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Iran’s growing power the driving force behind new American hostility

Iran are becoming a deterrent to the rogues states operating in the Middle East.

Shane Quinn

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Following the 2003 Iraq invasion, Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld reflected, “The world has witnessed how the United States attacked Iraq for, as it turned out, no reason at all. Had the Iranians not tried to build nuclear weapons, they would be crazy”.

US President Donald Trump has recently decertified the JCPOA – the nuclear deal – with Iran. Furthermore, he has imposed fresh sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the Iranian military.

Two months ago, Iran President Hassan Rouhani said his country may restart their nuclear programme “within hours”, if any more American sanctions were implemented. Considering Iran are again coming under the spectre of attack from their old nemesis, such developments may prove inevitable.

It stands as the signal America, with its aggressive militarism, has sent to the world: Develop nuclear weapons if you want protection from us. It is a message North Korea have long since heeded. The DPRK would surely have been attacked by now, had they not armed themselves with nuclear warheads and masses of artillery.

American threats to North Korea and Iran constitute a violation of the United Nations Charter. The US was one of the key signatories behind the UN’s creation in 1945. During the time since, they appear to have regarded it as a mere ceremonial duty.

The opening lines of the Charter state it is designed to, “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war… to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights… and of nations large and small”.

Among the common charges laid at Iran’s door by the West is “fuelling instability”. In simple terms, this means disregarding American wishes. As ISIS rampaged through northern Iraq in 2014, it was Iran who first came to the aid of the besieged Kurds. Actions like this have been called “destabilisation” and “supporting terrorism”.

Iraq was attacked by the US in 2003, leaving a scale of ruin that Iraqis compare to the Mongol invasions of the 13th century. In the West this was titled “democracy promotion” or “stabilisation”. Not neglecting to mention up to a million Iraqis who died, in an attack which also set the groundwork for ISIS’s emergence.

Meanwhile, of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, UN atomic watchdog chief Yukiya Amano said last month, “The nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented. The verification regime in Iran is the most robust regime… currently existing. We have increased inspection days in Iran, we have increased inspection numbers… and the number of images has increased”.

This is resounding proof that Iran are meeting every requirement asked of them, unlike others. Once more, it is the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia who are taking the lead in discounting international law.

In doing so, they are furthering their isolation in the global arena. The five other powers that primarily hammered out the nuclear deal – China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain – have said they will stand by it regardless of the American position.

The true reasons behind this renewed hostility to Iran are unspecified of course. Iran are becoming an increasing influence in the Middle East, a growing rival and deterrent to Israel, for instance. Iran also performed an important role, allied to Russia and the Syrian Army, in defeating Western-backed opposition terrorists in Aleppo.

Other causes of concern are Iran’s “support for terrorism”, as President Trump has reiterated, echoing his predecessors’ words. This mainly refers to Iran’s backing of Hezbollah and Hamas. Both these organisations came into existence because of US-led aggression in the Middle East, abetted and supported by Israel or Saudi Arabia.

This Western-directed terror greatly outweighs anything attributed to either Hezbollah or Hamas. Hezbollah, for example, have played a role in the retreat of ISIS – having fought the extremists over three years in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. The duo are also staunch enemies of Israel, therefore of the US.

Nor can Iran, along with Hezbollah and Hamas, even compete with Saudi Arabia when it comes to sponsoring Islamic terror. ISIS themselves are an offshoot of Saudi religious fanaticism and its broadening of the jihadi message.

What’s more, Iran – the earth’s fourth largest oil producer – have never been forgiven for removing themselves from American control 38 years ago. Much as a gang underling must be taught lessons for betraying the Mafia don, Iran have been mercilessly punished. Those living in Cuba can back up Iran’s claims with their own half century of evidence.

Even American intelligence recognises Iran’s strategic doctrines are defensive, and that they pose no major military threat. Last year the US arms budget was 50 times greater than Iran’s. Yet in Western circles, Iran are often viewed as the “gravest threat to peace”, despite no record of having outright invaded another country.

One of the major ironies is how American actions this century have aided Iran’s cause. Fourteen years after the Iraq war ended, the New York Times laments that, “Walk into almost any market in Iraq and the shelves are filled with goods to Iran… Turn on the television and channel after channel broadcasts programs sympathetic to Iran. A new building goes up? It’s likely that the bricks and cement came from Iran. And that’s not even the half of it”.

The root cause behind such outcomes – the devastation left behind by the US-led invasion – are unmentioned in the Times article. Iraq had long been a Shiite majority country, but before the 2003 attack it was governed by a Sunni minority. The Americans wiped out the elite Sunni rulers, inadvertently pushing Iraq close to Iran, also a Shiite majority nation.

With American hostility towards Iran again increasing, it is striking that China, in particular, have become a key ally of the Middle East country. Today, China represent both Iran’s largest export and import market. From 2000 to 2014, China’s share of Iranian exports grew from 4% to a significant 49%, mostly in crude oil. During that 14-year stretch, China’s share of imports to Iran rose from 5% to 45%.

Closer Sino-Iranian military ties have also developed. In 2012, for the first time, Chinese warships appeared in the Persian Gulf for a joint exercise with the Iranian navy.

Under President Rouhani (in power, 2013-present), relations have stepped up another level – with an overall 70% increase in trade with China, who view Rouhani favourably. Last year, China and Iran agreed to increase trade to $600 billion over the next decade.

China have also become a major supplier of advanced weapons to Iran. This includes anti-ship cruise missiles, Land Attack cruise missiles, providing scores of sophisticated J-10 fighter jets to Iran, etc. The J-10 fighter is “roughly comparable to American’s lethal F-15 in battle”.

In November 2016, a military cooperation agreement was signed by China and Iran, with joint military drills having occurred in June this year. Iran’s then Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan said, “The upgrading of relations and long-term defence-military cooperation with China, is one of the main priorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s defence diplomacy”. It also poses another major deterrent to Iran’s enemies.

One can assume the above developments are viewed with horror by those in Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh.

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Clinton-Yeltsin docs shine a light on why Deep State hates Putin (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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Bill Clinton and America ruled over Russia and Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. Yeltsin showed little love for Russia and more interest in keeping power, and pleasing the oligarchs around him.

Then came Vladimir Putin, and everything changed.

Nearly 600 pages of memos and transcripts, documenting personal exchanges and telephone conversations between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, were made public by the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dating from January 1993 to December 1999, the documents provide a historical account of a time when US relations with Russia were at their best, as Russia was at its weakest.

On September 8, 1999, weeks after promoting the head of the Russia’s top intelligence agency to the post of prime minister, Russian President Boris Yeltsin took a phone call from U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The new prime minister was unknown, rising to the top of the Federal Security Service only a year earlier.

Yeltsin wanted to reassure Clinton that Vladimir Putin was a “solid man.”

Yeltsin told Clinton….

“I would like to tell you about him so you will know what kind of man he is.”

“I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the nearly 600 pages of transcripts documenting the calls and personal conversations between then U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, released last month. A strong Clinton and a very weak Yeltsin underscore a warm and friendly relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

Then Vladimir Putin came along and decided to lift Russia out of the abyss, and things changed.

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Here are five must-read Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges from with the 600 pages released by the Clinton Library.

Via RT

Clinton sends ‘his people’ to get Yeltsin elected

Amid unceasing allegations of nefarious Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, the Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges reveal how the US government threw its full weight behind Boris – in Russian parliamentary elections as well as for the 1996 reelection campaign, which he approached with 1-digit ratings.

For example, a transcript from 1993 details how Clinton offered to help Yeltsin in upcoming parliamentary elections by selectively using US foreign aid to shore up support for the Russian leader’s political allies.

“What is the prevailing attitude among the regional leaders? Can we do something through our aid package to send support out to the regions?” a concerned Clinton asked.

Yeltsin liked the idea, replying that “this kind of regional support would be very useful.” Clinton then promised to have “his people” follow up on the plan.

In another exchange, Yeltsin asks his US counterpart for a bit of financial help ahead of the 1996 presidential election: “Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion,” he said. Yeltsin added that he needed the money in order to pay pensions and government wages – obligations which, if left unfulfilled, would have likely led to his political ruin. Yeltsin also asks Clinton if he could “use his influence” to increase the size of an IMF loan to assist him during his re-election campaign.

Yeltsin questions NATO expansion

The future of NATO was still an open question in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and conversations between Clinton and Yeltsin provide an illuminating backdrop to the current state of the curiously offensive ‘defensive alliance’ (spoiler alert: it expanded right up to Russia’s border).

In 1995, Yeltsin told Clinton that NATO expansion would lead to “humiliation” for Russia, noting that many Russians were fearful of the possibility that the alliance could encircle their country.

“It’s a new form of encirclement if the one surviving Cold War bloc expands right up to the borders of Russia. Many Russians have a sense of fear. What do you want to achieve with this if Russia is your partner? They ask. I ask it too: Why do you want to do this?” Yeltsin asked Clinton.

As the documents show, Yeltsin insisted that Russia had “no claims on other countries,” adding that it was “unacceptable” that the US was conducting naval drills near Crimea.

“It is as if we were training people in Cuba. How would you feel?” Yeltsin asked. The Russian leader then proposed a “gentleman’s agreement” that no former Soviet republics would join NATO.

Clinton refused the offer, saying: “I can’t make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO. I’ve always tried to build you up and never undermine you.”

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia turns Russia against the West

Although Clinton and Yeltsin enjoyed friendly relations, NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia tempered Moscow’s enthusiastic partnership with the West.

“Our people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO,” the Russian president told Clinton in March 1999. “I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that.”

Yeltsin urged Clinton to renounce the strikes, for the sake of “our relationship” and “peace in Europe.”

“It is not known who will come after us and it is not known what will be the road of future developments in strategic nuclear weapons,” Yeltsin reminded his US counterpart.

But Clinton wouldn’t cede ground.

“Milosevic is still a communist dictator and he would like to destroy the alliance that Russia has built up with the US and Europe and essentially destroy the whole movement of your region toward democracy and go back to ethnic alliances. We cannot allow him to dictate our future,” Clinton told Yeltsin.

Yeltsin asks US to ‘give Europe to Russia’

One exchange that has been making the rounds on Twitter appears to show Yeltsin requesting that Europe be “given” to Russia during a meeting in Istanbul in 1999. However, it’s not quite what it seems.

“I ask you one thing,” Yeltsin says, addressing Clinton. “Just give Europe to Russia. The US is not in Europe. Europe should be in the business of Europeans.”

However, the request is slightly less sinister than it sounds when put into context: The two leaders were discussing missile defense, and Yeltsin was arguing that Russia – not the US – would be a more suitable guarantor of Europe’s security.

“We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles,” Yeltsin told Clinton.

Clinton on Putin: ‘He’s very smart’

Perhaps one of the most interesting exchanges takes place when Yeltsin announces to Clinton his successor, Vladimir Putin.

In a conversation with Clinton from September 1999, Yeltsin describes Putin as “a solid man,” adding: “I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

A month later, Clinton asks Yeltsin who will win the Russian presidential election.

“Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He’s a democrat, and he knows the West.”

“He’s very smart,” Clinton remarks.

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New Satellite Images Reveal Aftermath Of Israeli Strikes On Syria; Putin Accepts Offer to Probe Downed Jet

The images reveal the extent of destruction in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport.

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Via Zerohedge


An Israeli satellite imaging company has released satellite photographs that reveal the extent of Monday night’s attack on multiple locations inside Syria.

ImageSat International released them as part of an intelligence report on a series of Israeli air strikes which lasted for over an hour and resulted in Syrian missile defense accidentally downing a Russian surveillance plane that had 15 personnel on board.

The images reveal the extent of destruction on one location struck early in attack in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport. On Tuesday Israel owned up to carrying out the attack in a rare admission.

Syrian official SANA news agency reported ten people injured in the attacks carried out of military targets near three major cities in Syria’s north.

The Times of Israel, which first reported the release of the new satellite images, underscores the rarity of Israeli strikes happening that far north and along the coast, dangerously near Russian positions:

The attack near Latakia was especially unusual because the port city is located near a Russian military base, the Khmeimim Air Force base. The base is home to Russian jet planes and an S-400 aerial defense system. According to Arab media reports, Israel has rarely struck that area since the Russians arrived there.

The Russian S-400 system was reportedly active during the attack, but it’s difficult to confirm or assess the extent to which Russian missiles responded during the strikes.

Three of the released satellite images show what’s described as an “ammunition warehouse” that appears to have been completely destroyed.

The IDF has stated their airstrikes targeted a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” This statement came after the IDF expressed “sorrow” for the deaths of Russian airmen, but also said responsibility lies with the “Assad regime.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express regret over the incident while offering to send his air force chief to Russia with a detailed report — something which Putin agreed to.

According to Russia’s RT News, “Major-General Amikam Norkin will arrive in Moscow on Thursday, and will present the situation report on the incident, including the findings of the IDF inquiry regarding the event and the pre-mission information the Israeli military was so reluctant to share in advance.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry condemned the “provocative actions by Israel as hostile” and said Russia reserves “the right to an adequate response” while Putin has described the downing of the Il-20 recon plane as likely the result of a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances” and downplayed the idea of a deliberate provocation, in contradiction of the initial statement issued by his own defense ministry.

Pro-government Syrians have reportedly expressed frustration this week that Russia hasn’t done more to respond militarily to Israeli aggression; however, it appears Putin may be sidestepping yet another trap as it’s looking increasingly likely that Israel’s aims are precisely geared toward provoking a response in order to allow its western allies to join a broader attack on Damascus that could result in regime change.

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“Transphobic” Swedish Professor May Lose Job After Noting Biological Differences Between Sexes

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded”

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Via Zerohedge


A university professor in Sweden is under investigation for “anti-feminism” and “transphobia” after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” and that genders cannot be regarded as “social constructs alone,” reports Academic Rights Watch.

For his transgression, Germund Hesslow – a professor of neuroscience at Lund University – who holds dual PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology, may lose his job – telling RT that a “full investigation” has been ordered, and that there “have been discussions about trying to stop the lecture or get rid of me, or have someone else give the lecture or not give the lecture at all.”

“If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn’t,” Hesslow said.

Hesslow was ordered to attend a meeting by Christer Larsson, chairman of the program board for medical education, after a female student complained that Hesslow had a “personal anti-feminist agenda.” He was asked to distance himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a “male sexual orientation” and that the sexual orientation of transsexuals is “a matter of definition.”

The student’s complaint reads in part (translated):

I have also heard from senior lecturers that Germund Hesslow at the last lecture expressed himself transfobically. In response to a question of transexuallism, he said something like “sex change is a fly”. Secondly, it is outrageous because there may be students during the lecture who are themselves exposed to transfobin, but also because it may affect how later students in their professional lives meet transgender people. Transpersonals already have a high level of overrepresentation in suicide statistics and there are already major shortcomings in the treatment of transgender in care, should not it be countered? How does this kind of statement coincide with the university’s equal treatment plan? What has this statement given for consequences? What has been done for this to not be repeated? –Academic Rights Watch

After being admonished, Hesslow refused to distance himself from his comments, saying that he had “done enough” already and didn’t have to explain and defend his choice of words.

At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether,” Hesslow said in a written reply to Larsson.

He also rejected the accusation that he had a political agenda – stating that his only agenda was to let scientific factnot new social conventions, dictate how he teaches his courses.

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