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How Clintonites are preparing for war in Syria

An alliance of supporters of US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and neocons is mobilising to press for the US to go to war in Syria.

Rick Sterling

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The Syria Propaganda Campaign

Neocons and Clintonites have launched a major campaign with the goal of direct US military intervention and aggression against Syria, potentially leading to war with Iran and Russia. An early indication emerged as soon as it was clear the Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic Party nominee.  Following the California primary, the NY Times reported on State Department diplomats issuing an internal memo “urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al Assad.”

In early August Dennis Ross and Andrew Tabler opined in the NY Times about “The Case for (Finally) Bombing Assad”. Dennis Ross is a favourite Clintonite.  In her book “Hard Choices”, Clinton described how she asked Dennis Ross to come to the State Department to “work on Iran and regional issues”.

NY Times regular Nicholas Kristof made his pitch for war against Syria. According to the self-styled humanitarian, we need “safe zones” as proposed by Clintonite Madeline Albright and retired General James Cartwright.  That is risky but “the risks of doing nothing in Syria are even greater”.

PBS broadcast a story titled “Repeatedly targeted by airstrikes, Syrian doctors feel abandoned.” The story features video from the “White Helmets” along with photos from the reported April bombing of Al Quds Hospital.

Currently there is a huge media campaign around the situation in Aleppo. Syrian American doctor Zaher Sahloul, of the Syrian American Medical Society, has been interviewed extensively on mainstream media as well as DemocracyNow with widespread promotion in Truthout and other sites.

There has been lots of publicity around a letter to President Obama, supposedly written by 15 doctors in East Aleppo. The letter ends “We need your action.” The flow and wording of the letter suggests it may have been composed by a marketing company and there has been no verification of the doctors who supposedly signed it.

An online Change petition asks German Chancellor Merkel and President Obama to “save the people of Aleppo”. 

The publicly funded Holocaust Memorial Museum has promoted the video #SaveSyria. One of the producers of the video is The Syria Campaign which is the marketing organization which branded the pervasive “White Helmets” as documented in “Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators”.

In parallel with this media campaign, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has introduced HR5732 the “Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act of 2016”. The resolution calls for escalating economic/financial pressure on Syria and “Assessment of potential effectiveness of and requirements for the establishment of safe zones or a no fly zone in Syria”.

Dr. Sahloul, the Syrian American Medical Society doctor / spokesperson says that Obama’s legacy will be defined by whether or not he attacks Syria to impose a “no fly zone”.  It seems unlikely that Obama would do that at the end of his term.  Instead, the goal is to prepare the public for the new war to begin after Hillary Clinton becomes President.

Falsehoods and Lies of Omission 

In his article ““The media are misleading the public on Syria” author Stephen Kinzer recently wrote “Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press. Reporting about carnage in the ancient city of Aleppo is the latest reason why.

Here a few facts about Aleppo which contradict the MSM narrative: 

* At least 85% of Aleppo’s population is in government controlled area.

* The estimate of 300K civilians in rebel/terrorist controlled east Aleppo is likely a gross exaggeration. In Spring 2015 Martin Chulov of the Guardian visited the area and estimated there were 40K.

* While there are very few doctors serving in the opposition controlled Aleppo, there are thousands of doctors working in the government controlled area. 

* The dominant rebel terrorist group in Aleppo is the Syrian version of Al Qaeda.

* The armed groups who invaded Aleppo have been unpopular from the beginning. In the Fall of 2012 James Foley wrote:

“Aleppo, a city of about 3 million people, was once the financial heart of Syria. As it continues to deteriorate, many civilians here are losing patience with the increasingly violent and unrecognisable opposition — one that is hampered by infighting and a lack of structure, and deeply infiltrated by both foreign fighters and terrorist groups.”

* The rebel-terrorists launch dozens and sometimes hundreds of mortars daily into the government controlled areas causing huge casualties. Western media ignores this destruction and loss of life.

* The much publicied April bombing of the supposed MSF supported “Al Quds Hospital” in Aleppo was full of contradictions and discrepancies. These were highlighted in an Open Letter to MSF. To this date, MSF has not provided corroborating information.

* Much of the video purporting to show bombing effects in Aleppo are stamped with the “White Helmets” logo. White Helmets is a creation of the US and UK and primarily a propaganda tool. The claims they are Syrian, independent and non-partisan are all false.

* Much of the information about Syria comes from “activists” trained and paid by the USA.  In her book  “Hard Choices” Secretary Clinton speaks says the US provided “training for more than a thousand (Syrian) activists, students, and independent journalists” (p464, hardback version). Obviously they are not independent and their reports should be carefully checked. 

* In contrast with the ambiguous situation at “Al Quds Hospital”, consider what happened to Aleppo’s “Al Kindi Hospital”.  Take three minutes to view the suicide suicide bombing of Al Kindi Hospital. Take two minutes to view what the “rebels” did to Syrian soldiers who had been guarding the hospital.

* Like Richard Engels fake kidnapping, the contrived CNN reports by “Syrian Danny”, the August 21 chemical attack in Ghouta effectively shown to be a staged event intended to force US attack because of the supposedly crossed red line.

* The letter to President Obama was likely written by a paid Syria War propagandist or Washington lobby firm.  Read the letter here and judge for yourself. For contrast watch this interview with a real Syrian doctor not mouthing propaganda from K Street Washington DC.

* The latest propaganda tool being used to promote US aggression against Syria is the photograph of little Omran in the orange ambulance seat. The video comes from the Aleppo Media Center “AMC”.  Like the White Helmets, AMC is a US creation. The photo of Omran has been widely accepted without scrutiny. The insightful Moon of Alabama, has raised serious questions about the media sensation.  Brad Hoff has documented that the main photographer, Mahmoud Raslan, is an ally of the Nour al Din al Zenki rebel terrorists who beheaded a young Palestinian Syrian a few weeks ago. This is confirmed step by step in this  short video. Another good short video exposing the propaganda around #Syrianboy is here.

Why the Burst of Propaganda and Calls for US Attack Now?

The Syrian crisis is at a critical point and there is prospect of the collapse of the rebel-terrorists.  If they crushed or expelled, it would allow hundreds of thousands of displaced Aleppans to return home as soon as services are restored.  This would also allow the Syrian army and allies to focus on attacking ISIS in the east and terrorist groups remaining in Idlib, Hama, the outskirts of Damascus and the south.

The tide is running against the rebel terrorist factions and their supporters. Up until the last year, fanatics and mercenaries were traveling from all parts of the globe into Syria via Turkey. Tens of thousands went to Syria from SE Asia, China, Russia, North Africa, Europe and North America. 

They were given carte blanche to depart their home countries, arrive in Turkey and be guided into Syria. For example, young Canadians such as Damien Clairmont went and died in Syria. His mother has courageously exposed the fact that Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS) knew about his plans yet did nothing to stop him. Progressive Muslim leaders demanded the government identify and start dealing with the radical recruiters.  It was evidently the policy of the cynically named “Friends of Syria” to “look the other way” as their citizens were being brainwashed then recruited to become terrorists attacking Syria.

Now, with terrorist blowback, these same “Friends” are feeling some consequences from their policies. Terror attacks in Britain, France, Belgium and the USA have ended the policy of collusion with wahabi terrorists. In the last year, security services have started arresting recruiters and new recruits. In Britain, a long time promoter of ISIS has been convicted.  In Belgium, the court has approved the extradition of a suspected French terrorist. Previously Belgium was the Western country with the highest per capita number of citizens joining the terrorist fight in Syria. And now Turkey has started arresting people en route to join ISIS in Syria.

Since the rebel terrorists invaded Aleppo in 2012, they have had a constant pipeline bringing weapons, fighters and supplies into the city. For the past few months the Syrian army has been on the verge of encircling and closing the access routes into rebel terrorist sections of east Aleppo.  Western media and governments which support the rebel terrorists are doing all they can to delay or prevent this closure. They are trying to stall or prevent a Syrian victory until someone more hawkish than Barack Obama is in the White House. 

Who is Driving the Conflict?

Regional forces supporting the war on Syria include Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. Israel has always been deeply involved, contrary to the faulty analysis of some observers.  Israel has provided medical and military support to Nusra/Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups operating near the Golan Heights.  Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren was explicit:  “Israel has wanted Assad ousted since Syria war began” .

The USA and western powers are also deeply involved. Working with Saudi Arabia and through Turkey, the US has supplied huge quantities of weapons to the rebel terrorists.  Sophisticated weaponry totalling 994 TONS was provided last winter as documented here.

On the other side, Iran and Hezbollah are committed to defending the existing Syrian government.  They know that if the Syrian government falls, they will be the next ones under attack.  Russia also sees this as a crucial conflict. The USA has expanded NATO up to the Russian eastern border, promoted the 2014 Ukraine coup, and insisted on economic sanctions against Russia. Syria is Russia’s only Arab ally and hosts Russia’s only foreign naval base. Russia probably sees this conflict as a crucial for its own future. In another sign of resistance to US global hegemony, China has indicated it wishes to expand military cooperation with Syria.

Following the US lead, Canada, Australia and West European countries have supported the regime change effort despite it being in clear violation of the UN Charter and international law.

What is at Stake?

Despite five years of tragedy and destruction, the U.S. continues trying to overthrow or destroy the Syrian government. This is not a new US objective.  In 2005, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviewed Syrian President Assad and said to him

“Mr. President, you know the rhetoric of regime change is headed towards you from the United States….They’re talking about isolating you diplomatically and, perhaps, a coup d’etat or your regime crumbling. What are you thinking about that?

Amanpour is not only the CNN host, she is the wife of neocon Clintonite James Rubin.

In 2010 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed Syria to stop its support of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, “loosen” its alliance with Iran and sign a treaty with Israel. Significantly, these are Israel’s demands and of much higher importance to the Zionist state than the USA.

The war in Syria is bringing numerous conflicts to a head: sectarian wahabism vs secular Islam; the “new american century” with one superpower vs a multilateral world;  zionist dominance and occupation vs Lebanese and Palestinian resistance. 

Hillary Clinton is on record criticizing the decision to not bomb Syria in the Fall of 2013. She has continued to promote the idea of a “no fly zone”. She is an avowed zionist who has said she wants to take the US-Israeli relationship to the ‘next level’.

Zionist Israel is deeply worried by the prospect of a strengthened Syria and Lebanese resistance. In addition,  there are many Palestinian refugees and their descendants in Syria and Lebanon. They retain their wish to return home in keeping with international law.  Just as Zionist Israeli interests were a major factor in the invasion of Iraq, so they are in continuing the conflict in Syria. In addition, neocons have not given up their goal of a “new American century”.   

What Has been the role of the Western Left?

The left has been weak in responding and opposing the aggression against Syria. Major factors have included:

– Saudi and US State Dept funded Muslim groups which support the aggression against Syria. This includes the recently famous Dr Zaher Sahloul and the Syrian American Medical Society. SAMS and Zahloul are aligned with Saudi Arabia and receive substantial State Dept funding. 

– deluded leftist groups who support a fantasy “revolution” in Syria just as they did in Libya.

– the flooding of social media and the internet by “activists” and Syrian “civil society” groups who are actually paid and trained agents of the west. This is confirmed by Clinton herself in her book “Hard Choices”.

– uncritical acceptance of major NGOs who are predominately funded by billionaires. These organizations need to be considered with some skepticism. For example, in 1990, Amnesty International mistakenly corroborated the accuracy of the false claim that Iraqi soldiers were stealing incubators from Kuwait, leaving babies to die on the cold floor. In the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Syria, Human Rights Watch did not oppose the invasion and implicitly accepted it by only criticizing the lack of preparation.  Physicians for Human Rights, another Soros project, has issued grossly misleading reports on Syria.

– alternative media which is progressive on many issues but echoes NPR and mainstream media on critical foreign policy issues including the Syrian conflict.

Some groups including Arab Americans for Syria, Syrian American Forum, Black Agenda Report, Syria Solidarity Movement, Answer and Workers World Party have actively challenged the disinformation but their budgets and influence are relatively small in comparison with the heavily funded organizations pushing for regime change.

Veterans for Peace, one of the most influential and respected peace organisations, has recently sharpened its understanding and position.  Following a recent visit to Syria, the Vice President of Veterans for Peace, Jerry Condon, has said,

“Everything we read about Syria in the US media is wrong. The reality is that the U.S. government is supporting armed extremist groups who are terrorizing the Syrian people and trying to destroy Syria’s secular state. In order to hide that ugly reality and push violent regime change the U.S. is conducting a psychological warfare campaign to demonize Syria’s president, Bashar al Assad. This is a classic tactic that veterans have seen over and over. It is shocking, however, to realize how willingly the media repeat this propaganda, and how many people believe it to be true.” 

What Needs to Happen

Neoconservatives including Clintonites are pushing hard for a direct US attack on Syria to prevent the collapse of their regime change project. Claiming that the US and NATO can bring a ‘safe zone’ and ‘protect civilians’ is a grotesque falsehood. If the US tries to impose a “no fly zone” it will result in vastly more deaths and risk escalation into direct conflict between Syria, Russia, Iran and Israel.

Former Acting CIA director Mike Morell recently suggested the killing of Russians and Iranians in Syria to make them “pay a price”. He has endorsed Hillary Clinton as President. This is how dangerous, ignorant and arrogant Washington has become.

There is a clear solution to the Syrian tragedy: the countries who have been supplying tons of weapons and paying tens of thousands of mercenary terrorists should stop.  The conflict would soon end. The foreigners would depart with much less fanaticism than what they came with.  Many Syrian rebel terrorists would accept reconciliation.

There needs to be a global campaign but there is much responsibility in the US since our government is the greatest threat to peace. Following are specific ideas which are realistic and could help significantly.

1. Bernie Sanders raised expectations when he talked about the need stop the ‘regime change’ foreign policy. Now is when he needs to be clear and unequivocal: US military aggression against Syria will make things worse not better and must not happen. Sanders proved that a progressive policy is popular.  If Sanders abandons his core foreign policy position and does not speak out strongly against the drive for aggression, it will be a huge disappointment and failure. He must not be allowed to betray his own message and end up as a porter for Hillary Clinton and the war machine. 

2. DemocracyNow and other leading alternative media need to start including different analyses. To a sad extent, their coverage of Syria has echoed NPR and CNN.  If DemocracyNow is truly an “Exception to the Rulers”, it needs to start including more critical examinations. DN producers should be studying publications such as Consortiumnews, Global Research, AntiWar, MoonOfAlabama, Al Masdar News, Al Mayadeen, Counterpunch, The Duran, DissidentVoice, American Herald Tribune, 21stCenturyWire, Black Agenda Report, the Canary, RT, PressTV and TruePublica (not corporate ProPublica).  They should be bringing the observations and analysis of journalists such as Sharmine Narwani,  Dr. Tim Anderson, Edward Dark, Eva Bartlett, Brad Hoff, Vanessa Beeley, Stephen Sahiounie and Ken Stone to name just a few. Syrian academics such as Issa Chaer (UK) and Nour al Kadri (Canada) could be interviewed. Followers of DN have heard Hillary Clinton as Secy of State and other US officials speaking about Syria countless times. Why have Amy and Juan not interviewed the Syrian Ambassador to the UN?

3. This is an opportunity and challenge for Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka of the Green Party. They are clear on this issue. If they can get a mass audience to hear their message, it could be crucial to their winning support and prompting crucial national debate.  At the moment there is almost no debate on the life and death issue of war in the Middle East.

Instead, the media is filled with propaganda using a boy’s photo to promote more war. The Green Party could play a hugely important role exposing the danger and duplicity of Clinton and Trump. They could play a key role in blocking the Clintonite march to a new war.

4. Veterans for Peace will hopefully play a leading role in changing the perception and ending the demobilisation of the US peace movement. There is a lot at stake.

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Sergey Lavrov SLAMS new US sanctions over Skripal case

Ruble continues to tank under the spectre of looming American sanctions imposed on the basis of circumstantial evidence and insinuation.

Seraphim Hanisch

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TASS News Agency reported on Sunday, 12 August that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov slammed the US Department of State’s accusation against Russia regarding the attack on Sergey and Yuliya Skripal in Salisbury, England earlier this year.

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The State Department made the decision to impose new and very painful sanctions against Russia based on this premise.

This new round of sanctions is hitting the Russian economy very hard. The Ruble slid against the dollar from about 63 rubles on Thursday to more than 67.6 rubles as of 1:30pm UTC (Greenwich Summer Time) on Sunday.

Foreign Minister Lavrov had this to say:

“I think that all who know even a little bit about the so-called Skripal case, understand the absurdity of the statement in the official document of the US. Department of State that the US has established it was Russia behind the Salisbury incident.”

TASS went on to outline the circumstances:

On Wednesday, the US Department of State said in a statement that Washington was imposing new sanctions on Moscow over its alleged involvement in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the British city of Salisbury. The first round of sanctions will take effect on August 22, while a second round may be introduced in 90 days in case Russia fails to meet certain conditions, the State Department said. Moscow has on numerous occasions rejected all the allegations about its involvement in the Salisbury incident.

The current round of sanctions goes into effect on 22 August, and is directed as follows, according to Bloomberg.com:

The initial round of these sanctions will limit exports to Russia of U.S. goods and technology considered sensitive on national security grounds, including electronics, lasers and some specialized oil and gas production technologies, according to a State Department official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity Thursday. The official said the action could block hundreds of millions of dollars in exports. Waivers will be allowed for space-flight activities and U.S. foreign assistance.

Under the 1991 law — invoked previously only against North Korea and Syria — a second, far more extensive round of sanctions would follow later unless Russia meets conditions including providing assurances it will no longer use chemical or biological weapons and will allow on-site inspections to verify it has stopped doing so, the official said.

Russia Thursday repeated its denials that it has the weapons or used them and held out little hope for compromise.

The added sanctions could include a downgrading in diplomatic relations, blanket bans on the import of Russian oil and exports of “all other goods and technology” aside from agricultural products, as well as limits on loans from U.S. banks. The U.S. also would have to suspend aviation agreements and oppose any multilateral development bank assistance.

The additional sanctions also could be averted if Trump declared that waiving them would be in the U.S. national interest, a politically risky move in light of criticism that he’s been too soft on Russia on issues including interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The action by the US State Department is being viewed as an internal political counterattack against US President Donald Trump in response to his overtures to President Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki Summit in July of this year. In that summit, the two leaders had very frank discussions that looked incredibly positive for the prospect of a true thawing out of the troubled relations between the two great world powers.

However, the event appears to have drawn out the elements within the American power establishment which presently comprises most of Congress and almost all of the news media. Even some conservative media outlets joined briefly in condemning Mr. Trump for “selling out” to Vladimir Putin by saying he had no reason to believe Russia would interfere with the American elections.

While Mr. Trump tried to politically backpedal this remark, the die had been cast and now much of this establishment has invested their time and energy into branding Mr. Trump a traitor to the USA. In a similar vein, as reported by Jim Jatras in his piece here, US Senator Rand Paul also made overtures that were warmly received by Russian senators, and now he too, has been marked as a traitor.

In that light, plus even British media acknowledgement that there is no hard evidence whatsoever that ties the Russian Federation to the poisoning of the Skripals or the second couple in Amesbury more recently, it is clear that all deductions have been made on spurious reasoning and no hard facts.

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War is coming – to the United States and to the world

The all-but-inevitable Second American Civil War is likely to be fought away from US soil if the globalists have their way.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Jim Jatras’ piece, reposted in The Duran framed the political mess that Donald Trump – and the United States –  is in, extremely accurately:

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First US President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and appears to make some progress towards his stated goal of putting ties between Washington and Moscow on a positive course. Immediately, all hell breaks loose. Trump is a called a traitor. The “sanctions bill from hell” is introduced in the Senate. Trump is forced on the defensive.

Next Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky visits Moscow, where he meets with Putin and gives him a letter from Trump proposing moderate steps towards rapprochement. Paul also talks with Russian Senators and invites them to come to Washington to continue the dialogue. Immediately, all hell breaks loose. Paul is called a traitor. The State Department “finds” the Russians guilty of the using illegal chemical weapons (CW) in the United Kingdom and imposes sanctions. Trump is forced even more on the defensive.

It is debatable how much of the US government Trump actually controls. This is the crux of the problem.

One President and one US Senator standing alone against all the Democrats and almost all Republicans in both Houses of Congress. Standing alone against a media culture dominated in the West by interests along the lines of cultural Marxism and anti-Christianity at any and all costs.

The truly fearsome power of the globalists appears to have the upper hand.

President Trump and President Putin are both dedicated and brilliant men. They have been trying to make a difference despite the enormous power being brought to bear against them. Rand Paul, for his part is also contributing to this.

The effort to marginalize President Trump has met with great success, though not total. The Russiagate investigation may be coming to its end; certainly a lot of information has revealed that the matter of election interference was never a Republican, much less Trump-related, phenomenon.

But the matter continues not to die.

The changes in prosperity and economic growth in the United States are astounding, especially in light of former President Obama’s insistence that it could never happen.

But the midterm elections approach, and there is not a clearly resounding wave to get more people who are on the Trump Train so to speak to continue to make and widen the impact of domestic change, as well as geopolitical change.

The inevitable outcome appears to be only one thing: War.

This war will be the Second American Civil War. 

While it must be said that the attribution of fault made is utterly incorrect, the New Yorker piece linked above does correctly list five conditions that set the table for such a conflict:

[Keith] Mines [with the US State Department] cited five conditions that support his prediction [of a new American civil war]:

  • entrenched national polarization, with no obvious meeting place for resolution
  • increasingly divisive press coverage and information flows
  • weakened institutions, notably Congress and the judiciary
  • a sellout or abandonment of responsibility by political leadership
  • the legitimization of violence as the “in” way to either conduct discourse or solve disputes

It is not hard to see how these conditions have come to be so in the US.

The only problem is that it is very unlikely to be fought in the United States. It is likely to end up in Europe, Russia, Ukraine, perhaps parts of the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia.

We might well be faced with the prospect of a “government in exile” as Mr. Trump and those supporting his viewpoints are forced to flee the US.

The ideological viewpoints about Russia are not very important to many American people, but the home front will pit two sides that are both destined to lose.

One side is the ideological Left – like those people we consider “loony California liberals”, whose belief in open borders and the rejection of any sort of Christianity-based or traditional family values will cause their side to eventually implode.

The other side is what we might call the “right” or the Americans that support President Trump. However, they too are somewhat influenced by the very pervasive anti-Russian propaganda and it is likely that this group will be divided within itself, though they will be allied against the left.

For this reason, this opposition group will also suffer from a great deal of internal weakness.

This would normally lead to a bloody and protracted conflict. However, the greater danger with this lies in the pervasive power of the Western Media. It is extremely likely that the media will work to deflect attention from the true nature of the war and incite American forces to strike at Russia in some sort of direct, or by-proxy military action.

The picture the American people will be presented with is that Russia is trying to take over the world, when in reality Russia is simply trying to hold her own territory and her own ways.

Is there a way to stop this?

Yes. There is a way to stop it. The election of President Trump bought the US and the world a bit of time because Mr. Trump is so dynamic that it is difficult to truly stop him. The hallmark of his presidency is success in just about every aspect he has paid attention to.

But what he needs is congressional support.

It is very unlikely that the upcoming 2018 midterm elections offer a chance to create a truly pro-Trump agenda majority in Congress. But it can raise the number of dissenting voices to a number greater than one (Rand Paul). A strong vocal bloc of senators and representatives that speak with one voice about this issue could be enough to break through the wall of censorship of the American media. It could give voice to millions of Americans who also believe that this fight is coming, and who want to stop it.

Avoidance of this war will certainly not happen if establishment candidates or worse – liberal Democrats – win the midterm. With such a situation, the President will be marginalized greatly, and the rhetoric against Russia as a scapegoat will only increase.

The outcome is mercilessly logical.

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Saudi Crackdown On Canada Could Backfire

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not apologizing for his country’s call that the Saudis release human rights activists.

The Duran

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Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via Oilprice.com.


Like many spats these days, the Saudi Arabia/Canada one started with a tweet. Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland called for the release of Samar Badawi, a women’s rights activist who is the sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi, whose wife is a Canadian citizen.

The arrests had taken place in OPEC’s largest producer and leading exporter Saudi Arabia, which has amassed its wealth from oil and now looks to attract foreign investors as it seeks to diversify its economy away from too much reliance of crude oil sales.

Canada’s foreign ministry’s global affairs office urged “the Saudi authorities to immediately release” civil society and women’s rights activists.

Saudi Arabia—often criticized for its far from perfect human rights and women’s rights record—didn’t take the Canadian urge lightly. Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador, stopped direct Saudi flights to Canada, stopped buying Canadian wheat, ordered Saudi students and patients to leave Canada, froze all new trade and investment transactions, and ordered its wealth funds to sell their Canadian stock and bond holdings in a sweeping move that surprised with its harshness many analysts, Canada itself, and reportedly, even the U.S.

The Saudi reaction shows, on the one hand, the sensitivity of the Kingdom to criticism for its human rights record. On the other hand, it sent a message to Canada and to everyone else that Saudi Arabia won’t stand any country meddling in its domestic affairs, or as its foreign ministry put it “an overt and blatant interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom.”

The Saudi reaction is also evidence of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s harsher international diplomacy compared to the previous, ‘softer’ diplomacy, analysts say. Saudi Arabia is also emboldened by its very good relations with the current U.S. Administration, and picking a fight with Canada wouldn’t have happened if “Trump wasn’t at the White House,” Haizam Amirah-Fernández, an analyst at Madrid-based think tank Elcano Royal Institute, told Bloomberg.

The United States hadn’t been warned in advance of the Saudi reaction to Canada and is now trying to persuade Riyadh not to escalate the row further, a senior official involved in talks to mediate the dispute told Bloomberg.

The row, however, will not affect crude oil exports from the Kingdom, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih has said, adding that Riyadh’s policy has always been to keep politics and energy exports separate.

Canada imports around 75,000-80,000 bpd of Saudi oil, and these barrels can easily be replaced, CBC quoted analyst Judith Dwarkin as saying earlier this week. The chief economist of RS Energy Group referred to this amount as “a drop in the bucket” at less than a tenth of Canadian crude imports compared with imports from the United States, which amount to about 66 percent of the total. The United States could easily replace Saudi crude thanks to its growing production, Dwarkin said.

Still, the strong Saudi message to Canada (and to the world) is not entirely reassuring for the investor climate in Saudi Arabia, which is looking to attract funds for its economic overhaul and mega infrastructure projects worth hundreds of billions of dollars each.

“The Saudi leadership wants to drive home a message that it’s fine to invest in Saudi Arabia and bring your money to Saudi Arabia, but that there are red lines that should not be crossed,” Riccardo Fabiani, a geopolitical analyst at Energy Aspects, told Bloomberg, but warned that such strategy could backfire.

Analysts are currently not sure how the feud will unfold, but Aurel Braun, a professor of political science and international relations at the University of Toronto, told Canada’s Global News that Saudi Arabia is unlikely to back down and reverse all its retaliatory measures without getting something back from Canada.Related: The Unforeseen Consequences Of China’s Insatiable Oil Demand

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not apologizing for his country’s call that the Saudis release human rights activists.

“We have respect for their importance in the world and recognize that they have made progress on a number of important issues, but we will, at the same time, continue to speak clearly and firmly on issues of human rights, at home and abroad, wherever we see the need,” Trudeau told a news conference this week.

The economic impact of the Saudi retaliation on Canada is unlikely to be large, but the fact that Saudi Arabia is whipping the oil wealth stick to punish economically what it sees as “blatant” interference with its affairs is sending a message to other countries, and a not-so-positive message to foreign investors.

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