Tag Archives: Belt and Road Initiative

More Fallout from Iran/China Deal: India Loses Farzad-B, by Tom Luongo

India is caught in the middle between the US and the Eurasian axis of China, Russia, and Iran. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

he carnage for following President Trump’s lead on ending the JCPOA continues for India.

From SputnikNews last week comes this note about the Farzad-B oil and gas field and Iran.

Close on the heels of breaking the Chabahar-Zahedan rail project agreement, Iran appears set to deny India’s state-run ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), exploration and production rights for the key Farzad B gas field.

The granting  of rights to OVL was already delayed with New Delhi moving slowly on the issue, but came to a complete standstill after the 2018 imposition of US sanctions on Tehran.

Now that threat looks to be a reality.

Turkish news agency Anadolu Agency quoted India’s External Affairs Ministry (EAM) as saying on Thursday Tehran would develop the Farzad-B gas field in the Persian Gulf region “on its own” and might engage India “appropriately at a later stage”.

Translation: “Stop stalling for Trump’s sake and make good on your promises or the project goes to China.”

Because that’s where this leads in light of the announced mega-deal between Iran and China worth a reported $400 billion.

I wrote last week I thought India has lost its way on the New Silk Road. Losing the contract to build the railway it pushed for to bypass Pakistan and assert independence from China’s OBOR plans should have been a clear enough signal.

But apparently it wasn’t.

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China: one country, two sessions, three threats, by Pepe Escobar

The China-US rivalry may be the issue that shapes the 21st century. From Pepe Escobar at asiatimes.com:

Getting back to domestic business quickly is essential for a renewed push on the grand chessboard

The annual meeting of the National People’s Congress. Photo: Xinhua

The key takeaways of the Two Sessions of the 13th National People’s Congress in Beijing are already in the public domain.

In a nutshell: no GDP target for 2020; a budget deficit of at least 3.6% of GDP; one trillion yuan in special treasury bonds; corporate fees/taxes cut by 2.5 trillion yuan; a defense budget rise of a modest 6.6%; and governments at all levels committed to “tighten their belts.”

The focus, as predicted, is to get China’s domestic economy, post-Covid-19, on track for solid growth in 2021.

Also predictably, the whole focus in the Anglo-American sphere has been on Hong Kong – as in the new legal framework, to be approved next week, engineered to prevent subversion, foreign interference “or any acts that severely endanger national security.” After all, as a Global Times editorial stresses, Hong Kong is an extremely sensitive national security matter.

This is a direct result of what the Chinese observer mission based in Shenzhen learned from the attempt by assorted fifth columnists and weaponized black blocs to nearly destroy Hong Kong last summer.

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The Multipolar Alliance Induces Rumpelstiltskin’s Self-Destruction, by Matthew Ehret

The Rumpelstiltskin analogy may be the best way to explain what the United States is doing to itself. From Matthew Ehret at strategic-culture.org:

There are several versions of the old German folk tale of Rumpelstiltskin. The story begins with greedy king who is told by a foolish old miller that a young girl (the miller’s daughter) had the ability to spin hay into gold. When the poor girl is locked into a tower with bales of straw, a loom and orders to transform it all into gold under threat of death, a magical imp appears out of thin air and they reach an agreement: He will use his magic to spin the hay into gold on the condition that the girl gives the imp her first born child. The greedy king is pleased with the wealth that appeared from thin air, and the daughter’s neck is saved. Sadly the day eventually arrives for her to give up a child, and the imp in sadistic glee responds to her pleading tears by giving her three chances annul the contract. All she has to do is guess his name. To make a long story short, his name is discovered and Rumpelstiltskin literally tears himself to pieces in a fit of mad rage.

I think this story exemplifies the self-cannibalization of the deep state over the past several years quite nicely.

It appeared for quite some time that the oligarchy managing the world’s financial system and military-intelligence community from above was able to do magic. If they wanted a nation overthrown, or a troublesome elected official killed, a mere snap of the fingers was all it took. Gold from straw? They could do that too! Just look at the mass of $1.5 quadrillion dollars of derivatives claims which appeared as though out of thin air in the mere space of 30 years! Seriously, back in 1990, these fictitious assets (forms of bets on insurance on securitized debts) amounted to little more than $2 trillion and 10 years before that, had barely any existence whatsoever. NOW… they amount to over twenty times the world’s GDP! How was this possible when the real economy (agro-industrial/infrastructure capital which supports real life) was permitted to atrophy during that same space of time? Magic!

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The Afghanistan ‘peace deal’ riddle, by Pepe Escobar

Don’t expect too much from any Afghanistan peace deal. The Taliban want the US out, the US military wants to stay. From Pepe Escobar at asiatimes.com:

As far as realpolitik Afghanistan is concerned, with or without a deal, the US military want to stay in what is a priceless Greater Middle East base to deploy hybrid war techniques
In this photo taken on February 21, youths and peace activists gather as they celebrate the reduction in violence, in Kandahar. A week-long partial truce took hold across Afghanistan on February 22, with some jubilant civilians dancing in the streets as the war-weary country prepared for this coming Saturday’s planned agreement on a peace deal between the Taliban and the United States. Photo: AFP / Javed Tanveer

Nearly two decades after the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan post-9/11, and after an interminable war costing over $ 2 trillion, there’s hardly anything “historic” about a possible peace deal that may be signed in Doha this coming Saturday between Washington and the Taliban.

We should start by stressing three points.

1- The Taliban wanted all US troops out. Washington refused.

2- The possible deal only reduces US troops from 13,000 to 8,600. That’s the same number already deployed before the Trump administration.

3- The reduction will only happen a year and a half from now – assuming what’s being described as a truce holds.

So there would be no misunderstanding, Taliban Deputy Leader Sirajuddin Haqqani, in an op-ed certainly read by everyone inside the Beltway, detailed their straightforward red line: total US withdrawal.

And Haqqani is adamant: there’s no peace deal if US troops stay.

Still, a deal looms. How come? Simple: enter a series of secret “annexes.”

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Sabotaging Kabul’s Multipolar Revolution With China and Russia, by Federico Pieraccini

Afghanistan is too geopolitically important for Washington to just up and leave. From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:

Nineteen years after September 11, 2001 and 17 years after launching its war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the U.S. seems ready to cut a deal with the Taliban in order to freeze out its Eurasian rivals.

The central government in Kabul has in recent years granted a leading role to Moscow and Beijing in efforts to pacify the country by bringing all parties to the negotiating table. A successful outcome would allow Afghanistan to reap the benefits of its geographical position vis-a-vis Sino-Russian infrastructure projects.

The entry into Afghanistan’s dynamics of China’s economic power and Russia’s military weight promises to spark a multipolar revolution in the country and beyond that would spread to neighbors like India, Pakistan and Iran.

Moscow had even initiated historical negotiations with Taliban representatives, culminating in a visit to Moscow. U.S. sources at the time voiced doubts about the success of any peace plan and tensions between the U.S. and Iran were high, with sanctions imposed on Iran and pressure placed on U.S. allies in the region like India to boycott Iranian oil.

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No Weapon Left Behind: The American Hybrid War on China, by Pepe Escobar

The US government is doing everything it can to kick the Chinese while they’re down. From Pepe Escobar at strategic-culture.org:

The New Silk Roads – or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – were launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, first in Central Asia (Nur-Sultan) and then Southeast Asia (Jakarta).

One year later, the Chinese economy overtook the U.S. on a PPP basis. Inexorably, year after year since the start of the millennium, the U.S. share of the global economy shrinks while China’s increases.

China is already the key hub of the global economy and the leading trade partner of nearly 130 nations.

While the U.S. economy is hollowed out, and the casino financing of the U.S. government – repo markets and all – reads as a dystopian nightmare, the civilization-state steps ahead in myriad areas of technological research, not least because of Made in China 2025.

China largely beats the U.S. on patent filings and produces at least 8 times as many STEM graduates a year than the U.S., earning the status of top contributor to global science.

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Battle of the Ages to stop Eurasian integration, by Pepe Escobar

The US sees a huge challenge to its power coming from Russia, China, and Iran and it’s going to do everything it can to stop it. From Pepe Escobar at asiatimes.com:

Battle of the Ages to stop Eurasian integration

Iranian seamen salute the Russian Navy frigate Yaroslav Mudry while moored at Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman during Iran-Russia-China joint naval drills. The photo was provided by the Iranian Army office on December 27, 2019. Photo: AFP / HO / Iranian Army office

Coming decade could see the US take on Russia, China and Iran over the New Silk Road connection

The Raging Twenties started with a bang with the targeted assassination of Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani.

Yet a bigger bang awaits us throughout the decade: the myriad declinations of the New Great Game in Eurasia, which pits the US against Russia, China and Iran, the three major nodes of Eurasia integration.

Every game-changing act in geopolitics and geoeconomics in the coming decade will have to be analyzed in connection to this epic clash.

The Deep State and crucial sectors of the US ruling class are absolutely terrified that China is already outpacing the “indispensable nation” economically and that Russia has outpaced it militarily. The Pentagon officially designates the three Eurasian nodes as “threats.”

Hybrid War techniques – carrying inbuilt 24/7 demonization – will proliferate with the aim of containing China’s “threat,” Russian “aggression” and Iran’s “sponsorship of terrorism.” The myth of the “free market” will continue to drown under the imposition of a barrage of illegal sanctions, euphemistically defined as new trade “rules.”

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Is Iraq About To Become A Chinese Client State? by Simon Watkins

Chinese money is proving more attractive in the Middle East than US bullets and bombs. From Simon Watkins at oilprice.com:

Following the political and popular backlash in Iran over details of its plans to make the Islamic Republic effectively a client state through various multi-layered oil and gas deals, China has switched its attention for the moment to Iran’s close ally and neighbour, Iraq. Like Iran, Iraq has enormous and still relatively underdeveloped oil and gas reserves, it is an irreplaceable geographical stepping stone in China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ programme, and it is in need of major ongoing funding. China already has leverage over Iraq as the leading oil company (Rosneft) of its close geopolitical ally, Russia, already has effective control over the oil and gas infrastructure of the north Iraq semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, and Chinese companies operate on a number of fields in south Iraq. Last week saw key developments in China’s cornerstone project of making Iraq into a client state.

The first of these developments was the announcement from Iraq’s Finance Ministry that the country had started exporting 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to China in October as part of the 20-year oil-for-infrastructure deal agreed between the two countries. As highlighted by OilPrice.com, the broad framework of this arrangement was agreed last September during a visit by Iraq’s then-Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to Beijing, with the purpose of expanding China’s then US$20 billion of investment in Iraq in addition to the US$30 billion or so in annual trade between the two countries. According to last week’s statement, Chinese firms Zhenhua Oil and Sinochem were the importers of the Iraqi barrels involved, and OilPrice.com understands that all trade financing surrounding these exports – and many of those to come – have been done by the China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation.

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A blue dot barely visible from New Silk Roads, by Pepe Escobar

The US’s Johnny-come-lately effort in Eurasia won’t put a dent in the Belt and Road Initiative. From Pepe Escobar at thesaker.is:

US-Australia-Japan alternative to Belt and Road helps explain why the US sent a junior delegation to Thailand and why India opted out of RCEP

China’s President Xi Jinping waves during the opening ceremony of the China International Import Expo in Shanghai on November 5. Photo: AFP/Hector Retamal

Chinese President Xi Jinping six years ago launched New Silk Roads, now better known as the Belt and Road Initiative, the largest, most ambitious, pan-Eurasian infrastructure project of the 21st century.

Under the Trump administration, Belt and Road has been utterly demonized 24/7: a toxic cocktail of fear and doubt, with Beijing blamed for everything from plunging poor nations into a “debt trap” to evil designs of world domination.

Now finally comes what might be described as the institutional American response to Belt and Road: the Blue Dot Network.

Blue Dot is described, officially, as promoting global, multi-stakeholder “sustainable infrastructure development in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world.”

It is a joint project of the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation, in partnership with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

Now compare it with what just happened this same week at the inauguration of the China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

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Brothers in Arms, by Jeff Thomas

China’s development funding and loans are winning it a lot more friends around the world than the US’s bullets and bombs. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

Xi Jinping China

Mayer Amschel Rothschild died in 1812, so he could hardly be referred to as a pal of Xi Jinping, but the two have a great deal in common.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Mr. Rothschild discovered that, as a major banker in Germany, he could control the country to a greater degree than its political leaders if he could find a way to control it economically. This he did through a series of loans, for which he wished never to be repaid. He instead presented his chits for collection at times when the German government was strapped for cash. By doing so, he was able to extend the loans, renegotiated to his advantage, and increase his control over both the political leaders and the government as a whole.

As he said at the time, “Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes its laws.”

This was not a passing comment, but a basic principal through which he expanded his power. He sent each of his sons forth – to Naples, Paris, Vienna, Frankfurt, and most notably, London, where his son Nathan repeated his father’s postulate, saying, “I care not what puppet is placed upon the throne of England to rule the empire on which the sun never sets. The man who controls Britain’s money supply controls the British Empire and I control the British money supply.”

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