Tag Archives: Middle East

Trump’s Distractions or Is the Empire in Retreat? by Tom Luongo

Some of us voted for Trump because we thought he’d pull us out of our stupid wars. Trump hasn’t done so, but he hasn’t started any new wars either. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

Things continue to spiral out of control in the U.S. as the myth of policing fails and anti-civilizational forces move into the power vacuum.

And while I’m still completely committed to the end of the U.S. empire and its imperial edicts, It’s also not lost on me what’s happening, who’s making it happen and how they are taking advantage of this.

I warned you President Trump’s near atavistic pursuit of U.S. ‘enemies’ in places like Syria, Iraq, Iran and Venezuela would turn the world against us. Look at the protests for George Floyd across Europe and tell me things haven’t changed.

The empire is the problem. It’s a lesson Justin Raimondo taught me at Antiwar.com twenty years ago. And it’s only now that that idea has reached any kind of critical mass.

Are we going to dismantle the empire in an orderly fashion or a chaotic one? The animals on the streets have cast their vote. What’s yours?

And while Trump has made a hash of foreign policy in so many ways, I also told you that he was smart enough to only play the crazy Ivan role up the to point of actually starting a shooting war.

This is his greatest accomplishment as President. Sadly, it shouldn’t be that great an accomplishment.

And all detractors need to remember this, including me. He hasn’t ended existing wars, but he hasn’t started any new ones. And the U.S. political apparatchiks in D.C. have been braying for wars for nearly four years.

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What Does Winning Mean in a Forever War? by Patrick J. Buchanan

The ones who “win” from US forever wars are defense and intelligence contractors. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

When a Wall Street Journal editorial warned this week against any precipitous U.S. withdrawal that might imperil our gains in Afghanistan, an exasperated President Trump shot back:

“Could someone please explain to them that we have been there for 19 years. … and except at the beginning, we never really fought to win.”

Is that true? Did we “never really” fight to win during our 19-year war in Afghanistan, except when we first ousted the Taliban in 2001?

At one point in this longest American war against al-Qaida and the Taliban, Barack Obama surged 100,000 U.S. troops into Afghanistan.

The issue here is with the terminology.

In the forever wars of the Middle East, what does “winning” mean?

To those of us who grew up in the mid-20th century, victory was Gen. MacArthur standing on the deck of the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay as top-hatted Japanese diplomats signed the articles of surrender.

Victory was unmistakable and irreversible.

Five years after V-J day, however, came Korea, a war that lasted three years and ended in deadlock, stalemate and a truce along the 38th parallel, where the North-South war had begun in June of 1950.

Vietnam also came to be called a “no-win war.”

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The Real Reason Russia Teamed up with China…Here’s What Comes Next for American Preeminence and the Dollar, by Vladimir Pozner

The US essentially drove Russia into China’s loving arms. From Vladimir Pozner at internationalman.com:

russia and china

Editor’s Note: Vladimir Pozner is Russia’s most influential political TV talk-show host, journalist and broadcaster.

Pozner has hosted several shows on Russian television, where he has interviewed famous figures such as Hillary Clinton, Alain Delon, President Dimitri Medvedev and Sting.

Pozner has appeared on a wide range of networks, including NBC, CBS, CNN and the BBC. He has worked as a journalist, editor (Soviet Life Magazine and Sputnik Magazine) and TV and radio commentator in a long career covering many major events in Russia.

Pozner has appeared on The Phil Donahue Show and Ted Koppel’s Nightline. He has also worked for the Institute for US and Canadian Studies, a Soviet think tank.

He co-hosted a show with Phil Donahue called Pozner/Donahue. It was the first televised bi-lateral discussion (or “spacebridge”) between audiences in the Soviet Union and the US, carried via satellite.

In 1997, he returned to Moscow as an independent journalist.

Doug Casey’s friend Mark Gould sat down with Pozner in Moscow to help us better understand the relationship between the US and Russia.

International Man: Do you see a resurging Russia and a restoration of Russian Empire, or simply a national state resurgence?

Vladimir Pozner: Certainly not. Russia is not a resurging empire. There is no way it’s ever going to be an empire again.

Empires have this universal feature of disappearing forever, whether it’s ancient Rome or whether it’s the UK or whatever. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

It’s not going to come back, and people have to come to terms with that. Russia has been an empire since the days of Peter the Great— we’re talking about the 18th century. It is used to being an empire. The Soviet Union was an empire.

The loss of an empire is painful. It’s like when you lose a leg but have phantom pains—the leg isn’t there, but it still hurts.

Well, that’s what’s going on. Psychologically, it’s difficult to accept. So, you have a certain degree of nationalism, chauvinism—and it’s part of growing out of what you were once upon a time and becoming something else.

Is that happening in Russia? Yes.

Is it painful? Yes, it’s painful. Is there a deep divide between the older generation and the younger generation? There’s always a divide, but in this case, a very deep divide.

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Strategic Remix for the Middle East, by Alastair Crooke

Alastair Crooke tries to make sense of the always confusing Middle East. From Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

The End of an Era. When the first World War came to its end, intimations of an end to the European Era were already evident in symptoms: aching diplomatic joints, straitened perceptual political vision and the general financial health of the patient about to turn acute, as the constipated monetary policies of the Central Banks ushered in the Great Depression. But ‘life’ went on: European men and women wildly danced the Cancan throughout the 1920s; It was Cabaret, party time. No one wanted to acknowledge the omens of what lay afore them.

Last month, an Israeli academic opined that the future shape of the Middle East lies in the hands of three ‘insider’ states: Iran, Turkey and Israel. It was an interesting observation. None are Arab; and it implied an incremental US disengagement, and a modest ‘king-maker’ role for Russia.

What makes this statement intriguing is the focus on just three states and the downplay of external intervention as the key ‘shaper’ of the future strategic ‘map’. Implicit here is that all three are flexing their military muscles. But diplomats and political analysts usually prefer to stay at the plane of politics and national interests. They dislike the fact that the outcome of military contestation, per se, can determine political outcomes, and thus validate or negate national interests. It is offensive to diplomacy. But often, it is just so. The region at this time is not really susceptible to a direct conceptual approach: So, the focus on the outcome of military contestation, trials of strength, and then on the other – quite different dynamic – of Covid-19 and its economic effects, makes more sense than traditional purely political calculus of interests.

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Russia Is Defeating The U.S. In The Middle East Oil Game, by Simon Watkins

Russia is playing, and winning, the long game in the Middle East. From Simon Watkins at oilprice.com:

MBS Putin

Historically, Russia goes to great lengths to hide or disguise its strategic intentions but it clearly feels empowered enough in the Middle East to very obviously stake its claim in the region – excluding, for the time being only, Saudi Arabia – by stating that a slew of Russian companies are to spend up to US$20 billion on oil projects in Iraq in the near term. “Since [U.S. President Donald] Trump outlined the new U.S. foreign policy of not engaging in conflicts abroad unless they were directly aligned with U.S. interests [October 2019], and then effectively withdrawing from Syria and from supporting the Kurds, Russia and China have felt that they can bring forward their plans to bring Iraq within their geopolitical arc of influence,” a senior source who works closely with Iraq’s Oil Ministry told OilPrice.com last week. “They know that provided that they do not impinge on Saudi Arabia and, at a pinch the UAE and Kuwait, or launch attacks against U.S. personnel, then they can basically do whatever they want anywhere else, hence this announcement from Russia last week,” he added.

Before this announcement – which specifically mentioned Zarubezhneft, Tatneft, and Rosneftegaz as companies interested in pursuing specific but as yet unnamed projects, in addition to those Russia companies already active in the country (including Lukoil, Bashneft, and GazpromNeft) – Russia had adopted its usual stealth approach to building up its presence in Iraq. “It is incremental colonialism, beginning one day with one relatively small contract being taken up by some Russian company nobody has heard of, then more Russian companies turn up in the same place under ‘contractor’ terms having been engaged by the company you gave the original contact to, then security companies turn up to guard all of the personnel, and suddenly you have a major Russian occupation of part of your key oil and gas infrastructure,” the Iraq source underlined,

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The American Chaos Machine, by Danny Sjursen

It is inevitable, given the trend towards decentralized violence, that any attempt at centralized violence such as the US’s many invasions would result only in chaos. From Danny Sjursen at tomdispatch.com:

U.S. Foreign Policy Goes Off the Rails

In March 1906, on the heels of the U.S. Army’s massacre of some 1,000 men, women, and children in the crater of a volcano in the American-occupied Philippines, humorist Mark Twain took his criticism public. A long-time anti-imperialist, he flippantly suggested that Old Glory should be redesigned “with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones.”

I got to thinking about that recently, five years after I became an antiwar dissenter (while still a major in the U.S. Army), and in the wake of another near-war, this time with Iran. I was struck yet again by the way every single U.S. military intervention in the Greater Middle East since 9/11 has backfiredin wildly counterproductive ways, destabilizing a vast expanse of the planet stretching from West Africa to South Asia.

Chaos, it seems, is now Washington’s stock-in-trade. Perhaps, then, it’s time to resurrect Twain’s comment — only today maybe those stars on our flag should be replaced with the universal symbol for chaos.After all, our present administration, however unhinged, hardly launched this madness. President Trump’s rash, risky, and repugnant decision to assassinate Iranian Major General Qassem Suleimani on the sovereign soil of Iraq was only the latest version of what has proven to be a pervasive state of affairs. Still, that and Trump’s other recent escalations in the region do illustrate an American chaos machine that’s gone off the rails. And the very manner — I’m loathe to call it a “process” — by which it’s happened just demonstrates the way this president has taken American chaos to its dark but logical conclusion.

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Secret Wars, Forgotten Betrayals, Global Tyranny. Who Is Really in Charge of the U.S. Military? by Cynthia Chung

Do any of the elected officials in the US, from the president on down, have any significant control over what the government does? From Cynthia Chung at strategic-culture.org:

“There is a kind of character in thy life, That to the observer doth thy history, fully unfold.”

– William Shakespeare

Once again we find ourselves in a situation of crisis, where the entire world holds its breath all at once and can only wait to see whether this volatile black cloud floating amongst us will breakout into a thunderstorm of nuclear war or harmlessly pass us by. The majority in the world seem to have the impression that this destructive fate totters back and forth at the whim of one man. It is only normal then, that during such times of crisis, we find ourselves trying to analyze and predict the thoughts and motives of just this one person.  The assassination of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a true hero for his fellow countrymen and undeniably an essential key figure in combating terrorism in Southwest Asia, was a terrible crime, an abhorrently repugnant provocation. It was meant to cause an apoplectic fervour, it was meant to make us who desire peace, lose our minds in indignation. And therefore, that is exactly what we should not do.

In order to assess such situations, we cannot lose sight of the whole picture, and righteous indignation unfortunately causes the opposite to occur. Our focus becomes narrower and narrower to the point where we can only see or react moment to moment with what is right in front of our face. We are reduced to an obsession of twitter feeds, news blips and the doublespeak of ‘official government statements’.

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To Know You Don’t Know, by Robert Gore

We’re all ignorant; few recognize it.

Aubrey’s deployment order came a week later. A conflict had waxed and waned in Syria and Iraq for the better part of three years. It was the typical Middle Eastern fracas: hapless governments and their armies; not-so-hapless sectarian brigades with colorful names waging guerrilla war, detonating bombs, promoting mayhem; shifting alliances; endless intrigue; diabolical duplicity; rampant disinformation; appearances masking antipodal realities; and machinations by outside string pullers, money honeys, and intelligence agencies who never seemed to realize—or if they did, never acknowledged—that they were the puppets, not the puppeteers. Despite the seeming complexity, the war boiled down to the usual two issues: oil and the centuries-old question of Muhammad’s rightful heir.

Governments couldn’t resist throwing matches on the gasoline. Sunni nations—Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the rich little monarchies scattered around the Persian Gulf—as well as a variety of sectarian brigades with colorful names, launched massive and coordinated maneuvers to “restore order” (Middle Eastern–speak for replacing a government with one more to your liking) to Shiite Syria and Iraq. The Shiite governments were not without friends. Russia, Iran, and various sectarian brigades with colorful names would not let them go down without a fight. So in a very short time, the corner of the world with the highest per capita concentrations of troops, terrorism, weapons, and warfare saw exponential increases in all four.

The US government urged all parties to come to the negotiating table. No parties came to the negotiating table. The US government consulted with its European allies. A resolution was submitted at the United Nations. The war intensified. The war lobby screamed: this was World War III, and the United States was not there! It was like missing your senior prom! The Europeans screamed. Refugees were streaming to Europe. Despite welcoming gestures, the only assimilating they seemed to be doing was slurping up government benefits. It was getting expensive. Some Europeans didn’t like their new guests. Some of their new guests didn’t like the Europeans, but they did like blowing people up. Voters were getting mad. Something had to be done!

The US government ultimately did what the US government does best: came up with a catchy name (Operation Restoration of Peace, Freedom, Hope, Democracy, and Dignity in the Middle East), parked aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf, dropped bombs, and deployed thousands of troops to “advise and assist” without a clear idea of whom they would be advising and assisting. It implored the Europeans to join its efforts, to staunch the refugee flow by making war, blowing things up, and creating more refugees. Back in the States, the groups that reflexively cheered every war distributed more Support Our Troops bumper stickers.

Prime Deceit, Robert Gore, 2016

This is satire, although not obviously so. Prime Deceit is dedicated To all those grown bone weary of the bulls**t. The novel’s main shortcoming is that it isn’t satirical enough. Only brutally savage satire is within field goal range of capturing the reality of the Middle East. Almost all of the mountain of journalism and propaganda focused on or emanating from that part of the world is pure twaddle, bulls**t that bone wearied most of us long ago. You can instantly recognize those who don’t have the first clue about the Middle East by their claims to understand it, especially if they claim they’re experts.

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The War Pigs Are Finally Revealing Themselves – And This Is Just The Beginning… by Brandon Smith

If the globalists have their way, a ramped-up war in the Middle East is on tap. From Brandon Smith at alt-market.com:

In 2016 during the election campaign of Donald Trump one of the primary factors of his popularity among conservatives was that he was one of the first candidates since Ron Paul to argue for bringing US troops home and ending American involvement in the various elitist fabricated wars in the Middle East. From Iraq, to Afghanistan, to Syria and Yemen and beyond, the Neo-Cons and Neo-Libs at the behest of their globalist masters had been waging war oversees unabated for over 15 years. The time was ripe for a change and people felt certain that if Hillary Clinton entered the White House, another 4-8 years of war were guaranteed.

There was nothing to be gained from these wars. They were only dragging the US down socially and economically, and even the idea of “getting the oil” had turned into a farce as the majority of Iraqi oil has been going to China, not the US. General estimates on the costs of the wars stand at $5 trillion US tax dollars and over 4500 American dead along with around 40,000 wounded. The only people that were benefiting from the situation were globalists and banking elites, who had been clamoring to destabilize the Middle East since the day they launched their “Project For A New American Century” (PNAC). Truly, all wars are banker wars.

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Iran Holds All the Cards in Coming Middle East Conflict With US, by Scott Ritter

Iran has shown itself to be quite adept at inflicting pain on its enemies. Scott Ritter details possible retaliation scenarios. From Ritter at lewrockwell.com:

Unless Trump is ready to drop a tactical NUKE

Iran has promised retaliation for the assassination of Qassem Suleimani. Donald Trump said this will lead to a disproportionate response from the US. One side can deliver on its threats, the other can’t, unless it goes nuclear.

Iran means business

“Our reaction,” Iranian general Hossein Dehghan said at the weekend, “will be wise, well considered and, in time, with decisive deterrent effect.”

Dehghan also noted that Iran was not seeking a wider confrontation with the US.

“It was America that has started the war. Therefore, they should accept appropriate reactions to their actions. The only thing that can end this period of war is for the Americans to receive a blow that is equal to the blow they have inflicted.”

Dehghan is no run-of-the-mill former Iranian general officer, but was one of the major decision makers within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) during the Iran-Iraq War, and later went on to command the IRGC Air Force, before eventually being appointed Iran’s minister of defense. After stepping down from that position, Dehghan became a special advisor to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic Ali Khamenei.

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