be in Iraq, we can’t be in Syria,” Barbara Slavin, the director of the Future Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, said Friday.
They don’t mention that both Brookings and the Atlantic Council are neoconservative, pro-imperialist, and controlled by (overwhelmingly funded by) large U.S.-based international corporations and U.S.-allied governments, which benefit from U.S.-and-allied arms-sales and oil-extraction. So, that’s just a standard propaganda-piece from Politico, pumping the U.S. empire.
For once, CNN broke with U.S. imperialism, and headlined on January 3rd, “Analysis: It’s important to remember the role Soleimani played in the fight against ISIS”. Perhaps because CNN is controlled by Democratic Party billionaires instead of by Republican-Party ones, they reported that:
It is important to remember the role both he and Iran played in the fight against ISIS.
While US aircraft, special forces and local allies fought ISIS in Syria, as well as in Iraq, Iranian-backed militia also pushed the terror group back in Iraq. Soleimani was reported to have often led that fight from the front line …
The 62-year-old led Iran’s elite Quds Force, which had a hand in both fighting the Islamic State militant group and U.S. forces.
There was no contradiction between those two positions shared both by Soleimani and Iran, because ISIS was created as a fundamentalist-Sunni U.S. proxy fighting force against Iraq’s Shiites. There was also this:
Long known as the ‘shadow commander’ in Western media, his profile was raised in 2015 as Iranian outlets began releasing photos of him in the battlefield guiding the war against ISIS.
Soleimani is also credited with fighting the Islamic State militant group in Iraq. In a 2017 public letter, he denounced the “evil movement” that managed “to deceive tens of thousands of Muslim youth” in Iraq and Syria, while also blaming the U.S. for the rise and spread of ISIS.
Iran had launched airstrikes against ISIS fighters outside Baghdad in late 2014 just as the United States and its coalition partners were taking on the extremist group.
ISIS, made up of Sunni extremists, was ideologically at odds with Soleimani and the Iranian Shiite regime he defended.
Soleimani and his commanders were on the front lines in Iraq and his name became synonymous with victories attributed to Iraqi ground forces [fighting against ISIS]. He had presented himself as the face of the offensive in Tikrit, a city which fell under ISIS control in 2014 [HE WAS FIGHTING AGAINST ISIS THERE].
Iran sought to highlight his efforts against ISIS while protesting his death Friday.
Another pro-Democratic-Party ‘news’-site, MSNBC, likewise included, on January 3rd, some of ‘the enemy’s side’ in this: “The 62-year-old led Iran’s elite Quds Force, which had a hand in both fighting the Islamic State militant group and U.S. forces.”
Indicating how confused and hostile Americans are to encounter — in the few media where they can — the truth about Soleimani and about the reality in the Middle East, there was a January 3rd news-report from Washington Times headlined “Geraldo Rivera laments strike on U.S. ‘friend’ Qassem Soleimani, says Quds leader ‘saved people’” which opened:
Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera says the Baghdad airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was a strategic error against a U.S. “friend” who “saved people.”
A “Fox & Friends” panel was injected with heated rhetoric on Friday when Mr. Rivera defended the Quds force leader’s résumé in a discussion with Ainsley Earhardt, Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy.
“Six months ago, Ainsley, this guy was our friend,” Mr. Rivera said.
Rivera was opposed not only by the other Fox “Friends” there, but by the reader-comments, such as the most-liked ones:
What planet does Rivera live on? Soleimani has engineered the killing of many Americans.
stalin was our friend and helped us defeat hitler. no really a friend. ha
They want to remain suckers of America’s billionaires, who want to have Iran back.
Of course, Russia’s news-media were honest about this matter; they have no reason to lie about it; and, besides, they don’t lie nearly as frequently as America’s billionaire-controlled ‘news’-media do — they know they are distrusted from the get-go throughout the U.S. empire, because Russia’s lying Soviet predecessors (before 1991) are constantly pumped to America’s ‘news’-media behind the scenes by America’s CIA (representing America’s billionaires) as being like today’s Russian news-media, which they very much are not. Russia really did end the Cold War; the U.S. regime never did.
On January 4th, India’s Economic Times headlined “Soleimani, face of fight against ISIS, Taliban”, and reported that:
Soleimani was the face of armed resistance against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and contributed in a big way in defeating ISIS, said an expert familiar with West Asian dynamics who requested not to be identified.
Last year Soleimani had also slammed Pakistan for its failure to control terror groups on its soil that targeted Iranian Revolutionary Guards group.
Iran and India were among regional powers that backed anti-Taliban forces along with Russia before Taliban was ousted in Afghanistan. …
Last February, a car laden with explosives hit a bus of Revolutionary Guard soldiers on Zahedan-Khash road in Iran’s border province of Sistan-Balouchestan, killing 27 and injuring 13. Pakistan-based Jaish ul-Adl Takfiri terrorist group, which has ties to al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Days after the attack, Soleimani said Iran does not want mere condolences, but concrete action from Pakistan. “Can’t you, as a nuclear-armed state, deal with a hundreds-strong terrorist group in the region?” he had said.
That’s a major daily newspaper in Hindu India, which isn’t a place about which readers in America and allied countries haven’t been taught by their news-media to expect to see such a commentary being published. According to Wikipedia, “As of 2012, it is the world’s second-most widely read English-language business newspaper, after The Wall Street Journal, with a readership of over 800,000.”
Also on January 4th former UK Ambassador Craig Murray headlined from Britain “Lies, the Bethlehem Doctrine, and the Illegal Murder of Soleimani” and he exposed lies against Soleimani by Democratic U.S. Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, and a key neoconservative legal advisor to UK’s Government. He was exposing there a bipartisan and international sliming operation, the type of thing that traditionally persuades masses of suckers to vote for politicians who continue the grand imperial enterprise, for the benefit of U.S.-and-allied billionaires. However, that scam might not be so successful this time around.
On January 6th, the U.S. Government informed Iraq’s Government that the U.S. military occupation of Iraq is now at an end and all U.S. forces are withdrawing from Iraq. Then Trump changed his mind. Shortly afterward. Iran did its first retaliation, firing missiles against U.S. military facilities in Iraq. Trump’s constant aggressions against Iran (starting with cancellation ot the Iran nuclear agreement and restoration of anti-Iran sanctions) will sink the Middle East and maybe the entire world in blood. The EU seems nonetheless to be sticking by the U.S. regime. All leaders who do so will be damned along with him. But none of them seem even to care. They all share in his guilt.
Author’s note: first posted at The Saker
Israel, the Middle East and Joe Biden
How will a Biden Administration change American policies on Iran, the Palestinians and Israel’s tightening relationships with Arab states?
Some two years ago, Democrats harshly attacked Trump for withdrawing US troops from Syria and thereby undermining the alliance with the Kurds. However, Democratic leaders also favor a reduced US presence in the Middle East and understand the region’s declining relevance to US global policy. It was Democrat Obama who withdrew US troops from the Iraqi bloodbath; Biden, if elected, will presumably continue a similar course. The US is no longer dependent on Middle Eastern oil, China is perceived as its greatest threat, and the defeat of ISIS has lowered the strategic terror threat level to US national security.
Biden, just like Trump and Obama, probably believes that the US can downscale its presence in the region and rely on its allies (the Gulf states, Egypt, Jordan and Israel, of course) and on the alliances being forged between its partners over the past two decades. The US could increase aid to a specific ally at a time of need (as was the case with the massive 2014 influx of Syrian refugees into Jordan) or Iraq (during the fighting with ISIS), but it is loath to continue meddling in local conflicts. What is more, the painful lesson of the intervention in Iraq has dissolved the Bush Administration’s messianic belief in the democratization of the Middle East. Concern about Russia or China filling the vacuum left by the US is also no longer deterring US leaders (like Obama and Trump) who are trying to score points with voters by troops drawdowns and free the administration up to deal with different matters, among them the “Pivot to Asia”.
As a Democrat, Biden is expected to be more sensitive than Trump to human rights violations in the Middle East. He condemned the conduct of the Saudi regime following the murder of exiled journalist Jamal Khashoggi in fairly harsh language several times and also called for curbing weapons sales to Riyadh.
However, if elected, Biden’s first order of business will be dealing with the biggest health and economic crisis the US has experienced since 1929. He will have to create jobs and deal with thousands of burning domestic matters. Those will be his flagship issues. He may have to set aside his moral repugnance and allow weapons exports to prevent job and profit losses for Americans. Trump, too, was harshly critical of Saudi Arabia prior to his election, but subsequently changed his tune and conducted his first overseas trip there as president.
One can cautiously assess that any change in US policy toward the Gulf would not undermine Israel’s rapprochement with those states. The strategic regional threats (expansion of Iran’s hegemony and its violations of the nuclear agreement, as well as Turkish activity in the region) will remain unchanged, and therefore the interest in economic and security cooperation between Israel and Gulf states will remain. Arab states that traditionally view Israel as a bridge to the White House could try to exploit this now official relationship to promote their standing with Congress and a new administration, if one is installed.
Biden’s position on the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) is of concern these days to both Israeli and Arab leaders, which could further cement their ties. Arab leaders are concerned about Biden rejoining and reviving the deal that Trump abandoned. They are relying on Biden’s criticism of the unilateral US pullout from the agreement and his declaration that he would make every effort to rejoin it. Nonetheless, Biden’s people seem to understand that they cannot simply turn back the clock. Blinken, one of Biden’s closest aides and potential future national security adviser, has said in interviews that the US would not return to the agreement until Iran fulfills all its commitments – meaning, until Iran walks back all its violations of the agreement. It is hard to predict just how Biden might draw Iran to the negotiating table, but as long as such an option is viable, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Gulf states will have sufficient grounds to close ranks.
Biden is a sworn supporter of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is expected to re-open the US Consulate in East Jerusalem, restore US aid to the Palestinians and invite the PLO ambassador back to Washington. However, this does not mean that he will place the Palestinian issue on his list of priorities, especially given the domestic crisis and ongoing tensions with China. The Palestinian issue is unlikely to return to center stage following a change in the US administration. The Arab world is growing increasingly weak as the coronavirus continues to spread, the economic crisis deepens and unemployment rises. Arab states also fear that the major non-Arab states in the region – Turkey and Iran – will exploit this weakness. Should that happen, the Palestinian issue is unlikely to attract much interest from key Arab states, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, which also dictate the conduct of the Arab League.
That said, should Biden decide to revive the Arab Peace Initiative and mobilize Saudi and other Arab support (perhaps in return for a more determined US stand on Iran, the supply of US strategic weapons, etc.), pressure on Israel over the Palestinian issue could re-emerge. If Israel chooses to respond with accelerated construction in the settlements, in defiance of US policy, states such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE would likely toe the line of the US administration but would not cut ties with Israel as a result.
In conclusion, a Biden victory would not affect the strengthening relationship between Israel and Arab states, especially if he opts to focus on the Iranian issue and a US return to the JCPOA. The Middle East’s relevance to the US is expected to continue its decline, prompting cooperation among its partners in the region in order to forge a robust front and repel threats from the non-Arab states (Iran and Turkey). A changed US approach to the Palestinian issue could increase pressure on Israel slightly, but is not expected to substantially change the current dynamics.
Prospects for U.S.-China Relations in the Biden Era
The U.S. presidential election which will be held on November 3 is drawing ever closer. As the Trump administration performs poorly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, where the death toll in the U.S. exceeded 210,000, the election trend appears to be very unfavorable for Donald Trump.
According to a recent poll conducted by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, Joe Biden led Trump by 14 percentage points in the national elections. It is worth noting that retired American generals, who have traditionally been extremely low-key in politics, publicly supported Biden this year, something that is quite rare. On September 24, 489 retired generals and admirals, former national security officials and diplomats signed a joint letter in support of Biden. Among them are Republicans, Democrats, and non-partisans, showing that they have crossed the affiliation, and jointly support Biden to replace Trump. Although the opinion polls do not represent the final election, with the election only being one month away, the widening of the opinion gap is enough to predict the direction of the election.
For the whole world, especially for China, it is necessary to prepare for the advent of a possible Biden era of the United States. During Trump’s tenure, U.S.-China relations have taken a turn for the worse, and China has been listed as the foremost “long-term strategic competitor” of the United States.
There is a general view in China that after the Democratic Party comes to power, U.S.-China relations may worsen. The reason is that the Democratic Party places more emphasis on values such as human rights and ideology and is accustomed to using values such as human rights, democracy, and freedom in foreign policies against China. However, as far as U.S.-China relations are concerned, it is too vague to use the simple dichotomic “good” or “bad” to summarize the relationship of the two countries.
However, it is certain that after Biden takes office, his policies will be different from Trump’s. An important difference between Biden and Trump is that Biden will follow a certain order and geopolitical discipline to implement his own policies, and he will also seek cooperation with China in certain bottom-line principled arrangements. It should be stressed that it is crucial for China and the United States to reach some principled arrangements in their relations.
From an economic point of view, should Biden become the next President, the United States will likely ease its trade policy, which will alleviate China’s trade pressure. It can be expected that the Biden administration may quell the U.S.-China tariff war and adjust punitive tariff policies that lead to “lose-lose” policies. If Biden takes office, he might be more concerned about politics and U.S.-China balance. In terms of trade, although he would continue to stick to the general direction of the past, this would not be the main direction of his governance. Therefore, the U.S.-China trade war could see certain respite and may even stop. In that scenario, China as the largest trading partner of the United States, could hope for the pressures in the trade with the U.S. being reduced.
China must also realize that even if Biden takes power, some key areas of U.S.-China relations will not change, such as the strategic positioning of China as the “long-term strategic competitor” of the United States. This is not something that is decided by the U.S. President but by the strategic judgment of the U.S. decision-making class on the direction of its relations with China. This strategic positioning destined that the future U.S.-China relations will be based on the pattern dominated by geopolitical confrontation. Biden sees that by expanding global influence, promoting its political model, and investing in future technologies, China is engaging a long-term competition with the U.S, and that is the challenge that the United States faces.
On the whole, if and when Biden takes office, the U.S. government’s domestic and diplomatic practices will be different from those of the Trump administration, although the strategic positioning of China will not change, and neither will it change the U.S.’ general direction of long-term suppression of China’s rise. However, in terms of specific practices, the Biden administration will have its own approaches, and will seek a certain order and geopolitical discipline to implement its policies. He may also seek to reach some bottom-line principled arrangements with China. Under the basic framework, the future U.S.-China relations will undergo changes in many aspects. Instead of the crude “an eye for an eye” rivalry, we will see the return to the traditional systemic competition based on values, alliance interests, and rules. Facing the inevitable changes in U.S.-China relations, the world needs to adapt to the new situation.
Third world needs ideological shift
As nations across the world have been pooling their efforts to contain the COVID-19 spread, the looming economic crisis has caught the attention of global intelligentsia. In the light of health emergency, The policy makers of Asia, Africa and Latin America have been struggling to steer the economic vehicle back to normalcy. Although, the reason for the economic slump could be attributed to the pandemic, it is also important to cast light on the economics of these tricontinental nations. Been as colonies for more than two centuries, these players had adopted the style of economics which is a mix of market economics and socialism. The imperial powers of the then Europe had colonised these nations and had subjugated them with their military and political maneuvers. Under the banner of White man’s burden, the Imperial masters had subverted the political, economical, social and cultural spheres of the colonies and had transformed these self-reliant societies into the ones which depend on Europe for finished products. The onslaught on the economical systems of colonies was done through one way trade. Though, the western powers brought the modern values to the third world during colonial era, they were twisted to their advantage. The European industrial machines were depended on the blood, sweat and tears of the people of colonies. It is clear that the reason for the backwardness of these players is the force behind the imperial powers which had eventually pushed them towards these regions in search of raw materials and markets i.e., Capitalism. Needless to say, the competition for resources and disaccord over the distribution of wealth of colonies led to twin world wars. Capitalism, as an economic idea, cannot survive in an environment of a limited market and resources. It needs borderless access, restless labour and timeless profit. While the European imperial powers had expanded their influence over Asia and Africa, the US had exerted its influence over Latin America. Earlier, at the dawn of modern-day Europe, The capitalist liberal order had challenged the old feudal system and the authority of church. Subsequently, the sovereign power was shifted to monarchial king. With the rise of ideas like democracy and liberty, complemented by the rapid takeoff of industrialization, the conditions were set for the creation of new class i.e., capitalist class. On the one hand, Liberalism, a polical facet of capitalism, restricts the role of state(political) in economical matters but on the other hand it provides enough room for the elite class and those who have access to power corridors to persuade the authority(state) to design the policies to their advantage. Inequality is an inescapable feature of liberal economics.
The powerful nations cannot colonise these nations as once done. The Watchwords like interconnectedness, interdependency and free trade are being used to continue their domination on these players. As soon as the third world nations were freed from the shackles of colonialism, they were forced to integrate their economies into the global economical chain. Characterized by the imbalance, the globalization has been used as a weapon by the Western powers to conquer the markets of developing nations.
The Carrot and stick policy of the US is an integral part of its strategy to dominate global economical domain. The sorry state of affairs in the Middle East and Latin America could be attributed to the US lust for resources. In the name of democracy, the US has been meddling in the internal affairs of nations across the developing world. Countries like Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Libya, Iraq and Syria have challenged the US,a global policeman. Back in the day,soon after assuming the power, the Left leadership in Latin American countries had adopted socialist schemes and had nationalised the wealth creating assets, which were previously in the hands of the US capitalists. Irked by the actions of these nations, the US had devised a series of stratagems to destabilize the regimes and to install its puppets through the imposition of cruel sanctions and by dubbing them as terrorist nations on the pretext of exporting violent communist revolution. With the exception of the regimes of Fidel castro in Cuba and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, the US is largely successful in its agenda of destabilizing anti-American governments in the region. The US has a long history of mobilising anti-left forces in Latin America, the region which US sees as its backyard, in an attempt to oust socialist leaders. At present, by hook or by crook, the trump administration has been trying to depose Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela, a socialist.
In addition,The US has been colonising the minds of the third world citizens psychologically with its cultural hegemony and anti-left indoctrination. It is important to understand that the reason for the neo-fascism, which is unfurling across the developing and developed world alike, is rooted in capitalism.The third world citizenry is disgruntled and the ultra-nationalist right wing forces in these countries have been channeling the distress amongst the working class to solidify their position. Growing inequalities, Falling living standards, Joblessness and Insecurity are exposing the incompetence of capitalism and have been pushing a large chunk of workforce in the developing countries into a state of despair.Adding to their woes, the Covid-19 has hit them hard.
The US, with the help of IMF and the world bank, had coerced the developing countries to shun welfare economics.The term “Development” is highly contested in the economic domain.Capitalists argue that the true development of an individual and the society depends upon economic progress and the free market is a panacea for all problems.Given the monopolistic tendencies in the economical systems across the developing world, the free market is a myth, especially in a societies where a few of business families, who have cronies in policy making circles, dominates the economical and social scene.The time has come for the governments of these nations to address these issues and ensure that the wealth would be distributed in a more equitable manner.
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