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Post-Brexit EU: Between Regional Breakdown and Full-Blown Dictatorship

If the US cannot prevent EU disintegration it will aim to control Europe by dividing it into various micro blocs.

Andrew Korybko

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The people of the UK took the world by surprise when the majority of them democratically voted to ask their government to leave the EU. In the aftermath, a plethora of forecasts have been thrown around about the future of the CIA’s continental integrative project, with most analysts agreeing with one of two polar opposite predictions, namely that the EU must either enact wide-scale “democratic” reform or fully collapse.  Interestingly, the same assessment can also be levelled against the UK itself, thereby suggesting that two dissolution processes might be simultaneously underway.

The future state of affairs gets even more suspenseful when the views of international conspirator George Soros are taken into account. According to the multibillion-dollar financier of worldwide Colour Revolutions and close public asset of the US’ “deep state” apparatus (the permanent military-diplomatic-intelligence bureaucracies), “the disintegration of the EU (is) practically irreversible” unless “all of us who believe in the values and principles that the EU was designed to uphold…band together to save it by thoroughly reconstructing it”, with Soros being “convinced” that “more and more people” will support the latter scenario.

Doubling Down On The Dictatorship

Taking into consideration his eponymous foundation’s history of financing and organising serious domestic disturbances in targeted states, it can’t be discounted that Soros and his “deep state” backers will try to repeat this blueprint in Germany, France, and perhaps even the UK as well in a last-ditch effort to salvage their decades-long investment. The Eurocratic elites have already announced a plan to create an “EU Army”, which would serve the effect of fully trampling on the remnants of “national sovereignty” still present in the continental bloc, and it can be expected that any resistance that this plan comes up against from the patriotic citizenry will be confronted by pro-Brussels Colour Revolutions in whatever the given state(s) may be.

The resultant outcome would be the immediate creation of low-intensity Hybrid War tension within the most important EU states, a goal that the US has been working towards ever since it manufactured the Immigrant Crisis as a means of indefinitely perpetuating the viability of this post-modern asymmetrical regime change model. The practical effect of American-directed disorder in key EU countries would be to pressure any recalcitrant governments and/or influential politicians that are still remotely accountable to their electorate into submitting to the US’ anti-democratic will in pushing through a full-blown dictatorship to safeguard Washington’s treasured geopolitical construction.

From Dictatorship To Breakdown

The only structure-saving “reform” that the EU could realistically undertake at the moment is the doubling down of its authoritarian model in order to stamp out any remaining internal dissent that could one day (soon) transform into a series of member-wide exit referenda that emulate the Brexit results. While this appears to be the US’ preferred plan, it can’t be discounted that it will fail and that the EU’s dissolution in one way or another is inevitable with time. Should that come to pass, it’s unlikely that the consequences will be as geopolitically dramatic as some are saying they could be, such as a return to 28 separate and equally sovereign states. Instead, it’s much more probable that the US will adapt its strategy to hijack the disintegrative processes within the EU after it’s convinced that they’re irreversible, thus repeating the characteristic and regularly evidenced pattern of the American intelligence community attempting to exploit creatively every setback that it comes across.

Regionally Regrouping The Broken Bloc

Proceeding along the scenario branch that the EU is irrevocably broken and in the process of internal collapse, it’s foreseeable that it could fracture along very geographically distinct lines that partially overlap with what the author has previously identified to be some of NATO’s regional groupings. To modify the previous research for the present circumstances and to link emerging military configurations with ‘natural’ economic spaces, the following post-decentralization/dissolution EU regions are proposed:

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 6.44.04 PM

* Blue – The Viking Bloc: Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia

* Red – The Neo-Commonwealth: Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine

* Pink – The Central Core: Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic

* Yellow – Western/Southern Europe; France, Spain, Portugal, Italy

* Brown – (Disorganized) Balkan Space: Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria

Furthermore, the following countries have the potential to fall into one or another grouping:

* Hungary/Slovakia – It’s uncertain at this time whether these two states would be aligned with the Central Core or Neo-Commonwealth, though there’s also the chance that Budapest could become its own regional leadership pole in attempting to geostrategically reconfigure the Imperial Hungarian lands from the Dual Monarchy period.

* Estonia/Latvia – While predicted to be part of the Viking Bloc (“Greater Scandinavia”), they might eventually come under Polish-led influence if the Neo-Commonwealth is ambitious enough and succeeds in besting the Swedes.

* Czech Republic – A similar situation also holds true for Prague, which while more structurally integrated with Germany (aside from the Visegrad Group), could also possibly come under Warsaw’s sway if Poland plays its cards right.

* Moldova/Romania – There’s no telling whether Chisinau will end up with the Neo-Commonwealth or if Romania (which could also join the grouping, but at the expense of Warsaw weakening its centralized grip on it) integrates with or outright annexes its culturally affiliated neighbor, thereby placing it under the (disorganized) Balkan Space or an expanded Polish-led zone.

* Greece – The final relevant state that has yet to be categorised is Greece, which is pretty much a wild card between Western/Southern Europe and the (disorganised) Balkan Space.

Lead From Behind

Each of the geographically distinct European groupings can operate with relative strategic autonomy in their political, economic, and military affairs, all of which are expected to be influenced to a large extent by a Brexit-adapted US intelligence community. The age-old maxim of “divide and rule” is veritably appropriate in this prospective construction, where each of the regional blocs still retains a loosely decentralised link with one another, though their members primarily gravitate around the indisputable core states that glue their neighbours together (with the exception being a massively expanded Neo-Commonwealth that sub-divides leadership between Poland-Romania-Hungary).

To put it in more actionable terms, the five post-Brexit regional blocs that could develop in a non-reformed, decentralized EU would likely remain connected by economic and political links (whether their members formally remain part of the EU or not), but their military relations will be more attuned to their local situations and less focused on the continent as a whole. American-controlled NATO would manage each of these relatively disconnected military formations and serve as the coordinating mechanism between them.

The US can then offset whatever grand strategic losses it theoretically stands to incur from an EU “collapse” by reformatting its continental control scheme from managing the super-regional EU to multitasking between a handful of sub-regional successors. As per the US’ recent reliance on regional leaders to “outsource” its unipolar ‘responsibilities’, the post-Brexit “Lead From Behind” stratagem in these examined circumstances will utilise Washington’s close relations with each of the following states:

* Sweden (Viking Bloc)

* Poland (Neo-Commonwealth)

* Germany (Central Core)

* France (Western-Southern Europe)

The Balkan Black Hole

The only discussed region without any clear leader, let alone one capable of exercising hegemony over the entire given space on behalf of the US’ Lead From Behind interests, is the Balkans. There’s a chance that Romania might exclude itself from this broad regional construction through a disinterested policy of “self-isolation” in favour of focusing more strongly on looking eastward by integrating with or outright annexing Moldova and/or being the US’ chief naval proxy in the Western Black Sea region. Greece, for its part, has never been too involved in Balkan affairs, and aside from its shared Orthodox heritage with most of the region, stands out as somewhat of a cultural-historical anomaly that’s linked to its northern neighbours mostly through its shared peninsular geography.

Having addressed these two Balkan “outliers”, it’s now time to critically turn the research’s attention to the remaining regional states. Serbia is the only one with the most recent history of leadership, but for a variety of reasons that include its American-pressured ‘voluntary’ de-militarisation after the Bulldozer Revolution to the sub-optimal relations that it has with most of its neighbours, Belgrade is no longer capable of exercising its historical role. In a sense, without a regional leader such as the US’ other proxy counterparts elsewhere throughout Europe, one could say that the Balkans would remain a “disorganised space” in the event of a continental-wide decentralisation along the lines of the prospective one that’s being presently discussed, though that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any other countries that aspire for regional leadership, however partial it may be.

Three of the US’ closest European allies salivate at the chance of restoring their fascist-era fiefdoms, and it’s forecast that they’ll use one means or another (whether military tactics, strategic subversion, and/or economic enticement) to recreate the zones of control that they had last occupied under the Nazis’ blessing. These disruptor states and their targets of focus are:

* Croatia in the Muslim-Croat portion of Bosnia and perhaps even one day in Vojvodina;

* Bulgaria in the eastern half of the Republic of Macedonia;

* and Albania in a sliver of Montenegro, the Serbian civilisational cradle of Kosovo, and the western half of the Republic of Macedonia.

The specific scenarios that could be advanced in any of these cases are thoroughly explored in the Balkan series of the author’s “Law Of Hybrid War” research at Oriental Review, and the reader is warmly welcomed to familiarise themselves with this work if they’re interested in the means by which the US could disrupt this region. At this time, however, it’s more topical to move on to the final part of the present analysis in examining the interests that the unipolar and multipolar worlds have in the EU’s internal reorganisation or collapse.

Back-To-Back: Unipolar vs Multipolar Interests

Contrary to the prevailing assessment offered by many commentators, the US is not guaranteed to find itself in a strategically impossible situation if the EU regionally decentralizes or dissolves, nor are Russia and China automatically bound to reap a host of strategic dividends from this scenario, either. Let’s take a look at what each side stands to both gain and lose if this development transpires:

US:

Washington’s chief interest in Europe is to keep the continent under its control, with the US employing NATO as a military occupation force and the TTIP as its economic equivalent. The latter is particularly important nowadays since its successful conclusion would wed Washington and Brussels at the hip, making it impossible for one or the other to independently negotiate any future free trade agreements without its partner. This is strategically pertinent in preventing the EU from signing such a deal with Russia and/or China (perhaps as part of the Grand Eurasian Free Trade Area, GEFTA) and thereby one day replacing unipolar Atlanticist economic influence with its multipolar Continentalist counterpart.

It’s infinitely easier for the US to use a single piece of trade legislation to control its subservient bloc as opposed to reaching upwards of 28 separate agreements for the same purpose, and such an integrated multilateral entity as the EU is much easier to incorporate into NATO in constructing a full-spectrum military-political-economic Lead From Behind superstructure. On the other hand, if a unified Europe was successful in casting off its unipolar chains of hegemony (perhaps through the unprecedented historical opportunity that Russia and China’s Balkan Megaprojects could provide), then it would rapidly transform into one of the US’ chief economic competitors and present an unparalleled threat to the unipolar world order.

For reasons of “strategic insurance”, the US establishment might gradually become comfortable with accepting a decentralised or outright disbanded EU if it felt that this was either inevitable or preferable to a multipolar-leaning transatlantic “partner”. While the US would have difficulty retaining the continental-wide “unity” of its NATO pet project and integrating its military proxy into its economic-political one, it might find it circumstantially suitable to just abandon this ambitious project and focus instead on optimising the regional blocs that (it helps) sprout up in the EU’s wake instead. If managed properly, they could provide a much leaner, adaptable, and locally focused point of unipolar power projection for the US than the clumsily large and notoriously inefficient EU-NATO hybrid proxy.

Moreover, as was predicted by the author in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, the UK has a chance to return to its historical divide-and-rule “balancing” role vis-à-vis Continental Europe, but this time on the US’ behalf. It could synergise its geostrategic and prospectively pro-EuroCautionary approaches with the US’ Fifth Generational Warfare weaponization of historical memory, the latter of which could be used to masterfully exploit the historical tensions/rivalries between some of the regional blocs and their respective cores in order to disrupt potential multipolar strategic advances in some of them and preempt the reconsolidation of a newly pro-Eurasian EU.

Russia and China:

Looking at everything from the other perspective, Russia and China’s interests in a unified Europe are similar to the US’, albeit for different reasons. While the US favours an integrated EU in order to facilitate reaching the restrictive TTIP “trade” agreement as a means of ‘locking out’ Russia and China, these two multipolar leaders similarly find it preferable to deal with one single negotiating partner instead of 28 separate ones but as a way of advancing GEFTA. The only circumstance in which either of them would strategically stand to gain from the EU’s regional decentralisation or outright dissolution in this regard would be if the entity was on the brink of clinching TTIP, and this was the only alternative to safeguarding their market access to the bloc and retaining hope of reaching GEFTA-like agreements with its quasi-independent regional remnants.

Likewise, a disunited EU is much more difficult to comprehensively integrate into NATO in forming the US’ envisioned Lead From Behind superstructure, but it also makes it more challenging for Russia to capitalise off of its diplomatic-economic advances with the Central Core and Western-Southern European states and leaders (Germany, France, Italy) in exercising an advantage over the rest of the bloc. The same obstacle can also be identified when it comes to China doing the same with the Neo-Commonwealth and Balkan Space states that it has recently upped its multilateral engagement with via the CEE framework. Without an integrated EU, it’s hard for the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership to apply its members’ advantages in the Western and Eastern reaches of the continent, respectively, in promoting a comprehensive multipolar policy towards Europe.

That’s not to say that there aren’t any benefits in seeing the EU fall apart, however, since to return to what was mentioned at the beginning of the preceding paragraph, there’s a lot that can be gained in delinking NATO from any economic-political (governance) organisations, though only so long as the two (NATO and the regional leadership blocs) can be kept apart as long as possible. It might be impossible in the near-term to completely delink the two, but the best that can happen is that their relations do not intensify so as to reproduce several “mini-superstructures” (as in integrated Lead From Behind military-economic-political units) that optimise the US’ hostile unipolar agenda against Russia and China’s peaceful multipolar interests.

If NATO and the regional blocs don’t succeed in fully consolidating into a patchwork of highly efficient pro-American proxies, then it’ll be comparatively easier for these multipolar anchors to use their own “Lead From Behind” partners for streamlining constructive multilateral cooperation between themselves and the regional blocs, with Russia and China covering one another’s situational disadvantages (Russia in the Eastern Europe, China with Western Europe) with their respective strengths (the inverse of the aforementioned). This optimistic vision isn’t entirely certain, though, since it’s wholly contingent on whether or not the US instigates a significantly destabilising conflict in the Balkans, which in that case would totally offset the two multipolar mega-projects in the region and severely inhibit Russia and China’s engagement with the continent.

Concluding Thoughts

The Brexit sent shockwaves throughout the world and will likely go down in history as one of the most globally influential democratic votes ever held in modern times. In a single stroke, and proving that the pen is more powerful than the pencil, patriotic and pragmatic-minded citizens changed the course of European history by catalysing the long-overdue fundamental revision of the EU. With its first-ever ‘defection’, and having occurred amidst what persuasively looks to be a series of existential crises, the EU is venturing into uncharted territory and is bound to undergo massive changes in the near future.

As of now, and most clearly signalled by George Soros’ intimations about a “thorough reconstructing” of the EU that the Colour Revolution puppeteer is “convinced” that “more and more people” will support, it looks like the Eurocratic elite and their American “deep state” backers’ “Plan A” is to press for a full-blown dictatorship that permanently eliminates the possibility of any forthcoming exit referenda. Failing that, and faced with the otherwise imminent decentralisation or dissolution of the EU, it’s expected that the US will find a way to adapt to these processes by taking partial or full control of them for its own benefit, realistically leading to the formation of a network of regional Lead From Behind blocs that could function as the US’ “Plan B” in a post-Brexit European strategic environment.

It’s far too early to say which of these two scenarios will eventually transpire, or whether whatever happens will end up being to the ultimate benefit of the unipolar or multipolar worlds, but it can be confidently analysed that the EU is undergoing a series of major changes that will redefine its essence for the coming decades. Amidst each of these developments, and no matter which way they proceed, it can also be just as confidently stated that the US will feverishly try to find a way to maximise its own self-interests. This in turn means that while the decentralisation and/or collapse of the EU might be popularly applauded by all of those who genuinely favour democracy and the multipolar world, one mustn’t let their strategic guard down in believing this.

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Russia and China Are Containing the US to Reshape the World Order

China and Russia are leading this historic transition while being careful to avoid direct war with the United States.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Fortunately the world today is very different from that of 2003, Washington’s decrees are less effective in determining the world order. But in spite of this new, more balanced division of power amongst several powers, Washington appears ever more aggressive towards allies and enemies alike, regardless of which US president is in office.

China and Russia are leading this historic transition while being careful to avoid direct war with the United States. To succeed in this endeavor, they use a hybrid strategy involving diplomacy, military support to allies, and economic guarantees to countries under Washington’s attack.

The United States considers the whole planet its playground. Its military and political doctrine is based on the concept of liberal hegemony, as explained by political scientist John Mearsheimer. This imperialistic attitude has, over time, created a coordinated and semi-official front of countries resisting this liberal hegemony. The recent events in Venezuela indicate why cooperation between these counter-hegemonic countries is essential to accelerating the transition from a unipolar to a multipolar reality, where the damage US imperialism is able to bring about is diminished.

Moscow and Beijing lead the world by hindering Washington

Moscow and Beijing, following a complex relationship from the period of the Cold War, have managed to achieve a confluence of interests in their grand objectives over the coming years. The understanding they have come to mainly revolves around stemming the chaos Washington has unleashed on the world.

The guiding principle of the US military-intelligence apparatus is that if a country cannot be controlled (such as Iraq following the 2003 invasion), then it has to be destroyed in order to save it from falling into Sino-Russian camp. This is what the United States has attempted to do with Syria, and what it intends to do with Venezuela.

The Middle East is an area that has drawn global attention for some time, with Washington clearly interested in supporting its Israeli and Saudi allies in the region. Israel pursues a foreign policy aimed at dismantling the Iranian and Syrian states. Saudi Arabia also pursues a similar strategy against Iran and Syria, in addition to fueling a rift within the Arab world stemming from its differences with Qatar.

The foreign-policy decisions of Israel and Saudi Arabia have been supported by Washington for decades, for two very specific reasons: the influence of the Israel lobby in the US, and the need to ensure that Saudi Arabia and the OPEC countries sell oil in US dollars, thereby preserving the role of the US dollar as the global reserve currency.

The US dollar remaining the global reserve currency is essential to Washington being able to maintain her role as superpower and is crucial to her hybrid strategy against her geopolitical rivals. Sanctions are a good example of how Washington uses the global financial and economic system, based on the US dollar, as a weapon against her enemies. In the case of the Middle East, Iran is the main target, with sanctions aimed at preventing the Islamic Republic from trading on foreign banking systems. Washington has vetoed Syria’s ability to procure contracts to reconstruct the country, with European companies being threatened that they risk no longer being able to work in the US if they accept to work in Syria.

Beijing and Moscow have a clear diplomatic strategy, jointly rejecting countless motions advanced by the US, the UK and France at the United Nations Security Council condemning Iran and Syria. On the military front, Russia continues her presence in Syria. China’s economic efforts, although not yet fully visible in Syria and Iran, will be the essential part of reviving these countries destroyed by years of war inflicted by Washington and her allies.

China and Russia’s containment strategy in the Middle East aims to defend Syria and Iran diplomatically using international law, something that is continuously ridden roughshod over by the US and her regional allies. Russia’s military action has been crucial to curbing and defeating the inhuman aggression launched against Syria, and has also drawn a red line that Israel cannot cross in its efforts to attack Iran. The defeat of the United States in Syria has created an encouraging precedent for the rest of the world. Washington has been forced to abandon the original plans to getting rid of Assad.

Syria will be remembered in the future as the beginning of the multipolar revolution, whereby the United States was contained in military-conventional terms as a result of the coordinated actions of China and Russia.

China’s economic contribution provides for such urgent needs as the supply of food, government loans, and medicines to countries under Washington’s economic siege. So long as the global financial system remains anchored to the US dollar, Washington remains able to cause a lot of pain to countries refusing to obey her diktats.

The effectiveness of economic sanctions varies from country to country. The Russian Federation used sanctions imposed by the West as an impetus to obtain a complete, or almost autonomous, refinancing of its main foreign debt, as well as to producing at home what had previously been imported from abroad. Russia’s long-term strategy is to open up to China and other Asian countries as the main market for imports and exports, reducing contacts with the Europeans if countries like France and Germany continue in their hostility towards the Russian Federation.

Thanks to Chinese investments, together with planned projects like the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the hegemony of the US dollar is under threat in the medium to long term. The Chinese initiatives in the fields of infrastructure, energy, rail, road and technology connections among dozens of countries, added to the continuing need for oil, will drive ever-increasing consumption of oil in Asia that is currently paid for in US dollars.

Moscow is in a privileged position, enjoying good relations with all the major producers of oil and LNG, from Qatar to Saudi Arabia, and including Iran, Venezuela and Nigeria. Moscow’s good relations with Riyadh are ultimately aimed at the creation of an OPEC+ arrangement that includes Russia.

Particular attention should be given to the situation in Venezuela, one of the most important countries in OPEC. Riyadh sent to Caracas in recent weeks a tanker carrying two million barrels of oil, and Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has taken a neutral stance regarding Venezuela, maintaining a predictable balance between Washington and Caracas.

These joint initiatives, led by Moscow and Beijing, are aimed at reducing the use of the US dollar by countries that are involved in the BRI and adhere to the OPEC+ format. This diversification away from the US dollar, to cover financial transactions between countries involving investment, oil and LNG, will see the progressive abandonment of the US dollar as a result of agreements that increasingly do away with the dollar.

For the moment, Riyadh does not seem intent on losing US military protection. But recent events to do with Khashoggi, as well as the failure to list Saudi Aramco on the New York or London stock exchanges, have severely undermined the confidence of the Saudi royal family in her American allies. The meeting between Putin and MBS at the G20 in Bueno Aires seemed to signal a clear message to Washington as well as the future of the US dollar.

Moscow and Beijing’s military, economic and diplomatic efforts see their culmination in the Astana process. Turkey is one of the principle countries behind the aggression against Syria; but Moscow and Tehran have incorporated it into the process of containing the regional chaos spawned by the United States. Thanks to timely agreements in Syria known as “deconfliction zones”, Damascus has advanced, city by city, to clear the country of the terrorists financed by Washington, Riyadh and Ankara.

Qatar, an economic guarantor of Turkey, which in return offers military protection to Doha, is also moving away from the Israeli-Saudi camp as a result of Sino-Russian efforts in the energy, diplomatic and military fields. Doha’s move has also been because of the fratricidal diplomatic-economic war launched by Riyadh against Doha, being yet another example of the contagious effect of the chaos created by Washington, especially on US allies Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Washington loses military influence in the region thanks to the presence of Moscow, and this leads traditional US allies like Turkey and Qatar to gravitate towards a field composed essentially of the countries opposed to Washington.

Washington’s military and diplomatic defeat in the region will in the long run make it possible to change the economic structure of the Middle East. A multipolar reality will prevail, where regional powers like Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran will feel compelled to interact economically with the whole Eurasian continent as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The basic principle for Moscow and Beijing is the use of military, economic and diplomatic means to contain the United States in its unceasing drive to kill, steal and destroy.

From the Middle East to Asia

Beijing has focussed in Asia on the diplomatic field, facilitating talks between North and South Korea, accelerating the internal dialogue on the peninsula, thereby excluding external actors like the United States (who only have the intention of sabotaging the talks). Beijing’s military component has also played an important role, although never used directly as the Russian Federation did in Syria. Washington’s options vis-a-vis the Korean peninsular were strongly limited by the fact that bordering the DPRK were huge nuclear and conventional forces, that is to say, the deterrence offered by Russia and China. The combined military power of the DPRK, Russia and China made any hypothetical invasion and bombing of Pyongyang an impractical option for the United States.

As in the past, the economic lifeline extended to Pyongyang by Moscow and Beijing proved to be decisive in limiting the effects of the embargo and the complete financial war that Washington had declared on North Korea. Beijing and Moscow’s skilled diplomatic work with Seoul produced an effect similar to that of Turkey in the Middle East, with South Korea slowly seeming to drift towards the multipolar world offered by Russia and China, with important economic implications and prospects for unification of the peninsula.

Russia and China – through a combination of playing a clever game of diplomacy, military deterrence, and offering to the Korean peninsula the prospect of economic investment through the BRI – have managed to frustrate Washington’s efforts to unleash chaos on their borders via the Korean peninsula.

The United States seems to be losing its imperialistic mojo most significantly in Asia and the Middle East, not only militarily but also diplomatically and economically.

The situation is different in Europe and Venezuela, two geographical areas where Washington still enjoys greater geopolitical weight than in Asia and the Middle East. In both cases, the effectiveness of the two Sino-Russian resistance – in military, economic and diplomatic terms – is more limited, for different reasons. This situation, in line with the principle of America First and the return to the Monroe doctrine, will be the subject of the next article.

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Nearly assassinated by his own fighters, al-Baghdadi and his caliphate on its last legs (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 178.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how the Islamic State has been rapidly losing territory over the last two years in Syria and Iraq, due to efforts by Russian and Syrian forces, as well as the US and their Kurdish allies.

The jihadist caliphate has lost most of its forces and resources, leading it to go into hiding.

Al-Masdar News is reporting that Daesh* leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reportedly attacked in a village near Hajin by some of the terrorist organisation’s foreign fighters in an apparent coup attempt, The Guardian reported, citing anonymous intelligence sources. Baghdadi reportedly survived the alleged coup attempt, with his bodyguards taking him into hiding in the nearby desert.

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Meanwhile European leaders are shocked at US President Trump’s ISIS ultimatum. Via Zerohedge

After President Trump’s provocative tweets on Sunday wherein he urged European countries to “take back” and prosecute some 800 ISIS foreign fighters as US forces withdraw from Syria, or else “we will be forced to release them,” the message has been met with shock, confusion and indifference in Europe. Trump had warned the terrorists could subsequently “permeate Europe”.

Possibly the most pathetic and somewhat ironic response came from Denmark, where a spokesperson for Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said Copenhagen won’t take back Danish Islamic State foreign fighters to stand trial in the country, according to the German Press Agency DPA“We are talking about the most dangerous people in the world. We should not take them back,” the spokesperson stressed, and added that the war in Syria is ongoing, making the US president’s statement premature.

Germany’s response was also interesting, given a government official framed ISIS fighters’ ability to return as a “right”.  A spokeswoman for Germany’s interior ministry said, “In principle, all German citizens and those suspected of having fought for so-called Islamic State have the right to return.” She even added that German ISIS fighters have “consular access” — as if the terrorists would walk right up to some embassy window in Turkey or Beirut!

Noting that the Iraqi government has also of late contacted Germany to transport foreign fighters to their home country for trial, she added, “But in Syria, the German government cannot guarantee legal and consular duties for jailed German citizens due to the armed conflict there.”

France, for its part, has already agreed to repatriate over 130 French Islamic State members as part of a deal reached in January with US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who are holding them, after which they will go through the French legal system. However, French Secretary of State Laurent Nuñez still insisted that the west’s Kurdish allies would never merely let ISIS terrorists walk out their battlefield prisons free.

“It’s the Kurds who hold them and we have every confidence in their ability to keep them,” Nuñez told French broadcaster BFMTV on Sunday. “Anyway, if these individuals return to the national territory, they all have ongoing judicial proceedings, they will all be put on trial, and incarcerated,” he said, in comments which appeared to leave it up to others to make happen.

And representing the Belgian government, Justice Minister Koen Geens charged Trump with blindsiding his European allies with the demand, which included Trump underscoring that it is “time for others to step up and do the job” before it’s too late. “It would have been nice for friendly nations to have these kinds of questions raised through the usual diplomatic channels rather than a tweet in the middle of the night,” Geens said during a broadcast interview on Sunday, according to the AFP.

Meanwhile in the UK the issue has recently become politically explosive as debate over so-called British jihadist bride Shamima Begum continues. The now 19-year old joined Islamic State in 2015 after fleeing the UK when she was just 15. She’s now given birth in a Syrian refugee camp and is demanding safe return to Britain for fear that she and her child could die in the camp, so near the war zone.

Conservatives in Britain, such as Interior Minister Sajid Javid have argued that “dangerous individuals” coming back to the UK from battlefields in the Middle East should be stripped of their British citizenship. He said this option has already been “so far exercises more than 100 times,” otherwise he also advocates prosecution of apprehended returning suspects “regardless of their age and gender.”

Identified as French nationals fighting within ISIS’ ranks, via Khaama press news agency

The UN has estimated that in total up to 42,000 foreign fighters traveled to Iraq and Syria to join IS — which appears a very conservative estimate — and which includes about 900 from Germany and 850 from Britain.

SDF leaders have previously complained about the “lack the capacity” for mass incarceration of ISIS terrorists and the inability to have proper battlefield trials for them. Recent estimates have put the number of ISIS militants in US-SDF battlefield jails at over 1000, though Trump put the number at 800 in his tweet.

However, even once they do return to Europe it’s unclear the extent to which they’ll be properly prosecuted and locked in prison by European authorities.

For example, another fresh controversy that lately erupted in Britain involved a 29-year old UK woman who traveled to join ISIS, and was convicted for membership in a terrorist group upon her return to Britain. She was jailed on a six year sentence in 2016, but is now already walking free a mere less than three years after her conviction.

 

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‘End of free speech’: Maffick CEO, host slam Facebook’s unprovoked ‘censorship’ after CNN report

This is because of the political content that challenges the US wars. It is absolutely an act of censorship.

RT

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Via RT…


Facebook blocking several pages operated by Maffick Media is nothing short of outright censorship, the company’s CEO Anissa Naouai said, after a US-funded think tank pointed them out to CNN for a ‘hit-piece’.

The actions of the social media giant, which suspended the accounts of In the Now, Soapbox, Back Then and Waste-Ed last Friday without providing any explanation or even contacting the company that ran the pages, is nothing but a simple attempt to get rid of dissenting voices critical of Washington’s policies, Naouai told RT.

It is blatant censorship. What else can you call it?

Unexplained ban

The ban came literally out of the blue even though Maffick did not violate any existing Facebook regulations. “There is no rule that you have to post anything about your funding or personal funding. No one does it, not any of the US-sponsored outlets,” Naouai said. However, that was apparently the stated reason for the blocking as a Facebook spokesperson said the social media giant wanted the pages to become more transparent by disclosing their funding and “Russian affiliations.”

Facebook never contacted Maffick Media directly, though. In fact, it did not even answer the company’s emails and stayed conspicuously silent about the ways that would allow the accounts to be reinstated. “We have not heard a word from Facebook and it has been over three days now,” Naouai said.

The whole situation makes one think that the suspension is in fact connected to the pages’ popularity as well as their critical stance towards US policies, the Maffick CEO said. “We have hosts that talk about things that are not allowed to talk about on other networks like CNN,” she explained.

“If a video that says that gets hundreds of thousands of views on a page that has millions of views, people [in Washington] start to notice that and they get upset. I believe that is why we were targeted: because of our success and because of, as CNN said, high quality of our videos,” Naouai added.

The Maffick CEO also assumed that a recent piece on the US-sponsored coup attempt in Venezuela might have become a trigger for this drastic measure taken by Facebook. “There is a very … divisive and obnoxious policy taking place right now against Venezuela,” she said, “we do not know if this was the segment that triggered [the suspension] but the timing is convenient.”

“When someone calls out what is happening in Venezuela as a blatant coup it ruffles the feathers of think tanks that spent millions if not billions of dollars to persuade [the audience otherwise] and lobby their interests.”

‘Interrogation’ by CNN

Some details of this whole case may indeed seem odd. Just about an hour after the pages were blocked, CNN published a report on the issue as if they broke the news. “CNN knew that we were going to be blocked before we did,” Naouai said, explaining that, when she found out her company’s pages were suspended, CNN had already published its piece.

Weeks before the blocking, CNN sought to interview some freelancers working with Maffick in an apparent attempt to “dig up some dirt,” Rania Khalek, the American host of Soapbox – one of the video shows Maffick ran on Facebook – recalled.

When the company’s leadership “got wind of it” and offered CNN an interview, it all ended up with a 45-minute “interrogation” loaded with “unethical” questions that “almost any other media organization would even think to answer.”

It felt like a police interrogation: very invasive questions about Maffick and our editorial policies. It was clear that they were doing a hit-piece.

“A CNN journalist repeatedly asked me about my political viewpoints. He was in complete disbelief that I have editorial control over my scripts. He could not understand how it was possible,” Khalek, who was one of those, who gave the interview to CNN, said.

Maffick Media assumed that CNN might in fact pressure Facebook into blocking the accounts. “It is a very competitive market existing in a very political atmosphere that is toxic right now in the US,” Naouai said.

Loophole for state censorship?

CNN itself admits in its piece that it did not just stumble upon the Facebook pages in question independently. Instead, this issue was brought to its attention by the Alliance for Securing Democracy – a part of the German Marshall Fund. This fund is a think tank, which is financed by the US and German governments and has such people as Michael Morell, the former CIA deputy head, and Jacob Sullivan, former Vice President Joe Biden’s top security aide, on its advisory board.

Now, CNN, which stepped on a slippery slope by scrutinizing other media outlets’ funding, had to go to some extraordinary lengths to persuade its audience that the Alliance for Securing Democracy “does not receive any funding” from the German Marshall Fund, while still being a part of it at the same time. However, all these facts just added a new layer to the story.

“You have this US-funded think tank prompting CNN to pressure Facebook to ban our pages. That is an act of censorship,”Khalek said. She thinks the whole scheme was used to circumvent the First Amendment banning the US authorities from directly censoring free speech. “So, they use a middleman to pressure private companies to censor us,” she added, calling it a “legal loophole.”

‘Beginning of an end’

Regardless of who is really behind the ploy, Facebook banning some media pages without any explanation sets a tremendously dangerous precedent, Maffick Media believes. “We had a verified page, which had billions of views, just disappear from online without any kind of comment, any kind of requirement, without breaking any rules. That is unprecedented,” Naouai said.

You have Facebook dictating what people can and cannot see and judging what is good content and bad content. And it is all based on the accusations and criticism coming from a government-funded outlet. If Facebook does it to us, it can do it to anyone,” Khalek warned.

This is because of the political content that challenges the US wars. It is absolutely an act of censorship.

The US establishment apparently seeks to suppress the outlets that “offer a platform to alternative voices that can speak out against US wars and the corporate control over our government in a way that you just do not hear in our corporate media,” the Soapbox host believes.

However, if the social media giant and the likes of it will just continue to randomly block media resources while having “no grounds” to do so, it could create very serious problems for society, Naouai believes.

That would be the beginning of an end of free speech.

 

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