The US is pushing Iran, Turkey, Russia, and China into each others’ arms. From Pepe Escobar at mintpressnews.com:
Iran is already looking East – considering its top Asian energy clients and the close ties with the Belt and Road Initiative and the EAEU. Team Rouhani now knows, in realpolitik terms, they cannot trust the US; and the EU is an immensely problematic partner.
On the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, this past Friday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei made an effort to express Iran’s geopolitical stance in simple terms: ‘We have good relations with all nations in the world, we don’t want to break relations with any European nation’, and an explanation of the slogan ‘Death to America’.
The Ayatollah said ‘Death to America’ “means death to Trump, John Bolton, and Mike Pompeo. It means death to American rulers. We have no problems with the American people.”
So, the slogan is indeed a metaphor – as in death to US foreign policy as conducted for much of the past four decades.
That includes, of course, the dismantling, by the Trump administration, of the nuclear deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA).
In a rash rebuke of the centrist government of President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif – who negotiated the JCPOA with the Obama administration, as well as Russia, China, France, the UK and Germany – Khamenei stressed he would not have signed it. His legendary distrust of the US now seems more than vindicated.
The hawks want to keep the camel’s nose under the Syria tent indefinitely. You never know when you’re going to want to intervene or stage a regime change. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
As the Pentagon appears to be moving forward on President Trump’s ordered troop draw down from Syria, administration hawks as well as foreign allies like Israel have one final card to play to hinder a total withdrawal. They argue that some 200 US troops in Syria’s southeast desert along the Iraqi border and its 55-kilometer “deconfliction zone” at al-Tanf are the last line of defense against Iranian expansion in Syria, and therefore must stay indefinitely.
Al Waleed border crossing, known in Syria as al-Tanf, is one of three official border crossings between Syria and Iraq. It’s long been blocked and controlled by US special forces and US-backed local militias.
Despite Trump’s pledge for a “full” and complete American exit, the Tanf base could remain Washington’s last remote outpostdisrupting the strategic Baghdad-Damascus highway and potential key “link” in the Tehran-to-Beirut so-called Shia land bridge. Foreign Policy magazine identifies this as but the latest obstacle to an actual complete withdrawal of US forces:
“Al-Tanf is a critical element in the effort to prevent Iran from establishing a ground line of communications from Iran through Iraq through Syria to southern Lebanon in support of Lebanese Hezbollah,” an unnamed senior US military source told the magazine.
Washington’s initial justification for establishing the remote special operations outpost was to train local fighters to counter ISIS; however, not only has ISIS now been driven almost completely underground but Russia has accused US forces at al-Tanf of actually allowing ISIS terrorists to maintain a presence in the area in order to put pressure on Damascus.
Syria may not have to, and may not, sit still for Israel’s bombs any longer. From Elijah J. Magnier at ejmagnier.com:
Israel has attacked Syria many times during the last seven years of war imposed on Syria. It has run red-lights and broken taboos in order to provoke the “Axis of the Resistance” inside Syria, but has refrained from infuriating Hezbollah in Lebanon. Nevertheless, the most recent Israeli attack has pushed Syria and its allies beyond tolerable limits. Thus, President Assad prepared himself for a battle against Israel between the wars, knowing that such a battle could last weeks. But the president of Syria won’t be alone: Assad and Hezbollah’s Secretary general Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah will both be running any future battle against any Israeli aggression when the decision to engage will be taken.
Most recently Israel bombed the Syrian army and destroyed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) offices and bases in Syria without inflicting any human casualties. At the same time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put himself on the level of IRGC-Quds brigade General Qassem Soleimani, by challenging him on social media. In fact, Netanyahu fell right into the trap the Iranian general set for President Donald Trump.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Military, Politics, War
Tagged Bashar al-Assad, Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Israel, Russia, Syria
The so-called magic quadrant sure isn’t buying the notion of US unipolarity, and is doing everything in its power to oppose it. From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:
With the end of the unipolar moment, which saw Washington dominate international relations, the richest and most powerful Eurasian countries are beginning to organize themselves into alliance structures and agreements that aim to facilitate trade, development and cooperation.
At the height of the US unipolar moment, Bill Clinton was leading a country in full economic recovery and the strategists at the Pentagon were drawing up plans to shape the world in their own image and likeness. The undeclared goal was regime change in all countries with unapproved political systems, which would allow for the proliferation of us-made “democracy” to the four corners of the earth. Clearly Eurasian countries like Russia, India, China and Iran were on top of the to-do list, as were countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
The bombing and destruction of Yugoslavia was the final step in the assault on the Russian Federation following the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. Yeltsin represented the means by which Western high finance decided to suck all Russia’s wealth, privatizing companies and plundering strategic resources.
China, on the other hand, saw a rebirth as a result of American and European manufacturing companies relocating to the country to take advantage of the cheap labor it offered. India, historically close to the USSR, and Iran, historically averse to Washington, were struggling to find a new balance in a world dominated by Washington.
Tehran was clearly in an open conflict with the United States because of the 1979 Islamic revolution that liberated the country from Western submission under the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. India understood the new reality, laying the foundations for a close cooperation with Washington. Previously, the use of jihadism in Afghanistan, through the coordination between Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United States, had severely undermined relations between India and the United States, remembering that New Delhi was an important ally of Moscow during the Cold War.
Posted in Eurasian Axis, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Military, Politics
Tagged Belt and Road Initiative, China, India, Iran, Middle East, Russia
There are plenty of good reasons for the US to exit Syria immediately, and no good reasons to stay. From Jacob Hornberger at fff.org:
n December, President Trump announced that he was finally ordering an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Syria. Almost immediately, under pressure from the interventionist crowd, including the national-security branch of the U.S. government, Trump reversed course and announced that he intended to delay the pullout by another four months. Today, it’s not clear that he even intends to abide by that deadline.
Meanwhile, while Trump dawdled with the withdrawal, four more Americans were killed in a suicide-bombing attack carried out by ISIS in Syria. They included two U.S. soldiers, a former U.S. soldier serving as a contractor, and an interpreter. Three other Americans were wounded in the attack.
What did those Americans die for? Nothing. All four died for nothing.
They died for nothing because the U.S. government has no business being in Syria. It never has had any business being in Syria. Those 2,000 U.S. troops don’t belong in Syria. Those four Americans deserve to be alive today. So do all other Americans who are killed in Syria the longer that Trump delays the pullout of all U.S. troops from the country.
Interventionists, not surprisingly, are saying that the ISIS attack instead shows that Trump needs to keep U.S. troops in Syria. They’re saying that the attack shows that ISIS hasn’t really been “defeated,” as Trump claimed when he was justifying his original withdrawal order.
The US government likes enemies lists. The one commonality among its enemies is that they don’t do what the US government wants them to do. From Philip Giraldi at strategic-culture.org:
Many American still long for the good old days when men were still manly and President George W. Bush was able to announce that there was a “new sheriff in town” pledged to wipe terrorism from the face of the earth. “You’re either with us or against us,” he growled and he backed up his warning of lethal retribution with an enemies list that he called the “axis of evil.”
The axis of evil identified in those days in the 2002 State of the Union Address consisted of Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Iraq, which had not yet been invaded and conquered by the American war machine, was number one on the list, with Saddam allegedly brandishing weapons of mass destruction deliverable by the feared transatlantic gliders that could easily strike the United States. Bush explained that “Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax and nerve gas and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens, leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections, then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.”
North Korea meanwhile was described as “A regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens” while Iran “aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom.”
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Media, Politics
Tagged Cuba, Iran, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Nicaragua, North Korea, President Trump, US Enemies, Venezuela
An Iranian journalist is being held without charges in a country whose government is becoming increasingly repressive towards journalists the government doesn’t like: the United States. From Rannie Amiri at antiwar.com:
In the wake of the outcry after the abduction and murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi – in a foreign country and under the directive of a rogue Crown Prince – one would think the threshold to condemn the detention of an American journalist in the United States without charge or trial would be quite low. Unfortunately, it has proven to be nearly insurmountable.
It has now been one week since Marzieh Hashemi, a US citizen and anchorwoman of Iran’s English-language news station, PressTV, has been held under these circumstances shortly after her arrival to St. Louis Lambert International Airport Jan. 12 to work on a documentary on the Black Lives Matter movement. Hashemi is purportedly an alleged material witness in an as-yet unspecified investigation. She was reportedly forced to remove her headscarf and offered pork to eat, both against the tenets of her religion, before being transferred to Washington, D.C. to an unknown location.
As such, the muted response of those organizations whose primary purpose is to stand for press freedoms and human rights and against religious intolerance is rather remarkable.