Archive | September, 2017

WaPo forced to retract claim that Obama told Zuckerberg to tackle alleged Russian meddling

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RT 

The Washington Post has been forced to remove Russia from the headline and alter the content of its front-page “scoop” over a supposed conversation between Barack Obama and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, after the social network denied the newspaper’s claims.

Under the headline “Obama sought to prod Facebook on Russia role,” the three-author story alleged that “Obama and his top aides quietly agonized over how to respond to Russia’s brazen intervention on behalf of the Donald Trump” prior to the 2016 election, before the last US president “pulled the youthful tech billionaire aside and delivered what he hoped would be a wake-up call” last November.

Only this is not what the exchange at the APEC conference in Peru on November 19, 2016 was about – and there was no mention of political interference from Moscow or anyone else.

“Their conversation was about misinformation and false news, which Mark had addressed the previous day in a post that outlined specific steps Facebook was taking to combat these challenges. The discussion did not include any references to possible foreign interference or suggestions about confronting threats to Facebook,” the social network in a statement.

Obama’s representatives have declined to comment on the Washington Post story.

The Washington Post, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has changed the story title in its online archive, and says its piece has now been “updated with an additional response from Facebook.”

The authors used the misrepresented Obama conversation as a hook into a 2,500-word report about the social network’s slowness in catching on to, and counteracting purported Russian meddling, and to put forward expert claims that it “dragged its feet and is acting only now because of outside political pressure.”

“We believe in the power of democracy, which is why we’re taking this work on elections integrity so seriously, and have come forward at every opportunity to share what we’ve found,” Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president for public policy and communications, told the Washington Post in response.

Read more:

‘Where are the Russians?’ WaPo worried it can’t find Kremlin hackers in German election

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Nazi regime refuses to stop arms sales to Myanmar despite Rohingya massacre

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Image result for ROHINGYA PHOTOS
Press TV 

The Israeli regime will not put an end to its sale of ammunition to Myanmar in light of incontrovertible evidence and United Nations data that the Southeast Asian nation’s military has perpetrated various forms of atrocities, including systematic rape and expulsions, against Rohingya Muslims.

English-language Haaretz daily newspaper reported that a group of human rights activists had filed a petition in the so-called High Court of Justice, demanding an end to the arms sales.

Senior Israeli official Shosh Shmueli, in return, said the court should not interfere in Israel’s foreign relations.

Shmueli’s comments came as Israeli arms companies have sold more than 100 battle tanks, as well as patrol boats and light weapons to the Burmese military in recent years.

Meanwhile, TAR Ideal Concepts has trained Burmese special forces in Myanmar’s restive western state of Rakhine, where a wave of serious communal violence continues unabated.

The Tel Aviv-based company posted pictures on its website in August last year, showing its staff training Myanmar’s forces on combat tactics and how to handle weapons.

The High Court of Justice was set to rule on the petition filed by Eitay Mack along with 10 other activists later on Wednesday.

The judges hearing the case – Yoram Danziger, Anat Baron and David Mintz – issued a gag order on Tuesday regarding the court’s decision on the Myanmar arms sales controversy. The measure was adopted at the request of the Israeli regime.

Myanmar’s forces have been attacking Rohingya Muslims and torching their villages in Rakhine since October 2016. The attacks have seen a sharp rise since August 25, following a number of armed attacks on police and military posts in the troubled western state.

The government of de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has snubbed and obstructed UN officials who have sought to investigate the situation. The government has prevented aid agencies from delivering food, water and medicines to the refugees.

Suu Kyi has also rejected UN accusations that Myanmar’s forces are engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.

Considering Suu Kyi’s reputation for micromanagement, political analysts say it seems unlikely that the ongoing violence is taking place without her approval.

In early September, peace activists launched an international campaign calling on the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to take back its 1991 prize to Suu Kyi over her complicity in what is viewed as the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Burma0 Comments

Interview with Serena Shim’s Sister

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See also, Press TV Reporter Killed in Car Accident Following Threats by Turkish Intelligence, which includes videos of Shim, including one of her last reports before her death.

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Philip Giraldi’s Remedy for Wars

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May 5, 2016: Ultra-Zionist Billionaire Megadonor Sheldon Adelson attends 4th annual champions of Jewish values international awards gala at Marriott Marquis Times Square

May 5, 2016: Ultra-Zionist Billionaire Megadonor Sheldon Adelson attends 4th annual champions of Jewish values international awards gala at Marriott Marquis Times Square
By Israel Shamir | The Unz Review 

Once in a while, an observer notices a concerted Jewish action, and reports on it pro bono publico. It could be that Jews support Third-world immigration, or Jews fight the memorials, or, in the recent case, Jews promote the war on Iran. The Jews respond with a huge vehement counterattack and make life very difficult for the outspoken observer. Afterwards, the subject recedes, as people get cold feet to proceed, or do not know how to proceed, though the problem remains at large.

The recent example is a piece by Philip Giraldi on the Unz.com, which still produces waves on the web. In his piece he rolled the list of Jews who were keen on Iraq invasion, and who are pushing the US now into an attack on Iran: “David Frum, Max Boot, Bill Kristol and Bret Stephens, Mark Dubowitz, Michael Ledeen… And yep, they’re all Jewish, plus most of them would self-describe as neo-conservatives.”

Giraldi proposed to keep Jews out of the positions of influence on the foreign affairs, in order to keep the US out of wars it does not need. Giraldi wrote: “We don’t need a war with Iran because Israel wants one and some rich and powerful American Jews are happy to deliver.”

Actually, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz wrote at the time (in April 2003): “The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history. Two of them, journalists William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, say it’s possible.”

I also wrote things in the same vein during Iraq invasion, and it is good to see that this thesis did not die but keeps resurging from time to time. One could add that these very persons are pushing for conflict with Russia, demonise Putin and attack Trump, though the Orange Man tries to fulfil their wishes as an eager Santa Claus of diligent Lizzie.

While agreeing with Giraldi on the malady, let us discuss the remedy. Would keeping Jews out of foreign policy making actually help? Did the US keep out of wars before the Rise of Jews in late 1960s? The Jews weren’t specially prominent before that time, and certainly weren’t overrepresented in the establishment. A Jewish couple, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg has been fried on the electric chair in 1953, and there were few objections. McCarthy terrorized Jews. The word Holocaust had yet to make its first appearance (in 1968). Jews were still kept out of clubs and out of high level politics. Israel had been threatened by the US (in 1956) rather than assisted.

And still, the free-from-Jews US had fought in Korea the terrible three-year long war (1950-1953), and in Vietnam (up to 1974), invaded and caused regime change in Guatemala and Iran, violently interfered in elections in France and Italy, and had fought the fierce Cold War against the USSR. In all these campaigns, the US Jews were actually for peace and against war. The Jews were nowhere in power when the US fought its wars against Spain and Mexico. The non-Jewish US made a coup in Iran, and non-Jewish and not-pro-Israel President Carter tried to invade Iran. Jews weren’t involved in the conquest of Panama, in Nicaragua intervention, in Granada operation.

Perhaps the Jews had moved the arena of wars to the Middle East and out of Latin America. Less Jewish-influenced America would rather invade Venezuela than Iraq or Iran. But is it so wonderful?

The idea of correcting or channelling the excessive Jewish influence is a reasonable one, but can this goal be achieved by keeping Kristol and Krauthammer out of media (an excellent thought anyway)?

The Jewish prominence in the US is inbuilt in the US culture and tradition. Karl Marx wrote that “in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression”. He said that all Yankees are Jews, behave like Jews, aspire to be Jews and even are circumcised like Jews. So it is natural that real Jews succeed better in being Jews than their Gentile neighbours. Werner Sombart added that Jews were prominent from the very dawn of America and they created American-style capitalism the way that fits them. The Jews are prominent now because America is custom-built for Jews to fit and suit them, he said.

This is what should be corrected, and then the Jewish scribes, these Krauthammers will be out of business of inciting wars. Stop subscribing to Jewish success model, and the Jews won’t be able to influence the Senate. Make the US Christian as Christ taught, share labour and wealth, aspire to God instead of Mammon, make the first last and the last first, love thy neighbour and the problem will be solved.

If this is too tall an order, make it a smaller one. Unseating Ledeens and Frums (and I think they deserve tar and feathers all right) will not do the trick unless the rich Jews are un-wealthed. Without excessive Jewish wealth, there will be no excessive Jewish push for wars. And provided that more than half of all US wealth is in few Jewish hands, freeing it will make a colossal effect of improving life of every American, even every person on earth.

And why to stop there? The super-rich non-Jews are as Jewish as any Jew. They share the same aspirations. Strip them of their assets. Why should we worry whether Jeff Bezos is a Jew by blood or faith, or he is not? He behaves like a Jew, and that is enough. Establish a ceiling of wealth, a counterpart of minimal wage. This idea has been mulled: Jeremy Corbyn called for the maximum wage. Taxes can do it easily – in wonderful Sweden of 1950s, top tax rate was 102%. Or this can be achieved in a more festive way of stripping the richest men of their ill-gotten wealth on the main square of Washington, DC on Mardi Gras Sunday. Do not say this is a punishment for their diligence – other way around, this is assistance on their way to spiritual improvement. Too many assets imprison the spirit.

This would be good for Jews and for all concerned: while the average Jewish wealth in the US had been lagging below total average (that is as long as Jews were less wealthy than Gentiles), the Jews acted in the interests of the people. Around 1968-1970 the Jews became more wealthy than all Americans, and that was it: they ceased to strive for the common good.

Jews could be a force for good if their excessive tendency to collect material goods is nipped in the bud. So it was in the USSR: as the Jews could not make money, they went into science and worked for the common good. Even oligarchs could be good managers instead of pain in the neck for the society.

This is not more complicated than booting Max Boot out of writing business. So why to go for a palliative if you can go for the jugular?

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Kurdistan – what the referendum is hiding

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On this electoral poster, the map of « independent Kurdistan » overflows from the autonomous Iraqi region onto Iraqi and Syrian territory.
By Thierry Meyssan | Voltairenet 

The referendum for the independence of Kurdistan is a fool’s game. The United States, which secretly supports it, claims in public to oppose it. France and the United Kingdom are doing the same, hoping that Washington will make their old dreams come true. Not to be outdone, Russia is hinting that although it is against any unilateral change, it might support independence… as long as everyone accepts the independence of Crimea, which means accepting its attachment to Moscow.

The degree of hypocrisy of the permanent members of the UN Security Council is such that they have so far been unable to give a ruling on this question, despite their apparent unanimity. They have not adopted any resolution (in other words, a text with international force of law), nor Presidential declaration (in other words a position common to the members of the Council) – nothing except an insipid Press release during their meeting on 19 September [1].

Currently, there exist eight non-recognised States – Abkhazia, North Cyprus, Nagorno-Karabagh, Kosovo, Ossetia, Western Sahara, Somaliland and Trasnistria. Two European regions are also hoping for independence – Catalonia and Scotland. Any modification of the status of Iraqi Kurdistan will have consequences for these ten countries.

The independence of Iraqi Kurdistan would be a tour de force, insofar as it would mean displacing Kurdistan, as it was recognised by the Sèvres Conference in 1920, from its current location on Turkish territory to Iraqi territory. Of course, everyone has become used to using the title Kurdistan to indicate this region, which, since 1991, has been subject to a slow and continual ethnic cleansing by London and Washington.

During « Desert Storm », this region was mainly inhabited by Iraqi Kurds. London and Washington made it a no-fly zone against President Hussein. They forced into power one of their collaborators from the Cold War, Massoud Barzani, who initiated the displacement of the non-Kurdish populations. The same Barzani, although he was twice re-elected since then, has maintained his grip on power for more than two years without a mandate. The National Assembly, which demanded his departure, has met only once since the end of his mandate to vote the principle of the referendum, but in the absence of Goran – a party which has continually denounced the feudal system of the Barzanis and the Talabanis, and the nepotism and the corruption which are the direct result. In fact, Massoud Barzani has been in power, without interruption, for the last 26 years.

From 1991 to 2003, the non-Kurds progressively left the no-fly zone, so that the region was proclaimed, with the defeat of President Hussein, as Iraqi Kurdistan.

On 1 June 2014, the secret services of Saudia Arabia, the United States, Israël, Jordan, the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, Qatar, the United Kingdom and Turkey organised, in Amman, (Jordan) a preparatory meeting for the invasion of Iraq by Daesh. We know of the existence of this meeting by the Turkish document that Özgür Gündem published immediately [2]. This daily newspaper – with whom I collaborated – has since been shut down by the « sultan » Recep Tayyip Erdoğan [3].

According to this document, it was agreed to coordinate Daesh and the region of Iraqi Kurdistan. The former launched a lightning offensive to capture Mosul, while the latter grabbed Kirkuk. Four days earlier, President Massoud Barzani had travelled to Jordan to talk to the participants of this meeting. He was careful not to take part in the meeting himself, but was represented by his son Masrour, the head of his own Intelligence services.

When Daesh invaded the part of Iraq that the United States had previously attributed to him, they profited from the occasion to imprison the Yezedis and bind them into slavery. Most of the Yezedis are Kurdish, but in conformity with the Amman agreement, the neighbouring Barzanis did not intervene, even when some of them fled into the Sinjar mountains. Those who fled were finally saved by the commandos of the Turkish PKK. The Turkish Kurds saved them all, whether they were Kurds or not. They used this victory to demand their recognition from the Western powers (who, since the Cold War, has viewed them as terrorists). The current revision of this affair by the Barzanis cannot erase their crime against their own people [4].

Another famous Kurd took part in the meeting in Amman – the Islamist Mullah Krekar. He was imprisoned in Norway, where he was serving a five-year sentence for having threatened, on TV, to kill Prime Minister Erna Solberg. He travelled to the Amman meeting in a NATO plane, and was taken back to his cell in the days that followed. He then revealed his allegiance to Daesh. He was not condemned for belonging to a terrorist organisation, but was offered a two-year remission of sentence and was freed. He then went on to direct Daesh in Europe, from Oslo, under the protection of NATO. Clearly, the Stay-behind network of the Atlantic Alliance is still operational [5]

Having annexed Kirkuk, the regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan extended to their zone the ethnic cleansing that its members had been perpetrating in the no-fly zone between 1991 and 2003.

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We can relax – the immovable Barzani has assured that he will not implement measures of retaliation against those who vote “No”.

The non-constitutional President Barzani has announced that all the populations of Iraqi Kurdistan and the annexed territories may participate in the referendum. Together, all these regions housed more than twelve million citizens in 2013. But today, three million non-Kurdish citizens have been forced to flee. So only a chosen number of electors are called to vote on the future not only of the place of the expelled legitimate inhabitants, but also that of all other Iraqis.

  • In order to participate in the referendum, one must –
  • live in Kurdistan or the annexed regions ;
  • be over 18 years old ;
  • have been registered before 7 September on the electoral lists ;
  • and for those who are refugees abroad, one must have been registered for the electronic vote … which supposes that they must first present their papers to the electoral authority of Kurdistan, from which they have been expelled.

As it happens, the Barzanis have a particular conception of the populations who are called to vote. In 1992, there were no more than 971,953 voters, but a decade later, in 2014, they suddenly numbered 2,129,846, and now 3,305,925, on September 25, 2017.

Independence will give the Barzani and Talabani clans further means with which to pursue their affairs. It will also offer Israël the possibility of implementing certain of its military objectives. Since the end of the 1990’s and the development of missile weaponry, Tsahal has abandoned its strategy of occupying the « border regions », meaning the territories just outside its frontiers (Sinaï, Golan, South Lebanon). On the contrary, it intends to neutralise Egypt, Syria and Lebanon by taking them from behind. This is why Tel-Aviv supported the creation of South Sudan, in 2011, in order to place missiles pointed at Egypt, and is today supporting the creation of Kurdistan in order to place missiles pointed at Syria.

According to Israel-Kurd, which is widely quoted by the Turkish Press, Israëli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised Massoud Barzani to transfer 200,000 Israëlis to the new state to « help » with its administration [6].

According to this logic, the ideal for Tsahal would be to extend the territory of Iraqi Kurdistan not only to Kirkuk, but to Northern Syria. This is the purpose of the YPG and its « Rojava ». This self-proclaimed autonomous state is a long corridor which links Iraqi Kurdistan to the Mediterranean, and is occupied by US troops who are illegally installed in several military bases.

Eight months before the Amman meeting, a Pentagon researcher, Robin Wright, confirmed her country’s agreement with this project [7]. At that time, the Barzanis were still claiming that they defended all Kurds, including those who were living in Turkey and Iran. Mrs. Wright carefully explained that such a project was impossible, but published her map of « Sunnistan », attributed to Daesh, and « Kurdistan » attributed to the Barzanis in Iraq and Syria.

Incidentally, in August, the Pentagon published a call for tender for the buying and transfer of 500 million weapons and ammunition, mainly ex-Soviet [8]. The 200 first trucks were delivered to the YPG at Hasakah, on 11 and 19 September, via Iraqi Kurdistan, without being attacked by the jihadistes [9]. The Russian Minister for Defence has just made public satellite photos of a camp of US special forces in the middle of Daesh territory, living quite comfortably with the Kurds and the jihadists [10].

So since we are told that this « independent Kurdistan » is a democratic Kurdish project, why would we doubt it?

Translation by Pete Kimberley

Notes

[1] “UN Security Council Press Statement on Iraqi Kurdistan”, Voltaire Network, 21 September 2017.

[2] « Yer : Amman, Tarih : 1, Konu : Musul », Akif Serhat, Özgür Gündem, 6 juillet 2014.

[3] Those journalists who escaped the purge and managed to flee, created the electronic daily Özgürlükçü Demokrasi outside of Turkey.

[4] “Rewriting the massacre at Sinjar”, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 12 September 2017.

[5] NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe, Daniele Ganser, Routledge, 2004.

[6] “200,000 Israelis expected in “Kurdistan” once independence is declared”, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 20 September 2017.

[7] “Imagining a Remapped Middle East”, Robin Wright, The New York Times Sunday Review, September 28, 2013.

[8] “Heikle Fracht aus Ramstein”, “Millionen Schuss Munition für Kalaschnikows”, Frederik Obermaier & Paul-Anton Krüger, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 12. & 20. September 2017.

[9] “200 lorries of arms and ammunition: delivery by the Pentagon to the YPG”, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 23 September 2017.

[10] « Le ministère russe de la Défense diffuse des photos des Forces US stationnées chez Daesh », Réseau Voltaire, 24 septembre 2017.

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Referendum Blues: The Issue of an Independent Kurdistan

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By Dr Can Erimtan | 21st Century Wire 

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (aka the Prez) and his Justice and Development Party (or AKP) have been steering the state founded by Mustafa Kemal [Atatürk] (1881-1938) into distinctly Islamic waters for quite some time now… and as Turkey houses the largest percentage of Kurds in the region (14.7 million according to the CIA), solving Turkey’s Kurdish issue had been part and parcel of the AKP’s policy of Sunnification.

The Prez and his AKP henchmen had namely devised a plan to transform the country into a nation of believers, firmly dedicated to Sunni Islam and moving away from Turkish nationalism.

A Nation of Muslim Immigrants versus an independent Kurdistan

But the Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani now seems to have thrown a spanner in the works, as he told the international pressin 2014 that “We [referring to the Kurdish population of Iraq living in the north of the country] will hold a referendum in [the KRG or Kurdish Regional Government] and we will respect and be bound by the decision of our people and hope that others will do likewise.” In this way, one of Turkey’s deepest fears is finally about to become a reality now – the formation of an independent nation state called Kurdistan in the wake of a popular referendum to be held on Monday, 25 September 2017. Somewhat fortunate for Ankara, though, not quite on Turkish soil, but nevertheless directly adjacent to Turkey’s south-eastern region, which many Kurds as well as their sympathisers refer to as Northern Kurdistan these days. And thus, AKP-led Ankara is now up in arms as the rather natural expectation is that a so-called domino effect will take place and that Turkey’s Kurds might very well want to join their southern brethren in an independent nation state possessing underground hydrocarbon reserves or a coveted natural source of income, if you will.

The Turkish nation state established by, Mustafa Kemal, and his followers developed its own brand of nationalism, its own brand of Turkish nationalism which was meant to transform the ethnically diverse inhabitants of Anatolia and Eastern Thrace into a homogeneous body of Turks (or Turkish citizens). Throughout most of its existence, the ideological construct of Turkish nationalism adhered to the politcal precepts of the state carrying the name Kemalism, in reference to the nation state’s founding father and, as I explained nearly four years ago: “the idea of the Anatolian population as a Turkish entity was first proposed as early as 1922, the year prior to the official proclamation of the republic. And in 1924, the first Turkish constitution proclaimed that the ‘name Turk, as a political term, shall be understood to include all citizens of the Turkish Republic, without distinction of, or reference to, race or religion.’ A policy of ‘Turkification’ carried out in the first decades of the republican existence has meant that these various ethnic subgroups have in time merged with the Turkish mainstream.” This Kemalist exercise in social engineering worked well for the majority of ‘Turks,’ whose ethnic identities became submerged in a superstructure of Turkishness that came to replace the previously employed social construct of Ottomanism, that had been in place in the period 1876-1918. The only notable exception to this narrative were the Kurds, whose tribal organisation at the fringes of both the Ottoman and Turkish state structures basically meant that they were able to continue their lives beyond the strictures of the state and its bureaucratic framework and control.

Prior to the foundation of the Republic in 1923, “Anatolia was . . . home to ethnically heterogeneous Muslim groups: in addition to a large majority of Turkish Muslims, there were Kurds, Arabs, Lazes, Muslim Georgians, Greek-speaking Muslims, Albanians, Macedonian Muslims, Pomaks, Serbian Muslims, Bosnian Muslims, Tatars, Circassians, Abkhazians and Dagestanis among others. Prior to the formulation of Turkish nationalism as an ideological binding-force, the diverse ethnic groups in Anatolia were united by their common identity as Muslims and their allegiance to the Ottoman Caliphate, abolished in 1924 . . . Anatolia has always been home to a wide variety of ethnic and religious groups and sub-groups, and today, the makeup Turkey’s population is the result of Ottoman government policies carried out in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These policies were aimed at transforming Anatolia (the heartland of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic’s geo-body, using Thongchai Winichakul’s coinage denoting the territory of a nation as expressed on a map and inscribed on the people’s consciousness) into a Muslim homeland where refugees from the Russian Empire and the Balkans were settled.” And in the 21st century, the Prez and his AKP henchmen are bent to return Turkey’s state-of-affairs to this pre-nationalist reality, dismantling “the nation state Turkey into an Anatolian federation of Muslim ethnicities,” beholden to the Prophet’s example, the strictures of the Shariah and possibly even to a revived Caliphate. As a result, the expectation was that the Prez and his henchmen would be able “to unite and pacify the country as a nation of believers, firmly dedicated to Sunni Islam able to supersede mere ethnic or national ties and solidarity.” And in this way, the issues of Turkish and Kurdish nationalism that had in the Kemalist past (1923-2002) caused major unrest in the country would have been replaced by the common cause of Islam and Muslim solidarity. But events in the real world were such that developments in neighbouring Syria and Iraq have led to a strengthened sense of Kurdish nationalism, not just in Turkey. First in northern Iraq where the KRG emerged on the scene in the aftermath of the first and second Gulf Wars led by Bush, Senior and Junior respectively. As well as in Syria where the “three autonomous cantons of Kobani, Afrin, and Cizre, making up the district of Rojava, are under the control of the PYD (or the Kurdish Democratic Union Party) that is arguably attempting to put into practice precepts and ideas of ‘libertarian municipalism’ developed by the libertarian socialist thinker Murray Bookchin (1921-2006).” This last aspect is particularly troubling for Turkey, as its homegrown Kurdish terror group PKK (or the Kurdistan Workers’ Party) equally espouses these ideals which were popularised by its imprisoned leader Abdullah Öçalan, thereby attesting to the organic ties between the PKK and the PYD, and its military wings the YPG (People’s Protection Units) and YPJ (Women’s Protection Units).

And finally, there is also a notable Kurdish presence in Iran, supporting its own separatist terror group, known as PJAK and which Turkey also sees as being organically linked to the PKK.

The Spectre of a Greater Kurdistan: 25 September 2017

The fact that the Kurds, arguably much like the Palestinians or even the Rohingya, are a social group consisting of Muslims that lack a proper homeland or nation state means that they can easily garner major support around the world, particularly in the West where the cult of the underdog has transformed the Kurds into a perennial favourite amongst human rights’ supporters all around. And as such, the Kurds and the goal of an independent Kurdistan have now also found major backers in the somewhat unlikely duo of Israel and Saudi Arabia, as I explained in the summer of 2015.

The spectre of “an independent Kurdistan in Northern Iraq could very well be the opening move for redrawing the mapped heritage of Sykes-Picot by means of consolidating Kurdish unity – stretching from Syria in the West (Rojava), over Turkey in the North (South-Eastern Anatolia) and Iraq in the South (KRG) to Iran in the East (Rojhilate Kurdistane).” As such, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meetings in New York City (19 – 25 September 2017), Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jaferi, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu got together to discuss this thorny issue (20 September 2017)…  even managing to publish a joint communiqué afterwards: “In the meeting, the three Ministers, reaffirmed their strong commitment to the territorial integrity and political unity of Iraq, welcomed the recent liberation of the Nineveh Governorate, which constituted a major victory against DEASH [or the Islamic State or ISIS]… acknowledged the perseverance, commitment and resolve of the people of Iraq as a whole in fighting DEASH . . .  . . . Expressed their concern that the planned referendum by the KRG, which is scheduled for September 25, 2017, puts Iraq’s hard-earned gains against DEASH under great risk, [f]urther expressed their concern that the planned KRG referendum is unconstitutional and runs the risk of provoking new conflicts in the region, that will prove difficult to contain.” As a result, the Kurds managed to do the impossible – to unite the governments of Turkey, Iraq and Iran. Or, as put by the communiqué: the assembled foreign ministers “… registered their unequivocal opposition to the referendum, decided to urge the leadership of the KRG to refrain from holding the referendum, emphasized that the referendum will not be beneficial for the Kurds and [the] KRG, [and a]greed, in this regard, to consider taking counter-measures in coordination,” adding that there is a “need for concerted international efforts to convince the KRG on calling off the referendum,“ while renewing “their call on the international community to remain engaged on the issue.“

Turkish Reactions: War in the Offing?!??

With the fateful date fast approaching, and the Prez also having had his last minute tête-à-tête with the current Leader of the Free World in New York City (21 September 2017), while his proxy the hapless PM Binali Yıldırım spoke to the Turkish press invoking the Treaty of Lausanne (24 July 1923) in his argumentation against the possible outcome of the upcoming referendum (22 September 1922): “This referendum is an issue of Turkey’s national security. Turkey is determined to use its natural rights originating from international and bilateral conventions and will not hesitate in this.” Hapless Yıldırım referred particularly to articles 3 and 16 of the cited document.

The Lausanne Treaty basically functions as the Turkish Republic’s founding document in the aftermath of the Great War (1914-18), the Turkish War of Independence (1919-22) and the abolition of the Ottoman Sultanate (1922). Its third article holds that the “Turkish and British Governments reciprocally undertake that . . . no military or other movement shall take place which might modify in any way the present state of the territories“ of the Republic of Turkey and Iraq, which was then known as the Kingdom of Iraq under British Administration (1920-32) or simply a British protectorate under the sway of Westminster and nominally ruled by George V (1910-36). Article 16, on the other hand, simply clarifies that “Turkey hereby renounces all rights and title whatsoever over or respecting the territories outside the frontiers laid down in the present Treaty,“ which is basically quite beyond the present scope of Turkey’s foreign policy. But Yıldırım citing the article clearly signifies that Turkey’s Kurds should not harbour any desires of joining their southern ethnic brethren, given the finality of Turkey’s borders. The fact that Yıldırım, representing his boss and the AKP establishment, is now quoting Lausanne to sway the Iraqi Kurds from holding a referendum indicates that AKP-led Ankara is really grasping at straws. Turkish Islamists and the AKP nomenklatura, in particular, have in the past always attacked the Treaty of Lausanne as a document of surrender, signing the death of the Ottoman enterprise and forcing Turkey to renege on much-coveted territories. In fact, but last year the Prez himself referred to the Kemalist ‘National Pact’ or Misak-ı Millî (originally drafted by Mustafa Kemal during the Erzurum Congress, 23 July-5 August 1919, and accepted by the last Ottoman parliament on 28 January 1920) to argue that Aleppo, Kerkük and Mosul are “ours” (23 October 2016) – areas also inhabited by Iraqi Turkmen as well as harbouring underground hydrocarbon reserves.

And now, with the hours counting down and everyone’s nerves on end, “the Turkish government will seek a mandate from the Parliament [or TBMM, in acronymized Turkish] to send troops to Iraq and Syria after consecutive security meetings where measures to be taken against the Erbil administration have been decided. The Turkish Parliament is set to hold an extraordinary session on Sept 23 to vote on a mandate that permits the government to deploy troops to its southern neighboring countries, Iraq and Syria, just two days before the scheduled referendum to be held by the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG),“ as reported by the Turkish press.

As it happens, Turkey’s National Security Council, which was supposed to convene on Wednesday, 27 September 2017, was also been brought forward to coincide with the extraordinary parliamentary session. Tayyip Erdoğan told the Turkish press on Friday (22 September) that “[w]e will initiate another step in conjunction [with the already agreed upon measures]. This step will consist of deciding upon what kind of sanctions will be imposed, we will discuss all these matters in great detail during the National Security Council meeting. It would not be right for me to say anything about that now. The timing of the sanctions, what the road map will be like, all these things will be discussed in the National Security Council meeting and if necessary in the Council of Ministers meeting, and our government shall announce the decisions following the Council of Ministers meeting.” As it turns out, when it comes to the Kurds, the post-Kemalist state (2002-) turns out to be as firm and ruthless as its Kemalist predecessor (1923-2002).

The extraordinary parliamentary session on Saturday approved a motion to extend a mandate permitting the AKP government to deploy its armed forces (or TSK, in acronymized Turkish) to Iraq and Syria for another year. In spite of the extreme political polarisation present in post-Kemalist Turkey, the said motion received the approval of a large majority in the TBMM with deputies from the main opposition CHP (or Republican People’s Party) and the opposition fascist MHP (or Nationalist Movement Party) easily joining the nationalist cause spearheaded by the Prez and his AKP henchmen. The mainly Kurdish opposition HDP (or Peoples’ Democratic Party) quite naturally did not join the nationalist and Islamofascist throng in the Turkish Parliament. During the proceedings,  Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli made the following remarks: “Pulling out just a brick from a structure based on very sensitive and fragile balances [which is the territorial status quo that emerged in the wake of the Sykes-Picot agreement, ratified on 16 May 1916] will sow the seeds for new hatred, enmity and clashes . . . Th[is] pirate referendum which is illegal and unacceptable should be cancelled before it is too late,” making plain how the Turkish political establishment is unable to countenance the merest hint of Kurdish independence or even the noun Kurdistan, for that matter.

The opposition CHP MP Öztürk Yılmaz promptly echoed the Defense Minister’s words, declaring somewhat disingenuously that “[w]e want the referendum to be cancelled and support the motion not for war but for peace in the region.” In fact, the rather surreal concordance between government and opposition was all but underlined by a surprise meeting between the hapless PM and the CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and the MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli during a break at the session. The HDP MP Osman Baydemir, on the other hand, simply and matter-of-factly called the session’s predictable outcome a “war mandate . . . [and] a proclamation of enmity towards 40 million Kurds.” Meanwhile, on the same day. south of the border, in the sovereign state that is the as-yet unitary Republic of Iraq, where Kurds constitute about 17% of the population, the KRG’s ruling bloc sent a delegation to the central government in Baghdad, a Shi‘ite Arab coalition led by the PM Haider al-Abadi and ceremonially presided over by the ethnically Kurdish politician Fuad Masum. Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani’s top adviser Hoshiyar Zebari told the Reuters news agency that the “delegation will discuss the referendum but the referendum is still happening . . . We said we would talk to Baghdad before, during and after the referendum.” And then, there is the U.S., the main culprit behind the current predicament as the KRG was set up in 1992 (with first elections organised on 19 May), in the wake of the first Gulf War (2 August 1990–28 February 1991), led by Bush, Senior, the 41st President of the United States of America (1989-93). The current Trump administration has now vocally urged the Kurds to cancel the referendum, while the U.N. Security Council, for good measure, issued a warning calling the vote “potentially destabilizing” for Iraq and the region.

In other words, another frontline in the Middle East’s ongoing military conflict could very well be added to the conflagrations in Syria, Iraq and Yemen . . . another front that might or might not include the south-eastern part of Anatolia, nowadays more commonly referred to as Northern Kurdistan and an integral part of the territories of the Republic of Turkey, albeit largely inhabited by Kurds-carrying-Turkish-passports and ID cards. And this “potentially destabilizing” military action would come to sit on top of the ongoing fight against the Islamic State (or ISIS or Daesh) and pit Turkish soldiers against Kurdish Peshmerga and civilians . . . and northern Iraq as well as the whole of Turkey – as Kurds live dispersed thoughout the whole of the country and not just the South East – might very well join the lands where death and destruction have come to dominate daily life and have turned the solid and stable structures of men into sheer rubble and junk. At the moment, such alarmist words are merely hovering in the air, as on the appointed day, “Kurds voted in large numbers in an independence referendum in northern Iraq” (voter turnout of aproximately 78%), as explained by Reuters. While simultaneously, Turkey and Iran engaged in war games on the Iraqi border. Iraq’s PM al-Abadi, for his part, ordered the Iraqi army to “protect citizens being threatened and coerced” by triumphant Kurds.

Now that the long-awaited and much-feared day of reckoning has come and gone, “Tehran and Ankara fear the spread of separatism to their own Kurdish populations,” as expressed by Reuters, and the Baghdad government is all but fearful of maintaining Iraq’s territorial integrity… and all-out ethnic war could just be around the corner now.

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Mahmoud Abbas is no Yasser Arafat. He must go.

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Mahmoud Abbas is no Yasser Arafat. He must go.
Abbas is no Arafat

By Stuart Littlewood

I’ve been writing about the plight of the amiable Palestinian people under Israel’s jackboot for the same length of time that Mahmoud Abbas has been Palestinian president. And that’s far too long. Abbas has also been chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO, which describes itself as the sole representative of the Palestinian people) for even longer.

A recent poll by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research showed that the Palestinians have had enough. Two-thirds want Abbas out.

A majority are also dissatisfied with the decision at Fatah’s latest convention to keep Abbas as head of Fatah for another five years. The poll found that most view the Palestinian Authority (PA), which is also headed by Abbas, as a burden to the Palestinian people rather than an asset. An even larger majority feel they cannot criticise the PA without fear. Perception of corruption in the PA now stands at 76 per cent.

What’s more, two-thirds of Palestinians believe a two-state solution is no longer possible due to Israel’s relentless expansion of illegal settlement and 53 per cent support a return to an armed intifada, or uprising.

And if presidential elections were held now, Hamas’s Ismail Haniyeh would probably win.

“As naked as the day that he was born”

Abbas has been a big noise in Palestinian affairs for decades. In 2003 Arafat appointed him prime minister of the PA. Some say the West foisted Abbas on Arafat. A power struggle ensued, and after Arafat’s suspicious death in 2004 Abbas was seen as a natural successor. Hamas boycotted the presidential election of January 2005 and Israel arrested or restricted the movement of other candidates. So, Abbas won easily in dubious circumstances.

Abbas’s term as president officially ended more than eight years ago. It is long past clear-your-desk time. The Basic Law allowed him an extension of one year but he still clings to power. Increasingly, he’s seen as the king with no clothes and, in the words of the Danny Kaye song, “altogether as naked as the day that he was born”. 

The trouble with Abbas is that he’s always “behind the curve”. Illegal settlement building under the Allon Plan, effectively annexing Palestinian territory, began in 1967 and the Israelis’ dash to create as many irreversible “facts on the ground” as possible in order to make their occupation permanent was clear from the start.

Abbas claims to be one of the architects of the Oslo Interim Agreement, which was supposed to ensure a start to negotiations on permanent status by 1996 and lead to the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and the settling of all main issues. But ever since the beginning of the Oslo process back in 1993 the rights of the Palestinian people have been sacrificed on the altar of so-called political progress, the glittering prize being “peace and security”.

That was all smoke ‘n’ mirrors, of course. What we’ve seen is a continuous slide downhill for the Palestinians while the Israelis’ colonisation and expansion programme goes from strength to strength. Justice has never been allowed to play a part. Furthermore, Abbas has repeatedly given the Israelis time to cement their ill-gotten gains, readily agreeing to more bogus negotiations arranged by the same dishonest brokers.

What we’ve seen is a continuous slide downhill for the Palestinians while the Israelis’ colonisation and expansion programme goes from strength to strength.

And he inexplicably dragged his feet over joining the International Criminal Court.

During his over-long tenure Abbas has failed to unite the Palestinians under a single purposeful voice with a clear mission. He has driven the factions further apart by letting rip the old Fatah-Hamas rivalry. His regime fails to keep the world informed or make proper use of media opportunities and behaves as if gagged.

He is not noted for tactical brilliance and his embassies in the West are lazy, uncommunicative and uncooperative towards journalists and writers, and probably under orders not to “make waves”. I myself have been branded an enemy of Palestine by Abbas’s London embassy, an insult I wear as a badge of honour.

The PA under Abbas is frequently accused of collaborating with Israel in its brutal oppression. Abbas seems to be the darling of the West and of Israel, and the Israelis are said to regard him as a strategic asset. They’d hate to lose him.

Hamas is usually blamed for any whiff of corruption but the PA is bursting with it. In 2015 a report by The Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN) titled Absolute Power, Total Corruption hit the headlines. AMAN was established by a number of Palestinian civil society organisations to combat corruption and enhance integrity, transparency and accountability in Palestinian society.

According to the commissioner-general, Azmi Shuaibi, “the cancellation of elections and the absence of the Legislative Council led to the president’s monopolising the three powers — legislative, judicial executive — which has served as fertile soil for some cases of corruption”. Certain non-ministerial government institutions were still outside the scope of official accountability and had awarded salaries and privileges to officials that were inconsistent with financial reality.

But even this catalogue of misbehaviour didn’t hammer the final nail into Abbas’s political coffin. Today he’s increasingly busy cracking down on dissenters within his own Fatah party and outside organisations.

Peace process “a deceptive farce”

The confidential Palestine Papers”, leaked by Aljazeera in 2011, revealed the shambolic conduct of the so-called peace process and how the Palestinian team allowed the Israelis to walk all over them, with US help.

One of the leak’s sources, a French-Palestinian lawyer and former adviser to the PLO, Ziyad Clot, said in an article in The Guardian that the peace process was “an inequitable and destructive political process which had been based on the assumption that the Palestinians could in effect negotiate their rights and achieve self-determination while enduring the hardship of the Israeli occupation”. They were “a deceptive farce whereby biased terms were unilaterally imposed by Israel and systematically endorsed by the US and EU”. They “excluded for the most part the great majority of the Palestinian people: the seven million Palestinian refugees”. And, he said, “the PLO, given its structure, was not in a position to represent all Palestinian rights and interests”.

So, why did the Palestinians’ chief negotiator since 1995, Saeb Erekat, still engage in it? Erekat was educated in political science in the US and conflict studies in England, so should have been savvy enough to see through it. Will no-one steer the Palestinians into a sane justice process and away from the “kangaroo” peace negotiations that Erekat and Abbas seem addicted to?

Not long ago, in an interview, I asked law professor and former UN special rapporteur Richard Falk:

How acceptable is it for a weak, demoralised and captive people like the Palestinians to be forced into negotiating with their brutal occupier under the auspices of a US administration seen by many people as too dishonest to play the part of peace broker.

He replied:

Even if the United States was acting in good faith, for which there is no evidence, its dual role as Israel’s unconditional ally and as intermediary would subvert the credibility of a negotiating process. In fact, the US government signals its partisanship by White House appointments of individuals overtly associated with the AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] lobbying group as special envoys to oversee the negotiations such as Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk… The unsatisfactory nature of the current framework of negotiations is further flawed by weighting the process in favour of Israel, which enjoys a position of hard power dominance.

That the UK government will shortly be celebrating 100 years of the infamous Balfour Declaration, and continuing to endorse its cruel legacy while refusing to support Palestinian statehood, is an indictment of Abbas’s dismal performance.

Face it, the guy is no Arafat. On Abbas’s watch the high hopes of ordinary Palestinians have turned to dust. As Oliver Cromwell told the English Parliament in 1653: “You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately… Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”  Those same words are applicable also to Abbas, and indeed the entire PLO and PA.

What Palestinians need, but probably will never get, is leadership with style, wisdom and the will to make friends with the West. Their case is still not widely understood and any new leader must have the ability to outwit Israel’s absurdly successful propaganda. Yes, the Zionists may have a stranglehold on Western opinion, but the Palestinians possess a superior two-edged weapon which they have never used effectively: truth and a just cause.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Destruction of Last Chemical Munition in Russia Is ‘Historic Event’ – Putin

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the destruction of the last chemical munitions in the country a “historic event.”

 

The last kilogram of Russia’s 40,000-tonne stockpile of chemical warfare agents, which was contained in two artillery shells, was destroyed on Wednesday at the Kizner facility in Udmurtia.

Attending the event via video link, Putin said that it is “a huge step towards” a more balanced and secure world, stressing that Russia had held the largest chemical stockpiles in the world. Putin also said Russia was working closely with partners to save mankind from the threat of the use and spread of chemical weapons.

“In this regard, I would like to recall the key role of our country in solving the problem of chemical weapons in Syria,” he said.

The president pointed out that Moscow is fulfilling all of its obligations under the non-proliferation treaties and expects that other countries, including the United States, will follow in Russia’s footsteps.

“As is known, Russia was the largest holder and possessor of chemical weapons, and so far the United States, which unfortunately does not fulfill its obligations on the timing of the destruction of chemical weapons, has already three times postponed the destruction on the pretext of lack of funds, which sounds very strange,” he pointed out.

The elimination of chemical materials was conducted under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), an arms control treaty that prohibits the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons. The treaty, which came into force in 1997, has been signed by 192 states as of April 2016.

Russia joined the CWC in 1997 and was initially expected to destroy its chemical weapons stockpiles by December 31, 2018.

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Behind the Saudi-led Blockade of Qatar

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A blockade imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt entered its third month in August as negotiations to end it remained deadlocked. The comprehensive blockade cuts diplomatic relations between the countries, closes borders and land, air and sea routes, and even prohibits citizens of the boycotting nations from working in Qatar. Iran has rushed to Qatar’s aid and is flying large food shipments into the country.

The main reasons given for the blockade by Saudi Arabia and the other three countries are Qatar’s alleged support for terrorism (especially its close links to the Muslim Brotherhood party in Egypt), its interference in their internal affairs, the news channel Al Jazeera and Qatar’s good relations with Iran. The four blockading countries have issued thirteen demands to Qatar that include closing Al Jazeera, downgrading trade relations with Iran, expelling the “terrorists” it is harbouring, ceasing other support for terrorism, closing a Turkish military base and bringing its foreign policy in line with that of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), a regional political organization to which Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar all belong.

Qatar has rejected these demands as an attack on its sovereignty. All the countries in the dispute are U.S. client states, competing for Washington’s approval, but the White House itself is divided on the issue, with U.S. diplomacy now hobbled by a contradictory foreign policy. The blockade is opposed byRex Tillerson, the U.S. secretary of state, but was encouraged by President Donald Trump during his visit in May to Saudi Arabia. Tillerson’s shuttle diplomacy amongst the conflicted countries in July failed to break the deadlock. Qatar hosts the biggest U.S. military base in the Middle East, which houses an estimated 10,000 troops.

Conn Hallinan, an analyst with Foreign Policy in Focus, a project of the Washington, D.C.–based Institute for Policy Studies, explains that Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia was a major reason for his supporting the Qatar blockade.

“Trump is deeply ignorant on foreign policy and particularly so in the Middle East,” he says. “The Saudis threw him a dog and pony show and he took the bait.

“Trump has since backed away — a little — from his blanket support for the blockade. A major reason is that Qatar is strategically important for the U.S.”

Hallinan cautions that Tillerson “may not support the blockade against Qatar but he still holds to the 1979 Carter Doctrine that gives the U.S. the unilateral right to intervene in the Middle East to preserve the control of energy resources for Washington and its allies.”

Sabah Al-Mukhtar, president of the Arab Lawyers Association based in London, U.K., tells me the dispute

“has nothing to do with terrorism, which is supported by Saudi Arabia and the UAE as well.” These countries, as well as Qatar, “were ordered by the United States to support the uprising against President Assad in Syria and the use of force to overthrow him, and all three countries have been financing terrorist groups in Syria to accomplish this. So, Saudi Arabia accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism is laughable.”

Al-Mukhtar adds that the UAE’s trade relations with Iran are more extensive than those of Qatar, and that the funding and promotion of Al Jazeera, a television news channel that broadcasts in Arabic across the Middle East, is the most important factor in the blockade, since the channel’s news programs regularly feature Arab commentators who talk about human rights and how governments should answer to the people.

“This is anathema to the four blockading regimes who think the channel is undermining them and provoking unrest in their populations,” he says.

A second major reason for the blockade is the shared Saudi and U.S. fear of Iran’s growing power. They want to isolate Iran, a majority Shia Muslim country, in part by pitting it against a united Sunni (the majority sect of Islam) front of countries. The Obama administration had opted for diplomacy, signing a nuclear pact with Tehran as part of efforts to normalize relations, but Trump is far more hostile to the country, which suits the Saudi Arabian monarchy much better.

“The Saudis fear that Iran’s nuclear pact with the U.S., the EU and the UN is allowing Tehran to break out of its economic isolation and turn itself into a rival power centre in the Middle East,” explains Hallinan. “They also fear that anything but a united front by the GCC — led by Riyadh — will en -courage the House of Saud’s internal and external critics. Such fears have driven the Saudis to make what I think is a major strategic error. The blockade is not working.”

Instead of separating Qatar from Iran, the blockade has driven the two countries closer together. Even within the GCC, the blockade is not unanimously accepted, with Oman and Kuwait refusing to boycott Qatar. Hallinan adds that Egypt, which supports the blockade, will not break relations with Iran. Other Muslim countries such as Pakistan and Indonesia reject both the blockade and chilling relations with Iran, while Morocco and Turkey are sending Qatar supplies.

“The new Saudi regime has made one mistake after another,” says Hallinan. “It invaded Yemen, thinking it would be a short war, despite being told that the only place you want to invade less than Afghanistan is Yemen. They pushed down the price of oil, thinking it would drive marginal competition out of business and somehow missed the analysis that the Chinese economy is slowing down, so they are stuck with low oil prices draining their income. The combination of incompetence and arrogance is just breathtaking.”

Hallinan says this record of failure is matched by that of the U.S. It started with George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, followed by Obama’s overthrow of the Libyan government and his administration’s support for the overthrow of Assad in Syria. “One can add U.S. support for the Saudis in Yemen. All these actions have increased Iranian influence, and Russian as well, in the Middle East,” he argues. The Iraq war removed Iran’s biggest rival in the region and established a Shia government in Baghdad. Trump’s encouragement of the Qatar blockade is just the latest U.S. gift to Iran.

Qatar is the world’s third largest producer of natural gas (after Iran and Russia) and shares ownership with Iran of the North Dome/South Pars maritime gas reserves, which make up 14% of world gas deposits. This has made Qatar, with a population of two million, the richest country per capita in the world. It also makes Qatar economically very strategic.

“The blockade of Qatar has been carried out by Saudi Arabia in consultation with Washington and I suspect that its main motive is to break this sharing arrangement for natural gas between Qatar and Iran,” says Michel Chossudovsky, an emeritus professor of economics at the University of Ottawa who visited Qatar in July.

The U.S. objective is, he claims, to secure geopolitical control over Qatar’s gas reserves — a familiar motive lurking behind many other cases of U.S. intervention globally.

Chossudovsky points out that Qatar’s maritime gas fields are entirely owned by the state; private corporations, including ExxonMobil and several other compa -nies from Russia, China and Malaysia operate under contracts. In December, Qatar’s close relations with Russia bore fruit when the state-owned Qatar Investment Authority bought (with Swiss commodities trader Glencore) 19% of Rosneft, a Russian oil corporation also invested in Qatar’s gas sector.

For years, the U.S. has been unsuccessfully attempting to find an alternative to Russian gas supplies for Europe by running a pipeline from the Middle East or Central Asia to the continent, as I wrote about in the Monitor in May 2010. Russia is the biggest supplier of both oil and gas to Europe. But according to Chossudovsky, a major effect of the blockade will be to change planned pipeline routes for Qatar’s gas from travelling through Saudi Arabia to Europe  to going through Iran (via Iraq and Syria). This is the route backed by Russia.

“Russia’s geopolitical control over gas pipelines going to Europe has been reinforced as a result of the blockade,” he says.

It’s too early to say the U.S. has been beaten at its own game. Washington still has substantial influence over Qatar due to its military base there, and the blockade has made Qatar more anxious than ever to gain U.S. favour, according to Al-Mukhtar. In July, Tillerson announced the U.S. and Qatar had signed a memorandum of understanding on fighting terrorism that includes substantial financial information sharing.

“Together, the U.S. and Qatar will do more to track down funding sources, collaborate and share information and do more to keep the region and our homeland safe,” said the secretary of state, adding the deal had been two years in the making.

At the same time, as Al-Mukhtar emphasizes, Iran is also established as a major power in the Middle East, a development the U.S. was unable to prevent. Qatar’s close alignment with both countries — the U.S. and Iran — reflects this complex new reality in the Middle East.

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Breaking Video: ISIS Fighter Admits that ISIS Is Forbidden to Attack Kurdish Forces in Deir Ezzor

A video has just been released on social media showing the interview of an ISIS fighter from Deir Ezzor who admits that the terrorist group’s forces in the region are forbidden by their commanders from attacking US-backed, Kurdish-led militias.

The interviewee, Mohammed Moussa al-Shawwakh, says that his group, tasked with defending the area around the Conoco Gas Fields, was ordered to allow Kurdish forces to enter the strategic site. The order, he says, came from a top regional emir (leader) called Abu Zaid.

The ISIS fighter’s confession goes on to mention that Kurdish-led forces were also allowed to enter other gas and oil fields in the region in order to make propaganda videos.

Mohammed finishes the interview by saying that he knows for a fact that the US is attempting to establish an alliance between Kurdish forces and ISIS in Deir Ezzor province in order to undermine government-led military efforts to liberate the region.

Video Player

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