Archive | January 4th, 2020

Neo-Liberal Colombia – Where Life Has to Defeat Death

By Andre Vltchek

Global Research,

In one of the poorest neighborhoods of Bogota, Belen, I saw two people bleeding in the middle of the road. One person was clearly dead. A group of onlookers was moving frantically, shouting loudly. There was an attempt to resurrect an injured man. I asked the driver to inquire whether our help was needed, but he was told something insulting by the locals, and insisted that we leave the scene immediately.

Was it a traffic accident? Or a murder? The driver did not know. He actually did not want to know.

“Look,” he said. “You may be a Russian or Chinese Communist, or whatever, but here, in the middle of this slum, you kind of look like a gringo, and that is a damn big disadvantage to both of us, and to my car. So, if you don’t intend to bury your bones here, we should not stop in the middle of this neighborhood, for too long.”

“I thought they love Gringos in Colombia,” I uttered, sarcastically.

“Down there, yes,” my driver waved his hand towards the financial center of Bogota. “But not here. Not up here.”

Before becoming a driver, this individual used to be a top manager, at one of the biggest South Korean electronics companies operating in Colombia. I have always been having good luck with my drivers. During the Dirty War in Peru I once was driven, for weeks, by a retired and thoroughly broke army general, and in Bulgaria, after the East European collapse, by a former ambassador to the United Nations.

Neo-liberal Colombia has some of the greatest and most bizarre disparities I have witnessed anywhere on Earth.

After filming and photographing in the middle of various tough slums that have mushroomed along the hills ‘above’ the capital, I returned to my hotel.

The underclass continues to grow at a rapid rate (Photo: Andre Vltchek 2019©)

Just a few kilometers away from the misery-stricken dwellings, in a coffee shop of my hotel, a group of upper-class Colombians from Cali was having a casual dinner. The people were loud and I could not avoid overhearing their conversation. They spoke about their dogs having diarrhea, regularly, and how it could actually be stopped or prevented.

“It is outrageous,” one of them lamented. “Poor animal has been shitting and shitting. What is it telling us about the quality of Colombian food and water?”

*

Obviously, someone had enough of such contrasts. Or more precisely, few millions of Colombian people decided that the situation is, should we say, “indigestible”.

And, so, on November 21, 2019, Colombia exploded.

Like Chile did, a few weeks earlier.

The explosion has been spontaneous, angry, and for the extreme right-wing government of President Iván Duque Márquez, very embarrassing. Some would say even, scary. His approval rating hit the bottom, 26%. Not as bad as in Chile, where the admirer of Pinochet’s dictatorship, President Pinera, ended up with just a pathetic 10% support from his citizens. Not as bad, but bad enough.

Imagine that you are presiding over a fundamentalist neo-liberal country with hardly any public education or healthcare, with monstrous disparities, with some 9 U.S. military bases (it really depends how you count them; could be bit less or more), and with a foreign policy which has been shamelessly dictated from the North. Imagine that you still have those semi-active left-wing guerilla movements on your territory, but at the same time your government is simply super-hostile towards anything socialist, Communist, red or pink or even slightly progressive. And that many people in your own country actually strongly dislike the direction in which you are moving the nation.

Imagine that you have all sorts of problems at home, and that the left-wing guerilla movements are not the only issues you have to face here: you also have fascist militias which are murdering and disappearing people, you have those narco-mafias which sometimes have better social programs for the poor than your government does, and you also have the anti-imperialist Venezuela fighting for its survival immediately next door; a country which the United States has been trying to destabilize, ruin and turn into a regressive, oppressive Gulf state.

You have hundreds of thousands of the Venezuelan ‘refugees’ on your territory. Some say millions. People who have been escaping from the monstrous U.S. sanctions and from the outright U.K. and German theft of the Venezuelan gold, and monetary assets. It is scary, isn’t it? You have no idea who these people are. Are they really against the Venezuelan President, Maduro? For decades, millions of your people, Colombians, were crossing the border, escaping misery, seeking a better life in Caracas and Maracaibo. You know why it is now the other way round: because Venezuela has been raped, plundered by your masters in the United States and Europe. And it was done with your help, Mr. Duque. Now nobody knows, what is coming next.

Your people are waking up, rising and starting to demand your resignation, or even the demise of the entire Colombian regime.

What do you do; how do you react?

First you pretend that you are listening. Even that you have some sympathy with your own people. But when you see that the protesters think that all that you offer (actually, not that much) is not enough, you deploy the special forces; you do it the Chilean way; you start using brutal police and military contingents, as well as under-cover para-military units. That is what your masters in the North tell you to do, and you are a good obedient servant of the U.S. government and those several “international organizations” controlled by Washington, including the Organization of American States” (OAS), World Bank, IMF, to name just a few.

Dilan Cruz: Not forgotten (Photo: Andre Vltchek 2019©)

You get a clear and loud message from Mike Pompeo in Washington. You can go ‘all the way’. You can kill, without being criticized. You can torture. This is all in the frame of the Monroe Doctrine, or, as some say, of the Second Operation Condor. As long as the killing and torture are done by the “right” people, against the “wrong” ones, they can never be criticized.

You begin frightening people. People begin getting injured, or even dying.

You killed a boy. A young kid. His name was Dilan Cruz. His entire life was ahead of him. He was only 18 years old. Your forces shot him in the head with a bean bag round.

I went there, where it happened. People waved torn Colombian flags; where Dilan was murdered.

That’s where Colombia is at this moment.

National strikes are shaking the capital and other major cities. Smoke and teargas are filling the air above several major streets. The atmosphere is tense. Nihilist, frightening graffiti is everywhere. The glass at your idiotic, overpriced ‘public’ transportation system (just glorified buses, nothing else) is shattered.

It may be just a beginning. Most likely it is.

Your regime is waiting. Will the demonstrators get tired and return home? If they retreat, fine. If not, it is likely that the state is ready to protect the status quo by crushing them; by killing many, injuring thousands, like in Chile.

In neo-liberal Latin America, which is governed by the U.S. and its “Monroe Doctrine”, human lives are worth nothing. What people demand is listened to, then analyzed, and in the end, used against them.

*

In Bogota, in front of the building of the Attorney General of the Nation (Procuraduria General de la Nacion), hundreds of protesters, mainly indigenous, were blocking a square, despite a heavy police presence in the area.

One of the protest leaders, Mr. Felix Rueda, spoke to me, in front of the camera, while the notorious Colombian police force, “Esmad” (the Mobile Anti-Disturbances Squadron), was slowly closing in on us, controlling all the nearby streets:

“We are victims of the armed conflict. We are people who were hit hard by violence; something we thought would never happen again in this country. I represent the victims. And I fight for human rights. All these people around here are victims of the armed conflict.”US Military Intervention against the FARC Insurgency and Plan Colombia: Misrepresentation of the Colombian Conflict

A lady behind him begins to shout:

“Here, almost all of us are victims. We are peasants, with no protection, whatsoever.”

Mr. Rueda continues:

“These people are victims of the state violence; perpetrated by the armed groups.”

I asked him why there are no mass media outlets covering their plight.

“Sometimes they come. But mostly just when we break down some doors, or when someone dies. One person has already died during the last weeks. Many were injured. Again, Colombians are now fighting against Colombians.”

Another woman from the crowd screams at me:

“There are also rapes; girls are being raped, even boys…”

Police, military and the para-military response to the protests in Colombia has been so outrageously tough, so violent, that even some mass media outlets in the West had no choice but to notice and to report the gravest excesses. The Guardianwrote on 11 December, 2019:

“For the past three weeks, Colombia has been racked by demonstrations triggered by widespread discontent with the proposed economic reforms of the rightwing president, Iván Duque, whose approval rating has dropped to just 26% since he took office in August last year.

Protesters are also angry at the lack of support for the historic 2016 peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), which formally ended five decades of civil war that killed 260,000 and forced more than 7 million to flee their homes.

In a country which not long ago suffered the highest kidnapping rate in the world – and whose security forces have themselves been implicated in forced disappearances – the videos of police snatching protesters evoked disturbing memories.

According to the national victims’ agency more than 150,000 people were forcibly disappeared between 1986 and 2017, with up to 80,000 still missing. Combatants on all sides of the conflict engaged in the practice.”

Since the beginning of the protests, Colombian forces have been disappearing people from the streets; something that is bringing traumatic memories to the citizens. In one case, a young woman protestor, was grabbed and pulled into an unmarked vehicle. Two people jumped into their car and chased the vehicle, persistently, until the victim was released. This was a well-documented case: “a young woman dragged into an unmarked Chevrolet”. But I was told that there were many other cases, that went unreported and almost unnoticed.

*

I flew to Barranquilla, a city on the majestic River Magdalena. This is where this great Colombian waterway joins the warm turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.

LOSING HOPE: Public mood manifests itself on the walls and buildings of Bogota (Photo: Andre Vltchek 2019©)

This is where one of the greatest novels of the 20thCentury, “Love in the Time of Cholera”, written by the Colombian Communist writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, took place. This is where Florentino Ariza waits for the love of his life, Fermina Daza, for fifty-one years, nine months and four days. This is where he makes love to her, finally, on a river boat, at old age. Looking at the surface of this majestic river, Garcia Marquez, finishes his novel. I always thought that the book was fully connected to Cartagena, but I was explained to, that no; it was linked inseparably to the Magdalena River.

And this is where my friend, one of the most important Colombian journalists, Constanza Vieira, lives.

She picked me up at the airport, together with her partner, drove me to the long, new riverside, where we sat down and spoke for hours about Colombia; her beloved and tortured land.

Her father had met Mao, on two occasions. She knew all about the negotiations between the government and FARC. She is a walking encyclopedia, when it comes to Colombia. But this is not what I wanted to know, this time.

Latin America was in turmoil. The Bolivian government was overthrown in a brutal, fascist coup. Chile and Colombia were rising. Venezuela was fighting for its survival. Where was this country going?

Constanza spoke about corruption under Duque, about Uribe’s crimes, and about the grave violations of human rights in her country:

“Colombia in a setting of South America, is a conservative country; very conservative. It is suffering from one right-wing government after another. Here, the inequality is tremendous, one of the greatest in Latin America. When the protests had erupted here, the governments negotiated with the protesters, but never delivered on what they agreed. Colombia is a neo-liberal country. Now it is being shaken by huge protests. In this context, we have to thank Chile. Because whenever in the past Colombians were demanding true changes, our government would tell us: ‘look at Chile! Chileans and all of us have to be thankful to General Pinochet. The country is so prosperous. Capitalism works! So, the uprising in Chile, where people are rejecting neo-liberalism, is having a tremendous impact on Colombia.”

The situation in Colombia is truly grotesque, and the cynicism endless. Constanza mentions just one example, which would be hard to even imagine in most of the other countries on the continent:

“In this country, corruption is just enormous. And so are violations of human rights. Now imagine: the government of Duque decided to pay compensation to the victims of human rights violations, as well as victims of corruption – from the budget allocated to public universities!”

I asked her about the U.S. military bases.

“You see, it is not as simple as it used to be. United States is not staffing the bases with its own soldiers, permanently. The soldiers who come here are usually under-cover. It is often an intelligence unit or two, or these are soldiers who come and go, using local military bases only when they need them.”

As we are parting at the airport, late at night, her partner, a writer, goes back to the “basics” – to Simon Bolivar:

“If you talk to people all over Latin America, the great majority will say that they admire Simon Bolivar. Our great Liberator! But if you listen and look closer, you soon realize that the Bolivarian ideals are being betrayed, almost everywhere, all around us.”

*

Colombia is boiling. There is not just one problem that the country is facing; there are dozens, perhaps hundreds.

While indigenous people have been marching on Bogota, protesting and struggling for their rights and culture to be respected, the coca leaf cultivating farmers (most of them indigenous families) are demanding that their crop finally gets legalized.

All this, while the Colombia peace court is exhuming some 50 bodies in extra-judicial killings cases, presumably committed by the military.

Protesters, mostly indigenous, gathering outside government building in the city (Photo: Andre Vltchek 2019©)

As recently reported by Reuters:

“False positive killings numbered at least 2,248 between 1998 and 2014. The majority of the murders took place during the term of former President Alvaro Uribe, according to the attorney general’s office.”

People were defined as dying in combat, but in reality, they were victims of extra-judicial killings.

Extreme poverty, extra-judicial killings, corruption, unemployment, an embarrassing foreign policy, police brutality, extremely high crime rate – everything is inter-connected. Everything seems to be explosive.

*

One night, all around rebellious Bogota. Graffiti everywhere. Police on high alert. Clusters of people, assembling, then disappearing into the night.

Behind the airport, in the center of a town called Fontibon, there is a meeting of the committee which is organizing one of the strikes. I am being taken there by David Curtidor, a prominent Colombian activist.

He introduced me to Ms. Luz Janneth Zabaleta, a professor of mathematics, who is deeply involved in the organization of the protests. She explained to me:

“Until now, all those government’s so-called reforms were made against the workers, indigenous people and students. This uprising will change everything.”

Her comrade, Arturo Partilla Lizarazo, a labor lawyer passionately supported her words:

“Now Colombia is entering a huge struggle; it is fighting for the dignity of human beings, inhabiting this country. Neo-liberal policies have failed, here and elsewhere. And Colombia is ready to defeat those neo-liberal policies, which have already destroyed so many lives of our people.”

We talk about the former government of President Uribe, which according to both, was basically following a policy of war. We also discuss the awful plight of the common Colombian people, of millions of starving children, the horrendous unemployment rate among young people, and the unimaginable hardship endured by elderly, retired people.

Later, at Parkway, which is a narrow park in the center of the city, I witnessed protesters waving Colombian and Chilean flags. There is live music. Young people are dancing. Units of the riot police are moving along the edges of the park. Are they going to attack? If yes, when? Nobody knows.

I drive through the now empty Bolivar Square, then near the Presidential Palace, barricaded, blocked by the military. Several government buildings are covered by black, protective curtains. Somehow, they look like a funeral halls.

Right next to the government district, there is a red light district’; full of sex workers, pimps and police units. In Colombia, power and misery shamelessly coexist next to each other.

*

On my last day, before departing Bogota for La Paz, Bolivia, I was visited by a legendary educator, German Vladimir Zabala Archila, a liberation theologist who used to work with, among others, with Ivan Illich.

Still very active all-over Latin America, helping to set up revolutionary educational systems in various, particularly indigenous-majority countries, Vladimir is promoting the so-called “Pedagogy of Otherness” (Pedagogia de La Otredad).

Vladimir is an eternal optimist. He believes that Colombia, as well as the entire Latin America, are undergoing tremendous, irreversible transformations:

“We are in the middle of great cultural changes. I can see it even in my own middle-class part of the city. My neighbors, whom I thought were very conservative ladies, are these days banging their pans in the middle of the street, in what is clearly a protest against the system and the government. We call it here “I am scared, but I am marching!””

“One of our previous presidents used to say: ‘All we have to do is to become part of the
United States.’ Colombian paramilitary groups infiltrated Venezuela, on behalf of the West. But look now. There is growing solidarity among black and indigenous people in such places like Cali. And even Evo [Morales] was here, marching with us. He is beloved by the people of Colombia.”

“And now?” I asked Vladimir. “Evo… How does it all look from here?”

He does not hesitate:

“We didn’t expect this coup. We were quite certain that Evo’s popularity in Bolivia would protect him. We were confident in Cuban intelligence. We did not think that Santa Cruz would succeed, with its horrible Nazis like Camacho, who are connected with narco-traffickers, and backed by the West…”

But Vladimir is still optimistic, and so am I.

Latin America is waking up. United, as they say here, people can never be defeated. And slowly, reluctantly, Latin American nations are finally trying to unite.

*

Things will not change overnight in Colombia, but they willeventually change.

As I drive through Bogota, I see anti-government graffiti, I see damaged buildings, the remains of the battles fought between protesters and the security forces. But I also see some strange attempts to infiltrate the rebellion, like the clenched fists that look just too familiar; like Otpor, a symbol of the Western-backed “Color Revolutions”.

It is too early to draw conclusions, but Colombian rebels have to be vigilant. While people are fighting for a new South America, while they are getting injured, while some are even dying, the West is plotting, together with President Duque and his regime; they are analyzing and trying to figure out how to keep things as they have been, for those long stagnant decades. If the government can get away with it, it would give absolutely nothing – zero.

This will be a long and difficult struggle.

Colombia is one of the most damaged places in Latin America; one of the most turbo-capitalist, and one of the most sold out to the West.

On the other hand, its opposition is vibrant and diverse. Its people are amazing; many very brave, educated and determined people.

*

My last day in Bogota, as I was falling asleep, I heard some loud gunshots right in front of my hotel.

After years in Beirut, I was used to such sounds. ‘Celebratory shooting into the air’, I thought, half asleep. But people were screaming, too. Exhausted, I fell asleep.

The next morning, on the way to the airport, I was told by my driver: “At night, they killed a French man, right in front of the entrance to your hotel.”

‘Too many corpses’, I thought. ‘Too many people are dying in Colombia. For whatever reasons, but dying unnatural deaths.’

At the airport, passport control check took almost two hours. Immigration officers were showing absolute and open spite towards the passengers. They were chatting with each other, banging into their mobile phones, even eating. While people waited in endless lines, like cattle. Absolute impunity.

On the Avianca flight from Bogota to La Paz, my neighbor was a typical US lady-apparatchik.

“Where are you from?” she asked me in an arrogant tone of voice, right before take off.

“Russia,” I said.

What?”

“Russia.”

“What’s that?”

“Russian Federation”.

“Oh, Ru-siah!” She gave me a bizarre, pre-programmed, aggressive look.

I was leaving an old US colony for a new one, recently ‘acquired’ one.

The woman who was sitting next to me on the plane, was radiating the unmistakable chill of death. My body began shaking, slightly. But then I recalled the last words of Garcia Marquez’s brilliant novel, written on the shores of the Rio Magdalena:

“The Captain looked at Fermina Daza and saw on her eyelashes the first glimmer of wintry frost. Then he looked at Florentino Ariza, his invincible power, his intrepid love, and he was overwhelmed by the belated suspicion that it is life, more than death, that has no limits.”

My body relaxed. And I was suddenly certain that it will be life, as well as the great passion for it, that will finally liberate Colombia from the appalling embrace of death.

*

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No, a War with Iran Won’t Help Trump Win Re-Election

By Andrew Korybko

Global Research,

One of the most common opinions circulating around the Alt-Media Community after Major General Soleimani’s assassination is that Trump is provoking a war with Iran in order to help win re-election, but this isn’t the case since he first of all doesn’t believe that he’s provoking anything (irrespective of his military’s actions), and secondly, the immediate costs of such a conflict could actually capsize his re-election bid.

***

Trump never made any secret of his hatred for the Iranian government so it’s easy for many observers to agree with the common opinion circulating around the Alt-Media Community after Major General Soleimani‘s assassination that the President is provoking a war with Iran in order to help win re-election. This is the wrong assessment to make since the US military that’s most directly shaping the course of events doesn’t believe that it’s provoking anything (irrespective of objective fact), hence Trump doesn’t think so either. The Pentagon exudes the ideology of American Exceptionalism and is convinced that it has the right to use all means possible to remove Iran and its allied militias (including the PMU’s Kataib Hezbollah that’s integrated into the Iraqi Armed Forces) from Iraq in the interests of “national security”, to which end it and its “Israeli” ally have bombed these units several times over the past month. It doesn’t matter whether this is the “right” or “wrong” policy to have, but simply that it exists and is how such actions are understood by American decision makers.

Given that the US believes that it has the “right” to carry out such attacks, it therefore perceived the PMU’s subsequent large-scale protests outside of its Iraqi Embassy to pose an imminent threat to its citizens inside the world’s largest diplomatic facility. Since Kataib Hezbollah and the rest of the PMU more broadly have excellent working relations with Iran’s IRGC, it was extremely easy for the US to spin the narrative that there “must” have been a “hidden Iranian hand” behind that high-profile incident, which immediately called to mind Obama’s Benghazi moment and thus compelled Trump to respond in the complete opposite way as his predecessor by doubling down on the US’ military units there and proudly boasting that this is his “anti-Benghazi” moment. Making matters worse from the American perspective (which is simply to explain their thought process and not excuse it), the Ayatollah taunted Trump by saying that he “can’t do anything” in response to the President promising that “Iran will be held fully responsible” and “pay a very BIG PRICE” if Americans are killed.

Maj. Gen. Soleimani was certainly already on the US’ “decapitation strike” kill list even before the embassy siege, but that comment might have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and convinced Trump that he needed to assassinate the brilliant anti-terrorist tactician in order to prove the point that he will not tolerate being “talked down to” by his foe. It might sound petty to some and scary to others, but Trump takes his “twitter beef” real seriously, so much so that he just proved that he’s willing to kill in order to defend his international reputation after being publicly mocked. Iran totally miscalculated Trump’s response to the PMU’s embassy siege and the Ayatollah’s taunt, but it must be said that the President wouldn’t have climbed the escalation ladder as brazenly as he did had Iran not abandoned its “nuclear ambiguity” after the 2015 Rouhani-Obama deal. It was ironically because of his predecessor that Trump figured that the maximum costs that Iran could inflict on the US in response to that assassination could be “manageable”/”acceptable”.

As the author wrote in his earlier piece on the topic about how “Major General Soleimani’s Assassination Isn’t Going To Start World War III“, the US could utterly destroy every single one of Iran’s fixed assets (be they bases, cities, or whatever else) if Trump had the political will to do so in “responding” to any conventional tit-for-tat by the Islamic Republic, whether done so “preemptively” because of supposed “intelligence” that it was preparing a missile strike for example or “retaliatory” in the unlikely event that the aforesaid actually occurs. Iran can therefore only respond asymmetrically lest it wants to commit national suicide, which Trump would be more than happy to assist it with if it comes to that. He doesn’t want to do that, but would believe that he has “no choice” should Iran launch a missile salvo against his country’s regional bases, the GCC’s, and/or “Israel’s”. The military costs of such an unprecedented “punishment” against Iran are manageable because the Islamic Republic doesn’t have nuclear weapons, but the short-term political ones could cost Trump his re-election bid.

There’s no doubt that the aforementioned scenario would result in the deaths of countless people, which Trump would surely be blamed for, including the loss of American and especially “Israeli” lives. The short- and medium-term regional chaos that the collapse of the Islamic Republic would generate in the humanitarian, geopolitical, and economic senses would create such uncertainty across the world that the Democrats might easily be able to portray him as even more “evil” than they already make him out to be and thus scare Americans into not voting for him a second time. The US itself wouldn’t be too directly affected since it’s already pretty much energy self-sufficient as it is so possible disruptions in the Strait of Hormuz won’t affect it, though they could cripple the Chinese economy depending on how long they occur. America is therefore relatively “insulated” from the consequences that could transpire in the “worst-case scenario”, though Trump would probably be sacrificing his political future if he went through with that course of events.

The state of affairs is therefore more complex than it might appear at first glance. Trump doesn’t want to start a war with Iran because it could greatly jeopardize his re-election prospects, though he won’t back down if Iran responds conventionally, and he also won’t shy away from ordering more “decapitation strikes” if he can claim that any of its asymmetrical responses were somehow supposedly linked to the country (regardless of where they were allegedly organized). Iran, though, cannot let this assassination go unanswered, so there’s sure to be an escalation of some sort in the coming future. If events quickly climb the escalation ladder, then both Iran and possibly even Trump himself might end up the losers, with only the Democrats and the US’ military-industrial complex cynically emerging as the “winners” (since “Israel” might be wiped out by Iran before the Islamic Republic is destroyed). In hindsight, this makes one wonder who ordered Iran’s militant removal from Iraq in the first place and whether it was a “deep state” plot to entrap Trump by provoking this very scenario.

Trump is wholly responsible for his own actions, but he — just like the Ayatollah — is being pushed in a direction where it’s impossible to back down and still “save face”. Neither men can afford to do so, which makes it likely that a lot more people than just Maj. Gen. Soleimani might be about to die. To remind the reader once more, however, none of this would be happening had Iran not abandoned its “nuclear ambiguity” by agreeing to the 2015 Rouhani-Obama deal, with that event in hindsight being the tripwire that provoked the American military into wantonly escalating tensions with Iran (despite believing that they’re doing so in “self-defense) because they realized that the maximum costs that the Islamic Republic could inflict on it in response to their actions could be “manageable”. The lesson to be learned from all of this is that the possession of nuclear weapons safeguards a country’s sovereignty by enabling it to inflict “unmanageable”/”unacceptable” costs on its foes and thus deter their aggression, failing which leaders on both sides can be manipulated into a serious crisis.

Posted in Middle East, USA, Iran, Middle East0 Comments

America at War with Iran? Pentagon Ordered the Killing of IRGC Commander Qasem Soleimani

By Arabi Souri

Global Research,

The Pentagon confirmed the United States of America’s responsibility of killing the legendary IRGC Quds Brigade commander Qasem Soleimani in a drone attack near Baghdad Airport.

The Pentagon’s statement didn’t elaborate on the cost on the US itself and its interests in the region, and maybe beyond. It just declared war on 3 countries officially after years of trying to hide behind the consumed slogan of ‘fighting terror’, moving from it to ‘Fighting for Terror’.

Qasem Soleimani was a Major General in the Iranian Army, in case the Pentagon’s officials didn’t know.

The former head of the IRGC and currently the top security adviser in Iran issued a statement vowing to avenge the killing of the Iranian top general. Qasem Soleimani was the legendary fighter on the ground who defeated ISIS and other al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and defended Iran itself and the rest of the world from the growing terrorist forces.

The assassination also killed the Deputy Commander of the Iraqi Security Forces – PMU Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

IRGC Commander Major General Hussein Salami, just a day earlier, warned the USA from crossing any red line in its aggression in the region, seems they did because they wanted to escalate the region towards a regional war.Major General Soleimani’s Assassination Isn’t Going to Start World War III

Obviously, the US President instead of ‘draining the swamp’ he drained the US establishment of any sane thinkers and decision-makers by submitting completely to the Zionist lobby, even someone like George W. Bush or Barak Obama, the guy who dropped tens of thousands of bombs on civilians, wouldn’t carry out such insane assassination, especially with tens of thousands of US troops are within the firing range of the Iranian IRGC-Quds Brigades, and the Iraqi PMU as well.

Whatever excuse the US had is no longer worthy of reading, out of our direct experience in the region, the US should be very worried of the consequences and remain on ultra-high alert until Iran officially says they concluded avenging this killing if they’ll ever ‘conclude’.

What we can confirm is this will be the most costly operation the US ever carried out anywhere in the world: by the cost of money, interests, maybe even personnel, and maybe further, but for sure the response will be much bigger than what the US can afford, that includes its satellite entities depending on its protection.

From the decades-long history of resistance and the people of the region, whenever a commander is killed, the subordinates become more hot-headed and seek revenge. This was demonstrated clearly when the US and its stooges killed the Syrian Minister of Defense Abdallah Rajha in 2012 and a number of top security and army generals and instantly al-Qaeda terrorists were given the green light to storm Damascus from a number of axes. The Syrian Arab Army, instead of collapsing, turned the tide in the opposite direction and secured the Syrian capital moving from one victory to another.

The only strategic outcome of this assassination is seeing the US forces out of Iraq, sooner than thought before, opposite to the hopes of who carried out this operation.

Posted in Middle East, USA, Iran, Iraq0 Comments

Major General Soleimani’s Assassination Isn’t Going to Start World War III

By Andrew Korybko

Global Research,

The US carried out a de-facto act of war against Iran after assassinating Major General Qasem Soleimani of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force in Baghdad last night, but despite the doomsday scenarios that many in Alt-Media are speculating that this will lead to, the commencement of World War III is extremely unlikely for several reasons.

***

The “Decapitation Strike” That Shook The World

Trump’s approval of the US’ assassination of Major General Qasem Soleimani of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force in Baghdad last night amounts to a de-facto act of war against Iran, but it wasn’t the decision of a “madman” or someone whose permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) didn’t think this completely through. Rather, it was a premeditated “decapitation strike” carried out to prove the US’ conventional “escalation dominance” in its regional proxy war with Iran, one which America surely knows will elicit a kinetic response of some sort from the Islamic Republic but which the Pentagon and its regional allies are prepared for. Contrary to the narrative bandied about in Alt-Media, the US didn’t “surrender” the Mideast to Russia and Iran in recent years (who, to be clear, are not “allies”, but anti-terrorist “partners of convenience” in Syria) despite some regional setbacks to its grand strategy, but merely adjusted the nature through which it intends to restore its influence there.

Background Context

Instead of continuing to waste hundreds of millions of dollars a day funding the counterproductive 100,000-strong occupation of Iraq and potentially exposing that many troops (“sitting ducks”) to retaliatory attacks, it decided to scale down its conventional presence there and replace it with highly trained Marines and special forces that operate with the support of targeted missile strikes. It was one such strike earlier in the week against the Popular Mobilization Units’ (PMU) Kataib Hezbollah, which is integrated into the Iraqi Armed Forces, that provoked the group’s supporters (allegedly with the coordination of the IRGC according to the US) into besieging the American Embassy in Baghdad. Trump responded by immediately dispatching troops to the world’s largest diplomatic facility and bragging on Twitter that this was his “anti-Benghazi” moment in a clear swipe at Obama’s notorious failure to protect American diplomats back in 2012 when they were in similar circumstances.

Once the unrest died down following the organizers’ decision to withdraw after they declared that their “message has been heard”, US Secretary of Defense ominously warned that his country could take “preemptive action” if it detects any signals that Iran is supposedly planning more anti-American attacks in Iraq. The Islamic Republic denied that it played any role in the recent events unfolding in the neighboring country, but the US obviously didn’t believe it. It therefore set out to assassinate Maj. Gen. Soleimani in order to send the message that it’s serious about “deterring” any forthcoming allegedly Iranian-connected anti-American attacks seeing as how it blamed him for being involved in the latest ones. It also wanted to put additional pressure on Iran to withdraw from Iraq, but probably expected that it could exploit Tehran’s response to this de-facto act of war as a pretext for further intensifying its pressure campaign through more “decapitation strikes”. This attack therefore dangerously escalated tensions with Iran and made many observers fear the onset of World War III.

Some Words About Maj. Gen. Soleimani

What follows isn’t an excuse for America’s actions, but simply a cold, hard analysis explaining why Trump decided to assassinate Solemani and thus carry out a de-facto act of war against Iran, one which will not lead to World War III despite the fearmongering speculation that’s taken social media by storm ever since. Simply put, Iran misjudged the US’ resolve to regain its lost influence in the region and never thought that it would escalate the situation to this level, hence why Maj. Gen. Solemani had no fear of being killed in the heart of Baghdad despite the US’ conventional air superiority and explicit warnings that it could take “preemptive action” against Iran if it believes that it played any role whatsoever in any forthcoming anti-American attacks. It doesn’t matter whether or not the PMU’s Kataib Hezbollah is justified in seeking the removal of US forces from the country through any means possible or if it coordinates those actions with the IRGC since all that’s important is that the US was looking for a pretext to carry out its calculated “decapitation strike” against Maj. Gen. Soleimani.

A few words about him are appropriate at this point. It was through his leadership that the IRGC greatly assisted the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in its destruction of Daesh. He’s played a larger role than any individual in defeating terrorism in Syria and Iraq, and he was widely respected as among one of the most brilliant unconventional warfare tacticians in recent memory. It was because of his success, however, that he became one of the US’ most hated foes since he contributed to the defeat of Washington’s regional proxy forces and thus was partly responsible for the decline in American influence there lately. He was therefore marked for death by the US, but Trump knew that killing him without any pretext would be an unnecessary escalation so he wanted to save that “ace up his sleeve” for later. Iran knows that the US wants it to withdraw from Syria and Iraq but steadfastly refuses because it has the legal right to remain there at the request of those countries’ internationally recognized governments, but nevertheless, the US thinks that “might makes right” and is trying to force it out.

The Islamic Republic Won’t Commit Suicide

American and “Israeli” strikes against allegedly IRGC-allied PMU forces over the past month or so were intended to achieve that outcome, which naturally prompted those forces to kinetically react by targeting a US base earlier in the week that afterwards served as the pretext for America’s latest attack against Kataib Hezbollah which in turn triggered the embassy siege. There’s no doubt that the US is escalating the situation in contravention of international law and targeting anti-terrorist forces that contributed to the defeat of Daesh, but polemics — while having their “perception management” purposes — are pointless when it comes to analyzing situations as objectively as possible and forecasting what might come next. Therefore, they’re being excluded from this piece going forward. Having gotten that out of the way, it’s now time to turn the article’s attention towards rebutting the fearmongering claims that World War III is about to start after Maj. Gen. Soleimani’s assassination.

Iran has the international legal right to defend itself, and its Supreme Leader already vowed a “harsh revenge” to that end, but it’s extremely unlikely to take the form of direct attacks against the US or its allies. As much as the next phrase is going to trigger many Alt-Media folks, the US military is capable of destroying Iran in minutes so long as it’s willing to bear the regional costs of its actions, both short-term in the sense of casualties and long-term as it relates to the geopolitical future of the Mideast. After proving his commitment to overwhelmingly respond to any anti-American attacks that his government alleges (whether truthfully or not) are carried out with any degree of Iranian coordination, Trump certainly wouldn’t hesitate to bomb Iran itself if missiles were launched from there against his or his allies’ forces. The Islamic Republic knows that it would literally be suicide to do such a thing, and despite what neoconservatives, Zionists, and Wahhabis claim about the Iranian authorities, they aren’t an “apocalyptic death cult” and thus aren’t going to start World War III.

Several Scenarios

There’s no doubt that Iran could inflict very serious damage to its regional foes if it chooses to “go out with a bang” (whether after being provoked to do so or at its own prerogative), but it’s much more likely that its response to Maj. Gen. Soleimani’s assassination will take the form of intensified Unconventional Warfare against their interests. The US and its allies must have clearly foreseen this and will likely blame Iran for anything that happens in the coming days no matter whether it’s truly involved or not, using that as a pretext for more “decapitation strikes” and other similar measures intended to decimate it and its allies’ forces. The nature of conflict between the two sides is therefore asymmetric since the US has conventional dominance whereas Iran has its unconventional counterpart, and both might be put to the test in the event of another US Embassy siege in Baghdad, which is very probable in the coming days seeing as how Iraqi society is seething with rage and can easily assemble a critical mass of protesters to besiege the compound once again.

For as big of a prize as seizing the world’s largest diplomatic facility would be for whoever can take it (be it Iran, Iranian-allied, or otherwise), there’s no way that Trump would let that happen. Just like the Berlin Airlift of the Old Cold War, the US would carry out a Baghdad Airlift if it need be, which could entail leveling entire neighborhoods in order to prevent its enemies from hiding anti-air missiles there for taking down its air assets. One can only speculate how such a scenario would unfold, but there shouldn’t be any question in anyone’s mind about the US backing down, especially not during an election year and definitely not after Trump proudly boasted that this is his “anti-Benghazi” moment. Another potential retaliatory scenario is disrupting energy transit through the Strait of Hormuz, but that would affect more than just the US and surely elicit universal condemnation from everyone except perhaps allied Syria, just like if Hezbollah or other IRGC-allied forces decide to bomb “Israel” (in which case it and the US would certainly respond through military means).

Don’t Expect Russia Or China To Save Iran

It’s “politically inconvenient” for many of Iran’s supporters across the world to accept, but the country doesn’t have any state-based military allies willing to go to war alongside it except perhaps Syria, but the SAA has been utterly devastated over the last 9 years and is now a shadow of its former self. There is also absolutely no way that Russia would allow Syria to actively participate in any state-based military hostilities alongside Iran because doing so would endanger the forces and substantial investments that it has in the Arab Republic nowadays. Speaking of which, Russia isn’t Iran’s ally, but “Israel’s”, though it wouldn’t go to war alongside the self-professed “Jewish State” but rather stay out of any potential conflict between the two (which wouldn’t last long considering that the US’ conventional dominance could crush the Islamic Republic within days if Trump authorized it to be unleashed to its fullest extent and he was willing to accept the previously mentioned costs).

Neither Russia nor China would go to war in support of Iran, though they could be expected to issue very strong statements of condemnation against the US and anyone else who might conventionally attack it (whether “preemptively” or as “retaliation”). This objectively existing and easily verifiable statement of fact will likely take many in Alt-Media by surprise who have been indoctrinated over the past couple of years with fake news “analyses” alleging that those two Eurasian Great Powers are “anti-American” and willing to fight the US in order to “save the world”. That will never happen unless one of them is attacked first (though even in that case, neither would go to war for the other because they’ve made it clear that they’re not “military allies”), which probably won’t happen because of the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), at least not unless the US is able to surmount that “obstacle” through the combination of its anti-missile technology and “Space Forces”. In any case, nobody should expect Russia or China to rush to Iran’s aid and defend it from the US.

Concluding Thoughts

The most likely outcome of Maj. Gen. Soleimani’s assassination is an intensified period of proxy wars in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen which stays just below the conventional threshold given Iran’s inability to survive an overwhelming US’ “retaliatory” strike if Trump authorized one in response to the unlikely massive missile strike that some speculate Tehran might be preparing. The US might also carry out “surgical strikes” against places in Iran where it might claim other strikes were “organized”, such as if Yemen’s Ansarullah attempt to repeat their successful drone strike against Saudi Aramco from last September. “Decapitation strikes” might therefore become increasingly more frequent and nobody would be safe, not even Hezbollah’s Nasrallah in the worst-case scenario, since the US just signaled that it has the political will to take out “high-value targets”. As all of this unfolds, Russia and China will do their utmost to stay away from any regional fray and definitely wouldn’t intervene to defend Iran. As such, Iran’s expected responses will be purely asymmetrical and not conventional.

Posted in Middle East, USA, Iran, Iraq0 Comments

The Soleimani Assassination: The Long-Awaited Beginning of the End of America’s Imperial Ambitions

By Philip Giraldi

Global Research,

The United States is now at war with Iran in a conflict that could easily have been avoided and it will not end well. There will be no declaration of war coming from either side, but the assassination of Iranian Quds Force Commander General Qassem Soleimaniand the head of Kata’ib Hezbollah Abu Mehdi Muhandis by virtue of a Reaper drone strike in Baghdad will shift the long-simmering conflict between the two nations into high gear. Iran cannot let the killing of a senior military officer go unanswered even though it cannot directly confront the United States militarily. But there will be reprisals and Tehran’s suspected use of proxies to stage limited strikes will now be replaced by more damaging actions that can be directly attributed to the Iranian government. As Iran has significant resources locally, one can expect that the entire Persian Gulf region will be destabilized.

And there is also the terrorism card, which will come into play. Iran has an extensive diaspora throughout much of the Middle East and, as it has been threatened by Washington for many years, it has had a long time to prepare for a war to be fought largely in the shadows. No American diplomat, soldier or even tourists in the region should consider him or herself to be safe, quite the contrary. It will be an “open season” on Americans. The U.S. has already ordered a partial evacuation of the Baghdad Embassy and has advised all American citizens to leave the country immediately.

Donald Trump rode to victory in 2016 on a promise to end the useless wars in the Middle East, but he has now demonstrated very clearly that he is a liar. Instead of seeking detente, one of his first actions was to end the JCPOA nuclear agreement and re-introduce sanctions against Iran. In a sense, Iran has from the beginning been the exception to Trump’s no-new-war pledge, a position that might reasonably be directly attributed to his incestuous relationship with the American Jewish community and in particular derived from his pandering to the expressed needs of Israel’s belligerent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.America’s “Limited Wars” – Are They Good for Israel?

Trump bears full responsibility for what comes next. The neoconservatives and Israelis are predictably cheering the result, with Mark Dubowitz of the pro-Israel Foundation for Defense of Democracies enthusing that it is “bigger than bin Laden…a massive blow to the [Iranian] regime.” Dubowitz, whose credentials as an “Iran expert” are dubious at best, is at least somewhat right in this case. Qassem Suleimani is, to be sure, charismatic and also very popular in Iran. He is Iran’s most powerful military figure in the entire region, being the principal contact for proxies and allies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. But what Dubowitz does not understand is that no one in a military hierarchy is irreplaceable.  Suleimani’s aides and high officials in the intelligence ministry are certainly more than capable of picking up his mantle and continuing his policies.

In reality, the series of foolish attacks initiated by the United States over the past week will only hasten the departure of much of the U.S. military from the region. The Pentagon and White House have been insisting that Iran was behind an alleged Kata’ib Hezbollah attack on a U.S. installation that then triggered a strike by Washington on claimed militia targets in Syria and also inside Iraq. Even though the U.S. military presence is as a guest of the Iraqi government, Washington went ahead with its attack even after the Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said “no.”

To justify its actions, Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense, went so far as to insist that “Iran is at war with the whole world,” a clear demonstration of just how ignorant the White House team actually is. The U.S. government characteristically has not provided any evidence demonstrating either Iranian or Kata’ib involvement in recent developments, but after the counter-strike killed 26 Iraqi soldiers, the mass demonstrations against the Embassy in Baghdad became inevitable. The demonstrations were also attributed to Iran by Washington even though the people in the street were undoubtedly Iraqis.

Now that the U.S. has also killed Suleimani and Muhandis in a drone strike at Baghdad Airport, clearly accomplished without the approval of the Iraqi government, it is inevitable that the prime minister will ask American forces to leave. That will in turn make the situation for the remaining U.S. troops in neighboring Syria untenable. And it will also force other Arab states in the region to rethink their hosting of U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen due to the law of unanticipated consequences as it is now clear that Washington has foolishly begun a war that serves no one’s interests.

The blood of the Americans, Iranians and Iraqis who will die in the next few weeks is clearly on Donald Trump’s hands as this war was never inevitable and served no U.S. national interest. It will surely turn out to be a debacle, as well as devastating for all parties involved. And it might well, on top of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, be the long-awaited beginning of the end of America’s imperial ambitions. Let us hope so!

Posted in Middle East, USA, ZIO-NAZI, Iran, Iraq0 Comments

Sheer Stupidity Defines the Trump Regime’s Foreign Policy. Escalation and the Risk of an All Out War

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research,

A personal comment in response to the Trump regime’s assassination of redoubtable Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, a national hero now martyred by US imperial rage.

He represented Iranian resilience and resistance against US state-terrorism, its endless wars of aggression, its rage for global control by brute force — responsible for countless millions of deaths, vast destruction, and human misery globally.

The nation I grew up in long ago no longer exists. Never beautiful, it was world’s apart from today’s permanent US state of war on humanity at home and abroad.

Throughout the post-WW II Cold War period through Soviet Russia’s December 1991 dissolution, I never feared nuclear war.

Mutually assured destruction (MAD) when cooler heads ran things in Washington prevented the unthinkable.

Today’s criminal class in the nation’s capital makes the unthinkable possible — bipartisan hardliners abhorrent of peace, stability, equity, justice, and the rule of law.

They’re unchallenged by a largely ignorant, indifferent public, brainwashed by political and media talking heads, distracted by bread and circuses — while endless wars rage, the nation’s resources used for mass slaughter, vast destruction, conquest and colonization, at the expense of beneficial social change.

Will planet earth be consumed by US arrogance and rage for dominance?

Is catastrophic nuclear war inevitable? Will humanity survive or perish?

Are we doomed by diabolical US rage to force other countries to bend to its will — naked aggression and other hostile actions its favored tactics, multi-world polarity fought tooth and nail, peace and stability considered un-American!US Waging Wars on Multiple Fronts: Cold Wars, Hot Wars, Economic Wars, Propaganda Wars …

As a boy, youth and young man, I was free from what I fear now — possible global war that could kill us all.

The road to hell pursued by the US ruling class is paved with ill-intentions — abhorrent of what just societies cherish.

In my 9th decade, I fear for younger generations in the US and elsewhere.

Will they match my longevity or perish in a mushroom-shaped cloud or by other destructive means?

Are they doomed by US rage to rule the world unchallenged by whatever it takes to achieve its aims, the human toll of no consequence?

Heaven help us in the new year and what follows. 2020 began with a bang! Is the worst ahead?

In response to Soleimani’s Trump regime assassination, Russia’s upper house Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Konstantin Kosachev called what happened “the worst case scenario,” adding:

Iranian retribution “will not take long…This is very difficult news, a harbinger of new clashes between the Americans and radical Shiites in Iraq.”

“But I will be glad to be proved wrong because wars are easy to start, but very difficult to end.”

A statement by Russia’s Foreign Ministry said:

“We consider the killing of Soleimani as the result of an American missile strike in the vicinity of Baghdad to be a bold step that will lead to increased tension throughout the region,” adding:

“Soleimani was devoted to protecting Iran’s national interests. We express our sincere condolences to the Iranian people.”

Russian expert Dmitry Trenin said Soleimani’s assassination “will not deter Iran. More likely it will further escalate the situation in the region, starting with Iraq” — where it already began by renewed US aggression.

On Friday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced Soleimani’s successor, saying:

“Following the martyrdom of the glorious General Haj Qasem Soleimani, I name Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani as the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”

He also declared three days of mourning to honor Soleimani’s leadership, courage, and dedication to defending Iran from the threat of foreign aggression.

Posted in USA0 Comments

It’s About Time the ICC Initiates Probe into Nazi War Crimes

It’s About Time the ICC Initiates Probe into Israeli War Crimes

By Michael Jansen

Global Research,

It is about time for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to initiate and actually conduct a probe into war crimes perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced recently that she would launch a full investigation into crimes committed by Israel as soon as the court’s jurisdiction has been established. She said a preliminary investigation initiated in 2015 had provided sufficient material to meet criteria for proceeding with a full probe that could lead to prosecutions.

Bensouda said she has filed a request with judges for an “expeditious” ruling on jurisdiction due to the contested legal status of the Palestinian territories conquered by Israel in 1967.

While Israel is not a signatory of the ICC’s Statute, Palestine applied in 2009 and gained membership in 2012 after its UN membership was upgraded by the UN General Assembly to “non-member observer state”. Palestine has joined other UN and international organisations and signed key treaties since then, strengthening its case with respect to the ICC.

Palestine signed the ICC statute on January 2, 2015. When its membership entered into force on April 1, 2015. The ICC held a ceremony welcoming Palestine as the 123rd state party to the Rome Statute, which was signed in July 1996 and entered into force on July 1, 2002. The European Union welcomed Palestine’s accession.

The Statute designates four international crimes: Genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. The ICC has jurisdiction if any of these crimes are committed on the territory of a member state. This is certainly true where the territory of Palestine is concerned.

On January 16, 2015, before Palestine’s membership had entered into force, the ICC prosecutor opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine to determine whether to carry out the full probe. It is on the basis of this investigation that Bensouda intends to proceed. In the view of Bensouda, this confers on Palestine and the Palestinian Authority the right to pursue cases against Israel.Palestinians Decry ICC Prosecutor’s Delay of Israeli War Crimes Investigation

Two previous Palestinian complaints have been problematic. The first was an investigation into Israel’s 2010 attack on Turkish ferryboat, Mavi Marmara, which killed 10 peace activists taking part in a flotilla bound for Gaza. This complaint was dropped early last month.

The second was mounted in August 2014 into Israel’s illegal colonisation of Palestinian territory and onslaught on Gaza that killed 2,100-2,300 Palestinians, 67 Israeli soldiers, five Israeli civilians and one Thai worker. These cases were included in the preliminary probe.

Bensouda decided to take the plunge in 2014 during Israel’s disproportionate assault on Gaza. At that time, she intended her investigation to be entirely independent and focused on crimes defined by the Rome Statute. Unlike other figures critical of Israel actions, she does not regard “Israeli exceptionalism”, or impunity, as a reason for failing to tackle its bad behaviour.

The current focus is on Israeli West Bank settlement activities regarded as illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits colonisation of land conquered in war, Israeli violations in Gaza, abuses by Palestinian Authority security personnel, and Authority pensions for families of Palestinians who have mounted attacks on Israelis.

The Palestinian Authority welcomed Bensouda’s decision to proceed with a full investigation and demanded that proceedings go forward without further delays. “After nearly five years of preliminary examination, the Palestinian people who seek redress in this court expect actions congruent with the urgency and gravity of the situation in Palestine and they rightly demand that these steps are taken without delay.”

Both Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of state Mike Pompeo have said the ICC has no jurisdiction because Palestine is not a “so sovereign state”. Neither Israel nor the US have joined the ICC so they have little direct purchase to exert pressure on the court. Israeli and US opposition to Bensouda’s probe was always expected. While Israel is a constant abuser of Palestinians, the US does its utmost to block efforts to curb Israel or punish it for its illegal actions. Israel and the US are certain to lobby ICC members to oppose and scupper the court’s probe with the aim of defending Israel from the “embarrassment” of having its citizens tried and, finally, found guilty of the “war crimes they have been committing for decades”.

However, the Trump administration, has transformed the US into a rogue state on the international scene. European governments are, in particular, fed up with his withdrawal of the US from well-established global treaties and agreements, including the Paris climate change accord and the six-nation deal to dismantle 90 per cent of Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

On the Palestine-Israel front, Trump has put the nails in the coffin of the long moribund Palestinian-Israeli peace process. Instead of adopting an even-handed approach to negotiations between Palestine and Israel, Trump has done everything in his power to please and court Israel.

He has renounced 70 years of agreed international policy by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and shifting the US embassy to the Holy City. Trump has ended all US funding to the UN agency looking after Palestinian refugees and Pompeo has argued that Israeli settlements are not “illegal”.

Trump has recognised Israel’s unilateral annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights, occupied by Israel in 1967, and is expected to do the same once Netanyahu annexes Israeli West Bank colonies and the Jordan Valley.  By taking these steps Trump has, essentially, preempted Palestinian-Israeli negotiations by deciding the fate of Jerusalem, refugees and Israeli settlements, key issues dividing the parties, as well as the Golan.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights0 Comments

UN Concerned over British Government’s Failure to Investigate Whether Assange Has Been Subjected to Psychological Torture

By Ceren Sagir

Global Research,

United Nations special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer has written to governments to press them to investigate properly evidence that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been subjected to psychological torture.

On December 31 Mr Melzer shared on Twitter a letter that he had sent to the British government shaming its failure to address concerns that Mr Assange had been tortured.

Nils Melzer@NilsMelzer

(1/6) Just out: My letter to the #UK Govt of 29 Oct 2019, detailing serious due process violations, expressing alarm at #Assange’s detention conditions & health, reiterating my queries & calling for his prompt release. Direct link: http://bit.ly/2ZCygWA  (60 days & no response)

View image on Twitter

77012:54 AM – Dec 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy755 people are talking about this

The letter, dated October 29, did not receive a response. He has also written to the United States, Swedish and Ecuadorian governments.

The US is seeking Mr Assange’s extradition to face spying charges. The whistleblower has been detained since his arrest in April at the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He had been confined there since 2012 after being granted asylum by the South American country.Julian Assange’s Life May be at Risk. UN Expert on Torture Sounds Alarm

At the time Mr Assange was a wanted man in Sweden, having failed to respond to demands for him to return there to face questioning over sexual assault charges. He claimed that Sweden would simply ship him out to a vengeful US, angered by his whistleblowing activities. The assault charges were eventually dropped.

In his tweet Mr Melzer accused the British government of “seriously undermining the credibility of the UK’s commitment to the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment, as well as to the rule of law more generally.”

He said that “recurring and serious” due-process violations in Britain have rendered Mr Assange’s case “inherently arbitrary, to the point of making any legal remedies a pointless formality devoid of prospect.”

Mr Melzer called on the government to retract its extradition authorisation and release him from prison “without further delay.”

Anti-war campaigner John Rees told the Star yesterday:

“Obviously it is a very important intervention from a very high-authority source, but it is not news to anyone who has visited Assange in Belmarsh high-security prison, as I have.

“The conditions he is being kept in are unacceptable and there is absolutely no doubt that the prison regime is directly causing deterioration of his health.”

Mr Rees said it was Home Secretary Priti Patel’s responsibility to intervene.

“The judge has already expressed concern that [Mr Assange’s] legal team are not getting access to their client,” he said. “Both these things are of the most serious nature, it jeopardises any fair hearings coming up in February.”

Former Derby North MP Chris Williamson tweeted:

“The UK government’s treatment of Julian Assange continues to shame Britain.”

Mr Melzer’s call comes as journalist Vaughan Smith told RT that an “obviously sedated” Mr Assange said he was “slowly dying here” during a Christmas Eve phone call between the two friends.

Mr Smith said Mr Assange sounded like a shell of the man he once.

“His speech was slurred. He was speaking slowly,” Mr Smith said. “Now, Julian is highly articulate, a very clear person when he speaks. And he sounded awful. It was very upsetting to hear him.”

Posted in Human Rights, UK, UN0 Comments

West Bank Nazi Jewish Settlers Attack Undercover Nazi Police Officers Disguised as Palestinians

By The New Arab

Two Israeli settlers attacked undercover police officers disguised as Palestinian labourers in an illegal West Bank settlement this week.

Believing the police to be Palestinian workers, the teenage settlers approached them in the Bat Ayin settlement and started to interrogate them. The police refused to answer properly, prompting an attack, Haaretz reported.

One teenager used pepper spray on the undercover cop, and the other started beating them.

They were subsequently arrested and taken in for questioning. According to their lawyer, Moshe Polsky, the two teenage boys were held overnight. Their names were not released because they are minors.

Polsky, who is defending the teenagers on behalf of far-right pro-settlement legal aid group Honeinu, said the boys were under full conviction that the officers were Palestinian, thus attacking them is justified during a “stressful security period”.

He also deplored the police officers for “provoking” the settlers by dressing as undercover Palestinians.

Settlers in Bat Ayin are notoriously anti-Palestinian. Unlike other illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, Palestinians are not even allowed to enter.

Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, and commits various abuses against Palestinian civilians, human rights groups say.

More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.

Along with stealing land, Israeli soldiers and settlers routinely harass Palestinians in the occupied territories in various ways.

Israeli military forces and settlers routinely harass Palestinians in the occupied territories through harming and killing civilians, demolishing homes, poisoning livestock, vandalising property and other forms of violence.

Featured image is from Digital Journal Israeli Rabbi Asks Settlers to Poison Palestinian Water “In Order to Kill Them”

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

US Sanctions and the Caesar Act, Oil and Gas, Chemical Weapons, and the Syrian Response

Interview with Media and Political Advisor in the Syrian Presidency Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

By Bouthaina Shaaban and Arabi Souri

Global Research,

The Caesar Act is one of the main topics discussed by the Media and Political Advisor in the Syrian Presidency Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban in a thorough must watch and learn from interview with Kamal Khalaf of Al-Mayadeen News channel.

Dr. Shaaban discusses and addresses the pressuring issues and recent developments relating to Syria

The shift from unipolar world to a multipolar world, the US sanctions including the passing of the Caesar’s Act, the Turkish invasion and the Syrian Arab Army’s military operation to clean Idlib from NATO terrorists, the oil and gas, and many other topics.

How will the Syrian government respond and what is underway, including two new revelations for the first time.

Arab Souri

**

The junta ruling the United States of America is taking advantage of its financial power it possesses based on the petrodollar trade, its military power in uniforms and covert operations stretching worldwide, and worse its propagandists in the mainstream media whitewashing demonizing its enemies, allowing it to commit crimes against the rest of the world and against its own people with no remorse, just to amass more money, more wealth, and kill more people…

It has resorted to all what it has in its arsenal  against Syria, yet it is not able to break this small nation.

The interview took place in Damascus and was recorded by Al-Mayadeen on 25 December 2019.

The following is the interview in Arabic with English subtitles, followed by the transcript of the English translation and the Arabic transcript of the interview.

The transcript of the English translation

Kamal Khalaf  Today when we came to Damascus, the streets of Damascus were decorated with celebrations and there was joy that we were afraid you will be late for this live episode, because of this congestion, happy holidays.

Dr. Buthaina Shaaban: Happy Holidays, truly, what you mentioned Mr. Kamal is very important, I have not seen Damascus decorated as I saw it tonight, and I think this is a beautiful and natural reaction from the Syrian people after all the attempts of sedition between Muslims and Christians, this year I felt that the Syrian people are telling the whole world that we are all Christians and we are all Muslims.

KK: The Algerian people today bid farewell to a great figure, Ahmed Qayed Saleh, chief of staff of the Algerian army, in a sensitive circumstance and he also saved Algeria, as many Algerians say, from a major crisis, I know the depth of the relationship between Syria and Algeria and how Algeria stood with Syria, the relationship with Syria has not changed during all the years of war.

DBS: True, and I’d like through your honorable screen to condole the Algerian government and people of losing this great personality and today the Algerian people have given testimony to this leader, they gave testimony against all attempts at sedition when demonstrations were appearing in the streets and various talks about the Algerian army and its stand against the people or the people’s stand against the army, today the Algerian people put an end to all these sayings and proved that they all had nothing to do with reality, the people gathered around the army and God bless Qayed Saleh, who will remain a model for those who really saved their country and left.

KK: We begin our episode, our viewers Damascus is currently under the biggest campaign of American pressure and not only the signing of the American president a few days ago the Law of Caesar to punish Syria, but the law comes within a multifaceted campaign, these include expanding the tasks of the chemical attack investigation team for the first time in the organization’s history, assigning the team the task of identifying specific names, as well as the (U.S.) administration blatantly obstructing the returning of the Syrian refugees from neighbouring countries and returning Arab relations with Syria. What are the direct economic and political implications of Caesar’s law on Syria?

What does Damascus think of the foundations of the law, and what are the ways and options to counter the U.S. pressure campaign? What does the heightened pressure on Syria have to do with the strategy of extreme pressure on Iran and what is happening in Both Lebanon and Iraq? During this episode, we also look at the most prominent developments on the ground and political in Syria.

These topics are presented directly to Dr. Buthaina Shaaban tonight. I welcome you again and start with the Caesar Act. Today, the Syrian people have anxiety, they have concerns, we listened through the people we meet on social media, fearing or worried of the passing of Caesar’s bill by the United States President on Syria. Is there really something to worry about this law that has direct implications for the lives of Syrian citizens?

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban: The truth is that this law is an episode of the pressure campaigns on Syria that started from 2011 to today,and I remember when we went to Geneva in 2014 and met With Wolf Blitzer from CNN, the first question he asked me about this “Caesar” was that he collected photos and testimonials… Etc. But as you know, this law has been presented more than once before Congress and didn’t move in Congress, I think until it had the support of the Zionist lobby and the AIPAC, It doesn’t make sense to be anyone, whoever it is, and I think they didn’t intentionally reveal the character of this “Caesar” because they know that he is just a small tool, but the real work was done by the lobbies against Syria and the Republican and Democratic parties, because it was assigned to the United States defense budget for 2020, which accounts for more than one-third of the U.S. budget and no one can put this law in this budget unless it is from the military or the Zionist lobby, so for us as a Syrian government it is part of all the pressure attempts and all the attempts they tried to take over Syria, but they could not, and this law will not be able to get Syria.

There is no doubt that it is a criminal and unjust law that has nothing to do with international legitimacy or international law, nor respect for state sovereignty, but the Syrian people who have been going through these years know how to face all these challenges.

KK: Do you know who Caesar is? Is he a real character?

DBS: No, we don’t know who Caesar is, surely not. We don’t know, but they said they were the Syrian Task Force that embraced this law, as they call it, from the agents they choose and pay them whoever they are, names do not matter.

KK: Isn’t it remarkable that even the United States has not revealed his name even though he is in the United States, he ultimately has full protection if he exists…

DBS: Sure, I don’t think they didn’t reveal his name out of fear for him, I think maybe the credibility will disappear once and for all if they reveal his name, I think they know he’s a small tool, they didn’t reveal his name, not out of fear (for him) but so that they don’t lose credibility at all. Now the character remains vague and some belief remains that there is a part of the real, they are all fabrications such as chemical (attacks) fabrications and all the fabrications they have fabricated like White Helmets… There’s nothing new about it.

KK: The foundations of the law, the photographs submitted to Congress on which the draft of severe sanctions bill known as Caesar was built, what do you think of them? How factual is it?

DBS: These pictures, as I said, since 2014, any sane person who looks at these images finds that there are a million problems, and since then I have read more than one article saying that Qatar has funded this project, financed the fabrication of these photos and financed the whole story in order to reach Congress and pass a law. The problem is that it was passed by a law, previously through The Executive Order issued by Obama in the form of a presidential order, and an Executive Order is less effective than a law, but now they have turned it into law, i.e. any future administration will abide by this law against Syria. But we rely not on good intentions or on the easing of sanctions, we depend on ourselves, and we will mention in the course of the episode, God willing, that Syria, despite all this suffering, we have twice the number of pharmaceutical factories that we had in 2011, we have drug factories that didn’t even exist, like a drug for treating cancer. The more we face a challenge, the more we focus on strengthening the industrial structure, the agricultural structure, the educational structure and the health structure.

KK: Does it mean turning the crisis into an opportunity?

DBS: God willing.

KK: Allow us to see the highlights of this law in this summary:

Trump signed Caesar’s Law and was included in the 2020 U.S. defense budget, imposing new measures against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian state with its institutions and allies.

Imposing sanctions on the Central Bank of Syria and on Syrian ministers, deputies and citizens, companies and factories, particularly in related infrastructure and military industry.

The sanctions apply on those who supply Syrian airlines with spare parts and maintenance, those who participate in reconstruction projects run by the Syrian government and anyone who supports the energy sector in Syria.

The law consistently mentions Russia and Iran and threatens to impose sanctions on them linked to Syria’s support. It clearly states that sanctions will be imposed on Iranian and Russian officials who support the ‘regime.’

Under the name of humanity and the rescue of civilians, the law authorizes the Secretary of State to support organizations and prosecute people accused of crimes.

The project excludes non-governmental organizations providing assistance in Syria and around this exception many questions about the identity and mission of these organizations.

The law leaves the door open for lifting sanctions if Damascus agrees to negotiate and thereby concede away from the Russian and Iranian support, or if the President finds that lifting sanctions is in favor of U.S. national security.

America declares war on Syria and its allies with the strategy of extreme pressures and the law of Caesar within them, but Newton’s physical law confirms that each reaction has a reaction equal to the amount and reverses it in the direction, how will Syria respond?

KK: How will Syria respond? What economic measures or plans can you face?

DBS: For the truth, what I have heard and what I have read about this law is nothing new. They put all this pressure on us, our allies, our aviation, the Central Bank (Of Syria) and the officials and the government, they put all this pressure on us.

Perhaps today they think that if they exert greater pressure, Syria will accept U.S. terms. They may raise the pressure as a pressure sheet on Syria, but from experience, they should have known that this would not be useful to the truth.

KK: What are the American conditions, Doctor? What do they want? The real purpose of this law?

DBS: I believe that since the beginning of this war on Syria, the main objective is to confiscate the independent national decision and to have Syria in the host of the countries that are subject to the American decision and not to rule itself. I think that this is the problem that the United States is experiencing not only with Syria but with all the countries that it imposes sanctions on, whether it’s Venezuela, Bolivia, China or Russia, this is the main focus.

The United States, as a dominant pole in the world today, is beginning to fear for its position and is punishing all countries that, by certain alliances, could form other poles in the world.

KK: Are there any demands beyond the crisis in Syria towards the Arab-Israeli conflict? The Deal of the Century? The settlement of the Palestinians..?

DBS: We have no (communication) channel between us and the United States and there is no negotiation on any subject at all, whether, by the Deal of the Century or any other subject, They may need through this Jordan and Egypt, while you see the procedures for the Golan and for Jerusalem all arbitrary actions stemming from the Zionist interest. But for us, there is no dialogue in this regard at all.

KK: Only from the experiences of other countries, for example, JASTA (act) towards Saudi was to withdraw funds from Saudi, there were sanctions on Libya after the Lockerbie plane crash, there were sanctions on Iraq after the first Gulf War, there were sanctions on Sudan, all of which ended with a deal in which they asked this or that regime to make a series of concessions, often related to the Arab-Israeli conflict and to (stop) support for liberation movements such as in Libya and elsewhere, so I asked this question about what is required of Syria?

DBS: We don’t have any information what is required, but I think the difference between this law and JASTA and Lockerbie is that this law is trying to punish Syria’s allies, who support Syria, also, as you mentioned in the introduction, it mentioned Iran and Russia more than once in punishing parties that could help Syria in reconstruction.

KK: Could this include China as well as other countries?

DBS: It might, but I think all of these countries have procedures as well, alliance procedures with each other and action measures. I don’t think these sanctions being drafted by the United States will last long, I do not think that states will abide by them for long, because all the states we have mentioned are affected by these sanctions. None of these countries wants to go into direct conflict with the United States but I see action against this current as valid as President Putin said yesterday, he said we are not seeking a military alliance with China but trust with China is very strong and we will contribute to all industrial and technical products with China.

There is a world that is being formed, allied and works, but not to confront who imposes these sanctions. But I think in the short term these sanctions will lose its impact.

KK: Some may consider expanding sanctions to other entities and other countries as a weakness of this law, but on the other hand, is there coordination between you and allies: Iran, Russia, China, and possibly other countries in the face of these sanctions?

DBS: Sure, of course, there is coordination at many levels between us and our allies, and there is a common understanding and understanding between us and our allies about where the world is today and what the United States is doing in this world, and there is great resentment and a vision of what we should all do. So I don’t think all this pressure from the United States will work at all in any file you want from Syria, it’s not going to work.

KK: Today, Doctor, you are telling the Syrian people that Caesar’s law will not change anything?

DBS: No, it won’t change anything. True because since the beginning of the crisis, all the items I have read in Caesar’s Law have nothing new at all: Boycott, ban spare parts and (sanctions on) the central bank and officials, all of them. They are already punishing allies who wanted to send us oil, medicine or food, all of this exists.

I didn’t see anything new in this law. We have to pay attention to the media; they create a media aura about any action to win the war before it begins. In fact, part of this law is a psychological war, especially the way it was drafted.

KK: We hear in the street that after the passage of Caesar’s law, the exchange rate of the dollar will rise to a record level against the Syrian pound.

DBS: The dollar has nothing to do with Caesar or the economic level, there is no economy that goes negatively or positively in a day and night, these are speculations of exchange companies, when they say that the dollar reached the price of 850 Lira you find that in the market no one sells or buys at this price, all of it is just talk on paper, it has nothing to do with the reality of the Syrian economy.

I met with colleagues in charge of the economy and they told me today the economy is 50 times better than it was in 2011, the reality of economic reality is much better than it was at the beginning of the crisis. There is work going on in agriculture, industry, in enterprises and institutions, there is strong work because we know that we must be self-sufficient in everything and we must rely on ourselves.

KK: This is very reassuring, Doctor, especially for Syrians with expectations of the effects of this law, but the law comes amid tremendous U.S. pressure and a firm application of the strategy of extreme pressure on Iran. Is there a relationship between the strategy of extreme pressure on Iran and the passage of Caesar’s law on the one hand, and also is there a connection to what is happening in Iraq and Lebanon? Are these things connected?

DBS: I would like to tell you, Mr. Kamal, that I see the world as one square, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, China, Venezuela and Libya, all one square and there are strategies put in place to break up our countries from within to prevent communication and solidarity between our nations. What is happening in Lebanon and what is happening in Iraq is undoubtedly against Syria, against Lebanon, against Iraq, against Libya, and against all these countries.

They have resorted to methods to break up our societies from within. It is true that there is no doubt that people have right demands and that they have the right to revolt against corruption and against the absence of services, this is their right, but these revolutions did not bring all countries to a better level, including what happened in Syria, did Syria become better because of what some called and took to the street to destroy institutions and destroy factories, is this a way that leads to more freedom, more democracy and more prosperity?

AS: The sanctions and economic pressure exerted on Syria, Lebanon and other countries is mainly aimed at creating a state of popular restlessness and thus the emergence of social classes to claim their rights.

DBS: Thus, the creation of government puppets of the United States of America, we return to the subject of independent national decision. What these governments want, for example, Adel Abdul Mahdi (Iraqi Prime Minister) now resigns, he signed with China two months ago for $10 billion and to pay Iraqi oil, i.e. to exchange Iraqi oil, he opened the Albu Kamal crossing (with Syria) despite all the American pressure, he stood against the Deal of the Century at the United Nations and call for the right of return to the Palestinians, these are the principles and prescriptions that caused these moves against Adel Abdul Mahdi. We all felt that when this Iraqi government came, it was more independent of the United States of America, and that’s what the United States doesn’t want, all the United States wants today is to have a subordinate government in Iraq, a subordinate government in Lebanon, a subordinate government in Syria, in Libya, to hand over this area to Israel to become an Israeli space as they normalize (with Israel) today, this is the real goal of all of this.

Kk: I also have two points about Caesar’s law, but before that, the German Firil Center for Studies publishing objectives related to Caesar’s law, we will present a summary of these goals as stated by the German Study Center.

Prolonging the Syrian crisis and hindering the reconstruction process and reducing the role of Iranian, Russian, Chinese and other companies, in short, Trump wants his share in reconstruction, says the Center for Studies.

Also, pressure Syria and Russia to secure the withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria and prevent Russia’s expansion in the eastern regions and the (Syrian) Jazeera region, and limit its presence to the bases of Hmeimim and Tartus.

Among the goals to further disintegrate Syrian society in preparation for the 2021 elections.

The law exempts NGOs operating in Syria that provides humanitarian aid to those in need in the occupied territories by Turkey and the United States, these areas will not suffer from economic crises like other areas liberated by the Syrian army and we will see the flow of aid to them more, here will show the economic and living difference which will push, according to the American conviction, the pro-Assad street to move against him, and as a result of economic pressures and threats of submitting Syrian officials to war crimes courts, the Syrian state will make political and military concessions, including bowing to separatist projects.Targeted Sanctions: Break the “Economic Siege” on Syria. “Decades of Progress Wiped out”

What do you think of these targets, Doctor?

DBS: These objectives are correct, prolonging the Syrian crisis, trying to pounce on Russian influence and expansion in the region that they consider a threat. These are all correct objectives, but as a result where these goals want to reach? It expresses blatant interference in the affairs of states and the attempt to impose a new colonial hegemony on our state, that is the reality of the matter. They are also concerned that Russia is now on the Mediterranean Sea and as a key partner in Syria, it also has excellent relations even with America’s allies, starting to build relationships and sell weapons even to America’s allies.

The whole international track is worrying for the United States of America. The United States of America sees itself today as no longer the only pole in the world, there are economic, military, geopolitical and regional movements that suggest that the world is heading towards a multipolar world.

So we see this irritating move from the United States of America, whether for Jerusalem or for the Golan, for the Deal of the Century, or for Venezuela, take what you want from what the United States is doing, are irritated movements that try to say that I am the only power in the world and I will remain the only power in the world, this will not happen because the course of economic, political and intellectual progress of the whole world will not allow the USA to remain so, until today the United States is a military and financial force, without a doubt, and the main reason is the Gulf states selling oil in dollars if the dollar fell today the United States would fall or if the oil was sold in non-dollar.

Two weeks ago, I attended an important conference in Beijing called the South-South Dialogue and the Development of Human Rights, and there were important speakers from Africa, Asia and Latin America, you feel that all these speakers are very angry at the Use of Human Rights by the United States to interfere with state affairs.

I gave my speech and I see the representative of Venezuela, the representative of Nigeria and the representative of Tanzania come to me and say to me, “I have spoken on behalf of all of us, we love you and this is what we have to do. Everyone demanded that the Countries of the North also be invited to this Conference and that the Bill of Human Rights be redrafted so that the Countries of the South have an opinion and a voice because they did not have a voice in the drafting of the Bill of Human Rights or in the use of the Bill of Human Rights which is used by America.

What I would like to say is that the world is maturing with important thinking in order to get rid of this American military and political hegemony and colonial domination, in which today the sanctions constitute as one of the most egregious aspects of this hegemony.

KK: A point related to the law of (Caesar) before we talk about other issues in the Syrian and regional affairs, how true is the impact of what is happening in Lebanon, especially with regard to the actions of banks in Lebanon on the Syrian economy?

What we have heard in Syria is that one of the important causes of the current crisis is what is happening in Lebanon, especially the banking issue, is this accurate?

DBS: I think no one has an accurate statistic about what is going on, but you know that I say and believe that everything that is happening in Lebanon affects Syria and everything that is happening in Syria affects Lebanon, and this is a fact that we are very close countries, the two people are very close to each other, the exchange between Syria and Lebanon is on daily bases, and no doubt a lot of Syrian money went to the Lebanese banks in this war on Syria, what happened in Lebanon may have an impact on the Syrian economy, but not so much that cannot be overcome, I do not think that this is a fundamental reason or disruption to the course of the movement and progress of the Syrian economy.

KK: We go back to the United States, directly and accurately, is the United States the reason why Syrian-Arab relations are not back to normal?

DBS: I think this is because of the absence of an independent national resolution in many Arab countries, unfortunately, this is possible, we know in the meetings before, the United States is distributing a statement either at the Non-Aligned Summit or in the Arab League or at the Conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, distributes statements to countries and force them to say what it wants.

It is not only preventing the relationship with Syria, but the course of normalization today with the Israeli enemy and the nonsense that we hear that they were like that before, yesterday I was reading how Shimon Peres got a Palestinian visa to enter Palestine, how they think and how to convince those people (of normalization).

We really do not want this version of Arab action, we want a formula similar to our relationship with Algeria, to be a country of resistance, a resistance environment that believes in the Arab-Arab relationship, capable of being independent. This is the future we aspire to with the Arab countries, and God willing, this future will be achieved.

KK: It is (the United States) that prevents the return of refugees. On this subject I will link what we read from the German Center Firil a little while ago, I was struck by the topic of preparing for the 2021 elections, one aspect of U.S. pressure on Syria is to put pressure on Syrian society because the United States has a bet in the 2021 presidential election. Also, the issue of the return of refugees is said to be in the same context, is that true?

DBS: I think they are betting that by not allowing refugees to return to Syria, they may be able to control more of the results of the 2021 presidential elections. However, more than a year ago, I read the publications of the Israeli National Security Center, which explained when the refugees had begun to return and suddenly measures were taken to prevent them from returning and measures were taken in Jordan, where they were not allowed to work and suddenly they were allowed to work, in Turkey and other countries, I read that the non-return of refugees is very important to Israel, because in Jordan, for example, there is a proportion of Syrian refugees and it is changing the demographic nature of Jordan, as well as in Lebanon, it is changing the demographic nature of Lebanon, it also impoverishes Syria by cadres and professional people, these are strategic calculations of first and last objective.

KK: Not including using them as a vote tank in the upcoming (presidential) elections?

DBS: The report of the Center for Israeli National Security Studies did not have this subject, but there is no doubt that this topic is in the minds of Western countries, I think it is time for them to know that they cannot undermine the footsteps of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian people, who have sacrificed all these sacrifices to be their voice independent and to be able to choose who they want to govern.

KK: The process of returning refugees continues, albeit in varying proportions.

On the subject of Arab relations, there were signs of a new Saudi approach, has this topic reached a certain level?

DBS: No, it did not reach a certain level, just words and attempts remained in its place, there is no serious path.

KK: Why? The United States and the American decision?

DBS: I think that the Gulf states are not capable, even during the war some of these countries were sending us whispers that “we wish to win the war because we know that without Syria, we will not have a future, but we cannot say that.”

Kk: Like: our hearts are with you and our swords are on you.

DBS: Yes, our hearts are with you, our swords are on you, and we are forced to raise our swords on you. Mr. President always says that we understand that this is the case, we cannot change this situation. The goal of war in the whole world and these sanctions and all the labor of countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East is about the independent national decision, what was Evo Morales’ fault? He was an independent man, Lula de Silva, what was the issue with Lula de Silva? is that he was an independent man of the U.S. decision, it is therefore very important to bear in mind that what the United States is always doing is based on its attempt to maintain the hegemony of one pole over the world and that all the course of events and peoples in the world today is to get rid of this path and to create a new reality leading to a multipolar world, and that is what will happen. These are difficulties on the way, no problem.

KK: In the chemical file, one of the pressures on Syria, this program has already discussed it in detail, but there is a very serious point that may be similar to the American Law of Caesar, which is to give additional powers to the investigation and fact-finding team with regard to chemical attacks, these powers have not been taken by the (OPCW) organization in its history to the extent that today even Russia says that this is not the job of the organization but the job of the United Nations Security Council, you will not deal with this fact-finding team, but I would like to know in this process the chemical issue, where will it eventually reach?

DBS: The subject of the chemical file there is a fundamental problem in the world (mainstream) media, because the world media is under the control of those who run the chemical file and the White Helmets and the war on Syria, what has been published in the last three months about the chemical dossier and what you have also displayed in your episode on Al-Mayadeen is enough for this (OPCW) organization to lose its credibility in the eyes of the people, because as I’ve seen, the team that did the fact-finding on the ground is not the team that wrote the report, the last article written by Tarek Haddad in Newsweek was a startling article, one person who was adopted by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to write the report, and the scientists who checked and investigated and said what was on earth had no opinion whatsoever and many of them came out and talked to WikiLeaks, Tarek Haddad resigned from Newsweek and spoke heartily about the lies that were fabricated about Syria and the chemical file, if there was any justice or shame in the world, such an organization would lose its legitimacy directly because of what it did in Syria.

KK: A member of the team leaked a letter and sent an email saying that “many things were presented in the episode, but the investigation we conducted is different from the report submitted to the Security Council or the United Nations.” But wasn’t there a force that stopped the investigation team? In other words, even the objection of Russia and other countries, and even the leaked letter of a member of the team?

DBS: Today more than one letter and more than one person called for a review, and now the truth is, there is a group from Alternative Media from Britain, France, Australia and Canada doing excellent work to correct the course of this media lie, but they do not listen to either for these or for others.

KK: Does the United States control the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons?

DBS: Sure, without a doubt, it is within the pressure as they passed Caesar’s law, they’re continuing. The White Helmets were given the Oscars Award, and they’re real criminals who worked with terrorist organizations and some of the White Helmets recently showed footage of how they were wrapping women in white gauze and telling them to pretend to be dead and how they brought the children. They put movies on the screens how they lied in all their reports, that’s part of the global path that we have to face and be patient with and no doubt we’ll get rid of it in the future.

KK: There is also a battle that took place a few days ago in the Security Council over a draft resolution to introduce humanitarian aid across the Syrian border, the purpose of this law, which was opposed by a Sino-Russian double veto and why was it rejected so categorically?

DBS: Unfortunately, Kuwait is an Arab country and one of those who adopted this law against Syria, unfortunately…

KK: Although you stood with Kuwait (during the Iraqi invasion).

DBS: We stood with Kuwait as the saying goes, “Everyone works with their origins,” unfortunately. But this law aims to introduce aid across the border without permission and without the knowledge of the Syrian government, that is, they can enter weapons and enter what they want, and exclusively to areas where there are terrorists.

Kk: As has been the case with attempts to bring convoys from Colombia to Venezuela.

DBS: Exactly, not to areas under the control of the Syrian government, this is a flagrant violation of the sovereignty of a state, and we cooperate with the United Nations from the beginning, distribute aid and do all the work that the United Nations monitors and participates in. As for China’s stand against this draft resolution, it is important, Russia could have used its veto alone, but China’s stand and perhaps some do not pay attention to the importance of this stand against this draft resolution to say that we are against the violation of the sovereignty of states, and we will stand against this violation. This latter position is very important by China, of course, and by Russia, of course, but for China because it is part of what China is trying to do to show the difference between those who believe in participation, equality, respect for states, respect for the sovereignty of nations and those who try to violate the sovereignty of nations.

KK: China, Russia and the Syrian government have a fear of this security council bill to introduce aid.

DBS: Weapons, not just aid.

KK: Bypassing Syrian sovereignty?

DBS: Sure, no doubt. But how do they justify that they want to get aid into areas controlled by terrorists? How can they tell us that they are here in Syria to fight ISIS and to fight terrorism while all their goal in life is to provide assistance to terrorists, to areas and to areas controlled by terrorists?

Today, as the battle of Idlib began, today they are crying out for the civilians, while all the atrocities and crimes committed by the terrorists against our people in Idlib, Aleppo and everywhere have not condemned any of these acts.

KK: I have a little time left and I have three points, you mentioned the issue of Idlib, what is the purpose of the military operation, although it will really stop as we heard some reports today, and is the fact that the escalation in Idlib is linked to the battle in Tripoli in Libya?

DBS: Why am I laughing now? Because I remember when we stopped the military operation in Idlib a while ago, there was a scheme and then it stopped, they asked me did you stop the military operation because Russia said that the military operation should be stopped? When we start the military operation, they say that we started the military operation because Russia asked you to start the military operation…

Kk: But is there coordination?

DBS: Certainly there is coordination, and The Russian air force is supporting the Syrian army in Operation Idlib, but I want to insist that the battle stops, starts or continues according to military and strategic considerations that evaluate gain and loss at this moment or at another moment, it is not linked to what is happening in Libya, this operation has nothing to do with that, we, of course, regret that the Government of Erdogan is trying to wreak havoc in Syria, Libya and everywhere, but the battle of Idlib is aimed at liberating Idlib, a continuation of the battles fought by the Syrian Arab Army to liberate every inch of Syrian territory, God willing.

KK: The U.S. theft of Syrian oil, this is a subject that worries the Syrians, there is a sense of bitterness among the Syrians, especially after Trump said that there is 45 million dollars a month coming from this oil and this will not leave it, we even heard voices from the United States itself saying that this is against American law, what are you doing about this, oil and wheat as well?

DBS: Yes, oil and wheat, the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, and this is what I say for the first time, is examining what legal measures we can take on an international level in order to bring a case against the United States of America, because it is actually stealing Syrian oil and violating Syrian sovereignty.

Even the CNBC reporter who met me a few days ago told me what you said to President Bashar al-Assad when he said that Trump is the most transparent president? How do you explain this? I told him it is because Mr. President says the United States in its history plunders the wealth of the people but it does not say so, but today Trump said the Iraqi oil is for me and the Syrian oil is for me, regardless of respect for the sovereignty of states and respect that this wealth belongs to the Syrian people.

What I would like to say is that Syrian oil and Syrian territory will be liberated from the Americans, the Turks and from everyone.

KK: You are preparing a legal file on this matter.

DBS: Yes, hopefully, we are preparing a legal file in this matter to sue the United States for the theft of Syrian oil.

KK: There is a major political, security and military battle in the eastern Mediterranean over gas and oil in the eastern Mediterranean, Turkey went to Libya for this, Egypt has formed a Mediterranean forum with a group of countries, there is a demarcation of the border, Lebanon will start exploring after a while also and has a problem with Israel, where is Syria in this matter?

DBS: I will also say this for the first time, Syria has begun to explore with Russian companies about Syrian oil and gas in the Mediterranean.

KK: You have begun?

DBS: We started, yes, of course, this is national riches and the Syrian government has been doing work for years and has been preparing for this exploration.

Kk: I was saying that Lebanon will start while you began.

DBS: We have come a long way and started exploring in the Mediterranean.

KK: In the gas fields?

DBS: In fields belonging to the Syrian Arab Republic.

KK: Doctor, the Constitutional Committee, where did it stop?

DBS: It stopped because there is a delegation of the Turkish regime that wants to do what it wants, and we, after all the sacrifices made by the Syrian army and people, will not be the future of Syria except as the Syrian people want, and the Syrian constitution will only be what the Syrian people want.

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