Archive | January 31st, 2019

Your Complete Guide to the N.Y. Times’ Support of U.S.-backed Coups in Latin America

NOVANEWS
 

On Friday, The New York Times continued its long, predictable tradition of backing U.S. coups in Latin America by publishing an editorial praising Donald Trump’s attempt to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. This will be the 10th such coup the paper has backed since the creation of the CIA over 70 years ago.

A survey of The New York Times archives shows the Times editorial board has supported 10 out of 12 American-backed coups in Latin America, with two editorials—those involving the 1983 Grenada invasion and the 2009 Honduras coup—ranging from ambiguous to reluctant opposition. The survey can be viewed here.

Covert involvement of the United States, by the CIA or other intelligence services, isn’t mentioned in any of the Times’ editorials on any of the coups. Absent an open, undeniable U.S. military invasion (as in the Dominican Republic, Panama and Grenada), things seem to happen in Latin American countries entirely on their own, with outside forces rarely, if ever, mentioned in the Times. Obviously, there are limits to what is “provable” in the immediate aftermath of such events (covert intervention is, by definition, covert), but the idea that the U.S. or other imperial actors could have stirred the pot, funded a junta or run weapons in any of the conflicts under the table is never entertained.

More often than not, what one is left with, reading Times editorials on these coups, are racist, paternalistic “cycle of violence” cliches. Sigh, it’s just the way of things Over There. When reading these quotes, keep in mind the CIA supplied and funded the groups that ultimately killed these leaders:

  • Brazil 1964: “They have, throughout their history, suffered from a lack of first class rulers.”
  • Chile 1973: “No Chilean party or faction can escape some responsibility for the disaster, but a heavy share must be assigned to the unfortunate Dr. Allende himself.”
  • Argentina 1976: “It was typical of the cynicism with which many Argentines view their country’s politics that most people in Buenos Aires seemed more interested in a soccer telecast Tuesday night than in the ouster of President Isabel Martinez de Perlin by the armed forces. The script was familiar for this long‐anticipated coup.”

See, it didn’t matter! It’s worth pointing out the military junta put in power by the CIA-contrived coup killed 10,000 to 30,000 Argentines from 1976 to 1983.

There’s a familiar script: The CIA and its U.S. corporate partners come in, wage economic warfare, fund and arm the opposition, then the target of this operation is blamed. This, of course, isn’t to say there isn’t merit to some of the objections being raised by The New York Times—whether it be Chile in 1973 or Venezuela in 2019. But that’s not really the point. The reason the CIA and U.S. military and its corporate partisans historically target governments in Latin America is because those governments are hostile to U.S. capital and strategic interests, not because they are undemocratic. So while the points the Times makes about illiberalism may sometimes be true, they’re mostly a non sequitur when analyzing the reality of what’s unfolding.

Did Allende, as the Times alleged in 1973 when backing his violent overthrow, “persist in pushing a program of pervasive socialism” without a “popular mandate”? Did, as the Times alleged, Allende “pursue this goal by dubious means, including attempts to bypass both Congress and the courts”?

But Allende’s supposed authoritarianism isn’t why the CIA sought his ouster. It wasn’t his means of pursuing redistributive policies that offended the CIA and U.S. corporate partners; it was the redistributive policies themselves.

Hand-wringing over the anti-democratic nature of how Allende carried out his agenda without noting that it was the agenda itself—not the means by which it was carried out—that animated his opponents is butting into a conversation no one in power is really having. Why, historically, has The New York Times taken for granted the liberal pretexts for U.S. involvement, rather than analyzing whether there were possibly other, more cynical forces at work?

The answer is that rank ideology is baked into the premise. The idea that the U.S. is motivated by human rights and democracy is taken for granted by The New York Times editorial board and has been since its inception. This does all the heavy lifting without most people—even liberals vaguely skeptical of American motives in Latin America—noticing that a sleight of hand has taken place. “In recent decades,” a 2017 Times editorial scolding Russia asserted, “American presidents who took military action have been driven by the desire to promote freedom and democracy, sometimes with extraordinary results.” Oh, well, good then.

What should be a conversation about American military and its covert apparatus unduly meddling in other countries quickly becomes a referendum on the moral properties of those countries. Theoretically a good conversation to have (and one certainly ongoing among people and institutions in these countries), but absent a discussion of the merits of the initial axiom—that U.S. talking heads and the Washington national security apparatus have a birthright to determine which regimes are good and bad—it serves little practical purpose stateside beyond posturing. And often, as a practical matter, it works to cement the broader narrative justifying the meddling itself.

Do the U.S. and its allies have a moral or ethical right to determine the political future of Venezuela? This question is breezed past, and we move on to the question of how this self-evident authority is best exercised. This is the scope of debate in The New York Times—and among virtually all U.S. media outlets. To ante up in the poker game of Serious People Discussing Foreign Policy Seriously, one is obligated to register an Official Condemnation of the Official Bad Regime. This is so everyone knows you accept the core premises of U.S. regime change but oppose it on pragmatic or legalistic grounds. It’s a tedious, extortive exercise designed to shift the conversation away from the United States’ history of arbitrary and violent overthrows and into an exchange about how best to oppose the Official Bad Regime in question. U.S. liberals are to keep a real-time report card on these Official Bad Regimes, and if these regimes—due to an ill-defined rubric of un-democraticness and human rights—fall below a score of say, “60,” they become illegitimate and unworthy of defense as such.

While obviously not in Latin America, it’s also worth noting that the Times cheerled the CIA-sponsored coup against Iran’s President, Mohammad Mossadegh, in 1953. Its editorial, written two days after his ouster, engaged in the Times’ patented combination of victim-blaming and “oh dear” bloviating:

  • “The now-deposed Premier Mossadegh was flirting with Russia. He had won his phony plebiscite to dissolve the Majlis, or lower House of Parliament, with the aid of the Tudeh Communists.”
  • “Mossadegh is out, a prisoner awaiting trial. It is a credit to the Shah, to whom he was so disloyal, and to Premier Zahedi, that this rabid, self-seeking nationalist would have been protected at a time when his life would not have been worth the wager of a plugged nickel.”
  • “The Shah … deserves praise in this crisis. … He was always true to the parliamentary institutions of his country, he was a moderating influence in the wild fanaticism exhibited by the nationalists under Mossadegh, and he was socially progressive.”

Again, no mention of CIA involvement (which the agency now openly acknowledges), which the Times wouldn’t necessarily have had any way of knowing at the time. (This is part of the point of covert operations.) Mossadegh is summarily demonized, and it’s not until decades later the public learns of the extent of U.S. involvement. The Times even gets in an orientalist description of Iranians, implying why a strong Shah is necessary:

[The average Iranian] has nothing to lose. He is a man of infinite patience, of great charm and gentleness, but he is also—as we have been seeing—a volatile character, highly emotional, and violent when sufficiently aroused.

Needless to say, there are major difference between these cases: Mossadegh, Allende, Chavez and Maduro all lived in radically different times and championed different policies, with varying degrees of liberalism and corruption. But the one thing they all had in common is that the U.S. government, and a compliant U.S. media, decided they “needed to go” and did everything to achieve this end. The fundamental arrogance of this assumption, one would think, is what ought to be discussed in the U.S. media—as typified by the Times’ editorial board—but time and again, this assumption is either taken for granted or hand-waved away, and we all move on to how and when we can best overthrow the Bad Regime.

For those earnestly concerned about Maduro’s efforts to undermine the democratic institutions of Venezuela (he’s been accused of jailing opponents, stacking the courts and holding Potemkin elections), it’s worth pointing out that even when the liberal democratic properties of Venezuela were at their height in 2002 (they were internationally sanctioned and overseen by the Carter Center for years, and no serious observer considers Hugo Chavez’s rule illegitimate), the CIA still greenlit a military coup against Chavez, and the New York Times still profusely praised the act. As it wrote at the time:

With yesterday’s resignation of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator. Mr. Chávez, a ruinous demagogue, stepped down after the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader, Pedro Carmona.

Chavez would soon be restored to power after millions took to the streets to protest his removal from office, but the question remains: If The New York Times was willing to ignore the undisputed will of the Venezuelan people in 2002, what makes anyone think the newspaper is earnestly concerned about it in 2019? Again, the thing that’s being objected to by the White House, the State Department and their U.S. imperial apparatchiks is the redistributive policies and opposition to the United States’ will, not the means by which they do so. Perhaps the Times and other U.S. media—living in the heart of, and presumably having influence over, this empire—could try centering this reality rather than, for the millionth time, adjudicating the moral properties of the countries subject to its violent, illegitimate whims.

Posted in USA, South America, VenezuelaComments Off on Your Complete Guide to the N.Y. Times’ Support of U.S.-backed Coups in Latin America

Who Is the Real Threat to World Peace: Nuclear ‘Israel’ with Its 400 WMD or Non- Nuclear Iran?

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U.S. intelligence officials confirmed to the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Tuesday, that Iran was not developing nuclear weapons in violation of the 2015 nuclear agreement, and furthermore had no strategic plans to do so.

This report from the US intelligence community indicate that Israel’s Netanyahu and his American cohort, Donald Trump, have deliberately misinformed the world regarding Iranian nuclear capability. The state of Israel, which is estimated to have in excess of more than 400 undeclared nuclear warheads must be compared to Iran which is not a nuclear weapon state. Who, therefore, is the threat to world peace?

Under the influence of the Israeli Prime Minister and ignoring the emphatic advice from the UN Security Council and the European Union, US President Trump last year pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran,  put in place under his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama. Trump then re-imposed sanctions on Tehran causing massive economic and political destabilisation throughout the Middle East in addition to dismay from the European and other signatories to the nuclear deal.

It is crystal clear where the truth lies, and it is certainly not in Tel Aviv nor in the Trump White House.   Now is surely the time for Europe to strengthen cooperation with the geographically important state of Iran, both economically and politically, whilst cutting ties and trade with Israel.  It is vital that the West recognises who are its future friends and strategic partners.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, IranComments Off on Who Is the Real Threat to World Peace: Nuclear ‘Israel’ with Its 400 WMD or Non- Nuclear Iran?

“It Can’t be Fixed:” Senior ICC Judge Slam John Bolton, Quits in Protest of US, Turkish Meddling

A senior judge at the United Nations’ International Court in The Hague has resigned in protest of “shocking” interference from the Trump administration into a preliminary war-crimes investigation into U.S. troops.

The judge, Christoph Flügge, who hails from Germany, slammed National Security Advisor John Bolton over his response last year to a preliminary investigation into American soldiers accused of torturing people in Afghanistan. That investigation ultimately found “a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity” were committed by U.S. forces, MintPress News reported.

“The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court,” Bolton said in September.

He also called for sanctions against the International Criminal Court (ICC) and warned the body against pursuing any investigations into “Israel or other U.S. allies.”

Bolton even cited a Palestinian-led effort to bring Israel to the ICC over its human-rights abuses in Gaza and the West Bank as a reason for closing the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington.

He went on to promise to ban ICC “judges and prosecutors from entering the United States,” adding:

We will sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system, and we will prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system. We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.”

“John Bolton, the national security adviser to the U.S. president, held a speech last September in which he wished death on the International Criminal Court,” Flügge said after leaving his post.

Flugge continued on Bolton’s declaration:

If these judges ever interfere in the domestic concerns of the U.S. or investigate an American citizen, [Bolton] said the American government would do all it could to ensure that these judges would no longer be allowed to travel to the United States – and that they would perhaps even be criminally prosecuted.”

The American security adviser held his speech at a time when The Hague was planning preliminary investigations into American soldiers who had been accused of torturing people in Afghanistan. The American threats against international judges clearly show the new political climate. It is shocking. I had never heard such a threat.

It is consistent with the new American line: ‘We are No 1 and we stand above the law.’”

A supine UN, a dreadful precedent

The attacks from the White House were one of two reasons for Flügge’s resignation, as the judge was left aghast by the UN’s deferential response to Turkey after Turkey arrested Aydın Sefa Akay, another UN judge, over alleged links to Fethullah Gülen, a cleric living in exile in the U.S. whom Turkish President Recep Erdoğan claims is the mastermind behind the 2016 failed coup attempt in Turkey.

Akay was at the end of his tenure when the charge was leveled by Turkey.

“We, the other judges, immediately protested. But his tenure was nevertheless not extended by the UN secretary general. And with that, he’s gone,” Flügge said.

The assaults by Turkey and the U.S. were both undertaken in the summertime. Afterwards, Flügge said he realized that the “diplomatic world” did not value the independent judiciary that was the ICC. The lack of a response by the UN to Turkey for its meddling in ICC matters set a dangerous precedent, according to the judge.

“Every incident in which judicial independence is breached is one too many,” Flügge said. “Now there is this case, and everyone can invoke it in the future. Everyone can say: ‘But you let Turkey get its way.’ This is an original sin. It can’t be fixed.”

Posted in USA, TurkeyComments Off on “It Can’t be Fixed:” Senior ICC Judge Slam John Bolton, Quits in Protest of US, Turkish Meddling

A Note on the Crime Against Venezuela

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Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

To clarify the importance of the January 23rd coup attempt in Venezuela we remember that ever since WWII the customary motivation for violations of the Convention on Genocide has been to gain a region’s natural resources. For example Iraq, Libya, Syria, Haiti, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Guatemala, and others.

The people of resource-rich areas are forced into flight, exile, refuge elsewhere, or are attacked by disease, or starvation, or directly murdered by military programs, or divided internally into civil wars assuring the death of multitudes.

Damages are inter-generational with the effects of depleted uranium weaponry or mining waste; the survivors of one generation lose their children in the next. The effect of destroying a habitat is the destruction of a people with legal historical claim to the land and its natural resources.

If these people are eradicated, resource development proceeds without impediment or any benefit or payment to the rightful owners. Night’s Lantern places an implicit warning for peoples inhabiting or able to make legal claim to resource-rich territory. Venezuela possesses about a quarter of the earth’s oil resources. The corporate battle for profits is understood to be criminal. The U.S. has made a point of withdrawing from the International Criminal Court and attempting to destroy international law. Since there is strong evidence that Venezuela is threatened with a takeover by corporate interests, represented by U.S. policy, the people of Venezuela are now under a genocide warning.

A summary of the current coup attempt: on January 23rd, Juan Guaidó, leader of the right wing National Assembly declared himself the President of Venezuela. During the presidency ofHugo Chavez, and despite the failure of the first U.S. attempted coup against him, and then after the curious death of Chavez, and after the presidency was assumed by Chavez’s and the people’s chosen successor, Nicolás Maduro, the U.S. has continually and heavily funded the country’s political opposition. Guaidó’s counter-democratic declaration was endorsed immediately by Brazil, the U.S. and Canada in an attempt to overthrow a democratically elected government. Juan Guaidó’s platform if allowed to rule, would include returning nationalized companies to their previous owners.

The U.S. Vice president’s call-out to the Venezuelan people to rise up and embrace Guaidó as their President, failed. Of the Americas, governments installed by the U.S. have supported the U.S. position. Countries of the Americas controlled by right wing middle classes at the service of corporate policies and wealth, also support the U.S. position.

Western media explain ‘a need for change’ rising from the country’s ‘humanitarian crisis,’ which on examination is an economic crisis rising from very low prices of oil – and then the debilitating U.S.-initiated sanctions to sideline Venezuela’s attempts at economic recovery. As the largest holder of oil resources in the world Venezuela’s political and economic difficulties are consistently traced to foreign corporate interests.

The European Union has demanded new elections in an attempt to discredit President Maduro’s victory at the polls last May and his re-installation as President on January 10th. Cuba has shifted 2500 of its health providers from its mission to the poor in what has become fascist Brazil, to Venezuela. Venezuela’s alliances with Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, Mexico, among others, remain. Within Venezuela, the government and its supporters including all branches of the military have remained loyal to the country’s Constitution and Nicolás Maduro as the elected President. The U.S.-Brazil-Canada axis attempt to effect its choice of rulers for another country has risked tripping these as aggressors and Venezuela, into war. As noted at the mourning for Hugo Chavez whose illness many believe was the result of an assassination, “Chávez vive, la lucha sigue!”.

Posted in VenezuelaComments Off on A Note on the Crime Against Venezuela

Venezuela: U.S Economic Warfare

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Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

“Economic Warfare” against Venezuela. Illegal US Sanctions Causing Economic and Humanitarian Crisis according to Former UN Rapporteur

A former United Nations rapporteur has criticised the US for engaging in “economic warfare” against Venezuela which he claimed was the real reason for the economic and humanitarian crisis facing the country.

Alfred de Zayas, who last year became the first UN rapporteur to visit Venezuela for 21 years, also suggested in his recently published UN report, that US sanctions on the country are illegal and could amount to “crimes against humanity” under international law.

Mr De Zayas, an American lawyer, writer, historian and former secretary of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), presented his Venezuela report to the HRC in September.

In the report, which can be read in full here, Mr De Zayas recommended, among other actions, that the International Criminal Court investigate economic sanctions against Venezuela as possible crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute.

In the report conclusions Mr De Zayas, who is an expert in the fields of human rights and international law, went on to say the solution to the Venezuelan crisis lay “in good faith negotiations between the Government and the opposition, an end to the economic war, and the lifting of sanctions.”

The US imposed sanctions against Venezuela began in 2015 under President Barack Obama and have intensified under Donald Trump.

US sanctions against Venezuela prohibit dealing in currencies and stop US-based companies or people from buying and selling new debt issued by the state-run oil body, PDVSA or the government.

The US Department of State’s sanctions and justifications can be read here

In his report Mr De Zayas said modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns.

“Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees.”

 

Since 2015 around 1.9m people have fled the country and inflation has reached 60,324%.

Speaking to The Independent yesterday Mr de Zayas also suggested his research into the causes of the country’s economic crisis has so far largely been ignored.

 

“When I come and I say the emigration is partly attributable to the economic war waged against Venezuela and is partly attributable to the sanctions, people don’t like to hear that. They just want the simple narrative that socialism failed and it failed the Venezuelan people,” Mr de Zayas told The Independent.

Mr de Zayas went on to suggest that sanctions are part of a US effort to overthrow the Venezuelan government and instal a friendlier regime.

“I’ve seen that happen in the Human Rights Council, how the United States twists arms and convinces countries to vote the way they want them to vote, or there will be economic consequences, and these things are not reflected in the press,” he told The Independent.

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and other abundant natural resources including gold, bauxite and coltan.

 

“If you crush this government and you bring in a neoliberal government that is going to privatise everything and is going to sell out, a lot of transitional corporations stand to gain enormous profits and the United States is driven by the transnational corporations,” the former UN special rapporteur told The Independent.

 

“The business of the United States is business. And that’s what the United States is interested in. And they can’t [currently] do business with Venezuela.”

In his report, Mr de Zayas expressed concern that those calling the situation a “humanitarian crisis” are being “weaponised” to discredit the government and make violent overthrow more “palatable”.

Amnesty, for example, have said the Maduro government is responsible for “the worst human rights crisis in the country’s history,”

“There is nothing more undemocratic than a coup d’état and nothing more corrosive to the rule of law and to international stability when foreign governments meddle in the internal affairs of other states,” he told The Independent.

“Only the Venezuelans have a right to decide, not the United States, not the United Kingdom … What is urgent is to help the Venezuelan people through international solidarity – genuine humanitarian aid and a lifting of the financial blockade so that Venezuela can buy and sell like any other country in the world – the problems can be solved with good faith and common sense.”

Mr De Zayas is one of 70 signatories of an open letter, along with with Noam Chomsky and over 70 other academics and experts, who have condemned what they described as a US-backed coup attempt against the Venezuelan government.

Posted in USA, VenezuelaComments Off on Venezuela: U.S Economic Warfare

John Bolton Admits US-backed Coup in Venezuela Is About Oil, Not Democracy

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U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said that their coup in Venezuela is about exploiting the country’s oil and natural resources.

Smashing the claims of “protecting democracy” in Venezuela, the United States National Security Advisor John Bolton said in an interview that they are backing the illegal coup in the South American country because of oil.

“It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela,” Bolton told Fox News in an interview this week.

Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jorge Arreaza wrote on Twitter,

“Confession … @ AmbJohnBolton confirms that the COUP is about OIL.”

Jorge Arreaza M

@jaarreaza

Confesión de parte: @AmbJohnBolton confirma que el GOLPE es PETROLERO. Desde el segundo 48: “HARÁ UNA GRAN DIFERENCIA PARA LOS EEUU ECONÓMICAMENTE si podemos tener empresas petroleras estadounidenses invirtiendo de verdad y produciendo las capacidades petroleras en Venezuela”

The Grayzone@GrayzoneProject
Replying to @GrayzoneProject

Trump’s neocon Nat Sec Adviser Bolton: “We’re in conversation with major American companies now…
It will make a big difference to the US economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.”https://grayzoneproject.com/2019/01/29/us-coup-venezuela-oil-corporate-john-bolton/ 

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said in an interview Wednesday that the U.S. just wants to seize Venezuela’s oil and mineral resources and that is the reason behind backing the coup and intervention in the Latin American country.

“The reason is seizing the oil of Venezuela, because we have the largest oil reserves, we confirm that we have the largest reserves of gold in the world, we have the world’s fourth-largest gas (reserves), have large reserves of coltan, diamonds, aluminum, iron, we have drinking water reserves throughout the national territory, we have energy and natural resources,” said the Venezuelan president.

The U.S. has backed the coup by Juan Guaido, who on Jan. 23 illegally declared himself the “interim president” of Venezuela.

U.S. President Donald Trump recognized the self-proclaimed president. The same was done by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, who has instigated attacks against Maduro and his government.

Maduro and the Venezuelan people are resisting this coup attempt by the interventionist North American country.

The new U.S. measures against Venezuela include the freezing of some US$7 billion in assets of the Venezuelan state oil company (PDVSA), in addition to an estimated loss of US$11 billion of exports over the next few years.

The sanctions are applied to the Venezuelan government; to any political organizations; state agencies, including the Bank of Venezuela and PDVSA; as well as to any person acting in the interest of the “government of Nicolas Maduro.”

Denouncing the U.S. interventionism, Maduro said that Venezuela is a sovereign country and not part of a U.S. backyard.

“They (the United States) consider us their backyard. And we say that we are not anyone’s backyard, we are an independent republic,” Maduro asserted.

 

Posted in USA, VenezuelaComments Off on John Bolton Admits US-backed Coup in Venezuela Is About Oil, Not Democracy

Video: Intense Clashes, Artillery Duels Erupt in Idlib De-militarized Zone

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The situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone is slowly escalating with an increased number of artillery duels and clashes between pro-government fighters and militants taking place there on a daily basis.

On January 29, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) and Jaysh al-Izza reportedly attacked positions of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the villages of Maan and Atshan in northern Hama. The SAA responded by shelling the areas of Tamanah, Tal Teri, Tal Suayk, Suayk, Morek and Tal Huwayr. Early on January 30, artillery strikes were also reported near the militant-held villages of al-Tah and al-Lataminah. Both sides are accused of using heavy artillery and grad rockets, openly showing that the de-militarization zone agreed by Turkey and Russia has not in fact been established in the area.

The situation is also tense in northern Lattakia and western Aleppo, but the daily intensity of strikes there is lower.

Recently, a new group of SAA troops arrived in the area of Abu al-Duhur Airport. According to the Russian military, on January 22, up to 200 Hayat Tahrir al-Sham members attacked SAA positions in the area, but this advance was repelled.

The political leadership of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and thus the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued their PR efforts to rescue themselves from the political and security dead end, in which they appeared to fiind themselves after the US announcement of troops withdrawal.

So far, YPG, SDF representatives have already claimed that:

  • They invite Damascus to their areas;
  • They do not invite Damascus to enter Manbij;
  • They are negotiating with Damascus;
  • They are not negotiating with Damascus;
  • They are ready to find “an understanding” with Turkey;
  • They’ve provided Russia and Damascus with a list of demands for negotiations;

On January 29, Ilham Ahmed, the co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council, a formal political body of the SDF, claimed that there are no signs of the US troops withdrawal from Syria saying that the situation is “just like before” Trump’s announcement.

On January 28, Syria and Iran signed 11 deals and memoranda of understanding covering fields including the economy, culture, education, infrastructure, investment and housing. They were signed during a visit to Damascus by Iran’s First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri. The gorwing Syrian-Iranian cooperation shows that the US-Israeli bloc key goal – to push Iran out of Syria – is something unlikely even theoretically.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Video: Intense Clashes, Artillery Duels Erupt in Idlib De-militarized Zone

Russia Might be Planning an Astana-Like Conference for Venezuela

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Russia just dropped a huge hint suggesting that it might be trying to assemble an Astana-like conference for resolving the Venezuelan Crisis in the same spirit as what it’s been trying to do with Syria over the past two years, which could present the most peaceful solution available even if this initiative ultimately results in “painful compromises” by the government if it succeeds.

Another Astana?

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov revealed earlier today that his country is in talks with other states and international organizations over the role that every concerned party could play in “mediating” the Venezuelan Crisis. He said that

“There is the EU’s initiative to set up a contact group. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has also put forward some initiatives, there is also some ideas that Uruguay and Mexico have come up with…We truly wish to help create conditions for dialogue between the government and the opposition. We are discussing it with our Venezuelan partners, China, Latin American and European countries. We are also ready to participate in international efforts on platforms that would be acceptable for the Venezuelan parties.”

Although it can’t be known for certain at this point, all indications suggest that Russia might be ready to “pull a Syria” by assembling an Astana-like conference for resolving the Venezuelan Crisis.

Follow The Money

Russia is a firm proponent of international law and adamantly opposed to the US’ regime change plots anywhere across the world, but it has more than just altruistic motives of principle for wanting to ensure that the Venezuelan Crisis is peacefully resolved as soon as possible. The country invested $11 billionin the Bolivarian Republic over the years through various loans and energy, mineral, military, and infrastructure deals and just recently agreed to commit another $6 billion in early December. The very real prospect of potentially losing some or all of these assets following the possible seizure of power by US-backed Color Revolution forces in Venezuela terrifies Russia because it would result in a hefty financial hit its interests, though China would be even more adversely affected because of the whopping $50 billion that it loaned Caracas up until this point. Accordingly, it makes sense for both Eurasian Great Powers to pool their resources in trying to de-escalate this crisis as soon as possible.

Self-declared wannabe “president” Juan Guaido understands the impressive leverage that his US-backed Color Revolution forces have over those two countries after hinting that Maduro isn’t “protecting their investments” from what can only be interpreted as the veiled threat that this Hybrid Warriors pose to their physical assets. Catching the drift, Russia and China might be compelled to “convince” Maduro to “compromise” with the “opposition” out of fear that their investments might be targeted by Guaido’s supporters during any forthcoming escalation of unrest in the country, with the Western Mainstream Media gleefully waiting to “report” that “the people are also rebelling against the regime’s backers” as they blow up pipelines, demolish mines, and attack the other property of those countries’ companies. Under this very realistic scenario, Russia and China would be powerless to protect their assets, and their on-the-ground partners in the Venezuelan Armed Forces charged with ensuring their security might have their hands full responding to more pressing regime change threats.

On The Road To “Compromises”

Faced with the horrifying prospect of losing so many billions of dollars, Russia and China are incentivized to help Maduro and Guaido reach a “compromise solution” to the crisis, something that Moscow implied is its intention after Lavrov said after his above-cited comments in the same statement that “We are confident that creating conditions for the Venezuelan parties to make an agreement is the only possible goal.” This powerfully lends a degree of “legitimacy” to Guaido by implicitly recognizing the need for him and the authorities (“the Venezuelan parties”) to “make an agreement”, the outcome of which shouldn’t be “predetermined” in advance according to Lavrov in a subsequent remark but which could be predicted by context to refer to either a power-sharing arrangement or early elections despite Maduro ruling out the latter. Either way, it looks like the only option for Russia and China to avoid any harm to their assets in Venezuela is to get Maduro to “compromise” in one way or another and as soon as possible.

Arguments For And Against America’s Support For Another Astana

This urgent motivation is probably what’s behind Russia’s efforts to streamline an Astana-like conference on Venezuela, though this peacemaking initiative could fall flat if neither the “opposition” nor its foreign backers agree to it. The US controls the so-called “Lima Group” and is ultimately the final decision maker on whether Russia’s effort will have a chance at succeeding or not. On the one hand, it might remain opposed to this because it either intends to throw Venezuela into civil war and/or wants to seize its rivals’ assets once its proxies come to power or have them destroy Russian and Chinese properly during the chaos. On the other hand, however, the US might be willing to “give peace a chance” if it thinks that it can use the “goodwill” that it might engender from both of its Eurasian Great Power rivals to get them to geopolitically and/or economically “compromise” on something else, as well as if it fears that oil prices might surge for a while to Moscow’s benefit.

At the end of the day, it’s “more convenient” for the US’ proxies to “legitimately” take power in a “peaceful” way (even if it takes time through a Russian-brokered “phased leadership transition”) than in a controversial one such as a coup or after a prolonged civil war because it’ll allow American companies to most immediately profit from their government’s foreign policy “success” in its “backyard”. If Venezuela becomes the “next Syria”, it’ll take a lot of time and investment before the US “reaps the rewards”, which is why it might be willing to “allow” Russia and China to save some (but likely not all) of their investments on the condition that they “convince” Maduro to begin the process of transferring power to Guaido under whatever pretext they can come up with so that “everyone looks like they won” (ex: “this was the only way to keep the peace and prevent another Syrian scenario”).

“Sell-Out” Or Strategic?

While some might frame the possibly forthcoming move to organize an Astana-like conference on Venezuela as a “sell-out”, it’s actually the only realistic and pragmatic option available to Russia under these very difficult circumstances. Moscow can’t stage a Syrian-like military intervention to support Caracas like it did Damascus 3,5 years ago even though it could commence a “humanitarian intervention” by dispatching food and other much-needed supplies to the country out of “Christian solidarity” (which might win it some points with regional right-wing forces). Just like Russia realized that the “success” of “Israel’s” “Yinon Plan” in Syria is “inevitable” to a certain degree and is therefore trying to “responsibly guide” this process as much as possible in the direction of its national interests, so too is it contemplating doing the same in the Balkans as well, so applying this approach to Venezuela would actually be following its latest trend instead of bucking it.

It should always be remembered that Russia has no ideological solidarity with Venezuela’s socialist experiment like the USSR might have had if it still existed but is partnered with the South American state out of purely pragmatic reasons having to do with helping the Bolivarian Republic diversify its erstwhile strategic dependence on the US per former President Chavez’s multipolar vision.

No one should be under any illusions of imagining that this is being done pro bono like the USSR would have done, since all of Russia’s investments (and especially loans) in the country are firstly made with financial motives in mind and only afterwards take on possible geostrategic dimensions. The same logic holds for China as well, which isn’t a criticism of either but just a reflection of objective fact. Therefore, both Eurasian Great Powers have more than enough reasons to do whatever needs to diplomatically be done to safeguard their tens of billions of dollars’ worth of investments.

Concluding Thoughts

Russia’s 21st-century grand strategic vision of becoming the supreme “balancing” force in Afro-Eurasia can realistically be replicated in Latin America if it succeeds in bringing together a diverse set of countries to facilitate a “political solution” to the Venezuelan Crisis, one which would secure (at least some of) it and its Chinese partner’s enormous investments in the Bolivarian Republic while simultaneously raising its regional prestige. Such an Astana-like conference could symbolically be held in the Bolivian capital of La Paz (which means “the peace”) or in one of the small Caribbean island nations allied with Caracas through its Petrocaribe oil subsidization program, and could be complemented by a Russian-led “humanitarian intervention” that delivers much-needed food and supplies to Venezuela’s destitute population. If another Astana does indeed take place and results in Maduro “compromising”, then it wouldn’t be a “sell-out” but a strategic defense of Russian state interests that made the best out of a bad situation and prevented the Syrian scenario from repeating itself in South America.

Posted in Russia, VenezuelaComments Off on Russia Might be Planning an Astana-Like Conference for Venezuela

Video: History of Oil – Hidden Cause of the First World War?

NOVANEWS

Image result for first world war cartoons

This video was first published in 2012.

Robert Newman gets to grips with the wars and politics of the last hundred years – but rather than adhering to the history we were fed at school, he places oil centre stage as the cause of all the commotion.

 

 

Posted in USA, EuropeComments Off on Video: History of Oil – Hidden Cause of the First World War?

Hands Off Venezuela

NOVANEWS
Hands Off Venezuela: Divided UN Security Council: Fierce Opposition to Violation of Venezuela’s Sovereignty
Emergency UN Security Council Meeting, January 26, 2019

This morning Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza presented a brilliant defense of President Maduro’s government, against the attempted coup d’etat engineered by the United States and its proxies in Europe and newly right-wing Latin American countries Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador.  The United States called this “emergency” meeting, seeking the authorization of the United Nations Security Council for intervention in Venezuela’s internal affairs, and the infamous regime change similar to that which  spread chaos in Libya after the UN Security Council authorized military intervention to overthrow the government of  Muammar Gadaffi (2011 No Fly Zone)

South Africa, Equatorial Guinea, the Russian Federation, China, Caricom, Bolivia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba were among the countries which opposed what has now become transparent violation of international law, and the usurpation of the independence of the United Nations to conceal geopolitical engineering, otherwise known as capitalist imperialism.

US Secretary of State Michael K. Pompeo denounced Russia and China for opposing a Presidential Statement condemning Maduro’s government, and Pompeo singled out Cuba as the arch-villain propping up the government of Maduro, which could be understood as a backhanded compliment to Cuba’s power.  In fact, Cuba has helped build the medical and educational system of Venezuela from the earliest days of the late Hugo Chavez’s Presidency.

Venezuela’s Arreaza began citing an almost endless list of  U.S. military interventions and invasions of sovereign Latin American countries,  and the reimposition of the Monroe Doctrine, recalling the 1912 US marine invasion of Mexico, the destabilization and overthrow of the democratically elected Guatemalan President Arbenz, Brazil’s Goulart, Chile’s Allende, and the replacement of these democratically elected governments with fascist dictatorships whose human rights violations and barbarity rivaled some of the worst savagery of nazi Germany.  The Venezuelan Foreign Minister denounced the coercive blockade denying the Venezuelan people  many billions of dollars, in addition to the 1.2 billion dollars frozen in Belgium, and other US European proxies etc. etc., which has led to the widespread hunger and collapse in the living standards of the Venezuelan people, many of whom are migrating to other countries.

When France and Germany called for regime change in Venezuela, citing massive demonstration against Maduro as undercutting his legitimacy, in an almost comic rebuttal to France, Russian Ambassador Nebenzia mentioned the massive demonstrations of the “Yellow Jackets” opposing French President Macron’s policies, and the question was raised regarding the possibility of demand for regime change in France. Ambassador Nebenzia quickly reassured the French delegation that he did not intend to call a Security Council meeting for that purpose, but his point was well taken, and had its effect.

Perhaps most incriminating among the charges of imperial designs against Venezuela’s sovereignty was Arreaza’s statement that last year President Maduro had invited the UN Secretary-General, and European High Commissioner Federica Mogherini to monitor the forthcoming Presidential elections in Venezuela, to determine  their legitimacy or otherwise.  In a breathtaking disclosure, Arreaza revealed that both the UN Secretary-General and the EU’s Federica Mogherini refused to be present to monitor the Venezuelan Presidential elections, stating many months prior to the elections that the election outcome would be a fraud.

This indicated collusion, and a deliberate premeditated intent to discredit the outcome of the Venezuelan elections, whether or not they were in fact legitimate; and this collusion in demonizing Venezuela’s election is an indictment of gross prejudice and corruption within the very organizations charged with impartially evaluating the quality of those elections.

Russian Ambassador Nebenzia stated that Germany’s attempt to invoke “preventive diplomacy,” as an excuse for intervening in Venezuela’s internal affairs was, in fact, a deliberate incitement to civil war in Venezuela, and had nothing to do with prevention.

It is difficult to know what will ensue, but the stark division within the Security Council, and additional fierce opposition to Security Council or unilateral intervention voiced by neighboring countries in the region near Venezuela, indicates that the threat of U.S. military intervention will have difficulty influencing the outcome of events, especially since Russia has warned the U.S.:  “Hands Off Venezuela”!!!

Posted in VenezuelaComments Off on Hands Off Venezuela


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