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[Mar 06, 2020] Paul Singer vulture fund, has reportedly snapped up a four percent ($1 billion) stake in Twitter, nominating four directors to its board as the start of a bid to oust Dorsey.

Mar 06, 2020 | www.rt.com

by Helen Buyniski , RT A notorious hedge-funder who's left a trail of broken companies (and countries) in his wake has set his sights on ousting Twitter's Jack Dorsey. Users complaining about new features should know the platform may never be the same. Elliott Management, euphemistically called an "activist investor" by timid media who fear its legendary founder Paul Singer, has reportedly snapped up a four percent ($1 billion) stake in Twitter, nominating four directors to its board as the start of a bid to oust Dorsey. The hedge fund supposedly resents the CEO dividing his attentions between Twitter, Square, and a six-month move to Africa, believing Twitter is capable of churning out bigger profits. Like any good hedge fund – so the narrative goes – they just want the value of the company to increase (stock jumped seven percent on the news).

What this coverage leaves out – and what makes Twitter's plight more than the usual business scrap – is Singer's history. A major Republican donor and huge booster for Israel, he's also a notoriously ruthless businessman who embodies "vulture capitalism," leaving a trail of asset-stripped companies and even a few economically-ruined countries in his wake over his insanely profitable career. Media coverage of Singer's interest in Twitter has gone to great lengths to present his interest in the platform as " strictly business-related ," however, and some conservatives have even gotten excited by the thought that the neocon Singer will end the ideologically-motivated censorship they claim to experience on the platform – but nothing could be further from reality.

Here come the vultures

Fox News' Tucker Carlson profiled Elliott Management's strategy in December thus: "Buy a distressed company, outsource the jobs, liquidate the valuable assets, fire middle management, and once the smoke has cleared, dump what remains to the highest bidder, often in Asia." Amid the financial crash of 2008, Elliott, with other hedge funds, acquired distressed US auto parts supplier Delphi, took billions in bailout money from the Obama government (a transaction the president's "auto-czar" compared to "extortion" ), then offloaded so many jobs overseas that 25 factories were forced to close, putting tens of thousands of union and white-collar workers out on the street, as well as slashing pensions. Elliott Management made over $1 billion from the deal .

Also on rt.com Laid-off IT workers plan to sue UC San Francisco as jobs outsourced to India

When Singer's fund sinks its teeth into its prey, it does not let go, and most victims have learned to give up and hope for a quick death. When Elliott bought an 11 percent stake in outdoors retailer Cabela's, it began pushing for a sale of what was then a profitable company. The management so feared Singer that it sold within a year, sending stock prices through the roof but putting almost 2,000 people out of their jobs, setting off a downward spiral that, Carlson says, "destroyed" Cabela's hometown of Sidney, Nebraska, whose residents feared to even speak about the hedge funder on camera four years later. AT&T similarly ran for its life when Singer's fund bit off a $3.2 billion stake of the company in September, acquiescing to several demands within a month (and there's still time for the rest).

Those who don't acquiesce are guaranteed to suffer. After Elliott Management bought up a chunk of its debt, the country of Argentina defaulted, holding out for 15 years on Singer's attempts to collect. A 13-year legal battle ensued, during which Singer's fund seized an Argentine naval ship to prove they were serious about getting paid. Then-president Cristina Fernandez denounced the "Vulture Lord," but her replacement, Mauricio Macri, finally agreed in 2016 to pay up – just in time for the threat of another debt default .

Also on rt.com Argentina not negotiating multimillion debt, say holdout creditors

Peru and Congo have similarly felt the sting of Elliott Management's tactics, having their distressed debt snapped up and then weaponized against them in court. And even when Singer doesn't win, his opponents lose. Korean electronics giant Samsung was able to fight off his takeover efforts when he tried to block a move by the Lee family to consolidate their holdings, but the bitter battle ended in a five-year prison sentence for company head Jay Y. Lee on bribery charges and the impeachment of South Korean president Park Geun-hye.

the ideologically-motivated vultures, that is

Singer's corporate interests overseas don't stop at outsourcing to cut costs, however. He founded an organization called Start-Up Nation Central to facilitate the transfer of huge chunks of the US tech industry to Israel. The initiative seeks to counter the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement by making Israel essentially boycott-proof, and Singer has accordingly used his billions to push American tech firms into Israel – Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple all have research and development centers there as of 2016. If he gets control of Twitter, the company's US employees may be surprised to find their replacements speaking Hebrew, not Chinese.

As for the conservatives who think Singer will defend them from Twitter censorship? Singer was a hardcore anti-Trumper in 2015, backing Florida Senator Marco Rubio and funding the prototype of the notorious Steele dossier. Former Trump campaign strategist Steve Bannon " declared war " on the billionaire in 2017 upon learning of his involvement. While Singer financially backs Trump now, journalist Philip Weiss and others have suggested the hedge funder "cut a deal with Trump on Israel," offering his support in exchange for Trump going all-in on "protecting" the Jewish State.

Singer is the second-largest donor to the bloodthirsty think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies and also supports JINSA and the American Enterprise Institute – all dyed-in-the-wool neocon groups cheerleading for war with Iran as they did in Iraq. If Trump's "America-first" base thinks Singer is going to fight for their free speech on Twitter, they're about to get a rude awakening. Anti-war voices on both sides of the spectrum will likely find the censorship intensified to the point where they long for the days of mere shadow banning.

Battle of the billionaires

Dorsey is prepared to stand and fight – for now. He announced on Thursday he'd put his plans to live in Africa for six months on hold, supposedly due to the coronavirus epidemic. Meanwhile, Dorsey's fellow tech tycoon Elon Musk has pledged to help him fight the takeover, tweeting his support on Monday, and Twitter employees pledged their support with the #webackjack hashtag.

Also on rt.com 'NO ONE asked for this': Twitter testing self-destructing post feature as users beg for 'edit' button instead

Twitter users complaining about the "Snapchatization" of their beloved platform should realize they're looking at something quite a bit more serious than the rollout of an unpopular feature. Twitter, despite its numerous flaws, remains a vital communication channel for many. Whatever lies ahead for the platform – a stripped-down MySpace-esque husk, a megaphone for the never-Trump wing of the GOP, another addition to Israel's Silicon Wadi – only one thing can be certain: it will be profitable for Elliott Management.

Subscribe to RT newsletter to get stories the mainstream media won't tell you.

[Mar 04, 2020] US national politics is gang warfare. The Crips vs. the Bloods. Two criminal enterprises with roughly the same aims and tactics, fighting for turf

Notable quotes:
"... US national politics is gang warfare. The Crips vs. the Bloods. Two criminal enterprises with roughly the same aims and tactics, fighting for turf. With minor differences of style. Trump upsets the leadership of the Bloods in 2016, but it turns out that, outrageous as he is, he is good for business, so all the Bloods but the wimps with a weak stomach fall in behind him. ..."
"... But let's just suppose that the old Crips are not quite as pathetic as they look. Let's imagine that they actually learned something in 2016. It was supposed to be easy for them in 2016, and they were surprised. So they have had four years to hone their election-stealing skills. And most of the traditional election stealing organizations in this country seem largely to hate Trump. ..."
"... So let's posit that the FBI & CIA, or whoever it is manages to prop up Biden, and succeed in stealing the election for him. Who would object to that? ..."
"... Not two gangs but one Deep State political mafia with two families running a protection racket (MIC), prostitution (media propaganda, psyops), drugs (industry incentives), and gambling (overseas adventurism) ..."
Mar 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Eric in Kansas , Mar 4 2020 5:00 utc | 122

Okay, here's a little speculative fiction.

The setup: US national politics is gang warfare. The Crips vs. the Bloods. Two criminal enterprises with roughly the same aims and tactics, fighting for turf. With minor differences of style. Trump upsets the leadership of the Bloods in 2016, but it turns out that, outrageous as he is, he is good for business, so all the Bloods but the wimps with a weak stomach fall in behind him.

The Crips are bloated and in decline. A bunch of naïve, starry eyed nobodies mount a campaign to take the Crips legit. The old Crips are irritated that they have to take time out from grifting so as to squash the upstart pests.

That is where I see us today. But let's just suppose that the old Crips are not quite as pathetic as they look. Let's imagine that they actually learned something in 2016. It was supposed to be easy for them in 2016, and they were surprised. So they have had four years to hone their election-stealing skills. And most of the traditional election stealing organizations in this country seem largely to hate Trump.

So let's posit that the FBI & CIA, or whoever it is manages to prop up Biden, and succeed in stealing the election for him. Who would object to that?

Yes, exactly – all the Trump die-hards, and 'tribal' gang bangers would object. It could get really nasty.

And so far, I have not seen any evidence that any of the characters that would be willing to play such a gambit have any inclination to give a shit for the consequences for us little people.

Jackrabbit , Mar 4 2020 5:23 utc | 125

Eric in Kansas @121: gang warfare

Not two gangs but one Deep State political mafia with two families running a protection racket (MIC), prostitution (media propaganda, psyops), drugs (industry incentives), and gambling (overseas adventurism)...

... aka "Tammany on the Potomac."

Wikipedia describes Tammany as :

The Tammany Society emerged as the center for Democratic-Republican Party politics in the city in the early 19th century. After 1854, the Society expanded its political control even further by earning the loyalty of the city's rapidly expanding immigrant community, which functioned as its base of political capital. The business community appreciated its readiness, at moderate cost, to cut through red tape and legislative mazes to facilitate rapid economic growth... Tammany Hall also served as an engine for graft and political corruption, perhaps most infamously under William M. "Boss" Tweed in the mid-19th century....

[Tweed's biographer wrote:]

It's hard not to admire the skill behind Tweed's system ... The Tweed ring at its height was an engineering marvel, strong and solid, strategically deployed to control key power points: the courts, the legislature, the treasury and the ballot box. Its frauds had a grandeur of scale and an elegance of structure: money-laundering, profit sharing and organization.

!!

kiwiklown , Mar 4 2020 8:32 utc | 141
trailertrash @6 --- Americans have been railroaded into endless squabbling about voting and democracy instead of demanding good governance. How does choosing between two similarly corrupt parties deliver good governance?

Voting in the lesser evil is still choosing evil.

What does it profit a nation to have voting every 4 years when excrement covers her sidewalks? and vets suicide themselves daily? and soldiers get raped daily by fellow soldiers?

[Mar 03, 2020] "Predatory capitalism", which clearly describes what neoliberalism is.

Highly recommended!
Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

chu teh , Mar 4 2020 0:50 utc | 80

Tonymike | Mar 3 2020 18:08 utc | 26

re ... Your house foreclosed upon by shady bank: naked capitalism, .0001% paid on interest savings: naked capitalism, poor wages: naked capitalism, dangerous workplace: naked capitalism, etc. ...

"naked capitalism" is not a clear description. Consider using "predatory capitalism", which clearly describes what it is.

Here's the Wiki dictionary definition:

Predatory--

1. relating to or denoting an animal or animals preying naturally on others.
synonyms: predacious, carnivorous, hunting, raptorial, ravening;
Example: "predatory birds".

2. seeking to exploit or oppress others.
synonyms: exploitative, wolfish, rapacious, greedy, acquisitive, avaricious
Example: "I could see a predatory gleam in his eyes"

Note where the word comes from:
The Latin "praedator", in English meaning "plunderer".

And "plunderer" helps the reader understand and perhaps recognize what is happening.

Every plunderer understands.

[Mar 03, 2020] The USA policy is to destroy Iran for the crime of existence.

Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trailer Trash , Mar 2 2020 17:53 utc | 97

>Bernie Sanders will also restore the JCPOA

This is like a new gangster who takes control of a neighborhood and reduces the required weekly protection payment. Hurray For Less Extortion!

Hey Bernie, how about throw away the JCPOA, restore normal diplomatic and commercial relations, and apologize for 40 years of economic warfare?

But that will never happen, because the Dummycrat policy is to destroy Iran for the crime of existence. How is it the Bernie people don't notice that Bernie always caucuses with the Dummycrats in Congress and is running on the Dummycrat ticket? We are supposed to believe that someone elected on the Dummycrat ticket won't follow Dummycrat party polices?


Russ , Mar 2 2020 17:59 utc | 99

"Bernie Sanders will also restore the JCPOA"

He must think the Iranians are really stupid if he thinks he can get them to fall for that one again.

fnord , Mar 2 2020 18:18 utc | 101
@Trailer Trash, 97
We are supposed to believe that someone elected on the Dummycrat ticket won't follow Dummycrat party polices?

The way American electoral politics works, Sanders doesn't really have a choice except to try and steal the Democratic party's ballot line. An independent bid would split the left vote and make it impossible to win the general election, which is winner take all.

At least that's what his supporters say. I think there's a grain of truth there. If Bernie wants to win, and not merely be a protest candidate, he has to take the ballot line of the party with the most left-wing voters, and that's not the Republican party.

[Mar 01, 2020] The USA have become outright criminal: A Mafia-system ruled by some syndicates

Mar 01, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Joerg ,

It is an illusion to talk of "the Left" and "the Right" anymore, because the USA have become outright criminal: A Mafia-system ruled by some syndicates.
Think of this enormous sum of 23 (I believe) trillion Dollars missing in the Pentagon. And the House even decided to not research where this money went! To this see https://www.corbettreport.com/interview-1407-mark-skidmore-on-the-pentagons-missing-trillions/

Or think of the Ukraine and Joe and Hunter Biden (and other corrupt persons from the EU). Author Bill Martin mentions this above with :"dirty business in Ukraine".

But its not only about corruption. Now it's also about a murder-attempt -- as every Mafia would never hesitate to execute. And Western media doesn't report this.

This has happened: Because of Joe Biden's quid-pro-quo demand to former Ukrainian president Poroshenko (no billions of Dollars from the US, if Shokin was not fired) state prosecutor Shokin was then fired. But some months ago there had now also been a poison-attack on Shokin.

And now Shokin goes after Joe Biden -- and he must, if he wants to survive!: To this on the site https://youtube.com/channel/UCdeMVChrumySxV9N1w0Au-w There click the video "JOE BIDEN, UKRAINE AND VIKTOR SHOKIN MERCURY POISONING".

[Mar 01, 2020] https://off-guardian.org/2020/02/29/the-trump-impeachment-looking-back-and-looking-forward/

Mar 01, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Savorywill Yes, I agree completely (though I would have to study the materials more carefully to fully understand it all). It is mentioned that one accomplishment of Trump was his take-down of the Bush dynasty for the lies spun justifying the Iraq war. It was in S. Caroline that Trump did this, in a debate of Republican candidates at the start of the election campaign in 2016. I knew nothing about Trump at the time, having lived in Japan and Australia for many years, never saw the Apprentice or even heard of him. So, when he started snipping at Jeb saying that Jeb's brother George, led America in the biggest mistake in US history by starting the war on Iraq, and the audience started booing, to which Trump replied, 'oh, those are just paid for lobbyists – I don't need them as my campaign is self-funded', it was absolutely astonishing and I could hardly believe my ears, or eyes. Yet, there it was on TV, one of the first debates of the Republican party for their candidate. I then saw that Trump was, indeed, something very different from what we had ever seen in American politics.

I was rapt when he defeated Hillary, and completely surprised as it was so unexpected. It did give me faith in America again, to some degree. Here is the woman who orchestrated the criminal destruction of Libya, and then laughed about the horrific murder of Gaddafi, who was only trying to provide a decent society for Libyan citizens and deal with the madness of the forces around him. What happened to him, and to Libya, was just so heartbreaking, and she thought it was a big joke and tried to do the same in Syria. So, I was thrilled when she got beaten. Not that everything Trump has done since then has met with my approval, but he seems to be winding down the wars as he promised and I don't mind listening to his speeches at the rallies, which I sometimes do watch. I particularly like when he went to a farming area in California and signed a bill enabling local farmers to access water, something they were unable to do because of various regulations. I never heard of any other presidents so hands-on with their involvement with such things and I thought his speech in India, recently, was incredible. I couldn't stand listening to Hillary for any more than a few minutes. Even Obama never really rang true to me. He would say things like 'change we can believe in', or 'hope for more hope', vague platitudes like that that didn't really have many specifics. I can understand Clint Eastwood's speech talking to the empty chair (representing Obama) at the Republican convention in 2012, actually. Obama seems like a media projection, or something. Hard to identify or see him as an actual person.


sharon marlowe ,

"Not that everything Trump has done since then has met with my approval, but he seems to be winding down the wars as he promised"

What is "winding down the wars"? Do mean that you stopped paying attention?

Savorywill ,

Seems like they are winding down, don't you think? Just today I read the the Taliban just signed an agreement to that effect, to finally finish that war going on for nearly 20 years, no closer to success since the start. The US is not overtly involved in the Syrian conflict as well as it seems to be trying to get out of Iraq.

Had Hillary won, she would have gone full bore into Syria and probably would have made matters much, much worse. She is a thorough warmonger, her track record clearly demonstrated that.

sharon marlowe ,

First, an attempted assassination-by-drone on President Maduro of Venezuela happened. Then Trump dropped the largest conventional bomb on Afghanistan, with a mile-wide radius. Then Trump named Juan Guido as the new President of Venezuela in an overt coup. Then he bombed Syria over a fake chemical weapons claim. He bombed it before even an investigation was launched. Then the Trump regime orchestrated a military coup in Bolivia. Then he claimed that he was pulling out of Syria, but instead sent U.S. troops to take over Syrian oil fields. trump then assassinated Gen. Solemeni. Then he claimed that he will leave Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government, the Iraqi government asked the U.S. to leave, and Trump rejected the request. The Trump regime has tried orchestrating a coup in Iran, and a coup in Hong Kong. He expelled Russian diplomats en masse for the Skripal incident in England, before an investigation. He has sanctioned Russia, Iran, North Korea, China, and Venezuela. He has bombed Yemen, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Those are the things I'm aware of, but what else Trump has done in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America you can research if you wish. And now, the claim of leaving Afghanistan is as ridiculous as when he claimed to be leaving Syria and Iraq.

"winding down the wars" makes no sense.

Antonym ,

Trump just signed a peace pact with the Taliban. As they are basically CIA -ISI irregulars he got the green light from Langley.

He needs this gesture for his re-election campaign.

Savorywill ,

Yes, what you say is right. However, he did warn both the Syrian and Russian military of the attack in the first instance, so no casualties, and in the second attack, he announced that the missiles had been launched before they hit the target, again resulting in no casualties. When the US drone was shot down by an Iranian missile, he considered retaliation. But, when advised of likely casualties, he called it off saying that human lives are more valuable than the cost of the drone. Yes, he did authorize the assassination of the Iranian general, and that was very bad. His claims that the general had organized the placement of roadside bombs that had killed US soldiers rings rather hollow, considering those shouldn't have been in Iraq in the first place.

I am definitely not stating that he is perfect and doesn't do objectionable things. And he has authorized US forces to control the oil wells, which is against international law, but at least US soldiers are not actively engaged in fighting the Syrian government, something Hillary set in motion. However, the military does comprise a huge percentage of the US economy and there have to be reasons, and enemies, to justify its existence, so his situation as president must be very difficult, not a job I would want, that is for sure.

Petra Liverani ,

The assassination (or other means of disappearance) of Soleimani seems to have been a collusion between Trump and Rouhani who wasn't a fan of the guy and the evidence shows that the crash of PS-752 was staged.
https://occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com/blog/did-ps-752-crash-in-tehran

I do like this video, Seats and People, by Peekay and Meta-Scriptors

https://www.youtube.com/embed/vftD3hh6Yro?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

sharon marlowe ,

There were at least nine people killed when Trump bombed Douma.

Only a psychopath would kill people because one of its spy drones was shot down. You don't get points for considering killing people for it and then changing your mind.

People should get over Hillary and pay attention to what Trump has been doing. Why even mention what Hillary would have done in Syria, then proceed to be an apologist for what Trump has done around the world in just three years? Trump has been quite a prolific imperialist in such a short time. A second term could well put him above Bush and Obama as the 21st century's most horrible leaders on earth.

Dungroanin ,

Sharon,

Who has done the shit under the Trump Regime (lol Regime! You lot)

Trump – not.
Regime – yes.

Dungroanin ,

Sharon,

Magically? No.

Factually yes.

If you think that the potus is the omnipotent ruler of everything he certainly seems to be having some problems with his minions in the CIA, NSA, FBI..State Dept etc.

The potus is best described (by Assad actually) as a CEO of a board of directors appointed by the shareholders who collectively determine their OWN interests.

Your gaslighting ain't succeeding round here – Regime! So desperate, so so sad 🤣

sharon marlowe ,

Are you seven years old? There's no such thing as omnipotent rulers. I said Trump was the leader of the U.S. regime. That's how it's said in the real world;)

Dungroanin ,

Right – and the regime of which he is the leader of has been trying to usurp him from day one, correct?

So in your world view Trump has been trying to overthrow himself?

That all the Russiagate, Ukrainegate – coupgates in short are all Trump doing it to himself!!!

Who is being childish by conflating all of that?

Koba ,

He's sent more troops to Iraq and Afghanistan he strayed several coups in Latin America and was game for taking on the dprk until they got nukes and wants to bomb Iran! Winding down?!

Dungroanin ,

Yeah yeah and 'he' gave Maduro 7 days to let their kid takeover in Venezuela! And built a wall. And got rid of obamacare and started a nuke war with Rocketman and and and

Dungroanin ,

Savory,

In 2016 Trumps role (whether he fully realised it or not) was to get rid of all the existing Republican candidates that may have stopped Hillary getting her crown.

He and the Clinton family were old friends in NY and he played golf with Bill regularly.

What you haven't identified in what you saw in 2016 is the choreographed pantomime villainy of The Donald during the debates with Hillary.

It was designed for him to lose appeal and keep GOP voters at home.

The reason Hillary lost :

The stitch up of Bernie and his supporters as revealed by the DNC email leaks which kept them from voting for her;

Her failure to campaign effectively being a cold hearted murdering bitch that couldn't empathise with a kitten;

A load of ordinary poorish Americans who got a bit pissed at being labelled 'deplorable' by her.

Simple as that.

Donald was as suprised as anyone to have actually won that night – he had to go chat to the Clintons and say "what the fuck am I supposed to do now? I have a whole load of Apprentice episodes lined up to film, and Hotels & Golf courses to build!"

Obviously he couldn't say it must be a mistake and his friends the Clintons should be allowed back into the White House as planned – that wouldn't have washed – so he ended up in the Oval Office.

As potus he would have to make decisions which no one including the Clintons could force him to do anything HE ultimately didn't want to do. No matter how many of the stooges imposed upon him tried to get away with murder.

He quickly realised there was some nasty goings on that he was supposed to rubberstamp and he rebelled against it at his inauguration speech which gave the establishment a slap across the face as Pres George W Bush quipped to his dad PresGeorge Bush

"That was some weird shit"

And all else followed the yellow brick road to right here, right now.

Good innit?

Antonym ,

The Left has fallen into reactionary insanity

The other main proof for the above: they support Islamism just because the "alt-right" opposes it.

Islamism kicks all the Left's causes in the teeth: equality only for Muslims, as all the others are despicable kaffirs; misogyny to the power of 2; LGTB rights below zero; nothing against shark capitalism in the Koran.

The Iranian Left was massacred in 1988 by the Iranian Islamists.

Dungroanin ,

Antzy the Bush's from Grandaddy Prescot to the CIA JFK killers and Pres George Senior to Pres Dubya to all current scions are bestties with the most extreme form of islamists in hostory the Wahhabists who enable the Saudis to control Saudi Arabia and it's wealth – they have even been referred to as the most Likudist state outside of Israel by Nuttyyahoo!

So there.

Koba ,

The Jew defender has spoken! Show me this support for Islamism! Im yet to find even a mainstream or fringe left wing party support that at all! Good goy a shekel has been deposited into your account

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

The USA Deep State is a Five Eyes partner and as such Trump must be given the proverbial boot for being an uneducated boor lacking political gravitas & business gravitas with his narcissistic Smoot-Hawley II 2019 trade wars.

Screw the confidence man-in-chief. He is a liability for the USA and global business.

Trump is not an asset.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

Okay, I'll admit that he is a Russian Federation asset in so far as he is Putin's & Russian Federation Intelligence asset fodder that Putin can utilize at will whenever he desires but aside from being the biggest dumb arse in the Western Empire he is really an ignorant ignoramus when you drill right down to it.

I support the USA Deep State conspiracy to rid the good people of the United States of America of the Orange Oaf conundrum. The global business community would rather restore business fundamentals IMHO.

As MOU my perspective is absolute, sorry.

Like Josef Stalin I too have a reputation to uphold.

MOU

Joerg ,

It is an illusion to talk of "the Left" and "the Right" anymore, because the USA have become outright criminal: A Mafia-system ruled by some syndicates.
Think of this enormous sum of 23 (I believe) trillion Dollars missing in the Pentagon. And the House even decided to not research where this money went! To this see https://www.corbettreport.com/interview-1407-mark-skidmore-on-the-pentagons-missing-trillions/

Or think of the Ukraine and Joe and Hunter Biden (and other corrupt persons from the EU). Author Bill Martin mentions this above with :"dirty business in Ukraine".
But its not only about corruption. Now it's also about a murder-attempt – as every Mafia would never hesitate to execute. And Western media doesn't report this.
This has happened: Because of Joe Biden's quid-pro-quo demand to former Ukrainian president Poroshenko (no billions of Dollars from the US, if Shokin was not fired) state prosecutor Shokin was then fired. But some months ago there had now also been a poison-attack on Shokin. And now Shokin goes after Joe Biden – and he must, if he wants to survive!: To this on the site https://youtube.com/channel/UCdeMVChrumySxV9N1w0Au-w There click the video "JOE BIDEN, UKRAINE AND VIKTOR SHOKIN MERCURY POISONING".

paul ,

Trump, Sanders and Corbyn were all in their own way agents of creative destruction.
Trump tapped into the popular discontent of millions of Americans who realised that the system no longer even pretended to work in their interests, and were not prepared to be diverted down the Identity Politics Rabbit Hole.
The Deep State was outraged that he had disrupted their programme by stealing Clinton's seat in the game of Musical Chairs. Being the most corrupt, dishonest and mendacious political candidate in all US history (despite some pretty stiff opposition) was supposed to be outweighed by her having a vagina. The Deplorables failed to sign up for the programme.
Almost as a by product of his 2016 victory, Trump showed up the MSM hacks for what they were, lying, partisan shills utterly lacking in any integrity and credibility. The same applies to the intrigues and corruption of the Dirty Cops and Spookocracy. They had to come out from behind the curtain and reveal themselves as the dirty, lying, seditious, treasonous, rabid criminal scum they are. The true nature of the State standing in the spotlight for all the world to see. This cannot be undone.
For all his pandering to Adelson and the Zionist Mafia, for all his Gives to Netanyahu, Trump has failed to deliver on the Big Ticket Items. Syria was supposed to have been invaded by now, with Hillary cackling demonically over Assad's death as she did over Gaddafi, and rapidly moving on to the main event with Iran. They will not forgive him for this. They realise they are under severe time pressure. It took them a century to gain their stranglehold over America, and this is a wasting asset. America is in terminal decline, and may soon be unable to fulfil its ordained role as dumb goy muscle serving Zionist interests. And the parasite will find it difficult to find a replacement host.

paul ,

Sanders was shafted in 2016 by the corrupt DNC machine, and he is being shafted again.
He will probably be sidelined in favour of some third rate hack like Buttplug, or some other synthetic, manufactured nonentity.
If he isn't, and by some miracle does secure the nomination, they will fail to support him and just allow him to be defeated by Trump. It doesn't matter.
There are millions of decent people who have long been persuaded to play the game of Lesser Evils. They will be as disenchanted as was Trump's Base by a transparently corrupt, rigged system, and finally withdraw their support.
This has to be seen as a positive development.
They can no longer paper over the cracks.

paul ,

Likewise, there are more than a few crumbs of comfort to be drawn from the smearing and destruction of Corbyn.
As in America, it forced the Deep State to step out from behind the curtain and take direct control. The Zionist wire pullers had to step out into the spotlight and reveal the true extent of their domination.
The endless treachery and backstabbing of the Blairites have shown the Labour Party to be a lost cause, a dead end, a waste of time, effort and energy, and a waste of a man's rations, making way for something more worthwhile. This is another positive development.

Koba ,

Paul the people playing the lesser of two evils game aren't good people. They pretend they are. That's it. In a nutshell.

Dungroanin ,

Well Bill you make great points especially around the Impeachment minutiae – Eric the Schiffleur, Paul, a genuine legal expert, Schiffs shape changing and snakeeyed mesmerising , the levitation of Bolton into a Saviour? Holly shit!! Yanks eat some nasty foods no wonder there is great obesity (gratuitous I know).

BUT Bill, you will insist on working the old long con – the Left/Right imaginary one dimensional divide.

WHY?

There is only a 3-D Top-Bottom construct in the world in a roughly Pyramidal 'con' shape which shifts its peaks and size in time (4D).

It is the super rich oligarch owning Pathocracy in the hidden heights and their visible representative Kings and plutocrats at the top and their circles of diminishing powers and affluence down to the majority of humans below – kept in the dirt and slavery through indenture where they can't by shear violence of slave masters and dog soldiers.

There is only that top – bottom, squashed by bought priests and philosophers and 'economists' into first a 2-D triangle and then squashed into a 1-D line that people are told is left and right. The great owners of everything having disappeared of that scale but represented by their ciphers:-

Clintons / Obama are Left – Bush's / Trump are right.

Crap – they are just pawns in the top down 4D game trying to claw up the peaks – no wonder Donald named his son Baron – it may be his way of giving the finger to the glass ceiling he aims to shatter.

Bernie is a threat to that pyramid as Jeremy was here in the UK.

They had to stop Jeremy at any cost and the Judaeo-phobic smear was massive, added to the terrorist smear in the 2017 election. Along with the he was both a Brexiteer and anti Brexiteer smear and a Commie!

It was still not quite certain so the US openly interfered in rhe UK election with Pompeo's Gauntlet to stop Corbyn – where the fuck is the concerned democratic purveyors of the US on that election interference by the Sec of State and a pressure group upon a another sovereign country ?
Where are the judges? The IG's ? The glitterati? The Intellectuals ?
YOU Bill?

They FIXED the postal ballots to make sure – even after making sure a unprecedented winter, December, short daylight, prexmas date to minimise turnout.

Yes they did.

Sanders looks like he is going to get the gauntlet but being Jewish to start with – it will be harder to throw the Judaeophobe mud at him – so the shit thrown is, COMMUNIST ! It has already started, but to make sure the election will also be rigged, whether via the delegates or by the 'hanging chard de nous jour'.

Only a massive turnout and careful independent international election inspectors would ever get near that – though they didn't stop the Bolivian coup by the CIA did they?

Anyway Trump has a trump card he will play anyday soon – a NEW YALTA – which will turn him into a giant statesman of the world stage and he'll stomp home for his second term – for these above in the Pyramid better the devil they know and give Baron a baronial peak of his own snd Donald his pound if flesh!

George Mc ,

Haven't you just agreed with him here?

He thinks the left died in the 1960s, over a half century ago. It's pretty simple to identify a leftist: anti-imperialist/ anti-capitalist. The Democrats are imperialists. People who vote for the Democrats and Republicans are imperialists. This article is a confused mess, that's my whole point;)

If the Democrats and Republicans (and those who vote for them) are imperialists (which they are) then the left are indeed dead – at least as far as political representation goes. Although to be sure, that makes his point confused to say the least. He seems to be attempting to drum up support for Sanders who, by his own logic, isn't going to make a damn bit of difference (any more than Corbyn would have made had HE been elected in the UK).

George Mc ,

Truth be told, I usually tend to glaze over when I see articles about Trump's impeachment. Or indeed articles about American politics in general. And I see the Corbyn fiasco as the ultimate indication that UK politics is just another rigged show. The ultimate irony being, as I've said, that Corbyn would not have made a difference even if elected anyway. The fact that the media went so ruthlessly after him is an indication that even the appearance of socialism is too much for them. But I feel that, in the spirit of "What else can we write about?", we will continue to have articles on the minutiae of shenanigans between Boris and Patel etc. It seems to me that the only hope we now have is from events outside the political system which threaten to burst the charade apart.

George Mc ,

I think that if Corbyn had been elected, there would have been a severe limit as to what he could have achieved. (While of course, the media would be going into meltdown about plans for a new Auschwitz on the M1 etc.) However – I grant that the very election of such an "extreme" figure would cause a similar meltdown behind the scenes as it would lead to the deadliest thing of all: hope! It would have been a signal that an extensive part – even the majority – of the British public were sick of this neoliberal cancer. Thus, while the practical effect of a Corbyn victory would have been limited, the psychological effect (the damage done to the showbiz façade) would have been profound.

sharon marlowe ,

"Truth be told, I usually tend to glaze over when I see articles about Trump's impeachment. Or indeed articles about American politics in general."

lol So do I:)
It definitely irked me that such an article appeared here. It looked like a U.S.-TV-political-pundit-monologue thing.

[Mar 01, 2020] Gina Haspel? She is probably equally good with a handgun, an ice pick and a pair of pliers.

Notable quotes:
"... Is she effective? What has she done to make her a spy mastermind? She is obviously a torturer, but is that a qualification in any way useful to be a intelligence agency boss? ..."
"... The outcomes of incompetence and malicious intent are sometimes indistinguishable from one another. ..."
Jan 16, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

fajensen , , January 14, 2020 at 11:13 am

Gina Haspel? She is probably equally good with a handgun, an ice pick and a pair of pliers.

curious euro , , January 14, 2020 at 11:49 am

Is she effective? What has she done to make her a spy mastermind? She is obviously a torturer, but is that a qualification in any way useful to be a intelligence agency boss?

I have the suspicion Haspel was elevated to their office by threatening "I know where all the bodies are buried (literally) and if you don't make me boss, I will tell". Blackmail can helping a career lots if successful.

Thuto , , January 14, 2020 at 11:18 am

The outcomes of incompetence and malicious intent are sometimes indistinguishable from one another. With the people Trump has surrounded himself with, horrible, nasty outcomes are par for the course because these guys are both incompetent and chock full of malicious intent. Instead of draining the swamp, he's gone and filled it with psychotic sociopaths.

[Feb 29, 2020] The US's Inalienable Right to Violence by Gregory Shupak

Jan 21, 2020 | fair.org

Even when critical of US actions, media commentary on recent US bombings and assassinations in the Middle East is premised on the assumption that the US has the right to use violence (or the threat of it) to assert its will, anytime, anywhere. Conversely, corporate media coverage suggests that any countermeasure -- such as resistance to the US presence in Iraq -- is inherently illegitimate, criminal and/or terroristic.

Iranian puppeteers

One step in this dance is depicting US military forces in Iraq as innocent bystanders under attack by sadistic Iranian puppetmasters. Media analysis of the US murder of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani consistently asserted that he was "an architect of international terrorism responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans" ( New York Times , 1/3/20 ) or "a terrorist with the blood of hundreds of Americans on his hands" ( Washington Post , 1/7/20 ). According to Leon Panetta ( Washington Post , 1/7/20 ), a former Defense secretary and CIA director,

The death of Soleimani should not be mourned, given his responsibility for the killing of thousands of innocent people and hundreds of US military personnel over the years.

There is little evidence for this contention that Iran in general or Soleimani personally is responsible for killing hundreds of Americans. When the State Department claimed last April that Iran was responsible for the deaths of 608 American servicemembers in Iraq between 2003 and 2011, investigative journalist Gareth Porter ( Truthout , 7/9/19 ) asked Navy Commander Sean Robertson for evidence, and Robertson "acknowledged that the Pentagon doesn't have any study, documentation or data to provide journalists that would support such a figure."

Porter showed that the US attribution of deaths in Iraq to Iran is an unsubstantiated government talking point from the Cheney era, one that was exposed at the time when Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno admitted that, though the US had attributed Iraqi resistance fighters' weapons to Iran, US troops found many sites in Iraq at which such weapons were being manufactured.

Gareth Porter reported in Truthout ( 7/9/19 ) that "the myth that Tehran is responsible for killing over 600 US troops in the Iraq War is merely a new variant of a propaganda line that former Vice President Dick Cheney used to attempt to justify a war against Iran more than a decade ago."

Scholar Stephen Zunes ( Progressive , 1/7/20 ) similarly demonstrated the lack of evidence for the idea that Iran is behind the killing of US forces in Iraq. Zunes noted that the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq , compiled by America's 16 intelligence agencies, downplayed Iran's role in Iraq's violence at roughly the same time that the Bush administration was saying that Iran was culpable.

As Porter pointed out, there was a much simpler explanation for American deaths in the period: The US targeted Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army and the Mahdi Army fought back, imposing more casualties on US troops.

That the pundits dusted off 13-year-old propaganda to rationalize killing Soleimani is a clear indication that they were desperately grasping for any imperialist apologia within reach. If the American public is led to believe that Soleimani killed hundreds of Americans, large swathes of it are likely to regard his assassination as justified, necessary, or at worst a feature of the tit-for-tat ugliness inherent to war.

The narrative also ideologically shores up the US war on Iran in the American popular consciousness by presenting Iranians as primordially violent savages out to spill the blood of Americans, notably those in the military who are in the Middle East, presumably doing nothing but minding their own business. Presenting Iran as the reason for attacks on US forces in Iraq also implies that Iraqis had little objection to the US invasion, legitimizing the US's ongoing military presence in the country. The most obvious point about the deaths of US soldiers in Iraq is that they wouldn't happen if US soldiers weren't in Iraq.

When violence isn't violence

Another media dance move is to condemn anti-imperial violence while naturalizing imperialist violence. An editorial in the New York Times ( 1/3/20 ) said that Soleimani

no doubt had a role in the campaign of provocations by Shiite militias against American forces in Iraq that recently led to the death of an American defense contractor and a retaliatory American airstrike against the militia responsible for the attack.

Having US troops in Iraq, a country in which the US is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands , is not a "provocation," in the Times ' perspective; opposition to their presence is the provocation.

The December 27 attack that killed the US contractor did not occur in a vacuum. In 2018, the US was suspected of bombing affiliates of Kataib Hezbollah, the group the US blames for killing the contractor. Israel is suspected of carrying out a string of deadly bombings of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, of which Kataib Hezbollah is a key component, between July and September, a scenario at which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted .

The US reportedly confirmed that Israel was behind at least one of the bombings, and said it supports Israel's actions while denying direct participation. In any case, the US's lavish military support for Israel means that the former is effectively a party to the latter's bombing. Thus, the Kataib Hezbollah attack that killed the contractor can be seen as " retaliatory ," which complicates the notion that the subsequent US attack was as well.

Another Times editorial ( 1/4/20 ) describes Soleimani as "one of the region's most powerful and, yes, blood-soaked military commanders." At no point is Trump or any other US leader described as "blood-soaked" or anything comparable -- here, or in any of the mainstream media coverage I can find -- even as he and his predecessors are sopping with that of Afghans , Iraqis , Libyans and Syrians , to cite only a few recent cases. Evidently imperial violence is so righteous it leaves no trace behind.

Stephen Hadley, national security adviser in the George W Bush administration, wrote in the Washington Post ( 1/5/20 ):

What is clear is that one of the PMFs, Kataib Hezbollah, has been behind the escalating violence over the past several months as part of a campaign (assuredly with Iranian approval) to force out US troops. The campaign culminated in the December 31 attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad. (The head of Kataib Hezbollah, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was killed with Soleimani.)

By expelling US forces, the Iraqi government would be falling into Kataib Hezbollah's trap: rewarding the militia's violent campaign, strengthening the Iranian-backed PMFs, weakening the Iraqi government and state sovereignty, and jeopardizing the fight against the Islamic State.

Kataib Hezbollah's actions are called "violence" twice in these three sentences, with their apex apparently being "the December 31 attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad." Remarkably, the author makes no mention of the December 29 US airstrikes on five sites in Iraq and Syria that the US says belong to Kataib Hezbollah, bombings that reportedly killed 25 and injured 55 . Those, it would seem, do not constitute "violence." Iraqis damaging the embassy of the country whose economic sanctions killed half a million Iraqi children is "violence," but the US's lethal air raids are not. And expelling foreign armies weakens state sovereignty!

"No one in Baghdad was fooled" by anti-US protests in Iraq, which were "almost certainly a Soleimani-staged operation to make it look as if Iraqis wanted America out," declared Thomas Friedman ( New York Times , 1/3/20 ). (In a 2016 poll , 93% of young Iraqis said that they perceived the US as an "enemy.")

Thomas Friedman's Times article ( 1/3/20 ) on Soleimani's murder was bad even by Thomas Friedman standards. He dismissed the protests at the US embassy:

The whole "protest" against the United States Embassy compound in Baghdad last week was almost certainly a Soleimani-staged operation to make it look as if Iraqis wanted America out when in fact it was the other way around. The protesters were paid pro-Iranian militiamen. No one in Baghdad was fooled by this.

In a way, it's what got Soleimani killed. He so wanted to cover his failures in Iraq he decided to start provoking the Americans there by shelling their forces, hoping they would overreact, kill Iraqis and turn them against the United States. Trump, rather than taking the bait, killed Soleimani instead.

That there were thousands of protesters at the US embassy and that the Iraqi security forces stood aside to allow them to demonstrate suggests that what happened at the embassy cannot be reduced to a hoax stage-managed and paid for by Iran. Furthermore, the US did kill Iraqis two days before the protests, and that's what ignited them (to say nothing of the longer term record of the US devastating Iraq ). Like Hadley, however, Friedman pretends that the US's December 27 bombings didn't happen.

In the imperial imagination, the US has the right to violently pursue its objectives wherever it wants, and any resistance is illegitimate.

Gregory Shupak teaches media studies at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto. His book, The Wrong Story: Palestine, Israel and the Media , is published by OR Books.

  1. Konstantin Goranovic

    January 21, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    Kudos to you Gregory for keeping us informed in this era of "post-truth". It takes courage to do what you are doing and I really admire it. Reply
  2. Christian J Chuba

    January 22, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    And yet their are 'fact checkers' out out the pro-Iran / anti-American media juggernaut, someone went to Tehran and reported on Soleimani's funeral, gasp, she must be denounced as a useful idiot because that was staged. All events we don't like are staged. Did Iran let people out of school or advertise the time and place of the procession? Most likely but so was JFK's funeral. In any case, who actually bothered to find out if the Iranians forced or paid people to attend Soleimani's funeral.

    I do feel violated being subjected to Friedman's self-proclaimed expertise. He does not feel any need to actually validate his statements other than to say, 'no one was fooled' and voila it is so. Great work if you can get it. Reply

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[Feb 29, 2020] Singer, Bernard Marcus, and Sheldon Adelson, together put over $250 million in pro-Trump political money. In return, they want war with Iran

Notable quotes:
"... Know what this called. Extortion .Same as Zelensky and Ukraine ..but it is going to end badly, it has to. ..."
Jan 01, 2020 | www.unz.com

mcohen , says: December 21, 2019 at 6:09 am GMT

@NoseytheDuke Lol.the fact that you looked and missed it.The devil is in the details.Joyce wrote.Mark green cheered on.I called bullshit

"Although Singer was initially anti-Trump, and although Trump once attacked Singer for his pro-immigration politics ("Paul Singer represents amnesty and he represents illegal immigration pouring into the country"), Trump is now essentially funded by three Jews -- Singer, Bernard Marcus, and Sheldon Adelson, together accounting for over $250 million in pro-Trump political money. In return, they want war with Iran"

Know what this called. Extortion .Same as Zelensky and Ukraine ..but it is going to end badly, it has to.

[Feb 29, 2020] Pompeo lies and smokescreen

Pompeo has just four terms in the House of Representives befor getting postions of Director of CIA (whichsuggests previous involvement with CIA) and then paradoxically the head of the State Department, He retired from the alry in the rank of comptain and never participated in any battles. He serves only in Germany, and this can be classified as a chickenhawk. He never performed any dyplomatic duries in hs life and a large part of his adult life (1998-2006) was a greddy military contractor.
Jan 07, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions Agnes Callamard tweeted,

#Pentagon statement on targeted killing of #suleimani :

1. It mentions that it aimed at "deterring future Iranian attack plans". This however is very vague. Future is not the same as imminent which is the time based test required under international law. (1)

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

2. Overall, the statement places far greater emphasis on past activities and violations allegedly commuted by Suleimani. As such the killing appears far more retaliatory for past acts than anticipatory for imminent self defense.

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

3. The notion that Suleimani was "actively developing plans" is curious both from a semantic and military standpoint. Is it sufficient to meet the test of mecessity and proportionality?

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

4. The statement fails to mention the other individuals killed alongside Suleimani. Collateral? Probably. Unlawful. Absolutely.

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

[Feb 27, 2020] Qasem Soleimani - Wikipedia

Jan 06, 2020 | en.wikipedia.org

Orchestration of military escalation in 2015 In 2015, Soleimani started to gather support from various sources in order to combat the newly resurgent ISIL and rebel groups which were both successful in taking large swathes of territory away from Assad's forces. He was reportedly the main architect of the joint intervention involving Russia as a new partner with Assad and Hezbollah. In 2015, Soleimani started to gather support from various sources in order to combat the newly resurgent ISIL and rebel groups which were both successful in taking large swathes of territory away from Assad's forces. He was reportedly the main architect of the joint intervention involving Russia as a new partner with Assad and Hezbollah. [47] [48] [49] [50]

According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory – with Russia's help. Qasem Soleimani's visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory – with Russia's help. Qasem Soleimani's visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory – with Russia's help.

Qasem Soleimani's visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new Iran–Russia alliance in support of the Syrian (and Iraqi) governments. Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei also sent a senior envoy to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin. "Putin reportedly told [a senior Iranian envoy] 'Okay we will intervene. Send Qassem Soleimani.'" General Soleimani went to explain the map of the theatre and coordinate the strategic escalation of military forces in Syria. [49]

Operations in Aleppo
Map of the 2015 Aleppo offensives. [51] [52] [53] [54] [55] [56]

Soleimani had a decisive impact on the theater of operations, which led to a strong advance in southern Aleppo with the government and allied forces re-capturing two military bases and dozens of towns and villages in a matter of weeks. There was also a series of major advances towards Kuweiris air-base to the north-east. [57] By mid-November, the Syrian army and its allies had gained ground in southern areas of Aleppo Governorate, capturing numerous rebel strongholds. Soleimani was reported to have personally led the drive deep into the southern Aleppo countryside where many towns and villages fell into government hands. He reportedly commanded the Syrian Arab Army's 4th Mechanized Division, Hezbollah, Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi), Kata'ib Hezbollah (Iraqi), Liwaa Abu Fadl Al-Abbas (Iraqi), and Firqa Fatayyemoun (Afghan/Iranian volunteers). [58]

In early February 2016, backed by Russian and Syrian air force airstrikes, the 4th Mechanized Division – in close coordination with Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces (NDF), Kata'eb Hezbollah, and Harakat Al-Nujaba – launched an offensive in Aleppo Governorate's northern countryside, [59] which eventually broke the three-year siege of Nubl and Al-Zahraa and cut off the rebels' main supply route from Turkey. According to a senior, non-Syrian security source close to Damascus, Iranian fighters played a crucial role in the conflict. "Qassem Soleimani is there in the same area", he said. [60] In December 2016, new photos emerged of Soleimani at the Citadel of Aleppo , though the exact date of the photos is unknown. [61] [62]

... ... ...

In 2014, Qasem Soleimani was in the Iraqi city of Amirli , to work with the Iraqi forces to push back militants from ISIL. [68] [69] According to the Los Angeles Times , which reported that Amirli was the first town to successfully withstand an ISIS invasion, it was secured thanks to "an unusual partnership of Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers, Iranian-backed Shiite militias and U.S. warplanes". The U.S. acted as a force multiplier for a number of Iranian-backed armed groups – at the same time that was present on the battlefield. [70] [71] Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani prays in the Syrian desert during a local pro-government offensive in 2017

A senior Iraqi official told the BBC that when the city of Mosul fell, the rapid reaction of Iran, rather than American bombing, was what prevented a more widespread collapse. [11] Qasem Soleimani also seems to have been instrumental in planning the operation to relieve Amirli in Saladin Governorate, where ISIL had laid siege to an important city. [66] In fact the Quds force operatives under Soleimani's command seem to have been deeply involved with not only the Iraqi army and Shi'ite militias but also the Kurdish in the Battle of Amirli , [72] not only providing liaisons for intelligence-sharing but also the supply of arms and munitions in addition to "providing expertise". [73]

In the operation to liberate Jurf Al Sakhar , he was reportedly "present on the battlefield". Some Shia militia commanders described Soleimani as "fearless" – one pointing out that the Iranian general never wears a flak jacket , even on the front lines. [74]

In November 2014, Shi'ite and Kurdish forces under Soleimani's command pushed ISIS out of Iraqi villages of Jalawla and Saadia, in the Diyala Governorate . [67]

Soleimani was also intimately involved in the planning and execution of the operation to liberate Tikrit . [75] [76]

Soleimani played an integral role in the organisation and planning of the crucial operation to retake the city of Tikrit in Iraq from ISIS. The city of Tikrit rests on the left bank of the Tigris river and is the largest and most important city between Baghdad and Mosul, giving it a high strategic value. The city fell to ISIS during 2014 when ISIS made immense gains in northern and central Iraq. After its capture, ISIL's massacre at Camp Speicher led to 1,600 to 1,700 deaths of Iraqi Army cadets and soldiers. After months of careful preparation and intelligence gathering an offensive to encircle and capture Tikrit was launched in early March 2015. [76]

[Feb 27, 2020] The Obama Administration Wrecked Libya for a Generation by Doug Bandow

Jan 10, 2020 | The American Conservative
Foreign Affairs

'We came, we saw, he died' -- Hillary Clinton smirked when she said it. She had no idea how many people that would apply to. A fighter loyal to the Libyan internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) fires a heavy machine gun. (MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP via Getty Images)

Libya's ongoing destruction belongs to Hillary Clinton more than anyone else. It was she who pushed President Barack Obama to launch his splendid little war, backing the overthrow of Moammar Gaddafi in the name of protecting Libya's civilians. When later asked about Gaddafi's death, she cackled and exclaimed: "We came, we saw, he died."

Alas, his was not the last death in that conflict, which has flared anew, turning Libya into a real-life Game of Thrones . An artificial country already suffering from deep regional divisions, Libya has been further torn apart by political and religious differences. One commander fighting on behalf of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Salem Bin Ismail, told the BBC: "We have had chaos since 2011."

Arrayed against the weak unity government is the former Gaddafi general, U.S. citizen, and one-time CIA adjunct Khalifa Haftar. For years, the two sides have appeared to be in relative military balance, but a who's who of meddlesome outsiders has turned the conflict into an international affair. The latest playbook features Egypt, France, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia supporting Haftar, while Italy, Qatar, and Turkey are with the unity government.

In April, Haftar launched an offensive to seize Tripoli. It faltered until Russian mercenaries made an appearance in September, bringing Haftar to the gates of Tripoli. He apparently is also employing Sudanese mercenaries, though not with their nation's backing. Now Turkey plans to introduce troops to bolster the official government.

Washington's position is at best confused. It officially recognizes the GNA. When Haftar started his offensive, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement urging "the immediate halt to these military operations." However, President Donald Trump then initiated a friendly phone call to Haftar "to discuss ongoing counterterrorism efforts and the need to achieve peace and stability in Libya," according to the White House. More incongruously, "The president recognized Field Marshal Haftar's significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya's oil resources, and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya's transition to a stable, democratic political system." The State Department recently urged both sides to step back. However, Haftar continues to advance, and just days ago captured the coastal city of Sirte.

In recent years, Libya had been of little concern to the U.S. It was an oil producer, but Gaddafi had as much incentive to sell the oil as did King Idris I, whom Gaddafi and other members of the "Free Officers Movement" ousted. Gaddafi carefully balanced interests in Libya's complex tribal society and kept the military weak over fears of another coup. He was a geopolitical troublemaker, supporting a variety of insurgent and terrorist groups. But he steadily lost influence, alienating virtually every African and Middle Eastern government.

Of greatest concern to Washington, Libyan agents organized terrorist attacks against the U.S. -- bombing an American airliner and a Berlin disco frequented by American soldiers -- leading to economic sanctions and military retaliation. However, those days were long over by 2011. Eight years before, in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Gaddafi repudiated terrorism and ended his missile and nuclear programs in a deal with the U.S. and Europe. He was feted in European capitals. His government served as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council from 2008 to 2009. American officials congratulated him for his assistance against terrorism and discussed possible assistance in return. All seemed forgiven.

Then in 2011, the Arab Spring engulfed Libya, as people rose against Gaddafi's rule. He responded with force to reestablish control. However, Western advocates of regime change warned that genocide was possible and pushed for intervention under United Nations auspices. In explaining his decision to intervene, Obama stated: "We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world." Russia and China went along with a resolution authorizing "all necessary measures to prevent the killing of civilians."

In fact, the fears were fraudulent. Gaddafi was no angel, but he hadn't targeted civilians, and his florid rhetoric, cited by critics, only attacked those who had taken up arms. He even promised amnesty to those who abandoned their weapons. With no civilians to protect, NATO, led by the U.S., bombed Libyan government forces and installations and backed the insurgents' offensive. It was not a humanitarian intervention, but a lengthy, costly, low-tech, regime-change war, mostly at Libyan expense. Obama claimed: "We had a unique ability to stop the violence." Instead his administration ensured that the initial civil war would drag on for months -- and the larger struggle ultimately for years.

On October 20, 2011, Gaddafi was discovered hiding in a culvert in Sirte. He was beaten, sodomized with a bayonet, shot, and killed. That essentially ended the first phase of the extended Libyan civil war. Gaddafi had done much to earn his fate, but his death led to an entirely new set of problems.

A low level insurgency continued, led by former Gaddafi followers. Proposals either to disband militia forces or integrate them into the National Transitional Council (NTC) military went unfulfilled, and this developed into the conflict's second phase. Elections delivered fragmented results, as ideological, religious, and other divisions ran deep. Militias were accused of misusing government funds, employing violence, and kidnapping and assassinating their opponents. Islamist groups increasingly attempted to impose religious rule. Violence and insecurity worsened.

In February 2014, Haftar challenged the General National Congress (GNC). Hostilities broadly evolved between the GNC/GNA, backed by several militias, which controlled Tripoli and much of the country's west, and the Tobruk-based House of Representatives, which was supported by Haftar and his Libyan National Army. Multiple domestic factions, forces, and militias also were involved. Among them was the Islamic State, which murdered Egyptian Coptic (Christian) laborers.

The African Union and the United Nations promoted various peace initiatives. However, other governments fueled hostilities. Most notable now is the potential entry of Turkish troops.

In mid-December, Turkey's parliament approved an agreement to provide equipment, military training, technical aid, and intelligence. (The Erdogan government also controversially set maritime boundaries with Libya that conflict with other claims, most notably from Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, and Israel.) Ankara introduced some members of the dwindling Syrian insurgents once aligned against the Assad regime to Libya and raised the possibility of adding its "quick reaction force" to the fight.

At the end of last month, the Erdogan government introduced, and parliament approved, legislation to authorize the deployment of combat forces. President Erdogan criticized nations that backed a "putschist general" and "warlord" and promised to support the GNA "much more effectively." While noting that Turkey doesn't "go where we are not invited" (except, apparently, Syria), Erdogan added that "since now there is an invitation [from the GNA], we will accept it."

But Haftar refused to back down. Last week, he called on "men and women, soldiers and civilians, to defend our land and our honor." He continued: "We accept the challenge and declare jihad and a call to arms."

Turkish legislator Ismet Yilmaz supported the intervention and warned that the conflict might "spread instability to Turkey." More likely the intervention is a grab for energy, since Ankara has devoted significant resources of late to exploring the Eastern Mediterranean for oil and gas. Libya has oil deposits, of course, which could be exploited under a friendly government. Perhaps most important, Ankara wants to ensure that its interests are respected in the Eastern Mediterranean.

However, direct intervention is an extraordinarily dangerous step. It puts Turkey in the line of fire, as in Syria. Ankara's forces could clash with those of Russia, which maintains the merest veneer of deniability over its role in Libya. And other powers -- Egypt, perhaps, or the UAE -- might ramp up their involvement in an effort to thwart Erdogan's plans.

In response, the U.S. attempted to warn Turkey against intervening. "External military intervention threatens prospects for resolving the conflict," said State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus with no hint of irony. Congress might go further: some of its members have already proposed sanctioning Russia for the introduction of mercenaries, and Ankara has few friends left on Capitol Hill. Nevertheless it is rather late for Washington to cry foul. Its claim to essentially a monopoly on Mideast meddling can only be seen as risible by other powers.

The Arab League has also criticized "foreign interference." In a resolution passed in late December, the group expressed "serious concern over the military escalation further aggravating the situation in Libya and which threatens the security and stability of neighboring countries and the entire region." However, Arab League is no less hypocritical. Egypt, the UAE, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, all deeply involved in the conflict, are members of the league. And no one would be surprised if some or all of them decided to expand their participation in the fighting. Egyptian president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi insisted: "We will not allow anyone to control Libya. It is a matter of Egyptian national security."

Although the fighting is less intense than in, say, Syria, combat has gone high-tech. According to the Washington Post : "Eight months into Libya's worst spasm of violence in eight years, the conflict is being fought increasingly by weaponized drones." ISIS is one of the few beneficiaries of these years of fighting. GNA-allied militias that once cooperated with the U.S. and other states in counterterrorism are now focused on Haftar, allowing militants to revive, set up desert camps, and organize attacks. Washington still employs drones, but they rely on accurate intelligence, best gathered on the ground, and even then well-directed hits are no substitute for local ground operations.

The losers are the Libyan people. The fighting has resulted in thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of refugees. Divisions, even among tribes, are growing. The future looks ever dimmer. Fathi Bashagha, the GNA interior minister, lamented: "Every day we are burying young people who should be helping us build Libya." Absent a major change, many more will be buried in the future.

Yet the air of unreality surrounding the conflict remains. In late December, President Trump met with al-Sisi and, according to the White House, the two "rejected foreign exploitation and agreed that parties must take urgent steps to resolve the conflict before Libyans lose control to foreign actors." However, the latter already happened -- nine years ago when America first intervened.

The Obama administration did not plan to ruin Libya for a generation. But its decision to take on another people's fight has resulted in catastrophe. Hillary Clinton's malignant gift keeps on giving. Such is the cost of America's promiscuous war-making.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. He is a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan and the author of several books, including Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire .

[Feb 27, 2020] Geraldo Rivera: "Don't For A Minute" Cheer Killing Of Iranian General; "What We Have Unleashed?"

In view of event of Jan 7 it looks like Geraldo Rivera had the point. He beautifully cut the neocon jerk by reminding him the role of the US intelligence agencies in unleashing Iraq war
Jan 02, 2020 | www.realclearpolitics.com

FOX News correspondent Geraldo Rivera debated "Fox & Friends" hosts Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy Friday about the assassination of Iranian special forces General Qassim al Soleimani in Iraq, warning of dire consequences if Iran chooses to retaliate and telling Kilmeade: "You, like Lindsey Graham, have never met a war you didn't like."

"Your arrogance is exactly what's wrong with the region," Geraldo said. "You're not a front-line fighter that has to go back into Iraq again."

GERALDO RIVERA: We thought that when the de-escalation at the embassy happened a couple of days ago that was the end of this chapter. The U.S., with it's firmness, had won the victory. It wasn't going to be Benghazi, it wasn't going to be Tehran from 1980. We won that technical victory.

Now we have taken this huge military escalation. Now I fear the worst. You're going to see the U.S. markets go crazy today. You're going to see the price of oil spiking today. This is a very, very big deal.

BRIAN KILMEADE: I don't know if you heard, this isn't about his resume of blood and death, it was about what was next. That's what you're missing.

STEVE DOOCY: According to the Secretary of Defense.

GERALDO RIVERA: By what credible source can you predict what the next Iranian move will be?

BRIAN KILMEADE: Secretary fo State and American intelligence provided that material.

GERALDO RIVERA: They've been excellent. They've been excellent, the U.S. intelligence has been excellent since 2003 when we invaded Iraq, disrupted the entire region for no real reason. Don't for a minute start cheering this on, what we have done, what we have unleashed --

BRIAN KILMEADE: I will cheer it on. I am elated.

GERALDO RIVERA: Then you, like Lindsey Graham, have never met a war you didn't like.

BRIAN KILMEADE: That is not true, and don't even say that.

GERALDO RIVERA: If President Trump wanted a de-escalation --

BRIAN KILMEADE: Let them kill us for another 15 years?

GERALDO RIVERA: If President Trump wanted a de-escalation and to bring our troops home--

BRIAN KILMEADE: What about the 700 Americans who are dead, should they not be happy?

GERALDO RIVERA: What about the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have died since 2003? You have to start seeing. What the hell are we doing in Baghdad in the first place? Why are we there?

BRIAN KILMEADE: So you're blaming President Bush for the maniacal killing of Saddam Hussein?

GERALDO RIVERA: I am blaming President Bush in 2003 for the fake weapons of mass destruction that never existed and the con-job that drove us into that war.

[Feb 25, 2020] How John Bolton and a Phony Script Brought Us to the Brink of War by Scott Ritter

Bolton is a typical "Full Spectrum Dominance" hawk, a breed of chickenhawks that recently proliferated in Washinton corridors of power and which are fed by MIC.
Notable quotes:
"... the way the IRGC came to be designated as an FTO is itself predicated on a lie. ..."
"... The person responsible for this lie is President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton, who while in that position oversaw National Security Council (NSC) interagency policy coordination meetings at the White House for the purpose of formulating a unified government position on Iran. Bolton had stacked the NSC staff with hardliners who were pushing for a strong stance. But representatives from the Department of Defense often pushed back . During such meetings, the Pentagon officials argued that the IRGC was "a state entity" (albeit a "bad" one), and that if the U.S. were to designate it as a terrorist group, there was nothing to stop Iran from responding by designating U.S. military personnel or CIA officers as terrorists. ..."
"... The memoranda on these meetings, consisting of summaries of the various positions put forward, were doctored by the NSC to make it appear as if the Pentagon agreed with its proposed policy. The Defense Department complained to the NSC that the memoranda produced from these meetings were "largely incorrect and inaccurate" -- "essentially fiction," a former Pentagon official claimed. ..."
"... This was a direct result of the bureaucratic dishonesty of John Bolton. Such dishonesty led to a series of policy decisions that gave a green light to use military force against IRGC targets throughout the Middle East. ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
President Trump's decision to assassinate Qassem Soleimani back in January took the United States to the brink of war with Iran.

Trump and his advisors contend that Soleimani's death was necessary to protect American lives, pointing to a continuum of events that began on December 27, when a rocket attack on an American base in Iraq killed a civilian translator. That in turn prompted U.S. airstrikes against a pro-Iranian militia, Khati'ab Hezbollah, which America blamed for the attack. Khati'ab Hezbollah then stormed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in protest. This reportedly triggered the assassination of Soleimani and a subsequent Iranian retaliatory missile strike on an American base in Iraq. The logic of this continuum appears consistent except for one important fact -- it is all predicated on a lie.

On the night of December 27, a pickup truck modified to carry a launchpad capable of firing 36 107mm Russian-made rockets was used in an attack on a U.S. military compound located at the K-1 Airbase in Iraq's Kirkuk Province. A total of 20 rockets were loaded onto the vehicle, but only 14 were fired. Some of the rockets struck an ammunition dump on the base, setting off a series of secondary explosions. When the smoke and dust cleared, a civilian interpreter was dead and several other personnel , including four American servicemen and two Iraqi military, were wounded. The attack appeared timed to disrupt a major Iraqi military operation targeting insurgents affiliated with ISIS.

The area around K-1 is populated by Sunni Arabs, and has long been considered a bastion of ISIS ideology, even if the organization itself was declared defeated inside Iraq back in 2017 by then-prime minister Haider al Abadi. The Iraqi counterterrorism forces based at K-1 consider the area around the base an ISIS sanctuary so dangerous that they only enter in large numbers.

For their part, the Iraqis had been warning their U.S. counterparts for more than a month that ISIS was planning attacks on K-1. One such report, delivered on November 6, using intelligence dating back to October, was quite specific: "ISIS terrorists have endeavored to target K-1 base in Kirkuk district by indirect fire (Katyusha rockets)."

Another report, dated December 25, warned that ISIS was attempting to seize territory to the northeast of K-1. The Iraqis were so concerned that on December 27, the day of the attack, they requested that the U.S. keep functional its tethered aerostat-based Persistent Threat Detection System (PTSD) -- a high-tech reconnaissance balloon equipped with multi-mission sensors to provide long endurance intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and communications in support of U.S. and Iraqi forces.

Instead, the U.S. took the PTSD down for maintenance, allowing the attackers to approach unobserved.

The Iraqi military officials at K-1 immediately suspected ISIS as the culprit behind the attack. Their logic was twofold. First, ISIS had been engaged in nearly daily attacks in the area for over a year, launching rockets, firing small arms, and planting roadside bombs. Second, according to the Iraqis , "The villages near here are Turkmen and Arab. There is sympathy with Daesh [i.e., ISIS] there."

As transparent as the Iraqis had been with the U.S. about their belief that ISIS was behind the attack, the U.S. was equally opaque with the Iraqis regarding whom it believed was the culprit. The U.S. took custody of the rocket launcher, all surviving ordnance, and all warhead fragments from the scene.

U.S. intelligence analysts viewed the attack on K-1 as part of a continuum of attacks against U.S. bases in Iraq since early November 2019. The first attack took place on November 9, against the joint U.S.-Iraqi base at Qayarrah , and was very similar to the one that occurred against K-1 -- some 31 107mm rockets were fired from a pickup truck modified to carry a rocket launchpad. As with K-1, the forces located in Qayarrah were engaged in ongoing operations targeting ISIS, and the territory around the base was considered sympathetic to ISIS. The Iraqi government attributed the attack to unspecified "terrorist" groups.

The U.S., however, attributed the attacks to Khati'ab Hezbollah, a Shia militia incorporated with the Popular Mobilization Organization (PMO), a pro-Iranian umbrella organization that had been incorporated into the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. The PMO blamed the U.S. for a series of drone strikes against its facilities throughout the summer of 2019. The feeling among the American analysts was that the PMO attacked the bases as a form of retaliation.

The U.S. launched a series of airstrikes against Khati'ab Hezbollah bases and command posts in Iraq and Syria on December 29, near the Iraqi city of al-Qaim. These attacks were carried out unilaterally, without any effort to coordinate with America's Iraqi counterparts or seek approval from the Iraqi government.

Khati'ab Hezbollah units had seized al-Qaim from ISIS in November 2017, and then crossed into Syria, where they defeated ISIS fighters dug in around the Syrian town of al-Bukamal. They were continuing to secure this strategic border crossing when they were bombed on December 29.

Left unsaid by the U.S. was the fact that the al-Bukamal-al Qaim border crossing was seen as a crucial "land bridge," connecting Iran with Syria via Iraq. Throughout the summer of 2019, the U.S. had been watching as Iranian engineers, working with Khati'ab Hezbollah, constructed a sprawling base that straddled both Iraq and Syria. It was this base, and not Khati'ab Hezbollah per se, that was the reason for the American airstrike. The objective in this attack was to degrade Iranian capability in the region; the K-1 attack was just an excuse, one based on the lie that Khati'ab Hezbollah, and not ISIS, had carried it out.

The U.S. had long condemned what it called Iran's "malign intentions" when it came to its activities in Iraq and Syria. But there is a world of difference between employing tools of diplomacy to counter Iranian regional actions and going kinetic. One of the reasons the U.S. has been able to justify attacking Iranian-affiliated targets, such as the al-Bukamal-al-Qaim complex and Qassem Soleimani, is that the Iranian entity associated with both -- the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC -- has been designated by the U.S. as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), and as such military attacks against it are seen as an extension of the ongoing war on terror. Yet the way the IRGC came to be designated as an FTO is itself predicated on a lie.

The person responsible for this lie is President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton, who while in that position oversaw National Security Council (NSC) interagency policy coordination meetings at the White House for the purpose of formulating a unified government position on Iran. Bolton had stacked the NSC staff with hardliners who were pushing for a strong stance. But representatives from the Department of Defense often pushed back . During such meetings, the Pentagon officials argued that the IRGC was "a state entity" (albeit a "bad" one), and that if the U.S. were to designate it as a terrorist group, there was nothing to stop Iran from responding by designating U.S. military personnel or CIA officers as terrorists.

The memoranda on these meetings, consisting of summaries of the various positions put forward, were doctored by the NSC to make it appear as if the Pentagon agreed with its proposed policy. The Defense Department complained to the NSC that the memoranda produced from these meetings were "largely incorrect and inaccurate" -- "essentially fiction," a former Pentagon official claimed.

After the Pentagon "informally" requested that the NSC change the memoranda to accurately reflect its position, and were denied, the issue was bumped up to Undersecretary of Defense John Rood. He then formally requested that the memoranda be corrected. Such a request was unprecedented in recent memory, a former official noted. Regardless, the NSC did not budge, and the original memoranda remained as the official records of the meetings in question.

President Trump designated the IRGC a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in April 2018.

This was a direct result of the bureaucratic dishonesty of John Bolton. Such dishonesty led to a series of policy decisions that gave a green light to use military force against IRGC targets throughout the Middle East. The rocket attack against K-1 was attributed to an Iranian proxy -- Khati'ab Hezbollah -- even though there was reason to believe the attack was carried out by ISIS. This was a cover so IRGC-affiliated facilities in al-Bakumal and al-Qaim, which had nothing to do with the attack, could be bombed. Everything to do with Iran's alleged "malign intent." The U.S. embassy was then attacked. Soleimani killed. The American base at al-Assad was bombarded by Iranian missiles. America and Iran were on the brink of war.

All because of a lie.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of several books, most recently, Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West's Road to War (2018).

[Feb 25, 2020] A Worthless 'New Deal' from the Iran Hawks

So Menendez survived as MIC stooge. Nice.
Iran hawks never talk about diplomacy except as a way to discredit it.
Notable quotes:
"... And even if Iran were to accept and proceed comply in good faith, just as Iran complied scrupulously with the JCPOA, what's to prevent any US administration from tearing up that "new deal" and demanding more? ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
|

10:03 am

Daniel Larison Two Iran hawks from the Senate, Bob Menendez and Lindse Graham, are proposing a "new deal" that is guaranteed to be a non-starter with Iran:

Essentially, their idea is that the United States would offer a new nuclear deal to both Iran and the gulf states at the same time. The first part would be an agreement to ensure that Iran and the gulf states have access to nuclear fuel for civilian energy purposes, guaranteed by the international community in perpetuity. In exchange, both Iran and the gulf states would swear off nuclear fuel enrichment inside their own countries forever.

Iran is never going to accept any agreement that requires them to give up domestic enrichment. As far as they are concerned, they are entitled to this under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and they regard it as a matter of their national rights that they keep it. Insisting on "zero enrichment" is what made it impossible to reach an agreement with Iran for the better part of a decade, and it was only when the Obama administration understood this and compromised to allow Iran to enrich under tight restrictions that the negotiations could move forward. Demanding "zero enrichment" today in 2020 amounts to rejecting that compromise and returning to a bankrupt approach that drove Iran to build tens of thousands of centrifuges. As a proposal for negotiations, it is dead on arrival, and Menendez and Graham must know that. Iran hawks never talk about diplomacy except as a way to discredit it. They want to make a bogus offer in the hopes that it will be rejected so that they can use the rejection to justify more aggressive measures.

The identity of the authors of the plan is a giveaway that the offer is not a serious diplomatic proposal. Graham is one of the most incorrigible hard-liners on Iran, and Menendez is probably the most hawkish Democratic senator in office today. Among other things, Menendez has been a booster of the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK), the deranged cult of Iranian exiles that has been buying the support of American politicians and officials for years. Graham has never seen a diplomatic agreement that he didn't want to destroy. When hard-liners talk about making a "deal," they always mean that they want to demand the other side's surrender.

Another giveaway that this is not a serious proposal is the fact that they want this imaginary agreement submitted as a treaty:

That final deal would be designated as a treaty, ratified by the U.S. Senate, to give Iran confidence that a new president won't just pull out (like President Trump did on President Barack Obama's nuclear deal).

This is silly for many reasons. The Senate doesn't ratify treaties nowadays, so any "new deal" submitted as a treaty would never be ratified. As the current president has shown, it doesn't matter if a treaty has been ratified by the Senate. Presidents can and do withdraw from ratified treaties if they want to, and the fact that it is a ratified treaty doesn't prevent them from doing this. Bush pulled out of the ABM Treaty, which was ratified 88-2 in 1972. Trump withdrew from the INF Treaty just last year. The INF Treaty had been ratified with a 93-5 vote. The hawkish complaint that the JCPOA wasn't submitted as a treaty was, as usual, made in bad faith. There was no chance that the JCPOA would have been ratified, and even if it had been that ratification would not have protected it from being tossed aside by Trump. Insisting on making any new agreement a treaty is just another way of announcing that they have no interest in a diplomatic solution.

Menendez and Graham want to make the obstacles to diplomacy so great that negotiations between the U.S. and Iran can't resume. It isn't a serious proposal, and it shouldn't be taken seriously.

Feral Finster 5 hours ago

And even if Iran were to accept and proceed comply in good faith, just as Iran complied scrupulously with the JCPOA, what's to prevent any US administration from tearing up that "new deal" and demanding more?

[Feb 24, 2020] Creating the Corporate Coup

Notable quotes:
"... Although corporations are legally a person (see history below), they are in fact an entity. The sole goal of that entity is profit. There is no corporate conscience. ..."
"... Perhaps it would be useful to look at the nature of our global expansion. The global expanse of US military bases is well-known, but its actual territorial empire is largely hidden. The true map of America is not taught in our schools. Abby Martin interviews history Professor Daniel Immerwahr about his new book, ' How To Hide An Empire ,' where he documents the story of our "Greater United States." This is worth the 40 minute watch...I learned several new things. One more long clip. However this one is fine to just listen to as you do things. This is a wonderful interview with Noam Chomsky. The man exudes wisdom. ..."
"... The oligarchy has been with us since perhaps the tribal origins of our species, but the corporation is a newer phenomenon. A faceless, soulless profit machine. Ironically it is the 14th amendment which is used to justify corporate person-hood. ..."
"... Corporations aren't specifically mentioned in the 14th Amendment, or anywhere else in the Constitution. But going back to the earliest years of the republic, when the Bank of the United States brought the first corporate rights case before the Supreme Court, U.S. corporations have sought many of the same rights guaranteed to individuals, including the rights to own property, enter into contracts, and to sue and be sued just like individuals. ..."
"... But it wasn't until the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Rail Road that the Court appeared to grant a corporation the same rights as an individual under the 14th Amendment ..."
"... The United States is home to five of the world's 10 largest defense contractors, and American companies account for 57 percent of total arms sales by the world's 100 largest defense contractors, based on SIPRI data. Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, the largest defense contractor in the world, is estimated to have had $44.9 billion in arms sales in 2017 through deals with governments all over the world. The company drew public scrutiny after a bomb it sold to Saudi Arabia was dropped on a school bus in Yemen, killing 40 boys and 11 adults. Lockheed's revenue from the U.S. government alone is well more than the total annual budgets of the IRS and the Environmental Protection Agency, combined. ..."
"... http://news.nidokidos.org/military-spending-20-companies-profiting-the-m... For a list of the 20 companies profiting most off war... https://themindunleashed.com/2019/03/20-companies-profiting-war.html ..."
"... Capitalism, militarism and imperialism are disastrously intertwined ..."
"... Corporations are Religions Yes they are. They have ethics, goals, and priests. They have a god who determines everything "The Invisible Hand". They believe themselves to be superior to the state. They have cult garb, or are we not going to pretend that there's corporate dress codes, right down to the things you can wear on special days of the week. They determine what you can eat, drink and read. If you say something wrong, they feel within their rights to punish you because they OWN the medium that you used to spread ideas. OF course they don't own your thoughts... those belong to the OTHER god. ..."
Dec 09, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Chris Hedges often says "The corporate coup is complete". Sadly I think he is correct. So this week I thought it might be interesting to explore the techniques which are used here at home and abroad. The oligarchs' corporate control is global, but different strategies are employed in various scenarios. Just thinking about the recent regime changes promoted by the US in this hemisphere...

The US doesn't even lie about past coups. They recently released a report about the 1953 CIA led coup against Iran detailing the strategies. Here at home it is a compliant media and a new array of corporate laws designed to protect and further enrich that spell the corporate capture of our culture and society. So let's begin by looking at the nature of corporations...

The following 2.5 hour documentary from 2004 features commentary from Chris, Noam, Naomi, and many others you know. It has some great old footage. It is best watched on a television so you have a bigger screen. (This clip is on the encore+ youtube channel and does have commercials which you can skip after 5 seconds)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpQYsk-8dWg

Based on Joel Bakan's bestseller The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power , this 26-award-winning documentary explores a corporation's inner workings, curious history, controversial impacts and possible futures.

One hundred and fifty years ago, a corporation was a relatively insignificant entity. Today, it is a vivid, dramatic, and pervasive presence in all our lives. Like the Church, the Monarchy and the Communist Party in other times and places, a corporation is today's dominant institution.

Charting the rise of such an institution aimed at achieving specific economic goals, the documentary also recounts victories against this apparently invincible force.

Although corporations are legally a person (see history below), they are in fact an entity. The sole goal of that entity is profit. There is no corporate conscience. Some of the CEO's in the film discuss how all the people in the corporations are against pollution and so on, but by law stockholder profit must be the objective. Now these entities are global operations with no loyalty to their country of origin.

Perhaps it would be useful to look at the nature of our global expansion. The global expanse of US military bases is well-known, but its actual territorial empire is largely hidden. The true map of America is not taught in our schools. Abby Martin interviews history Professor Daniel Immerwahr about his new book, ' How To Hide An Empire ,' where he documents the story of our "Greater United States." This is worth the 40 minute watch...I learned several new things. One more long clip. However this one is fine to just listen to as you do things. This is a wonderful interview with Noam Chomsky. The man exudes wisdom.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuVqfKYbGvE (2 hour 5 min)

So much of this conversation touches on today's topic of our corporate capture. Amy interviewed Ed Snowden this week... (video or text)

This is a system, the first system in history, that bore witness to everything. Every border you crossed, every purchase you make, every call you dial, every cell phone tower you pass, friends you keep, article you write, site you visit and subject line you type was now in the hands of a system whose reach is unlimited but whose safeguards were not. And I felt, despite what the law said, that this was something that the public ought to know.

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/12/5/edward_snowden_amy_goodman_interv...

The oligarchy has been with us since perhaps the tribal origins of our species, but the corporation is a newer phenomenon. A faceless, soulless profit machine. Ironically it is the 14th amendment which is used to justify corporate person-hood.

Corporations aren't specifically mentioned in the 14th Amendment, or anywhere else in the Constitution. But going back to the earliest years of the republic, when the Bank of the United States brought the first corporate rights case before the Supreme Court, U.S. corporations have sought many of the same rights guaranteed to individuals, including the rights to own property, enter into contracts, and to sue and be sued just like individuals.

But it wasn't until the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Rail Road that the Court appeared to grant a corporation the same rights as an individual under the 14th Amendment

https://www.history.com/news/14th-amendment-corporate-personhood-made-co...

More recently in 2010 (Citizens United v. FEC): In the run up to the 2008 election, the Federal Elections Commission blocked the conservative nonprofit Citizens United from airing a film about Hillary Clinton based on a law barring companies from using their funds for "electioneering communications" within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election. The organization sued, arguing that, because people's campaign donations are a protected form of speech (see Buckley v. Valeo) and corporations and people enjoy the same legal rights, the government can't limit a corporation's independent political donations. The Supreme Court agreed. The Citizens United ruling may be the most sweeping expansion of corporate personhood to date.
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/how-supreme-court-turned-co...

Do they really believe this is how we think?

More than just using the courts, corporations are knee deep in creating favorable laws, not just by lobbying, but by actually writing legislation to feed the politicians that they own and control, especially at the state level.

Through ALEC, Global Corporations Are Scheming to Rewrite YOUR Rights and Boost THEIR Revenue. Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called "model bills" reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations.

In ALEC's own words, corporations have "a VOICE and a VOTE" on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in your state. DO YOU? Numerous resources to help us expose ALEC are provided below. We have also created links to detailed discussions of key issues...

https://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed

Here's an attempt by a local station to tell the story of a Georgia session of legislators and ALEC lobbyists. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3yIbxydlHY (6 min)

There is very little effort to hide the blatant corruption. People seem to accept this behavior as business as usual, after all it is.

Part of the current ALEC legislative agenda involves stifling protests.

I think it started in Texas...

A bill making its way through the Texas legislature would make protesting pipelines a third-degree felony, the same as attempted murder.
H.B. 3557, which is under consideration in the state Senate after passing the state House earlier this month, ups penalties for interfering in energy infrastructure construction by making the protests a felony. Sentences would range from two to 10 years.

https://www.ecowatch.com/texas-bill-pipeline-protests-felony-2637605986....
It is now law. Other states are following suit...

Lawmakers in Wisconsin introduced a bill on September 5 designed to chill protests around oil and gas pipelines and other energy infrastructure in the state by imposing harsh criminal penalties for trespassing on or damaging the property of a broad range of "energy providers."

Senate Bill 386 echoes similar "critical infrastructure protection" model bills pushed out by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Council of State Governments over the last two years to prevent future protests like the one against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

https://www.exposedbycmd.org/2019/09/16/wisconsin-legislators-seek-crimi...

These activities are taking place in most states...especially red ones like mine.

When TPTB use government to play chess with the countries of the world havoc ensues...

Abby and Mike were on Chris' show yesterday talking about Gaza and the US/Israeli effort at genocide. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcsEYRt_jGY (28 min)

And Chris was on the evening RT news this week discussing how the US empire is striking back against leaders who help their own people rather than our global corporations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1P5G9S8flnY (6.5 min)

Lee Camp and Ben Norton also discussed how the US wants to own South America. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLETst107M0 (1st 22 min)

This excellent article tells the story well...

Financially, the cost of these wars is immense: more than $6 trillion dollars. The cost of these wars is just one element of the $1.2 trillion the US government spends annually on wars and war making. Half of each dollar paid in federal income tax goes towards some form or consequence of war . While the results of such spending are not hard to foresee or understand: a cyclical and dependent relationship between the Pentagon, weapons industry and Congress, the creation of a whole new class of worker and wealth distribution is not so understood or noticed, but exists and is especially malignant.

This is a ghastly redistribution of wealth, perhaps unlike any known in modern human history, certainly not in American history. As taxpayers send trillions to Washington. DC, that money flows to the men and women that remotely oversee, manage and staff the wars that kill and destroy millions of lives overseas and at home. Hundreds of thousands of federal employees and civilian contractors servicing the wars take home six figure annual salaries allowing them second homes, luxury cars and plastic surgery, while veterans put guns in their mouths, refugees die in capsized boats and as many as four million nameless souls scream silently in death.

These AUMFs (Authorization for Use of Military Force) and the wars have provided tens of thousands of recruits to international terror groups; mass profits to the weapons industry and those that service it; promotions to generals and admirals, with corporate board seats upon retirement ; and a perpetual and endless supply of bloody shirts for politicians to wave via an unquestioning and obsequious corporate media to stoke compliant anger and malleable fear. What is hard to imagine, impossible even, is anyone else who has benefited from these wars.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/12/06/authorizations-for-madness-the-e...

The United States is home to five of the world's 10 largest defense contractors, and American companies account for 57 percent of total arms sales by the world's 100 largest defense contractors, based on SIPRI data. Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, the largest defense contractor in the world, is estimated to have had $44.9 billion in arms sales in 2017 through deals with governments all over the world. The company drew public scrutiny after a bomb it sold to Saudi Arabia was dropped on a school bus in Yemen, killing 40 boys and 11 adults. Lockheed's revenue from the U.S. government alone is well more than the total annual budgets of the IRS and the Environmental Protection Agency, combined.

http://news.nidokidos.org/military-spending-20-companies-profiting-the-m... For a list of the 20 companies profiting most off war... https://themindunleashed.com/2019/03/20-companies-profiting-war.html

The obvious industry which was not included nor considered is the fossil fuel industry. Here's another example of mutual corporate interests.

"Capitalism, militarism and imperialism are disastrously intertwined with the fossil fuel economy .A globalized economy predicated on growth at any social or environmental costs, carbon dependent international trade, the limitless extraction of natural resources, and a view of citizens as nothing more than consumers cannot be the basis for tackling climate change .Little wonder then that the elites have nothing to offer beyond continued militarisation and trust in techno-fixes."

-- Nick Buxton and Ben Hayes
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/07/05/doubling-down-the-military-big-b...

The US military is one of the largest consumers and emitters of carbon-dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in history, according to an independent analysis of global fuel-buying practices of a "virtually unresearched" government agency.
If the US military were its own country, it would rank 47th between Peru and Portugal in terms of annual fuel purchases, totaling almost 270,000 barrels of oil bought every day in 2017. In particular, the Air Force is the largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions and bought $4.9 billion of fuel in 2017 – nearly double that of the Navy ($2.8 billion).

https://www.iflscience.com/environment/us-military-ranks-higher-in-green...

The fossil fuel giants even try to control the climate talks...

Oil and gas groups were accused Saturday of seeking to influence climate talks in Madrid by paying millions in sponsorship and sending dozens of lobbyists to delay what scientists say is a necessary and rapid cut in fossil fuel use.

https://www.rawstory.com/2019/12/fossil-fuel-groups-destroying-climate-t...

The corporations are so entwined that it is difficult to tell where they begin and end. There's the unity of private prisons and the war machine. And it's a global scheme...this example from the UK.

One thing is clear: the prison industrial complex and the global war machine are intimately connected. This summer's prison strike that began in the United States and spread to other countries was the largest in history. It shows more than ever that prisoners are resisting this penal regime, often at great risk to themselves. The battle to end prison slavery continues.

https://corporatewatch.org/poppies-prison-labour-and-the-war-machine/

Then there was the corporate tax give away...

The 2017 tax bill cut taxes for most Americans, including the middle class, but it heavily benefits the wealthy and corporations . It slashed the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, and its treatment of "pass-through" entities -- companies organized as sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, or S corporations -- will translate to an estimated $17 billion in tax savings for millionaires this year. American corporations are showering their shareholders with stock buybacks, thanks in part to their tax savings.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/12/18/18146253/tax-cuts-and...

Even Robert Jackson Jr., commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Appointed to the SEC in 2017 by President Donald Trump. Confirmed in January 2018 sees the corporate cuts as absurd.

"We have been to the movie of tax cuts and buybacks before, in the Republican administration during the George W. Bush era. We enacted a quite substantial tax cut during that period. And studies after that showed very clearly that most corporations use the funds from that tax cut for buybacks. And here's the kicker. That particular tax cut actually required that companies deploy the capital for capital expenditures, wage increases and investments in their people. Yet studies showed that, in fact, the companies use them for buybacks. So we've been to this movie before. And what you're describing to me, that corporations turned around and took the Trump tax cut and didn't use it in investing in their people or in infrastructure, but instead for other purposes, shouldn't surprise anybody at all."

https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2019/11/18/corporations-stock-buybacks-sec-...

So the corporations grow larger, wealthier, more powerful, buying evermore legislative influence along the way. They have crept into almost every aspect of our lives. Some doctors are beginning to see the influence of big pharma and other corporate interests are effecting the current practice of medicine.

Gary Fettke is a doctor from Tasmania who has been targeted for promoting a high fat low carb diet...threatened with losing his medical qualifications. He doesn't pull punches in this presentation discussing the corporate control of big ag/food and big pharma on medical practice and education. (27 min)

Comments

detroitmechworks on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 8:28am

Corporations are Religions Yes they are. They have ethics, goals, and priests. They have a god who determines everything "The Invisible Hand". They believe themselves to be superior to the state. They have cult garb, or are we not going to pretend that there's corporate dress codes, right down to the things you can wear on special days of the week. They determine what you can eat, drink and read. If you say something wrong, they feel within their rights to punish you because they OWN the medium that you used to spread ideas. OF course they don't own your thoughts... those belong to the OTHER god.

At least the crazy made up gods that I listen to don't usually fuck over other human beings for a goddamn percentage. ON the other hand, if a corporation can make a profit, it's REQUIRED to fuck you over. To do otherwise would be against it's morals. Which it does have, trust us... OH, and corporations get to make fun of your beliefs, but you CANNOT make fun of theirs. Because that would be heresy against logic and reason.

www.youtube.com/embed/uGDA0Hecw1k?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 8:37am
yes indeed, they are superior to the state...

@detroitmechworks

In the film Secret State they (fossil fuel) admit it. Here's the trailer...(1.5 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCYjbux_dCM

You can watch the series if anyone has an interest. Start here...there are about 6 episodes.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aeZT6IXCUg (42 min)

Good spy thriller.

Nice to see you around the site again. Thanks for visiting this piece.

QMS on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 8:39am
A recent front page item

In a local newspaper showed a couple coming out of a Wal-Mart with their carts piled high with big boxed foreign junk, then shown cramming their SUV full of said junk. The headline read "Crazy Busy". It pretty much summed up what is wrong with the American consumer culture. The next day's big headline spotlighted our senator's picture affixed to a LARGE headline boasting "$22 Billion Submarine Contract Awarded". A good example of of what is wrong with the american war economy.

Thank you for your compilation Lookout! If we can get beyond the headlines, working at grass root and local solutions, maybe even underground revolution, there may be hope for us. Barter for a better future.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:06am
Let's hope we trade up for something better

@QMS

My buddies always say about their mayor..."There's no way we will trade down after this election...but then we do." Perhaps it is true for more than just their town.

The line running in my head is..."What if they gave a war and nobody came". I want to expand it to..."What if they made cheap junk no one really wanted and nobody bought it". Or substitute junk food for cheap junk, or...

My point in today's conclusion is much as I try to walk away from corporate culture/control, I really can't totally escape...but at least I spend most of my time in the open, breathing clean air, surrounded by forest. We do what we can.

Onward through the fog...

Raggedy Ann on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 8:58am
Good Sunday morning, Lookout ~~

Consumerism in our society is a plague, a disease perpetrated upon us by our corporate lords. It has taken over everything about being an American.

I think the youth are catching on, as they are thrifting more, but they don't understand about food, and that's the rub. Our youth will be more unhealthy until they understand what corporations are doing to us through food addictions.

We're expecting rain today for most of the day and actually it's just started. The person who will drill our well came by yesterday and figured out some details. We are behind two other wells, so it will probably be the holiday week when it happens - we'll see. I can wait til January and hope we do.

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:10am
best of luck with your well!

@Raggedy Ann

That's an exciting project. Keep us posted. I hope y'all have a great holiday break. Enjoy your time....the most valuable thing we have!

davidgmillsatty on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:09am
The main reason I am not enamored with Sander's economic

Ideas is that new deal of FDR's day had corporate opponents far different than those of today. Sanders does not seem to understand that the corporations of yesterday, and what worked against them, will not work against the corporations of today. In the early part of the 20th century, corporations were still primarily domestic and local often with charters from the state where they conducted their primary business, many times all of their business.

Regulation and unions were reasonable anti-dotes to the abuses of these local and domestic corporations. The state still had some semblance of control over them.

But today corporations are global. They have no allegiance to, or concern for the domestic economy or local people. They do not fear of any anti-dotes that worked for years against domestic or local corporations. Global corporations just leave and go elsewhere if they don't like the domestic or local situation if they have not managed to completely take over the government.

There is only one reason to incorporate in the first place. That is for the owner(s) of the business to avoid personal liability or responsibility. The majority of people never understand this idea. Corporate owners are the people who are the genuine personal responsibility avoiders. Not the poor. The only antidote to corporations these days is the total demise of the corporation and its similar business entities that dodge personal responsibility. And the state must refuse to allow any such entities to do business. It is the only way forward. Otherwise nation states will give way to corporate states. Corporate governance is the new feudalism from which the old feudalism morphed.

Sanders isn't going to advocate doing away with corporate entities or other similar business entities. Nor will any of the Democratic contenders. They all require corporations to rail against as the basis for their political policy.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:19am
corporate power is formative

@davidgmillsatty

...and I've always wondered just how Bernie would dismantle them. However like the impotence of the impeachment, is the impotence of the primary process.

When the DNC was sued after 2016, they were exonerated based on the ruling they were a private entity entitled to make rules as the wanted. The primary is so obviously rigged I can almost guarantee Bernie will not be allowed the nomination, so the question to how he would change corporate control is really moot.

Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

davidgmillsatty on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:56am
Sanders Winning the Nomination

@Lookout I probably could get on board with a Sanders campaign if he would run as an Independent. But it is really hard to get on board with him as a Democrat. If he loses the nomination, he will probably not run as an Independent once again. Once he bailed on an Independent run last time, I and many others bailed on him. I would support his Independent candidacy just to screw with the Electoral College. I thought last time an independent candidacy might have thrown the election to the House of Representatives. I could see a Democratically controlled House voting for him over Trump in a three way EC split if the Democratic candidate took low EC numbers.

But he is so afraid of being tarred with the Nader moniker.

What I said many times on websites last election is that an EC vote is very similar to a Parliamentary Election. And that would be an interesting change for sure. It would also be a means of having the popular vote winner restored if there is a big enough margin in the House. And what would be equally cool is that the Senate picks the VP. So you could have President and VP from different parties.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:32am
in some alternate universe...

@davidgmillsatty

if Bernie got the nomination, I would vote for him, especially in this imaginary world, if Tulsi was his running mate. Then there the question about your vote being counted? We'll just have to see what we see and make judgements based on outcomes, IMO.

#4.1 I probably could get on board with a Sanders campaign if he would run as an Independent. But it is really hard to get on board with him as a Democrat. If he loses the nomination, he will probably not run as an Independent once again. Once he bailed on an Independent run last time, I and many others bailed on him. I would support his Independent candidacy just to screw with the Electoral College. I thought last time an independent candidacy might have thrown the election to the House of Representatives. I could see a Democratically controlled House voting for him over Trump in a three way EC split if the Democratic candidate took low EC numbers.

But he is so afraid of being tarred with the Nader moniker.

What I said many times on websites last election is that an EC vote is very similar to a Parliamentary Election. And that would be an interesting change for sure. It would also be a means of having the popular vote winner restored if there is a big enough margin in the House. And what would be equally cool is that the Senate picks the VP. So you could have President and VP from different parties.

davidgmillsatty on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 11:01am
The more I think about this

@Lookout The only way the Democrats might beat Trump is to have Sanders run as an Independent and prevent Trump from reaching 270. That is a far better way to beat Trump than impeachment. Would the house vote for the Democrat or an Independent? I guess it would depend on how Sanders did in the popular vote and EC against his Democratic rival.

#4.1.1
if Bernie got the nomination, I would vote for him, especially in this imaginary world, if Tulsi was his running mate. Then there the question about your vote being counted? We'll just have to see what we see and make judgements based on outcomes, IMO.

TheOtherMaven on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 2:06pm
And who that rival was!

@davidgmillsatty @davidgmillsatty

If it was Hillary "Dewey Cheatem & Howe" Clinton, all bets are off.

#4.1.1.1 The only way the Democrats might beat Trump is to have Sanders run as an Independent and prevent Trump from reaching 270. That is a far better way to beat Trump than impeachment. Would the house vote for the Democrat or an Independent? I guess it would depend on how Sanders did in the popular vote and EC against his Democratic rival.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 2:48pm
The $hill was on Howard Stern this week...

@TheOtherMaven

//www.youtube.com/embed/LhxMvmX9WlA?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 3:18pm
Howard effin Stern indeed

@Lookout

Good lord.that she did that is unbelievable. Great point. Boycott Fox News, but go on Stern's show. It's going to be fun to watch how much lower she falls.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 3:30pm
The depth of her corruption is unfathomable

@snoopydawg

AE maybe be correct that they will pull her from behind the curtain and anoint her to run again. But I sure hope not!

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 3:31pm
More lying about Bernie not supporting Hillary

@Lookout

MSNBC invited on two former Hillary Clinton aides to criticize Bernie Sanders for taking a "long time to get out of the race" and that he didn't do "enough" campaigning for her in 2016. pic.twitter.com/6Vsqo0DKZI

-- Ibrahim (@ibrahimpols) December 8, 2019

Come on Bernie call this crap out.

davidgmillsatty on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 6:08pm
The Way that would work in the House of Reps

@TheOtherMaven They have to choose from actual EC vote getters. So if she is not the candidate she could not win.

Having Sanders run as an Independent and Warren or Biden run as a Democrat would be a much better strategy to ensure a Trump loss in the House. Of course it might take some coordination as in asking the voters to vote for the candidate who has the best chance of beating Trump in certain states. But voters could probably figure that out.

Or a candidate could just withdraw from a state in which the other candidate had a better chance of beating Trump.

QMS on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:27am
Dig it

@irishking @irishking
What to do?Dance in the streets! //www.youtube.com/embed/9KhbM2mqhCQ

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:27am
Do you think the bear went over the mountain...

@irishking

refers to RUSSIA!!! (Just joking) Thanks for the song. Here's one from 1929 back atcha! Thanks for the visit. //www.youtube.com/embed/pDOwDi2jlk0

jakkalbessie on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:15am
So much to think about

Lookout as usual you have done an excellent job of giving me a lot of articles to read and think about this next week.

Of course I need to be loading my car and shutting this place down as I head to the Texas hill country. Will look for an article about Kinder Morgan and small communities that are fighting the pipeline through their towns. The read was a little hopeful.

Watching the weather and it looks like sunshine and clear skies as I travel. Thanks for all your work in putting this together.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:27am
My buddy JU Lee wrote a song...

@jakkalbessie

I like to travel on the old roads.

There's not a youtube, but the chorus goes:

I like to travel on the old roads
I like the way it makes me feel
No destination just the old roads
Somehow it helps the heart to heal.

I hope your road trip is a good one. The less busy tracks are almost meditative....soaking in scenery as the world passes by.

Have fun and be careful.

Lookout as usual you have done an excellent job of giving me a lot of articles to read and think about this next week.

Of course I need to be loading my car and shutting this place down as I head to the Texas hill country. Will look for an article about Kinder Morgan and small communities that are fighting the pipeline through their towns. The read was a little hopeful.

Watching the weather and it looks like sunshine and clear skies as I travel. Thanks for all your work in putting this together.

ggersh on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 11:06am
Nice work Lookout

Here are a couple of links to how free markets help in the corporate takeover. Amazon a corp that has only made a profit by never paying taxes and accounting fraud. It became a trillion dollar corp through the use of monopoly money(stock) it's nothing but the perfect example of todays "unicorn" corp, i.e. worth what it is w/out ever making a penny

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 11:26am
The free market created the private prison industry too

@ggersh

Not so free really is it? Amazon is certainly a monster...now hosting the CIA/MIC cloud as well as owning the WaPo.

Snode on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 11:45am
Corporations are not people

Corporations can live far beyond a persons lifespan. Corporations can commit homicide and escape execution and justice. Unfortunately, unions are just as likely to be on the corporations side to get jobs and wages, and bust heads if anything interferes with that.

If we protest we've seen the police ready to use deadly force at the drop of a hat, and get away with it. We get to vote on candidates that some political club chose for us, and have little incentive to work for the 99%. The gov. has amassed so much information on us we can't even fathom its depth. We have nowhere left, no unexplored lands out of reach of the government. We think we own things, but if you think you own a home, see how long it is before the gov. confiscates it if you don't pay your property taxes.

If I were younger, or a young person asked what to do, I would say.... learn some skill that would make you attractive for emigrating to another country, because the US looks like it's over. It's people are only here to be exploited. And if Bernie were to become president I hope he gets a food taster.

Lily O Lady on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 1:27pm
Corporations are worldwide entities now. No where to

@Snode

run to. No where to hide. As in the U.K., corporations are seeking to to dismantle the NHS and turn it into a for-profit system like ours. Even as the gilllet-jaune protesters risk life and limb, Macron seeks to install true neoliberalism in France. And the beat goes on.

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 5:41pm
Yep you nailed it

@Snode

Corporations can live far beyond a persons lifespan. Corporations can commit homicide and escape execution and justice.

Look at what chevron did to people in Borapol. I'm sure I spelled this wrong but hopefully people will know what I'm talking about. They killed lots of people and poisoned their land for decades and the fight over it is still going on. How many decades more will chevron get to skirt justice? Banks continue to commit fraud and they only get little fines that don't do jack to keep them from doing it again. Even cities are screwing people. Owe a few dollars on your property taxes and they will take your home and sell it for pennies on the dollar. How in hell can it be legal to charge people over 600% interest? What happened to usury rules if that's the correct term.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 5:51pm
They've done it all over the world...

@snoopydawg

The International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled last week that a prior ruling by an Ecuadorean court that fined Chevron $9.5 billion in 2011 should be upheld, according to teleSUR, a Latin American news agency. Texaco, which is currently a part of Chevron, is responsible for what is considered one of the world's largest environmental disasters while it drilled for oil in the Ecuadorian rainforest from 1964 to 1990.
https://www.ecowatch.com/will-chevron-and-exxon-ever-be-held-responsible...

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 7:13pm
It's just unbelievable that they can still dodge responsibilit

@Lookout

for decades of polluting and killing.

The legal battle has been tied up in the courts for years. Ecuador's highest court finally upheld the ruling in January 2014, but Chevron refused to pay.

This is another thing that corporations get away with. Contaminating land and then just walking away from it. How many superfund sites have we had to pay for instead of the ones who created the mess. Just declared bankruptcy and walked away. Corporations are people? Fine then they should be held as accountable as the people in the lower classes. Fat chance though right?

Lily O Lady on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 6:01pm
Union Carbide India was responsible for the Bopal disaster.
snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 7:16pm
Thanks for the save

@Lily O Lady

Weren't people killed by a gas cloud released from the plant? I read something recently that said the case is still going through the courts. How much money have they spent trying not to spend more?

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 12:27pm
7 year old concerned about the Uighers

//www.youtube.com/embed/wGq0xVh6UJw?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 12:36pm
The comments are supportive of Tulsi

@snoopydawg

....and no I had not seen that clip. Tulsi impresses me in many ways and the manner in which she treats this child is an example.

Especially as compared to Joe ByeDone's adolescent behavior...

//www.youtube.com/embed/mKV0oAPENdg?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 1:09pm
Ugh

@Lookout @Lookout

Byedone just needs to pack it in and drop out already. Today he was defending the republican party after someone said something about them needing to go away. Joe said that we need another party so one does not get more power than the other. Yeah right, Joe. It's not like the Pubs are already weilding power they don't have and them dems cowering and supporting them.

Newsweek reporter quit after being censored on the OPCW story.

I have collected evidence of how they suppressed the story in addition to evidence from another case where info inconvenient to US govt was removed, though it was factually correct.

-- Tareq Haddad (@Tareq_Haddad) December 7, 2019

ANd great news for Max Bluementhal!!

BREAKING: The US government has DROPPED ITS BOGUS CASE against me and @NotConq .

I was hauled out of my house by a team of cops, jailed for two days, and maliciously defamed due to the lies of the US-backed Venezuelan opposition.

I plan to seek justice. https://t.co/Wm7Yl8cL2T

-- Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) December 7, 2019

Thanks for the wound up, LO. Lots of great stuff here to go back and digest.

#9

....and no I had not seen that clip. Tulsi impresses me in many ways and the manner in which she treats this child is an example.

Especially as compared to Joe ByeDone's adolescent behavior...

data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 1:22pm
Glad to see Max vindicated

@snoopydawg

...thanks for the news.

Caity had a nice piece on Consortiumnews on the newsweek story...
https://consortiumnews.com/2019/12/08/journalist-newsweek-suppressed-opc...

Lily O Lady on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 1:44pm
Bipartisanship is big now. It's how politicians hide their dirty dealings.

@snoopydawg

First frustrate us with gridlock. Then pass bills benefiting the corporate overlords. Then leading up to elections pass bills like the one against animal cruelty (who doesn't love kitties and puppies?), or propose a bill to consider regulating cosmetics. This second bipartisan effort is glaringly cynical since no one apparently knows what is in beauty products. Sanders must have politicians worried for them to attempt something which has managed to go unregulated for so long.

All this bipartisanship is not even up to the level of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It's more like wiping at them with a dirty rag while the ship of state continues to sink. While animal cruelty and cosmetic safety are important issues, they pale in comparison to the systemic ills America suffers. Our fearless leaders will continue to scratch the surface while corruption and business as usual continue to fester. These bipartisan laws may look good on a politician's resume, but they won't really help the 99%.

CB on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 5:35pm
Looks like the PTB are starting to crank up

@snoopydawg
the propaganda to give NATO a raison d'κtre for a pivot to China. This will be doomed to complete failure just as the Russian pivot has.

But Putin and Xi Jinping are both much too skilled and intelligent to defeat. American WWE trash talkers are completely outclassed by an 8th dan in judo paired with a Sun Tzu scholar.

Tomoe nage - use your opponent's weight and aggression against him.

"If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected ."
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Thank you Barack and Hillary...

CB on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:39pm
Neither Russia nor China want the US or US$ to collapse too quickly. It would be devastating for the entire world if it happened suddenly.

@Lookout
What they want is a controlled collapse. If they can get the US to continue to overspend on war mongering rather than programs of social uplift the country will rot from the inside.

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Meanwhile, back in the Motherland: //www.youtube.com/embed/acPgB_rhdfA

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 3:25pm
corporate corruption is low fanging fruit

@Pluto's Republic

So much more to say really. Had to stop somewhere but as you know the corruption runs deep and is intermixed with the CIA/FBI/MIC corporate government under which we live.

On we go as best we can!

There is great dignity in the objective truth. Perhaps because it never flows through the contaminated minds of the unworthy.

smiley7 on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 7:43pm
Excellent Watch, Lookout,

Corporate charters were initially meant to be for the public good if i'm not mistaken in recall, it was a trade-off for their privilege to exist. Maybe a movement political leader could highlight this and move the pendulum back to accountability.

Had a conversation with good friend today, a 3M rep, and he was griping about his competitor's shady marketing product practices apparently lying to manufacturers about the grades and contents of their competing products.

smiley7 on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 7:53pm
A timely piece to go with your conversation of today:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/dec/07/kochland-review-koch-bro...

Battle of Blair... on Mon, 12/09/2019 - 8:37am
I want that flag.

Where can I buy that flag? I will raise it and sing the corporate anthem

"God bless Generica.
Land that is owned.
By the wealthy, unhealthy
As that might be for those being pwnd.

From the Walmart to McDonalds to the corner Dominooooos.
God Bless Generica
My high rent home.

[Feb 24, 2020] Globalisation: the rise and fall of an idea that swept the world by Nikil Saval

Feb 03, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

It's not just a populist backlash – many economists who once swore by free trade have changed their minds, too. How had they got it so wrong?

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email T he annual January gathering of the World Economic Forum in Davos is usually a placid affair: a place for well-heeled participants to exchange notes on global business opportunities, or powder conditions on the local ski slopes, while cradling champagne and canapes. This January, the ultra-rich and the sparkling wine returned, but by all reports the mood was one of anxiety, defensiveness and self-reproach.

The future of economic globalisation, for which the Davos men and women see themselves as caretakers, had been shaken by a series of political earthquakes. "Globalisation" can mean many things, but what lay in particular doubt was the long-advanced project of increasing free trade in goods across borders. The previous summer, Britain had voted to leave the largest trading bloc in the world. In November, the unexpected victory of Donald Trump , who vowed to withdraw from major trade deals, appeared to jeopardise the trading relationships of the world's richest country. Forthcoming elections in France and Germany suddenly seemed to bear the possibility of anti-globalisation parties garnering better results than ever before. The barbarians weren't at the gates to the ski-lifts yet – but they weren't very far.

In a panel titled Governing Globalisation , the economist Dambisa Moyo , otherwise a well-known supporter of free trade, forthrightly asked the audience to accept that "there have been significant losses" from globalisation. "It is not clear to me that we are going to be able to remedy them under the current infrastructure," she added. Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, called for a policy hitherto foreign to the World Economic Forum : "more redistribution". After years of hedging or discounting the malign effects of free trade, it was time to face facts: globalisation caused job losses and depressed wages, and the usual Davos proposals – such as instructing affected populations to accept the new reality – weren't going to work. Unless something changed, the political consequences were likely to get worse.

The backlash to globalisation has helped fuel the extraordinary political shifts of the past 18 months. During the close race to become the Democratic party candidate, senator Bernie Sanders relentlessly attacked Hillary Clinton on her support for free trade . On the campaign trail, Donald Trump openly proposed tilting the terms of trade in favour of American industry. "Americanism, not globalism, shall be our creed," he bellowed at the Republican national convention last July. The vote for Brexit was strongest in the regions of the UK devastated by the flight of manufacturing. At Davos in January, British prime minister Theresa May, the leader of the party of capital and inherited wealth, improbably picked up the theme, warning that, for many, "talk of greater globalisation means their jobs being outsourced and wages undercut." Meanwhile, the European far right has been warning against free movement of people as well as goods. Following her qualifying victory in the first round of France's presidential election, Marine Le Pen warned darkly that "the main thing at stake in this election is the rampant globalisation that is endangering our civilisation."

It was only a few decades ago that globalisation was held by many, even by some critics, to be an inevitable, unstoppable force. "Rejecting globalisation," the American journalist George Packer has written, "was like rejecting the sunrise." Globalisation could take place in services, capital and ideas, making it a notoriously imprecise term; but what it meant most often was making it cheaper to trade across borders – something that seemed to many at the time to be an unquestionable good. In practice, this often meant that industry would move from rich countries, where labour was expensive, to poor countries, where labour was cheaper. People in the rich countries would either have to accept lower wages to compete, or lose their jobs. But no matter what, the goods they formerly produced would now be imported, and be even cheaper. And the unemployed could get new, higher-skilled jobs (if they got the requisite training). Mainstream economists and politicians upheld the consensus about the merits of globalisation, with little concern that there might be political consequences.

Back then, economists could calmly chalk up anti-globalisation sentiment to a marginal group of delusional protesters, or disgruntled stragglers still toiling uselessly in "sunset industries". These days, as sizable constituencies have voted in country after country for anti-free-trade policies, or candidates that promise to limit them, the old self-assurance is gone. Millions have rejected, with uncertain results, the punishing logic that globalisation could not be stopped. The backlash has swelled a wave of soul-searching among economists, one that had already begun to roll ashore with the financial crisis. How did they fail to foresee the repercussions?


I n the heyday of the globalisation consensus, few economists questioned its merits in public. But in 1997, the Harvard economist Dani Rodrik published a slim book that created a stir. Appearing just as the US was about to enter a historic economic boom, Rodrik's book, Has Globalization Gone Too Far?, sounded an unusual note of alarm.

Rodrik pointed to a series of dramatic recent events that challenged the idea that growing free trade would be peacefully accepted. In 1995, France had adopted a programme of fiscal austerity in order to prepare for entry into the eurozone; trade unions responded with the largest wave of strikes since 1968. In 1996, only five years after the end of the Soviet Union – with Russia's once-protected markets having been forcibly opened, leading to a sudden decline in living standards – a communist won 40% of the vote in Russia's presidential elections. That same year, two years after the passing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), one of the most ambitious multinational deals ever accomplished, a white nationalist running on an "America first" programme of economic protectionism did surprisingly well in the presidential primaries of the Republican party.

What was the pathology of which all of these disturbing events were symptoms? For Rodrik, it was "the process that has come to be called 'globalisation'". Since the 1980s, and especially following the collapse of the Soviet Union, lowering barriers to international trade had become the axiom of countries everywhere. Tariffs had to be slashed and regulations spiked. Trade unions, which kept wages high and made it harder to fire people, had to be crushed. Governments vied with each other to make their country more hospitable – more "competitive" – for businesses. That meant making labour cheaper and regulations looser, often in countries that had once tried their hand at socialism, or had spent years protecting "homegrown" industries with tariffs.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Anti-globalisation protesters in Seattle, 1999. Photograph: Eric Draper/AP

These moves were generally applauded by economists. After all, their profession had long embraced the principle of comparative advantage – simply put, the idea countries will trade with each other in order to gain what each lacks, thereby benefiting both. In theory, then, the globalisation of trade in goods and services would benefit consumers in rich countries by giving them access to inexpensive goods produced by cheaper labour in poorer countries, and this demand, in turn, would help grow the economies of those poorer countries.

But the social cost, in Rodrik's dissenting view, was high – and consistently underestimated by economists. He noted that since the 1970s, lower-skilled European and American workers had endured a major fall in the real value of their wages, which dropped by more than 20%. Workers were suffering more spells of unemployment, more volatility in the hours they were expected to work.

While many economists attributed much of the insecurity to technological change – sophisticated new machines displacing low-skilled workers – Rodrik suggested that the process of globalisation should shoulder more of the blame. It was, in particular, the competition between workers in developing and developed countries that helped drive down wages and job security for workers in developed countries. Over and over, they would be held hostage to the possibility that their business would up and leave, in order to find cheap labour in other parts of the world; they had to accept restraints on their salaries – or else. Opinion polls registered their strong levels of anxiety and insecurity, and the political effects were becoming more visible. Rodrik foresaw that the cost of greater "economic integration" would be greater "social disintegration". The inevitable result would be a huge political backlash.

As Rodrik would later recall, other economists tended to dismiss his arguments – or fear them. Paul Krugman , who would win the Nobel prize in 2008 for his earlier work in trade theory and economic geography, privately warned Rodrik that his work would give "ammunition to the barbarians".

It was a tacit acknowledgment that pro-globalisation economists, journalists and politicians had come under growing pressure from a new movement on the left, who were raising concerns very similar to Rodrik's. Over the course of the 1990s, an unwieldy international coalition had begun to contest the notion that globalisation was good. Called "anti-globalisation" by the media, and the "alter-globalisation" or "global justice" movement by its participants, it tried to draw attention to the devastating effect that free trade policies were having, especially in the developing world, where globalisation was supposed to be having its most beneficial effect. This was a time when figures such as the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman had given the topic a glitzy prominence by documenting his time among what he gratingly called "globalutionaries" : chatting amiably with the CEO of Monsanto one day, gawking at lingerie manufacturers in Sri Lanka the next. Activists were intent on showing a much darker picture, revealing how the record of globalisation consisted mostly of farmers pushed off their land and the rampant proliferation of sweatshops. They also implicated the highest world bodies in their critique: the G7, World Bank and IMF. In 1999, the movement reached a high point when a unique coalition of trade unions and environmentalists managed to shut down the meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle.

In a state of panic, economists responded with a flood of columns and books that defended the necessity of a more open global market economy, in tones ranging from grandiose to sarcastic. In January 2000, Krugman used his first piece as a New York Times columnist to denounce the "trashing" of the WTO, calling it "a sad irony that the cause that has finally awakened the long-dormant American left is that of – yes! – denying opportunity to third-world workers".

Where Krugman was derisive, others were solemn, putting the contemporary fight against the "anti-globalisation" left in a continuum of struggles for liberty. "Liberals, social democrats and moderate conservatives are on the same side in the great battles against religious fanatics, obscurantists, extreme environmentalists, fascists, Marxists and, of course, contemporary anti-globalisers," wrote the Financial Times columnist and former World Bank economist Martin Wolf in his book Why Globalization Works. Language like this lent the fight for globalisation the air of an epochal struggle. More common was the rhetoric of figures such as Friedman, who in his book The World is Flat mocked the "pampered American college kids" who, "wearing their branded clothing, began to get interested in sweatshops as a way of expiating their guilt".

ss="rich-link"> Globalisation once made the world go around. Is it about to grind to a halt? Read more

Arguments against the global justice movement rested on the idea that the ultimate benefits of a more open and integrated economy would outweigh the downsides. "Freer trade is associated with higher growth and higher growth is associated with reduced poverty," wrote the Columbia University economist Jagdish Bhagwati in his book In Defense of Globalization. "Hence, growth reduces poverty." No matter how troubling some of the local effects, the implication went, globalisation promised a greater good.

The fact that proponents of globalisation now felt compelled to spend much of their time defending it indicates how much visibility the global justice movement had achieved by the early 2000s. Still, over time, the movement lost ground, as a policy consensus settled in favour of globalisation. The proponents of globalisation were determined never to let another gathering be interrupted. They stopped meeting in major cities, and security everywhere was tightened. By the time of the invasion of Iraq, the world's attention had turned from free trade to George Bush and the "war on terror," leaving the globalisation consensus intact.

Above all, there was a widespread perception that globalisation was working as it was supposed to. The local adverse effects that activists pointed to – sweatshop labour, starving farmers – were increasingly obscured by the staggering GDP numbers and fantastical images of gleaming skylines coming out of China. With some lonely exceptions – such as Rodrik and the former World Bank chief and Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz – the pursuit of freer trade became a consensus position for economists, commentators and the vast majority of mainstream politicians, to the point where the benefits of free trade seemed to command blind adherence. In a 2006 TV interview, Thomas Friedman was asked whether there was any free trade deal he would not support. He replied that there wasn't, admitting, "I wrote a column supporting the Cafta, the Caribbean Free Trade initiative. I didn't even know what was in it. I just knew two words: free trade."


I n the wake of the financial crisis, the cracks began to show in the consensus on globalisation, to the point that, today, there may no longer be a consensus. Economists who were once ardent proponents of globalisation have become some of its most prominent critics. Erstwhile supporters now concede, at least in part, that it has produced inequality, unemployment and downward pressure on wages. Nuances and criticisms that economists only used to raise in private seminars are finally coming out in the open.

A few months before the financial crisis hit, Krugman was already confessing to a "guilty conscience". In the 1990s, he had been very influential in arguing that global trade with poor countries had only a small effect on workers' wages in rich countries. By 2008, he was having doubts: the data seemed to suggest that the effect was much larger than he had suspected.

In the years that followed, the crash, the crisis of the eurozone and the worldwide drop in the price of oil and other commodities combined to put a huge dent in global trade. Since 2012, the IMF reported in its World Economic Outlook for October 2016 , trade was growing at 3% a year – less than half the average of the previous three decades. That month, Martin Wolf argued in a column that globalisation had "lost dynamism", due to a slackening of the world economy, the "exhaustion" of new markets to exploit and a rise in protectionist policies around the world. In an interview earlier this year, Wolf suggested to me that, though he remained convinced globalisation had not been the decisive factor in rising inequality, he had nonetheless not fully foreseen when he was writing Why Globalization Works how "radical the implications" of worsening inequality "might be for the US, and therefore the world". Among these implications appears to be a rising distrust of the establishment that is blamed for the inequality. "We have a very big political problem in many of our countries," he said. "The elites – the policymaking business and financial elites – are increasingly disliked . You need to make policy which brings people to think again that their societies are run in a decent and civilised way."

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Illustration by Nathalie Lees

That distrust of the establishment has had highly visible political consequences: Farage, Trump, and Le Pen on the right; but also in new parties on the left, such as Spain's Podemos, and curious populist hybrids, such as Italy's Five Star Movement . As in 1997, but to an even greater degree, the volatile political scene reflects public anxiety over "the process that has come to be called 'globalisation'". If the critics of globalisation could be dismissed before because of their lack of economics training, or ignored because they were in distant countries, or kept out of sight by a wall of police, their sudden political ascendancy in the rich countries of the west cannot be so easily discounted today.

Over the past year, the opinion pages of prestigious newspapers have been filled with belated, rueful comments from the high priests of globalisation – the men who appeared to have defeated the anti-globalisers two decades earlier. Perhaps the most surprising such transformation has been that of Larry Summers. Possessed of a panoply of elite titles – former chief economist of the World Bank, former Treasury secretary, president emeritus of Harvard, former economic adviser to President Barack Obama – Summers was renowned in the 1990s and 2000s for being a blustery proponent of globalisation. For Summers, it seemed, market logic was so inexorable that its dictates prevailed over every social concern. In an infamous World Bank memo from 1991 , he held that the cheapest way to dispose of toxic waste in rich countries was to dump it in poor countries, since it was financially cheaper for them to manage it. "The laws of economics, it's often forgotten, are like the laws of engineering," he said in a speech that year at a World Bank-IMF meeting in Bangkok. "There's only one set of laws and they work everywhere. One of the things I've learned in my short time at the World Bank is that whenever anybody says, 'But economics works differently here,' they're about to say something dumb."

Over the last two years, a different, in some ways unrecognizable Larry Summers has been appearing in newspaper editorial pages. More circumspect in tone, this humbler Summers has been arguing that economic opportunities in the developing world are slowing, and that the already rich economies are finding it hard to get out of the crisis. Barring some kind of breakthrough, Summers says, an era of slow growth is here to stay.

In Summers's recent writings, this sombre conclusion has often been paired with a surprising political goal: advocating for a "responsible nationalism". Now he argues that politicians must recognise that "the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good".


O ne curious thing about the pro-globalisation consensus of the 1990s and 2000s, and its collapse in recent years, is how closely the cycle resembles a previous era. Pursuing free trade has always produced displacement and inequality – and political chaos, populism and retrenchment to go with it. Every time the social consequences of free trade are overlooked, political backlash follows. But free trade is only one of many forms that economic integration can take. History seems to suggest, however, that it might be the most destabilising one.

Nearly all economists and scholars of globalisation like to point to the fact that the economy was rather globalised by the early 20th century. As European countries colonised Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, they turned their colonies into suppliers of raw materials for European manufacturers, as well as markets for European goods. Meanwhile, the economies of the colonisers were also becoming free-trade zones for each other. "The opening years of the 20th century were the closest thing the world had ever seen to a free world market for goods, capital and labour," writes the Harvard professor of government Jeffry Frieden in his standard account, Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the 20th Century. "It would be a hundred years before the world returned to that level of globalisation."

In addition to military force, what underpinned this convenient arrangement for imperial nations was the gold standard. Under this system, each national currency had an established gold value: the British pound sterling was backed by 113 grains of pure gold; the US dollar by 23.22 grains, and so on. This entailed that exchange rates were also fixed: a British pound was always equal to 4.87 dollars. The stability of exchange rates meant that the cost of doing business across borders was predictable. Just like the eurozone today, you could count on the value of the currency staying the same, so long as the storehouse of gold remained more or less the same.

When there were gold shortages – as there were in the 1870s – the system stopped working. To protect the sanctity of the standard under conditions of stress, central bankers across the Europe and the US tightened access to credit and deflated prices. This left financiers in a decent position, but crushed farmers and the rural poor, for whom falling prices meant starvation. Then as now, economists and mainstream politicians largely overlooked the darker side of the economic picture.

In the US, this fuelled one of the world's first self-described "populist" revolts, leading to the nomination of William Jennings Bryan as the Democratic party candidate in 1896. At his nominating convention, he gave a famous speech lambasting gold backers: "You shall not press down upon the brow of labour this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold." Then as now, financial elites and their supporters in the press were horrified. "There has been an upheaval of the political crust," the Times of London reported, "and strange creatures have come forth."

Businessmen were so distressed by Bryan that they backed the Republican candidate, William McKinley, who won partly by outspending Bryan five to one. Meanwhile, gold was bolstered by the discovery of new reserves in colonial South Africa. But the gold standard could not survive the first world war and the Great Depression. By the 1930s, unionisation had spread to more industries and there was a growing worldwide socialist movement. Protecting gold would mean mass unemployment and social unrest. Britain went off the gold standard in 1931, while Franklin Roosevelt took the US off it in 1933; France and several other countries would follow in 1936.

The prioritisation of finance and trade over the welfare of people had come momentarily to an end. But this wasn't the end of the global economic system.


T he trade system that followed was global, too, with high levels of trade – but it took place on terms that often allowed developing countries to protect their industries. Because, from the perspective of free traders, protectionism is always seen as bad, the success of this postwar system has been largely under-recognised.

Over the course of the 1930s and 40s, liberals – John Maynard Keynes among them – who had previously regarded departures from free trade as "an imbecility and an outrage" began to lose their religion. "The decadent international but individualistic capitalism, in the hands of which we found ourselves after the war, is not a success," Keynes found himself writing in 1933 . "It is not intelligent, it is not beautiful, it is not just, it is not virtuous – and it doesn't deliver the goods. In short, we dislike it, and we are beginning to despise it." He claimed sympathies "with those who would minimise, rather than with those who would maximise, economic entanglement among nations," and argued that goods "be homespun whenever it is reasonably and conveniently possible".

The international systems that chastened figures such as Keynes helped produce in the next few years – especially the Bretton Woods agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (Gatt) – set the terms under which the new wave of globalisation would take place.

The key to the system's viability, in Rodrik's view, was its flexibility – something absent from contemporary globalisation, with its one-size-fits-all model of capitalism. Bretton Woods stabilised exchange rates by pegging the dollar loosely to gold, and other currencies to the dollar. Gatt consisted of rules governing free trade – negotiated by participating countries in a series of multinational "rounds" – that left many areas of the world economy, such as agriculture, untouched or unaddressed. "Gatt's purpose was never to maximise free trade," Rodrik writes. "It was to achieve the maximum amount of trade compatible with different nations doing their own thing. In that respect, the institution proved spectacularly successful."

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Construction workers in Beijing, China. Photograph: Ng Han Guan/AP

Partly because Gatt was not always dogmatic about free trade, it allowed most countries to figure out their own economic objectives, within a somewhat international ambit. When nations contravened the agreement's terms on specific areas of national interest, they found that it "contained loopholes wide enough for an elephant to pass", in Rodrik's words. If a nation wanted to protect its steel industry, for example, it could claim "injury" under the rules of Gatt and raise tariffs to discourage steel imports: "an abomination from the standpoint of free trade". These were useful for countries that were recovering from the war and needed to build up their own industries via tariffs – duties imposed on particular imports. Meanwhile, from 1948 to 1990, world trade grew at an annual average of nearly 7% – faster than the post-communist years, which we think of as the high point of globalisation. "If there was a golden era of globalisation," Rodrik has written, "this was it."

Gatt, however, failed to cover many of the countries in the developing world. These countries eventually created their own system, the United Nations conference on trade and development (UNCTAD). Under this rubric, many countries – especially in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia – adopted a policy of protecting homegrown industries by replacing imports with domestically produced goods. It worked poorly in some places – India and Argentina, for example, where the trade barriers were too high, resulting in factories that cost more to set up than the value of the goods they produced – but remarkably well in others, such as east Asia, much of Latin America and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where homegrown industries did spring up. Though many later economists and commentators would dismiss the achievements of this model, it theoretically fit Larry Summers's recent rubric on globalisation: "the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good."

The critical turning point – away from this system of trade balanced against national protections – came in the 1980s. Flagging growth and high inflation in the west, along with growing competition from Japan, opened the way for a political transformation. The elections of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were seminal, putting free-market radicals in charge of two of the world's five biggest economies and ushering in an era of "hyperglobalisation". In the new political climate, economies with large public sectors and strong governments within the global capitalist system were no longer seen as aids to the system's functioning, but impediments to it.

Not only did these ideologies take hold in the US and the UK; they seized international institutions as well. Gatt renamed itself as the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the new rules the body negotiated began to cut more deeply into national policies. Its international trade rules sometimes undermined national legislation. The WTO's appellate court intervened relentlessly in member nations' tax, environmental and regulatory policies, including those of the United States: the US's fuel emissions standards were judged to discriminate against imported gasoline, and its ban on imported shrimp caught without turtle-excluding devices was overturned. If national health and safety regulations were stricter than WTO rules necessitated, they could only remain in place if they were shown to have "scientific justification".

The purest version of hyperglobalisation was tried out in Latin America in the 1980s. Known as the "Washington consensus", this model usually involved loans from the IMF that were contingent on those countries lowering trade barriers and privatising many of their nationally held industries. Well into the 1990s, economists were proclaiming the indisputable benefits of openness. In an influential 1995 paper, Jeffrey Sachs and Andrew Warner wrote: "We find no cases to support the frequent worry that a country might open and yet fail to grow."

But the Washington consensus was bad for business: most countries did worse than before. Growth faltered, and citizens across Latin America revolted against attempted privatisations of water and gas. In Argentina, which followed the Washington consensus to the letter, a grave crisis resulted in 2002 , precipitating an economic collapse and massive street protests that forced out the government that had pursued privatising reforms. Argentina's revolt presaged a left-populist upsurge across the continent: from 1999 to 2007, leftwing leaders and parties took power in Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, all of them campaigning against the Washington consensus on globalisation. These revolts were a preview of the backlash of today.


R odrik – perhaps the contemporary economist whose views have been most amply vindicated by recent events – was himself a beneficiary of protectionism in Turkey. His father's ballpoint pen company was sheltered under tariffs, and achieved enough success to allow Rodrik to attend Harvard in the 1970s as an undergraduate. This personal understanding of the mixed nature of economic success may be one of the reasons why his work runs against the broad consensus of mainstream economics writing on globalisation.

"I never felt that my ideas were out of the mainstream," Rodrik told me recently. Instead, it was that the mainstream had lost touch with the diversity of opinions and methods that already existed within economics. "The economics profession is strange in that the more you move away from the seminar room to the public domain, the more the nuances get lost, especially on issues of trade." He lamented the fact that while, in the classroom, the models of trade discuss losers and winners, and, as a result, the necessity of policies of redistribution, in practice, an "arrogance and hubris" had led many economists to ignore these implications. "Rather than speaking truth to power, so to speak, many economists became cheerleaders for globalisation."

In his 2011 book The Globalization Paradox , Rodrik concluded that "we cannot simultaneously pursue democracy, national determination, and economic globalisation." The results of the 2016 elections and referendums provide ample testimony of the justness of the thesis, with millions voting to push back, for better or for worse, against the campaigns and institutions that promised more globalisation. "I'm not at all surprised by the backlash," Rodrik told me. "Really, nobody should have been surprised."

But what, in any case, would "more globalisation" look like? For the same economists and writers who have started to rethink their commitments to greater integration, it doesn't mean quite what it did in the early 2000s. It's not only the discourse that's changed: globalisation itself has changed, developing into a more chaotic and unequal system than many economists predicted. The benefits of globalisation have been largely concentrated in a handful of Asian countries. And even in those countries, the good times may be running out.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Illustration by Nathalie Lees

Statistics from Global Inequality , a 2016 book by the development economist Branko Milanović, indicate that in relative terms the greatest benefits of globalisation have accrued to a rising "emerging middle class", based preponderantly in China. But the cons are there, too: in absolute terms, the largest gains have gone to what is commonly called "the 1%" – half of whom are based in the US. Economist Richard Baldwin has shown in his recent book, The Great Convergence, that nearly all of the gains from globalisation have been concentrated in six countries.

Barring some political catastrophe, in which rightwing populism continued to gain, and in which globalisation would be the least of our problems – Wolf admitted that he was "not at all sure" that this could be ruled out – globalisation was always going to slow; in fact, it already has. One reason, says Wolf, was that "a very, very large proportion of the gains from globalisation – by no means all – have been exploited. We have a more open world economy to trade than we've ever had before." Citing The Great Convergence, Wolf noted that supply chains have already expanded, and that future developments, such as automation and the use of robots, looked to undermine the promise of a growing industrial workforce. Today, the political priorities were less about trade and more about the challenge of retraining workers , as technology renders old jobs obsolete and transforms the world of work.

Rodrik, too, believes that globalisation, whether reduced or increased, is unlikely to produce the kind of economic effects it once did. For him, this slowdown has something to do with what he calls "premature deindustrialisation". In the past, the simplest model of globalisation suggested that rich countries would gradually become "service economies", while emerging economies picked up the industrial burden. Yet recent statistics show the world as a whole is deindustrialising. Countries that one would have expected to have more industrial potential are going through the stages of automation more quickly than previously developed countries did, and thereby failing to develop the broad industrial workforce seen as a key to shared prosperity.

For both Rodrik and Wolf, the political reaction to globalisation bore possibilities of deep uncertainty. "I really have found it very difficult to decide whether what we're living through is a blip, or a fundamental and profound transformation of the world – at least as significant as the one that brought about the first world war and the Russian revolution," Wolf told me. He cited his agreement with economists such as Summers that shifting away from the earlier emphasis on globalisation had now become a political priority; that to pursue still greater liberalisation was like showing "a red rag to a bull" in terms of what it might do to the already compromised political stability of the western world.

Rodrik pointed to a belated emphasis, both among political figures and economists, on the necessity of compensating those displaced by globalisation with retraining and more robust welfare states. But pro-free-traders had a history of cutting compensation: Bill Clinton passed Nafta, but failed to expand safety nets. "The issue is that the people are rightly not trusting the centrists who are now promising compensation," Rodrik said. "One reason that Hillary Clinton didn't get any traction with those people is that she didn't have any credibility."

Rodrik felt that economics commentary failed to register the gravity of the situation: that there were increasingly few avenues for global growth, and that much of the damage done by globalisation – economic and political – is irreversible. "There is a sense that we're at a turning point," he said. "There's a lot more thinking about what can be done. There's a renewed emphasis on compensation – which, you know, I think has come rather late."

[Feb 24, 2020] The fatal flaw of neoliberalism: it's bad economics by Dani Rodrik

Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism and its usual prescriptions – always more markets, always less government – are in fact a perversion of mainstream economics. ..."
"... The term is used as a catchall for anything that smacks of deregulation, liberalisation, privatisation or fiscal austerity. Today it is routinely reviled as a shorthand for the ideas and practices that have produced growing economic insecurity and inequality, led to the loss of our political values and ideals, and even precipitated our current populist backlash. ..."
"... The use of the term "neoliberal" exploded in the 1990s, when it became closely associated with two developments, neither of which Peters's article had mentioned. One of these was financial deregulation, which would culminate in the 2008 financial crash and in the still-lingering euro debacle . The second was economic globalisation, which accelerated thanks to free flows of finance and to a new, more ambitious type of trade agreement. Financialisation and globalisation have become the most overt manifestations of neoliberalism in today's world. ..."
"... That neoliberalism is a slippery, shifting concept, with no explicit lobby of defenders, does not mean that it is irrelevant or unreal. Who can deny that the world has experienced a decisive shift toward markets from the 1980s on? Or that centre-left politicians – Democrats in the US, socialists and social democrats in Europe – enthusiastically adopted some of the central creeds of Thatcherism and Reaganism, such as deregulation, privatisation, financial liberalisation and individual enterprise? Much of our contemporary policy discussion remains infused with principles supposedly grounded in the concept of homo economicus , the perfectly rational human being, found in many economic theories, who always pursues his own self-interest. ..."
Nov 14, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Neoliberalism and its usual prescriptions – always more markets, always less government – are in fact a perversion of mainstream economics.

As even its harshest critics concede, neoliberalism is hard to pin down. In broad terms, it denotes a preference for markets over government, economic incentives over cultural norms, and private entrepreneurship over collective action. It has been used to describe a wide range of phenomena – from Augusto Pinochet to Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, from the Clinton Democrats and the UK's New Labour to the economic opening in China and the reform of the welfare state in Sweden.

The term is used as a catchall for anything that smacks of deregulation, liberalisation, privatisation or fiscal austerity. Today it is routinely reviled as a shorthand for the ideas and practices that have produced growing economic insecurity and inequality, led to the loss of our political values and ideals, and even precipitated our current populist backlash.

We live in the age of neoliberalism, apparently. But who are neoliberalism's adherents and disseminators – the neoliberals themselves? Oddly, you have to go back a long time to find anyone explicitly embracing neoliberalism. In 1982, Charles Peters, the longtime editor of the political magazine Washington Monthly, published an essay titled A Neo-Liberal's Manifesto . It makes for interesting reading 35 years later, since the neoliberalism it describes bears little resemblance to today's target of derision. The politicians Peters names as exemplifying the movement are not the likes of Thatcher and Reagan, but rather liberals – in the US sense of the word – who have become disillusioned with unions and big government and dropped their prejudices against markets and the military.

The use of the term "neoliberal" exploded in the 1990s, when it became closely associated with two developments, neither of which Peters's article had mentioned. One of these was financial deregulation, which would culminate in the 2008 financial crash and in the still-lingering euro debacle . The second was economic globalisation, which accelerated thanks to free flows of finance and to a new, more ambitious type of trade agreement. Financialisation and globalisation have become the most overt manifestations of neoliberalism in today's world.

That neoliberalism is a slippery, shifting concept, with no explicit lobby of defenders, does not mean that it is irrelevant or unreal. Who can deny that the world has experienced a decisive shift toward markets from the 1980s on? Or that centre-left politicians – Democrats in the US, socialists and social democrats in Europe – enthusiastically adopted some of the central creeds of Thatcherism and Reaganism, such as deregulation, privatisation, financial liberalisation and individual enterprise? Much of our contemporary policy discussion remains infused with principles supposedly grounded in the concept of homo economicus , the perfectly rational human being, found in many economic theories, who always pursues his own self-interest.

But the looseness of the term neoliberalism also means that criticism of it often misses the mark. There is nothing wrong with markets, private entrepreneurship or incentives – when deployed appropriately. Their creative use lies behind the most significant economic achievements of our time. As we heap scorn on neoliberalism, we risk throwing out some of neoliberalism's useful ideas.

The real trouble is that mainstream economics shades too easily into ideology, constraining the choices that we appear to have and providing cookie-cutter solutions. A proper understanding of the economics that lie behind neoliberalism would allow us to identify – and to reject – ideology when it masquerades as economic science. Most importantly, it would help us to develop the institutional imagination we badly need to redesign capitalism for the 21st century.


N eoliberalism is typically understood as being based on key tenets of mainstream economic science. To see those tenets without the ideology, consider this thought experiment. A well-known and highly regarded economist lands in a country he has never visited and knows nothing about. He is brought to a meeting with the country's leading policymakers. "Our country is in trouble," they tell him. "The economy is stagnant, investment is low, and there is no growth in sight." They turn to him expectantly: "Please tell us what we should do to make our economy grow."

The economist pleads ignorance and explains that he knows too little about the country to make any recommendations. He would need to study the history of the economy, to analyse the statistics, and to travel around the country before he could say anything.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tony Blair and Bill Clinton: centre-left politicians who enthusiastically adopted some of the central creeds of Thatcherism and Reaganism. Photograph: Reuters

But his hosts are insistent. "We understand your reticence, and we wish you had the time for all that," they tell him. "But isn't economics a science, and aren't you one of its most distinguished practitioners? Even though you do not know much about our economy, surely there are some general theories and prescriptions you can share with us to guide our economic policies and reforms."

The economist is now in a bind. He does not want to emulate those economic gurus he has long criticised for peddling their favourite policy advice. But he feels challenged by the question. Are there universal truths in economics? Can he say anything valid or useful?

So he begins. The efficiency with which an economy's resources are allocated is a critical determinant of the economy's performance, he says. Efficiency, in turn, requires aligning the incentives of households and businesses with social costs and benefits. The incentives faced by entrepreneurs, investors and producers are particularly important when it comes to economic growth. Growth needs a system of property rights and contract enforcement that will ensure those who invest can retain the returns on their investments. And the economy must be open to ideas and innovations from the rest of the world.

But economies can be derailed by macroeconomic instability, he goes on. Governments must therefore pursue a sound monetary policy , which means restricting the growth of liquidity to the increase in nominal money demand at reasonable inflation. They must ensure fiscal sustainability, so that the increase in public debt does not outpace national income. And they must carry out prudential regulation of banks and other financial institutions to prevent the financial system from taking excessive risk.

Now he is warming to his task. Economics is not just about efficiency and growth, he adds. Economic principles also carry over to equity and social policy. Economics has little to say about how much redistribution a society should seek. But it does tell us that the tax base should be as broad as possible, and that social programmes should be designed in a way that does not encourage workers to drop out of the labour market.

By the time the economist stops, it appears as if he has laid out a fully fledged neoliberal agenda. A critic in the audience will have heard all the code words: efficiency, incentives, property rights, sound money, fiscal prudence. And yet the universal principles that the economist describes are in fact quite open-ended. They presume a capitalist economy – one in which investment decisions are made by private individuals and firms – but not much beyond that. They allow for – indeed, they require – a surprising variety of institutional arrangements.

So has the economist just delivered a neoliberal screed? We would be mistaken to think so, and our mistake would consist of associating each abstract term – incentives, property rights, sound money – with a particular institutional counterpart. And therein lies the central conceit, and the fatal flaw, of neoliberalism: the belief that first-order economic principles map on to a unique set of policies, approximated by a Thatcher/Reagan-style agenda.

Consider property rights. They matter insofar as they allocate returns on investments. An optimal system would distribute property rights to those who would make the best use of an asset, and afford protection against those most likely to expropriate the returns. Property rights are good when they protect innovators from free riders, but they are bad when they protect them from competition. Depending on the context, a legal regime that provides the appropriate incentives can look quite different from the standard US-style regime of private property rights.

This may seem like a semantic point with little practical import; but China's phenomenal economic success is largely due to its orthodoxy-defying institutional tinkering. China turned to markets, but did not copy western practices in property rights. Its reforms produced market-based incentives through a series of unusual institutional arrangements that were better adapted to the local context. Rather than move directly from state to private ownership, for example, which would have been stymied by the weakness of the prevailing legal structures, the country relied on mixed forms of ownership that provided more effective property rights for entrepreneurs in practice. Township and Village Enterprises (TVEs), which spearheaded Chinese economic growth during the 1980s, were collectives owned and controlled by local governments. Even though TVEs were publicly owned, entrepreneurs received the protection they needed against expropriation. Local governments had a direct stake in the profits of the firms, and hence did not want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

China relied on a range of such innovations, each delivering the economist's higher-order economic principles in unfamiliar institutional arrangements. For instance, it shielded its large state sector from global competition, establishing special economic zones where foreign firms could operate with different rules than in the rest of the economy. In view of such departures from orthodox blueprints, describing China's economic reforms as neoliberal – as critics are inclined to do – distorts more than it reveals. If we are to call this neoliberalism, we must surely look more kindly on the ideas behind the most dramatic poverty reduction in history.

One might protest that China's institutional innovations were purely transitional. Perhaps it will have to converge on western-style institutions to sustain its economic progress. But this common line of thinking overlooks the diversity of capitalist arrangements that still prevails among advanced economies, despite the considerable homogenisation of our policy discourse.

What, after all, are western institutions? The size of the public sector in OECD countries varies, from a third of the economy in Korea to nearly 60% in Finland. In Iceland, 86% of workers are members of a trade union; the comparable number in Switzerland is just 16%. In the US, firms can fire workers almost at will; French labour laws have historically required employers to jump through many hoops first. Stock markets have grown to a total value of nearly one-and-a-half times GDP in the US; in Germany, they are only a third as large, equivalent to just 50% of GDP.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'China turned to markets, but did not copy western practices ... ' Photograph: AFP/Getty

The idea that any one of these models of taxation, labour relations or financial organisation is inherently superior to the others is belied by the varying economic fortunes that each of these economies have experienced over recent decades. The US has gone through successive periods of angst in which its economic institutions were judged inferior to those in Germany, Japan, China, and now possibly Germany again. Certainly, comparable levels of wealth and productivity can be produced under very different models of capitalism. We might even go a step further: today's prevailing models probably come nowhere near exhausting the range of what might be possible, and desirable, in the future.

The visiting economist in our thought experiment knows all this, and recognises that the principles he has enunciated need to be filled in with institutional detail before they become operational. Property rights? Yes, but how? Sound money? Of course, but how? It would perhaps be easier to criticise his list of principles for being vacuous than to denounce it as a neoliberal screed.

Still, these principles are not entirely content-free. China, and indeed all countries that managed to develop rapidly, demonstrate the utility of those principles once they are properly adapted to local context. Conversely, too many economies have been driven to ruin courtesy of political leaders who chose to violate them. We need look no further than Latin American populists or eastern European communist regimes to appreciate the practical significance of sound money, fiscal sustainability and private incentives.


O f course, economics goes beyond a list of abstract, largely common-sense principles. Much of the work of economists consists of developing stylised models of how economies work and then confronting those models with evidence. Economists tend to think of what they do as progressively refining their understanding of the world: their models are supposed to get better and better as they are tested and revised over time. But progress in economics happens differently.

Economists study a social reality that is unlike the physical universe. It is completely manmade, highly malleable and operates according to different rules across time and space. Economics advances not by settling on the right model or theory to answer such questions, but by improving our understanding of the diversity of causal relationships. Neoliberalism and its customary remedies – always more markets, always less government – are in fact a perversion of mainstream economics. Good economists know that the correct answer to any question in economics is: it depends.

Does an increase in the minimum wage depress employment? Yes, if the labour market is really competitive and employers have no control over the wage they must pay to attract workers; but not necessarily otherwise. Does trade liberalisation increase economic growth? Yes, if it increases the profitability of industries where the bulk of investment and innovation takes place; but not otherwise. Does more government spending increase employment? Yes, if there is slack in the economy and wages do not rise; but not otherwise. Does monopoly harm innovation? Yes and no, depending on a whole host of market circumstances.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'Today [neoliberalism] is routinely reviled as a shorthand for the ideas that have produced growing economic inequality and precipitated our current populist backlash' Trump signing an order to take the US out of the TPP trade pact. Photograph: AFP/Getty

In economics, new models rarely supplant older models. The basic competitive-markets model dating back to Adam Smith has been modified over time by the inclusion, in rough historical order, of monopoly, externalities, scale economies, incomplete and asymmetric information, irrational behaviour and many other real-world features. But the older models remain as useful as ever. Understanding how real markets operate necessitates using different lenses at different times.

Perhaps maps offer the best analogy. Just like economic models, maps are highly stylised representations of reality . They are useful precisely because they abstract from many real-world details that would get in the way. But abstraction also implies that we need a different map depending on the nature of our journey. If we are travelling by bike, we need a map of bike trails. If we are to go on foot, we need a map of footpaths. If a new subway is constructed, we will need a subway map – but we wouldn't throw out the older maps.

Economists tend to be very good at making maps, but not good enough at choosing the one most suited to the task at hand. When confronted with policy questions of the type our visiting economist faces, too many of them resort to "benchmark" models that favour the laissez-faire approach. Kneejerk solutions and hubris replace the richness and humility of the discussion in the seminar room. John Maynard Keynes once defined economics as the "science of thinking in terms of models, joined to the art of choosing models which are relevant". Economists typically have trouble with the "art" part.

This, too, can be illustrated with a parable. A journalist calls an economics professor for his view on whether free trade is a good idea. The professor responds enthusiastically in the affirmative. The journalist then goes undercover as a student in the professor's advanced graduate seminar on international trade. He poses the same question: is free trade good? This time the professor is stymied. "What do you mean by 'good'?" he responds. "And good for whom?" The professor then launches into an extensive exegesis that will ultimately culminate in a heavily hedged statement: "So if the long list of conditions I have just described are satisfied, and assuming we can tax the beneficiaries to compensate the losers, freer trade has the potential to increase everyone's wellbeing." If he is in an expansive mood, the professor might add that the effect of free trade on an economy's longterm growth rate is not clear either, and would depend on an altogether different set of requirements.

This professor is rather different from the one the journalist encountered previously. On the record, he exudes self-confidence, not reticence, about the appropriate policy. There is one and only one model, at least as far as the public conversation is concerned, and there is a single correct answer, regardless of context. Strangely, the professor deems the knowledge that he imparts to his advanced students to be inappropriate (or dangerous) for the general public. Why?

The roots of such behaviour lie deep in the culture of the economics profession. But one important motive is the zeal to display the profession's crown jewels – market efficiency, the invisible hand, comparative advantage – in untarnished form, and to shield them from attack by self-interested barbarians, namely the protectionists . Unfortunately, these economists typically ignore the barbarians on the other side of the issue – financiers and multinational corporations whose motives are no purer and who are all too ready to hijack these ideas for their own benefit.

As a result, economists' contributions to public debate are often biased in one direction, in favour of more trade, more finance and less government. That is why economists have developed a reputation as cheerleaders for neoliberalism, even if mainstream economics is very far from a paean to laissez-faire. The economists who let their enthusiasm for free markets run wild are in fact not being true to their own discipline.


H ow then should we think about globalisation in order to liberate it from the grip of neoliberal practices? We must begin by understanding the positive potential of global markets. Access to world markets in goods, technologies and capital has played an important role in virtually all of the economic miracles of our time. China is the most recent and powerful reminder of this historical truth, but it is not the only case. Before China, similar miracles were performed by South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and a few non-Asian countries such as Mauritius . All of these countries embraced globalisation rather than turn their backs on it, and they benefited handsomely.

Defenders of the existing economic order will quickly point to these examples when globalisation comes into question. What they will fail to say is that almost all of these countries joined the world economy by violating neoliberal strictures. South Korea and Taiwan, for instance, heavily subsidised their exporters, the former through the financial system and the latter through tax incentives. All of them eventually removed most of their import restrictions, long after economic growth had taken off.

But none, with the sole exception of Chile in the 1980s under Pinochet, followed the neoliberal recommendation of a rapid opening-up to imports. Chile's neoliberal experiment eventually produced the worst economic crisis in all of Latin America. While the details differ across countries, in all cases governments played an active role in restructuring the economy and buffering it against a volatile external environment. Industrial policies, restrictions on capital flows and currency controls – all prohibited in the neoliberal playbook – were rampant.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Protest against Nafta in Mexico City in 2008: since the reforms of the mid-90s, the country's economy has underperformed. Photograph: EPA

By contrast, countries that stuck closest to the neoliberal model of globalisation were sorely disappointed. Mexico provides a particularly sad example. Following a series of macroeconomic crises in the mid-1990s, Mexico embraced macroeconomic orthodoxy, extensively liberalised its economy, freed up the financial system, sharply reduced import restrictions and signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta). These policies did produce macroeconomic stability and a significant rise in foreign trade and internal investment. But where it counts – in overall productivity and economic growth – the experiment failed . Since undertaking the reforms, overall productivity in Mexico has stagnated, and the economy has underperformed even by the undemanding standards of Latin America.

These outcomes are not a surprise from the perspective of sound economics. They are yet another manifestation of the need for economic policies to be attuned to the failures to which markets are prone, and to be tailored to the specific circumstances of each country. No single blueprint fits all.


A s Peters's 1982 manifesto attests, the meaning of neoliberalism has changed considerably over time as the label has acquired harder-line connotations with respect to deregulation, financialisation and globalisation. But there is one thread that connects all versions of neoliberalism, and that is the emphasis on economic growth . Peters wrote in 1982 that the emphasis was warranted because growth is essential to all our social and political ends – community, democracy, prosperity. Entrepreneurship, private investment and removing obstacles that stand in the way (such as excessive regulation) were all instruments for achieving economic growth. If a similar neoliberal manifesto were penned today, it would no doubt make the same point.

Critics often point out that this emphasis on economics debases and sacrifices other important values such as equality, social inclusion, democratic deliberation and justice. Those political and social objectives obviously matter enormously, and in some contexts they matter the most. They cannot always, or even often, be achieved by means of technocratic economic policies; politics must play a central role.

Still, neoliberals are not wrong when they argue that our most cherished ideals are more likely to be attained when our economy is vibrant, strong and growing. Where they are wrong is in believing that there is a unique and universal recipe for improving economic performance, to which they have access. The fatal flaw of neoliberalism is that it does not even get the economics right. It must be rejected on its own terms for the simple reason that it is bad economics.

A version of this article first appeared in Boston Review

[Feb 24, 2020] Missiles Attack on Al Assad Base was a message: Iran is No Paper Tiger

Feb 24, 2020 | www.winterwatch.net

Although Trump decided to call this as "Iran standing down," analysts on both sides can work the calculus of this test run. I have been suggesting that Iran's cheaper technology is quite effective and an advantage near their "home court."


Read "The Van Riper Gambit: Iran Scores Against Expensive High-Tech US Gadgetry"

The Iranians used a third- or fourth-generation Fateh 110, which was generally given a range of 300 km. But the Al Assad base is 370 km from the border, so it seems the Iranians squeezed out some extra range. The fourth generation Fateh 100 carries a 650 kg warhead. Iran certainly has missiles with more punch. The Quim 1 is essentially a similar missile.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/63ehLAg7mSU

Iran showed that it can put most of Iraq in range of these low-cost missiles should it become a battleground. The Al Assad base is large and target-rich.

Leaked pictures taken by a Puerto Rican soldier of the damage to the Al-Asad US airbase in Iraq, after being hit by Iranian missiles.

The Pentagon have told soldiers not to film the damage. #NoWarWithIran #Iran pic.twitter.com/Kl4WF6tmy0

-- Ian56 (@Ian56789) January 9, 2020

Meanwhile, Russia offered Iraq its state-of-the-art S-400 air defense to defend its air space.

Besides the added range, the accuracy looks impressive.

"Some of the locations struck look like the missiles hit dead center," said David Schmerler, an analyst with the Middlebury Institute.

Numbers and production information relating to the Fateh 110 are currently uncertain, yet Iranian media sources claim that facilities have been created to mass produce the weapon.

Michael Elleman, director of the Nonproliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, estimates that Iran has numbers "in the high hundreds" of the Fateh-110.

Our takeaway is that this night demonstration is hardly a dud and will give Americans some pause. It shows this key base at Al Assad will be vulnerable. If one night Iran threw a hundred of these missiles up and aimed them at personnel, things could get ugly fast.

Observers are asking "where was the Patriot defense missile?" The problem is economic. The cost of each missile is $2.75 million. A Rand study estimated that a Patriot will need three rounds to take down basic short-range ballistic missiles like the Fateh-110. That's 30 times more than the cost of Fateh. Iran would hope the Patriot is wasted on Fatehs and Quims, and they would gladly run that kind of cost-benefit math all over the region.

"For the time being, the Americans have been given a slap, revenge is a different issue," Iran's Fars News Agency quotes Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as saying Wednesday. "Military moves like this are not enough. The Americans' corruption-stirring presence will come to an end."

Winter Watch Takeaway

U.S. vulnerability at Al Assad has now been well demonstrated. If anything -- especially as more sanctions are being slapped on -- the War Party in Iran will be emboldened to run with their advantages and do so well before more American troops and aircraft build up in the theater.

[Feb 22, 2020] The Coming Constitutional Crisis Over Iran

Feb 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sakineh Bagoom , Feb 22 2020 2:35 utc | 73

Sorry OT.
Great read, by professor Bruce Ackerman.
Had to share. Amazingly succinct.
The Coming Constitutional Crisis Over Iran
https://prospect.org/justice/trump-pelosi-coming-constitutional-crisis-over-iran/

[Feb 16, 2020] Ultimately, a soldier would be diagnosed with a concussion because the soldier (who has financial benefits to gain) says so, and a physician does not dispute it.

Feb 16, 2020 | www.unz.com

The Scalpel , says: Website Show Comment February 13, 2020 at 7:04 am GMT

I posted this on an earlier thread, but it is relevant here.

I have been a working full time in Emergency Medicine for over 20 years. I was a "Flight Surgeon" in the Army. Soldiers are notorious for playing up any combat related injury in order to qualify for disability and the financial benefits that flow from being categorized as being disabled. As far as we know, the most serious claimed injuries were "concussions." As a practicing specialist in Emergency Medicine, I can explain that the diagnosis of "concussion" means, by definition, that no abnormality is seen on CT scanning of the brain. The diagnosis is made based on the injured person's purely subjective complaints, i.e. whatever the allegedly injured person says. If the allegedly injured person says the right things, then a physician may call the symptoms that of a concussion.

So, ultimately, a soldier would be diagnosed with a concussion because the soldier (who has financial benefits to gain) says so, and a physician does not dispute it.

I have seen hundreds if not thousands of diagnoses of "concussion". That diagnosis does not have to be supported by any specific findings or even a proper understanding of the diagnosis. It simply has to be entered in the record by a licensed physician. Once that diagnosis is on the medical record, it is up to subsequent providers to refute that diagnosis if they desire to do so.

This is something subsequent providers are very unlikely to want to dedicate the time and effort required to accomplish. There is usually no financial or professional incentive to do so – often the opposite. There is no specific test to definitively say one way or the other if a person had a "concussion". Like PTSD it is a "functional" diagnosis based mainly on subjective symptoms and not objective test results. This is not to say such things do not exist. They do exist. It is only to say that they can be faked or misinterpreted and that will happen if there is a financial incentive to do so.

Intelligent Dasein , says: Show Comment February 13, 2020 at 3:26 pm GMT
@The Scalpel I'm sure your assessment is accurate, and is symptomatic of a much more general problem affecting the axis of medicine, insurance, pharma, and state pension systems (military or civilian), not to mention all corporations and agencies to various degrees.

When doctors' medical opinions are considered sacrosanct and sufficient to secure payouts, excuse time off from work, and add one's name to the list of medically "made men," they are certain to be pursued like bounty on the high seas. No small number of doctors are content to play along with this system, as it secures a steady stream of income for them as well. Foreign doctors, who are often perfectly comfortable with graft and fraud, are especially bad in this regard.

Employers are left with no recourse except to eat the cost of malingering employees and ever swelling pension rolls, which no employeer can long afford at the micro level and which society itself cannot afford at the macro level.

Another complicating factor is added by the cultural obsession with business efficiency. When the VA scandal broke in 2014, a lot of people were upset by the thought that veterans were receiving shoddy care and insisted that "more must be done," not realizing that this very insistance was at the root of the problem. I said at the time that the real lesson here was that the VA had been "Six-Sigma'ed" by incompetent management who demanded faster claims processing and unrealistic expenditure reductions.

These schizophrenic cultural trends -- viz. , on the one hand, greater and greater demands for doles by an aging and sickening population; and, on the other hand, the feckless attempts to mitigate the very real unaffordability of this by an oligarchic business philosophy that knows only how to downsize, offshore, and automate based on a naive reliance on the dubious benefits of technology -- are going to culminate in an epic breakdown of social functioning over the next decade.

Curmudgeon , says: Show Comment February 13, 2020 at 7:19 pm GMT
@The Scalpel Perhaps you need to return to medical school for a refresher. A "concussion" may, or may not, be seen as an abnormality, usually subdural haematoma, on a CT scan. The reason for requesting the CT scan would be from the patient reported complaints, but also from the objective medical examination for things like pupils and reaction. Radiation is not good for you. If you are ordering CT scans before examination, you've got it backwards.
Max Payne , says: Show Comment February 13, 2020 at 10:37 pm GMT
There are no causalities you guys over estimate the steadfastness of the US military.

Purple heart = disability cheque.

No one can disprove a concussion.

And that's the real embarrassment that the Pentagon is trying to hide.

These guys (US forces) teach other how to fake PTSD to get on disability. I've seen it countless times in Western armed forces. Its how I know Iran will never be invaded or even bombed back to the stone age. You have to have balls for that and clearly the West and Israel have none. (Bush invaded Iraq on the premise of an empty vial; the Iranian counterattack was a legit no-shit missile attack on US forces and . NOTHING HAPPENED).

As for reality I have colleagues who are so disconnected from international politics that reality (past their 9-5 job) means nothing. Reality won't kick in until it comes home to bite them in the ass. It's that simple. A programmer who does nothing for 10 years but play games and write software, what does he care about causalities in Iraq? Seriously. For him that was a 20 second twitter feed which entertained him on his way to work and that's it.

GuestAug , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 12:10 am GMT
This should be no surprise. "The first causality of [any] war is the truth."
The Scalpel , says: Website Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 3:12 am GMT
@Curmudgeon Perhaps you have heard the old proverb, "It is best to keep your mouth shut and have people suspect you are ignorant, than to open it and prove to people that you are ignorant"

A subdural hematoma is (let me say this slowly for you) a sudural hematoma. A concussion is (again slowly) a concussion. They are two separate diagnoses.

Concussion: ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code S06.0
Traumatic Subdural Hematoma: ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code S06.5X0A

Pretty good chance you don't know what these codes mean. If not, there is this thing called Google. Look it up.

"things like pupils and reaction"

WTF? I think you might be trying to describe testing for pupils being reactive to light (the normal state of affairs.) Abnormally reactive pupils are not required for the diagnosis of concussion and, in fact, are not usually present.

Radiation is not good for you. If you are ordering CT scans before examination, you've got it backwards.

That, in fact, is all true. What is not true is that I made any sort of suggestion at all to order tests before an exam. You need to lay off the hash pipe.

FYI:

Concussion: A concussion is a type of brain injury. It is a short loss of normal brain function in response to a head injury. Concussions are a common type of sports injury. You can also suffer from one if you suffer a blow to the head or hit your head after a fall. After a concussion, you may have a

headache or neck pain. You may also experience nausea, ringing in your ears, dizziness, or tiredness. You may feel dazed or not your normal self

for several days or weeks after the injury.

https://www.icd10data.com/ICD10CM/Codes/S00-T88/S00-S09/S06/S06.0-

All these symptoms are subjective, i.e. they are basically what the patient reports – truthfully or not.

FWIW, I have found the most reliable symptom in diagnosing concussion is short term memory loss. The patient asks the same question over and over as if he never got an answer.

Curmudgeon , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 8:14 pm GMT
@The Scalpel I'm well aware of what a CT is, I was doing them more than 40 years ago, likely before you were in med school. I know what a concussion is, I've had one, and went through the examination. If you actually read my response, I did not say that every concussion resulted in a subdural haematoma.
Patient reaction includes memory loss. Dizziness is what a patient reports. Of course what patients report is subjective, just as pain tolerance is, but it doesn't invalidate them.
The Scalpel , says: Website Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 8:47 pm GMT
I never said or implied that you did not know what a CT scan is. I think I get it now. You really are a curmudgeon (as in elderly) and your cognitive abilities are flagging. I am sorry for being rude earlier. As you may recall, the point being made was that a simple concussion is not visible on CT scan. A subdural hematoma is visible – as well as many other traumatic brain injuries, . A concussion is not visible. Subjective complaints are not invalid. They are as honest as the person making the complaint.
Buck Ransom , says: Show Comment February 16, 2020 at 3:36 pm GMT
@The Scalpel Are you suggesting that The Greatest Fighting Force in the Galaxy in All of History, the military of the world's Exceptional Nation, is riddled with grifters?

[Feb 16, 2020] The highwater mark in SEAsia was the helicopters evacuating the last invaders from Saigon. The highwater mark in the ME is going to be similar scenes in Iraq.

Feb 16, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Dungroanin ,

It seems that history is about to repeat. The highwater mark in SEAsia was the helicopters evacuating the last invaders from Saigon. The highwater mark in the ME is going to be similar scenes in Iraq.

A final warning has been issued to US troops there – 40 days after Soleimanis assassination – the Resistance is ready to move, an irresistible force about to meet a not so immovable object.

Along with Idlib and Allepo its been amazing start to 2020. And its not even spring!

[Feb 16, 2020] Imperialism and Liberation in the Middle East Feb 14, 2020 Written by P l Steigan, translated by Terje Maloy

Notable quotes:
"... Imperialism – the highest stage of capitalism ..."
"... Without the natives' consent and without the neighbouring countries approval, Moroccans, Somalis, and later Afghans and Syrians, found home in the EU thanks to madame Merkel. ..."
"... How ligitimate is that? ..."
Feb 16, 2020 | off-guardian.org

At the moment, the United States has great difficulty in retaining its hegemony in the Middle East. Its troops have been declared unwanted in Iraq; and in Syria, the US and their foreign legion of terrorists lose terrain and positions every month. The US has responded to this with a significant escalation, by deploying more troops and by constant threats against Iran. At the same time, we have seen strong protest movements in Lebanon, Iraq and Iran.

When millions of Iraqi took to the streets recently, their main slogan was "THE UNITED STATES OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST!"

How should one analyze this?

Obviously, there are a lot of social tensions in the Middle East – class based, ethnic, religious and cultural. The region is a patchwork of conflicts and tensions that not only goes back hundreds of years, but even a few thousand.

There are always many reasons to rebel against a corrupt upper class, anywhere in the world. But no rebellion can succeed if it is not based on a realistic and thorough analysis of the specific conditions in the individual country and region.

Just as in Africa, the borders in the Middle East are arbitrarily drawn. They are the product of the manipulations of imperialist powers, and only to a lesser extent products of what the peoples themselves have wanted.

During the era of decolonization, there was a strong, secular pan-Arab movement that wanted to create a unified Arab world. This movement was influenced by the nationalist and socialist ideas that had strong popular support at the time.

King Abdallah I of Jordan envisaged a kingdom that would consist of Jordan, Palestine and Syria. Egypt and Syria briefly established a union called the United Arab Republic . Gaddafi wanted to unite Libya, Syria and Egypt in a federation of Arab republics .

In 1958, a quickly dissolved confederation was established between Jordan and Iraq, called the Arab Federation . All these efforts were transient. What remains is the Arab League, which is, after all, not a state federation and not an alliance. And then of course we have the demand for a Kurdish state, or something similar consisting of one or more Kurdish mini-states.

Still, the most divisive product of the First World War was the establishment of the state of Israel on Palestinian soil. During the First World War, Britain's Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour issued what became known as the Balfour Declaration , which " view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

But what is the basis for all these attempts at creating states? What are the prerequisites for success or failure?

The imperialist powers divide the world according to the power relations between them

Lenin gave the best and most durable explanation for this, in his essay Imperialism – the highest stage of capitalism . There, he explained five basic features of the era of imperialism:

The concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; The merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this "finance capital", of a financial oligarchy; The export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; The formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves; The territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed.

But Lenin also pointed out that capitalist countries are developing unevenly, not least because of the uneven development of productive forces in the various capitalist countries.

After a while, there arises a discrepancy between how the world is divided and the relative strength of the imperialist powers. This disparity will eventually force through a redistribution, a new division of the world based on the new relationship of strength. And, as Lenin states :

The question is: what means other than war could there be under capitalism to overcome the disparity between the development of productive forces and the accumulation of capital on the one side, and the division of colonies and spheres of influence for finance capital on the other?"

The two world wars were wars that arose because of unevenness in the power relationships between the imperialist powers. The British Empire was past its heyday and British capitalism lagged behind in the competition. The United States and Germany were the great powers that had the largest industrial and technological growth, and eventually this misalignment exploded. Not once, but twice.

Versailles and Yalta

The victors of the First World War divided the world between themselves at the expense of the losers. The main losers were Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia (the Soviet Union) and the Ottoman Empire. This division was drawn up in the Versailles treaty and the following minor treaties.

Europe after the Versailles Treaties (Wikipedia)

This map shows how the Ottoman Empire was partitioned:

At the end of World War II, the victorious superpowers met in the city of Yalta on the Crimean peninsula in the Soviet Union. Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin made an agreement on how Europe should be divided following Germany's imminent defeat. This map shows how it was envisaged and the two blocs that emerged and became the foundation for the Cold War.

Note that Yugoslavia, created after Versailles in 1919, was maintained and consolidated as "a country between the blocs". So it is a country that carries in itself the heritage of both the Versailles- and Yalta agreements.

The fateful change of era when the Soviet Union fell

In the era of imperialism, there has always been a struggle between various great powers. The battle has been about markets, access to cheap labor, raw materials, energy, transport routes and military control. And the imperialist countries divide the world between themselves according to their strength. But the imperialist powers are developing unevenly.

If a power collapses or loses control over some areas, rivals will compete to fill the void. Imperialism follows the principle that Aristotle in his Physics called horror vacui – the fear of empty space.

And that was what happened when the Soviet Union lost the Cold War. In 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist, and soon the Eastern bloc was also history. And thus the balance was broken, the one that had maintained the old order. And now a huge area was available for re-division. The weakened Russia barely managed to preserve its own territory, and not at all the area that just before was controlled by the Soviet Union.

Never has a so large area been open for redivision. It was the result of two horrible world wars that anew was up for grabs. It could not but lead to war." Pål Steigan, 1999

"Never has a so large area been open for re-division. It was the result of two horrible world wars that anew was up for grabs. It could not but lead to war." Map: Countries either part of the Soviet Union, Eastern Bloc or non-aligned (Yugoslavia)

When the Soviet Union disintegrated, both the Yalta and Versailles agreements in reality collapsed, and opened up the way for a fierce race to control this geopolitical empty space.

This laid the foundation for the American Geostrategy for Eurasia , which concentrated on securing control over the vast Eurasian continent. It is this struggle for redistribution in favor of the United States that has been the basis for most wars since 1990: Somalia, the Iraq wars, the Balkan wars, Libya, Ukraine, and Syria.

The United States has been aggressively spearheading this, and the process to expand NATO eastward and create regime changes in the form of so-called "color revolutions" has been part of this struggle. The coup in Kiev, the transformation of Ukraine into an American colony with Nazi elements, and the war in Donbass are also part of this picture. This war will not stop until Russia is conquered and dismembered, or Russia has put an end to the US offensive.

So, to recapitulate: Because the world is already divided between imperialist powers and there are no new colonies to conquer, the great powers can only fight for redistribution. What creates the basis and possibilities for a new division is the uneven development of capitalism. The forces that are developing faster economically and technologically will demand bigger markets, more raw materials, more strategic control.

The results of two terrible wars are again up for grabs

World War I caused perhaps 20 million deaths , as well as at least as many wounded. World War II caused around 72 million deaths . These are approximate numbers, and there is still controversy around the exact figures, but we are talking about this order of magnitude.

The two world wars that ended with the Versailles and Yalta treaties thus caused just below 100 million dead, as well as an incredible number of other suffering and losses.

Since 1991, a low-intensity "world war" has been fought, especially by the US, to conquer "the void". Donald Trump recently stated that the United States have waged wars based on lies, which have cost $ 8 trillion ($ 8,000 billion) and millions of people's lives. So the United States' new distribution of the spoils has not happened peacefully.

"The Rebellion against Sykes-Picot"

In the debate around the situation in the Middle East, certain people that would like to appear leftist, radical and anti-imperialist say that it is time to rebel against the artificial boundaries drawn by the Sykes-Picot and Versailles treaties. And certainly these borders are artificial and imperialist. But how leftist and anti-imperialist is it to fight for these boundaries to be revised now?

In reality, it is the United States and Israel that are fighting for a redistribution of the Middle East. This is the basis underlying Donald Trump's "Deal of the Century", which aims to bury Palestine forever, and it is stated outright in the new US strategy for partitioning Iraq.

Again, this is just an updated version of the Zionist Yinon plan that aimed to cantonize the entire Middle East, with the aim that Israel should have no real opponents and would be able to dominate the entire region and possibly create a Greater Israel.

It is not the anti-imperialists that are leading the way to overhaul the imperialist borders from 1919. It is the imperialists. To achieve this, they can often exploit movements that are initially popular or national, but which then only become tools and proxies in a greater game.

This has happened so many times in history that it can hardly be counted.

Hitler's Germany exploited Croatian nationalism by using the Ustaša gangs as proxies. From 1929 to 1945, they killed hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma people. And their ideological and political descendants carried out an extremely brutal ethnic cleansing of the Krajina area and forced out more than 200,000 Serbs in their so-called Operation Storm in 1995.

Hitler also used the extreme Ukrainian nationalists of Stepan Bandera's OUN, and after Bandera's death, the CIA continued to use them as a fifth column against the Soviet Union.

The US low-intensity war against Iraq, from the Gulf War in 1991 to the Iraq War in 2003, helped divide the country into enclaves. Iraqi Kurdistan achieved autonomy in the oil-rich north with the help of a US "no-fly zone". The United States thus created a quasi-state that was their tool in Iraq.

Undoubtedly, the Kurds in Iraq had been oppressed under Saddam Hussein. But also undoubtedly, their Iraqi "Kurdistan" became a client state under the thumb of United States. And there is also no doubt that the no-fly zones were illegal, as UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali admitted in a conversation with John Pilger .

And now the United States is still using the Kurds in Northern Iraq in its plan to divide Iraq into three parts. To that end, they are building the world's largest consulate in Erbil. What they are planning to do, is simply "creating a country".

As is well known, the United States also uses the Kurds in Syria as a pretext to keep 27 percent of the country occupied. It does not help how much the Kurdish militias SDF and PYD invoke democracy, feminism and communalism; they have ended up pleading for the United States to maintain the occupation of Northeast Syria.

Preparations for a New World War

Israel and the US are preparing for war against Iran. In this fight, they will develop as much "progressive" rhetoric as is required to fool people. Real dissatisfaction in the area, which there is every reason to have, will be magnified and blown out of all proportion. "Social movements" will be equipped with the latest news in the Israeli and US "riot kits" and receive training and logistics support, in addition to plenty of cold hard cash.

There may be good reasons to revise the 1919 borders, but in today's situation, such a move will quickly trigger a major war. Some say that the Kurds are entitled to their own state, and maybe so. The question is ultimately decided by everyone else, except the Kurds themselves.

The problem is that in today's geopolitical situation, creating a unified Kurdistan will require that "one" defeats Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. It's hard to see how that can happen without their allies, not least Russia and China, being drawn into the conflict.

And then we have a new world war on our hands. And in that case, we are not talking about 100 million killed, but maybe ten times as much, or the collapse of civilization as we know it. The Kurdish question is not worth that much.

This does not mean that one should not fight against oppression and injustice, be it social and national. One certainly should. But you have to realize that revising the map of the Middle East is a very dangerous plan and that you run the risk of ending up in very dangerous company. The alternative to this is to support a political struggle that undermines the hegemony of the United States and Israel and thereby creates better conditions for future struggles.

It is nothing new that small nations rely on geopolitical situations to achieve some form of national independence. This was the case, for example, for my home country Norway. It was France's defeat in the Napoleonic War that caused Denmark to lose the province of Norway to Sweden in 1814, but at the same time it created space for a separate Norwegian constitution and internal self rule.

All honor to the Norwegian founding fathers of 1814, but this was decided on the battlefields in Europe. And again, it was Russia's defeat in the Russo-Japanese War that laid the geopolitical foundation for the dissolution of the forced union with Sweden almost a hundred years later, in 1905. (This is very schematically presented and there are many more details, but there is no doubt that Russia's loss of most of its fleet in the Far East had created a power vacuum in the west, which was exploitable.)

Therefore, the best thing to do now is not to support the fragmentation of states, but to support a united front to drive the United States out of the Middle East. The Million Man March in Baghdad got the ball rolling. There is every reason to build up even more strength behind it. Only when the United States is out, will the peoples and countries in the region be able to arrive at peaceful agreements between themselves, which will enable a better future to be developed.

And in this context, it is an advantage that China develops the "Silk Road" (aka Belt and Road Initiative), not because China is any nobler than other major powers, but because this project, at least in the current situation, is non-sectarian, non-exclusive and genuinely multilateral. The alternative to a monopolistic rule by the United States, with a world police under Washington's control, is a multipolar world. It grows as we speak.

The days of the Empire are numbered. What this will look like in 20 or 50 years, remains to be seen.

This article is Creative Commons 4.0. Pål Steigan is a Norwegian veteran journalist and activist, presently editor of the independent news site Steigan.no . Translated by Terje Maloy. Facebook Twitter Reddit Pinterest WhatsApp vKontakte Email Filed under: 20th Century , historical perspectives , latest Tagged with: Croatia , Egypt , historical perspectives , imperialism , Israel , Jordan , Lenin , Middle East , Pal Steigan , Palestine , russia , Saudi Arabia , Stepan Bandera , Terje Maloy , ukraine , WWII can you spare $1.00 a month to support independent media

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George Mc ,

Off topic – but there's nowhere else to put this at the moment:

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/feb/16/fran-unsworth-bbc-election-coverge-licence-fee

The BBC was taken aback by leftwing attacks on its general election coverage

No idea what they are talking about. They patiently explained that Corbyn was Hitler. What more could they do?

Dungroanin ,

Ok roll up the sleeves, time to concentrate. I've had enough of being baited as a judae- phobe.

The 'Balfour Declaration' – he didn't write it and it was a contract published in the newspapers within hours of it being inveigled.

Ready?

'Balfour and Lloyd George would have been happy with an unvarnished endorsement of Zionism. The text that the foreign secretary agreed in August was largely written by Weizmann and his colleagues:

"His Majesty's Government accept the principle that Palestine should be reconstituted as the national home of the Jewish people and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object and will be ready to consider any suggestions on the subject which the Zionist Organisation may desire to lay before them."

Got that – AUGUST?

Dungroanin ,


The leading figure in that drama was a charismatic chemistry professor from Manchester, Chaim Weizmann – with his domed head, goatee beard and fierce intellect. Weizmann had gained an entrée into political circles thanks to CP Scott, the illustrious editor of the Manchester Guardian, and had then sold his Zionist project to government leaders, including David Lloyd George when he was chancellor of the exchequer.

Dungroanin ,

Author(s)
Walter Rothschild, Arthur Balfour, Leo Amery, Lord Milner

Signatories
Arthur James Balfour

Recipient
Walter Rothschild

Dungroanin ,

'In due course the blunt phrase about Palestine being "reconstituted as the national home of the Jewish people" was toned down into "the establishment of a home for the Jewish people in Palestine" – a more ambiguous formulation which sidestepped for the moment the idea of a Jewish state. '

Dungroanin ,

'Edwin Montagu, newly appointed as secretary of state for India, was only the third practising Jew to hold cabinet office. Whereas his cousin, Herbert Samuel (who in 1920 would become the first high commissioner of Palestine) was a keen supporter of Zionism, Montagu was an "assimilationist" – one who believed that being Jewish was a matter of religion not ethnicity. His position was summed up in the cabinet minutes:

Mr Montagu urged strong objections to any declaration in which it was stated that Palestine was the "national home" of the Jewish people. He regarded the Jews as a religious community and himself as a Jewish Englishman '

Dungroanin ,

'Montagu considered the proposed Declaration a blatantly anti-Semitic document and claimed that "most English-born Jews were opposed to Zionism", which he said was being pushed mainly by "foreign-born Jews" such as Weizmann, who was born in what is now Belarus.'

Dungroanin ,

The other critic of the proposed Declaration was Lord Curzon, a former viceroy of India, who therefore viewed Palestine within the geopolitics of Asia. A grandee who traced his lineage back to the Norman Conquest, Curzon loftily informed colleagues that the Promised Land was not exactly flowing with milk and honey, but nor was it an empty, uninhabited space.

According to the cabinet minutes, "Lord Curzon urged strong objections upon practical grounds. He stated, from his recollection of Palestine, that the country was, for the most part, barren and desolate a less propitious seat for the future Jewish race could not be imagined."

And, he asked, "how was it proposed to get rid of the existing majority of Mussulman [Muslim] inhabitants and to introduce the Jews in their place?"

Dungroanin ,

Sorry for the length of this bit – but it only makes sense in the whole:

'Between them, Curzon and Montagu had temporarily slowed the Zionist bandwagon. Lord Milner, another member of the war cabinet, hastily added two conditions to the proposed draft, in order to address the two men's respective concerns. The vague phrase about the rights of the "existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine" hints at how little the government knew or cared about those who constituted roughly 90 per cent of the population of what they, too, regarded as their homeland.

After trying out the new version on a few eminent Jews, both of Zionist and accommodationist persuasions, and also securing a firm endorsement from America's President Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George and Balfour took the issue back to the war cabinet on 31 October. By now the strident Montagu had left for India, and on this occasion Balfour, who could often be moody and detached, led from the front, brushing aside the objections that had been raised and reasserting the propaganda imperative. According to the cabinet minutes, he stated firmly: "The vast majority of Jews in Russia and America, as, indeed, all over the world, now appeared to be favourable to Zionism. If we could make a declaration favourable to such an ideal, we should be able to carry on extremely useful propaganda both in Russia and America."

This was standard cabinet tactics: a strong lead from a minister supported by the PM, daring his colleagues to argue back. And this time Curzon did not, though he did make another telling comment. He "attached great importance to the necessity of retaining the Christian and Moslem Holy Places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem". If this were done, Curzon added, he "did not see how the Jewish people could have a political capital in Palestine".'

Dungroanin ,

Dates again crucial and the smoking gun:

'securing a firm endorsement from America's President Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George and Balfour took the issue back to the war cabinet on 31 October.'

Dungroanin ,

The two conditions had bought off the two main critics. That was all that seemed to matter, even though the reference to the "rights of the existing non-Jewish communities" stood in potential conflict with the first two clauses about the British supporting and using their "best endeavours" for the "establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people".

Dungroanin ,

There is MORE but I'll pause and see how many are really interested in FACTS, as opposed to invented History, Economics and Capital instead of the only real human motivations of the ages – Money and Power.

George Mc ,

the only real human motivations of the ages – Money and Power.

If this is true then we are all doomed.

Dungroanin ,

Not if we are aware of it George.

Dungroanin ,

Ok a summary fom Brittanica:

'Balfour Declaration Quick Facts

The Balfour Declaration, issued through the continued efforts of Chaim Weizmann and Nahum Sokolow, Zionist leaders in London, fell short of the expectations of the Zionists, who had asked for the reconstitution of Palestine as "the" Jewish national home. The declaration specifically stipulated that "nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine." The document, however, said nothing of the political or national rights of these communities and did not refer to them by name. Nevertheless, the declaration aroused enthusiastic hopes among Zionists and seemed the fulfillment of the aims of the World Zionist Organization (see Zionism).

The British government hoped that the declaration would rally Jewish opinion, especially in the United States, to the side of the Allied powers against the Central Powers during World War I (1914–18). They hoped also that the settlement in Palestine of a pro-British Jewish population might help to protect the approaches to the Suez Canal in neighbouring Egypt and thus ensure a vital communication route to British colonial possessions in India.

The Balfour Declaration was endorsed by the principal Allied powers and was included in the British mandate over Palestine, formally approved by the newly created League of Nations on July 24, 1922.

In May 1939 the British government altered its policy in a White Paper recommending a limit of 75,000 further immigrants and an end to immigration by 1944, unless the resident Palestinian Arabs of the region consented to further immigration.

Zionists condemned the new policy, accusing Britain of favouring the Arabs. This point was made moot by the outbreak of World War II (1939–45) and the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.'

Dungroanin ,

But what about the timing?

Well there are twin tracks, here is the first.

'But talking about the return of the Jews to the land of Israel was only meaningful because that land seemed up for grabs after the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany in 1914. For Britain, France and Russia – though primarily focused on Europe – war against a declining power long dubbed the "Sick Man of Europe" opened up the prospect of vast gains in the Levant and the Middle East.

The Ottoman army, however, proved no walkover. In 1915 it threatened the Suez Canal, Britain's imperial artery to India, and then repulsed landings by British empire and French forces on the Dardanelles at Gallipoli. Although Baghdad fell in March 1917, two British assaults on Gaza that spring were humiliatingly driven back, with heavy losses. Deadlock in the desert added to Whitehall's list of woes.

In this prescribed narrative of remembrance for 1914-18, what happened outside the Western Front has been almost entirely obscured. The British army's "Historical Lessons, Warfare Branch" has published in-house a fascinating volume of essays about what it tellingly entitles "The Forgotten Fronts of the First World War" – with superb maps and illustrations. The collection covers not only Palestine and Mesopotamia (roughly modern-day Iraq and Kuwait), but also Italy, Africa, Russia, Turkey and the Pacific – indeed much of the world – but sadly it is not currently available to the public. '

Dungroanin ,

The second track is the 'money' track and what everything is about and why we live in such a miasma of blatant lies.

IT can only make sense by asking questions such as :

Can we follow the money?

When was the Fed set up? Why? By whom?
How much money did it lend &
to whom?

When was the first world war started?

When did US declare war?

When did US troops arrive in numbers to enter that war?

What happened in Russia at the same time?

And in Mesopotamia?

How did it end?

How did it fail to end?

What happened to the contract?

Etc.

I have attempted to research and answer some of these already above.

Next I will attempt to walk the other track but be warned that opens more ancient tracks.

Dungroanin ,

'On 2 November, Balfour sent his letter to Lord Rothschild.

7 November, Lenin and the Bolsheviks had seized power in Petrograd. ransacked the Tsarist archives, they published juicy extracts from the "secret treaties" that the Allied powers had made among themselves in 1915-16 to divide the spoils of victory.
The same day the Ottoman Seventh and Eighth Armies evacuated the town of Gaza

9 November Letter published in Times.

Mid November – The Bolsheviks did not discover that the British were also playing footsie with the Turks. In the middle of November 1917, secret meetings took place with Ottoman dissidents in Greece and Switzerland about trying to arrange an armistice in the Near East. The war cabinet recognised that, as bait, it might have to let the Ottomans keep parts of their empire in the region, or at least retain some appearance of control. When Curzon got wind of this, he was incensed: "Almost in the same week that we have pledged ourselves, if successful, to secure Palestine as a national home for the Jewish people, are we to contemplate leaving the Turkish flag flying over Jerusalem?"

End November. The Manchester Guardian's correspondent in Petrograd, Morgan Philips Price, was able to examine the key documents overnight, and his scoop was published by the paper at the end of November. It revealed to the world, among other things, that the British also had an understanding with the French – the Sykes-Picot agreement of January 1916 – to carve up the Near East between them once the Ottoman empire had been defeated. In this, Palestine was slated for some kind of international condominium – not the British protectorate envisaged in the Balfour Declaration.

11 December Allenby formally entered Jerusalem. '

So just a few loose ends left to tie up anyone actually want to go there?

George Mc ,

No.

Dungroanin ,

🤣

Dungroanin ,

Ok on the back stretch:

https://www.federalreservehistory.org/essays/feds_formative_years

The paramount goal of the Fed's founders was to eliminate banking panics, but it was not the only goal. The founders also sought to increase the amount of international trade financed by US banks and to expand the use of the dollar internationally. By 1913 the United States had the world's largest economy, but only a small fraction of US exports and imports were financed by American banks. Instead, most exports and imports were financed by bankers' acceptances drawn on European banks in foreign currencies. (Bankers' acceptances are a type of financial contract used for making payments in the future, for example, upon delivery of goods or services. Bankers' acceptances are drawn on and guaranteed, i.e., "accepted," by a bank.) The Federal Reserve Act allowed national banks to issue bankers' acceptances and open foreign branches, which greatly expanded their ability to finance international transactions Further the Act authorized the Reserve Banks to purchase acceptances in the open market to ensure a liquid market for them, thereby spurring growth of that market.

President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act on December 23, 1913.

The task of determining the specific number of districts, district boundaries, and which cities would have Reserve Banks was assigned to a Reserve Bank Organization Committee.

On April 2, 1914, the Committee announced that twelve Federal Reserve districts would be formed, identified the boundaries of those districts, and named the cities that would have Reserve Banks.1 The Banks were quickly organized, officers and staff were hired, and boards of directors appointed. The Banks opened for business on November 16, 1914.
..

The Federal Reserve Act addressed perceived shortcomings by creating a new national currency -- Federal Reserve notes -- and requiring members of the Federal Reserve System to hold reserve balances with their local Federal Reserve Banks.

World War I began in Europe in August 1914, before the Federal Reserve Banks had opened for business. The war had a profound impact on the US banking system and economy, as well as on the Federal Reserve.

War disrupted European financial markets and reduced the supply of trade credit offered by European banks, providing US banks with an opening. Low US interest rates, abundant reserves, and new authority to issue trade acceptances enabled American banks to finance a growing share of world trade.

Dungroanin ,

So the denouement :

It appears that the 'first world war' was designed to diminish European banks and boost the US banks.

However the fuller history of the US bankers is worth knowing- the Jekyll Islanders story is widely publicised.

Into this time track enters the Balfour Declaration addressed to Lord Rothschild, steered by Milner (heir to Rhodes empire building and the old EIC), approved by the potus Wilson (another hireling) that finally sent US troops to overwhelm the Germans, while the great gamers took out the Romanovs and the Ottoman Empire.
-- --

When we try to understand such facts and timelines and are attacked as Judaeo-phobes, because we identify Bankers and Robber Barons, it becomes even clearer how deep and wide they have controlled history and it has NOTHING to do with RELIGION (except perhaps Ludism). Nothing to do with Judaism (except perhaps Old Jewry in the City, but Lombard Street was most powerful!) and EVERYTHING to do with POWER and it's representation MONEY. The obscuring of that through various Economic theories including Marxism is the work of the same old bastards who are responsible for all our current malaises.

Thankyou and good evening, if anyone made it this far!

😉

George Mc ,

Well OK Dunnie, let's say I go along with you and assume that all the shit we are facing has nothing to do with religion or all that "Marxian porridge" (as Guido Giacomo Preparata called it). The question is: What do we do about it?

Speaking of GGP , it seems to me that you and him have much in common. He also goes on about "Power" but seems to be on the verge of referring this "Power" to mystical entities in a disconcertingly Ickean manoeuvre. Not that I'm attibuting such a thing to yourself. (No irony intended.)

Dungroanin ,

George – i don't want you or anyone to just go along with me.

I want everyone to make their minds up on FACTS. That is the only way humanity has actually progressed by inventing the only self correcting philosophical system and method of the ages that goes beyond 'personal responsibility teligions' – SCIENTIFIC METHOD – that takes away arbitrary power to rule, from these that inhabit the top of the human pyramid by virtue of being born there and having control over the money and so the power to remain in these positions, which does not benefit the totality of humanity or all life on Earth.

I am not a messiah, I am angry as fuck and I am not going to sit around enjoying whatever soma has been handed to us to keep compliant and leave this Planet worse than I found it. That is the scientific conclusion I have reached.

I suppose some proto buddhist / zoroastrianism / animalist / Shinto / Jain & Quakers seek religious truth in inner experience, and place great reliance on conscience as the basis of morality.

I suppose Ghandi's non-violence rebellion against Imperialists is a model as are various peasants revolts – the Russian / Chinese / Korean / Vietnamese couldn't have survived without the literal grassroots!
..

As for Guido Giacomo Preparata that you have introduced to me – i had nevet heard of him before this morning – my first take on him is that he seems to have arrived at similar conclusions by similar methodology. He seems to have a lot of formal education and a enviable career so far – i'll have to look into him further but the interview that i just read seems to indicate concurrence with what i said above. I see no Ickean references – please give a link.

-- -

As a observation do you not find it funny that there is not a single objection to the verity of the facts which I have presented above?

Good luck George if you are a real seeker of truth. If not insta-karma awaits.

George Mc ,

The Preparata statement I was referring to is in this interview:

https://www.larsschall.com/2012/06/10/the-business-as-usual-behind-the-slaughter/

The statement itself is this:

Power is a purely human suggestion. Suggested by whom? That is the question. The NSDAP thus appeared to have been a front for some kind of nebula of Austro-German magi, dark initiates, and troubling literati (Dietrich Eckhart comes to mind), with very plausible extra-Teutonic ramifications of which we know next to nothing. Hitler came to be inducted in a lodge of this network, endowed as he seemed with a supernatural gift of inflaming oratory.

This is a theme that I am still studying, but from what I gathered, the adepts of the Thule Gesellschaft communed around the belief of being the blood heirs of a breed that seeks redemption / salvation / metempsychosis in some kind of eighth realm away from this earth, which is the shoddy creation of a lesser God -- the archangel of the Hebrews, Jehovah. It all sounds positively insane to post-modern ears, but it should be taken very seriously, I think.

Admittedly it isn't quite interdimensional reptiles but there is a distinct metaphysical flavour there.

I wouldn't go along with everything Preparata says but he is a wonderful writer and I have bought almost everything I can find by him. His "biggie" is "Conjuring Hitler". It was Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed that brought GGP to my attention via that book.

milosevic ,

images on this website look terrible, with very little colour. the problem seems to be caused by this rule, from the file "OffGstyle.css":

.content-wrap-spp img {

filter: sepia(20%) saturate(30%);

}

Open ,

This sepia effect usually works well with Off-Guardian articles, but with these maps in today's article it is definitely terrible. Why have maps if they don't want to show them clearly?
(any extra steps for the user to see the pictures clearly is not the answer)

Another area neglected on this website is crediting photos. The majority of images carry no atribution/credit, despite it [crediting photos] is the best ethical practice even for public domain pictures. I wish Admin gets expert advice on this.

Open ,

Look at the language used by the americans:

On feb. 12 [2020], Coalition forces, conducting a patrol near Qamishli, Syria , encountered a checkpoint occupied by pro-Syrian .. forces .

So, the supremacist unites states' army has found that Syrian forces are occupying Syrian land .. wow wow wow .. according to this logic, Russian forces are occupying Russian land. Iranian forces are occupying Iranian land (how dare they?!). But american forces are not occupying any land, and Israel is not occupying Palestinian and Syrian lands.

This language needs to be known more widely.

Open ,

The americans always use the term 'Coalition forces' when they talk about their illegal presence in Syria. I tried to search online for what countries are in this coalition. I recall I was able to find that in the past, but now, it seems this information is being pushed under wrap.

What are they afraid of? What are they hiding?

Joe ,

Just bring about the end of "Israel" and there'll be peace in the Middle East, and probably in the wider world, too.

Open ,

Ending the Israeli project is certainly a step in the right direction to improve global stability. However, alone, it will not bring about peace because the British/Five-Eyes/Washington's doctrine of spreading disorder and chaos permeates (saturates) the planet.

In fact, current disorders are the results of convergence of Israeli interests with those of Western White Supremacy's* resolve to dominate, erh, eveything.

* Western White Supremacy can also be called Western White Idiocy and Bigotry.

Israel manipulates the West's political and military might. The West also uses Israel to spread Chaos and Disorder.

Antonym ,

Right, back to the good old peace of the graveyard inspired by Mohamed's male sex riot ideology and plunder legitimization before the Westerners showed up with their superior (arms) tech legitimization for their plunder.
Before Israel's 1947 creation the world was a bed of roses .

Open ,

"srael's 1947 creation"

Without the natives' consent and without the neighbouring countries approval, Ukranians and Germans, and later South Americans, found home in the Middle East.

How ligitimate is that?

Antonym ,

Without the natives' consent and without the neighbouring countries approval, Moroccans, Somalis, and later Afghans and Syrians, found home in the EU thanks to madame Merkel.

How ligitimate is that?

Open ,

"Moroccans, Somalis, and later Afghans and Syrians .. etc.."

Do these comments reflect the Zionists' perspective? This is important because they prove that the whole existence of Israel is based on total fabrication and lies.

Maggie ,

Did you have to practice at being THAT stupid! Or did they lobotomise you in Langley?
Somalis, Afghans, Syrians would not have had any cause to leave their homeland had it not been for your employers the CIA/MOSSAD facilitating the raping and pillaging of their homes by the Oil Magnates, leaving them starving and desolate.
https://www.hiiraan.com/op2/2007/may/somalia_the_other_hidden_war_for_oil.aspx
and where does our Aid money go?

https://www.youtube.com/embed/5OInaYenHkU?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent
But of course Antonym, if you were in their situation, you would just stick it out?
Shame on you .

To those who care, read "The confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins" to understand how this corrupt system is conducted.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Its 'creation' in blood, murder, rape and terror, in a great ethnic cleansing-the sign of things to come, ceaselessly, for seventy years and ongoing.

paul ,

Ask the people in Gaza about the Zionist "peace of the graveyard."

Antonym ,

Gaza before 2005 was relatively peaceful + prosperous. After the Israeli withdrawal the inhabitants messed up their own economy but kept on making lots of babies just like before.
Quite the opposite of a graveyard or a Warsaw ghetto or a Dachau.

George Mc ,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_disengagement_from_Gaza

Despite the disengagement, the United Nations, international human rights organisations and most legal scholars regard the Gaza Strip to still be under military occupation by Israel, though this is disputed by Israel and other legal scholars. Following the withdrawal, Israel has continued to maintain direct external control over Gaza and indirect control over life within Gaza: it controls Gaza's air and maritime space, and six of Gaza's seven land crossings, it maintains a no-go buffer zone within the territory, and controls the Palestinian population registry, and Gaza remains dependent on Israel for its water, electricity, telecommunications, and other utilities.

Interesting definition of "withdrawal". It's amazing those Gazans even managed to have babies!

Richard Le Sarc ,

You would have made a grand Nazi, Antsie-cripes, you have!

paul ,

Gaza was, and is, a huge Zionist concentration camp hermetically sealed off from the outside world and blockaded just like the Warsaw Ghetto. With Zionist thugs and kiddie killers shooting hundreds of kids in the head for the fun of it with British sniper rifles and dum dum bullets, and periodically dropping 20,000 tons of bombs at a time on it, a higher explosive yield than Hiroshima. With parties of Jews going along to hold barbecues and picnics to watch all the fun. Nice people, those chosen folk.

Richard Le Sarc ,

I rather think that Epstein, Weinstein, Moonves and all those orthodox and ultra-orthodox who are such prolific patrons of the sex industry in Israel, know a bit about 'male sex riot ideology', Antsie.

Dungroanin ,

Pathetic.
'Nandy won a major boost when members of the Labour affiliate Jewish Labour Movement gave her their backing after a hustings, saying she understood the need to change the party's culture.'
From the Groaniad

How many members? How many by denomination?

As for the Balfour Contract there were actual English Jewish establishment figures against its premise. Actual imperial servants. The declaration was a stitch up by the new banking powers in the US which then sent in the yanks to stop the Germans in 1917.

History is rewritten daily to memory hole such facts.

Capricornia Man ,

The 'Jewish Labour Movement' is so Jewish that most of its members are not Jewish. And it is so Labour-affiliated that it did not support Labour in the December general election. But it has no shortage of money. It exists solely to prosecute the interests of a foreign power. Much the same could be said for any politician who accepts its endorsement.

Rhys Jaggar ,

Given that Jews are vastly outnumbered by non Jews, the simplest way to stop Jewish manipulation of politics is to form a party from which Jews are specifically banned.

You will not propose any policies harming Jews in any way, you will just make it clear that this is a party free from any Jewish influence in its constitution.

If Jews cannot accept that, then they are utterly racist and must be dealt with without sensibility.

Maggie ,

A better solution Rhys would be to form a party that denies all and any dual citizens
That way all the Zionists would be barred.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Full public financing of political parties would end Zionist control.

paul ,

Thornberry has just thrown in the towel.
She will now have more time to "get down on her hands and knees" and "beg forgiveness" from the Board of Deputies.
Those good little Shabbos are so easily trained.

Dungroanin ,

BoD's??? Another random organisation!

Who are they? Who do they represent? How many people? Which people? How did they get elected? How can they be fired?

Richard Le Sarc ,

The next world war has already started, with the bio-warfare atttack on China aka Covid19.

lundiel ,

Why no comment on the government reshuffle? I don't agree with the Indian middle-class uplifting but totally agree with neutering the ultra-conservative treasury.

Maggie ,

I think it's a case of who gives a fck. We now know that our elections are rigged, and so there is no point in us being involved. My family and I all realised and voted for the last time.
They are all bloody crap actors reading their scripts and playing their parts, whilst the never changing suits in the background pull the strings.
I had to explain to my 10 year old Grandson how politics work, and he said "Why doesn't anyone know the names of, or see the suits?"
What I want to know is why no-one ever asks this question or demands an answer?

tonyopmoc ,

Completely Brilliant Article, but it is Valentines Day, so as I am 66 years old, and in love with my wife (nearly 40 years together = LOVE), I wrote this in response to Craig Murray, who has banned me again.

It may be off topic for him, but it ain't off topic for me. I am still in Love.

"Churchill's mental deterioration from syphilis – which the Eton and Oxford ."

Never had it, and she didn't either. We were young and in love, but we didn't know, if either of us had sex before, but I had a spotty dick, and went to the VD clinic. I had a blood test, and they gave me some zinc cream.

She also had the same thing, and showed her Mum.

We were both completely innocent, and had a sexually transmitted disease called Thrush. It is relatively harmless, but can also give you a sore throat.

We both laughed at each other, and nearly got married.

Natural Yoghurt, is completely brilliant at preventing it.

Far better than Canestan.

Happy Valentines Day, for Everyone still In Love.

Let us all look forwad to a Brighter Day for our Grandchildren.

Tony

Loverat ,

Hey Tony

Dont worry. Craig Murray might not like you but I do. Your stories, here and elsewhere have entertained me for many years.

Mind you, if I were your other half I would have chucked you years ago.

paul ,

Tell him how much you like haggis and tossing your caber.

Dungroanin ,

Without Stalins say so Poland would not have had its borders at the end of ww2.
Also,
On these maps just off the right hand edges is missing Afghanistan.. which the imperialists invaded in 2002 as the Taliban wiped out the opium crops. Back to full production immediately after invasion and 18 years later secret negotiations to hand over to Taliban while leaving 8,000 CUA troops delivering the huge cash crop.

binra ,

Seeking possession and control – in competition with those you see as seeking to dispossess and control or deny you – is the identity or belief in 'kill or be killed'.
This belief overrides and subordinates others – such as to subsume all else to such private agenda that will seek alliance against common threat but only as a shifting strategy of possession and control.

One of the things about this 'game' of power struggle, is that it loses any sense of WHY – and so it is a driven mind or dictate of power or possession for it own sake that cannot really ENJOY or HAVE and share what it Has. The image of the hungry ghost comes to mind here. It will never have enough until you are dead – and even then will offer you torment beyond the grave.

Until this mindset is recognised and released as an 'insanity' it operates as accepted currency of exchange, and maps our a world of its own conflicting and conflicted meanings.

The willingness to destroy or kill, deny or undermine and invalidate others in order to GET for a private agenda set over the whole instead of finding balance within the whole – is destructive to life, no matter how ingenious the thinking that frames it to seem to be progressive, protective, or in fact powerful.
But in our collective alignment and allegiance with such a way of thinking and identifying – we all give power to the destructive – as if to protect the life that it gives us.

The hungry ghost is also in the mass population when separated from their land and lives to seek connection or meaning in proffered 'products and services' instead of creating out of our own lives. Products and services that operate a hidden agenda of possession and control or market and mind capture under threat of fear of pain of loss in losing even the little that we have.

Having – on a spiritual level is our being – and not a matter of stuffing a hole.
Madness that can no longer mask as anything else is all about – and brings a choice to conscious awareness as to whether to persist in it or decide to find another way of seeing and being.

This is not to say there is no place to call upon or seek to limit people in positions of trust from serving an unjust outcome by calling for transparency and accountability – but not to wait on that or make that the be all and end all.

If there is another way and a better way than war masking in and misusing and thus corrupting anything and everything, then it has to be lived one to another.

Everyone seeks a better experience – but many seek it in a negative framing. Negative in the sense of self-lack seeking power in the terms of its current identity. Evils work their own destruction, but find sustainability in selling destructive agenda or toxic debt as ingeniously complex instruments of deceit – by which the targeted buyer believes they have or shall save their 'self' or add to their 'self' rather than growing hollow to a driven mindset of reactive fear-addiction.

I don't need to 'tell this to those who refuse to listen' – but I share it with any moment of a willingness to listen. In the final analysis, we are the ones who live the result of choices in our lives, whatever the times and conditions.

The 'repackaging' of reality to self-deceit, is not new but part of the human mind and experience throughout history. The evil changes forms – as if the good has and shall triumph. But truth undoes illusion by being accepted. It doesn't war on illusion and thus make it real – and remain truth.

Judgement divides to rule.
Discernment arises from the unwillingness to division.
One is set apart from and over life as the invocation of an alien will, dealing death, and the other as the will of true desire revealed.

The idea of independent autonomy is relative to a limited sphere of responsibilities in the world.
The idea of living our own life is an alignment within the same for others and the freedom to do so cannot take from others without becoming possessed by our denials, debts and transgressions – no less so in the driven mind of ingeniously repackaged and wilfully defended narrative identity.

In our own experience, this is not a matter of applied analysis, so much as awareness or space in which to seek and find truth in some willingness of recognition and acceptance or choice, while the triggering or baiting to madness is loud or compelling as the dictate of fear seeking protection and grievance seeking retribution – as if these give freedom and power rather than locking into a fear-framed limitation as substitution for life set in defiance and refusal to look on or share in truth – and so to such a one, war is truth, and love is weakness to exploit, use and weaponise for getting.

paul ,

If you look at the proposed new map of the Middle East, it mirrors Kushner's Deal Of The Century for Palestine – because it has the same Zionist authorship.
The same old dirty Zionist games of divide and rule – break up countries in the region into tiny defenceless little statelets setting different ethnic and religious groups at each others' throats, so that they can rule the roost and steal whatever they wish.
You see this in the past and the recent past. The way Lebanon was torn away from Syria. Or Kuwait from Iraq. Or the Ruritanian petty Gulf dictatorships like Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai.
Trump was being honest for the first time in his miserable life when he said none of these satellites and satraps would last a fortnight if they were not propped up by the US.

paul ,

George Galloway described the whole region as a flock of sheep surrounded by ravenous wolves.

At the same time, there is more than a grain of truth in the Zionists' contention that the people of the region are to some extent the authors of their own misfortune.

They always fall for the divide-and-rule games of outside powers, Britain, America, Israel, who invade, bomb, slaughter, humiliate and exploit them. If they had been united, Israel would not have been created. Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, would not have been destroyed and bombed back to the Stone Age. These countries would be genuinely independent and at peace.

When I speak to ordinary moslems, it is surprising and depressing to see how much visceral hatred they express for Shia moslems. They seem blind to the way they are being manipulated to serve outside interests.

So we see moslem Saudi Arabia trying to incite America and Israel to destroy Iran, and offering to pay for the whole cost of the war. Or S. Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, UAE et al, in bed with Israel, paying billions to bankroll the terrorist head choppers in Syria. Or Egypt, which does not even protest, let alone lift a finger, when Israeli aircraft use its air space to carpet bomb Gaza. Or going further back in history, when countries like Egypt and Syria sent troops to join the 1991 US invasion of Iraq. Even though Iraq had sent its forces to the Golan Heights in 1973 to fight and die to prevent Syria being overrun by Israel. How contemptible is all that? Yet those are just a few of many examples of all the backstabbing that has occurred over the years. If these people don't respect themselves, why should anybody else?

paul ,

And this has been going on for hundreds of years.
1096 marked the beginning of The Crusades, a disaster for the region on a par with the creation of Israel.
At that time, London was a little village of 25,000. Baghdad and Alexandria and Cordoba were sophisticated modern cities with populations of hundreds of thousands. They dismissed the Crusaders as mere bandits who would do some looting, steal some cattle, and go home. But 3 years later Jerusalem had been conquered and its inhabitants slaughtered, the start of a 200 year disaster for the region. How? Why?
Because the Arabs were so busy fighting a civil war at the time they barely noticed the foreign invaders. The old, old story. Civil war between Sunnis and Shias.

One day, they will wake up and realise that they have to hang together, or hang separately.
But I wouldn't hold your breath.
There seems to be an endless supply of quisling stooge dictators ready to do the bidding of hostile outside powers. The Mubaraks, the Sisis, the King Abdullahs, the Sinioras, the MBS's, to name but a few.
Conforming to all the worst stereotypes about Arabs and moslems.
You could argue that they deserve all they get, when they are ever ready to bend over and drop their trousers.
Is it really any surprise that they have been invaded, slaughtered, bombed back to the Stone Age, robbed, exploited and humiliated from time immemorial.
Maybe one day they will discover an ounce of dignity and self respect. Who knows?

Maggie ,

"1096 marked the beginning of The Crusades, a disaster for the region on a par with the creation of Israel.
At that time, London was a little village of 25,000. Baghdad and Alexandria and Cordoba were sophisticated modern cities with populations of hundreds of thousands. They dismissed the Crusaders as mere bandits who would do some looting, steal some cattle, and go home. But 3 years later Jerusalem had been conquered and its inhabitants slaughtered, the start of a 200 year disaster for the region. How? Why?"
Because despite the mendacious lies that are told about Muslims, they are tolerant and forgiving. They believe in one God, and live exemplary modest, generous lives in the belief that they will enter in to the kingdom of heaven.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/_2LEgowbzSc?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGz6nrWTsEI

And these are the people we are being encouraged to hate and fear? To enable the neo cons to invade and destroy everything in their path to get their oil.

Hundreds of millions of Muslims the world over 'live in democracies' of some shape or form, from Indonesia to Malaysia to Pakistan to Lebanon to Tunisia to Turkey. Tens of millions of Muslims' live in -- and participate in' -- Western democratic societies. The country that is on course to have the biggest Muslim population in the world in the next couple of decades is India, which also happens to be the world's biggest democracy. Yet a persistent pernicious narrative exists, particularly in the West, that Islam and democracy are incompatible. Islam is often associated with dictatorship, totalitarianism, and a lack of freedom, and many "well paid" analysts and pundits claim that Muslims are philosophically opposed to the idea of democracy .

Richard Le Sarc ,

'Democracy' as practised in the neo-liberal capitalist West, is a nullity, a fiction, a smoke-screen behind which the one and only power, that of the rich owners of the economy, acts alone.

Gall ,

I know. These Zionist morons droning on about how violent Islam is as religion yet ignoring the fact that the Bible is based on the God of Abraham granting them Canaan (like Trump giving the Israelis the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank) and urging them to commit complete and utter genocidal annihilation of the inhabitants by not leaving a single living thing breathing.

No violence there folks. Nope. The book of love my ass!

paul ,

Their God was a demented estate agent, rather like Trump or Kushner.

Gall ,

Personally I believe that the chapters of the bible were written after their genocidal blood lust simply to justify their despicable acts. Claiming that God made 'em do it.

Loverat ,

My experience of muslims in the UK is many express support for the Palestinians but don't identify or understand those states which still speak up for their rights, Syria, Iran and a few others.

Sadly like the general UK population they have been exposed to propaganda which excuses evil and mass murder carried out by Saudi Arabia and their lackeys and Israel. This is changing however. People are gradually waking up. Muslims and the general UK public if they really knew the extent of this would be out demonstrating on the streets.

The realisation these policies have exposed all of us to nuclear wipe out in seconds should be enough motivation for any normal person.
The wipe out or (preferably) demonstrations will happen. Just a question of when. You can see why the establishment and people like Higgins, Lucas and York are so active recently. These idiots, blinded by their pay checks can't see the harm they are causing through their irresponsible lies even to their own families. Perhaps they all have nuclear shelters in their back garden.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Saudi Arabia is NOT 'Moslem'. It is Wahhabist, a genocide cult created by doenmeh, ie crypto-Jewish followers of the failed 17th century Messiah, Sabbatai Zevi, which is homicidally opposed to all Moslems but fellow Wahhabists.

milosevic ,

I thought it was created by the British Empire, in order to provide reliable stooges and puppet regimes.

Richard Le Sarc ,

What people must realise is that,for the Zionassty secular and Talmudic religious leaderships, by far the dominant forces in Israel and among many of the Diaspora sayanim, the drive to create 'Eretz Yisrael', '..from the Nile to the Euphrates' (and some include the Arabian Peninsula as well), is a real, religious, ambition-indeed an obligation. With the alliance with the 'Christian Zionist' lunatics in the USA, the fate of humanity is in the hands of the Evil Brain Dead.

BigB ,

I despair. This is why there is 'No Deal For Nature' because the hegemonic cultural movement is to extend cultural hegemony over nature. We cannot seem to help it or stop ourselves. Do we suppose a glossy website will change that? Or empty sloganneering subvertisements? Or waiving placards outside banks? Or some other futile conscience salving symbolic gesture?

No, we have to subvert the cultural hegemony over nature at every point at every chance. Which is thankless because cultural normativity is ubiquitous. And it's killing us. And BRI is the very antithesis of alternative an eternal return into the cultural consumerism and commodification that is the global hegemony at least at an elite level. And we are among that elite – in terms of consumption and pollution. We are the problem. If we seek to extend or preserve our own Eurocentric priviliges and consumptions we can only do so by extracting evermore global resources and maldeveloping the Rest. Which is also what Samir Amin said: following Wallerstein's World Systems Theory.

The progressive packaging of all our sins and transferring them to something called 'American Imperialism' is nothing less than mass psychological transference to a Fetish. By which we maintain autonomy from any blame in the ecological disaster we are co-creating. Which is why it is a powerful cultural narrative constructivism. 'We' do not have to reform: the scapegoated Otherised 'they' do. Whilst we all sit smugly in our inauthentic imaginary autonomy: the ecological destruction caused entirely by our collectivist consumption carries on. 'They' have to clean up 'their' act – not us. 'We' align with the 'counter-hegemonic alliance': the alternative BRI. 'We' are so bourgeois and progressive in our invented independence and totally aligned with the destructive forces of capitalist endocolonised culture because of our own internalised screening discourse. Which is why there is #NoDealForNature. 'We' don't actually give a flying fuck not beyond some hollow totemic gestures in transference of our own responsibility.

'We' are pushing for the financialisation of nature: as the teleology of our particular complicit cultural narratives. It's not just 'them'. Supply and demand are dialectically exponential. Who is demanding less, more fairly distributed North to South? Exponential expansionism via BRI is no more alternative than colonising the Moon or Mars. For nature to have a deal: we have to stop demanding growth. And in doing that: become self-responsible right through to the narratives we produce. For which every person in the global consumer bourgeoisie – that's us – will have to change their imperatives from culture to nature. Which means a new naturalised culture: not just complicitly advocating the 'same old, same old' exponential expansionism of the extractivist commodification of every last standing resource. Under the guise of new narrative constructions like this. That's not progress: it's capitalist propaganda and personal self-propaganda. We are among the consumer elite. Which is driving the financialisation and commodification of everything. For us.

#NoDealForNature until we take full and honest self-responsibility to create one with our every enaction including speech-enactivism.

Gall ,

I'm sure Thomas Robert Malthus and Charles Darwin are smiling upon you my child from their very special place in hell.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Charles Darwin? What on Earth are you on about?

Gall ,

Ever heard of social Darwinism? This is how the elite justify genocide and theft of resources. It is one of the basics of Neoliberalism.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Darwin had NOTHING to do with 'social Darwinism'. It's like blaming Jesus for the KKK.

Gall ,

Uh huh:

"With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil. Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage."
― Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

BigB ,

Every appraisal from a cultural POV extends the cultural hegemony over nature – with no exceptions. If we do not address the false dichotomy of culture and nature – and invert the privileged status of cultural domination over nature – this never changes. If nothing changes its going to be a very short century the last in the history of culture.

I'm expressing my own private POV with the intention of at least highlighting the issue of only ever expressing the distorted cultural-centric POV. It would be nice if we could all agree to do something other than waste our privileged status and access to resources for other than meaningless sarcasm. It's not like we'd all benefit from a change in POV and the entailed potential in a change of course that can only happen if we think of nature first, is it? 😉

Gall ,

The only thing I don't like about the environmentally "woke" is that many are easily manipulated by the neoliberal elite. Greta is a perfect example.

That is they go after the little guy while the Military and big industry continue to pollute unhampered.

George Mc ,

I despair.

Well that's what you do.

Dungroanin ,

The M5 highway is secured. Allepo access points too and Idlib is surrounded- where are the US backed /Saudi paid / Tukish passport holding Uighars and various Turkmen proxy jihadist anti Chinese / anti Russian, Central asian caliphate establishing mercenaries supposed to go now??

Pompeo is buzzing around Africa now like a blue bottomed cadaverous fly, non-stop buzzing from piles of shot, trying to find them homes – no Libya doesn't want anymore of them, nor the UAE and Saudis, or Turks maybe dump them in Canada with all these ex Ukrainian still nazis? Its a big country nobody will know!
Or bring them to the US and give them a ticker tape parade?

Or let them surrender and have them testify as to how the fuck they let themselves be bought for $$$$ maybe just fry them with the low yield nuke and blame Assad for it!

Dumbass yanks, fukus, 5+1 eyed gollum and Nutty- 'it's the Belgian airforce bombing Russian weapons in Syria' -yahoo!

Up-Pompeos farce and buzzing is about to sizzle in the blue light of death for dumbfuck poison spreading flies.

normal wisdom ,

so much disrespect here hare here.

these takfiri these giants these beards are hero

of the oded yinon plan

they raped murdered and stole
dustified atomised the syriana so
is rael can become real

the red heffers have been cloned the temple will grow

the semites must leave for norway,sweden wales scotland and detroit
already

the khazar ashkanazim need the land returned to it's true owners from the turkic russio steppe

tonight back to back i watch reality
fiddler on the roof and exodus and schindlers lists.
i watch bbc simon scharmas new rabbi revised history of mighty israel.
every day it grows massive every day hezbollah become weak husk

shirley you can sea more that

my life already

Francis Lee ,

Very interesting and informative article. Lenin's 5 conditions of the imperialism of his time have been matched by similar conditions in our own time, as listed by the Egyptian Marxist, Samir Amin. These conditions being as follows.

1. Control of technology.

2. Access to natural resources.

3. Finance.

4. Global media.

5. The means of mass destruction.

Only by overturning these monopolies can real progress be made. Easily said. But a life and death struggle for humanity.

The collapse of the Soviet Union opened up the space for increased penetration of Europe to the East by the US and its West European allies in NATO. At that time the subaltern US powers in Europe were the UK and West Germany, as it then was. There was a semblance of sovereignty in France under De Gaulle, but this has since disappeared. Europe as a whole is now occupied and controlled by the US which has used EU/NATO bloc to push right up to the Russian border. Most, if not all, the non-sovereign quasi states, in Europe, particularly Eastern Europe, are Quisling-Petainist puppet regimes regardless of whether they are inside our outside of the EU. (I say 'states' but of course if a country is not sovereign it cannot be a 'state' in the full meaning of the word).

A political, social and economic crisis in Europe seems to be taking taking shape. Perhaps the key problem, particularly Eastern Europe, has been depopulation. There is not one European state in which fertility (replacement) rates has reached 2.1 children. Western European imperial states have to large degree been able to counter-act this tendency by immigration from their former colonies, particularly the UK and France. But this has not been possible in states such as Sweden and Germany where the migration of non-christian guest workers from Turkey to Germany and Islamic refugees
from the middle-east hot-spots have had a free passage to Sweden. This has become a serious social and economic problem; a problem resulting from a neoliberal open borders policy. The fact of the matter is that radically different cultures will tend to clash. Thank you Mr Soros.

British immigration policy was successful in so far as immigrants from the Caribbean were English speakers, they were also protestant Christians, and the culture was not very different from the UK. Later immigration from the Indian sub-continent and Indian settled East Africa were generally professional and middle-class business people. Again English speakers. Assimilation of these newcomers was not unduly difficult.

However it wouldn't be exaggerating to say that Eastern Europe is facing a demographic disaster. This particular zone is literally bleeding people. Ukraine for example has lost 10 million people since 1990. Every month it is estimated that 100,000 Ukrainians leave the country, usually for good. In terms of migration – no-one wants to go to Eastern Europe, but everyone wants to leave, asap. This process is complemented by low birth rates, and high death rates. These are un-developing states in an un-developing world. But now we have new kids on the bloc. A counter-hegemonic alliance. No guesses who.

BigB ,

Rubbish. There is no 'counter-hegemonic alliance' to humanities rapacious demand for fossil fuels and ecological resources. Where are the material consumption resources for BRI coming from – the Moon, Mars? Passing asteroids? Or from the Earth?

When its gone: its gone. Russia and China provide absolutely no alternative to this. China's consumption alone is driving us over the brink. To which the real alternative is a complicit silence. As we all align with culture-centric capitalist views: there is no naturalistic 'counter-hegemonic alliance'. Just some hunters in the Amazon we are having shot right now so we can have the privilige of extending cultural hegemony over nature.

When it's gone: it's gone. And so will we be too. Probably as we are still praising the wonders of the 'counter-hegemonic alliance' that killed us.

Gall ,

Actually there is a naturalistic alliance forming but it seems you haven't been paying attention because you seem stuck in some Malthusian mind set. In order to defeat capitalism you have to defeat Globalism so you first have to eliminate the Anglo-American Hegemony and get back to a multipolar world.

Ranting on about like Gretchen doesn't do any good.

BigB ,

Resources are finite and thermodynamics exist. These are the ineliminable, indisputable, and rock solid epistemology of the Earth System. Everything else is metaphysics – literally 'beyond nature; beyond physics'. Or, as it is more commonly known – economics. The imaginary epistemology of political economics and political theory. 'Theory' is the non-scientific sense of unfounded opinion and non-sense. A philosophical truth-theory that is not and cannot ever be true. Hypothetical non-sense.

I get my information from a wide range of sources that realise these foundational predicates. That is: a foundational set of beliefs that require no underpinning. I can only paraphrase Eddington on thermodynamics: "if your theory is found to be against the second law I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation."

Which is to say all modern political theory and economics – and by extension all opinions based on its internalisation – is the product of vivid and unfounded imagination. To which a naturalised epistemology is the only remedy.

There are lots of people working on the problem: but not in the political sphere. Which is why we are stuck in a hallucinated metaphysical political-economic theatre of the absurd and absolutised cultural non-sense. Which is not beyond anyone to rectify: if and when we accept the limitations of the physical-material Earth System. And apply them to our thinking.

#NoDealForNature until we accept that the thermodynamics of depletion naturally limit growth. Anything anyone says to the contrary should be treated with scepticism and cause a collapse into deepest humiliation of any rational thinker.

Richard Le Sarc ,

'Depopulation' is only a problem if you believe in the capitalist cancer cult of infinite growth on a finite planet, ie black magic. If you value Life on Earth, and its continuance, human depopulation is necessary. Best done slowly and humanely, by redistributing the wealth stolen by the capitalist parasites. The process seen in the Baltics and Ukraine is the capitalist way, cruel and inhumane. Even worse is planned for the Africans, south Asians and Chinese etc.

Gall ,

They don't for a minute believe in "infinite growth". They believe in the "bottom line","instant gratification" and "primitive accumulation". "Infinite growth" is a sales pitch that they use to sell the unwary on their rapaciousness. That is all. If they actually believed in "infinite growth" they've be investing in renewable resources not fracking, strip mining and other environmentally unfriendly practices.

Gall ,

The problem for Imperialists is that they only know how to plunder, rape and destroy thus all their weaponry and tactics is used for aggression they know nothing about actual defense which is their weak point. General George C Custer found this out some time back and so did Trump just recently when the American were assaulted by a barrage of missiles they couldn't stop.

Iran, Russia and China have one of the most advanced arsenal of defensive weapons ever developed such as the S- series of air defense system that can turn a Tomahawk attack into a turkey shoot. What was it? I think it was 100 Tomahawks fired on Syria after that false flag chemical attack and only 15 or so got through and this was the earlier version of the S missile defense S-300. They've already developed 500 which practically makes them impervious and is a true iron dome compared the iron sieve that the Israelis got for free during GW1 and then repackaged and sold back to the US Military for 15B with very few improvements except maybe for a pretty blue bow.

Not only that but they can return fire with hypersonic weapons that are unstoppable and can turn a base or Aircraft Carrier into a floating pinnate.

lundiel ,

Very well presented. Excellent article.

Gall ,

Actually the US proudly waving the banner of the East India Company is following in the footsteps of the deceased British Empire into the boneyard of empires which is Afghanistan. Iraq, Syria and Ukraine are just side shows. America can not escape history no matter what it does now since its days of empire are now numbered. Just as they were for the late unlamented Soviet Union.

The "New American Century" is ending preemptively early like Hitler's "Thousand Year Reich" and we can all breath a sigh of relief when it does.

Frank ,

The only thing that will get the bastard yanks out of the middle east is dead Americans.

Lots and lots of dead Americans.

Enough dead Americans to make the braindead jingoistic American masses notice.

Enough dead Americans to touch every family that produces grunts that serve their criminal state by raping and pillaging foreign countries.

Enough dead Americans to make dumbfuck Americans who say, 'Thank you for your service" squirm in literal pain at the words.

Dungroanin ,

They got brain damage in their bunkers in the best US base in the ME from just a handful of Kinetic energy missiles.

Their low yield nuke is their response.

The Israelis keep prodding the Bear – they even targeted a Russian Pantir system in Syria!

I suppose only a downing or infact destroying on the ground of a squadron of useless F35's with a threat to escalate into a full blown mobilisation is ever going to stop these imperialist chancers. Or a fully coordinated assassination campaign of the leads and their heirs as they frolic on their superyachts and space stations and secret Tracey islands.

And they can pay their taxes in full.

The Third world war is already fought – this really is a world war rather than some Anglo Imperialist bankers playing king of the castle – and they have LOST – the Empire is dead.

Long live the new Empire – the first not beholden to the bankers.

wardropper ,

Even with a new empire, our godless world would soon enough breed another generation of bankers to which we would be beholden.
That's what the fundamentally dishonest people in any society do.
Something wrong? Oh, well, we'll form a committee to discuss it, and in future we will look into creating a banking system which will enable us pay ourselves high wages for our invaluable contribution to human evolution.
It's MORALITY which is lacking today, not more legislation or a new constitution.

Gall ,

All one has to do is move off the centralized banking system developed and controlled by the Rothschilds that is totally based on creating finance out of thin air and return to a commodity based currency (not gold!!) that represents actual value like scrip or wampum or barter and the bankers will eventually starve.

Actually this system is starting to take hold in the US to a small extend to avoid the depredations of the IRS since Tax is based mostly on currency.

Stop using fiat currency and the problem's solved.

After WW II the French didn't have a press to press Francs so their standard of exchange became cigarettes and chocolate. It worked quite well until the presses started churning out paper again.

wardropper ,

My fear is that without the Rothschilds, some other over-ambitious family would simply step in and fill their shoes. It's the motivation to be greedy and wicked which needs addressing. How that would be done, of course, I have no idea.

Gall ,

This is only if you embrace the concept of centralized banking and the "magic" of compound interest. Current "banking" is all smoke and mirrors that favors the parasite who lives on the production of others through what is called "unearned income".

wardropper ,

I agree. But how to stop it?

Gall ,

Ignore the bastards instead. Just go off the grid.

wardropper ,

I can't deny the wisdom in that.

Dungroanin ,

The Red Shield ancient silk road trader and slaving company employees are only a family as say the Vatican is a family

wardropper ,

I know, but "only a family" with the wealth to buy whole nations
I find that very unsettling, to say the least.

Dungroanin ,

Indeed but there is always hope as the poet saw – THEY are the few, we are many.

Gall ,

Actually the Israelis are going a little slower now that isolated reports indicate that those flying turkeys AKA F-35s are getting popped out of the skies of Syria by antiquated Soviet SAMs. Of course there is no mention of this in the Mainstream Press. Just like there wasn't a word of a IDF General and his staff taken out by a shoulder launched RPG fired by Hezbollah in retaliation for attacking their media center in Beirut.

Antonym ,

Anybody who believes that the Israeli tail wags the US mil-ind. complex dog is contributing to the Jewish superiority myth.

Ken ,

They're not superior, but they do wag the US MIC dog in and ebb-and-flow kind of way. That 9/11 thing was quite the wag. Read Christopher Bollyn and study other aspects of the event if you're not sure of this.

Antonym ,

Langley and Riyadh love you; you fell for their ploy. See: Tel Aviv is much worse them.
The CIA/FBI failure explained.

The Mossad loves you too: for keeping mum on this Entebbe Mach 2.0 on their familiar New York crap they got huge US support in the ME.
Makes them look invincible too as a bonus .

5 dancing guys was all the proof needed – cheapest op in history.

Ken ,

"5 dancing guys was all the proof needed – cheapest op in history"

Oh please, that was such a minor bit of evidence of any Zionist/Israeli involvement, which spanned nearly every facet of the event and its aftermath.

The list of false flagging Zionist Jews in love with you is too long to list.

Gall ,

Oh please. What about the close to 200 Israelis who were arrested that day? Not to mention the helpful warning by Odigo which was only given to citizens of Israel?

Also one has to act who benefitted? Definitely not the Saudis or the Americans leaving Sharon who was trying to suppress a Palestinian uprising that he arrogantly started.

Speaking of your friendly five doing a fiddler on the roof on top of an Urban Moving Van that just happened to owned by another Israeli who fled the country. Didn't they say something stupid when arrested like "we are not your problem. It's the Palestinians who are your problem!"?

A pathetic frame up attempt but a frame none the less. Speaking of frame ups wasn't Fat Katz at SiteIntel (propaganda) who posted some stock footage of Palestinians celebrating which has been proven to be false since the only people who seem to celebrating that day was your friends the Dancing Israelis which doesn't prove their mental superiority at all but their arrogant stupidity,

Richard Le Sarc ,

The three, the USA, Saudi Arabia and the USA, are allies in destruction-the Real Axis of Evil. The dominant force, these days, given the control of the USA by Israel First Fifth Columnists, in the MSM, political 'contributions', the financial Moloch etc, is most certainly the Zionassties. Why don't you, like so many other Zionassties, glory in your power, Antsie. Nobody believes your ritual denials.

Gall ,

They don't really wag the dog by themselves. They have a lot of help from the Stand with Israel brain dead Christian Zionists who like Israelis consider themselves the chosen ones as well.

Ken ,

@Gall Yep! I had a long time friend who went Pentecostal and we drifted apart but still kept in touch. I lost him completely just after telling him that Israelis played a big part in 9/11.

Gall ,

Chuck Baldwin and a few other it seems have seen the light and are now questioning their colleagues undying support of Israel. Maybe you could show this article to your friend who seems enthralled by the terrorist snake er I mean state:
https://www.veteranstoday.com/2020/02/13/emperor-trump/

Ken ,

Thanks for that article. Were I ever able to get it in front of my estranged friend, it would make his head explode and kill him. Baldwin does seem to nail it. Chuck for president! I came across this rather intersting piece on 9/11 while at VT for your article.
https://www.veteranstoday.com/2020/02/10/9-11-the-bottom-line-an-open-letter-to-all-researchers/

Gall ,

Yes that pretty much sums up how 9/11 was carried on. Both Heinz Pommer and VT have done some excellent research based on facts not fantasy.

As far as your friend and many Christian Zionists in general. They seem to live in some alternative universe and dislike being confused by such irrelevant things as facts.

binra ,

It is a story that can be told in some detail – but when you say myth do you actually mean fallacy – ie – are you saying that Jewish power doesn't exercise considerable influence – if not control over US social and political and corporate development across of broad spectrum of leverages?

Richard Le Sarc ,

Yes-all those addresses of Congress, by Bibi, where the Congress critters compete to display the most extreme groveling and adulation, are just the natural expression of reverence and awe at his semi-Divine moral excellence. Denying the undeniable is SOP for Zionassties.

normal wisdom ,

what jews?
i do not see any jews
just a sea of khazar ashkanazim pirates
a kaballa talmudick race trick
a crime syndicate pretending to be semite
jew is just the cover
init

[Feb 15, 2020] Shifting narrative: Trump administration now Justifies Killing Soleimani for Past Actions, not Imminent Threat by Dave DeCamp

Notable quotes:
"... Although the memo says one purpose of the action was to "deter Iran from conducting or supporting further attacks against United States forces," it does not cite any specific threats. Both President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the killing was done to prevent imminent attacks and led on like they had the intelligence to prove it. ..."
"... The New York Times recently reported that Iraqi military and intelligence officials believe the December 27 th rocket attack that killed a US contractor was likely carried out by ISIS, not the Shi'ite militia the US blamed and retaliated against. This attack led to a series of provocations that resulted in the assassination of Soleimani. Iraqi officials do not have proof that ISIS carried out the attack, but this possibility makes the US justification for killing Soleimani even more flimsy. ..."
"... Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) responded to the White House's memo in a statement on Friday, "The administration's explanation in this report makes no mention of any imminent threat and shows that the justification the president offered to the American people was false, plain and simple." ..."
Feb 14, 2020 | news.antiwar.com

The White House released a memo on Friday to Congress justifying the assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. Despite earlier claims from the administration of Soleimani and his Quds Force planning imminent attacks on US personnel in the region, the memo uses past actions as the justification for the killing.

The memo says President Trump ordered the assassination on January 2nd "in response to an escalating series of attacks in preceding months by Iran and Iran-backed militias on United States forces and interests in the Middle East region."

Although the memo says one purpose of the action was to "deter Iran from conducting or supporting further attacks against United States forces," it does not cite any specific threats. Both President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the killing was done to prevent imminent attacks and led on like they had the intelligence to prove it.

The New York Times recently reported that Iraqi military and intelligence officials believe the December 27 th rocket attack that killed a US contractor was likely carried out by ISIS, not the Shi'ite militia the US blamed and retaliated against. This attack led to a series of provocations that resulted in the assassination of Soleimani. Iraqi officials do not have proof that ISIS carried out the attack, but this possibility makes the US justification for killing Soleimani even more flimsy.

Lawmakers from both parties criticized Trump for killing Iran's top general without congressional approval. The memo argues that Trump had authority to order the attack under Article II of the US Constitution, and under the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq (2002 AUMF).

Congress is taking measures to limit Trump's ability to wage war with Iran. The Senate passed the Iran War Powers Resolution on Thursday, and the House voted to repeal the 2002 AUMF in January.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) responded to the White House's memo in a statement on Friday, "The administration's explanation in this report makes no mention of any imminent threat and shows that the justification the president offered to the American people was false, plain and simple."

[Feb 15, 2020] US assassinated Suleimani to quash Iran s talks with Gulf monarchies by Bill Van Auken

Feb 15, 2020 | www.wsws.org

The Trump administration ordered the January 3 assassination of Major General Qassem Suleimani, one of Iran's most senior officials, not because he posed some "imminent threat," but rather in a calculated bid to disrupt Tehran's attempts to reach an accommodation with Washington's allies in the region.

This is the inescapable conclusion flowing from a report published Thursday in the New York Times , citing unnamed senior officials from the US, Iran and other countries in the Middle East.

It recounts the arrival last September in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, of a plane carrying senior Iranian officials for talks aimed at achieving a bilateral peace agreement between the two countries.

The trip came in the context of a steady sharpening of US-Iranian tensions as a result of Trump's abrogation of the Iranian nuclear agreement in 2018 along with the imposition of a punishing sanctions regime tantamount to a state of war. This was followed by a major escalation of the US military presence in the region a year later.

While the US dispatched an aircraft carrier strike group and a B-52-led bomber task force to the region in May of last year, the same month saw the use of limpet mines to damage four oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic "chokepoint" through which 20 percent of the world's oil is shipped.

In June of last year, the Iranians downed a US Navy spy drone over the same area, with the Trump White House first ordering and then calling off retaliatory air strikes against Iran. And in September, Saudi oil installations came under a devastating attack from drones and cruise missiles.

Washington blamed both the attacks on the oil tankers and the strike against the Saudi oil installations -- for which the Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility -- on Iran, charges that Tehran denied.

As early as last August, there were reports indicating concerns within Washington that the UAE was veering away from the anti-Iran front that the US has attempted to cobble together, based upon Israel and the Gulf oil sheikdoms. The Emirates' coast guard had signed a maritime security agreement with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the UAE had clashed openly with Saudi Arabia over the control of southern Yemen's port city of Aden. At the time, the Washington Post warned that the UAE "is breaking ranks with Washington, calling into question how reliable an ally it would be in the event of a war between the United States and Iran."

According to the Times report, the meeting with the Iranian delegation in Abu Dhabi, which had been kept secret from Washington, "set off alarms inside the White House ... A united front against Iran -- carefully built by the Trump administration over more than two years -- seemed to be crumbling."

Both the Emirati monarchy and its counterpart in Saudi Arabia had become increasingly distrustful of Washington's Iran policy and concerned that they would find themselves on the frontline of any confrontation without any guarantee of the US defending them.

Saudi Arabia also began a secret diplomatic approach to Tehran, using the Iraqi and Pakistani governments as intermediaries. Suleimani played the central role in organizing the talks with both Gulf kingdoms, the Times reports.

In October, according to the report, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Tel Aviv for a meeting with Yossi Cohen, the chief of Mossad, who warned him that "Iran was achieving its primary goal: to break up the anti-Iran alliance."

Last month's assassination of General Suleimani was initially defended by Trump and administration officials as a preemptive strike aimed at foiling supposedly "imminent" attacks on US personnel or interests in the Middle East. This pretext soon fell apart, however, and the US president and his aides fell back to justifying the extra-judicial murder of a senior state official as revenge for his support for Shia militias that resisted the US occupation of Iraq 15 years earlier and retaliation for a missile strike that killed an American military contractor last December.

That strike was launched against a military base housing American troops in the northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk. Iraqi security officials have since contradicted the US claim that an Iranian-backed Shia militia was responsible for the attack. They have pointed out that the missiles were launched from a predominantly Sunni area where the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is active, and that Iraqi intelligence had warned US forces in November and December that ISIS was preparing to target the base.

The US responded to the missile strike on the base in Iraq by targeting Iraqi Shia militia positions on the Syria-Iraq border, killing 25 members of the Kataib Hezbollah militia. The attack provoked an angry demonstration that laid siege to the US embassy in Baghdad on December 31.

Two days later, a US Reaper drone fired missiles into a convoy at Baghdad International Airport, killing Suleimani along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a central leader of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces, the coalition of militias that constitutes an arm of Iraq's security forces, as well as eight others.

In the wake of the drone assassinations, US Secretary of State Pompeo sarcastically told the media: "Is there any history that would indicate that it was remotely possible that this kind gentleman, this diplomat of great order -- Qassem Suleimani -- had traveled to Baghdad for the idea of conducting a peace mission? We know that wasn't true."

As the Times report indicates, that was precisely what Suleimani was doing in Baghdad, the US knew it and that is why it assassinated him. Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said at the time that General Suleimani had flown into the country, on a commercial flight and using his diplomatic passport, for the express purpose of delivering an Iranian response to a message from Saudi Arabia as part of talks aimed at de-escalating tensions.

The more that emerges about the assassination of Suleimani, the more the abject criminality of his murder becomes clear. It was carried out neither as a reckless act of revenge nor to ward off unspecified attacks. Rather, it was a calculated act of imperialist terror designed to disrupt talks aimed at defusing tensions in the Persian Gulf and to convince the wavering Gulf monarchies that Washington is prepared to go to war against Iran.

This is the policy not merely of the Trump administration. Among the most significant moments in Trump's State of the Union address earlier this month was the standing ovation by Democratic lawmakers as he gloated over the murder of Suleimani, a war crime.

The resort to such criminal actions is a measure of the extreme crisis of a capitalist system that threatens to drag humanity into a new world war.

[Feb 14, 2020] More Lies on Iran The White House Just Can t Help Itself as New Facts Emerge by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... It soon emerged that the Iranian was in fact in Baghdad to discuss with the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi a plan that might lead to the de-escalation of the ongoing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, a meeting that the White House apparently knew about may even have approved. If that is so, events as they unfolded suggest that the US government might have encouraged Soleimani to make his trip so he could be set up and killed. Donald Trump later dismissed the lack of any corroboration of the tale of "imminent threat" being peddled by Pompeo, stating that it didn't really matter as Soleimani was a terrorist who deserved to die. ..."
"... It now appears that the original death of the American contractor that sparked the tit-for-tat conflict was not carried out by Kata'ib Hezbollah at all. An Iraqi Army investigative team has gathered convincing evidence that it was an attack staged by Islamic State. In fact, the Iraqi government has demonstrated that Kata'ib Hezbollah has had no presence in Kirkuk province, where the attack took place, since 2014. It is a heavily Sunni area where Shi'a are not welcome and is instead relatively hospitable to all-Sunni IS. It was, in fact, one of the original breeding grounds for what was to become ISIS. ..."
Feb 14, 2020 | www.unz.com

Admittedly the news cycle in the United States seldom runs longer than twenty-four hours, but that should not serve as an excuse when a major story that contradicts what the Trump Administration has been claiming appears and suddenly dies. The public that actually follows the news might recall a little more than one month ago the United States assassinated a senior Iranian official named Qassem Soleimani. Openly killing someone in the government of a country with which one is not at war is, to say the least, unusual, particularly when the crime is carried out in yet another country with which both the perpetrator and the victim have friendly relations. The justification provided by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking for the administration, was that Soleimani was in Iraq planning an "imminent" mass killing of Americans, for which no additional evidence was provided at that time or since.

It soon emerged that the Iranian was in fact in Baghdad to discuss with the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi a plan that might lead to the de-escalation of the ongoing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, a meeting that the White House apparently knew about may even have approved. If that is so, events as they unfolded suggest that the US government might have encouraged Soleimani to make his trip so he could be set up and killed. Donald Trump later dismissed the lack of any corroboration of the tale of "imminent threat" being peddled by Pompeo, stating that it didn't really matter as Soleimani was a terrorist who deserved to die.

The incident that started the killing cycle that eventually included Soleimani consisted of a December 27th attack on a US base in Iraq in which four American soldiers and two Iraqis were wounded while one US contractor, an Iraqi-born translator, was killed. The United States immediately blamed Iran, claiming that it had been carried out by an Iranian supported Shi'ite militia called Kata'ib Hezbollah. It provided no evidence for that claim and retaliated by striking a Kata'ib base, killing 25 Iraqis who were in the field fighting the remnants of Islamic State (IS). The militiamen had been incorporated into the Iraqi Army and this disproportionate response led to riots outside the US Embassy in Baghdad, which were also blamed on Iran by the US There then followed the assassinations of Soleimani and nine senior Iraqi militia officers. Iran retaliated when it fired missiles at American forces , injuring more than one hundred soldiers, and then mistakenly shot down a passenger jet , killing an additional 176 people. As a consequence due to the killing by the US of 34 Iraqis in the two incidents, the Iraqi Parliament also voted to expel all American troops.

It now appears that the original death of the American contractor that sparked the tit-for-tat conflict was not carried out by Kata'ib Hezbollah at all. An Iraqi Army investigative team has gathered convincing evidence that it was an attack staged by Islamic State. In fact, the Iraqi government has demonstrated that Kata'ib Hezbollah has had no presence in Kirkuk province, where the attack took place, since 2014. It is a heavily Sunni area where Shi'a are not welcome and is instead relatively hospitable to all-Sunni IS. It was, in fact, one of the original breeding grounds for what was to become ISIS.

This new development was reported in the New York Times in an article that was headlined "Was US Wrong About Attack That Nearly Started a War With Iran? Iraqi military and intelligence officials have raised doubts about who fired the rockets that started a dangerous spiral of events." In spite of the sensational nature of the report it generally was ignored in television news and in other mainstream media outlets, letting the Trump administration get away with yet another big lie, one that could easily have led to a war with Iran.

Iraqi investigators found and identified the abandoned white Kia pickup with an improvised Katyusha rocket launcher in the vehicle's bed that was used to stage the attack. It was discovered down a desert road within range of the K-1 joint Iraqi-American base that was hit by at least ten missiles in December, most of which struck the American area.

There is no direct evidence tying the attack to any particular party and the improvised KIA truck is used by all sides in the regional fighting, but the Iraqi officials point to the undisputed fact that it was the Islamic State that had carried out three separate attacks near the base over the 10 days preceding December 27th. And there are reports that IS has been increasingly active in Kirkuk Province during the past year, carrying out near daily attacks with improvised roadside bombs and ambushes using small arms. There had, in fact, been reports from Iraqi intelligence that were shared with the American command warning that there might be an IS attack on K-1 itself, which is an Iraqi air base in that is shared with US forces.

The intelligence on the attack has been shared with American investigators, who have also examined the pick-up truck. The Times reports that the US command in Iraq continue to insist that the attack was carried out by Kata'ib based on information, including claimed communications intercepts, that it refuses to make public. The US forces may not have shared the intelligence they have with the Iraqis due to concerns that it would be leaked to Iran, but senior Iraqi military officers are nevertheless perplexed by the reticence to confide in an ally.

If the Iraqi investigation of the facts around the December attack on K-1 is reliable, the Donald Trump administration's reckless actions in Iraq in late December and early January cannot be justified. Worse still, it would appear that the White House was looking for an excuse to attack and kill a senior Iranian official to send some kind of message, a provocation that could easily have resulted in a war that would benefit no one. To be sure, the Trump administration has lied about developments in the Middle East so many times that it can no longer be trusted. Unfortunately, demanding any accountability from the Trump team would require a Congress that is willing to shoulder its responsibility for truth in government backed up by a media that is willing to take on an administration that regularly punishes anyone or any entity that dares to challenge it

That is the unfortunate reality in America today.



AnonStarter , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 12:25 am GMT

Well, the 9/11 Commission lied about Israeli involvement, Israeli neocons lied America into Iraq, and Netanyahu lied about Iranian nukes, so this latest news is just par for the course.
KA , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 12:59 am GMT
@04398436986 lets stay focused.

Pompeo had evidence of immediate catastrophic attack. That turned out to be a lie and plain BS.
Why should we believe Pompeo or White House or intelligence about the situation developing around 27-29 Dec ? Is it because it's USA who is saying so?

anonymous [307] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 1:12 am GMT
[it would appear that the White House was looking for an excuse to attack and kill a senior Iranian official to send some kind of message, a provocation that could easily have resulted in a war that would benefit no one.]

The Jewish mafia stooge and fifth column, Trump, is a war criminal and an ASSASSIN.

... ... ...

melpol , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 1:13 am GMT
War with Iran is off the table. Carpet bombing Iran would lead to the destruction of Israel and its nuclear facility...
Sean , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 2:23 am GMT

Worse still, it would appear that the White House was looking for an excuse to attack and kill a senior Iranian official to send some kind of message, a provocation that could easily have resulted in a war that would benefit no one.

Soleimani was a soldier involved in covert operations, Iran's most celebrated hero, and had been featured in the Iraq media as the target of multiple Western assassination attempts. He did not have diplomatic status.

As it happens Iran did not declare war on America and America did not declare war on Iran. If Americans soldiers killed in Iraq should not have been there in the first place, then the same goes for an Iranian soldier killed there too.

KA , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 2:30 am GMT
@04398436986 There is western assertion and western assertion only that Iran influences Iraqi administration and intelligence . It can be a projection from a failing America . It can be also a valid possibility .

But lying is America's alter ego . It comes easily and as default explanation even when admitting truth would do a better job .

Now let's focus on ISIS 's claims . Why is Ametica not taking it ( claim of ISIS) as truth and fact when USA has for last 19 years has jailed , bombed, attacked mentally retarded , caves and countries because somebody has pledged allegiance to Al Quida or to ISIS!!!

It seems neither truth nor lies , but what suits a particular psychopath at a particular time – that becomes USA's report ( kind of unassigned sex – neither truth nor lies – take your pick and find the toilet to flush it down memory hole) – so Pompeo lies to nation hoping no one in administration will ask . When administrative staff gets interested to know the truth , Pompeo tells them to suck it up , move on and get ready to explain the next batch of reality manufactured by a regime and well trained by philosopher Karl Rove

AnonStarter , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 4:06 am GMT
@04398436986 conspiracy mongers

To what "conspiracy" are you referring? It's a well established fact that your ilk was, at the very least, aware that the 9/11 attacks would occur and celebrated them in broad daylight. No conspiracy theory needed. Mossad ordnance experts were living practically next door to the hijackers. Well established fact.

It's also undeniable that the 9/11 Commission airbrushed Israeli involvement from their report. No conspiracy theory there, either.

Same goes for Israeli neocons and their media mandarins using "faulty intel" to get their war in Iraq. "Clean Break"? "Rebuilding America's Defenses"? Openly written and published. Judith Miller's lies? Also no conspiracy.

And Israel's own intelligence directors were undermining Netanyahu's lies on Iran. Not a conspiracy in sight.

contemplating the outcome of normal everyday competition, influenced by good & bad luck, is just too much truth for some psychological makeups

That's one of the lamest attempts at deflection I've seen thus far, and I've seen quite a few here.

Those who deny the official version of 9/11 are in the majority now:

https://www.livescience.com/56479-americans-believe-conspiracy-theories.html

We've reached critical mass. Clearly, that's just too much truth for your psychological makeup. Were we really that worthy of ignoring, your people wouldn't be working 24/7/365 to peddle your malarkey in fora of this variety.

JUSA , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 5:23 am GMT
I have thought that Trump's true impeachable crime was the illegal assassination of a foreign general who was not in combat. Pence should also be impeached for the botched coup in Venezuela. That was true embarrassment bringing that "El Presidente" that no one recognizes to the SOTU.

USA is basically JU-S-A now, Jews own and run this country from top to bottom, side to side, and because of it, pretty much run the world. China-Russia-Iran form their new "Axis of Evil" to be brought in line. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if the Covid-19 is a bioweapon, except not one created by China. Israel has been working on an ethnic based bioweapon for years. US sent 172 military "athletes" to the Military World Games in Wuhan in October, 2019, two weeks before the first case of coronavirus appeared. Almost too coincidental.

animalogic , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 6:20 am GMT
@Sean He wasn't there as a soldier -- he was there in a diplomatic role. (regardless of his official "status"). It also appears he was lured there with intent to assaninate.
Your last para is not only terrible logic but ignores the point of the article. Iran likely was not responsible for the US deaths. Even had it been responsible it would still not legitimate such a baldly criminal action.
Sean , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 6:29 am GMT
@JUSA

[I]illegal assassination of a foreign general who was not in combat

Lawful combat according to the Geneva Convention in which war is openly declared and fought between two countries each of which have regular uniformed forces that do all the actual fighting is an extremely rare thing. It is all proxy forces, deniability and asymmetric warfare in which one side (the stronger) is attacked by phantom combatants.

The Israeli PM publically alluded to the fact that Soleimani had almost been killed in the Mossad operation to kill Imad Mughniyeh a decade ago. The Iranian public knew that Soleimani had narrowly escaped death from Israeli drones, because Soleimani appeared on Iranian TV in October and told the story. A plot kill him by at a memorial service in Iran was supposedly foiled. He came from Lebanon by way of Syria into Iraq as if none of this had happened. Trump had sacked Bolton and failed to react to the drone attack on Saudi oil.

Iran seems to have thought that refusal to actually fight in the type of war that the international conventions were designed to regulate is a licence to exert pressure by launch attacks without being targeted oneself. Now do they understand.

Ace , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 8:41 am GMT
@Sean American troops invaded Iraq under false pretenses, killed thousands, and caused great destruction. Chaos and vengeful Sunnis spilled over into Syria where the US proceeded to grovel before the terrorists we fret about. Soleimani was effective in organizing resistance in Iraq and Syria and was in both countries with the blessing of their governments.

How you get Soleimani shouldn't be there out of that I have no idea.

Zen , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 12:04 pm GMT
@04398436986 Yet you ignore that the Neocons have lied about virtually every cause if war ever. Lied about Iraq, North Korea and Iran nuclear info actions, about chem weapons in Syria, lied about Kosovo, lied about Libya, lied about Benghazi, lied about Venezuela. So Whom I gonna believe, no government, but a Neocon led one least of all
Vojkan , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 1:05 pm GMT
@Sean American soldiers went there uninvited. Soleimani went there because he was invited. That makes a hell of a difference.
Robjil , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 1:05 pm GMT
It is common knowledge that ISIS is a US/Israeli creation. ISIS is the Israeli Secret Intelligence Service. Thus, the US/Israel staged the attack on the US base on 12.27.2019.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/isis-is-a-us-israeli-creation-top-ten-indications/5518627

ISIS is a US-Israeli Creation: Indication #2: ISIS Never Attacks Israel

It is more than highly strange and suspicious that ISIS never attacks Israel – it is another indication that ISIS is controlled by Israel. If ISIS were a genuine and independent uprising that was not covertly orchestrated by the US and Israel, why would they not try to attack the Zionist regime, which has attacked almost of all of its Muslim neighbors ever since its inception in 1948? Israel has attacked Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, and of course has decimated Palestine. It has systemically tried to divide and conquer its Arab neighbors. It continually complains of Islamic terrorism. Yet, when ISIS comes on the scene as the bloody and barbaric king of Islamic terrorism, it finds no fault with Israel and sees no reason to target a regime which has perpetrated massive injustice against Muslims? This stretches credibility to a snapping point.

ISIS and Israel don't attack each other – they help each other. Israel was treating ISIS soldiers and other anti-Assad rebels in its hospitals! Mortal enemies or best of friends?

Coward Corps , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 1:07 pm GMT
The MQ-9 pilot and sensor operator will be looking over their shoulders for a long time. They're as famous as Soleimani. Their command chain is well known too, hide though they might far away.

And who briefed the president that terror Tuesday? The murder program isn't Air Force.

Eek , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 1:25 pm GMT
Hey now, you learn to put the best gloss on things when your troops are pathetic little timmies scared of rocks and 12-year olds. Bunch of pussies.

https://southfront.org/dumbfucks-russian-troops-react-to-us-forces-using-firearms-against-syrian-villagers/

The IRGC is going to make mincemeat of these chumps.

Moi , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 1:36 pm GMT
@anonymous The kind of crap Trump pulled in the assassination of Soleimani is what he should be impeached about–not the piss-ant stuff about Hunter Biden's job in the Ukaranian gas company and his pappy's role in it.
Sick of Orcs , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 1:49 pm GMT
We're really benefitting, carrying water for (((our greatest ally.)))
Really No Shit , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 1:59 pm GMT
Iraq an ally of the United States! Is it some kind of a joke? How can a master and slave be equal? We, the big dog want their oil and the tail that wags us, Israel, want all Muslims pacified and the Congress, which is us wether we like or not, compliant out of financial fears. Unless we curb our own greedy appetite for fossil fuels and at the same time tell an ally, which Israel is by being equal in a sense that it can get away with murder and not a pip is raised, to limit its ambition, nothing is going to be done to improve the situation. Until then it's an exercise in futility, at best!
anonymous [307] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 2:46 pm GMT
@Ozymandias You are so ignorant.

Iran has NO choice but to defend itself from the savages. It has not been Iran that invaded US, but US with a plan that design years before 9/11 invaded many countries. Remember: seven countries in five years. Soleimani was a wise man working towards peace by creating options for Iran to defend itself. Iran is not the aggressor, but US -Israel-UK are the aggressor for centuries now. Is this so difficult to understand. 9/11 was staged by US/Israel killing 3000 Christians to implement their criminal plan.

Soleimani, was on a peace mission, where was assassinated by Trump, an Israeli firster and a fifth column and the baby killer Netanyahu. Is this difficult to understand by the Trump worshiper, a traitor.

Now, Khamenie is saying the same thing: "Iran should be strong in military warfare and sciences to prevent war and maintain PEACE.

Only ignorant, arrogant, and racists don't understand this fact and refuse to understand how the victims have been pushed to defend themselves.

The Assassin at the black house should receive the same fate in order to bring the peace.

anonymous [307] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 2:48 pm GMT
@Moi I totally agree with you. Both parties are a fifth column and criminals.
Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist , says: Website Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 2:57 pm GMT
When does Amerikastan *not* lie about anything? If an Amerikastani tells you the sun rises in the east, you're probably on Venus, where it rises in the west.
DaveE , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 3:05 pm GMT
I think this article is getting close to the truth, that this whole operation was and is an ISIS (meaning Israeli Secret Intelligence Service) affair designed to pit America against the zionists' most formidable enemy thus far, Iran.

I'm of the opinion that Trump did not order the hit on Soleimani, but was forced to take credit for it, if he didn't want to forfeit any chance of being reelected this year. The same ISIS (Israeli) forces that did the hit also orchestrated the "retaliation" that Mr. Giraldi so heroically documents in this piece.

As usual, this is looking more and more like a zionist /jewish false flag attack on the Muslim world, with the real dirty-work to be done by the American military.

Ahoy , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 3:17 pm GMT
The dealer in the M.E. poker game is Putin. This is what drives the very elite crazy. How could this have happened? We had conquered Russia in 1917.

Well, you must have made a small mistake along the way. Trumpstein can't save you. Soon the dollar won't have any value. There is nothing behind it.

The new policeman in the M.E. will be Iran. The legacy of Lawrence of Arabia has died long time ago.

Greg Bacon , says: Website Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 3:33 pm GMT

It soon emerged that the Iranian was in fact in Baghdad to discuss with the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi a plan that might lead to the de-escalation of the ongoing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, a meeting that the White House apparently knew about may even have approved.

It's now obvious that the slumlord son-in-law Jared Kushner is really running the USA's ME policy.
Kushner is not only a dear friend of at-large war criminal Bibi Nuttyahoo, he also belongs to the Judaic religious cult of Chabad Lubavitcher, whom make the war-loving Christian Evangelicals almost look sane. Chabad also prays for some kind of Armageddon to bring forth their Messiah, just like the Evangelicals.

One can tell by Kushner's nasty comments he makes about Arabs/Persians and Palestinians in particular, that he loathes and despises those people and has an idiotic ear to cry into in the malignant form of Zion Don, AKA President Trump.

It's been said that Kushner is also a Mossad agent or asset, which is a good guess, since that agency has been placing their agents into the WH since at least the days of Clinton, who had Rahm Emmanuel to whisper hate into his ear.

That the Iranian General Soleimani was lured into Iraq so the WH could murder the man probably most responsible for halting the terrorist activities of the heart-eating, head-chopping US/Israel/KSA creation ISIS brings to mind the motto of the Israeli version of the CIA, the Mossad.

"By way of deception thou shalt make war."

Between Trump's incompetence, his vanity–and yes, his stupidity– and his appointing Swamp creatures into his cabinet and allowing Jared to run the ME show, Trump is showing himself to be a worse choice than Hillary.
If that maniac gets another 4 years, humanity is doomed. Or at least the USA for sure will perish.

[Feb 14, 2020] The Right-Wing Pro-Israel, Evangelical Agenda has Taken Over Trump's Middle East Policy

Notable quotes:
"... Until recently, President Donald Trump's pro-Israel policy was centered on taking steps related to fulfilling campaign promises and strengthening his standing domestically with his evangelical base. Chief among these steps was his decision to pull out of the nuclear accord with Iran, and the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (and at the same time announcing moving the American embassy to Jerusalem). Trump also signed a presidential proclamation recognizing "Israeli sovereignty" over the Golan Heights. ..."
"... By deciding to carry out this assassination operation, Trump has brought his pro-Israel policy to an entirely new, and dangerous level. ..."
"... Israel may have found in the Trump administration the perfect ally when it comes to the demonization of Iran and the groups it supports. ..."
Feb 14, 2020 | responsiblestatecraft.org

Until recently, President Donald Trump's pro-Israel policy was centered on taking steps related to fulfilling campaign promises and strengthening his standing domestically with his evangelical base. Chief among these steps was his decision to pull out of the nuclear accord with Iran, and the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (and at the same time announcing moving the American embassy to Jerusalem). Trump also signed a presidential proclamation recognizing "Israeli sovereignty" over the Golan Heights.

All of this has changed, however, with the assassination of the commander of the Quds Force in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) General Qassem Soleimani and the deputy head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), Abu Mehdi Al-Muhandis.

By deciding to carry out this assassination operation, Trump has brought his pro-Israel policy to an entirely new, and dangerous level.

Targeting the IRGC and PMF: An Israeli policy

It is worth remembering that Israel set the precedent for carrying out lethal operations in Iraq by targeting elements of the IRGC and the PMF.

Israel began these operations last year, with the first taking place on July 19 near the Iraqi town of Amerli. Iranian media later reported that senior IRGC commander Abu Alfazl Sarabian had died in the attack.

Another Israeli attack on August 25 led to the death of a senior PMF commander in the Iraqi town of Al-Qaim near the border with Syria, while 21 PMF members were killed in an Israeli operation near the city of Hit in Iraq's Anbar province on September 20.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even admitted that Israel was behind these attacks.

"We are working against Iranian consolidation in Iraq as well [as in Syria]" remarked Netanyahu on August 22.

Trump administration officials adopt the Israel line of demonizing Iran

The Israeli fingerprints on U.S. policy could also be seen in the apparent stances taken by U.S. officials following the assassination of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis.

According to the New York Times , Trump administration officials have compared the assassination of Soleimani to the killing of former ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Such a comparison is no doubt to Israel's liking.

Not only has Israel long sought to equate the IRGC and its allies, including the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Iraqi PMF, with terrorist groups like al-Qaida and ISIS, it has even described the latter groups as being the lesser of the two evils.

According to sources in Washington, one of the most common complaints made by visiting Israeli officials over the past years was that the U.S. was focusing too much on fighting Sunni Jihadist groups (al-Qaida, ISIS, etc.) and not enough on fighting Iran and its network of allies.

Israel's former ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren referred to this dynamic in an interview with the Jerusalem Post back in September 2013, where he summed up the Israeli policy regarding Syria. "The initial message about the Syrian issue was that we always wanted (President) Bashar Assad to go" he stated, further adding; "we always preferred the bad guys who weren't back by Iran (al-Qaida affiliates) to the bad guys who were backed by Iran".

For his part, former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon referred to an " axis of evil ' comprising Iran, Syria, and Lebanon.

Yaalon made those remarks during a meeting with former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey in August 2013, underscoring that this "axis of evil" must not emerge victorious in Syria.

Israel may have found in the Trump administration the perfect ally when it comes to the demonization of Iran and the groups it supports.

Hard-core evangelicals like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence have a strong ideological affinity for Israel and its anti-Iranian agenda.

During a Senate hearing last April, Pompeo repeated the long-debunked claim that Iran and al-Qaida have cooperated for years. "There is no doubt there is a connection between the Islamic Republic of Iran and al-Qaida. Period, full stop," Pompeo asserted.

Pence, meanwhile, has even gone so far as to claim that Soleimani was involved with 9/11 . Following the assassination, Pence tweeted that Soleimani had "assisted in the clandestine travel of 10 of the 12 terrorists who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States."

American troops in danger as a result of the Israeli evangelical agenda

With the assassination of Soleimani and Al-Muhandes, Israel and its Christian evangelical allies in Washington appear to have succeeded more than any time before in steering Trump's foreign policy. Their success, however, may have placed U.S. troops in the region in grave danger.

In a speech commemorating the death of Soleimani and Al-Muhandes, the leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah warned that retaliation would be aimed at U.S. military assets.

In remarks which brought back the memories of the 1983 attacks on the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Nasrallah suggested that the U.S. military presence in the region would become a target for suicide bombers.

"The suicide attackers who forced the Americans to leave our region in the past are still here today and in far greater numbers," Nasrallah asserted.

[Feb 14, 2020] The best about Trump is that it makes the US system so visibly transparent: The king and his servants (acolytes) looking for personal advantage ... Hillarious. Don't you second-rate allies/acolytes use the wrong words. We better give you talking points.

Feb 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

snake , Feb 13 2020 11:16 utc | 147

Pft 85 < The Constitution of the United States of America is a corporate charter. in form and substance, it redirected the distribution of profits from shareholders to feudal lords.

What it has been doing since Lincoln was shot is to develop lordships (called monopoly possessing corporations) and making sure those lordships were vested by rule of law, war in foreign land, and other measures as needed, to make sure the feudal lords and their corporations were always profitable no matter what and to be sure that any need or want the feudal lords had need for, the USA corporation would extract from those (called Americans) that it governs. ..

When the feudal lords fail, the government is made to give the feudal lord the money it needs to keep going. until the failed feudal lord can realize by its bull shit existence to be profitable again.

Vig , Feb 13 2020 12:48 utc | 152

Comment les Etats-Unis ont demandé à la communauté internationale de soutenir leur plan israélo-palestinien.or look for lefigaro.fr then international,then moyen orient.
Posted by: willie | Feb 13 2020 0:48 utc | 94

Interesting willie. Yes the best about Trump is that it makes the US system so visibly transparent: The king and his servants (acolytes) looking for personal advantage ... Hillarious. Don't you second-rate allies/acolytes use the wrong words. We better give you talking points.

https://www.lefigaro.fr/international/comment-les-etats-unis-ont-demande-a-la-communaute-internationale-de-soutenir-leur-plan-israelo-palestinien-20200201

[Feb 14, 2020] Now here is a good piece on Trump gangsterism by Gordon Duff

Feb 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Feb 12 2020 22:34 utc | 77

Now here is a good piece on Trump gangsterism by Gordon Duff.
I guess some is Duffy but most entirely believable.
Q wont reprint this .

ben , Feb 12 2020 22:41 utc | 81

Thanks for the link ut @ 77; An excerpt;

"Those who accept the policies of the Trump administration, cancellation of the JCPOA with Iran, seizing oil fields in Syria, endless sanctions on nation after nation, Europe blackmailed, endless threats emanating almost hourly from Trump's iPhone as "national policy" or even criminally deranged is simply not paying attention."

Excellent come back for the Qanon fantasy, which, IMO, ranks right up there with Ayn Rand's fevered dreams...

Pft , Feb 12 2020 23:28 utc | 85
Ran across this quote which is more true than not.

There is no America. Everything is just one vast corporation, an association of corporations. There's no Britain. There's no America. There's no Holland. There's no China. There's no Russia. It's one conglomerate of corporations. Money runs the thing."

-- Peter Finch as character Howard Beale, in the movie "Network

Its true when you consider the interlocking ownership of the elites in the major corporations and industries, which also capture governments political parties and regulatory agencies, and in China of course these local global elites make up parts of the party elite. While money is an important attribute of power, I think its a means and not an end to them. Their motivations is an ideology based on Platos Republic where they are pholisopher kings ruling the rest, and a religious idea that they, as elites may evolve to become like God and recover what was lost after the fall - as man was originally made in Gods image. Another name for it is Transhumanism which actually is idea that came from gnostic Judeo-Christian beliefs. Religion like Eugenics has not disappeared, both have just been renamed and repurposed. The Elites are Gods chosen people and the rest exist to serve.

uncle tungsten , Feb 13 2020 1:23 utc | 96
Penelope #95

Exactly Penelope, that is precisely what the Trump and establishment oligarchy want. Red herrings to mesmerise and nimble fingers to pick pockets and all backed by their 'rule of law', their thugs, their assault on humanity.

Benign neglect of the safety of citizens as part of this strategy of creating high level terror (be it actual violence or a coronavirus)is called out in this excellent analysis .

[Feb 10, 2020] Stench of Netanyahu in attack on K-1 base near Kirkuk: Did Washington Use a False Pretext for Its Recent Escalation in Iraq?

Notable quotes:
"... New York Times's ..."
Feb 08, 2020 | responsiblestatecraft.org

In a key piece of actual extensive, on-the-ground reporting , the New York Times's Alissa Rubin has raised serious questions about the official US account of who it was that attacked the K-1 base near Kirkuk, in eastern Iraq, on December 27. The United States almost immediately accused the Iran-backed Ketaib Hizbullah (KH) militia of responsibility. But Rubin quotes by name Brig. General Ahmed Adnan, the chief of intelligence for the Iraqi federal police at the same base, as saying, "All the indications are that it was Daesh" -- that is, ISIS.

She also presents considerable further detailed reporting on the matter. And she notes that though U.S. investigators claim to have evidence about KH's responsibility for the attack, they have presented none of it publicly. Nor have they shared it with the Iraqi government.

KH is a paramilitary organization that operates under the command of the Iraqi military and has been deeply involved in the anti-ISIS campaigns throughout the country.

The December 27 attack killed one Iraqi-American contractor and was cited by the Trump administration as reason to launch a large-scale attack on five KH bases some 400 miles to the west which killed around 50 KH fighters. Outraged KH fighters then mobbed the US embassy in Baghdad, breaking through an outside perimeter on its large campus, but causing no casualties. On January 2, Pres. Trump decided to escalate again, ordering the assassination of Iran's Gen. Qasem Soleimani and bringing the region and the world close to a massive shooting war.

The new evidence presented by Rubin makes it look as if Trump and his advisors had previously decided on a broad-scale plan to attack Iran's very influential allies in Iraq and were waiting for a triggering event– any triggering event!– to use as a pretext to launch it. The attack against the K-1 base presented them with that trigger, even though they have not been able to present any evidence that it was KH that undertook it.

This playbook looks very similar to the one that Ariel Sharon, who was Israel's Defense Minister in summer 1982, used to launch his wide attack against the PLO's presence in Lebanon in June that year. The "trigger" Sharon used to launch his long-prepared attack was the serious (but not fatal) wounding of Israel's ambassador in London, Shlomo Argov, which the Israeli government immediately blamed on the PLO.

Regarding London in 1982, as regarding K-1 last December, the actual identity of the assailant(s) was misreported by the government that used it as a trigger for escalation. In London, the police fairly speedily established that it was not the PLO but operatives of an anti-PLO group headed by a man called Abu Nidal who had attacked Argov. But by the time they had discovered and publicized that fact, Israeli tanks were already deep inside Lebanon.

The parallels and connections between the two cases go further. If, as now seems likely, the authors of the K-1 attack were indeed Da'esh, then they succeeded brilliantly in triggering a bitter fight between two substantial forces in the coalition that had been fighting against them in Iraq. Regarding the 1982 London attack, its authors also succeeded brilliantly in triggering a lethal conflict between two forces (one substantial, one far less so) that were both engaged in bitter combat against Abu Nidal's networks.

Worth noting: Abu Nidal's main backer, throughout his whole campaign against the PLO, was Saddam Hussein's brutal government in Iraq. (The London assailants deposited their weapons in the Iraqi embassy after completing the attack.) Many senior strategists and planners for ISIS in Iraq were diehard remnants of Saddam's formerly intimidating security forces.

Also worth noting: Three months in to Sharon's massive 1982 invasion of Lebanon, it seemed to have successfully reached its goals of expelling the PLO's fighting forces from Lebanon and installing a strongly pro-Israeli government there. But over the longer haul, the invasion looked much less successful. The lengthy Israeli occupation of south Lebanon that followed 1982 served to incubate the birth and growth of the (pro-Iranian) Hizbullah there. Today, Hizbullah is a strong political movement inside Lebanon that commands a very capable fighting force that expelled Israel's last presence from Lebanon in 2000, rebuffed a subsequent Israeli invasion of the country six years later, and still exerts considerable deterrent power against Israel today

Very few people in Israel today judge the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to have been a wise move. How will the historians of the future view Trump's decision to launch his big escalation against Iran's allies in Iraq, presumably as part of his "maximum pressure" campaign against Tehran?

This article has been republished with permission from Just World News .

[Feb 09, 2020] As someone born in Latin America, we never saw the US as anything but a brutal predator, whose honeyed words were belied by their deeds

Aug 05, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The essential facts are these. In April 1898, the United States went to war with Spain. The war's nominal purpose was to liberate Cuba from oppressive colonial rule. The war's subsequent conduct found the United States not only invading and occupying Cuba, but also seizing Puerto Rico, completing a deferred annexation of Hawaii, scarfing up various other small properties in the Pacific, and, not least of all, replacing Spain as colonial masters of the Philippine Archipelago, located across the Pacific.

That the true theme of the war with Spain turned out to be not liberation but expansion should not come as a terrible surprise. From the very founding of the first British colonies in North America, expansion has constituted an enduring theme of the American project. Separation from the British Empire after 1776 only reinforced the urge to grow. Yet prior to 1898, that project had been a continental one. The events of that year signaled the transition from continental to extra-continental expansion. American leaders were no longer content to preside over a republic stretching from sea to shining sea.

In that regard, the decision to annex the Philippines stands out as especially instructive. If you try hard enough -- and some politicians at the time did -- you can talk yourself into believing that U.S. actions in the Caribbean in 1898 represented something other than naked European-style imperialism with all its brute force to keep the natives in line. After all, the United States did refrain from converting Cuba into a formal colony and by 1902 had even granted Cubans a sort of ersatz independence. Moreover, both Cuba and Puerto Rico fell within "our backyard," as did various other Caribbean republics soon to undergo U.S. military occupation. Geographically, all were located within the American orbit.

Yet the Philippines represented an altogether different case. By no stretch of the imagination did the archipelago fall within "our backyard." Furthermore, the Filipinos had no desire to trade Spanish rule for American rule and violently resisted occupation by U.S. forces. The notably dirty Philippine-American War that followed from 1899 to 1902 -- a conflict almost entirely expunged from American memory today -- resulted in something like 200,000 Filipino deaths and ended in a U.S. victory not yet memorialized on the National Mall in Washington.

Why Do We Still Have War Booty From the Philippines? Time to Break Up With the Philippines

So the Philippine Archipelago had become ours. In short order, however, authorities in Washington changed their mind about the wisdom of accepting responsibility for several thousand islands located nearly 7,000 miles from San Francisco.

The sprawling American colony turned out to be the ultimate impulse purchase. And as with most impulse purchases, enthusiasm soon enough gave way to second thoughts and even regret. By 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt was privately referring to the Philippines as America's "Achilles heel." The United States had paid Spain $20 million for an acquisition that didn't turn a profit and couldn't be defended given the limited capabilities of the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. To complicate matters further, from Tokyo's perspective, the Philippines fell within its backyard. So far as Imperial Japan was concerned, imperial America was intruding on its turf.

Thus was the sequence of events leading to the Pacific War of 1941-1945 set in motion. I am not suggesting that Pearl Harbor was an inevitable consequence of the United States annexing the Philippines. I am suggesting that it put two rival imperial powers on a collision course.

One can, of course, find in the ensuing sequence of events matters worth celebrating -- great military victories at places like Midway, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, culminating after 1945 in a period of American dominion. But the legacy of our flirtation with empire in the Western Pacific also includes much that is lamentable -- the wars in Korea and Vietnam, for example, and now an intensifying rivalry with China destined to lead we know not where.

If history could be reduced to a balance sheet, the U.S. purchase of the Philippines would rate as a pretty bad bargain. That first $20 million turned out to be only a down payment.


Eliseo Art Silva Mark Thomason • 6 hours ago

No. Absolutely not. We would have been much better off had the US not violently dismantled the first Republic of the Philippines.

The canard that our greatest generation of Filipinos (Generation of 1898) was not fit to govern us was a product of US Assimilation Schools designed to rid the Philippines of Filipinos- by wiring them to automatically think anything non-Filipino will always be better (intenalized racism) and to train the primarily to leave and work abroad and blend -in as Americans (objectification) and never stand out as self-respecting Filipinos who aspire to be the best they can be propelled by the Filipino story.

Our multiple Golden Ages only occurred prior to US invasion and colonization.

YES, the USA owes us. We are every American's 2nd original sin.

Eliseo Art Silva Mark Thomason • 5 hours ago
We do not owe US anything. The USA owes us a great big deal, More than any other country on earth.

THEY (USA) owes us:
1) For violently dismantling the first Republic of the Philippines at the cost of over a million martyrs from the greatest generation of Filipinos.

2) For US Assimilation Schools denying us the intensity of our golden ages prior to their invasion as our drivers for PH civilization, turning us into a country that trains its people to leave and assimilate in US culture and become workers for Americans and foreigners abroad. This results in a Philippines WITHOUT Filipinos.

3) For US bombs turning Intramuros into dust- the centerpiece of the Paris of the East, with treasures, publications and art much older that the US- without consent from any Filipino leader. And for dismantling our train system from La Union to Bicol.

4) For the US Rescission Act which denied Filipino veterans due recognition, dignity and honor- vets who fought THEIR war against Japan on our soil.

5) For the canard that Aguinaldo, our 29-year old father and liberator of the Republic of the Philippines, is a villain and a traitor, even inventing the heroism of Andres Bonifacio which ultimately resulted in "Toxic Nationalism" which Rizal warned us about in the persona of Simoun in El Filibusterismo who will drive our nation to self-destruction and turn a paradise into a desert by being automatically wired to think anything non-Filipino will and always be better.

The core of colonial mentality is the misguided belief that we cannot have been a greater country had the US not destroyed the first Republic of the Philippines- a lie that was embedded in our minds by the US discrediting Aguinaldo and the Generation of 1896/1898- the greatest generation of Filipinos.

bob balkas • 18 hours ago
It does seem to me that every country which was able and could afford to expand its territory did so. In Europe, exceptions to that a wish were Switzerland, Slovakia, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Slovenia, Ukraine, ?Romania and Chechia.
So, US had company!
Romulus • 11 hours ago
President William McKinley defends his decision to support the annexation of the Philippines in the wake of the U.S. war in that country:

"When I next realized that the Philippines had dropped into our laps I confess I did not know what to do with them. . . And one night late it came to me this way. . .1) That we could not give them back to Spain- that would be cowardly and dishonorable; 2) that we could not turn them over to France and Germany-our commercial rivals in the Orient-that would be bad business and discreditable; 3) that we not leave them to themselves-they are unfit for self-government-and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain's wars; and 4) that there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God's grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men for whom Christ also died."

Making Christians of a country that had its first Catholic diocese 9 years before the Spanish Armada sailed for England, with 4 dioceses in place years before the English sailed for Jamestown.

Tommy Matic IV Romulus • 6 hours ago
Not to mention a full fledged university older than Harvard.
Michael Brand • 7 hours ago • edited
Dan Carlin did an outstanding podcast on the choices America faced after acquiring the Philippines. McKinley was anti-empire, but the industrialists in his administration hungered to thwart the British, French and Dutch empires in the Pacific by establishing a colony all of our own.

Worth a listen

Adriana Pena • 7 hours ago
As someone born in Latin America, we never saw the US as anything but a brutal predator, whose honeyed words were belied by their deeds. I wonder if it began with the Philippines. There was the Mexican war first, which wrested a lot of territory from Mexico. And then there was the invasion of Canada to bring the blessings of democracy to Canadians (it ended with the White House in flames). I suspect that the beliefe that you are exceptional and blessed by God can lead to want to straighten up other people "for their own good", and make a profit besides - a LOT of profit.

[Feb 09, 2020] Following the US assassination of Soleimani, the Trump administration is leading American conduct abroad into a zone of probably unprecedented lawlessness by Patrick Lawrence

Notable quotes:
"... In our late-imperial phase, we seem to have reached that moment when, whatever high officials say in matters of the empire's foreign policy, we must consider whether the opposite is in fact the case. So we have it now. ..."
"... Lawlessness begets lawlessness is the operative (and obvious) principle. In a remarkable speech at the Hoover Institution last week, Pompeo termed the Soleimani assassination "the restoration of deterrence" and appeared to promise other such operations against other nations Washington considers adversaries. Ominously enough, Pompeo singled out China and Russia. ..."
"... Against the background of the events noted above, it is clear from this speech alone that our secretary of state is a dangerously incompetent figure when it comes to judging global events, the proper responses to them, and the probable consequences of a given response. If we are going to think about costs, the heaviest will fall on Americans in months to come. ..."
"... Immediately after the U.S. drone that killed Soleimani at Baghdad International Airport, Mohammad Javad Zarif sent out a message whose importance should not be missed. "End of US's malign presence in West Asia has begun," Iran's foreign minister wrote. These few words, rendered in Twitterese, bear careful consideration given they come from an official whose nation had just sustained a critical blow. ..."
"... Gradually but rather certainly now, the community of nations is losing its patience with late-phase imperial America. With exceptions such as Japan and Israel, the Baltics and Saudi Arabia, this is so across both oceans and more or less across the non–Western world. In the Middle East, the American presence will remain for the time being, but we are now in the beginning-of-the-end phase. This was Zarif's meaning. And we now know the end will come neither peaceably nor lawfully. ..."
"... Amazing how the US government is bringing back the old days: "Slave markets" See: reuters.com/article/us-libya-security-rights/executions-torture-and-slave-markets-persist-in-libya-u-n-idUSKBN1GX1JY "Pillage", as pointed out in this article. ..."
"... To have such a person as the top diplomat in the USA shows how low the USA has sunk. For him to pretend to be some sort of Christian is sinister and extremely dangerous for everyone. There is NO reason for the US animosity towards Iran except subservience to Israel, which, again without real justification, claims to be terrified of Iran, which unlike Israel is NOT attacking others and has not for centuries. ..."
"... SecStae's remarks about deterrence befit a military commander, NOT a diplomat. Paranoia, grandiosity and violence begin with potus and cascade downward and about. Congress does its part in investing in machinery of war. ..."
"... Pompeo reminds me of the pigs in Animal Farm. He is a grotesque figure, steely-eyed, cold-blooded, fanatical, and hateful. "We lied, cheated, and stole" Pompous Maximus will get his comeuppance one of these days ..."
"... Pillage as policy. The Empire has fully embraced gangster capitalism for its modus operandi. ..."
"... Here is an interesting article that explains how governments have changed the rules so that they can justify killing anyone who they believe may at some point in time have the potential to be involved in a terrorist plot: viableopposition.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-bethlehem-doctrine-and-new.html ..."
"... This rather Orwellian move gives governments the justification that they to kill any of us just because they feel that we might pose a threat and that is a very, very scary prospect. It is very reminiscent of the movie Minority Report where crimes of the future are punished in the present. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

Special to Consortium News

Of all the preposterous assertions made since the drone assassination of Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on Jan. 3, the prize for bottomless ignorance must go to the bottomlessly ignorant Mike Pompeo.

Speaking after the influential Iranian general's death, our frightening secretary of state declaimed on CBS's Face the Nation , "There was sound and just and legal reason for the actions the President took, and the world is safer as a result." In appearances on five news programs on the same Sunday morning, the evangelical paranoid who now runs American foreign policy was a singer with a one-note tune. "It's very clear the world's a safer place today," Pompeo said on ABC's Jan. 5 edition of This Week.

In our late-imperial phase, we seem to have reached that moment when, whatever high officials say in matters of the empire's foreign policy, we must consider whether the opposite is in fact the case. So we have it now.

We are not safer now that Soleimani, a revered figure across much of the Middle East, has been murdered. The planet has just become significantly more dangerous, especially but not only for Americans, and this is so for one simple reason: The Trump administration, Pompeo bearing the standard, has just tipped American conduct abroad into a zone of probably unprecedented lawlessness, Pompeo's nonsensical claim to legality notwithstanding .

This is a very consequential line to cross.

Hardly does it hold that Washington's foreign policy cliques customarily keep international law uppermost in their minds and that recent events are aberrations. Nothing suggests policy planners even consider legalities except when it makes useful propaganda to charge others with violating international statutes and conventions.

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Neither can the Soleimani assassination be understood in isolation: This was only the most reckless of numerous policy decisions recently taken in the Middle East. Since late last year, to consider merely the immediate past, the Trump administration has acted ever more flagrantly in violation of all international legal authorities and documents -- the UN Charter, the International Criminal Court, and the International Court of Justice in the Hague chief among them.

Washington is into full-frontal lawlessness now.

'Keeping the Oil'

Shortly after Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria last October, the president reversed course -- probably under Pentagon and State Department pressure -- and said some troops would remain to protect Syria's oilfields. "We want to keep the oil," Trump declared in the course of a Twitter storm. It soon emerged that the administration's true intent was to prevent the Assad government in Damascus from reasserting sovereign control over Syrian oilfields.

The Russians had the honesty to call this for what it was. "Washington's attempt to put oilfields there under [its] control is illegal," Sergei Lavrov said at the time. "In fact, it's tantamount to robbery," the Russian foreign minister added. (John Kiriakou, writing for Consortium News, pointed out that it is a violation of the 1907 Hague Convention. It is call pillage.)

Few outside the Trump administration, and possibly no one, has argued that Soleimani's murder was legitimate under international law. Not only was the Iranian general from a country with which the U.S. is not at war, which means the crime is murder; the drone attack was also a clear violation of Iraqi sovereignty, as has been widely reported.

In response to Baghdad's subsequent demand that all foreign troops withdraw from Iraqi soil, Pompeo flatly refused even to discuss the matter with Iraqi officials -- yet another openly contemptuous violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

It gets worse. In his own response to Baghdad's decision to evict foreign troops, Trump threatened sanctions -- "sanctions like they've never seen before" -- and said Iraq would have to pay the U.S. the cost of the bases the Pentagon has built there despite binding agreements that all fixed installations the U.S. has built in Iraq are Iraqi government-owned.

At Baghdad's Throat

Trump, who seems to have oil eternally on his mind, has been at Baghdad's throat for some time. Twice since taking office three years ago, he has tried to intimidate the Iraqis into "repaying" the U.S. for its 2003 invasion with access to Iraqi oil. "We did a lot, we did a lot over there, we spent trillions over there, and a lot of people have been talking about the oil," he said on the second of these occasions.

Baghdad rebuffed Trump both times, but he has been at it since, according to Adil Abdul–Mahdi, Iraq's interim prime minister. Last year the U.S. administration asked Baghdad for 50 percent of the nation's oil output -- in total roughly 4.5 million barrels daily -- in exchange for various promised reconstruction projects.

Rejecting the offer, Abdul–Mahdi signed an "oil for reconstruction" agreement with China last autumn -- whereupon Trump threatened to instigate widespread demonstrations in Baghdad if Abdul–Mahdi did not cancel the China deal. (He did not do so and, coincidentally or otherwise, civil unrest ensued.)

U.S. Army forces operating in southern Iraq, April. 2, 2003. (U.S. Navy)

Blueprints for Reprisal

If American lawlessness is nothing new, the brazenly imperious character of all the events noted in this brief rιsumι has nonetheless pushed U.S. foreign policy beyond a tipping point.

No American -- and certainly no American official or military personnel -- can any longer travel in the Middle East with an assurance of safety. All American diplomats, all military officers, and all embassies and bases in the region are now vulnerable to reprisals. The Associated Press reported after the Jan. 3 drone strike that Iran has developed 13 blueprints for reprisals against the U.S.

Lawlessness begets lawlessness is the operative (and obvious) principle. In a remarkable speech at the Hoover Institution last week, Pompeo termed the Soleimani assassination "the restoration of deterrence" and appeared to promise other such operations against other nations Washington considers adversaries. Ominously enough, Pompeo singled out China and Russia.

Here is a snippet from Pompeo's remarks:

"In strategic terms, deterrence simply means persuading the other party that the costs of a specific behavior exceed its benefits. It requires credibility; indeed, it depends on it. Your adversary must understand not only do you have the capacity to impose costs but that you are, in fact, willing to do so . In all cases we have to do this."

Against the background of the events noted above, it is clear from this speech alone that our secretary of state is a dangerously incompetent figure when it comes to judging global events, the proper responses to them, and the probable consequences of a given response. If we are going to think about costs, the heaviest will fall on Americans in months to come.

Immediately after the U.S. drone that killed Soleimani at Baghdad International Airport, Mohammad Javad Zarif sent out a message whose importance should not be missed. "End of US's malign presence in West Asia has begun," Iran's foreign minister wrote. These few words, rendered in Twitterese, bear careful consideration given they come from an official whose nation had just sustained a critical blow.

24 hrs ago, an arrogant clown -- masquerading as a diplomat -- claimed people were dancing in the cities of Iraq.

Today, hundreds of thousands of our proud Iraqi brothers and sisters offered him their response across their soil.

End of US malign presence in West Asia has begun. pic.twitter.com/eTDRyLN11c

-- Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 4, 2020

Gradually but rather certainly now, the community of nations is losing its patience with late-phase imperial America. With exceptions such as Japan and Israel, the Baltics and Saudi Arabia, this is so across both oceans and more or less across the non–Western world. In the Middle East, the American presence will remain for the time being, but we are now in the beginning-of-the-end phase. This was Zarif's meaning. And we now know the end will come neither peaceably nor lawfully.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune , is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is "Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century" (Yale). Follow him on Twitter @thefloutist . His web site is Patrick Lawrence . Support his work via his Patreon site .

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

Please donate to the Winter Fund Drive.


Jeff Harrison , January 21, 2020 at 19:38

Well, there's two relevant bits here. Bullshit walks and money talks. Our money stopped talking $23T ago. What goes around, comes around. Whenever, however it comes down, it's gonna hurt.

Antiwar7 , January 21, 2020 at 13:46

Amazing how the US government is bringing back the old days: "Slave markets" See: reuters.com/article/us-libya-security-rights/executions-torture-and-slave-markets-persist-in-libya-u-n-idUSKBN1GX1JY "Pillage", as pointed out in this article.

rosemerry , January 21, 2020 at 13:28

To have such a person as the top diplomat in the USA shows how low the USA has sunk. For him to pretend to be some sort of Christian is sinister and extremely dangerous for everyone. There is NO reason for the US animosity towards Iran except subservience to Israel, which, again without real justification, claims to be terrified of Iran, which unlike Israel is NOT attacking others and has not for centuries.

Even if the USA hates Iran, it has already done inestimable damage to the Islamic Republic before this disgraceful action. Cruelty to 80 million people who have never harmed, even really threatened, the mighty USA, by tossing out a working JCPOA and installing economic "sanctions", should not be accepted by the rest of the world-giving in to blackmail encourages worse behavior, as we have already seen.

"It requires credibility; indeed, it depends on it. " This is exactly what should be rejected by us all. These "leaders" will not change their behavior without solidarity among "allies" like the European Union, which has already caved in and blamed Iran for the changes -Iran has explained clearly why it made- to the JCPOA which the USA has left.

Abby , January 21, 2020 at 20:15

The only difference between Trump and Obama is that Trump doesn't hide the US naked aggression as well as Obama did. So far Trump hasn't started any new wars. By this time in Obama's tenure we had started bombing more countries and accepted one coup.

dfnslblty , January 21, 2020 at 12:43

SecStae's remarks about deterrence befit a military commander, NOT a diplomat. Paranoia, grandiosity and violence begin with potus and cascade downward and about. Congress does its part in investing in machinery of war.

Cheyenne , January 21, 2020 at 11:49

The above comment shows exactly why bellicose adventurism for oil etc. is so stupid and dangerous. If we continually prance around robbing people, they're gonna unite to slap us down.

Hardly seems like anyone should need that pointed out but if anybody mentioned it to Trump or any other gung ho warhawk, he must not have been listening.

Dan Kuhn , January 21, 2020 at 13:08

Trump and Pompeo seem to have entered the Wild West stage of recent American history. I think they watch too many western movies, without understanding the underrlying plot of 100% of them. It is the bad guys take over a town, where they impose their will on the population, terrorizing everyone into obediance. They steal everything in sight and any who oppose them are summarily killed off. In the end a good guy ( In American parlance, " a good guy with a gun" shows up . The town`s people approach him and beg him to oppose the bad guys. He then proceeds to kill off the bad guys after the general population joins him in his crusade. it looks as though we are at the stage in the movie where the general population is ready to take up arms against the bad guys.

The moral of the story the bad guys, the bullies, Pompeo and Trump, are either killed or chased out of town. But perhaps the problem is that this plot is too difficult for Trump and Pompeo to understand. So they don`t quite get the peril that there gunmen and killers are now in. They don`t see the writing on the wall.

Caveman , January 21, 2020 at 11:30

It seems the only US considerations in the assassination were – will it weaken Iran, will it strengthen the American position? On that perspective, the answer is probably yes on both counts. Legal considerations do not seem to have carried any weight. In the UK we recently saw a chilling interview with Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Senior Policy Advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It was clear that he saw the assassination as another nail in the coffin of the Iranian regime, simply furthering a policy objective.

Vera Gottlieb , January 21, 2020 at 11:19

What is even sadder is the world's lack of gonads to stand up to this bully nation – that has caused so much grief and still does.

Michael McNulty , January 21, 2020 at 11:01

The US government became a crime syndicate. Today its bootleg liquor is oil, the boys they send round to steal it are armies and their drive-by shootings are Warthog strafings using DU ammunition. Their drug rackets in the back streets are high-grade reefer, heroin and amphetamines, with pharmaceutical-grade chemicals on Main Street. They still print banknotes just as before; but this time it's legal but still doesn't make them enough, so to make up the shortfalls they've taken armed robbery abroad.

paul easton , January 21, 2020 at 12:55

The US Government is running a protection racket, literally. In return for US protection of their sources of oil, the NATO countries provide international support for US war crimes. But now that the (figurative) Don is visibly out of his mind, they are likely to turn to other protectors.

Gary Weglarz , January 21, 2020 at 10:34

One need not step back very far in order to look at the bigger longer range picture. What immediately comes into focus is that this is simply the current moment in what is now 500 plus years of Western colonialism/neocolonialism. When has the law EVER had anything to do with any of this?

ML , January 21, 2020 at 10:31

Pompeo reminds me of the pigs in Animal Farm. He is a grotesque figure, steely-eyed, cold-blooded, fanatical, and hateful. "We lied, cheated, and stole" Pompous Maximus will get his comeuppance one of these days. I hope he plans more overseas trips for himself. He is a vile person, a psychopath proud of his psychopathy. He alone would make anyone considering conversion to Christianity, his brand of it, run screaming into the night. Repulsive man.

Michael Crockett , January 21, 2020 at 09:40

Pillage as policy. The Empire has fully embraced gangster capitalism for its modus operandi. That said, IMO, the axis of resistance has the military capability and the resolve to fight back and win. Combining China and Russia into a greater axis of resistance could further shrink the Outlaw US Empire presence in West Asia. Thank you Patrick for your keen insight and observations. The Empires days are numbered.

Sally Snyder , January 21, 2020 at 07:28

Here is an interesting article that explains how governments have changed the rules so that they can justify killing anyone who they believe may at some point in time have the potential to be involved in a terrorist plot: viableopposition.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-bethlehem-doctrine-and-new.html

This rather Orwellian move gives governments the justification that they to kill any of us just because they feel that we might pose a threat and that is a very, very scary prospect. It is very reminiscent of the movie Minority Report where crimes of the future are punished in the present.

[Feb 09, 2020] US troops have stolen tens of millions in Iraq and Afghanistan

Many of these crimes grew out of shortcomings in the military's management of the deployments that experts say are still present: a heavy dependence on cash transactions, a hasty award process for high-value contracts, loose and harried oversight within the ranks, and a regional culture of corruption that proved seductive to the Americans troops transplanted there.
Notable quotes:
"... "this thing going on" ..."
"... a regional culture of corruption that proved seductive to the Americans troops transplanted there. ..."
May 09, 2015 | slate.com

The Fraud of War: U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have stolen tens of millions through bribery, theft, and rigged contracts.

U.S. Army Specialist Stephanie Charboneau sat at the center of a complex trucking network in Forward Operating Base Fenty near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border that distributed daily tens of thousands of gallons of what troops called "liquid gold": the refined petroleum that fueled the international coalition's vehicles, planes, and generators.

A prominent sign in the base read: "The Army Won't Go If The Fuel Don't Flow." But Charboneau, 31, a mother of two from Washington state, felt alienated after a supervisor's harsh rebuke. Her work was a dreary routine of recording fuel deliveries in a computer and escorting trucks past a gate. But it was soon to take a dark turn into high-value crime.

She began an affair with a civilian, Jonathan Hightower, who worked for a Pentagon contractor that distributed fuel from Fenty, and one day in March 2010 he told her about "this thing going on" at other U.S. military bases around Afghanistan, she recalled in a recent telephone interview.

Troops were selling the U.S. military's fuel to Afghan locals on the side, and pocketing the proceeds. When Hightower suggested they start doing the same, Charboneau said, she agreed.

In so doing, Charboneau contributed to thefts by U.S. military personnel of at least $15 million worth of fuel since the start of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. And eventually she became one of at least 115 enlisted personnel and military officers convicted since 2005 of committing theft, bribery, and contract-rigging crimes valued at $52 million during their deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a comprehensive tally of court records by the Center for Public Integrity.

Many of these crimes grew out of shortcomings in the military's management of the deployments that experts say are still present: a heavy dependence on cash transactions, a hasty award process for high-value contracts, loose and harried oversight within the ranks, and a regional culture of corruption that proved seductive to the Americans troops transplanted there.

Charboneau, whose Facebook posts reveal a bright-eyed woman with a shoulder tattoo and a huge grin, snuggling with pets and celebrating the 2015 New Year with her children in Seattle Seahawks jerseys, now sits in Carswell federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, serving a seven-year sentence for her crime.

[Feb 09, 2020] Globalism requires rapacious capitalism.

Jan 27, 2020 | www.unz.com

Jake , says: Show Comment January 26, 2020 at 10:49 pm GMT

Globalism requires rapacious capitalism. Globalism is billionaires and multi-millionaires getting richer while the middle classes of the entire Western world get squeezed and then squeezed more, with once stable working classes ruined.

Liberal voters fall for it because the Globalists swear they are helping all the blacks and browns of the world. Liberal academics, journalists, artists, and 'ordinary rich' people back it because they invariably despise both the white working class and the non-Liberal white middle class. Neocons (WASPs as well as Jews) practice rapacious capitalism religiously because they worship Mammon.

[Feb 09, 2020] For me the scariest thing is not that the world is ruled by gangsters a criminal elite with the US ruling class its top mafia family.

Jan 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Walter , Jan 26 2020 18:35 utc | 22

Hausmeister and I discussed rule by fear, "deimocracy".

That was off topic, and belongs more properly here.

And to that discussion I wish to proffer an interesting related essay>

@ steelcityscribblings.(uk)"Talking WW3 Blues" "...For me the scariest thing is not that the world is ruled by gangsters – a criminal elite with the US ruling class its top mafia family. It is that this particular family, and the lesser criminals who ride its coat-tails, are justifiably worried...."

They too are ruled by fear. Not logos, not knowledge, fear, and panic.

What can go wrong with that?

They conjure up these, the lesser gods of the wars they've made since ...you name a date... And thus themselves are ruled, as they rule the people, by war and fear and panic.

[Feb 09, 2020] Pompeo and the Mafia Hit Strategy by Kurt Nimmo

Jan 21, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca

For the former tank commander, murder -- not simply double-tapping the target with a firearm, but blowing him into meaty chunks with a Hellfire missile -- is "real deterrence."

Pompeo said during a speech at Stanford University's Hoover Institute "there was 'a bigger strategy' behind the killing of Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, Iran's elite foreign espionage and paramilitary force.

The USG Mafia Hit Strategy on steroids is not confined to threatening Iran, however. Pompeo eluded to Russia and China's leaders being assassinated.

Pompeo didn't come out and say Trump's government will steer Hellfire missiles specifically at Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, or even Kim Jung-un . The message, however, is inescapable, especially for folks opposed to neoliberal crony capitalist domination of their national economies, industries, public services, and natural resources

Iran wants a nuke to prevent an attack by the USG in collaboration with the Zionist government in Israel. Ditto, North Korea. It remembers when the USG bombed virtually every city, town, and hamlet in the country and killed a third of the population. No doubt the mullahs in Tehran vividly recall Muammar Gaddafi's fate. They also remember how the CIA colluded with the Brits to overthrow the democratically elected government of Iran and installed a monarchial tyrant.

It is entirely rational to seek the most effective deterrent to foreign invasion and mass murder campaigns waged relentlessly by the crony capitalist neolib USG and its little vicious client, Israel, the racist state where only Jews are considered first-class citizens and Arabs are tortured and killed -- or at best maimed (during anti-occupation protests, Israel snipers are instructed to aim for the eyes ).

For neocons, Trumpsters, and Fox News teleprompter readers, "taking out" Soleimani in Mafia hit fashion "was a brilliant move."

. @jockowillink says President @realDonaldTrump 's gamble ordering the strike that killed Soleimani was a brilliant move that killed an enemy of America and the Iranian people on #TheBrianKilmeadeShow @foxnation @foxnewsradio https://t.co/2w4S5n3yC8

Trump Threatens to Kill Iran's Spiritual Leader

-- Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) January 14, 2020

Yes, of course, murdering leaders of recalcitrant nations is considered a "brilliant move" by psychopaths. The Italian-Jewish Mafia killed opponents one-by-one or in small groups while the USG kills opponents in the thousands, even the millions. The Gambino family and Kosher Nostra founded by Arnold Rothstein (who was himself assassinated) would have loved to take out their opponents with Reaper drones and Hellfire missiles, courtesy of witless US taxpayers and debt-serfs.

State Department officials involved in U.S. embassy security were not made aware of imminent threats to four specific U.S. embassies, two State Department officials said, further undermining Trump's claims that Soleimani posed an imminent threat. https://t.co/sG9ZXyxOa3

-- Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 13, 2020

USG embassies were not and are not under threat by Iran. In Iraq, the people protesting outside the embassy are Iraqis. They want the USG and its contractors out of their country which is still reeling from Bush the Lesser's invasion, a follow-up on more than a decade of child-killing (over 500,000) sanctions and a previous invasion by Junior's father, the former CIA boss who would become president.

Corporate war propaganda media is pushing the narrative that Trump impulsively decided to slaughter Soleimani, as if it simply came to him out of the blue.

. @douglaslondon5 , who retired from CIA at the end of 2018, writes that he and his team "often struggled in persuading the president to recognize the most important threats" because of Trump's "focus on celebrity, headlines, and immediate gratification." https://t.co/1SlVDNb44l

-- Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) January 15, 2020

Hardly. This is simply another anti-Trump gimmick. If you look beyond this one-dimensional pre-election circus, you'll see Trump's orthodox Jewish son-in-law, Sheldon Adelson, and a cast of Zionist characters steering the president into war with Israel's enemies. Indeed, Trump is driven by a pathological need for attention and this has been successfully exploited by neocons in the service of a tiny nation based on racial and religious superiority.

The basic method Trump used to kill Soleimani was developed by the Israelis >30 years ago. Here's a screen shot from "Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations," by Israeli author Ronen Bergman, here describing Israeli developments in late 1980s pic.twitter.com/MWKifPPjPF

-- James Perloff (@jamesperloff) January 14, 2020

The neolib USG with its Israel-first neocon faction is the largest and most deadly Mafia organization in the world.

The US government has killed millions since the end of FDR's war under false pretense and has overthrown countries far and wide. It trains and enables sadistic paramilitaries, has armed crazed Wahhabi jihadists, and is the only country to have used a nuclear weapon against innocent civilians.

*

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Kurt Nimmo writes on his blog, Another Day in the Empire, where this articl e was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

[Feb 09, 2020] The CIA drug connection is as old as the Agency

Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

Agent76 , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 7:06 pm GMT

Jan 14, 2020 The Dirty American Secret You're *NOT* Supposed to Know About

https://www.youtube.com/embed/02F5r2y9JU0?feature=oembed

December 3, 1993 The CIA Drug ConnectionIs as Old as the Agency

LONDON -- The Justice Department is investigating allegations that officers of a special Venezuelan anti-drug unit funded by the CIA smuggled more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine into the United States with the knowledge of CIA officials – despite protests by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the organization responsible for enforcing U.S. drug laws.

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/12/03/opinion/03iht-edlarry.html

Desert Fox , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:39 pm GMT
@Agent76 Agree, the CIA and MI6 and the Mossad are the biggest drug runners in the world.

[Feb 09, 2020] Bush older acted as a gangster in Kuwait war: he was determined to "seize the unipolar moment."

Bush older was the first president from CIA. He was already a senior CIA official at the time of JFK assassination and might participate in the plot to kill JFK. At least he was in Dallas at the day of assassination. .
Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

SolontoCroesus , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 5:20 pm GMT

That Iraq is to say the least unstable is attributable to the ill-advised U.S. invasion of 2003.

Nothing to do with 9 years of sanctions on Iraq that killed a million Iraqis, "half of them children," and US control of Iraqi air space, after having killed Iraqi military in a turkey-shoot, for no really good reason other than George H W Bush seized the "unipolar moment" to become king of the world?

Maybe it's just stubbornness: I think Papa Bush is responsible for the "imperial pivot," in the Persian Gulf war aka Operation Desert Storm, 29 years and 4 days ago -- January 17, 1991.

According to Jeffrey Engel, Bush's biographer and director of the Bush library at Southern Methodist University, Gorbachev harassed Bush with phone calls, pleading with him not to go to war over Kuwait

https://www.c-span.org/video/?310832-1/into-desert-reflections-gulf-war

(It's worth noting that Dennis Ross was relatively new in his role on Jim Baker's staff when Baker, Brent Skowcroft, Larry Eagleburger & like minded urged Bush to take the Imperial Pivot.)

According to Vernon Loeb, who completed the writing of King's Counsel after Jack O'Connell died, Jordan's King Hussein, in consultation with retired CIA station chief O'Connell, parlayed with Arab leaders to resolve the conflict on their own, i.e. Arab-to-Arab terms, and also pleaded with Bush to stay out, and to let the Arabs solve their own problems. Bush refused.
https://www.c-span.org/video/?301361-6/kings-counsel

See above: Bush was determined to "seize the unipolar moment."

Once again insist on entering into the record: George H Bush was present at the creation of the Global War on Terror, July 4, 1979, the Jerusalem Conference hosted by Benzion and Benjamin Netanyahu and heavily populated with Trotskyites – neocons.

International Terrorism: Challenge and Response, Benjamin Netanyahu, ed., 1981.
(Wurmser became Netanyahu's acolyte)

Z-man , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 7:05 pm GMT
@SolontoCroesus

I think Papa Bush is responsible for the "imperial pivot," in the Persian Gulf war aka Operation Desert Storm, 29 years and 4 days ago -- January 17, 1991.

Yes I remember it well. I came back from a long trip & memorable vacation, alas I was a young man, to the television drama that was unfolding with Arthur Kent 'The Scud Stud' and others reporting from the safety of their hotel balconies filming aircaft and cruise missiles. It was surreal.
You are correct of course.

[Feb 09, 2020] Trump demand for 50% of Iraq oil revenue sound exactly like a criminal mob boss

Highly recommended!
Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

Tucker , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 12:27 pm GMT

I've heard and read about a claim that Trump actually called PM Abdul Mahdi and demanded that Iraq hand over 50 percent of their proceeds from selling their oil to the USA, and then threatened Mahdi that he would unleash false flag attacks against the Iraqi government and its people if he did not submit to this act of Mafia-like criminal extortion. Mahdi told Trump to kiss his buttocks and that he wasn't going to turn over half of the profits from oil sales.

This makes Trump sound exactly like a criminal mob boss, especially in light of the fact that the USA is now the world's #1 exporter of oil – a fact that the arrogant Orange Man has even boasted about in recent months. Can anyone confirm that this claim is accurate? If so, then the more I learn about Trump the more sleazy and gangster like he becomes.

I mean, think about it. Bush and Cheney and mostly jewish neocons LIED us into Iraq based on bald faced lies, fabricated evidence, and exaggerated threats that they KNEW did not exist. We destroyed that country, captured and killed it's leader – who used to be a big buddy of the USA when we had a use for him – and Bush's crime gang killed close to 2 million innocent Iraqis and wrecked their economy and destroyed their infrastructure. And, now, after all that death, destruction and carnage – which Trump claimed in 2016 he did not approve of – but, now that Trump is sitting on the throne in the Oval office – he has the audacity and the gall to demand that Iraq owes the USA 50 percent of their oil profits? And, that he won't honor and respect their demand to pull our troops out of their sovereign nation unless they PAY US back for the gigantic waste of tax payers money that was spent building permanent bases inside their country?

Not one Iraqi politician voted for the appropriations bill that financed the construction of those military bases; that was our mistake, the mistake of our US congress whichever POTUS signed off on it.

melpol , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:41 pm GMT
...Trump learned the power of the purse on the streets of NYC, he survived by playing ball with the Jewish and Italian Mafia. Now he has become the ultimate Godfather, and the world must listen to his commands. Watch and listen as the powerful and mighty crumble under US Hegemony.
World War Jew , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:42 pm GMT
Right TG, traditionally, as you said up there first, and legally too, under the supreme law of the land. Economic sanctions are subject to the same UNSC supervision as forcible coercion.

UN Charter Article 41: "The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations."

https://www.un.org/en/charter-united-nations/index.html

US "sanctions" require UNSC authorization. Unilateral sanctions are nothing but illegal coercive intervention, as the non-intervention principle is customary international law, which is US federal common law.

The G-192, that is, the entire world, has affirmed this law. That's why the US is trying to defund UNCTAD as redundant with the WTO (UNCTAD is the G-192's primary forum.) In any case, now that the SCO is in a position to enforce this law at gunpoint with its overwhelmingly superior missile technology, the US is going to get stomped and tased until it complies and stops resisting.

Charlie , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 7:53 pm GMT
@Tucker This idea that the US is any sort of a net petroleum exporter is just another lie.

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=268&t=6

In 2018 total US petroleum production was under 18 million barrels per day, total consumption north of 20 mmb/d. What does it matter if the US exports a bunch of super light fracked product the US itself can't refine if it turns around and imports it all back in again and then some.

The myths we tell ourselves, like a roaring economy that nevertheless generates a $1 trillion annual deficit, will someday come back to bite us. Denying reality is not a winning game plan for the long run.

Christophe GJ , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:00 pm GMT
I long tought that US foreign policies were mainly zionist agenda – driven, but the Venezuelan affair and the statements of Trump himself about the syrian oil (ta be "kept" (stolen)) make you think twice.

Oil seems to be at least very important even if it's not the main cause of middle east problems

So maybe it's the cause of illegal and cruel sanctions against Iran : Get rid of competitor to sell shale oil everywhere ?( think also of Norstream 2 here)

Watch out US of A. in the end there is something sometimes referred to as the oil's curse . some poor black Nigerians call oil "the shit of the devil", because it's such a problem – related asset Have you heard of it ? You get your revenues from oil easily, so you don't have to make effort by yourself. And in the end you don't keep pace with China on 5G ? Education fails ? Hmm
Becommig a primary sector extraction nation sad destiny indeed, like africans growing cafe, bananas and cacao for others. Not to mention environmental problems
What has happened to the superb Nation that send the first man on the moon and invented modern computers ?
Disapointment
Money for space or money for war following the Zio. Choose Uncle Sam !
Difficult to have both

OverCommenter , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:24 pm GMT
Everyone seems to forget how we avoided war with Syria all those years ago It was when John Kerry of all people gaffed, and said "if Assad gives up all his chemical weapons." That was in response to a reporter who asked "is there anything that can stop the war?" A intrepid Russian ambassador chimed in loud enough for the press core to hear his "OK" and history was averted. Thinking restricting the power of the President will stop brown children from dying at the hands of insane US foreign policy is a cope. "Bi-partisanship" voted to keep troops in Syria, that was only a few months ago, have you already forgotten? Dubya started the drone program, and the magical African everyone fawns over, literally doubled the remote controlled death. We are way past pretending any elected official from either side is actually against more ME war, or even that one side is worse than the other.

The problem with the supporters Trump has left is they so desperately want to believe in something bigger than themselves. They have been fed propaganda for their whole lives, and as a result can only see the world in either "this is good" or "this is bad." The problem with the opposition is that they are insane. and will say or do anything regardless of the truth. Trump could be impeached for assassinating Sulimani, yet they keep proceeding with fake and retarded nonsense. Just like keeping troops in Syria, even the most insane rabid leftoids are just fine with US imperialism, so long as it's promoting Starbucks, Marvel and homosex, just like we see with support for HK. That is foreign meddling no matter how you try to justify it, and it's not even any different messaging than the hoax "bring democracyhumanrightsfreedom TM to the poor Arabs" justification that was used in Iraq. They don't even have to come up with a new play to run, it's really quite incredible.

Just passing through , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:44 pm GMT
@OverCommenter A lot of right-wingers also see military action in the Middle East as a way for America to flex its muscles and bomb some Arabs. It also serves to justify the insane defence budget that could be used to build a wall and increase funding to ICE.

US politics has become incredibly bi-partisan, criticising Trump will get you branded a 'Leftist' in many circles. This extreme bipartisanship started with the Obama birth certificate nonsense which was being peddled by Jews like Orly Taitz, Philip J. Berg, Robert L. Shulz, Larry Klayman and Breitbart news – most likely because Obama was pursuing the JCPOA and not going hard enough on Iran – and continued with the Trump Russian agent angle.

Now many Americans cannot really think critically, they stick to their side like a fan sticks to their sports team.

Weston Waroda , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 9:11 pm GMT
The first person I ever heard say sanctions are acts of war was Ron Paul. The repulsive Madeleine Albright infamously said the deaths of 500,000 Iranian children due to US sanctions was worth it. She ought to be tried as a war criminal. Ron Paul ought to be Secretary of State.

[Feb 09, 2020] Trump Secretly Threatened Europe With Auto Tariffs If It Didn t Declare Iran In Breach Of Nuclear Deal

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's threats of auto tariffs to gain trade concessions with the Europeans is certainly nothing new, but using the same to dictate foreign policy is, notes WaPo's diplomatic correspondent John Hudson. ..."
"... Interestingly, in Wednesday's joint statement the European signatories attempted to distance their drastic action away from Washington's so-called "maximum pressure" campaign. "Our three countries are not joining a campaign to implement maximum pressure against Iran," they said . ..."
"... The statement also underscored Europe hopes to use the mechanism "to bring Iran back into full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA" and in the words of one official quoted in The Guardian to prevent nuclear advancement to the point that the Iranians "learn something that it is not possible for them to unlearn" . ..."
Jan 15, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

A bombshell revelation from The Washington Post a day after France, Britain and Germany took unprecedented action against Iran by formally triggering the dispute resolution mechanism regulating conformity to the deal, seen as the harshest measure taken by the European signatories thus far. The European powers officially see Iran as in breach of the deal which means UN and EU punitive sanctions are now on the table.

But according to The Post , how things quickly escalated to this point is real story : " Days before Europeans warned Iran of nuclear deal violations, Trump secretly threatened to impose 25% tariff on European autos if they didn't," says the report.

This came as a "shock" to all three countries, with one top European official calling it essentially "extortion" and a new level of hardball tactics from the Trump administration.

After the US leveraged the new tariffs threat according to the report, European capitals moved quick to trigger the mechanism, which involved the individual European states formally notifying the agreement's guarantor, the European Union, that Iran is in breach of the nuclear deal.

This followed the Jan.6 declaration of Tehran's leadership to no longer be beholden to uranium enrichment limits. And that's where things got interesting as Washington's pressure campaign dramatically turned up the heat on Europe.

"Within days, the three countries would formally accuse Iran of violating the deal, triggering a recourse provision that could reimpose United Nations sanctions on Iran and unravel the last remaining vestiges of the Obama-era agreement," the report continues .

However, the report notes France, the UK, and Germany were already in deep discussion on moving forward with triggering the mechanism. "We didn't want to look weak, so we agreed to keep the existence of the threat a secret," a European official cited by WaPo claims.

Trump's threats of auto tariffs to gain trade concessions with the Europeans is certainly nothing new, but using the same to dictate foreign policy is, notes WaPo's diplomatic correspondent John Hudson.

Interestingly, in Wednesday's joint statement the European signatories attempted to distance their drastic action away from Washington's so-called "maximum pressure" campaign. "Our three countries are not joining a campaign to implement maximum pressure against Iran," they said .

The statement also underscored Europe hopes to use the mechanism "to bring Iran back into full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA" and in the words of one official quoted in The Guardian to prevent nuclear advancement to the point that the Iranians "learn something that it is not possible for them to unlearn" .

Now that the mechanism has been enacted, the clock starts on 65 days of intensive negotiations before UN sanctions would be reimposed if no resolution is reached. Specifically a blanket arms embargo would be imposed among other measures, and certainly it would mark the deal's final demise, given the Europeans are Iran's last hope for being equal partners in the deal.

Also interesting is that in the hours before The Washington Post report was published, Iranian FM Zarif charged that the EU investigation into Iran's alleged non-compliance meant Europe is allowing itself to be bulled by the United States .

Indeed the new revelation of the secret threats attempting to dictate Europe's course appear to confirm precisely Zarif's words to reporters earlier on Wednesday : "They say 'We are not responsible for what the United States did.' OK, but you are independent" he began. And then added a stinging rebuke: "Europe, EU, is the largest global economy. So why do you allow the United States to bully you around?"

[Feb 09, 2020] Trumps Mercenary Foreign Policy by Daniel Larison

Jan 15, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

elley Vlahos comments on the president's willingness to send more U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia:

It is time to claw back from this toxic relationship, and the first place to start is to transform our current mission of paternalistic "power projection" to one of "national defense." Who cares what the House of Saud wants to buy -- it's not what the American taxpayer pays for, and amen to Amash for putting it in such bald terms.

Trump's statement that he will send more troops to Saudi Arabia in exchange for payment sums up his foreign policy worldview quite well. He has no objection to sending U.S. troops to other countries, and he doesn't mind putting them in harm's way, as long as he thinks someone will pay for it. Trump is not interested in whether a particular mission makes the U.S. more secure, and he certainly doesn't think strategically about what the U.S. should be trying to accomplish. He just wants to get someone to fork over some cash. The absurd thing is that the cash is never forthcoming, but Trump keeps sending the troops to these places anyway.

We saw the same mercenary attitude during the campaign when he talked about setting up a "big, beautiful safe zone" in Syria, which he assured us would be paid for by Arab client states. We have seen it several times when he talks about "taking the oil" from this or that country to compensate the U.S. for our military interventions. As long as the Saudis and Emiratis are paying customers for weapons that they use to kill Yemenis, Trump will happily put their preferences and interests first.

Oddly enough for a self-proclaimed nationalist, the president has no notion of the national interest, but sees everything in narrow terms of wealth that can be extracted from others. This is why he talks about NATO as if it were a protection racket and shakes down South Korea for more money, and it is why he thinks it is acceptable to keep U.S. forces in Syria illegally so that they can control Syrian oil fields. It is why he insists that Iraq pay us for the cost of the installations that the U.S. built during the occupation of their country. It is also one reason why he relies so heavily on economic warfare in his attempt to coerce other states to do what he wants, because he seems to think that everyone is just as preoccupied with getting money as he is.

Contrary to the common assumption that Trump espouses some sort of "Jacksonian" foreign policy, this is an approach that ignores national honor and interest and focuses solely on lucre. Trump resembles nothing so much as a minor German prince from the 17th or 18th century who hires out his soldiers to fight the wars of other countries. This is what a mercenary foreign policy looks like, and it has nothing to do with making the U.S. more secure


Barlaam of Weimerica16 hours ago

Even granted that Trump doesn't meet the low bar of Jacksonianism in foreign policy, I'm weary of even that much - all the talk of national honour seems to amount to little more than doing incredibly stupid and wicked things, and then persisting in them, because to do otherwise would cause a loss of face or credibility.
FL_Cottonmouth Barlaam of Weimerica12 hours ago
"Credibility" to the neocons is nothing more than "street cred." They're like gangsters.
David Naas15 hours ago
True believers will not be suaded by mere "facts". (When "fact" has become a synonym for "fake news".) Nor even if their little noses are rubbed in the Trumpoo. Not even when Trump's daily circus empowers the Left and discourages the old conservatives.

We are begging for a national trauma and we will get it.

Antiphon David Naas14 hours ago
lol - blow me down with that argument: Trumpoo and "old conservatives".

Mmkay...

HenionJD15 hours ago
Hey, so long as they're not hauling our kids away to die in some forsaken "s**thole" who cares where our "killing machines" our sent?
FL_Cottonmouth HenionJD12 hours ago
The old English and American republicans were exactly right about the dangers of a "standing army" (that is, the professionionalization of the military). I'm for reinstating the draft not as a means of bolstering our ranks but as a means of mobilizing a permanent antiwar movement.
FL_Cottonmouth13 hours ago • edited
I've never liked applying the term "Jacksonian" to foreign policy because the Jackson presidency didn't have much of a foreign policy (unlike, say, his protégé James K. Polk ). Most of what gets passed off as "Jacksonian" in terms of foreign policy is really just Gen. Jackson's military policy during the Creek War, the War of 1812, and the annexation of Spanish Florida. In other words, "Jacksonian foreign policy" is just another for "militarized foreign policy."

Indeed, I can only imagine how outraged Jackson would be with the imperialism that "conservative" pundits are justifying in his name. Jackson was fiercely loyal to the ideal of the citizen-soldier/militiaman - and to the men themselves - and would have been furious if foreign influence in the government turned them into mercenaries. Knowing Jackson, the men responsible for such treachery might not have lived for very much longer.

To the extent that Jackson even addressed foreign policy, he (like John Quincy Adams) echoed the wisdom of the Founding Fathers:

If we turn to our relations with foreign powers, we find our condition equally gratifying. Actuated by the sincere desire to do justice to every nation and to preserve the blessings of peace, our intercourse with them has been conducted on the part of this Government in the spirit of frankness; and I take pleasure in saying that it has generally been met in a corresponding temper. Difficulties of old standing have been surmounted by friendly discussion and the mutual desire to be just, and the claims of our citizens, which had been long withheld, have at length been acknowledged and adjusted and satisfactory arrangements made for their final payment; and with a limited, and I trust a temporary, exception, our relations with every foreign power are now of the most friendly character, our commerce continually expanding, and our flag respected in every quarter of the world.

While I am thus endeavoring to press upon your attention the principles which I deem of vital importance in the domestic concerns of the country, I ought not to pass over without notice the important considerations which should govern your policy toward foreign powers. It is unquestionably our true interest to cultivate the most friendly understanding with every nation and to avoid by every honorable means the calamities of war, and we shall best attain this object by frankness and sincerity in our foreign intercourse, by the prompt and faithful execution of treaties, and by justice and impartiality in our conduct to all. But no nation, however desirous of peace, can hope to escape occasional collisions with other powers, and the soundest dictates of policy require that we should place ourselves in a condition to assert our rights if a resort to force should ever become necessary. Our local situation, our long line of seacoast, indented by numerous bays, with deep rivers opening into the interior, as well as our extended and still increasing commerce, point to the Navy as our natural means of defense. It will in the end be found to be the cheapest and most effectual, and now is the time, in a season of peace and with an overflowing revenue, that we can year after year add to its strength without increasing the burdens of the people. It is your true policy, for your Navy will not only protect your rich and flourishing commerce in distant seas, but will enable you to reach and annoy the enemy and will give to defense its greatest efficiency by meeting danger at a distance from home. It is impossible by any line of fortifications to guard every point from attack against a hostile force advancing from the ocean and selecting its object, but they are indispensable to protect cities from bombardment, dockyards and naval arsenals from destruction, to give shelter to merchant vessels in time of war and to single ships or weaker squadrons when pressed by superior force. Fortifications of this description can not be too soon completed and armed and placed in a condition of the most perfect preparation. The abundant means we now possess can not be applied in any manner more useful to the country, and when this is done and our naval force sufficiently strengthened and our militia armed we need not fear that any nation will wantonly insult us or needlessly provoke hostilities. We shall more certainly preserve peace when it is well understood that we are prepared for War.

To the extent that Jackson is even endorsing war rather than peace and trade, it is in the context of national defense - literally defending our national borders from attack, not defending our military bases on/within the borders of foreign countries from attack.

Taras778 hours ago • edited
To add to the many outrages of the day coming out of this admin, now sending the troops as mercenaries for hire to saudi takes it down to a new low, these lows being set almost every week.

The murder of Iranian general must put a new low on the military as well as the drone operators are now in a place not good, assassins of someone outside of a war and/or combat. It hearkens back to obama's killing program and its probable continuation by trump.

Not good programs to be affiliated with for the US military for anyone with a conscience.

[Feb 09, 2020] The Deeper Story Behind The Assassination Of Soleimani

Highly recommended!
Looks like the end of Full Spectrum Dominance the the USA enjoyed since 1991. Alliance of Iran, Russia and China (with Turkey and Pakistan as two possible members) is serious military competitor and while the USA has its set of trump cards, the military victory against such an alliance no longer guaranteed.
Jan 09, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Days after the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, new and important information is coming to light from a speech given by the Iraqi prime minister. The story behind Soleimani's assassination seems to go much deeper than what has thus far been reported, involving Saudi Arabia and China as well the US dollar's role as the global reserve currency .

The Iraqi prime minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, has revealed details of his interactions with Trump in the weeks leading up to Soleimani's assassination in a speech to the Iraqi parliament. He tried to explain several times on live television how Washington had been browbeating him and other Iraqi members of parliament to toe the American line, even threatening to engage in false-flag sniper shootings of both protesters and security personnel in order to inflame the situation, recalling similar modi operandi seen in Cairo in 2009, Libya in 2011, and Maidan in 2014. The purpose of such cynicism was to throw Iraq into chaos.

Here is the reconstruction of the story:

[Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq] Halbousi attended the parliamentary session while almost none of the Sunni members did. This was because the Americans had learned that Abdul-Mehdi was planning to reveal sensitive secrets in the session and sent Halbousi to prevent this. Halbousi cut Abdul-Mehdi off at the commencement of his speech and then asked for the live airing of the session to be stopped. After this, Halbousi together with other members, sat next to Abdul-Mehdi, speaking openly with him but without it being recorded. This is what was discussed in that session that was not broadcast:

Abdul-Mehdi spoke angrily about how the Americans had ruined the country and now refused to complete infrastructure and electricity grid projects unless they were promised 50% of oil revenues, which Abdul-Mehdi refused.

The complete (translated) words of Abdul-Mahdi's speech to parliament:

This is why I visited China and signed an important agreement with them to undertake the construction instead. Upon my return, Trump called me to ask me to reject this agreement. When I refused, he threatened to unleash huge demonstrations against me that would end my premiership.

Huge demonstrations against me duly materialized and Trump called again to threaten that if I did not comply with his demands, then he would have Marine snipers on tall buildings target protesters and security personnel alike in order to pressure me.

I refused again and handed in my resignation. To this day the Americans insist on us rescinding our deal with the Chinese.

After this, when our Minister of Defense publicly stated that a third party was targeting both protestors and security personnel alike (just as Trump had threatened he would do), I received a new call from Trump threatening to kill both me and the Minister of Defense if we kept on talking about this "third party".

Nobody imagined that the threat was to be applied to General Soleimani, but it was difficult for Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to reveal the weekslong backstory behind the terrorist attack.

I was supposed to meet him [Soleimani] later in the morning when he was killed. He came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered to the Iranians from the Saudis.

We can surmise, judging by Saudi Arabia's reaction , that some kind of negotiation was going on between Tehran and Riyadh:

The Kingdom's statement regarding the events in Iraq stresses the Kingdom's view of the importance of de-escalation to save the countries of the region and their people from the risks of any escalation.

Above all, the Saudi Royal family wanted to let people know immediately that they had not been informed of the US operation:

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia was not consulted regarding the US strike. In light of the rapid developments, the Kingdom stresses the importance of exercising restraint to guard against all acts that may lead to escalation, with severe consequences.

And to emphasize his reluctance for war, Mohammad bin Salman sent a delegation to the United States. Liz Sly , the Washington Post Beirut bureau chief, tweated:

Saudi Arabia is sending a delegation to Washington to urge restraint with Iran on behalf of [Persian] Gulf states. The message will be: 'Please spare us the pain of going through another war'.

What clearly emerges is that the success of the operation against Soleimani had nothing to do with the intelligence gathering of the US or Israel. It was known to all and sundry that Soleimani was heading to Baghdad in a diplomatic capacity that acknowledged Iraq's efforts to mediate a solution to the regional crisis with Saudi Arabia.

It would seem that the Saudis, Iranians and Iraqis were well on the way towards averting a regional conflict involving Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Riyadh's reaction to the American strike evinced no public joy or celebration. Qatar, while not seeing eye to eye with Riyadh on many issues, also immediately expressed solidarity with Tehran, hosting a meeting at a senior government level with Mohammad Zarif Jarif, the Iranian foreign minister. Even Turkey and Egypt , when commenting on the asassination, employed moderating language.

This could reflect a fear of being on the receiving end of Iran's retaliation. Qatar, the country from which the drone that killed Soleimani took off, is only a stone's throw away from Iran, situated on the other side of the Strait of Hormuz. Riyadh and Tel Aviv, Tehran's regional enemies, both know that a military conflict with Iran would mean the end of the Saudi royal family.

When the words of the Iraqi prime minister are linked back to the geopolitical and energy agreements in the region, then the worrying picture starts to emerge of a desperate US lashing out at a world turning its back on a unipolar world order in favor of the emerging multipolar about which I have long written .

The US, now considering itself a net energy exporter as a result of the shale-oil revolution (on which the jury is still out), no longer needs to import oil from the Middle East. However, this does not mean that oil can now be traded in any other currency other than the US dollar.

The petrodollar is what ensures that the US dollar retains its status as the global reserve currency, granting the US a monopolistic position from which it derives enormous benefits from playing the role of regional hegemon.

This privileged position of holding the global reserve currency also ensures that the US can easily fund its war machine by virtue of the fact that much of the world is obliged to buy its treasury bonds that it is simply able to conjure out of thin air. To threaten this comfortable arrangement is to threaten Washington's global power.

Even so, the geopolitical and economic trend is inexorably towards a multipolar world order, with China increasingly playing a leading role, especially in the Middle East and South America.

Venezuela, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Qatar and Saudi Arabia together make up the overwhelming majority of oil and gas reserves in the world. The first three have an elevated relationship with Beijing and are very much in the multipolar camp, something that China and Russia are keen to further consolidate in order to ensure the future growth for the Eurasian supercontinent without war and conflict.

Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is pro-US but could gravitate towards the Sino-Russian camp both militarily and in terms of energy. The same process is going on with Iraq and Qatar thanks to Washington's numerous strategic errors in the region starting from Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011 and Syria and Yemen in recent years.

The agreement between Iraq and China is a prime example of how Beijing intends to use the Iraq-Iran-Syria troika to revive the Middle East and and link it to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

While Doha and Riyadh would be the first to suffer economically from such an agreement, Beijing's economic power is such that, with its win-win approach, there is room for everyone.

Saudi Arabia provides China with most of its oil and Qatar, together with the Russian Federation, supply China with most of its LNG needs, which lines up with Xi Jinping's 2030 vision that aims to greatly reduce polluting emissions.

The US is absent in this picture, with little ability to influence events or offer any appealing economic alternatives.

Washington would like to prevent any Eurasian integration by unleashing chaos and destruction in the region, and killing Soleimani served this purpose. The US cannot contemplate the idea of the dollar losing its status as the global reserve currency. Trump is engaging in a desperate gamble that could have disastrous consequences.

The region, in a worst-case scenario, could be engulfed in a devastating war involving multiple countries. Oil refineries could be destroyed all across the region, a quarter of the world's oil transit could be blocked, oil prices would skyrocket ($200-$300 a barrel) and dozens of countries would be plunged into a global financial crisis. The blame would be laid squarely at Trump's feet, ending his chances for re-election.

To try and keep everyone in line, Washington is left to resort to terrorism, lies and unspecified threats of visiting destruction on friends and enemies alike.

Trump has evidently been convinced by someone that the US can do without the Middle East, that it can do without allies in the region, and that nobody would ever dare to sell oil in any other currency than the US dollar.

Soleimani's death is the result of a convergence of US and Israeli interests. With no other way of halting Eurasian integration, Washington can only throw the region into chaos by targeting countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria that are central to the Eurasian project. While Israel has never had the ability or audacity to carry out such an assassination itself, the importance of the Israel Lobby to Trump's electoral success would have influenced his decision, all the more so in an election year .

Trump believed his drone attack could solve all his problems by frightening his opponents, winning the support of his voters (by equating Soleimani's assassination to Osama bin Laden's), and sending a warning to Arab countries of the dangers of deepening their ties with China.

The assassination of Soleimani is the US lashing out at its steady loss of influence in the region. The Iraqi attempt to mediate a lasting peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been scuppered by the US and Israel's determination to prevent peace in the region and instead increase chaos and instability.

Washington has not achieved its hegemonic status through a preference for diplomacy and calm dialogue, and Trump has no intention of departing from this approach.

Washington's friends and enemies alike must acknowledge this reality and implement the countermeasures necessary to contain the madness.


Boundless Energy , 1 minute ago link

Very good article, straight to the point. In fact its much worse. I know is hard to swallow for my US american brother and sisters.

But as sooner you wake up and see the reality as it is, as better chances the US has to survive with honor. Stop the wars around the globe and do not look for excuses. Isnt it already obvious what is going on with the US war machine? How many more examples some people need to wake up?

Noob678 , 8 minutes ago link

For those who love to connect the dots:

Iran Situation from Someone Who Knows Something

Not all said in video above is accurate but the recent events in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Africa are all related to prevent China from overtaking the zionist hegemonic world and to recolonize China (at least the parasite is trying to hop to China as new host).

Trade war, Huawei, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet ..... the concerted efforts from all zionist controlled media (ZeroHedge included) to slander, smearing, fake news against China should tell you what the Zionists agenda are :)

............

Trump Threatens to Kill Iraqi PM if He Doesn't Cancel China Oil Deal - MoA

The American President's threatened the Iraqi Prime Minister to liquidate him directly with the Minister of Defense. The Marines are the third party that sniped the demonstrators and the security men:

Abdul Mahdi continued:

"After my return from China, Trump called me and asked me to cancel the agreement, so I also refused, and he threatened me with massive demonstrations that would topple me. Indeed, the demonstrations started and then Trump called, threatening to escalate in the event of non-cooperation and responding to his wishes, so that the third party (Marines snipers) would target the demonstrators and security forces and kill them from the highest structures and the US embassy in an attempt to pressure me and submit to his wishes and cancel the China agreement, so I did not respond and submitted my resignation and the Americans still insist to this day on canceling the China agreement and when the defense minister said that who kills the demonstrators is a third party, Trump called me immediately and physically threatened me and defense minister in the event of talk about the third party."

.........


The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission found George W. Bush guilty of war crimes in absentia for the illegal invasion of Iraq. Bush, **** Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.

... ... ..

Thom Paine , 9 minutes ago link

When Iran has nukes, what then Trump?

I think Israel's fear is loss of regional goals if Iran becomes untouchable

TupacShakur , 13 minutes ago link

Empire is lashing out of desperation because we've crossed peak Empire.

Things are going downhill and will get more volatile as we go.

Buckle up folks because the final act will be very nasty.

Stalking Wolf , 12 minutes ago link

Unfortunately, this article makes a lot of sense. The US is losing influence and lashing out carelessly. I hope the rest of the world realizes how detached majority of the citizens within the states are from the federal government. The Federal government brings no good to our nation. None. From the mis management of our once tax revenues to the corrupt Congress who accepts bribes from the highest bidder, it's a rats best that is not only harmful to its own people, but the world at large. USD won't go down without a fight it seems... All empires end with a bang. Be ready

[Feb 09, 2020] Iraqi Prime Minister Was Forced To Resign After Trump Threatened His Life

Jan 08, 2020 | caucus99percent.com


This is a must read This was just a rumor earlier today, but apparently enough people know about it and it's being confirmed.

Iraqi Prime Minister Was Forced To Resign After Trump Threatened His Life

On January 5th, the Iraqi parliament voted on a resolution to expel US troops from the country. In attendance was, caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, who, according to reports provided insight into why specifically Iraq was in this situation, and predominantly spoke about threats that came his way from US President Donald Trump and the US policy towards the country.

The following is the summary of reports regarding Abdul-Mehdi's comments during the January 5 vote of the Iraqi Parliament. These reports have been nor officially confirmed nor denied by the Prime Minister office.

Abdul-Mehdi adressed the US hostile actions against the country. For example, the politician reportedly said that the US refused to complete the infrastructure and electricity grid projects unless it is promised 50% of oil revenues. The Prime Minister refused to make the concession.

Then, when the Prime Minister visited China and reached an important agreement to undertake construction of the projects instead of the US, President Donald Trump allegedly called him, telling him to rescind the agreement with China, otherwise there would be massive demonstrations against him, that would force him out of his seat.

HINT : A 50-person Iraqi delegation visited China in 2019 and that protests began on October 1st, observed a religious holiday, and then ramped up once again on October 25th. The flames of the protests were further fanned by mainstream media outlets.

Then, when massive demonstrations materialized against Adel Abdul-Mahdi, Trump once again allegedly called him. The US President allegedly threatened to position US marine snipers "atop the highest buildings," who will target and kill protesters and security forces alike in an attempt to pressure the Prime Minister.

Instead of complying, Adel Abdul-Mahdi refused and handed in his resignation and the US still attempt to pressure him in cancelling the supposed deal with China.

Later on, when the Iraqi Minister of Defense publicly said that a third side was targeting both protesters and security forces alike, Abdul-Mahdi allegedly received a new call from Trump who threatened to kill both him and the Minister of Defense if they kept talking about this "third side".

There is more...

Also this threadreader tweet on the same subject.

Assad said that he finds Trumps brutal honesty refreshing. Instead of hiding behind nicely worded threats Trump just comes out and tells people what he means. up 19 users have voted. --

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

[Feb 09, 2020] Trump is a GODFATHER and his clique is literally a gangster MAFIA using extortion and operating protection racket

Jan 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kali , Jan 7 2020 19:07 utc | 20

This is how a MAFIA BOSS operates. Trump made an offer Abdul Mahdi couldn't refuse. Trump is a GODFATHER and his clique is literally a gangster MAFIA using extortion and OPERATING A PROTECTION RACKET.

Trump had already asked Iraqi Prime Ministers -twice- if the U.S. could get Iraq's oil as reward for invading and destroying their country. The requests were rejected. Now we learn that Trump also uses gangster methods (ar) to get the oil of Iraq. The talk by the Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi happened during the recent parliament session in Iraq (machine translation):

Al-Halbousi, Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, blocked the speech of Mr. Abdul Mahdi in the scheduled session to discuss the decision to remove American forces from Iraq.

At the beginning of the session, Al-Halbousi left the presidential seat and sat next to Mr. Abdul-Mahdi, after his request to cut off the live broadcast of the session, a public conversation took place between the two parties. The voice of Adel Abdul Mahdi was raised.

Mr. Abdul Mahdi spoke with an angry tone, saying:

"The Americans are the ones who destroyed the country and wreaked havoc on it. They are those who refuse to complete building the electrical system and infrastructure projects. They have bargained for the reconstruction of Iraq in exchange for giving up 50% of Iraqi oil imports, so I refused and decided to go to China and concluded an important and strategic agreement with it, and today Trump is trying to cancel this important agreement."

The American President's threatened the Iraqi Prime Minister to liquidate him directly with the Minister of Defense. The Marines are the third party that sniped the demonstrators and the security men:

Abdul Mahdi continued:

"After my return from China, Trump called me and asked me to cancel the agreement, so I also refused, and he threatened me with massive demonstrations that would topple me. Indeed, the demonstrations started and then Trump called, threatening to escalate in the event of non-cooperation and responding to his wishes, so that the third party (Marines snipers) would target the demonstrators and security forces and kill them from the highest structures and the US embassy in an attempt to pressure me and submit to his wishes and cancel the China agreement, so I did not respond and submitted my resignation and the Americans still insist to this day on canceling the China agreement and when the defense minister said that who kills the demonstrators is a third party, Trump called me immediately and physically threatened me and defense minister in the event of talk about the third party."

The reliable Based Cat in Iraq seems to confirm the timeline:

TØM CΛT @TomtheBasedCat - 4:00 UTC · Jan 7, 2020
Yes a 50-person delegation visited China in 2019 and then the protests started on October 1st until the Arbaeen dates, then picked up again on Oct 25th. I'm skeptical about the 3rd party but the timing itself was interesting. The flames were fanned by Gulf media and Al-Hurra.

Tom_LX , Jan 7 2020 19:20 utc | 21

A scandal is developing as one consequence of Trump's evil deed after Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi revealed the gangster methods U.S. President Trump used in his attempts to steal Iraq's oil.

Well well well, looks like Trump has been studying Cheney's map lately now that he is not fixated on Kim and accusations of being Putin's Puddle.

https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//dc.html?doc=5746914-National-Security-Archive-Doc-08-Iraqi-Oilfields
https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2007/4/21/325872/-

What is described by the PM is typical behavior of a gangster threatening a weaker opponent. Trump had better get some LSD to get him back in touch with Reality.

AriusArmenian , Jan 7 2020 19:30 utc | 24
MoA has done great reporting but this report is astounding.
It is stunning.

But it is the standard operating procedure of US elites. Trump is nothing unusual except for his persona. He gives away the game. Clinton/Bush/Obama/Trump, they are all power mad, vindictive, and vile. The elites that run the two major parties are together in pushing forward to war behind their political posturing.

[Feb 07, 2020] Our Military is Clashing With Russians While Defending Syrian Oil. Why

Feb 07, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Last month, American military forces physically blocked Russian troops from proceeding down a road near the town of Rmelan, Syria. U.S. troops were acting on orders of President Trump, who said back in October that Washington would be "protecting" oil fields currently under control of the anti-Assad, Kurdish Syrian Defense Forces.

Meanwhile, the Russians are acting on behalf of Syrian president Bashar Assad, who says the state is ultimately in control of those fields. While no shots were fired in this case, the next time Moscow's forces might not go so quietly.

U.S. officials offered few details about the January stand-off, but General Alexus Grynkewich, deputy commander of the anti-ISIS campaign, said: "We've had a number of different engagements with the Russians on the ground." Late last month the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported: "Tensions have continued to increase significantly in recent days between U.S. and Russian forces in the northeastern regions of Syria."

Stationed in Syria illegally, with neither domestic nor international legal authority, American personnel risked life and limb to occupy another nation's territory and steal its resources. What is the Trump administration doing?

American policy in Syria has long been stunningly foolish, dishonest, and counterproductive. When the Arab Spring erupted in 2011, Washington first defended Assad. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even called him a "reformer." Then she decided that he should be ousted and demanded that the rest of the world follow Washington's new policy.

[Feb 07, 2020] The Facts About Iran and Terrorism by Larry C Johnson

Jan 10, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The Facts About Iran and Terrorism

When emotion rules the day facts do not matter. Sadly, that is the reality we confront when it comes to talking about Iran and terrorism. The U.S. Government and almost all of the media continue to declare that Iran is the biggest sponsor of terrorism. That is not true. That is a lie. I realize that calling this assertion a lie opens me to accusations of being an apologist for Iran. But simply look at the facts.

Here is the most recent U.S. State Department claim about Iran and terrorism :

Iran remains the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism. The regime has spent nearly one billion dollars per year to support terrorist groups that serve as its proxies and expand its malign influence across the globe. Tehran has funded international terrorist groups such as Hizballah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. It also has engaged in its own terrorist plotting around the world, particularly in Europe. In January, German authorities investigated 10 suspected Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force operatives. In the summer, authorities in Belgium, France, and Germany thwarted an Iranian plot to bomb a political rally near Paris, France. In October, an Iranian operative was arrested for planning an assassination in Denmark, and in December, Albania expelled two Iranian officials for plotting terrorist attacks. Furthermore, Tehran continued to allow an AQ facilitation network to operate in Iran, which sends fighters and money to conflict zones in Afghanistan and Syria, and it has extended sanctuary to AQ members residing in the country.

You notice what is absent? A list of specific attacks that caused actual casualties. Plans and plots are not the same as actions. If Iran's malevolent influence was so powerful, we should be able to point to specific attacks and specific casualties. But you will not find those facts in the U.S. State Department report because they do not exist. The statistical annex that details the attacks and the groups responsible reports the following:

The Taliban was responsible for 8,509 deaths and 4,943 injuries, about 25 percent of the total casualties attributed to terrorism globally in 2018. With 647 terrorist attacks, ISIS was the next-most-active terrorist organization, responsible for 3,585 fatalities and 1,761 injuries. Having conducted 535 attacks, al-Shabaab was responsible for 2,062 deaths and 1,278 injuries. Boko Haram was among the top-five terrorist perpetrators, with 220 incidents, 1,311 deaths, and 927 injuries. It should be noted that local sources do not always differentiate between Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa.

Not a single group linked to Iran or supported by Iran is identified. Look at the this table from the statistical annex:

Table-3.1.-Top-10-Known-Perpetrator-Groups-With-the-Most-Incidents-2018

No Hezbollah and no Hamas. If a country is going to "sponsor" terrorism then we should expect to see terrorist attacks. The attacks that are taking place are predominantly from Sunni affiliated groups that have ties to Saudi Arabia, not Iran.

The State Department's explanation about Iranian support for terrorism exposes what the real issue is (I am quoting the 2016 report but, if you read the 2017 or 2018 versions there is no significant difference):

Designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1984, Iran continued its terrorist-related activity in 2016, including support for Hizballah, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Syria, Iraq, and throughout the Middle East. Iran used the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps‑Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to implement foreign policy goals, provide cover for intelligence operations, and create instability in the Middle East. Iran has acknowledged the involvement of the IRGC-QF in the conflicts in Iraq and Syria and the IRGC-QF is Iran's primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.

In 2016, Iran supported various Iraqi Shia terrorist groups, including Kata'ib Hizballah, as part of an effort to fight ISIS in Iraq and bolster the Assad regime in Syria. Iran views the Assad regime in Syria as a crucial ally and Syria and Iraq as crucial routes to supply weapons to Hizballah, Iran's primary terrorist partner. Iran has facilitated and coerced, through financial or residency enticements, primarily Shia fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan to participate in the Assad regime's brutal crackdown in Syria. Iranian-supported Shia militias in Iraq have committed serious human rights abuses against primarily Sunni civilians and Iranian forces have directly backed militia operations in Syria with armored vehicles, artillery, and drones.

The United States is upset with Iran because it has thwarted the U.S. covert action in Syria. It was the United States, along with the U.K., Saudi Arabia and Turkey, that helped ignite and escalate the civil war in Syria. Why? The Saudis and the Israelis were growing increasingly concerned in 2011 about Iran's spreading influence in the region. And what enabled Iran to do that? We did. When the United States removed Saddam Hussein and destroyed the Baathist movement in Iraq, the Bush Administration thought it was a dandy idea to install Iraqi Shia in positions of leadership. Not one of the key policymakers on the U.S. side of the equation expressed any qualms about the fact that these Iraqi politicians and military personnel had longstanding relationships with Iran, which included financial support.

Iran also had a longstanding relationship with Syria. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton decided that if we could eliminate Bashir Assad, the Syrian leader, then we would weaken Iran. This was a policy that many Republicans, most notably John McCain and Lindsey Graham, supported. But the scheme to weaken Iran backfired. Iran, along with Russia, came to the aid of the Government of Syria in full blown counter-insurgency campaign. Iran, the Russians and the Syrian Government were fighting radical Sunni islamists, many of whom were funded by the Western alliance.

Iran's military support for the Government of Syria clearly rankles U.S. policymakers, but it is not "terrorism." It is pure counter insurgency.

Wikipedia offers additional evidence about the true nature of international terrorism. I have reviewed the lists of incidents, which includes the description of the attacks, the perpetrators and the number of casualties for 2016-2018. I have only been able to put the 2016 incidents into a spreadsheet. Here are the actual facts.

In 2016 there were seven terrorist attacks that caused at least 100 casualties. All were attributed to ISIL aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Not one was linked to Iran or any group receiving financial support from Iran. There were a total of 1753 terrorist attacks and at least 15,993 deaths during 2016.

Here is the monthly breakdown for 2016:

The U.S. State Department continues to insist that Iran is providing indirect support to Al Qaeda. That is pure nonsense. Iran is fighting and killing Al Qaeda forces inside Syria. They have no ideological affinity with Al Qaeda.

I wish the American people would take the time to be educated about the actual nature and extent of "international terrorism." There was a time in the 1980s when Iran was very active in using terrorism as weapon to attack U.S. military and diplomatic targets. But even those attacks were focused in areas where Iran's perceived national interests were at stake. I am not excusing nor endorsing their actions. But I do think we need to understand that terrorism usually has a context. It is not the actions of a mentally ill person who is angry and lashing out at the nearest available target. Those attacks were planned and very calculated.

The real issue that we should be focused on is whether or not we can halt the expansion of Iran's influence in the Middle East. This remains a major concern for Israel and Saudi Arabia. U.S. policymakers are betting that isolating Iran diplomatically, ratcheting up economic pressure and using some military power will somehow energize the regime opposition and lead to the overthrow of the Mullahs. We tried that same policy with Cuba. It did not work there and will not likely work now in Iran.

Iran has options and is pursuing them aggressively. China and Russia, who are facing their own bullying from the United States, already are helping Iran tweak the the nose of the Trump Administration. In late December 2019, Iran, Russia and China carried out a joint military exercise . The Iranians were very clear about their view of this cooperation:

"The most important achievement of these drills . . . is this message that the Islamic republic of Iran cannot be isolated," vice-admiral Gholamreza Tahani, a deputy naval commander, said. "These exercises show that relations between Iran, Russia and China have reached a new high level while this trend will continue in the coming years."

The Trump Administration needs to stop with its infantile ranting and railing about Iran and terrorism. The actual issues surrounding Iran's growing influence in the region have little to do with terrorism. Our policies and actions towards Iran are accelerating their cooperation with China and Russia, not diminishing it. I do not think that serves the longterm interests of the United States or our allies in the Middle East.

[Feb 05, 2020] Trump as a middle level gangster

There is a real danger for gangstrism mode of forign policy -- policimakers live in a bubble, an echo chamber, and all of their conclusions are based on faulty inputs...
Feb 05, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

Diplomacy, accommodation, compromise, mutuality, the perspectives of others: It is already clear these are among the defining features of 21 st century statecraft. Jealous of its dissipating preeminence, the U.S. proves indifferent to all such considerations. There is no longer even the pretense of deriving authority by way of example, so radical is Washington's preference for coercive might alone. The paradox is not difficult to grasp: In displays of unadorned power we also find the limits of power. The Trump administration's conduct of foreign policy -- primarily but not only in the Mideast -- makes failure and an American comeuppance inevitable.

... ... ...

Many years ago, during the first term of George W. Bush, Karl Rove gave an interview in which he asserted that the U.S. was no longer bound by "discernible reality," as the White House aide put it. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," Rove explained. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out."

Rove Warning Overlooked

This singularly arrogant remark was much noted at the time but was thought to reflect only the kookier extremes of the Bush II administration. What a misinterpretation that has proven to be. Rove was effectively warning us that the U.S. had already begun its fundamental shift toward sheer power as the instrument of its foreign policies. This is plain in hindsight.

... These policies share two features. They rest on power alone -- in this they are Karl Rove's dream made flesh -- and they are bound to fail, if they are not already failing.

It is evident now that the European allies will defy U.S. efforts to sabotage NordStream 2 and keep Huawei out of 5–G. London announced last week that it will allow Huawei to participate in its 5–G development program. Germany made a similar decision last autumn.

In the Middle East, it is equally clear that Iran has no intention of buckling under U.S. sanctions and military threats. U.S. influence in the region has already begun to decline since the drone assassination of a top Iranian general on Iraqi soil early last month. The Pentagon now faces popular Iraqi demands to withdraw its troops.

And now the Mideast -- Israel and Palestine. The Trump administration sacrificed all claim to "honest broker" status when it recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December 2017 -- a unilateral move that prompted the Palestinians to stop talking to the U.S. about the plan Jared Kushner was by then developing. Of all that is wrong with the new Trump–Kushner plan, the absence of Palestinian input more or less assures that it will prove dead on arrival.

Power alone is power blind. Power blind is certain to fail, for it cannot see its way.

[Feb 05, 2020] Stumbling Into Catastrophe by Daniel McAdams

Feb 04, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Daniel McAdams via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

There is a real danger for foreign policy advisors and analysts – and especially those they serve – when they are in a bubble, an echo chamber, and all of their conclusions are based on faulty inputs. Needless to say it's even worse when they believe they can create their own reality and invent outcomes out of whole cloth.

Things seldom go as planned in these circumstances.

President Trump was sold a bill of goods on the assassination of Iran's revered military leader, Qassim Soleimani, likely by a cabal around Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the long-discredited neocon David Wurmser. A former Netanyahu advisor and Iraq war propagandist, Wurmser reportedly sent memos to his mentor, John Bolton, while Bolton was Trump's National Security Advisor (now, of course, he's the hero of the #resistance for having turned on his former boss) promising that killing Soleimani would be a cost-free operation that would catalyze the Iranian people against their government and bring about the long-awaited regime change in that country. The murder of Soleimani – the architect of the defeat of ISIS – would "rattle the delicate internal balance of forces and the control over them upon which the [Iranian] regime depends for stability and survival," wrote Wurmser.

As is most often the case with neocons, he was dead wrong.

The operation was not cost-free. On the contrary. Assassinating Soleimani on Iraqi soil resulted in the Iraqi parliament – itself the product of our "bringing democracy" to the country – voting to expel US forces even as the vote by the people's representatives was roundly rejected by the people who brought the people the people's representatives. In a manner of speaking.

Trump's move had an effect opposite to the one promised by neocons. It did not bring Iranians out to the street to overthrow their government – it catalyzed opposition across Iraq's various political and religious factions to the continued US military presence and further tightened Iraq's relationship with Iran. And short of what would be a catastrophic war initiated by the US (with little or no support from allies), there is not a thing Trump can do about it.

Iran's retaliatory attack on two US bases in Iraq was initially sold by President Trump as merely a pin-prick. No harm, no foul, no injuries. This despite the fact that he must have known about US personnel injured in the attack. The reason for the lie was that Trump likely understands how devastating it would be to his presidency to escalate with Iran. So the truth began to trickle out slowly – 11 US military members were injured, but it was just "like a headache." Now we know that 50 US troops were treated for traumatic brain injury after the attack. This may not be the last of it – but don't count on the mainstream media to do any reporting.

The Iranian FARS news agency reported at the time of the attack that US personnel had been injured and the response by the US government was to completely take that media outlet off the Internet by order of the US Treasury !

Last week the US House voted to cancel the 2002 authorization for war on Iraq and to prohibit the use of funds for war on Iran without Congressional authorization. It is a significant, if largely symbolic, move to rein in the oft-used excuse of the Iraq war authorization for blatantly unrelated actions like the assassination of Soleimani and Obama's thousands of airstrikes on Syria and Iraq .

President Trump has argued that prohibiting funds for military action against Iran actually makes war more likely, as he would be restricted from the kinds of military-strikes-short-of-war like his attack on Syria after the alleged chemical attack in Douma in 2018 (claims which have recently fallen apart ). The logic is faulty and reflects again the danger of believing one's own propaganda. As we have seen from the Iranian military response to the Soleimani assassination, Trump's military-strikes-short-of-war are having a ratchet-like effect rather than a pressure-release or deterrent effect.

As the financial and current events analysis site ZeroHedge put it recently:

[S]ince last summer's "tanker wars", Trump has painted himself into a corner on Iran, jumping from escalation to escalation (to this latest "point of no return big one" in the form of the ordered Soleimani assassination) -- yet all the while hoping to avoid a major direct war. The situation reached a climax where there were "no outs" (Trump was left with two 'bad options' of either back down or go to war).

The Iranians have little to lose at this point and America's European allies are, even if impotent, fed up with the US obsession with Saudi Arabia and Israel as a basis for its Middle East policy.

So why open this essay with a photo of Trump celebrating his dead-on-arrival "Deal of The Century" for Israel and Palestine? Because this is once again a gullible and weak President Trump being led by the nose into the coming Middle East conflagration. Left without even a semblance of US sympathy for their plight, the Palestinians after the roll-out of this "peace" plan will again see that they have no friends outside Syria, Iran, and Lebanon. As Israel continues to flirt with the idea of simply annexing large parts of the West Bank, it is clear that the brakes are off of any Israeli reticence to push for maximum control over Palestinian territory. So what is there to lose?

Trump believes he's advancing peace in the Middle East, while the excellent Mondoweiss website rightly observes that a main architect of the "peace plan," Trump's own son-in-law Jared Kushner, "taunts Palestinians because he wants them to reject his 'peace plan.'" Rejection of the plan is a green light to a war of annihilation on the Palestinians.

It appears that the center may not hold, that the self-referential echo chamber that passes for Beltway "expert" analysis will again be caught off guard in the consequence-free profession that is neocon foreign policy analysis. "Gosh we didn't see that coming!" But the next day they are back on the teevee stations as great experts.

Clouds gathering...


Minamoto , 23 minutes ago link

It is hard to believe that Trump has any confidence in Jared Kushner. Yet, he does enough to go public with a one-sided plan developed without Palestinian input.

francis scott falseflag , 41 minutes ago link

a real danger for foreign policy advisors and analysts – and especially those they serve – when they are in a bubble, an echo chamber, and all of their conclusions are based on faulty inputs.

The same is true of the economists and financial analysts who live in the bubble of the NSYE and the echo chamber of Manhattan. All of their conclusions are based on faulty inputs.

Ruler , 1 hour ago link

The problem all incompetent leaders have, is seeing how their opponents see them.

Bokkenrijder , 1 hour ago link

If Trump continues to be 'dumb' enough to consistently hire these people and consistently listen to them, and if his supporters continue to be dumb enough to consistently believe all the lies and excuses, then Trump and his supporters are 100% involved in the neoCON.

RafterManFMJ , 1 hour ago link

Dude, it's 666D chess!

The Real John Bolton

[Jan 31, 2020] Two "nice" Americans

Jan 31, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Norn ,

"nice" Americans: .. Here is a sample of nice Americans who want to control our breath: Pompeo , Fri 24 Jan 2020: "You Think Americans Really Give A F**k About Ukraine?"

Michael Richard Pompeo (57 y.o.) is the United States secretary of state. He is a former United States Army officer and was Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from January 2017 until April 2018

Nuland , earlier than Feb 2014: "Fuck the EU."

Victoria Jane Nuland (59 y.o) is the former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State. She held the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest diplomatic rank in the United States Foreign Service. She is the former CEO of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), and is also a Member of the Board of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

[Jan 30, 2020] There is no shortage of great intellects in the Middle East to follow in his extraordinary footsteps

Notable quotes:
"... I think they were trying to start a war when they killed Soleimani, and the Iranians decided to use it against them instead. Which is smart. Neocons talk a lot but they are not smart. They are bullies and cowards. ..."
Jan 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Jan 30 2020 22:27 utc | 117

Thanks b, that is a mighty good post:

This man had a mighty wish too

There is no shortage of great intellects in the Middle East to follow in his extraordinary footsteps.

Bemildred , Jan 30 2020 23:27 utc | 126

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 30 2020 23:02 utc | 124

I think they were trying to start a war when they killed Soleimani, and the Iranians decided to use it against them instead. Which is smart. Neocons talk a lot but they are not smart. They are bullies and cowards.

At present what I notice is what you do, there is a lot going on, but you won't find it in the MSM. They are busy reducing their audience share with propaganda.

They kicked the jams out when they droned Soleiman. No more "deals".

But I expect Iran to do these things while this is going on:

1.) Annoy Trump and his minions and USG political class as much as possible, stay in their face.
2.) Watch, and help their "proxies" work on making life unbearable in the Middle East for us.

The Houthis seem to have just kicked the shit out of the Saudi coalition again. Quite a few damaged ships and down aircraft reports too, not just Afghanistan.


[Jan 30, 2020] Bush-era Iraq war authorization voted out by US House

Jan 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Jan 30 2020 21:45 utc | 108

Visions and intentions in reverse. For this news, with b's blessing, any thread is appropriate: Guess this goes with the impeaching-

Bush-era Iraq war authorization voted out by US House
The House of Representatives has voted along party lines to repeal a 2002 law authorizing the US to wage war on Iraq. The law was used by the Trump administration to justify the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

The House voted 236 to 166 to kill the 2002 Authorization for Military Force (AUMF) on Iraq. The law was drafted during the presidency of George W. Bush to authorize the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and has been used by subsequent administrations to continue military activity in the country – most recently to justify the US drone assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad earlier this month.[.]

The bill was one of two pieces of legislation passed by the House on Thursday aimed at curbing Trump's warmaking powers. Prior to its passage, a bill prohibiting Trump from using federal funds for "unauthorized military force against Iran" cleared the House floor, again along party lines, with a vote of 228-175.[.]

[Jan 29, 2020] Pompeo Iranian Proxy Mobilizing in America's Backyard

Notable quotes:
"... Yet the U.S. has little real insight into what happens in hostile regimes like Maduro's, and "Pompeo is probably the least reliable person in the world when it comes to information about Iran or its proxies," said Abrahms. "He has a terrible track record; he is an ideologue. He is the opposite of an impartial empiricist. I would never accept anything he says without corroborating sources." ..."
"... According to what we know, a Hezbollah agent conducted years of surveillance on potential targets , and alleged sleeper agents within U.S. cities have so far not been activated, even in the wake of Iranian Quds force General Soleimani's death and the series of crippling sanctions the Trump administration has put on Iran. ..."
Jan 28, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Why is Pompeo suddenly directing increasingly heated rhetoric towards Iran and its proxies in South America?

"Anti-Iran hawks like Pompeo like to emphasize that Iran is not a defensively-minded international actor, but rather that it is offensively-minded and poses a direct threat to the United States," said Max Abrahms, associate professor of political science at Northeastern and fellow of the Quincy Institute said in an interview with The American Conservative. "And so for obvious reasons, underscoring Hezbollah's international tentacles helps to sell their argument that Iran needs to be dealt with in a military way, and that the key to dealing with Iran is through confrontation and pressure."

Stories highlighting the role of Hezbollah in America's backyard "are almost always peddled by anti-Iran hawks," he said.

Like Clare Lopez, vice president for research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy, who aligns with the argument that Hezbollah has been populating South America since the days of the Islamic revolution.

"From at least the 1980s, many Lebanese fled to South America, and among that flow Hezbollah embedded themselves," she told The American Conservative in a recent interview. Their activity "really expanded throughout the continent" during the presidencies of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

During that time, Lopez added, "there was a really strong relationship that developed Iranians established diplomatic facilities, enormous embassies and consulates, embedded IRGC cover positions and MOIS (intelligence services) within commercial companies and mosques and Islamic centers. This took place in Brazil in particular but Venezuela also."

Iran and Hezbollah intensified their involvement throughout the region in technical services like tunneling, money laundering, and drug trafficking. Venezuela offered Iran an international banking work-around during the period of sanctions, said Lopez.

Obviously security analysts like Lopez and even Pompeo, have been following this for years. But the timing here, as the Senate impeachment inquiry heats up, looks suspicious.

Last week, just as it looks increasingly likely that former national security advisor John Bolton and Pompeo himself will be hauled before the Senate as witnesses about the foreign aid hold-up to Ukraine, Pompeo praised Colombia, Honduras, and Guatemala for designating "Iran-backed Hezbollah a terrorist organization," and slammed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for embracing the terrorist group.

Hezbollah "has found a home in Venezuela under Maduro. This is unacceptable," Pompeo said when he met with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido last week.

Asked by Bloomberg News how significant a role Hezbollah plays in the region, Pompeo responded, "too much."

From the interview:

Pompeo : " I mentioned it in Venezuela, but in the Tri-Border Area as well. This is again an area where Iranian influence – we talk about them as the world's largest state sponsor of terror. We do that intentionally. It's the world's largest; it's not just a Middle East phenomenon. So while – when folks think of Hezbollah, they typically think of Syria and Lebanon, but Hezbollah has now put down roots throughout the globe and in South America, and it's great to see now multiple countries now having designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. It means we can work together to stamp out the security threat in the region."

Question: "I'm struck by this, because even hearing you – what you're saying, right, now – I mean, to take a step back, an Iranian-backed terrorist organization has found a home in America's backyard."

Pompeo: "It's – it's something that we've been talking about for some time. When you see the scope and reach of what the Islamic Republic of Iran's regime has done, you can't forget they tried to kill someone in the United States of America. They've conducted assassination campaigns in Europe. This is a global phenomenon. When we say that Iran is the leading destabilizing force in the Middle East and throughout the world, it's because of this terror activity that they have now spread as a cancer all across the globe. "

Pompeo has also been publicly floating increasing sanctions on Venezuela. He called the behavior of Maduro's government "cartel-like" and "terror-like," intensifying the sense that there is a real security "threat" in our hemisphere.

Yet the U.S. has little real insight into what happens in hostile regimes like Maduro's, and "Pompeo is probably the least reliable person in the world when it comes to information about Iran or its proxies," said Abrahms. "He has a terrible track record; he is an ideologue. He is the opposite of an impartial empiricist. I would never accept anything he says without corroborating sources."

There's no question that Hezbollah has a presence in South America, said Abrahms, "but the nature of its presence has been politicized."

According to what we know, a Hezbollah agent conducted years of surveillance on potential targets , and alleged sleeper agents within U.S. cities have so far not been activated, even in the wake of Iranian Quds force General Soleimani's death and the series of crippling sanctions the Trump administration has put on Iran.

"What this underscores is that Iran could pull the trigger, it could bloody the U.S., including the U.S. homeland, but tends to avoid such violence. I think the question that needs to be asked isn't just, 'where in the world could Iran commit an attack?' but whether Iran is a rational actor that can be deterred," said Abrahms. "Interestingly, this administration as well as its hawkish supporters tend to emphasize their belief that Iran can in fact be deterred," since that is the logic behind "maximum pressure" against Iran, after all. "The main causal mechanism according to advocates of maximum pressure, is that it will force Iran as a rational actor to reconsider whether it wants to irritate the U.S By applying economic pressure through sanctions, [they hope to] succeed in coaxing Iran to restructure the nuclear deal and making additional concessions to the west and reigning in its activities in the Persian Gulf and the Levant. At least on a rhetorical level, the hawks say they believe Iran can be deterred," he said.

It would not be the first time that a president reacted to an intensifying impeachment inquiry by redirecting national focus to threats abroad. In December 1998, as the impeachment inquiry into then-President Bill Clinton heated up, Clinton launched airstrikes against Iraq. We should therefore apply some caution when we see decades-old threats amplified by administration officials.

Barbara Boland is TAC's foreign policy and national security reporter. Previously, she worked as an editor for the Washington Examiner and for CNS News. She is the author of Patton Uncovered, a book about General George Patton in World War II, and her work has appeared on Fox News, The Hill, UK Spectator, and elsewhere. Boland is a graduate from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania. Follow her on Twitter

[Jan 28, 2020] the "American" interpreter's death that triggered the Soleimani assassination was a dual US/Iraqi citizen... doesn't the US often offer citizenship to useful locals in return for betraying their home country? Sometimes treason doesn't pay.

Jan 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

A P , Jan 27 2020 21:39 utc | 64

Unless the operatives on the US spy plane were carrying ID the Taliban can find, we'll never know who they really were. As if we could trust that either. (remember Colonel Flagg from MASH? New fake/cover ID every time he showed up) And funny how those "soldiers" with brain damage from the Iranian missile strikes have disappeared of the MSM news cycle... And the "American" interpreter's death that triggered the Soleimani assassination was a dual US/Iraqi citizen... doesn't the US often offer citizenship to useful locals in return for betraying their home country? Sometimes treason doesn't pay.

[Jan 28, 2020] US plane crashes in Ghazni, killing scores of officers

Jan 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

S , Jan 27 2020 16:43 utc | 7

One of the main Taliban Twitter accounts, @Zabehulah_M33 , has posted the following tweets (machine translated):
US invasion plane crashes in Ghazni, killing scores of officers

Following a raid today in Sadukhel district of Dehik district of Ghazni province, a US special aircraft carrier was flying over an intelligence mission in the area.

The aircraft was destroyed with all its crew and crew, including the major US intelligence officers (CIA).

It is noteworthy that recently, in the provinces of Helmand, Balkh and some other parts of the country, large numbers of enemy aircraft and helicopters have fallen and fallen.

( source )

# Important News:
A Ghazni helicopter crashed in the area near Sharana, the capital of Paktika province, this evening after the Ghazni incident.
The helicopter crew and the soldiers were all destroyed.

( source )

So Taliban has not taken responsibility for the E-11A crash (although many news outlets are reporting it, including Russian ones). Meanwhile, yet another helicopter crashed after the E-11A crash, so it's two crashes in one day.


c1ue , Jan 27 2020 16:17 utc | 4

If the $1.6 trillion cost of the US military being in Afghanistan is correct, then the loss of 4 helicopters and even the E11 won't significantly increase US overall spend there. $1.6 trillion over 18 years is a tad under $250 million per day
Piotr Berman , Jan 27 2020 17:15 utc | 13
When a colonial war goes wrong, one salient question was: who sold guns to the savages?

Among more recent examples, who explained technologically inept Iraqis how to make IEDs?

In the case of smaller weapons, the usual suspect is responsible. NYT By C. J. Chivers Aug. 24, 2016

... In all, Overton found, the Pentagon provided more than 1.45 million firearms to various security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, including more than 978,000 assault rifles, 266,000 pistols and almost 112,000 machine guns. These transfers formed a collage of firearms of mixed vintage and type: Kalashnikov assault rifles left over from the Cold War; recently manufactured NATO-standard M16s and M4s from American factories; machine guns of Russian and Western lineage; and sniper rifles, shotguns and pistols of varied provenance and caliber, including a large order of Glock semiautomatic pistols, a type of weapon also regularly offered for sale online in Iraq.

----

That said, one needs something more sophisticated against helicopters and planes. I suspect that even if Iran were inclined to provide them to Taliban, it would not give them their own products, and, for sure, they cannot purchase Western missiles on regular markets. However, as valiant freedom fighters in Syria are provided with such weapons while being woefully underpaid...

[Jan 27, 2020] There's a recent Foreign Affairs piece that also compares the US to Athens in abusing its financial clout and thereby alienating allies

Jan 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

occupatio , Jan 27 2020 23:46 utc | 81

Review of history: Bullies have a limited life as do Reserve Currencies all things end.
https://www.zerohedge.com/article/history-worlds-reserve-currency-ancient-greece-today
Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 27 2020 20:14 utc | 49

There's a recent Foreign Affairs piece that also compares the US to Athens in abusing its financial clout and thereby alienating allies.

The Twilight of America's Financial Empire

occupatio , Jan 27 2020 23:47 utc | 82

proper link:
https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2020-01-24/twilight-americas-financial-empire

[Jan 27, 2020] American Pravda Mossad Assassinations by Ron Unz

Jan 27, 2020 | www.unz.com

From the Peace of Westphalia to the Law of the Jungle

The January 2nd American assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani of Iran was an event of enormous moment.

Gen. Soleimani had been the highest-ranking military figure in his nation of 80 million, and with a storied career of 30 years, one of the most universally popular and highly regarded. Most analysts ranked him second in influence only to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's elderly Supreme Leader, and there were widespread reports that he was being urged to run for the presidency in the 2021 elections.

The circumstances of his peacetime death were also quite remarkable. His vehicle was incinerated by the missile of an American Reaper drone near Iraq's Baghdad international airport just after he had arrived there on a regular commercial flight for peace negotiations originally suggested by the American government.

Our major media hardly ignored the gravity of this sudden, unexpected killing of so high-ranking a political and military figure, and gave it enormous attention. A day or so later, the front page of my morning New York Times was almost entirely filled with coverage of the event and its implications, along with several inside pages devoted to the same topic. Later that same week, America's national newspaper of record allocated more than one-third of all the pages of its front section to the same shocking story.

But even such copious coverage by teams of veteran journalists failed to provide the incident with its proper context and implications. Last year, the Trump Administration had declared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard "a terrorist organization," drawing widespread criticism and even ridicule from national security experts appalled at the notion of classifying a major branch of Iran's armed forces as "terrorists." Gen. Soleimani was a top commander in that body, and this apparently provided the legal figleaf for his assassination in broad daylight while on a diplomatic peace mission.

But consider that Congress has been considering legislation declaring Russia an official state sponsor of terrorism , and Stephen Cohen, the eminent Russia scholar, has argued that no foreign leader since the end of World War II has been so massively demonized by the American media as Russian President Vladimir Putin. For years, numerous agitated pundits have denounced Putin as "the new Hitler," and some prominent figures have even called for his overthrow or death. So we are now only a step or two removed from undertaking a public campaign to assassinate the leader of a country whose nuclear arsenal could quickly annihilate the bulk of the American population. Cohen has repeatedly warned that the current danger of global nuclear war may exceed that which we faced during the days of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and can we entirely dismiss such concerns?

Even if we focus solely upon Gen. Solemaini's killing and entirely disregard its dangerous implications, there seem few modern precedents for the official public assassination of a top-ranking political figure by the forces of another major country. In groping for past examples, the only ones that come to mind occurred almost three generations ago during World War II, when Czech agents assisted by the Allies assassinated Reinhard Heydrich in Prague in 1941 and the US military later shot down the plane of Japanese admiral Isoroku Yamamoto in 1943. But these events occurred in the heat of a brutal global war, and the Allied leadership hardly portrayed them as official government assassinations. Historian David Irving reveals that when one of Adolf Hitler's aides suggested that an attempt be made to assassinate Soviet leaders in that same conflict, the German Fuhrer immediately forbade such practices as obvious violations of the laws of war.

The 1914 terrorist assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, was certainly organized by fanatical elements of Serbian Intelligence, but the Serbian government fiercely denied its own complicity, and no major European power was ever directly implicated in the plot. The aftermath of the killing soon led to the outbreak of World War I, and although many millions died in the trenches over the next few years, it would have been completely unthinkable for one of the major belligerents to consider assassinating the leadership of another.

A century earlier, the Napoleonic Wars had raged across the entire continent of Europe for most of a generation, but I don't recall reading of any governmental assassination plots during that era, let alone in the quite gentlemanly wars of the preceding 18th century when Frederick the Great and Maria Theresa disputed ownership of the wealthy province of Silesia by military means. I am hardly a specialist in modern European history, but after the 1648 Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years War and regularized the rules of warfare, no assassination as high-profile as that of Gen. Soleimani comes to mind.

The bloody Wars of Religion of previous centuries did see their share of assassination schemes. For example, I think that Philip II of Spain supposedly encouraged various plots to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I of England on grounds that she was a murderous heretic, and their repeated failure helped persuade him to launch the ill-fated Spanish Armada; but being a pious Catholic, he probably would have balked at using the ruse of peace-negotiations to lure Elizabeth to her doom. In any event, that was more than four centuries ago, so America has now placed itself in rather uncharted waters.

Different peoples possess different political traditions, and this may play a major role in influencing the behavior of the countries they establish. Bolivia and Paraguay were created in the early 18th century as shards from the decaying Spanish Empire, and according to Wikipedia they have experienced nearly three dozen successful coups in their history, the bulk of these prior to 1950, while Mexico has had a half-dozen. By contrast, the U.S. and Canada were founded as Anglo-Saxon settler colonies, and neither history records even a failed attempt.

During our Revolutionary War, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and our other Founding Fathers fully recognized that if their effort failed, they would all be hanged by the British as rebels. However, I have never heard that they feared falling to an assassin's blade, nor that King George III ever considered such an underhanded means of attack. During the first century and more of our nation's history, nearly all our presidents and other top political leaders traced their ancestry back to the British Isles, and political assassinations were exceptionally rare, with Abraham Lincoln's death being one of the very few that come to mind.

At the height of the Cold War, our CIA did involve itself in various secret assassination plots against Cuba's Communist dictator Fidel Castro and other foreign leaders considered hostile to US interests. But when these facts later came out in the 1970s, they evoked such enormous outrage from the public and the media, that three consecutive American presidents -- Gerald R. Ford , Jimmy Carter , and Ronald Reagan -- issued successive Executive Orders absolutely prohibiting assassinations by the CIA or any other agent of the US government.

Although some cynics might claim that these public declarations represented mere window-dressing, a March 2018 book review in the New York Times strongly suggests otherwise. Kenneth M. Pollack spent years as a CIA analyst and National Security Council staffer, then went on to publish a number of influential books on foreign policy and military strategy over the last two decades. He had originally joined the CIA in 1988, and opens his review by declaring:

One of the very first things I was taught when I joined the CIA was that we do not conduct assassinations. It was drilled into new recruits over and over again.

Yet Pollack notes with dismay that over the last quarter-century, these once solid prohibitions have been steadily eaten away, with the process rapidly accelerating after the 9/11 attacks of 2001. The laws on our books may not have changed, but

Today, it seems that all that is left of this policy is a euphemism.

We don't call them assassinations anymore. Now, they are "targeted killings," most often performed by drone strike, and they have become America's go-to weapon in the war on terror.

The Bush Administration had conducted 47 of these assassinations-by-another-name, while his successor Barack Obama, a constitutional scholar and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, had raised his own total to 542. Not without justification, Pollack wonders whether assassination has become "a very effective drug, but [one that] treats only the symptom and so offers no cure."

Thus over the last couple of decades American policy has followed a very disturbing trajectory in its use of assassination as a tool of foreign policy, first restricting its use to only the most extreme circumstances, next targeting small numbers of high-profile "terrorists" hiding in rough terrain, then escalating those same such killings to the many hundreds. And now under President Trump, the fateful step has been taken of America claiming the right to assassinate any world leader not to our liking whom we unilaterally declare worthy of death.

Pollack had made his career as a Clinton Democrat, and is best known for his 2002 book The Threatening Storm that strongly endorsed President Bush's proposed invasion of Iraq and was enormously influential in producing bipartisan support for that ill-fated policy. I have no doubt that he is a committed supporter of Israel, and he probably falls into a category that I would loosely describe as "Left Neocon."

But while reviewing a history of Israel's own long use of assassination as a mainstay of its national security policy, he seems deeply disturbed that America might be following along that same terrible path. Less than two years later, our sudden assassination of a top Iranian leader demonstrates that his fears may have been greatly understated.

"Rise and Kill First" ORDER IT NOW

The book being reviewed was Rise and Kill First by New York Times reporter Ronen Bergman, a weighty study of the Mossad, Israel's foreign intelligence service, together with its sister agencies. The author devoted six years of research to the project, which was based upon a thousand personal interviews and access to some official documents previously unavailable. As suggested by the title, his primary focus was Israel's long history of assassinations, and across his 750 pages and thousand-odd source references he recounts the details of an enormous number of such incidents.

That sort of topic is obviously fraught with controversy, but Bergman's volume carries glowing cover-blurbs from Pulitzer Prize-winning authors on espionage matters, and the official cooperation he received is indicated by similar endorsements from both a former Mossad chief and Ehud Barak, a past Prime Minister of Israel who himself had once led assassination squads. Over the last couple of decades, former CIA officer Robert Baer has become one of our most prominent authors in this same field, and he praises the book as "hands down" the best he has ever read on intelligence, Israel, or the Middle East. The reviews across our elite media were equally laudatory.

Although I had seen some discussions of the book when it appeared, I only got around to reading it a few months ago. And while I was deeply impressed by the thorough and meticulous journalism, I found the pages rather grim and depressing reading, with their endless accounts of Israeli agents killing their real or perceived enemies, with the operations sometimes involving kidnappings and brutal torture, or resulting in considerable loss of life to innocent bystanders. Although the overwhelming majority of the attacks described took place in the various countries of the Middle East or the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, others ranged across the world, including Europe. The narrative history began in the 1920s, decades before the actual creation of the Jewish Israel or its Mossad organization, and ranged up to the present day.

The sheer quantity of such foreign assassinations was really quite remarkable, with the knowledgeable reviewer in the New York Times suggesting that the Israeli total over the last half-century or so seemed far greater than that of any other country. I might even go farther: if we excluded domestic killings, I wouldn't be surprised if the body-count exceeded the combined total for that of all other major countries in the world. I think all the lurid revelations of lethal CIA or KGB Cold War assassination plots that I have seen discussed in newspaper stories might fit comfortably into just a chapter or two of Bergman's extremely long book.

[Jan 27, 2020] The ME may yet destroy Trump

Trump outlived his shelf life. Money quote: "This may well be a fatal mistake of his. And while i have thought Trump to be the lesser evil compared to Clinton, i am now at a point where i seriously fear what his ignorance and slavery to the neocon doctrine may bring the world in 4 more years."
Notable quotes:
"... Some combination of the disasters that may emerge from these ME factors might well turn Trump's base against him and this result would be entirely of his own making ..."
"... This may well be a fatal mistake of his. And while i have thought Trump to be the lesser evil compared to Clinton, i am now at a point where i seriously fear what his ignorance and slavery to the neocon doctrine may bring the world in 4 more years. ..."
"... besides much talk and showmastery, he has not really changed anything substantial in this regard; Nothing that could seriously change the course. ..."
"... So he stripped himself of any true argument to vote for him, besides for ultra neocons and ultra fundamental evangelical Christians. And even they don't seem to trust in his intentions. ..."
"... Trump stands no chance if things get hot with Iran. He didn't win by enough to sacrifice the antiwar vote. ..."
"... Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo have got themselves in a no-win situation. NATO cannot occupy both Syria and Iraq, illegally. There are way too few troops. The bases in these nations are sitting ducks for the next precision ballistic missile attack. Any buildup would be contested. Ground travel curtailed. A Peace Treaty and Withdrawal is the only safe way out. ..."
"... Donald Trump is blessed with his opponents. Democrats who restarted the Cold War with Russia in 2014 are now using it to justify his Impeachment. If leaders cannot see reality clearly, they will keep making incredibly stupid mistakes. If Joe Biden is his opponent, I can't vote for either. Both spread chaos. ..."
"... President Trump controls part of the White House -- definitely not the NSC ..."
"... His hold elsewhere in the DC bureaucracy may be 5 - 15%. When the President decided to pull US troops out of Syria, his NSC Director flew to Egypt and Turkey to countermand the order. Facing the opposition of a united DC SWAMP, the President caved, and thereby delayed his formal impeachment by a year. ..."
"... Going out on a limb, President Trump continues to play a very weak hand and may survive to fight another day. Fortunately for the US, his tax and regulatory policies, as well as his economic negotiations with China, Japan, Korea and Mexico seem to be on target and successful. ..."
Jan 26, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

President Trump will easily be acquitted in the senate trial. This may occur this week and there will probably be no witnesses called. That will be an additional victory for him and will add to the effect of his trade deal victories and the general state of the US economy. These factors should point to a solid victory in November for him and the GOP in Congress.

Ah! Not so fast the cognoscenti may cry out. Not so fast. The Middle East is a graveyard of dreams:

1. Iraq. Street demonstrations in Iraq against a US alliance are growing more intense. There may well have been a million people in Muqtada al-Sadr's extravaganza. Shia fury over the death of Soleimani is quite real. Trump's belief that in a contest of the will he will prevail over the Iraqi Shia is a delusion, a delusion born of his narcissistic personality and his unwillingness to listen to people who do not share his delusions. A hostile Iraqi government and street mobs would make life unbearable for US forces there.

2. Syria. The handful of American troops east and north of the Euphrates "guarding" Syrian oil from the Syrian government are in a precarious position with the Shia Iraqis at their backs across the border and a hostile array of SAA, Turks, jihadis and potentially Russians to their front and on their flanks.

3. Palestine. The "Deal of the Century" is approaching announcement. From what is known of its contours, the deal will kill any remaining prospects for Palestinian statehood and will relegate all Palestinians (both Israeli citizens and the merely occupied) to the status of helots forever . Look it up. In return the deal will offer the helotry substantial bribes in economic aid money. Trump evidently continues to believe that Palestinians are untermenschen . He believe they will sell their freedom. The Palestinian Authority has already rejected this deal. IMO their reaction to the imposition of this regime is likely to be another intifada.

Some combination of the disasters that may emerge from these ME factors might well turn Trump's base against him and this result would be entirely of his own making . pl


Elora Danan , 26 January 2020 at 11:24 AM

...and his unwillingness to listen to people who do not share his delusions...

That precisely is the problem, apart from explosive shouting Pompeo, it seems he has recruited this extravanza of woman as adviser into the WH...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5w0kSkvusjI&feature=emb_title

Could it be true? If that is the case, it´s more scary than Elora thought when that of Soleimani happened....This starts to look as a frenopatic...isn´t it?

HK Leo Strauss , 26 January 2020 at 01:12 PM
With Iran and her allies holding the figurative Trump Card on escalation, will they ramp up the pressure to topple him? They could end up with a Dem who couldn't afford to "lose" Syria or Iraq.
JamesT , 26 January 2020 at 04:14 PM
I submit to you, Colonel, that the biggest threat to Trump is a Bernie/Tulsi ticket. Bernie is leading in the Iowa and NH polls, and the recent spat with Warren (in my opinion) leaves Bernie with no viable choice for VP other than Tulsi.
Barbara Ann said in reply to JamesT ... , 26 January 2020 at 05:32 PM
JamesT

Judging by what just happened at the embassy in Baghdad, the intentions of the Iraqi electorate would seem to be a more pressing concern.

EveryoneIsBiased , 26 January 2020 at 04:40 PM
Thank you Colonel; I have been waiting for your take on this. And thank you for opening the comments again. If there is a problem with my post, please point them out to me.

And i agree. This may well be a fatal mistake of his. And while i have thought Trump to be the lesser evil compared to Clinton, i am now at a point where i seriously fear what his ignorance and slavery to the neocon doctrine may bring the world in 4 more years.

Still, immigration is another important issue, but besides much talk and showmastery, he has not really changed anything substantial in this regard; Nothing that could seriously change the course.

So he stripped himself of any true argument to vote for him, besides for ultra neocons and ultra fundamental evangelical Christians. And even they don't seem to trust in his intentions.

And China? He may have changed some small to medium problems for the better, but nothing is changed in the overall trend of the US continuing to loose while China emerges as the next global superpower.

It may have been slowed for some years; It may even have been accelerated, now that China has been waken up to the extend of the threat posed by the US.

North Korea? They surely will never denuclearize. Even less after how Trump showed the world how he treats international law and even allies.

With Trump its all photo ops and showmanship. And while he senses what issues are important, it is worth a damn if he butchers the execution, or values photo ops more than substantial progress.

Not that i would see a democratic alternative. No. But at least now everyone who wants to know can see, that he is neither one.

4 years ago, democracy was corrupted, but at least there was someone who presented himself as an alternative to that rotten establishment.
Now, even that small ray of light is as dark as it gets.
And that is the saddest thing. What worth is democracy, when one does not even have a true alternative, besides Tulsi on endless wars, and Bernie for the socialist ;) ?

I just have watched again the Ken Burns documentary of the civil war. I know it is not perfect (Though i love Shelby Foote's parts), but the sense of the divided 2 Americas there, is still the same today. Today, America seems to break apart culturally, socially and economically on the fault lines that have sucked it into the civil war over 150 years ago.

And just like with seeing no real way out politically, i sadly can see no way to heal and unite this country, as it never was truly united after the civil war, if not ever before. As you Colonel said some weeks ago, the US were never a nation.

And looking at other countries, only a major national crisis may change this.
A most sad realization. But this hold true also for other western countries, including my own.

An even worse decade seems to be ahead.

turcopolier , 26 January 2020 at 05:15 PM
everyoneisbiased

The economy is actually quite good and he is NOT "a dictator." Dictators are not put on trial by the legislature. He is extremely ignorant and suffers from a life in which only money mattered.

emboil , 26 January 2020 at 05:27 PM
Once Bernie wins the nomination, it's going to be escalation time. Trump stands no chance if things get hot with Iran. He didn't win by enough to sacrifice the antiwar vote.
walrus , 26 January 2020 at 06:14 PM
I'm starting to think that Trumps weakness is believing that everyone and everything has a monetary price. I think perhaps his dealings with China may reinforce his perception, as, also, his alleged success in bullying the Europeans over Iran -- with the threat of tariffs on European car imports. His almost weekly references to Iraqi and Syrian oil, allies "not paying their way", financial threats to the Iraq Government, all suggest a fixation on finance that has served him well in business.

The trouble is that one day President Trump is going to discover there is something money can't buy, to the detriment of America.

VietnamVet , 26 January 2020 at 07:28 PM
Colonel,

Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo have got themselves in a no-win situation. NATO cannot occupy both Syria and Iraq, illegally. There are way too few troops. The bases in these nations are sitting ducks for the next precision ballistic missile attack. Any buildup would be contested. Ground travel curtailed. A Peace Treaty and Withdrawal is the only safe way out.

Donald Trump is blessed with his opponents. Democrats who restarted the Cold War with Russia in 2014 are now using it to justify his Impeachment. If leaders cannot see reality clearly, they will keep making incredibly stupid mistakes. If Joe Biden is his opponent, I can't vote for either. Both spread chaos.

My subconscious is again acting out. The mini-WWIII with Iran could shut off Middle Eastern oil at any time. The Fed is back to injecting digital money into the market. China has quarantined 44 million people. Global trade is fragile. Today there are four cases of Wuhan Coronavirus in the USA.

If confirmed that the virus is contagious without symptoms and an infected person transmits the virus to 2 to 3 people and with a 3% mortality rate and a higher 15% rate for the infirmed, the resupply trip to Safeway this summer could be both futile and dangerous.

Haralambos , 26 January 2020 at 07:48 PM
Two Greek words: "hubris" and "nemesis" come to mind.
Patrick Armstrong , 26 January 2020 at 08:19 PM
It's an old story. Mr X is elected POTUS; going to do this and that; something happens in the MENA. That's all anyone remembers. Maybe time to kiss Israel goodbye, tell SA to sell in whatever currency it wants, and realise that oil producers have to sell the stuff -- it's no good to them in the ground...
Petrel , 26 January 2020 at 08:31 PM
President Trump controls part of the White House -- definitely not the NSC -- and much of the Department of Commerce & Treasury. His hold elsewhere in the DC bureaucracy may be 5 - 15%. When the President decided to pull US troops out of Syria, his NSC Director flew to Egypt and Turkey to countermand the order. Facing the opposition of a united DC SWAMP, the President caved, and thereby delayed his formal impeachment by a year.

Going out on a limb, President Trump continues to play a very weak hand and may survive to fight another day. Fortunately for the US, his tax and regulatory policies, as well as his economic negotiations with China, Japan, Korea and Mexico seem to be on target and successful.

Godfree Roberts , 26 January 2020 at 09:19 PM
As Richard Nixon told a young Donald Rumsfeld when he asked about specializing in Latin America, "Nobody gives a shit about Latin America."

Nobody gives a shit about the Middle East.

Johnb , 26 January 2020 at 11:27 PM
We may yet see John McCains Revenge in the Senate Colonel, it only requires 4 Republican votes to move into Witnesses.
EEngineer , 26 January 2020 at 11:27 PM
Carthage must be destroyed! I don't know if Trump is going to war with Iran willingly or with a Neocon gun to his head, but if he's impeached I expect Pence to go on a holy crusade.

[Jan 27, 2020] An excellent interview of Elijah Magnier on a broad range of issues related to Iran, Iraq and US policy.

Jan 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Nathan Mulcahy , Jan 26 2020 16:26 utc | 8

In case you have missed this. Here is an excellent interview of Elijah Magnier on a broad range of issues related to Iran, Iraq and US policy. This link was previously posted by another commenter but I am reposting it because it is so informative. I apologize for not I remembering the name of the original poster was.

What the US attacks on Iran and military occupation of Iraq mean for the Axis of Resistance | Moderate Rebels

[Jan 27, 2020] On Fragile Footing in Yemen after the Soleimani Strike - War on the Rocks

Jan 27, 2020 | warontherocks.com

U.N. Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths sounded relieved in a briefing to the Security Council this week, noting that even after the American airstrike that killed Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, "the immediate crisis seems to be over Yemen has been kept safe."

Griffiths may have spoken too soon.

Yemen has been an increasingly important and tragic theater in the confrontation between Iran, the United States, and their respective clients in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates at the head of an intervening coalition on one side and the Houthis backed by Iran on the other. What will happen in Yemen following the killing of Soleimani and the escalation in tensions between the United States and Iran? And how can Yemen's civil war be insulated from the regional fallout?

News emerged late last week that the United States also targeted Abdul Reza Shahlai, a senior Quds commander, in Yemen. Had the strike succeeded, the Houthis or other Iranian-aligned forces in Yemen would almost certainly have had to respond, threatening an unruly escalation spiral. Instead, the operation was unsuccessful, and Iran's measured reaction was limited to Iraq. Nevertheless, the airstrike is unlikely to have put Houthi leadership in a conciliatory mood.

Ismaeil Ghaani, who served as Soleimani's deputy for decades, was quickly named Soleimani's replacement as head of the Quds Force. Following decades of leadership of the Quds Force, Ghaani is unlikely to deviate from Iran's approach of using proxies to push against opponents in the retaliation for Soleimani's killing.

At the same time, there is reason to hope that Yemen can avoid Iranian-backed escalation. But avoiding another round of escalation in Yemen's civil war will require the active participation of the United States and regional actors.

Yemen's Fragile Status Quo

One year after representatives of the Houthis and of Yemen's internationally-recognized government agreed to a limited ceasefire as part of the Stockholm Agreement, little concrete progress to implement the agreement has been made: Hodeidah, the port area at the center of the agreement, is still the most dangerous place in the country for civilians. Likewise, the Riyadh Agreement, which sought to patch a split between the official government and southern separatists supported by the United Arab Emirates, is faltering and in danger of total collapse.

Nevertheless, just a few weeks ago there were reasons to be cautiously optimistic that, after years of failed negotiations, the Saudi-led coalition's intervention in Yemen may have been winding down. Soleimani's assassination threatens to undo this fragile and halting progress. While Iraq remains the most likely arena for Iranian retaliation against the United States and its partners, Iranian officials also see their relationship with the Houthis as a mechanism for dialing pressure on its opponents up or down while maintaining plausible deniability for any particular attack. Yemen may therefore be a site of Iranian escalation in the coming weeks and months. Indeed, the Houthis expressed support for Iran and promised to respond "promptly and swiftly" to the airstrike. Whatever its form, public retaliation risks upsetting the nascent negotiations over Yemen's forgotten war.

What Will Happen Now in Yemen?

Iran is well aware that it would be badly overmatched in a conventional conflict, and is therefore likely to avoid all-out war with the United States. Rather, Iran's leadership is likely to retaliate via the asymmetric resources that Tehran -- in an effort led by Soleimani and the Quds Force -- has successfully cultivated in the region.

The Houthis have assumed greater importance in Tehran's regional strategy in recent years. Their geographic proximity to Saudi Arabia (and decades-long history of antagonistic relations) provides Iran with a convenient way to antagonize a long-time rival on its southern border and to retaliate horizontally for attacks on its partners in Syria. The relationship confers what Austin Carson calls escalation control : By maintaining plausible deniability, Tehran can signal its displeasure at American policies while giving opponents a face-saving way to avoid further reprisals, thereby dampening the risk of further escalation. Indeed, the recent strike on Saudi Aramco facilities claimed by the Houthis (but likely perpetrated by Iran) is indicative of this dynamic. The attack allowed Tehran to push back against the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign while affording both sides an off-ramp.

There are a few reasons to expect that Tehran could turn to Yemen as it formulates its response to Soleimani's assassination. While Iran's leadership signaled that its retaliation would end after the missile strikes on bases in Iraq, analysts note that Iran is likely to return to its " forward defense " strategy of working through proxies to push back against what its leadership sees as American aggression in the region.

Ramping up Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates would allow Iran to signal its displeasure with Washington while attempting to avoid escalation that could lead to a conventional war. This would be consistent with the forward defense strategy and Tehran's past behavior in the region. Additionally, by coalescing domestic support, the American strike may empower hardliners in the Iranian regime who favor regional escalation.

And although the Houthis certainly receive significant support from Iran in the form of material support, as well as advice and training from Hizballah operatives on the ground, they are not as strategically close to Iran as other proxies like Hizballah are thought to be. As a recent New America report notes, "there is little evidence of firm Iranian command and control. Iran's reported provision of missiles and drones shapes the conflict, but its roots are local and would not disappear were Iran to fully abandon the Houthis." Even U.S. officials have sought to draw a distinction between Iranian and Houthi leadership in recent months.

Yet there are cautious signs that Houthi leadership could be willing to play along by following Iran's lead in this instance: Just a few days before the assassination of Soleimani, Houthi officials cautioned that targets within Saudi and Emirati territory remain on their list of potential military targets, suggesting a willingness to escalate. And, after the strike, Houthi leadership called for reprisals against the United States.

But the region's reaction to the Aramco attack -- which saw the Emiratis pursuing quiet talks with Iran and Saudi Arabia negotiating with the Houthis -- also provides reason to hope that regional actors may work together to head off Iranian escalation in Yemen.

First, the Houthis' relative autonomy from Iranian command-and-control gives them some leeway to resist pressure to escalate, although the failed U.S. strike in Yemen may affect this calculus. Confronted with the choice of either retaliating on Tehran's behalf, at the risk of inciting Saudi re-entry into the war, or resisting the external pressure, thereby preserving the odds of a favorable settlement, the Houthi leadership may decide to bet on the latter.

Second, while Saudi commentators delighted in the blow to their regional opponent, the Kingdom has publicly cautioned against escalation and reportedly urged the Trump administration to exercise restraint. This signals that the Arab Gulf states may continue in the more cautiously de-escalatory approach that they have taken on Yemen over the past several months, as the United Arab Emirates and Sudan began to withdraw troops from Yemen, Saudi Arabia negotiated with the Houthis, and the tempo of Saudi airstrikes declined precipitously.

As much as they vehemently oppose Iranian influence in the region, both Saudi and Emirati leadership want to avoid a direct confrontation with Iran, especially after the Trump administration's erratic policies have made it clear that they may not get American backing in such a confrontation. In other words, the factors that contributed to the intervening coalition's de-escalatory tendencies a few months ago are still relevant, even after the escalation in tensions between the United States and Iran.

The United States is well-positioned to reinforce de-escalatory dynamics in Yemen and support the nascent peace process there. The recent de-escalation in Yemen has shown that pressure works: Although both the Obama and Trump administrations initially supported the Saudi-led intervention, Congressional threats to leverage arms sales and invoke the War Powers Act to end American material support for the intervention in 2019 subdued Abu Dhabi and Riyadh and opened a new juncture in the conflict. The U.S. military ended its provision of aerial refueling to the Saudi-led coalition following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in late 2018, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis reportedly pressured Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to negotiate a political settlement to the war in the lead-up to the Stockholm Agreement. While some of this de-escalatory behavior is attributable to a gradual acknowledgement that this war cannot be won, much can be attributed to U.S. pressure as well. Washington therefore can -- and should -- continue to pressure its regional partners to reach a negotiated agreement. The recent House vote invoking the War Powers Act with regards to Iran -- and supportive statements from a cross-party range of senators -- indicates that Congress is willing to maintain pressure on the administration to avoid escalation in the region, even in the midst of ongoing presidential impeachment proceedings.

Players in the region will also continue to play a critical role in Yemen in the weeks and months ahead. Saudi and Emirati leaders are tired of the resource and reputational drain of a war that appears increasingly unwinnable, leading to their willingness to draw down the coalition's intervention. With international support, regional actors like Oman and even the Gulf Cooperation Council can act as mediators and guarantors to deter potential spoilers and help implement any agreement.

Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said's untimely death this past weekend is another potentially complicating factor here. Under Qaboos, Oman has played an important behind-the-scenes role in the negotiations that led to the nuclear agreement, and brokered negotiations between the Saudi Arabia and the Houthis beginning this past fall. Qaboos cut a unique figure in the region, acting as a mediator who had both the stature and credibility to broker agreements between warring parties in the region. His death and the drama around succession created some doubt about whether anyone would be able to take his place. Yet the new sultan Haitham bin Tariq, who was quickly sworn in, has pledged to continue Qaboos' diplomatic path. Leaders from across the region traveled to Muscat to pay their condolences to the new sultan, cementing the peaceful transition. This continuity is a hopeful sign that Oman can continue to play a productive role as regional mediator.

Finally, policymakers shouldn't forget about Yemeni actors themselves. While most western analysis of the conflict in Yemen focuses on the third-party intervention, this perspective neglects the indigenous dynamics that led to the outbreak of the civil war in the first place. The focus on external intervention is not without good reason, since regional actors dramatically exacerbated the conflict and prevented an earlier resolution. Yet the civil war in Yemen began over local issues around governance and resource-sharing, and it will not end without solving these underlying issues, thus undercutting potential spoilers .

Additionally, years of fighting has created a patchwork of splintered militia groups and local governance institutions that will prove very difficult to knit back together into a coherent, functioning polity. A resumption of local fighting could act as an invitation for external actors to intervene again, leading to a resumption of conflict. It is therefore essential for mediation efforts to take these local issues into account.

Over the past century, Yemen has often been a site for actors in the region to play out their own conflicts. A relapse in fighting in Yemen could provide future grounds for intervention and will act as a driver of regional instability. By contrast, ending the war in Yemen will eliminate a critical source of Iranian leverage in the Gulf.

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Dr. Alexandra Stark is a senior researcher at New America. She was previously a research fellow at the Middle East Initiative, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University and a USIP-Minerva Peace and Security Scholar.

Image: Wikicommons (Photo by Fahd Sadi)

[Jan 27, 2020] The Drone Beats of War The U.S. Vulnerability to Targeted Killings - War on the Rocks by David Barno and Nora Bensahel

Notable quotes:
"... But U.S. adversaries were watching closely. As advanced technologies inexorably became cheaper and more widely available, the U.S. monopoly on these capabilities started to erode. By 2016, for example, eight countries other than the United States had conducted armed drone attacks , including Iran, Pakistan, and Nigeria. By 2019, Russia and two other countries joined this exclusive club. And at least one non-state actor has already used an armed drone for a targeted killing. According to one estimate, 27 other countries currently possess armed drones while dozens of states and non-state actors have unarmed drones . These capabilities can now be used against specific individuals even in the absence of large intelligence networks, thanks to the constant streams of personal information flowing from personal phones , fitness trackers , and other devices. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | warontherocks.com
The fiery explosions from the recent U.S. drone attack that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani have sent shock waves reverberating across the Middle East. Those same shocks should now be rippling through the American national security establishment too. The strike against the man widely considered the second-most powerful leader of a long-standing U.S. adversary was unprecedented, and its ultimate effects remain unknown. But regardless of what happens next, one thing is certain: The United States has now made it even more likely that American military and civilian leaders will be targeted by future U.S. foes. As a result, the United States will have to dramatically improve the ways in which it protects those leaders and rethink how it commands its forces on the battlefield.

Over the last 20 years, the United States has been able to target and kill specific individuals almost anywhere around the world, by matching an increasingly advanced array of precision weapons with a strikingly effective intelligence system. It has employed this capability frequently , especially across the greater Middle East , as it has sought to eliminate senior leaders of the Taliban insurgency or highly placed terrorists directing jihadist cells. And it has been able to pursue this decapitation strategy with impunity, because it has held a monopoly on this bespoke use of force. Not even the most powerful states could attempt the types of complex targeted strikes that the U.S. military and CIA conducted so routinely.

But U.S. adversaries were watching closely. As advanced technologies inexorably became cheaper and more widely available, the U.S. monopoly on these capabilities started to erode. By 2016, for example, eight countries other than the United States had conducted armed drone attacks , including Iran, Pakistan, and Nigeria. By 2019, Russia and two other countries joined this exclusive club. And at least one non-state actor has already used an armed drone for a targeted killing. According to one estimate, 27 other countries currently possess armed drones while dozens of states and non-state actors have unarmed drones . These capabilities can now be used against specific individuals even in the absence of large intelligence networks, thanks to the constant streams of personal information flowing from personal phones , fitness trackers , and other devices.

The Soleimani strike has given potential U.S. adversaries every reason to accelerate their efforts to develop similar capabilities. Moreover, these same adversaries can now justify their own future targeted killings by invoking this U.S. precedent. Sooner or later -- and probably sooner -- senior U.S. civilian and military leaders will become vulnerable to the same types of decapitation strikes that the United States has inflicted on others. Enemies will almost certainly attempt to target and kill U.S. officials during any future major war, and such attacks will likely become a part of future irregular conflicts as well. Though such strikes would dangerously escalate any conflict, committed adversaries of the United States may still find that the advantages outweigh the costs, especially if they can plausibly deny responsibility or if the strength of their resolve makes them willing to accept any resulting consequences.

In the face of this growing threat, what does the United States need to do in order to protect its key military and civilian leaders from a potential decapitation strike? Here are some potential first steps.

  1. Improve personal protection for senior leaders. The president and the vice president are well protected against a myriad of threats by the Secret Service, but levels of protection quickly diminish for those who work beneath them. A number of senior officials, including cabinet officials and the chiefs of the military services, have their own security details, but those focus primarily on providing traditional physical security. They typically offer little if any protection against newly emerging threats such as a targeted missile attack or swarming suicide drones. Most senior military and civilian leaders have no security at all, and they and their family members (like most other Americans) are constantly emitting electronic signals that give away their location. Improving their protection will require rethinking nearly every aspect of their daily lives, especially their extensive vulnerabilities when traveling. For example, the obtrusive motorcades and conspicuous convoys of black SUVs currently favored by many senior U.S. officials may need to be replaced with lower visibility alternatives, to include employing decoys that travel along multiple routes in high risk situations.
  2. Harden key meeting locations, headquarters, and transition points. U.S. adversaries will be particularly interested in targeting locations where numbers of senior military and civilian leaders gather. Many such locations today in the United States and overseas are not sufficiently hardened against attack. The locations of most offices and meeting spaces are either publicly available or easily found, and few are protected from any sort of aerial attack. (At a minimum, senior officials should stop having their photos taken in front of their offices where the room number is clearly visible .) And even hardened command centers usually have key vulnerabilities at entrances and exits, and at exposed transition points between different modes of transportation (such as airfield aprons). Ironically, current U.S. military security measures can unintentionally make leaders more vulnerable in other ways. Shortly after the Soleimani strike, for example, many U.S. military bases imposed stricter security measures at their entry points, including extensive identification checks and reducing the number of open gates. These reflexive measures caused long traffic backups that spilled onto local roads and highways -- which made everyone entering the bases far more vulnerable as they sat in these traffic jams. Any senior leader stuck in those lines would have become a remarkably easy target with no clear avenues of escape.
  3. Exercise wartime succession in the U.S. military chain of command. Combatant commanders and other senior military officers often use high-level wargames to validate key war plans and operational concepts. Yet most exercises and simulations deliberately avoid removing senior commanders from the battlefield, which reinforces the flawed notion that they will always be in charge. This problem also extends to the tactical level, where commanders of brigades, divisions, and corps are rarely assessed as casualties. Exercises at all levels need to regularly include scenarios where one or more senior commanders are killed or incapacitated, to test succession plans and to ensure that subordinates gain valuable leadership experience.
  4. Further decentralize battlefield command and control. The military chain of command necessarily relies upon centralized control, with commanders directing the actions of their subordinates. The U.S. military does decentralize some authority through concepts like mission command , which empower subordinates to make independent decisions about the best ways to achieve the commander's overall intent. Yet as we've written extensively elsewhere , the military's growing culture of compliance and risk aversion already undermines this critical principle, and modern command and control systems make it far too easy for senior commanders to intervene in routine tactical operations. In an environment where senior commanders can be individually targeted and killed, truly decentralized authority becomes absolutely vital -- and even efforts to reinvigorate mission command may no longer be sufficient. One recent article, for example, called for an entirely new, bottom-up approach to command and control that would build resilience and speed by reducing the reliance on a small number of increasingly vulnerable senior leaders.

The U.S. government needs to acknowledge that its senior leaders are becoming more vulnerable to targeted attacks, and that the Soleimani attack will only accelerate the determination of U.S. adversaries to be able to conduct similar attacks themselves. Yet threats like this are too easily discounted or ignored until it is too late. The U.S. government must recognize the grave dangers of this threat before it occurs. It needs to protect its senior officials more effectively, and ensure that the military chain of command will continue to function effectively after one or more commanders are killed by a targeted strike.

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Lt. Gen. David W. Barno, U.S. Army (ret.) and Dr. Nora Bensahel are visiting professors of strategic studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and senior fellows at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies. They are also contributing editors at War on the Rocks , where their column appears monthly. Sign up for Barno and Bensahel's Strategic Outpost newsletter to track their articles as well as their public events.

Editor's Note: Due to an internal error, we published the near-final version of this article rather than the final version. While the differences between the two drafts are minor, we apologize for the error and have fixed our mistake. The final version of this article is now published below.

I

[Jan 26, 2020] The Collapse of Neoliberalism by Ganesh Sitaraman

Highly recommended!
From the book The Great Democracy by Ganesh Sitaraman.
This is a very valuable article, probably the best written in 2019 on the topic, that discusses several important aspects of neoliberalism better then its predecessors...
Notable quotes:
"... For some, and especially for those in the millennial generation, the Great Recession and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started a process of reflection on what the neoliberal era had delivered. ..."
"... neoliberal policies had already wreaked havoc around the world ..."
"... "excessively rapid financial and capital market liberalization was probably the single most important cause of the crisis"; he also notes that after the crisis, the International Monetary Fund's policies "exacerbated the downturns." ..."
"... In study after study, political scientists have shown that the U.S. government is highly responsive to the policy preferences of the wealthiest people, corporations, and trade associations -- and that it is largely unresponsive to the views of ordinary people. The wealthiest people, corporations, and their interest groups participate more in politics, spend more on politics, and lobby governments more. Leading political scientists have declared that the U.S. is no longer best characterized as a democracy or a republic but as an oligarchy -- a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. ..."
"... Neoliberalism's war on "society," by pushing toward the privatization and marketization of everything, indirectly facilitates a retreat into tribalism. ..."
"... neoliberalism's radical individualism has increasingly raised two interlocking problems. First, when taken to an extreme, social fracturing into identity groups can be used to divide people and prevent the creation of a shared civic identity. ..."
"... Demagogues rely on this fracturing to inflame racial, nationalist, and religious antagonism, which only further fuels the divisions within society. Neoliberalism's war on "society," by pushing toward the privatization and marketization of everything, thus indirectly facilitates a retreat into tribalism that further undermines the preconditions for a free and democratic society. ..."
"... The second problem is that neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy. ..."
"... They thought globalization was inevitable and that ever-expanding trade liberalization was desirable even if the political system never corrected for trade's winners and losers. They were wrong. These aren't minor mistakes. ..."
"... In spite of these failures, most policymakers did not have a new ideology or different worldview through which to comprehend the problems of this time. So, by and large, the collective response was not to abandon neoliberalism. After the Great Crash of 2008, neoliberals chafed at attempts to push forward aggressive Keynesian spending programs to spark demand. President Barack Obama's advisers shrank the size of the post-crash stimulus package for fear it would seem too large to the neoliberal consensus of the era -- and on top of that, they compromised on its content. ..."
"... When it came to affirmative, forward-looking policy, the neoliberal framework also remained dominant. ..."
"... It is worth emphasizing that Obamacare's central feature is a private marketplace in which people can buy their own health care, with subsidies for individuals who are near the poverty line ..."
"... Fearful of losing their seats, centrists extracted these concessions from progressives. Little good it did them. The president's party almost always loses seats in midterm elections, and this time was no different. For their caution, centrists both lost their seats and gave Americans fewer and worse health care choices. ..."
"... The Republican Party platform in 2012, for example, called for weaker Wall Street, environmental, and worker safety regulations; lower taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals; and further liberalization of trade. It called for abolishing federal student loans, in addition to privatizing rail, western lands, airport security, and the post office. Republicans also continued their support for cutting health care and retirement security. After 40 years moving in this direction -- and with it failing at every turn -- you might think they would change their views. But Republicans didn't, and many still haven't. ..."
"... Although neoliberalism had little to offer, in the absence of a new ideological framework, it hung over the Obama presidency -- but now in a new form. Many on the center-left adopted what we might call the "technocratic ideology," a rebranded version of the policy minimalism of the 1990s that replaced minimalism's tactical and pragmatic foundations with scientific ones. The term itself is somewhat oxymoronic, as technocrats seem like the opposite of ideologues. ..."
"... The technocratic ideology preserves the status quo with a variety of tactics. We might call the first the "complexity canard." ..."
"... The most frequent uses of this tactic are in sectors that economists have come to dominate -- international trade, antitrust, and financial regulation, for example. The result of this mind-set is that bold, structural reforms are pushed aside and highly technical changes adopted instead. Financial regulation provides a particularly good case, given the 2008 crash and the Great Recession. When it came time to establish a new regulatory regime for the financial sector, there wasn't a massive restructuring, despite the biggest crash in 70 years. ..."
"... Instead, for the most part, the Dodd-Frank Act was classically technocratic. It kept the sector basically the same, with a few tweaks here and there. There was no attempt to restructure the financial sector completely. ..."
"... The Volcker Rule, for example, sought to ban banks from proprietary trading. But instead of doing that through a simple, clean breakup rule (like the one enacted under the old Glass-Steagall regime), the Volcker Rule was subject to a multitude of exceptions and carve-outs -- measures that federal regulators were then required to explain and implement with hundreds of pages of technical regulations ..."
"... Dodd-Frank also illustrates a second tenet of the technocratic ideology: The failures of technocracy can be solved by more technocracy. ..."
"... Dodd-Frank created the Financial Stability Oversight Council, a government body tasked with what is called macroprudential regulation. What this means is that government regulators are supposed to monitor the entire economy and turn the dials of regulation up and down a little bit to keep the economy from another crash. But ask yourself this: Why would we ever believe they could do such a thing? We know those very same regulators failed to identify, warn about, or act on the 2008 crisis. ..."
"... In the first stage, neoliberalism gained traction in response to the crises of the 1970s. It is easy to think of Thatcherism and Reaganism as emerging fully formed, springing from Zeus's head like the goddess Athena. ..."
"... Early leaders were not as ideologically bold as later mythmakers think. In the second stage, neoliberalism became normalized. It persisted beyond the founding personalities -- and, partly because of its longevity in power, grew so dominant that the other side adopted it. ..."
"... Eventually, however, the neoliberal ideology extended its tentacles into every area of policy and even social life, and in its third stage, overextended. The result in economic policy was the Great Crash of 2008, economic stagnation, and inequality at century-high levels. In foreign policy, it was the disastrous Iraq War and ongoing chaos and uncertainty in the Middle East. ..."
"... The fourth and final stage is collapse, irrelevance, and a wandering search for the future. With the world in crisis, neoliberalism no longer has even plausible solutions to today's problems. ..."
"... The solutions of the neoliberal era offer no serious ideas for how to restitch the fraying social fabric, in which people are increasingly tribal, divided, and disconnected from civic community ..."
Dec 23, 2019 | newrepublic.com
Welcome to the Decade From Hell , our look back at an arbitrary 10-year period that began with a great outpouring of hope and ended in a cavalcade of despair. The long-dominant ideology brought us forever wars, the Great Recession, and extreme inequality. Good riddance.

With the 2008 financial crash and the Great Recession, the ideology of neoliberalism lost its force. The approach to politics, global trade, and social philosophy that defined an era led not to never-ending prosperity but utter disaster. "Laissez-faire is finished," declared French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan admitted in testimony before Congress that his ideology was flawed. In an extraordinary statement, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd declared that the crash "called into question the prevailing neoliberal economic orthodoxy of the past 30 years -- the orthodoxy that has underpinned the national and global regulatory frameworks that have so spectacularly failed to prevent the economic mayhem which has been visited upon us."

... ... ...

[Jan 25, 2020] Aftermath: The Iran War After the Soleimani Assassination by Jim Kavanagh

Notable quotes:
"... It always goes to Iran ..."
"... But even I was flabbergasted by what Trump did. Absolutely gobsmacked. Killing Qassem Soleimani, Iranian general, leader of the Quds forces, and the most respected military leader in the Middle East? And ..."
"... The first thing, the thing that is so sad and so infuriating and so centrally symptomatic of everything wrong with American political culture, is that, with painfully few exceptions, Americans have no idea of what their government has done. They have no idea who Qassem Soleimani was, what he has accomplished, the web of relationships, action, and respect he has built, what his assassination means and will bring. The last person who has any clue about this, of course, is Donald Trump, who called Soleimani " a total monster ." His act of killing Soleimani is the apotheosis of the abysmal, arrogant ignorance of U.S. political culture. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Whatever their elected governments say, we'll will keep our army in Syria to "take the oil," and in Iraq to well, to do whatever the hell we want. ..."
"... Sure, we make the rules and you follow our orders. ..."
"... with nobody even noticing ..."
"... Christian Science Monitor ..."
"... under Trump's leadership ..."
Jan 24, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

"Praise be to God, who made our enemies fools."

Ayatollah Khamenei

The Killing

I've been writing and speaking for months about the looming danger of war with Iran, often to considerable skepticism.

In June, in an essay entitled " Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back ," after the U.S. initiated its "maximum pressure" blockade of Iranian oil exports, I pointed out that "Iran considers that it is already at war," and that the downing of the U.S. drone was a sign that "Iran is calling the U.S. bluff on escalation dominance."

In an October essay , I pointed out that Trump's last-minute calling off of the U.S. attack on Iran in June, his demurral again after the Houthi attack on Saudi oil facilities, and his announced withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria were seen as "catastrophic" and "a big win for Iran" by the Iran hawks in Israel and America whose efforts New York Times (NYT) detailed in an important article, " The Secret History of the Push to Strike Iran ." I said, with emphasis, " It always goes to Iran ," and underlined that Trump's restraint was particularly galling to hard-line zionist Republican Senators, and might have opened a path to impeachment. I cited the reported statement of a "veteran political consultant" that "The price of [Lindsey] Graham's support would be an eventual military strike on Iran."

And in the middle of December, I went way out on a limb, in an essay suggesting a possible relation between preparations for war in Iran and the impeachment process. I pointed out that the strategic balance of forces between Israel and Iran had reached the point where Israel thinks it's "necessary to take Iran down now ," in "the next six months," before the Iranian-supported Axis of Resistance accrues even more power. I speculated that the need to have a more reliable and internationally-respected U.S. President fronting a conflict with Iran might be the unseen reason -- behind the flimsy Articles of Impeachment -- that explains why Pelosi and Schumer "find it so urgent to replace Trump before the election and why they think they can succeed in doing that."

So, I was the guy chicken-littling about impending war with Iran.

But even I was flabbergasted by what Trump did. Absolutely gobsmacked. Killing Qassem Soleimani, Iranian general, leader of the Quds forces, and the most respected military leader in the Middle East? And Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, Iraqi commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) unit, Kataib Hezbollah? Did not see that coming. Rage. Fear. Sadness. Anxiety. A few days just to register that it really happened. To see the millions of people bearing witness to it. Yes, that happened.

Then there was the anxious anticipation about the Iranian response, which came surprisingly quickly, and with admirable military and political precision, avoiding a large-scale war in the region, for the moment.

That was the week that was.

But, as the man said: "It ain't over 'til it's over." And it ain't over. Recognizing the radical uncertainty of the world we now live in, and recognizing that its future will be determined by actors and actions far away from the American leftist commentariat, here's what I need to say about the war we are now in.

The first thing, the thing that is so sad and so infuriating and so centrally symptomatic of everything wrong with American political culture, is that, with painfully few exceptions, Americans have no idea of what their government has done. They have no idea who Qassem Soleimani was, what he has accomplished, the web of relationships, action, and respect he has built, what his assassination means and will bring. The last person who has any clue about this, of course, is Donald Trump, who called Soleimani " a total monster ." His act of killing Soleimani is the apotheosis of the abysmal, arrogant ignorance of U.S. political culture.

It's virtually impossible to explain to Americans because there is no one of comparable stature in the U.S. or in the West today. As Iran cleric Shahab Mohadi said , when talking about what a "proportional response" might be: "[W]ho should we consider to take out in the context of America? 'Think about it. Are we supposed to take out Spider-Man and SpongeBob? 'All of their heroes are cartoon characters -- they're all fictional." Trump? Lebanese Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah said what many throughout the world familiar with both of them would agree with: "the shoe of Qassem Soleimani is worth the head of Trump and all American leaders."

To understand the respect Soleimani has earned, not only in Iran (where his popularity was around 80% ) but throughout the region and across political and sectarian lines, you have to know how he led and organized the forces that helped save Christians , Kurds , Yazidis and others from being slaughtered by ISIS, while Barack Obama and John Kerry were still " watching " ISIS advance and using it as a tool to "manage" their war against Assad.

In an informative interview with Aaron Maté, Former Marine Intelligence Officer and weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, explains how Soleimani is honored in Iraq for organizing the resistance that saved Baghdad from being overrun by ISIS -- and the same could be said of Syria, Damascus, or Ebril:

He's a legend in Iran, in Iraq, and in Syria. And anywhere where, frankly speaking, he's operated, the people he's worked with view him as one of the greatest leaders, thinkers, most humane men of all time. I know in America we demonize him as a terrorist but the fact is he wasn't, and neither is Mr. Mohandes.

When ISIS [was] driving down on the city of Baghdad, the U.S. armed and trained Iraqi Army had literally thrown down their weapons and ran away, and there was nothing standing between ISIS and Baghdad

[Soleimani] came in from Iran and led the creation of the PMF [Popular Mobilization Forces] as a viable fighting force and then motivated them to confront Isis in ferocious hand-to-hand combat in villages and towns outside of Baghdad, driving Isis back and stabilizing the situation that allowed the United States to come in and get involved in the Isis fight. But if it weren't for Qassem Soleimani and Mohandes and Kataib Hezbollah, Baghdad might have had the black flag of ISIS flying over it. So the Iraqi people haven't forgotten who stood up and defended Baghdad from the scourge of ISIS.

So, to understand Soleimani in Western terms, you'd have to evoke someone like World War II Eisenhower (or Marshall Zhukov, but that gets another blank stare from Americans.) Think I'm exaggerating? Take it from the family of the Shah :

Beyond his leadership of the fight against ISIS, you also have to understand Soleimani's strategic acumen in building the Axis of Resistance -- the network of armed local groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as the PMF in Iraq, that Soleimani helped organize and provide with growing military capability. Soleimani meant standing up; he helped people throughout the region stand up to the shit the Americans, Israelis, and Saudis were constantly dumping on them

More apt than Eisenhower and De Gaulle, in world-historical terms, try something like Saladin meets Che. What a tragedy, and travesty, it is that legend-in-his-own-mind Donald Trump killed this man.

Dressed to Kill

But it is not just Trump, and not just the assassination of Soleimani, that we should focus on. These are actors and events within an ongoing conflict with Iran, which was ratcheted up when the U.S. renounced the nuclear deal (JCPOA – Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and instituted a "maximum pressure" campaign of economic and financial sanctions on Iran and third countries, designed to drive Iran's oil exports to zero.

The purpose of this blockade is to create enough social misery to force Iran into compliance, or provoke Iran into military action that would elicit a "justifiable" full-scale, regime-change -- actually state-destroying -- military attack on the country.

From its inception, Iran has correctly understood this blockade as an act of war, and has rightfully expressed its determination to fight back. Though it does not want a wider war, and has so far carefully calibrated its actions to avoid making it necessary, Iran will fight back however it deems necessary.

The powers-that-be in Iran and the U.S. know they are at war, and that the Soleimani assassination ratcheted that state of war up another significant notch; only Panglossian American pundits think the "w" state is yet to be avoided. Sorry, but the United States drone-bombed an Iranian state official accompanied by an Iraqi state official, in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi Prime Minister, on a conflict-resolution mission requested by Donald Trump himself. In anybody's book, that is an act of war -- and extraordinary treachery, even in wartime, the equivalent of shooting someone who came to parley under a white flag.

Indeed, we now know that the assassination of Soleimani was only one of two known assassination attempts against senior Iranian officers that day. There was also an unsuccessful strike targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, another key commander in Iran's Quds Force who has been active in Yemen. According to the Washington Post , this marked a "departure for the Pentagon's mission in Yemen, which has sought to avoid direct involvement" or make "any publicly acknowledged attacks on Houthi or Iranian leaders in Yemen."

Of course, because it's known as "the world's worst humanitarian crisis," the Pentagon wants to avoid "publicly" bloodying its hands in the Saudi war in Yemen. Through two presidential administrations, it has been trying to minimize attention to its indispensable support of, and presence in, Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen with drone strikes , special forces operations , refueling of aircraft, and intelligence and targeting. It's such a nasty business that even the U.S. Congress passed a bipartisan resolution to end U.S. military involvement in that war, which was vetoed by Trump.

According to the ethic and logic of American exceptionalism, Iran is forbidden from helping the Houthis, but the U.S. is allowed to assassinate their advisors and help the Saudis bomb the crap out of them.

So, the Trump administration is clearly engaged in an organized campaign to take out senior Iranian leaders, part of what it considers a war against Iran. In this war, the Trump administration no longer pretends to give a damn about any fig leaf of law or ethics. Nobody takes seriously the phony "imminence" excuse for killing Soleimani, which even Trump say s "doesn't matter," or the "bloody hands" justification, which could apply to any military commander. And let's not forget: Soleimani was " talking about bad stuff ."

The U.S. is demonstrating outright contempt for any framework of respectful international relations, let alone international law. National sovereignty? Democracy? Whatever their elected governments say, we'll will keep our army in Syria to "take the oil," and in Iraq to well, to do whatever the hell we want. "Rules-based international order"? Sure, we make the rules and you follow our orders.

The U.S.'s determination to stay in Iraq, in defiance of the explicit, unequivocal demand of the friendly democratic government that the U.S. itself supposedly invaded the country to install, is particularly significant. It draws the circle nicely. It demonstrates that the Iraq war isn't over. Because it, and the wars in Libya and Syria, and the war that's ratcheting up against Iran are all the same war that the U.S. has been waging in the Middle East since 2003. In the end is the beginning, and all that.

We're now in the endgame of the serial offensive that Wesley Clark described in 2007, starting with Iraq and "finishing off" with Iran. Since the U.S. has attacked, weakened, divided, or destroyed every other un-coopted polity in the region (Iraq, Syria, Libya) that could pose any serious resistance to the predations of U.S. imperialism and Israel colonialism, it has fallen to Iran to be the last and best source of material and military support which allows that resistance to persist.

And Iran has taken up the task, through the work of the Quds Force under leaders like Soleimani and Shahlai, the work of building a new Axis of Resistance with the capacity to resist the dictates of Israel and the U.S. throughout the region. It's work that is part of a war and will result in casualties among U.S. and U.S.-allied forces and damage to their "interests."

What the U.S. (and its wards, Israel and Saudi Arabia) fears most is precisely the kind of material, technical, and combat support and training that allows the Houthis to beat back the Saudis and Americans in Yemen, and retaliate with stunningly accurate blows on crucial oil facilities in Saudi Arabia itself. The same kind of help that Soleimani gave to the armed forces of Syria and the PMF in Iraq to prevent those countries from being overrun and torn apart by the U.S. army and its sponsored jihadis, and to Hezbollah in Lebanon to deter Israel from demolishing and dividing that country at will.

It's that one big "endless" war that's been waged by every president since 2003, which American politicians and pundits have been scratching their heads and squeezing their brains to figure out how to explain, justify (if it's their party's President in charge), denounce (if it's the other party's POTUS), or just bemoan as "senseless." But to the neocons who are driving it and their victims -- it makes perfect sense and is understood to have been largely a success. Only the befuddled U.S. media and the deliberately-deceived U.S. public think it's "senseless," and remain enmired in the cock-up theory of U.S. foreign policy, which is a blindfold we had better shed before being led to the next very big slaughter.

The one big war makes perfect sense when one understands that the United States has thoroughly internalized Israel's interests as its own. That this conflation has been successfully driven by a particular neocon faction, and that it is excessive, unnecessary and perhaps disruptive to other effective U.S. imperial possibilities, is demonstrated precisely by the constant plaint from non-neocon, including imperialist, quarters that it's all so "senseless."

The result is that the primary object of U.S. policy (its internalized zionist imperative) in this war is to enforce that Israel must be able, without any threat of serious retaliation, to carry out any military attack on any country in the region at any time, to seize any territory and resources (especially water) it needs, and, of course, to impose any level of colonial violence against Palestinians -- from home demolitions, to siege and sniper killings (Gaza), to de jure as well as de facto apartheid and eventual further mass expulsions, if deems necessary.

That has required, above all, removing -- by co-option, regime change, or chaotogenic sectarian warfare and state destruction -- any strong central governments that have provided political, diplomatic, financial, material, and military support for the Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonialism. Iran is the last of those, has been growing in strength and influence, and is therefore the next mandatory target.

For all the talk of "Iranian proxies," I'd say, if anything, that the U.S., with its internalized zionist imperative, is effectively acting as Israel's proxy.

It's also important, I think, to clarify the role of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in this policy. KSA is absolutely a very important player in this project, which has been consistent with its interests. But its (and its oil's) influence on the U.S. is subsidiary to Israel's, and depends entirely on KSA's complicity with the Israeli agenda. The U.S. political establishment is not overwhelmingly committed to Saudi/Wahhabi policy imperatives -- as a matter, they think, of virtue -- as they are to Israeli/Zionist ones. It is inconceivable that a U.S. Vice-President would declare "I am a Wahhabi," or a U.S. President say "I would personally grab a rifle, get in a ditch, and fight and die" for Saudi Arabia -- with nobody even noticing . The U.S. will turn on a dime against KSA if Israel wants it; the reverse would never happen. We have to confront the primary driver of this policy if we are to defeat it, and too many otherwise superb analysts, like Craig Murray, are mistaken and diversionary, I think, in saying things like the assassination of Soleimani and the drive for war on Iran represent the U.S. " doubling down on its Saudi allegiance ." So, sure, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Batman and Robin.

Iran has quite clearly seen and understood what's unfolding, and has prepared itself for the finale that is coming its way.

The final offensive against Iran was supposed to follow the definitive destruction of the Syrian Baathist state, but that project was interrupted (though not yet abandoned) by the intervention of Syria's allies, Russia and Iran -- the latter precisely via the work of Soleimani and the Quds Force.

Current radical actions like the two assassination strikes against Iranian Quds Force commanders signal the Trump administration jumping right to the endgame, as that neocon hawks have been " agitating for ." The idea -- borrowed, perhaps from Israel's campaign of assassinating Iranian scientists -- is that killing off the key leaders who have supplied and trained the Iranian-allied networks of resistance throughout the region will hobble any strike from those networks if/when the direct attack on Iran comes.

Per Patrick Lawrence , the Soleimani assassination "was neither defensive nor retaliatory: It reflected the planning of the administration's Iran hawks, who were merely awaiting the right occasion to take their next, most daring step toward dragging the U.S. into war with Iran." It means that war is on and it will get worse fast.

It is crucial to understand that Iran is not going to passively submit to any such bullying. It will not be scared off by some "bloody nose" strike, followed by chest-thumping from Trump, Netanyahu, or Hillary about how they will " obliterate " Iran. Iran knows all that. It also knows, as I've said before , how little damage -- especially in terms of casualties -- Israel and the U.S. can take. It will strike back. In ways that will be calibrated as much as possible to avoid a larger war, but it will strike back.

Iran's strike on Ain al-Asad base in Iraq was a case in point. It was preceded by a warning through Iraq that did not specify the target but allowed U.S. personnel in the country to hunker down. It also demonstrated deadly precision and determination, hitting specific buildings where U.S. troops work, and, we now know, causing at least eleven acknowledged casualties.

Those casualties were minor, but you can bet they would have been the excuse for a large-scale attack, if the U.S. had been entirely unafraid of the response. In fact, Trump did launch that attack over the downing of a single unmanned drone -- and Pompeo and the neocon crew, including Republican Senators, were " stunned " that he called it off in literally the last ten minutes . It's to the eternal shame of what's called the "left" in this country that we may have Tucker Carlson to thank for Trump's bouts of restraint.

There Will Be Blood

But this is going to get worse, Pompeo is now threatening Iran's leaders that "any attacks by them, or their proxies of any identity, that harm Americans, our allies, or our interests will be answered with a decisive U.S. response." Since Iran has ties of some kind with most armed groups in the region and the U.S. decides what "proxy" and "interests" means, that means that any act of resistance to the U.S., Israel, or other "ally" by anybody -- including, for example, the Iraqi PMF forces who are likely to retaliate against the U.S. for killing their leader -- will be an excuse for attacking Iran. Any anything. Call it an omnibus threat.

The groundwork for a final aggressive push against Iran began back in June, 2017, when, under then-Director Pompeo, the CIA set up a stand-alone Iran Mission Center . That Center replaced a group of "Iran specialists who had no special focus on regime change in Iran," because "Trump's people wanted a much more focused and belligerent group." The purpose of this -- as of any -- Mission Center was to "elevate" the country as a target and "bring to bear the range of the agency's capabilities, including covert action" against Iran. This one is especially concerned with Iran's "increased capacity to deliver missile systems" to Hezbollah or the Houthis that could be used against Israel or Saudi Arabia, and Iran's increased strength among the Shia militia forces in Iraq. The Mission Center is headed by Michael D'Andrea, who is perceived as having an "aggressive stance toward Iran." D'Andrea, known as "the undertaker" and " Ayatollah Mike ," is himself a convert to Islam, and notorious for his "central role in the agency's torture and targeted killing programs."

This was followed in December, 2017, by the signing of a pact with Israel "to take on Iran," which took place, according to Israeli television, at a "secret" meeting at the White House. This pact was designed to coordinate "steps on the ground" against "Tehran and its proxies." The biggest threats: "Iran's ballistic missile program and its efforts to build accurate missile systems in Syria and Lebanon," and its activity in Syria and support for Hezbollah. The Israelis considered that these secret "dramatic understandings" would have "far greater impact" on Israel than Trump's more public and notorious recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli's capital.

The Iran Mission Center is a war room. The pact with Israel is a war pact.

The U.S. and Israeli governments are out to "take on" Iran. Their major concerns, repeated everywhere, are Iran's growing military power, which underlies its growing political influence -- specifically its precision ballistic missile and drone capabilities, which it is sharing with its allies throughout the region, and its organization of those armed resistance allies, which is labelled "Iranian aggression."

These developments must be stopped because they provide Iran and other actors the ability to inflict serious damage on Israel. They create the unacceptable situation where Israel cannot attack anything it wants without fear of retaliation. For some time, Israel has been reluctant to take on Hezbollah in Lebanon, having already been driven back by them once because the Israelis couldn't take the casualties in the field. Now Israel has to worry about an even more battle-hardened Hezbollah, other well-trained and supplied armed groups, and those damn precision missiles . One cannot overstress how important those are, and how adamant the U.S. and Israel are that Iran get rid of them. As another Revolutionary Guard commander says : "Iran has encircled Israel from all four sides if only one missile hits the occupied lands, Israeli airports will be filled with people trying to run away from the country."

This campaign is overseen in the U.S. by the likes of " praying for war with Iran " Christian Zionists Mike Pompeo and Mike Pence, who together " urged " Trump to approve the killing of Soleimani. Pence, whom the Democrats are trying to make President, is associated with Christians United For Israel (CUFI), which paid for his and his wife's pilgrimage to Israel in 2014, and is run by lunatic televangelist John Hagee, whom even John McCain couldn't stomach. Pompeo, characterized as the "brainchild" of the assassination, thinks Trump was sent by God to save Israel from Iran. (Patrick Lawrence argues the not-implausible case that Pompeo and Defense Secretary Esper ordered the assassination and stuck Trump with it.) No Zionists are more fanatical than Christian Zionists. These guys are not going to stop.

And Iran is not going to surrender. Iran is no longer afraid of the escalation dominance game. Do not be fooled by peace-loving illusions -- propagated mainly now by mealy-mouthed European and Democratic politicians -- that Iran will return to what's described as "unconditional" negotiations, which really means negotiating under the absolutely unacceptable condition of economic blockade, until the U.S. gets what it wants. Not gonna happen. Iran's absolutely correct condition for any negotiation with the U.S. is that the U.S. return to the JCPOA and lift all sanctions.

Also not gonna happen, though any real peace-loving Democratic candidate would specifically and unequivocally commit to doing just that if elected. The phony peace-loving poodles of Britain, France, and Germany (the EU3) have already cast their lot with the aggressive American policy, triggering a dispute mechanism that will almost certainly result in a " snapback " of full UN sanctions on Iran within 65 days, and destroy the JCPOA once and for all. Because, they, too, know Iran's nuclear weapons program is a fake issue and have "always searched for ways to put more restrictions on Iran, especially on its ballistic missile program." Israel can have all the nuclear weapons it wants, but Iran must give up those conventional ballistic missiles. Cannot overstate their importance.

Iran is not going to submit to any of this. The only way Iran is going to part with its ballistic missiles is by using them. The EU3 maneuver will not only end the JCPOA, it may drive Iran out of the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). As Moon of Alabama says, the EU3 gambit is "not designed to reach an agreement but to lead to a deeper conflict" and ratchet the war up yet another notch. The Trump administration and its European allies are -- as FDR did to Japan -- imposing a complete economic blockade that Iran will have to find a way to break out of. It's deliberately provocative, and makes the outbreak of a regional/world war more likely. Which is its purpose.

This certainly marks the Trump administration as having crossed a war threshold the Obama administration avoided. Credit due to Obama for forging ahead with the JCPOA in the face of fierce resistance from Netanyahu and his Republican and Democratic acolytes, like Chuck Schumer. But that deal itself was built upon false premises and extraordinary conditions and procedures that -- as the current actions of the EU3 demonstrate -- made it a trap for Iran.

With his Iran policy, as with Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, what Trump is doing -- and can easily demonstrate -- is taking to its logical and deadly conclusion the entire imperialist-zionist conception of the Middle East, which all major U.S. politicians and media have embraced and promulgated over decades, and cannot abandon.

With the Soleimani assassination, Trump both allayed some of the fears of Iran war hawks in Israel and the U.S. about his "reluctance to flex U.S. military muscle" and re-stoked all their fears about his impulsiveness, unreliability, ignorance, and crassness. As the the Christian Science Monitor reports, Israel leaders are both "quick to praise" his action and "having a crisis of confidence" over Trump's ability to "manage" a conflict with Iran -- an ambivalence echoed in every U.S. politician's "Soleimani was a terrorist, but " statement.

Trump does exactly what the narrative they all promote demands, but he makes it look and sound all thuggish and scary. They want someone whose rhetorical finesse will talk us into war on Iran as a humanitarian and liberating project. But we should be scared and repelled by it. The problem isn't the discrepancy in Trump between actions and attitudes, but the duplicity in the fundamental imperialist-zionist narrative. There is no "good" -- non-thuggish, non-repellent way -- way to do the catastrophic violence it demands. Too many people discover that only after it's done.

Trump, in other words, has just started a war that the U.S. political elite constantly brought us to the brink of, and some now seem desperate to avoid, under Trump's leadership . But not a one will abandon the zionist and American-exceptionalist premises that make it inevitable -- about, you know, dictating what weapons which countries can "never" have. Hoisted on their own petard. As are we all.

To be clear: Iran will try its best to avoid all-out war. The U.S. will not. This is the war that, as the NYT reports , "Hawks in Israel and America have spent more than a decade agitating for." It will start, upon some pretext, with a full-scale U.S. air attack on Iran, followed by Iranian and allied attacks on U.S. forces and allies in the region, including Israel, and then an Israeli nuclear attack on Iran -- which they think will end it. It is an incomprehensible disaster. And it's becoming almost impossible to avoid.

The best prospect for stopping it would be for Iran and Russia to enter into a mutual defense treaty right now. But that's not going to happen. Neither Russia nor China is going to fight for Iran. Why would they? They will sit back and watch the war destroy Iran, Israel, and the United States.

Happy New Year.

[Jan 25, 2020] It's Time to Get Out of Iraq by Daniel Larison

Jan 24, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
There are massive street demonstrations in Baghdad today calling for the exit of U.S. troops from the country. The demonstrations are in response to call for protests from Muqtada al-Sadr. Estimates of the crowd size vary, but it is a huge turnout of Iraqis that wants us gone:

100's of thousands protest in Baghdad, calling for all US troops to leave Iraq, close all bases & embassies, if they don't they will be considered an occupying force. pic.twitter.com/C3CqBqpxyD

-- Ali Arouzi (@aliarouzi) January 24, 2020

Some more photos of the march by Sadrists today in Baghdad, the turnout is huge by any measure, perhaps the largest in #Baghdad so far, and perhaps the most noticeable aspect is the lack of violence and troubles despite the scale of it #IraqProtests #Iraq #US pic.twitter.com/2xXGk2dSVY

-- Farhad Alaaldin (@farhad965) January 24, 2020

Baghdad today. pic.twitter.com/RlVU5K1RnP

-- мυнαммα∂ αℓ-ωαєℓι 🇮🇶 (@muhammadalwaeli) January 24, 2020

The Trump administration has violated Iraqi sovereignty earlier this month by taking military action inside Iraq against both Iraqis militias and the Iranian government without Baghdad's consent, and their government wants our forces out of the country. Sadr has considerable influence in Iraqi politics, and he has wanted U.S. forces out for a long time. When opponents of our military presence can organize such huge popular demonstrations, it is time for us to go. The U.S. should have withdrawn from Iraq years ago, and it would have been better to leave on our own terms. Now the U.S. cannot stay without provoking armed opposition from Iraqis to our continued presence.

So far the administration position has been to threaten Iraq with punishment for upholding its own sovereignty. That's a disgraceful and imperialist position to take, and it is also an untenable one. There have been enough American wars in Iraq. Trump should yield to the Iraqi government's wishes and bring these troops home before any more Americans are injured or killed as a result of his destructive Iran policy.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter . email

ZizaNiam a day ago

AP tried to downplay the protests, reporting only 'hundreds. There must be close to a million people out there (as reported by the Baghdad Chief of Police) and the fact that Sadr and the other Iraqi Shia militias can organize this massive demonstrations proves that the assassination of Soleimani, the protector of Syria and Iraq's Christians, did absolutely nothing to drive a wedge between the various Iraqi Shia militia groups, the vast majority of which are not Iranian sponsored but true Iraqi national patriots.
Barlaam of Weimerica a day ago
There is never a bad time to leave a country that we never should have invaded and occupied. Not that I expect wisdom, common sense,or basic morality from a foreign policy establishment that formulated a strategy for the Middle East, saw that it would entail the genocide of Christians, Yezidis, and other minorities, and decided, "That's a price worth paying."

[Jan 25, 2020] Trump opened a modern Pandora box in the Middle East

Jan 25, 2020 | www.theatlantic.com

In 1958, U.S. leaders stood at the threshold of an American era in the Middle East, conflicted about whether it was worth the trouble to usher in.

... ... ...

More than half a century later, the future of the United States' military presence in the Middle East is once again up for discussion, as Iraq calls on the U.S. to end its roughly 5,000-strong troop presence in the country and Trump struggles to remove American forces from Syria and Afghanistan as well. U.S. politicians are now grappling with the possibility of a post-American period in the region.

... ... ..

And even if Trump doesn't get his way entirely, he will undoubtedly seize on additional opportunities to reduce the American military presence in the Middle East, as fed-up Americans and progressive presidential candidates push in the same direction. When Eisenhower elected to open that "Pandora's Box" back in 1958, his justification was that it would be "disastrous" if "we don't."

Perhaps nothing signals the coming post-American era in the Middle East more than the fact that so many U.S. leaders these days fear the disastrous consequences of leaving the box open.

[Jan 24, 2020] It's amazing all the money in the State Department and other intelligence agencies should be attracting the best minds. Yet a bunch of us sitting here watching this from our boring office jobs realize how genuinely stupid US foreign policy has been.

Jan 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Danny , Jan 24 2020 15:11 utc | 25

It's amazing all the money in the State Department and other intelligence agencies should be attracting the best minds. Yet a bunch of us sitting here watching this from our boring office jobs realize how genuinely stupid US foreign policy has been.

A separate Sunni state in West Iraq would be doomed. We need to leave these people alone, we've made enough foolish mistakes and this will get a lot of people killed. That's along with US troops being put in harms way for ridiculous reasons like stealing Syrian oil and now occupying Iraq against their parliaments wishes.

Back in the day you told someone you were American and they wanted to shake your hand and ask you about this place or that. Now they want to spit in our faces

[Jan 24, 2020] How Are Iran and the "Axis of the Resistance" Affected by the US Assassination of Soleimani by Elijah J. Magnier

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The US President Donald Trump assassinated the commander of the "Axis of the Resistance", the (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC – Quds Brigade Major General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport with little consideration of the consequences of this targeted killing. It is not to be excluded that the US administration considered the assassination would reflect positively on its Middle Eastern policy. Or perhaps the US officials believed the killing of Sardar Soleimani would weaken the "Axis of the Resistance": once deprived of their leader, Iran's partners' capabilities in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen would be reduced. Is this assessment accurate? ..."
Jan 22, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca

The US President Donald Trump assassinated the commander of the "Axis of the Resistance", the (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC – Quds Brigade Major General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport with little consideration of the consequences of this targeted killing. It is not to be excluded that the US administration considered the assassination would reflect positively on its Middle Eastern policy. Or perhaps the US officials believed the killing of Sardar Soleimani would weaken the "Axis of the Resistance": once deprived of their leader, Iran's partners' capabilities in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen would be reduced. Is this assessment accurate?

A high-ranking source within this "Axis of the Resistance" said " Sardar Soleimani was the direct and fast track link between the partners of Iran and the Leader of the Revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei. However, the command on the ground belonged to the national leaders in every single separate country. These leaders have their leadership and practices, but common strategic objectives to fight against the US hegemony, stand up to the oppressors and to resist illegitimate foreign intervention in their affairs. These objectives have been in place for many years and will remain, with or without Sardar Soleimani".

"In Lebanon, Hezbollah's Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah leads Lebanon and is the one with a direct link to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He supports Gaza, Syria, Iraq and Yemen and has a heavy involvement in these fronts. However, he leads a large number of advisors and officers in charge of running all military, social and relationship affairs domestically and regionally. Many Iranian IRGC officers are also present on many of these fronts to support the needs of the "Axis of the Resistance" members in logistics, training and finance," said the source.

In Syria, IRGC officers coordinate with Russia, the Syrian Army, the Syrian political leadership and all Iran's allies fighting for the liberation of the country and for the defeat of the jihadists who flocked to Syria from all continents via Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. These officers have worked side by side with Iraqi, Lebanese, Syrian and other nationals who are part of the "Axis of the Resistance". They have offered the Syrian government the needed support to defeat the "Islamic State" (ISIS/IS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda and other jihadists or those of similar ideologies in most of the country – with the exception of north-east Syria, which is under US occupation forces. These IRGC officers have their objectives and the means to achieve a target already agreed and in place for years. The absence of Sardar Soleimani will hardly affect these forces and their plans.

In Iraq, over 100 Iranian IRGC officers have been operating in the country at the official request of the Iraqi government, to defeat ISIS. They served jointly with the Iraqi forces and were involved in supplying the country with weapons, intelligence and training after the fall of a third of Iraq into the hands of ISIS in mid-2014. It was striking and shocking to see the Iraqi Army, armed and trained by US forces for over ten years, abandoning its positions and fleeing the northern Iraqi cities. Iranian support with its robust ideology (with one of its allies, motivating them to fight ISIS) was efficient in Syria; thus, it was necessary to transmit this to the Iraqis so they could stand, fight, and defeat ISIS.

The Lebanese Hezbollah is present in Syria and Yemen, and also in Iraq. The Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki asked Sayyed Nasrallah to provide his country with officers to stand against ISIS. Dozens of Hezbollah officers operate in Iraq and will be ready to support the Iraqis if the US forces refuse to leave the country. They will abide by and enforce the decision of the Parliament that the US must leave by end January 2021. Hezbollah's long warfare experience has resulted in painful experiences with the US forces in Lebanon and Iraq throughout several decades and has not been forgotten.

Sayyed Nasrallah, in his latest speech, revealed the presence in mid-2014 of Hezbollah officials in Kurdistan to support the Iraqi Kurds against ISIS. This was when the same Kurdish Leader Masoud Barzani announced that it was due to Iran that the Kurds received weapons to defend themselves when the US refused to help Iraq for many months after ISIS expanded its control in northern Iraq.

The Hezbollah leaders did not disclose the continuous visits of Kurdish representatives to Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials. In fact, Iraqi Sunni and Shia officials, ministers and political leaders regularly visit Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials and its leader. Hezbollah, like Iran, plays an essential role in easing the dialogue between Iraqis when these find it difficult to overcome their differences together.

The reason why Sayyed Nasrallah revealed the presence of his officers in Kurdistan when meeting Masoud Barzani is a clear message to the world that the "Axis of the Resistance" doesn't depend on one single person. Indeed, Sayyed Nasrallah is showing the unity which reigns among this front, with or without Sardar Soleimani. Barzani is part of Iraq, and Kurdistan expressed its readiness to abide by the decision of the Iraqi Parliament to seek the US forces' departure from the country because the Kurds are not detached from the central government but part of it.

Prior to his assassination, Sardar Soleimani prepared the ground to be followed (if killed on the battlefield, for example) and asked Iranian officials to nominate General Ismail Qaani as his replacement. The Leader of the revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei ordered Soleimani's wish to be fulfilled and to keep the plans and objectives already in place as they were. Sayyed Khamenei, according to the source, ordered an "increase in support for the Palestinians and, in particular, to all allies where US forces are present."

Sardar Soleimani was looking for his death by his enemies and got what he wished for. He was aware that the "Axis of the Resistance" is highly aware of its objectives. Those among the "Axis of the Resistance" who have a robust internal front are well-established and on track. The problem was mainly in Iraq. But it seems the actions of the US have managed to bring Iraqi factions together- by assassinating the two commanders. Sardar Soleimani could have never expected a rapid achievement of this kind. Anti-US Iraqis are preparing this coming Friday to express their rejection of the US forces present in their country.

Sayyed Ali Khamenei , in his Friday prayers last week, the first for eight years, set up a road map for the "Axis of the Resistance": push the US forces out of the Middle East and support Palestine.

All Palestinian groups, including Hamas, were present at Sardar Soleimani's funeral in Iran and met with General Qaani who promised, "not only to continue support but to increase it according to Sayyed Khamenei's request," said the source. Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas Leader, said from Tehran: "Soleimani is the martyr of Jerusalem".

Many Iraqi commanders were present at the meeting with General Qaani. Most of these have a long record of hostility towards US forces in Iraq during the occupation period (2003-2011). Their commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, was assassinated with Sardar Soleimani and they are seeking revenge. Those leaders have enough motivation to attack the US forces, who have violated the Iraq-US training, cultural and armament agreement. At no time was the US administration given a license to kill in Iraq by the government of Baghdad.

The Iraqi Parliament has spoken: and the assassination of Sardar Soleimani has indeed fallen within the ultimate objectives of the "Axis of the Resistance". The Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister has officially informed all members of the Coalition Forces in Iraq that "their presence, including that of NATO, is now no longer required in Iraq". They have one year to leave. But that absolutely does not exclude the Iraqi need to avenge their commanders.

Palestine constitutes the second objective, as quoted by Sayyed Khamenei. We cannot exclude a considerable boost of support for the Palestinians, much more than the actually existing one. Iran is determined to support the Sunni Palestinians in their objective to have a state of their own in Palestine. The man – Soleimani – is gone and is replaceable like any other man: but the level of commitment to goals has increased. It is hard to imagine the "Axis of the Resistance" remaining idle without engaging themselves somehow in the US Presidential campaign. So, the remainder of 2020 is expected to be hot.

*

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[Jan 24, 2020] Trump Envoy Issues Death Threat to Soleimani Successor, Head of Iran's Quds Force

Jan 24, 2020 | ronpaulinstitute.org

21st Century Wire Thursday January 23, 2020
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Just when you thought that Washington could not sink any lower in the international diplomacy game, the Trump White House compounds its previous misdeed by issuing a public death threat against the successor of assassinated Quds Force General Qasem Soleimani.

Presidential US Special Envoy to Iran, Brian Hook, gave a statement to the Arabic language newspaper, Asharq al-Awsat , where he warned new General of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Esmail Ghaani, that he will end up like Soleimani should he be accused of killing any Americans, remarking that, "follows the same path of killing Americans then he will meet the same fate."

Soleimani was killed by a US drone strike on January 3 , along with senior Iraqi PMU commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Hook continued saying,"We will hold the regime and its agents responsible for any attack on Americans or American interests in the region."

Hook also went on to boast that Washington's state-sponsored assassination of Soleimani has made the Middle East a safer place because it has "create a vacuum that the Regime will not be able to fill," inferring that Ghaani will not be able to marshal "Iran's agents in the region".

Hook also repeated the common talking point that Soleimani was the 'world's most dangerous terrorist' – a label which hardly corresponds with facts which clearly demonstrate that the Iranian military leader was leading the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria.

In the interview, Hook also used the opportunity to reinforce another State Department narrative which still claims that Iran somehow launched the September attack on Saudi Arabia's Aramco oil facilities – even though the likely culprit, Yemen's Houthi rebel forces, had already taken credit for the attack.

Reprinted with permission from 21st Century Wire .

[Jan 24, 2020] Trump adopts Biden's Iraq plan.

Jan 24, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes

Backed into a corner and influence waning, the United States has in recent weeks been promoting a plan to create an autonomous Sunni region in western Iraq, officials from both countries told Middle East Eye.

The US efforts, the officials say, come in response to Shia Iraqi parties' attempts to expel American troops from their country.

Iraq represents a strategic land bridge between Iran and its allies in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.

Establishing a US-controlled Sunni buffer zone in western Iraq would deprive Iran of using land routes into Syria and prevent it from reaching the eastern shores of the Mediterranean.

For Washington, the idea of carving out a Sunni region dates back to a 2007 proposition by Joe Biden, who is now vying to be the Democratic Party's presidential candidate.

Biden's plan was actually an attempt to ethnically cleanse Iraq into three distinct enclaves (because an integrated, multicultural Iraq is anathema to the US colonial divide and conquer strategy).

Across racial and religious boundaries, Iraqi politicians on Saturday bemoaned Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama's choice of running mate, known in Iraq as the author of a 2006 plan to divide the country into ethnic and sectarian enclaves.

"This choice of Biden is disappointing, because he is the creator of the idea of dividing Iraq," Salih al-Mutlaq, head of National Dialogue, one of the main Sunni Arab blocs in parliament, told Reuters.

"We rejected his proposal when he announced it, and we still reject it. Dividing the communities and land in such a way would only lead to new fighting between people over resources and borders. Iraq cannot survive unless it is unified, and dividing it would keep the problems alive for a long time."

For all his brazen denials about his Iraq involvement, one wonders whether, if Joe Biden hadn't been selected Obama's Vice President, he might have eventually been named Iraq Viceroy.

Now Trump is adopting Biden's plan.

Same as it ever was.... up 12 users have voted. --

Tom Steyer is my favorite billionaire. Let's eat him last.

OzoneTom on Fri, 01/24/2020 - 1:51pm

All of Iraq was a Sunni buffer zone before the invasion /nt

@Not Henry Kissinger

From the link in b's post.

US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes

Backed into a corner and influence waning, the United States has in recent weeks been promoting a plan to create an autonomous Sunni region in western Iraq, officials from both countries told Middle East Eye.

The US efforts, the officials say, come in response to Shia Iraqi parties' attempts to expel American troops from their country.

Iraq represents a strategic land bridge between Iran and its allies in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.

Establishing a US-controlled Sunni buffer zone in western Iraq would deprive Iran of using land routes into Syria and prevent it from reaching the eastern shores of the Mediterranean.

For Washington, the idea of carving out a Sunni region dates back to a 2007 proposition by Joe Biden, who is now vying to be the Democratic Party's presidential candidate.

Biden's plan was actually an attempt to ethnically cleanse Iraq into three distinct enclaves (because an integrated, multicultural Iraq is anathema to the US colonial divide and conquer strategy).

Across racial and religious boundaries, Iraqi politicians on Saturday bemoaned Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama's choice of running mate, known in Iraq as the author of a 2006 plan to divide the country into ethnic and sectarian enclaves.

"This choice of Biden is disappointing, because he is the creator of the idea of dividing Iraq," Salih al-Mutlaq, head of National Dialogue, one of the main Sunni Arab blocs in parliament, told Reuters.

"We rejected his proposal when he announced it, and we still reject it. Dividing the communities and land in such a way would only lead to new fighting between people over resources and borders. Iraq cannot survive unless it is unified, and dividing it would keep the problems alive for a long time."

For all his brazen denials about his Iraq involvement, one wonders whether, if Joe Biden hadn't been selected Obama's Vice President, he might have eventually been named Iraq Viceroy.

Now Trump is adopting Biden's plan.

Same as it ever was....

[Jan 24, 2020] Trump doesn't want to be the president that lost Iraq

Jan 24, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Trump needs to claim victory over ISIS and get the hell out. Those one million peaceful protesters will turn into something really ugly, probably joined by parts or all of the Iraqi military. That will be far worse for him, with scenes of US diplomats being airlifted out of the embassy by helicopter. up 10 users have voted. --

Capitalism has always been the rule by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

[Jan 24, 2020] Dissociated Press Sees "Hundreds" Where Pictures Show Millions. Iraqis are ready to fight and die to evict the US troups.

Jan 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer , Jan 24 2020 13:32 utc | 11

Dissociated Press Sees "Hundreds" Where Pictures Show Millions

mpn , Jan 24 2020 13:44 utc | 15

B - AP isn't the only outlet falsely reporting the protest. Please get screen shots from the other "reports" (like Bloomberg) and add them to this post to document the media manipulation.

Thanks for all your effort.

b , Jan 24 2020 15:32 utc | 29
Cultural competence (not) by the Washington Post

Iraqi demonstrators demand withdrawal of U.S. troops

Around Baghdad's Hurriyah Square, the streets were a sea of black, white and red, as protesters clutched Iraqi flags and wore shrouds around their shoulders to evoke the country's dead.

White shrouds around their shoulders do not "evoke the country's dead" but a a sign of willingness for martyrdom. Those guys ( vid ) are ready to fight and die for their aim.

Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 15:38 utc | 30
It's a Shi'te motif, b, wearing a shroud. Ready for martyrdom, like the Shi'a Imams. They have a big thing about death.
Peter AU1 , Jan 24 2020 15:45 utc | 32
Cultural competence...

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-iran-iraq/soleimani-killing-adds-dangerous-new-dimension-to-iraq-unrest-idUSKBN1ZL28K
"It is likely to end up at the gates of the U.S. Embassy, the seat of U.S. power in Iraq..."

A more recent article had the same wording "USembassy, seat of US power in Iraq" but it was changed a few hours ago. The article does however end with this "Outside the U.S. embassy in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, a sign read "Warning. Do not cross this barrier, we will use pre-emptive measures against any attempt to cross"."
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-security-sadr/no-no-america-iraq-protesters-demand-expulsion-of-u-s-troops-idUSKBN1ZN0RI

Virgile , Jan 24 2020 18:28 utc | 51
A separate Sunni state in West Iraq will be an ISIS haven financed by Saudi Arabia, the US and Israel.
Iran will never let this to happen..
Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 18:33 utc | 52
Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 24 2020 18:14 utc | 50

Yes, I was thinking about something along those lines, and was about to write a comment. There are conservative tribal leaders, who were at one point relatively favourable to the US, and who might be susceptible to this manoeuvre, and to Saudi persuasion. I was thinking in particular of Abu Risheh. However, unfortunately, their peoples along the Euphrates got flattened by the fighting during the Surge (after the period you're citing), so I don't know how enthusiastic they're going to be. It's a conventional problem, if the US makes a deal with a chief, indeed MbS is an example, they presume that they've got the whole people. They haven't.

psychohistorian , Jan 24 2020 18:55 utc | 53
Below is a BBC link with an embedded Reuters picture that shows not all of Western media is misrepresenting the march in Iraq.

Huge rally as Iraqis demand US troops pull out

div> please, do not try to search for US policy sense in the whole ME. all the moves there are done by the Israel firsters: destroy first then invent "senses". even the first Gulf War was lacking any policy consideration. I hope one day before she dies, to listen to what US Ambassador at that time, April Gillepsie, has to say about "her" entrapment of Saddam Hussein, a sort of McNamara hour of acknowledging.

Posted by: nietzsche1510 , Jan 24 2020 18:59 utc | 54

please, do not try to search for US policy sense in the whole ME. all the moves there are done by the Israel firsters: destroy first then invent "senses". even the first Gulf War was lacking any policy consideration. I hope one day before she dies, to listen to what US Ambassador at that time, April Gillepsie, has to say about "her" entrapment of Saddam Hussein, a sort of McNamara hour of acknowledging.

Posted by: nietzsche1510 | Jan 24 2020 18:59 utc | 54

Likklemore , Jan 24 2020 19:01 utc | 55
in the next 2 years, the U.S. will be leaving Iraq. It will not be safe to keep U.S. personnel on Iraqi soil.


First, it was "No injuries" resulting from Iran's retaliation
Then, it was only 11 "suffering headaches"

Now the Pentagon Says 34 Personnel Diagnosed With Concussions After Iran Strikes on Bases in Iraq


WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Thirty-four US service members have been diagnosed with concussions and traumatic brain injuries after Iran conducted ballistic missile strikes on two bases in Iraq with half of them still undergoing medical treatment, Department of Defence spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a press briefing on 24 January.

"With regard to the number of recent injuries here is the latest update 34 total members have diagnosed with concussions and TBI [traumatic brain injury]", Hoffman told reporters.

Concussions or Headaches.? When it's serious we have to lie -

Paging Dr. Donald J. Trump

Paging any available Dr. or resident at Mayo Clinic

Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 19:06 utc | 56
I wouldn't deny the US is capable of creating an Iraqi al-Tanf. The US is always capable of air-supporting isolated bases, as long as there is the determination to do so. It's been shown many times, from Vietnam to Afghanistan. More, I don't see. The Sunnis have seen the way the Syrian Kurds were abandoned, so nobody's going to be enthused. And the surge has not been forgotten.
Kooshy , Jan 24 2020 19:15 utc | 57
"The Shi'a can certainly get their people out - which by the way is why they have such effective militias. The Sunnis don't have similarly effective militias (though such would probably also be politically difficult)."

Wondering why ? Because the don't want to live as minorities any more, specially where they are the majority. There is need for a collective security across the Shia community throughout the Western Asia and has nothing to do with US. Because US and UK, historically and continually have supported and inspired Sunni clients against Shia uprisings
For equal rights, US and UK and their clients have become a common threat to Shia resistance. This resistance and sense of common security within Shia communities is so strong and imbedded that killing one leader here one commander there will not change the outcome. As an example Abbas Mussavie was assassinated by IDF in 1992 who replaced him that became more dangerous and kicked Israel out of Lebanon, one Hassan Nassrollah
US will end up leaving like in VM No matter what she does

Peter AU1 , Jan 24 2020 19:18 utc | 58
Laguerre

I was thinking along the lines of Saudi intermediaries doing deals with tribes as Mcgurk pulled off in the Raqqa meeting when he brought in a Saudi intermediary or envoy to do a deal with the tribes of Deir Ezzor. I see the tribe break down into clans, so suppose it would or may be the heads of clans that deals would have to be done with.

What strikes me about this though is that US are looking at retreating into the area ISIS have retreated to and where they arose - the Iraq Syria border regions.

nietzsche1510 , Jan 24 2020 19:19 utc | 59
the battle for the Green Zone will start the liberation of Iraq, that´s why the US embassy there has a lot of rooftops.
Willy2 , Jan 24 2020 15:47 utc | 33

- Muqtada Al Sadr is an iraqi nationalist. As long as he can get help from Iran he will take it. But when that help is no longer needed then he will try to reduce the "influence" of the iranians as much as possible. Prehaps the words "boot them out" is a bit "over the top".
- But the relationship will Always remain friendly. But he is "his own man".
- In this regard this a re-run of what happened in the year 2003 & 2004. Back then the US wanted to pick their own sock puppet but the shiites out-witted the US.

Yonatan , Jan 24 2020 19:32 utc | 61
A photo essay of the Iraqi protests - plenty of images showing the scale and also close up images.

https://z5h64q92x9.net/proxy_u/ru-en.en/https/colonelcassad.livejournal.com/5590284.html

jayc , Jan 24 2020 19:33 utc | 62

Interesting that the number of US troops suffering concussive injuries from the Iran retaliatory strikes has been quietly reassessed to 44 persons. That seems significant in light of the extensive threats beforehand that any injury to a US person would ignite thunderous reprisal. It seems, then, the Americans have no plan, the Soleimaini hit was not thought through, and they are not in any way prepared for a necessary readjustment of their position in the region. Trump at Davos dismissed the protests and again threatened sanctions on Iraq - the fulcrum of US power has now visibly shifted from the military to the dominance of the reserve currency in the form of economic reprisals (sanctions). Reduced to imposing or threatening economic blockades on adversary populations is not a winning long-term strategy.

Sasha , Jan 24 2020 19:36 utc | 63

It is not only the MSM coordinated blackout on the important events developing in Iraq, notice also the scarce half hundred comments here in this thread on the same events by the usual and otherwise prolific regulars, who preferred to comment on so used Boeing or whatever old topic instead...

Meanwhile, those of us who wished to comment got banned, as they seemed to be some other who wanted to comment by other media, like Pepe Escobar in Facebook...

Elijah Magnier says,

Someone should write an article on how Main Stream Media and most reputable agencies either ignored what happened in #Baghdad #Iraq today or deliberately downplayed it because it calls for the #US to leave.

News is strikingly manipulated s since the war in #Syria 2011.

https://twitter.com/ejmalrai/status/1220758301266321408

[Jan 24, 2020] Apparently this is the new US policy in Iraq: US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes

Jan 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 11:44 utc | 1

This seems more relevant here than on the open thread:

Apparently this is the new US policy in Iraq.

US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes

Incredible, isn't it? A policy of parcellisation which has already failed twice, in Iraq and then again in Syria. And now Trump is going to do it again, according to reports which could well be right. They're sufficiently stupid. They're actually expecting the poor suffering Fallujans, who suffered through more than a month of being tortured by US troops, are going to stand up and fight for the US.

It's a complete misappreciation of the situation, not unusual in the US. It is of course true that the Sunnis suffer from the unthinking policies of the Shi'a, and are treated like an occupied country. But that doesn't mean that the Sunnis think they can stand up an independent state. They don't, particularly if the US only stations a handful of troops there.

The US could of course militarily occupy the area, but that's not Trump's plan, as it would be too politically intrusive back home.

By the way I hear we're about to receive Trump's overall peace plan for the Middle East. Given that the first rollouts fell totally flat, I wouldn't be too optimistic about its new reception in the Middle East.


Willy2 , Jan 24 2020 12:03 utc | 4

- Carving out a state in North-Western Iraq is part of "The Biden plan" of 2006 (/2007 ?). The Biden plan was to divide Iraq into 3 parts: Kurdistan, "Sumnnistan" and "Shia-stan".
- Was this the reason why the US "created" ISIS (in 2014) ??
Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 12:28 utc | 5
The Shi'a can certainly get their people out - which by the way is why they have such effective militias. The Sunnis don't have similarly effective militias (though such would probably also be politically difficult).

The US certainly doesn't have much idea how to tackle such a movement. The renewal of the plan for parcellisation just shows up the bankruptcy of US policy, nothing spoke to me so strongly of the failure of US thinking. For all the number of Washington think-tanks concentrating on the ME, they can't come up with workable ideas.

Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 12:56 utc | 7
Posted by: Ernesto Che | Jan 24 2020 12:32 utc | 6

Al-Sadr is indeed an Iraqi nationalist, and not particularly pro-Iranian, others are more. He more profited from Iran's safe haven, than became pro-Iranian.

On the other hand, he's unlikely to become Prime Minister, as too extreme. The US, if it gets a say in the choice of the next PM, will veto. And he's a sort who is in permanent opposition to everything, rather than in government, much like Corbyn in Britain.

somebody , Jan 24 2020 13:17 utc | 9
Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 24 2020 11:44 utc | 1

Surely, this has become obsolete with Saudi needing an agreement with Iran?

I just checked. On January 22 this happened in Yemen :

On January 18, Houthi rebels targeted the al Estiqbal military training camp, used by the Saudi-led coalition and forces loyal to Yemen's UN-recognised government. The strikes resulted in at least 116 deaths and dozens (if not hundreds) of injuries. Those struck had reportedly just finished praying at the base's mosque. According to Saudi media, the Houthis used a combination of ballistic missiles and drones.
Sasha , Jan 24 2020 13:23 utc | 10
The fake media are trying to trasvesticize these protests as antigovernment protests in the eyes of the Waestern and American population, fortunately, the images are worth thousands words:

https://twitter.com/passenger_to/status/1220620900166520833

Love these arabs´humor when they protest...

bevin , Jan 24 2020 13:48 utc | 16
During the first of the various criminal attacks on Fallujah, Sadr famously promised to deploy the Mahdi Army there to defend the largely sunni community.
The US fears nothing more than nationalism in the middle east- all its policies are aimed at atomising communities and fostering sectarian division. It is a tactic that has worked well in the United States for centuries- preserving the absolute power of the capitalist oligarchy by setting black against white, catholic against protestant, settler against indigenous, migrant against native.
It is difficult to conceive of a more evil policy than that of encouraging shi'ites to bully sunnis and vice versa, while dissecting society into shreds of ethnic and sectarian entities , which are then armed and trained to fight and kill one another.
This was the basis of the surge under Petraus. Of course the British had established the practice themselves. Among other things they employed christian Assyrians as police.
bevin , Jan 24 2020 13:52 utc | 17
An interesting view.
https://journal-neo.org/2020/01/24/is-iraq-between-the-hammer-and-the-anvil/
Sasha , Jan 24 2020 14:16 utc | 18
Al Mayadeen is reporting testimonies from all confesional sides on that this is an united clamor coming from the whole Iraqi society, who sees a clear link between occupation and corruption, in spite of their internal political differences, seeing no future while the US remains in the country corrupting and compromising Iraqi reconstruction and progress.

They are saying that the numbers seen demonstrating today in Iraq, in the anniversary of the other historical 1920 anticolonial demonstration, equates a popular referendum on the US illegal and forced presence in the country.

The representatives of the protesters are stating that there are being stablished diplomatic means for the US to go out, but, in case it refuses doing it by these means, the resistance will come into action. Thus a way of no return for the US is being delineated here...

Crowd demonstration against US military presence in Iraq


CarlD , Jan 24 2020 14:22 utc | 19
Slightly? off subject

Since the assassination drones cannot fly all the way from US territory to their intended targets,
any country that harbors the drones is actually complicit to the crimes of the US of A.

They must be made to understand that these assassinations will cost them eventually as accessories
to these crimes.

BM , Jan 24 2020 14:27 utc | 20
Possibly the most potent leverage Iraq can have on the US is for the Iraqi parliament to decree that all legal previously agreed immunity for US military guilty of crimes in Iraq is null and void. All US war criminals immediately liable to be tried in Iraq under Iraq law, unless the US commit to a prompt and orderly withdrawal. Right to prosecute still reserved in case of US non-compliance with any such commitment.

Whether or to what extent this could be made retrospective to the beginning of the current agreement (on the grounds that the agreement has been violated) I don't know. Maybe it might be possible to apply retrospectively at least to the first verifiable breech of the agreement by the US, I have no idea. Or maybe the agreement can only be deemed void with effect from a statement by the parliament, I have no idea. In any case, the US is now there illegally: any US soldier can legally be arrested and imprisoned at any time; and any US soldier from now on killing or injuring any person in Iraq is automatically a war criminal.

If it can so some extent legally be made retrospective, the US would automatically face a terrifying situation.

(Any prisons containing US prisoners in Iraq need full military protection though - I recall previously the US destroyed a prison with a tank where some soldiers were arrested).

Sasha , Jan 24 2020 14:28 utc | 21
@Posted by: Sasha | Jan 24 2020 14:16 utc | 18

The link from Al Mayadeen includes live stream with commentary in Arabic of the crowds gathering who seem in the sizes of Arbaeen pilgrimage...or more.....since multiconfessional...

Sasha , Jan 24 2020 14:37 utc | 22
Lesson to be learnt...on the future of the destroyers...
(CARTOON) The "Pax americana", in an image

"They made a desert and called it peace"
Tacit, in reference to "Pax Romana" after the destruction of Carthage.

https://twitter.com/Amor_y_Rabia/status/1219921555775467520

[Jan 24, 2020] This shows how the steady stream of propaganda impacts.....

Jan 24, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/479795-poll-41-approve-of-trump-airst...

A new poll shows a plurality of Americans approve of President Trump's decision to order the drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Forty-one percent of Americans agreed with the decision, according to the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Friday. Thirty percent disapproved and the remaining 30 percent were indifferent.

On Jan. 3 the U.S. killed Soleimani at the Baghdad airport. The move raised tensions in the Middle East and fears of a new war. Iran launched rocket attacks on two bases with U.S. personnel in Iraq days later.

[Jan 23, 2020]