Connect with us

Latest

Analysis

News

Here’s what to expect from next week’s BRICS summit

The BRICS summit in Xiamen which begins on the 3rd of September presents the wider world with a cohesive trade strategy over which China and Russia are taking the lead.

Published

on

1,510 Views

Next week’s BRICS meeting is set to discuss options for creating new customs cooperation initiatives which could pave the way for integration between the BRICS, the Eurasian Economic Union and the overarching goals of One Belt–One Road.

Russia which is a core member of both organisations currently operates a customs union within the single market of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), a bloc which includes Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Russia. Indonesia has recently been in talks to either join the EAEU or develop a customs deal with the bloc.

While the EAEU is comprised of states with historic ties to the Russian Empire and Soviet Union, the BRICS is bloc focused on economic, monetary, trade and political cooperation between the leading economies of the so-called multi-polar world. BRICS members Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa represent the major hubs across several continents.

According to Russian Presidential aid Yury Ushakov,

“Documents to be signed after the meeting of the business council include an action plan for the BRICS countries on trade and economic cooperation, an action plan for cooperation in innovation, a strategic program for customs cooperation and a memorandum of understanding between the BRICS business council and the New Development Bank”.

This would have the de-facto effect of combining the material and geo-political assets of the BRICS with those of the EAEU, to create a potentially continent wide single-market underpinned by Russia’s membership of both institutions.

In addition to existing members of the BRICS, this year’s summit which begins on Sunday in China will also include the leaders of Egypt, Mexico,Thailand, Guinea and Tajikistan thus opening the possibility for the expansion of a would-be BRICS customs union to the Arab world, South East Asia and addition parts of Central Asia and Africa.

The opportunities implicit in such a product include the following:

–Easing trade regulations across a multitude of inter-dependent growing as well as booming economies.

–Harmonising product regulations across a more cohesive single market 

–Easing the ability of investment banks to take advantage of a wide range of opportunities for growth across the world 

–Easing the transfer of labour and business representatives across countries which at present have a wide variety of differing visa regulations

–Creating wealth and jobs throughout markets with young and educated labour forces

Most importantly utilising the BRICS in tandem with the EAEU could help to harmonise the trading and customs laws across important areas along China’s One Belt–One Road, the land and maritime trading logistics project through which China seeks to modernise the material mechanisms of world trade across, East Asia, South Asia Asia, Eurasia, East Africa, The Middle East and into Europe.

In this sense the advantages of mutual participants in the BRICS, One Belt–One Road and the EAEU could effectively mean that each body works to utilise its inbuilt strengths to bolster the desired outcome of each which in summary aims for the ever closer cooperation between countries of the wider ‘global east’ and ‘global south’ on trade, monetary policy, freedom of movement and goods, investment, security and political cooperation in the name of the greater collective peace.

According to Shen Yi, deputy director of the Center for BRICS Studies and an associate professor at School of International Relations and Public Affairs, Fudan University in Shanghai,

“The confidence of BRICS nations evolved over the years. Previously, they were all very cautious, especially China. They tried to focus mostly on reshaping the global economic order, specifically regarding to trade and investment. But political and security related agenda topped the proposed topics under discussion at the upcoming summit. It shows the BRICS nations have set their sight on global governance, instead of being limited to economic issues”.

There are of course obstacles to such an ambitious initiatives beyond the obvious efforts it would take to create anything on such a wide global scope.

While Russia and China, the two most powerful members of the BRICS have become key allies, India and Vietnam are two countries which while maintaining good relations with Russia, continue to exercise scepticism towards projects involving China.

In this respect, India is the greater worry. From June until the final week of August, India was involved in an active border dispute with China in the Doklam/Donglang region at the tri-junction of China, India and Bhutan. India claimed that China was building a road on Bhutanese territory which threatened India’s security while China has maintained that India illegally and provocatively moved its troops onto sovereign Chinese territory.

The dispute was at least temporarily resolved when India withdrew its troops on the 28th of August. Since then, China has reasserted its sovereign claims over the region and its right to build roads on that sovereign territory.

READ MORE: India withdraws from Doklam/Donglang

In many ways, the Doklam/Donglang dispute was more of an effect than a cause of tensions between New Delhi and Beijing. Under the leadership of Narendra Modi, India has charted a geo-strategic course which seeks to model India as an economic alternative to, rather than a partner of China. As part of this new scheme, Modi has become increasingly close to the United States in the military sphere. India has recently purchased expensive American weapons in a clear move to demonstrate India’s independence from the rest of the Asian world which is increasingly dominated by Chinese economic might.

As I wrote previously in The Duran, Modi’s strategy is largely a dead end due to circumstances above and beyond what happens inside India’s border.

“Of all the countries that were members of the Non-Aligned Movement, Cuba and India were the least ‘non-aligned’. In reality, Cuba was a prominent ally of the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War. The importance owed more to Cuba’s geographical proximity to the United States than its military might. While Fidel Castro remained loyal to the USSR throughout the Cold War, he saw the Non-Aligned movement as a means of linking Cuba with many countries engaged in post-colonial struggle throughout Africa and parts of Asia.

India’s relationship with both the non-aligned movement and the Soviet Union came about for inverse reasons. Unlike Cuba, India was never a Communist country nor was India ever a formal member of any Soviet led grouping world-wide. That being said, India was among the Soviet Unions most important Asian allies along with Vietnam.

India’s first three decades of post-British independence witnessed a political balancing act between secular minded agrarian socialist policies balanced off by Hindu politics. During Jawaharlal Nehru’s period as Prime Minister (1947-1964), the course tended towards socialism while still informed by the Hindu traditions of the majority of India’s population.

In terms of Foreign Affairs, India was a firmly ally of the Soviet Union and relied of Soviet support in winning the 1971 war with Pakistan. Without Soviet support, India may well have lost the war.

Although India remained a stalwart of the Non-Aligned movement, New Delhi’s loyalties were clear and the United States realised this. Richard Nixon privately disparaged Indira Gandhi, once saying that she “suckered us”.

While Cuba was closed to American during the Cold War and indeed beyond, India was always open, but the relationship was largely a one way street. India’s loyalties were firmly with the USSR. Furthermore, while Cuba’s alliance with the USSR helped protect Cuba from NATO led ‘regime change’, India’s status as a Non-Aligned Soviet ally actually helped India to win wars and secure her independence during an era when many former British colonies continued to be molested by their former overlord; Egypt, North Yemen and Kenya being some famous examples.

Today’s post-cold war environment sees the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) uniting many of the leading countries of the two Communist blocs as well as the non-aligned movement. In addition to China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, this year both India and Pakistan joined the SCO . Iran will likely join in the very near future.

The SCO goes a long way in streamlining a partnership between old adversaries, though at times it seems that India’s current Prime Minister Narendra Modi is still trying to use the old Non-Aligned card to play various sides against others, even when the formal existence of such sides no longer exists.

Modi’s recent visit to Israel is a prime example of this. Realistically, India offers Israel no more or less than it would offer any nation in the wider Middle East, Africa or Asia. Likewise Israel cannot offer India anything that its old ally Russia and new Shanghai Cooperation Organisation partner China cannot. In this sense Israel offers far less. Even so, India and Israel could have agreed to various bilateral trade agreements without the song and dance of Modi’s generally gushing and overtly politicised visit to Israel. Whether he is aware of this or not, Modi’s visit has been used by Israel’s well-oiled propaganda machine to demonstrate that Israel’s friends are not exclusively in North America, Europe and some parts of the so-called ‘White British Commonwealth’.

What the visit does accomplish is ruining a great deal of India’s prestige in the Arab world and even the wider Asian Muslim world. India’s priority should be solving its own tensions with Pakistan which would also mean working to insure the rights of Indian Muslims at the same time.

Forgoing India’s traditionally neutral position in the Israel-Palestine conflict at a time when India should be working on building bridges of cooperation and trust with Islamabad is not only a bad strategic move but it is one that trades an opportunity to reconcile with China and Pakistan simultaneously via the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation for little in return. India if anything could have been called on to oversee a future Israel-Palestine peace deal but under Narendra Modi whose visceral dislike of Islam is now infamous, this is now all but impossible.

At a time when Pakistan is becoming ever more tired of its relationship with the US which earns Pakistan little in material terms and even less in terms of dignity and with Russia and China leading by example as two former Cold War adversaries who now form the 21st century’s most important geo-political alliance, India under Modi is playing side-games when it ought to focus on the bigger picture which means reconciliation with both China and Pakistan for the long-term economic prosperity of all Indian people.

Modi seems to be a man guided by a lust for outsmarting the world. One often wonders if he is really only outsmarting himself. His anti-Muslim rhetoric which is now having violent consequences on the streets of India, combined by his public displays of political affection for both the United States and Israel is not in the interests of the Indian people, not even the Hindutva base he represents and riles up.

India’s future is with a combination of long time friends (Russia) and former adversaries (China and Pakistan). Her future never was in the west or its allies like Israel, although nothing is precluding India from trading with such countries minus the geo-political overtones that Modi tends to revel in and which countries like the US and Israel are all too willing and able to exploit. Nixon talked about being “suckered” by Indira Gandhi. By extrapolation, can we now say that Narendra Modi is suckering himself?”

In spite of these economic and contemporary geo-political realities, there is still little sign of movement towards cooperation on the Indian side. The forthcoming BRICS summit will be an important gauge to determine what path or paths India might take in respect of China and her allies.

Turning to South East Asia, while the traditional American ‘ally’ of Philippines is turning increasingly towards friendship and cooperation with both China and Russia, Vietnam remains increasingly distant from China on a geo-political level, even though at a level of trade, Beijing is Hanoi’s primary trading partner. With neither Philippines nor Vietnam are in the BRICS, both countries are crucial to the economic success of South East Asia that the BRICS is increasingly promoting.

With Turkey signalling a willingness to open up new trade ventures with Vietnam however, there is a possibility that just as Turkey is moving ever closer to China and Russia at a rapid rate, so too could Vietnam use its historically strong relationship with Moscow to ease tensions in China which would prove economically beneficial for the South East Asian nation.

As I wrote previously in The Duran,

“While Vietnam trades with China for clearly pragmatic reasons, in working with countries that already have good or growing economic and political relations with China, Vietnam may  ultimately be convinced that as a thriving, young Asian economy, its destiny will lie increasingly with the countries that are either intrinsic to the wider Asian economy and other countries in Eurasia like Turkey whose young workforce represents and economy that is increasingly Asian rather than European in outlook and overall production capacity.

The other key Eurasian power is Russia. The Soviet Union’s closest Asian allies during the Cold War were India in South Asia and Vietnam in South East Asia. While under the Modi Premiership, India is pivoting itself into a corner by turning west, Vietnam remains close to Moscow as it always has been since achieving independence.

What has changed is that where Moscow once saw Hanoi as a means of containing China, now Russia and China constitute the world’s most strong and important alliance. With the weight of the Russian superpower combined with the magnetism of Turkey pulling Vietnam back to a uniformly Asian and Eurasian way of thinking, this could be the slow/gradual beginning of a much awaited rapprochement between Hanoi and Beijing.

China realised as early as the 2000s, if not earlier, that the US market will generally be a friendly place for Asian goods because the US needs them and apart from a fully-fledged trade war or a military conflict, there is little that any US leader can do to change this. This is something Donald Trump may be finding out the hard way. Luckily for Vietnam, Hanoi can still come to this realisation the easy way.

While sceptics will say that such rapprochement is next to impossible, one must consider how far Rodrigo Duterte has shifted the geo-political/geo-strategic alignment of Philippines in just over one short year. This has been accomplished in a country that is manifestly more difficult to govern than Vietnam due to a more confrontational political system, higher levels of corruption which stem from a more American style of governance and the ongoing/escalating conflict in Mindanao.

Turkey and Philippines are two examples of countries that have broadly changed their geo-political alignments in a very short time. Turkey and Philippines have both done so under circumstances which are far more confrontational than anything comparable in domestic Vietnamese politics. India too has altered its stance in this way, albeit in the other direction.

Thus, when all is said and done, the economic and pragmatic lessons of Asia and Eurasia’s economies means that anything is indeed possible, even when history might dictate the contrary”.

One solution to both of these potential problems lies in the final international body that will likely work alongside the BRICS, EAEU and the One Belt–One Road initiative. This is the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a group which focuses primarily on enhanced security cooperation between its members.

SCO members include: China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and India and Pakistan who joined this year.

Thus far, India has not taken advantage of the mechanisms present in the SCO to resolve lingering disputes with both China and Pakistan. Ultimately this will be to India’s disadvantage if this mechanism is not ultimately utilised.

In this sense, while many who seek to embellish disagreements between BRICS members tend to focus on foreign policy issues which transpire between BRICS members, in reality the summit is primarily concerned with economic, monetary and commerce issues. The SCO by contrast is the organisation in the wider global east which is equipped to deal with and resolve disputes in the realm of foreign affairs.

The BRICS summit in Xiamen presents the world with a great deal of opportunities in the medium and long term as well as challenges in the short term. The effects of each will likely come to the fore this week.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of
André De Koning
Guest
André De Koning

Really great development away from the US domination!

Guillermo Calvo Mahe
Guest

Interesting, informative and useful discussion but it completely ignores complications involving Brazil’s pivot back to neoliberalism. Latin America is fertile ground for a mutually beneficial relationship with China, Russia, et. al., but Brazil would need to blaze the trail.

Freethinking Влади́мир
Guest
Freethinking Влади́мир

Yes, good point, glad somebody is on to this. Brazil has taken actions before which were not beneficial to Russia.

Norman
Guest
Norman

Could be soccer has a lot to do with influencing the Brazilian political climate

englishvinal
Guest
englishvinal

Why?…
Brazil is struggling with “leaders”… busy trying to sort out their inner turmoil. Nicaragua has a solid relationship with Russia and China already..so does Venezuela… and there are trade agreements with other South American nations as well….. main stream media does not talk about ANY of these agreements or investments that China is making into other countries… agreements that will prosper and benefit BOTH countries… not just enslave one while the other one refers to the people as “little brown brothers’ disparagingly……
Brazil will come around eventually but as for “leading the way”.. it isn’t necessary.

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

Modi,????? !!!!

Dan
Guest
Dan

Unfortunately, Modi is important. However, temporarily. Indian politics is more volatile than most, all of which the “Wise Men” in the BRICS set-up are very well aware. BRICS will be a major force long after Modi has gone. Let him keep his Washington friends. He will find out soon enough what the cost of that will be.

Abi Shah
Guest
Abi Shah

There are certainly pragmatic points raised here regarding one BRICS member state ,India which has now been over run by the Bharatiya Janata Party an extreme nationalist right wing party which Modi has grilled in such fashion as to shun away from peace with his muslim subjects who clearly are the backbone and fabric of India society and to cause severe civil unrest with the support of zionist ideology. His visit to Israel was an indication and a slap in China and Pakistan’s face that keeping such close ties to a zionist ideology similar to his own zionist frame of… Read more »

VeeNarian (Yerevan)
Guest
VeeNarian (Yerevan)

Has anyone got the increased troop numbers that the NATO countries are sending to Afghanistan at the “request” of Trump? I thought Poland alone agreed to send 100,000 to prove its loyalty to US? No? This is the kind of price that Modi will have to pay for US ass-licking. He knows the score now, that is why the border tensions has been reduced.
This was a critical moment in India when Modi and the servile Indian elite stared into the abyss of US/EU/NATO slavery, and stepped back, I expect more and more sensible behaviour from India.

Latest

EXPLOSIVE: Michael Cohen sentencing memo exposes serial liar with nothing to offer Mueller (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 38.

Alex Christoforou

Published

on

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at the Michael Cohen sentencing memo which paints the picture of a man who was not as close to Trump as he made it out to be…a serial liar and cheat who leveraged his thin connections to the Trump organization for money and fame.

It was Cohen himself who proudly labelled himself as Trump’s “fixer”. The sentencing memo hints at the fact that even Mueller finds no value to Cohen in relation to the ongoing Trump-Russia witch hunt investigation.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Follow The Duran Audio Podcast on Soundcloud.

Via Axios

Special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in New York have each submitted sentencing memos for President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, after Cohen pleaded guilty in two different cases related to his work for Trump and the Trump Organization.

The big picture: The Southern District of New York recommended Cohen serve a range of 51 to 63 months for four crimes — “willful tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, illegal campaign contributions, and making false statements to Congress.” Mueller, meanwhile, did not take a position on the length of Cohen’s statement, but said he has made substantial efforts to assist the investigation.

Southern District of New York

Mueller investigation

Michael J. Stern, a federal prosecutor with the Justice Department for 25 years in Detroit and Los Angeles noted via USA Today

In support of their request that he serve no time in prison, Cohen’s attorneys offered a series of testimonials from friends who described the private Michael Cohen as a “truly caring” man with a “huge heart” who is not only “an upstanding, honorable, salt of the earth man” but also a “selfless caretaker.”

The choirboy portrayed by Cohen’s lawyers stands in sharp opposition to Cohen’s public persona as Trump’s legal bulldog, who once threatened a reporter with: “What I’m going to do to you is going to be f—ing disgusting. Do you understand me?”

Prosecutors focused their sentencing memo on Cohen as Mr. Hyde. Not only did they detail Cohen’s illegal activities, which include millions of dollars of fraud, they also recognized the public damage that stemmed from his political crimes — describing Cohen as “a man who knowingly sought to undermine core institutions of our democracy.”

Rebuffing efforts by Cohen’s attorneys to recast him as a good guy who made a few small mistakes, prosecutors cited texts, statements of witnesses, recordings, documents and other evidence that proved Cohen got ahead by employing a “pattern of deception that permeated his professional life.” The prosecutors attributed Cohen’s crimes to “personal greed,” an effort to “increase his power and influence,” and a desire to maintain his “opulent lifestyle.”

Perhaps the most damning reveal in the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing memo is that Cohen refused to fully cooperate. That’s despite his public relations campaign to convince us that he is a new man who will cooperate with any law enforcement authority, at any time, at any place.

As a former federal prosecutor who handled hundreds of plea deals like Cohen’s, I can say it is extremely rare for any credit to be recommended when a defendant decides not to sign a full cooperation deal. The only reason for a refusal would be to hide information. The prosecutors said as much in their sentencing memo: Cohen refused “to be debriefed on other uncharged criminal conduct, if any, in his past,” and “further declined” to discuss “other areas of investigative interest.”

 

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Canada to Pay Heavy Price for Trudeau’s Groupie Role in US Banditry Against China

Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Huawei CFO Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

Published

on

Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


You do have to wonder about the political savvy of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government. The furious fallout from China over the arrest of a senior telecoms executive is going to do severe damage to Canadian national interests.

Trudeau’s fawning over American demands is already rebounding very badly for Canada’s economy and its international image.

The Canadian arrest – on behalf of Washington – of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, seems a blatant case of the Americans acting politically and vindictively. If the Americans are seen to be acting like bandits, then the Canadians are their flunkies.

Wanzhou was detained on December 1 by Canadian federal police as she was boarding a commercial airliner in Vancouver. She was reportedly handcuffed and led away in a humiliating manner which has shocked the Chinese government, media and public.

The business executive has since been released on a $7.4 million bail bond, pending further legal proceedings. She is effectively being kept under house arrest in Canada with electronic ankle tagging.

To add insult to injury, it is not even clear what Wanzhou is being prosecuted for. The US authorities have claimed that she is guilty of breaching American sanctions against Iran by conducting telecoms business with Tehran. It is presumed that the Canadians arrested Wanzhou at the request of the Americans. But so far a US extradition warrant has not been filed. That could take months. In the meantime, the Chinese businesswoman will be living under curfew, her freedom denied.

Canadian legal expert Christopher Black says there is no juridical case for Wanzhou’s detention. The issue of US sanctions on Iran is irrelevant and has no grounds in international law. It is simply the Americans applying their questionable national laws on a third party. Black contends that Canada has therefore no obligation whatsoever to impose those US laws regarding Iran in its territory, especially given that Ottawa and Beijing have their own separate bilateral diplomatic relations.

In any case, what the real issue is about is the Americans using legal mechanisms to intimidate and beat up commercial rivals. For months now, Washington has made it clear that it is targeting Chinese telecoms rivals as commercial competitors in a strategic sector. US claims about China using telecoms for “spying” and “infiltrating” American national security are bogus propaganda ruses to undermine these commercial rivals through foul means.

It also seems clear from US President Donald Trump’s unsubtle comments this week to Reuters, saying he would “personally intervene” in the Meng case “if it helped trade talks with China”, that the Huawei executive is being dangled like a bargaining chip. It was a tacit admission by Trump that the Americans really don’t have a legal case against her.

Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland bounced into damage limitation mode following Trump’s thuggish comments. She said that the case should not be “politicized” and that the legal proceedings should not be tampered with. How ironic is that?

The whole affair has been politicized from the very beginning. Meng’s arrest, or as Christopher Black calls it “hostage-taking”, is driven by Washington’s agenda of harassment against China for commercial reasons, under a legal pretext purportedly about Iranian sanctions.

When Trump revealed the cynical expediency of him “helping to free Wanzhou”, then the Canadians realized they were also being exposed for the flunkies that they are for American banditry. That’s why Freeland was obliged to quickly adopt the fastidious pretense of legal probity.

Canadian premier Justin Trudeau has claimed that he wasn’t aware of the American request for Wanzhou’s detention. Trudeau is being pseudo. For such a high-profile infringement against a senior Chinese business leader, Ottawa must have been fully briefed by the Americans. Christopher Black, the legal expert, believes that Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

What Trudeau and his government intended to get out of performing this sordid role for American thuggery is far from clear. Maybe after being verbally mauled by Trump as “weak and dishonest” at the G7 summit earlier this year, in June, Trudeau decided it was best to roll over and be a good little puppy for the Americans in their dirty deed against China.

But already it has since emerged that Canada is going to pay a very heavy price indeed for such dubious service to Washington. Beijing has warned that it will take retaliation against both Washington and Ottawa. And it is Ottawa that is more vulnerable to severe repercussions.

This week saw two Canadian citizens, one a former diplomat, detained in China on spying charges.

Canadian business analysts are also warning that Beijing can inflict harsh economic penalties on Ottawa. An incensed Chinese public have begun boycotting Canadian exports and sensitive Canadian investments in China are now at risk from being blocked by Beijing. A proposed free trade deal that was being negotiated between Ottawa and Beijing now looks dead in the water.

And if Trudeau’s government caves in to the excruciating economic pressure brought to bear by Beijing and then abides by China’s demand to immediately release Meng Wanzhou, Ottawa will look like a pathetic, gutless lackey to Washington. Canada’s reputation of being a liberal, independent state will be shredded. Even then the Chinese are unlikely to forget Trudeau’s treachery.

With comic irony, there’s a cringemaking personal dimension to this unseemly saga.

During the 197os when Trudeau’s mother Margaret was a thirty-something socialite heading for divorce from his father, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, she was often in the gossip media for indiscretions at nightclubs. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards claims in his autobiography that Margaret Trudeau was a groupie for the band, having flings with Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood. Her racy escapades and louche lifestyle brought shame to many Canadians.

Poor Margaret Trudeau later wound up divorced, disgraced, financially broke and scraping a living from scribbling tell-all books.

Justin, her eldest son, is finding out that being a groupie for Washington’s banditry is also bringing disrepute for him and his country.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

US Commits To “Indefinite” Occupation Of Syria; Controls Region The Size Of Croatia

Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005.

Published

on

Via Zerohedge


“We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation” — a Syrian resident in US-controlled Raqqa told Stars and Stripes military newspaper. This as the Washington Post noted this week that “U.S. troops will now stay in Syria indefinitely, controlling a third of the country and facing peril on many fronts.”

Like the “forever war” in Afghanistan, will we be having the same discussion over the indefinite occupation of Syria stretching two decades from now? A new unusually frank assessment in Stars and Stripes bluntly lays out the basic facts concerning the White House decision to “stay the course” until the war’s close:

That decision puts U.S. troops in overall control, perhaps indefinitely, of an area comprising nearly a third of Syria, a vast expanse of mostly desert terrain roughly the size of Louisiana.

The Pentagon does not say how many troops are there. Officially, they number 503, but earlier this year an official let slip that the true number may be closer to 4,000

A prior New Yorker piece described the US-occupied area east of the Euphrates as “an area about the size of Croatia.” With no Congressional vote, no public debate, and not even so much as an official presidential address to the nation, the United States is settling in for another endless occupation of sovereign foreign soil while relying on the now very familiar post-911 AUMF fig leaf of “legality”.

Like the American public and even some Pentagon officials of late have been pointing out for years regarding Afghanistan, do US forces on the ground even know what the mission is? The mission may be undefined and remain ambiguously to “counter Iran”, yet the dangers and potential for major loss in blood and treasure loom larger than ever.

According to Stars and Stripes the dangerous cross-section of powder keg conflicts and geopolitical players means “a new war” is on the horizon:

The new mission raises new questions, about the role they will play and whether their presence will risk becoming a magnet for regional conflict and insurgency.

The area is surrounded by powers hostile both to the U.S. presence and the aspirations of the Kurds, who are governing the majority-Arab area in pursuit of a leftist ideology formulated by an imprisoned Turkish Kurdish leader. Signs that the Islamic State is starting to regroup and rumblings of discontent within the Arab community point to the threat of an insurgency.

Without the presence of U.S. troops, these dangers would almost certainly ignite a new war right away, said Ilham Ahmed, a senior official with the Self-Administration of North and East Syria, as the self-styled government of the area is called.

“They have to stay. If they leave and there isn’t a solution for Syria, it will be catastrophic,” she said.

But staying also heralds risk, and already the challenges are starting to mount.
So a US-backed local politician says the US can’t leave or there will be war, while American defense officials simultaneously recognize they are occupying the very center of an impending insurgency from hell — all of which fits the textbook definition of quagmire perfectly.

The New Yorker: “The United States has built a dozen or more bases from Manbij to Al-Hasakah, including four airfields, and American-backed forces now control all of Syria east of the Euphrates, an area about the size of Croatia.”

But in September the White House announced a realignment of its official priorities in Syria, namely to act “as a bulwark against Iran’s expanding influence.” This means the continued potential and likelihood of war with Syria, Iran, and Russia in the region is ever present, per Stripes:

Syrian government troops and Iranian proxy fighters are to the south and west. They have threatened to take the area back by force, in pursuit of President Bashar Assad’s pledge to bring all of Syria under government control.

Already signs of an Iraq-style insurgency targeting US forces in eastern Syria are beginning to emerge.

In Raqqa, the largest Syrian city at the heart of US occupation and reconstruction efforts, the Stripes report finds the following:

The anger on the streets is palpable. Some residents are openly hostile to foreign visitors, which is rare in other towns and cities freed from Islamic State control in Syria and Iraq. Even those who support the presence of the U.S. military and the SDF say they are resentful that the United States and its partners in the anti-ISIS coalition that bombed the city aren’t helping to rebuild.

And many appear not to support their new rulers.

We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation,” said one man, a tailor, who didn’t want to give his name because he feared the consequences of speaking his mind. “I don’t know why they had to use such a huge number of weapons and destroy the city. Yes, ISIS was here, but we paid the price. They have a responsibility.”

Recent reports out of the Pentagon suggests defense officials simply want to throw more money into US efforts in Syria, which are further focused on training and supplying the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (or Kurdish/YPG-dominated SDF), which threatens confrontation with Turkey as its forces continue making preparations for a planned attack on Kurdish enclaves in Syria this week.

Meanwhile, Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005:

Everyone says the streets are not safe now. Recent months have seen an uptick in assassinations and kidnappings, mostly targeting members of the security forces or people who work with the local council. But some critics of the authorities have been gunned down, too, and at night there are abductions and robberies.

As America settles in for yet another endless and “indefinite” occupation of a Middle East country, perhaps all that remains is for the president to land on an aircraft carrier with “Mission Accomplished” banners flying overhead?

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Trending