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US Interference: From Afghanistan to Syria

US interference in the Middle East and Asia did not start in 2001

Ziad Alzoghbi

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Long before Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria were attacked by the US Empire and its allies, these countries had something very important in common: They all had secular progressive nationalist sovereign governments with long established ties with the former Soviet Union, which is one of the reasons why the US has long planned to destroy them and turn them into client states.

They had an all inclusive society that respected and protected religious and ethnic minorities and women’s rights. Their economies were necessarily state controlled in order to protect against predatory western corporations that have destroyed and still are destroying national economies around the world in the name of the so-called free trade and open market policies.

After nearly four decades of war, death and destruction, it is now difficult to imagine Afghanistan before its tragic recent history. Up until the Soviet invasion of 1979 the country was indeed a secular country with a nationalist government and long proud history, where people lived their normal lives in peace. Contrary to current perception, women then had access to university education and pursued varied professional careers like their counterparts in any other twentieth century modern country.

Thanks to the overwhelmingly biased mainstream media there are many other myths about Afghanistan long held in the West, however, it is worth reading Jonathan Steele’s article in The Guardian in which he tries to dispel some of them.

kabulWell before the Soviet invasion the Afghan Mujaheddin were supplied with arms by the US and funded by the Saudis in order to topple the pro-Moscow government in Kabul. Furthermore, the US had an even bigger plan to drag the Soviet Union into a quagmire in Afghanistan where “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War”, according to Brzezinski the national security adviser to President Carter. His aim was to break up the Soviet Union at any cost and the Mujaheddin were merely tools used to that end. He called them “Some stirred-up Moslems” who have over the years morphed into today’s terrorists, with more support and aggression from the Empire of chaos.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989-1991, the US found itself the only superpower in an uncertain and rapidly-changing world. Instead of showing leadership on tackling poverty, health, education and climate change, the US, driven by its entrenched Neo-cons and Neo-liberals, chose to embark on a campaign of unprecedented aggression starting with the Middle East, where the world’s largest gas and oil reserves lie. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that the US refused outright to accept the Taliban’s offer to hand over Bin Laden on condition the US did not invade Afghanistan.

The mainstream media did not even mention this crucial fact because the propaganda machine in the West was spinning out of control after 9/11/2001.The hawks in Washington were intent on invading Afghanistan under the false pretext of capturing Bin Laden and destroying Al-Qaeda, the very jihadist group they set up years earlier.

Iraq was another example of US Empire projecting its military power. After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the American administration did not spare any effort in encouraging and supporting Saddam Hussein to engage in a catastrophic conflict with Iran. The result was an 8 year long bloody war which killed an estimated one million people and crippled the economies of both countries.

iraq iran war

This left the Iraqi government no option but to ask the Saudi, Kuwaitis and other Gulf states to help Iraq by raising the price of oil, which they refused under American pressure. Intriguingly, American connivance tricked Saddam Hussein into thinking that he could invade Kuwait and put further pressure on the Saudis and others to see matters from his point of view. But this was a grave miscalculation by Saddam Hussein and a well planned American trap for him and one that resulted in yet another catastrophe for Iraq.

The usual propaganda spun its lies about the Iraqi Army’s barbaric atrocities in Kuwait and the valiant resistance there, all of which mobilised public opinion in the so-called civilised world. Consequently, much of the Iraqi Army was pulverised in what was called “Desert Storm” and most of Iraq’s infrastructure was systematically attacked from the air and destroyed. A no-fly zone was declared through the United Nations; nominally over the north of the country but effectively over the whole of Iraq.

Contrary to what was reported in the media at the time, this gave licence to the US and its allies to bomb targets anywhere in Iraq on a daily basis which went on for 12 years. Sanctions had been imposed immediately after Iraq invaded Kuwait and also lasted for 12 years until 2003. The government could not even import essential items such as food and medicine, “As many as 576,000 Iraqi children may have died since the end of the Gulf war because of economic sanctions imposed by the Security Council” according to The New York Times in 1995.

As if this humanitarian tragedy of enormous proportions was not enough to satisfy the neo-con hawks who pulled the levers of power behind Bush junior they used the events of September 2001 in America to whip up such frenzy around the world so as to silence any dissenting voice, not that the mainstream media showed any signs of being critical or even tried to question what the US administration was doing- interesting in a country that claims to be the land of democracy and freedom of speech. The Bush administration even concocted “evidence” from various questionable sources showing falsely that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (“WMD”), this despite the fact that the UN weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix were reporting that there were no WMD, having been dealt with and disposed of many years before. Among such sources were an Iraqi exile’s PhD thesis and the infamous dossier that led Blair to tell parliament in September 2002 that Saddam Hussein had “chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes”.

Fourteen years later the Chilcot Report found that the “Supposed Iraqi weapons of mass destruction identified in an intelligence dossier resembled an inaccurate portrayal of such weapons in a fictional Hollywood movie”.

All the protest around the world by millions of people could not prevent the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. The fact that Iraq had nothing to do with the attack of September 2001 on America, had no connection whatsoever with Al-Qaeda and more importantly posed no threat to any western countries, all of this did not make any difference to the US administration already intent on invading Iraq. Apart from the oil, there were arguably other reasons why the Americans were so determined to invade Iraq:

  1. Iraq was already a weak state without significant allies and therefore with no hope of defending itself against the military might of the US who counted on minimal casualties.
  2. America had long wanted to banish once and for all the nightmare of Vietnam that had been weighing heavily on the American psyche for a long time.
  3. The military industrial complex had huge stockpiles of arms that needed to be tested and used in a “fireworks” show to project its might as the only superpower in the world.
  4. To make huge fortunes for the arms manufacturers and other big corporations.
  5. To intimidate and bully other countries and demonstrate literally what it could do to them if they do not fall in line with US imperialist policies.
  6. To satisfy Israel’s unquenchable thirst for security by destroying a major Arab country.
  7. To confirm itself as the only superpower in the world.

The well planned and executed US invasion of Iraq saw the complete destruction of a sovereign state: Its army, civil service, ministries, power stations, hospitals, schools, bridges, museums, archives and much more of the Iraqi state’s administrative, social and civil structure. Some have always argued that the vacuum and chaos that ensued represents the failure of the invasion as the planners had no plans for the aftermath. Seen from a different perspective, it could well be argued that the lack of plans for the post-invasion period was, in an undeclared way, deliberate and as such the invasion was indeed a big success. Its real objective was to plunge Iraq and the entire region into endless sectarian wars for years or even decades, leading ultimately to Balkanising the Middle East.

Until 1991, Iraq was a modern secular country with an excellent free health care system and a first class free education system up to university level. Art, science and music flourished and were enjoyed by all citizens irrespective of their religious or ethnic affiliation.

Libya too had free health care and education systems with an economy considered to be the best in Africa to the extent that it provided employment for thousands of Africans from across the whole continent. After the Western invasion of Libya those workers who survived the killing spree by the NATO-backed death squads had no option but to head for Europe as migrants. Gaddafi was always portrayed by the West as the “madman of Libya”, though in fact he was helping to develop African countries and their economies in many ways, hardly the work of a madman. Moreover, Gaddafi had huge quantities of gold and silver with a plan to”establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar” which would threaten western currencies and lead many African countries to more economic and political independence, according to recently disclosed emails.

gaddafi love

This clearly was the real reason behind NATO’s military campaign in Libya, which was not reported at all in the West. Instead the public were fed with the usual fabricated images of civilians about to be massacred by Gaddafi‘s forces and that NATO had to intervene to prevent a humanitarian disaster, using the UN Security Council resolution as a fig-leaf. Consequently Libya’s weapons were looted by extremists and soon went to various African countries, a destabilising factor and a major contributor to the on-going migrant crisis in Europe. Following the collapse of the Libyan state, the US oversaw the transfer of significant quantities of Libya’s weapons to the jihadists in Syria. According to Seymour Hersh, “The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition.”

For years Syria has been refusing to become a client state of the US Empire. Since independence from the French colonisers in April 1946, the Syrian people have built a modern secular inclusive society with free education and health care for all citizens. The Syrian economy needed to be controlled by the government in order to protect it from hostile western multinationals. Unsurprisingly, such an independent stance always angered the US who never ceased to plot and scheme to interfere in Syria’s internal affairs over the past seven decades.

What is happening in Syria these days is not a civil or sectarian war but a war of aggression by the US and its regional proxies to dismantle the state and tear apart the very fabric of Syrian society and culture.

In its July 5th-11th 2014 issue, The Economist bemoans the failure of the so-called “Arab spring” completely ignoring western meddling behind it, through their supply of funding and weapons as well as their hired agitators and saboteurs who operated among innocent protesters.  The vast majority of the Syrian people did not participate in such protest and were appalled by the armed violence and the atrocities committed at the start of the conflict by the mercenaries sent by the Wahhabi machine. The Economist also questions the failure of Arab countries to create democracy and prosperity for their people. Again there is no mention of the constant and relentless aggression from western powers throughout the past one hundred years or more. Even after independence colonial powers never stopped interfering in the whole region covertly or otherwise, not to mention the illegal creation of Israel in Palestine at the heart of the Arab world. Imagine if these countries were left alone to develop and build their economies free of bullying or threat of regime change, the world would be in a better state than it is now.

isis beac

After a quarter of a century of America’s campaign of continuous destruction and military adventurism in the Middle East, US aggression has now hit a hard obstinate rock in Syria. It is the rock of resistance that has its roots deep in Syrian history. It is the unshakeable rock on which all foreign invaders were defeated; the people of Syria refuse to be subjugated.  Syria and its allies have shown the world their legendary resistance over the last 6 years and the Syrian people will eventually emerge united and triumphant from this neo-colonial-manufactured crisis.

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Foreign Banks Are Embracing Russia’s Alternative To SWIFT, Moscow Says

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative.

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Via Zerohedge


On Friday, one day after Russia and China pledged to reduce their reliance on the dollar by increasing the amount of bilateral trade conducted in rubles and yuan (a goal toward which much progress has already been made over the past three years), Russia’s Central Bank provided the latest update on Moscow’s alternative to US-dominated international payments network SWIFT.

Moscow started working on the project back in 2014, when international sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea inspired fears that the country’s largest banks would soon be cut off from SWIFT which, though it’s based in Belgium and claims to be politically neutral, is effectively controlled by the US Treasury.

Today, the Russian alternative, known as the System for Transfer of Financial Messages, has attracted a modest amount of support within the Russian business community, with 416 Russian companies having joined as of September, including the Russian Federal Treasury and large state corporations likeGazprom Neft and Rosneft.

And now, eight months after a senior Russian official advised that “our banks are ready to turn off SWIFT,” it appears the system has reached another milestone in its development: It’s ready to take on international partners in the quest to de-dollarize and end the US’s leverage over the international financial system. A Russian official advised that non-residents will begin joining the system “this year,” according to RT.

“Non-residents will start connecting to us this year. People are already turning to us,”said First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova. Earlier, the official said that by using the alternative payment system foreign firms would be able to do business with sanctioned Russian companies.

Turkey, China, India and others are among the countries that might be interested in a SWIFT alternative, as Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out in a speech earlier this month, the US’s willingness to blithely sanction countries from Iran to Venezuela and beyond will eventually rebound on the US economy by undermining the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

To be sure, the Russians aren’t the only ones building a SWIFT alternative to help avoid US sanctions. Russia and China, along with the European Union are launching an interbank payments network known as the Special Purpose Vehicle to help companies pursue “legitimate business with Iran” in defiance of US sanctions.

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative. For one, much of Europe is dependent on Russian natural gas and oil.

And as Russian trade with other US rivals increases, Moscow’s payments network will look increasingly attractive,particularly if buyers of Russian crude have no other alternatives to pay for their goods.

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US leaving INF will put nuclear non-proliferation at risk & may lead to ‘complete chaos’

The US is pulling out of a nuclear missile pact with Russia. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty requires both countries to eliminate their short and medium-range atomic missiles.

The Duran

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Via RT


If the US ditches the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), it could collapse the entire nuclear non-proliferation system, and bring nuclear war even closer, Russian officials warn.

By ending the INF, Washington risks creating a domino effect which could endanger other landmark deals like the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and collapse the existing non-proliferation mechanism as we know it, senior lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev said on Sunday.

The current iteration of the START treaty, which limits the deployment of all types of nuclear weapons, is due to expire in 2021. Kosachev, who chairs the Parliament’s Upper House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned that such an outcome pits mankind against “complete chaos in terms of nuclear weapons.”

“Now the US Western allies face a choice: either embarking on the same path, possibly leading to new war, or siding with common sense, at least for the sake of their self-preservation instinct.”

His remarks came after US President Donald Trump announced his intentions to “terminate” the INF, citing alleged violations of the deal by Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly denied undermining the treaty, pointing out that Trump has failed to produce any evidence of violations. Moreover, Russian officials insist that the deployment of US-made Mk 41 ground-based universal launching systems in Europe actually violates the agreement since the launchers are capable of firing mid-range cruise missiles.

Leonid Slutsky, who leads the Foreign Affairs Committee in parliament’s lower chamber, argued that Trump’s words are akin to placing “a huge mine under the whole disarmament process on the planet.”

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The deal effectively bans the parties from having and developing short- and mid-range missiles of all types. According to the provisions, the US was obliged to destroy Pershing I and II launcher systems and BGM-109G Gryphon ground-launched cruise missiles. Moscow, meanwhile, pledged to remove the SS-20 and several other types of missiles from its nuclear arsenal.

Pershing missiles stationed in the US Army arsenal. © Hulton Archive / Getty Images ©

By scrapping the historic accord, Washington is trying to fulfill its “dream of a unipolar world,” a source within the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“This decision fits into the US policy of ditching the international agreements which impose equal obligations on it and its partners, and render the ‘exceptionalism’ concept vulnerable.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov denounced Trump’s threats as “blackmail” and said that Washington wants to dismantle the INF because it views the deal as a “problem” on its course for “total domination” in the military sphere.

The issue of nuclear arms treaties is too vital for national and global security to rush into hastily-made “emotional” decisions, the official explained. Russia is expecting to hear more on the US’ plans from Trump’s top security adviser, John Bolton, who is set to hold talks in Moscow tomorrow.

President Trump has been open about unilaterally pulling the US out of various international agreements if he deems them to be damaging to national interests. Earlier this year, Washington withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program. All other signatories to the landmark agreement, including Russia, China, and the EU, decided to stick to the deal, while blasting Trump for leaving.

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Converting Khashoggi into Cash

After two weeks of denying any connection to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh has admitted that he was killed by Saudi operatives but it wasn’t really on purpose.

Jim Jatras

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Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The hazard of writing about the Saudis’ absurd gyrations as they seek to avoid blame for the murder of the late, not notably great journalist and Muslim Brotherhood activist Jamal Khashoggi is that by the time a sentence is finished, the landscape may have changed again.

As though right on cue, the narrative has just taken another sharp turn.

After two weeks of denying any connection to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh has ‘fessed up (sorta) and admitted that he was killed by Saudi operatives but it wasn’t really on purpose:

Y’see, it was kinda’f an ‘accident.’

Oops…

Y’see the guys were arguing, and … uh … a fistfight broke out.

Yeah, that’s it … a ‘fistfight.’

And before you know it poor Jamal had gone all to pieces.

Y’see?

Must’ve been a helluva fistfight.

The figurative digital ink wasn’t even dry on that whopper before American politicos in both parties were calling it out:

  • “To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement,” tweeted Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “First we were told Mr. Khashoggi supposedly left the consulate and there was blanket denial of any Saudi involvement. Now, a fight breaks out and he’s killed in the consulate, all without knowledge of Crown Prince. It’s hard to find this latest ‘explanation‘ as credible.”
  • California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that the new Saudi explanation is “not credible.” “If Khashoggi was fighting inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, he was fighting for his life with people sent to capture or kill him,” Schiff said. “The kingdom and all involved in this brutal murder must be held accountable, and if the Trump administration will not take the lead, Congress must.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan must think he’s already died and gone to his eternal recreation in the amorous embraces of the dark-eyed houris. The acid test for the viability of Riyadh’s newest transparent lie is whether the Turks actually have, as they claim, live recordings of Khashoggi’s interrogation, torture, murder, and dismemberment (not necessarily in that order) – and if they do, when Erdogan decides it’s the right time to release them.

Erdogan has got the Saudis over a barrel and he’ll squeeze everything he can out of them.

From the beginning, the Khashoggi story wasn’t really about the fate of one man. The Saudis have been getting away with bloody murder, literally, for years. They’re daily slaughtering the civilian population of Yemen with American and British help, with barely a ho-hum from the sensitive consciences always ready to invoke the so-called “responsibility to protect” Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, Syria, Xinjiang, Rakhine, and so forth.

Where’s the responsibility not to help a crazed bunch of Wahhabist head-choppers kill people?

But now, just one guy meets a grisly end and suddenly it’s the most important homicide since the Lindbergh baby.

What gives?

Is it because Khashoggi was part of the MSM aristocracy, on account of his relationship with the Washington Post?

Was it because of his other, darker, connections? As related by Moon of Alabama: “Khashoggi was a rather shady guy. A ‘journalist’ who was also an operator for Saudi and U.S. intelligence services. He was an early recruit of the Muslim Brotherhood.” This relationship, writes MoA, touches on the interests of pretty much everyone in the region:

“The Ottoman empire ruled over much of the Arab world. The neo-Ottoman wannabe-Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan would like to regain that historic position for Turkey. His main competition in this are the al-Sauds. They have much more money and are strategically aligned with Israel and the United States, while Turkey under Erdogan is more or less isolated. The religious-political element of the competition is represented on one side by the Muslim Brotherhood, ‘democratic’ Islamists to which Erdogan belongs, and the Wahhabi absolutists on the other side.”

With the noose tightening around Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS), the risible fistfight cock-and-bull story is likely to be the best they can come up with. US President Donald Trump’s having offered his “rogue killers” opening suggests he’s willing to play along. Nobody will really be fooled, but MbS will hope he can persuade important people to pretend they are fooled.

That will mean spreading around a lot of cash. The new alchemy of converting Khashoggi dead into financial gain for the living is just one part of an obvious scheme to pull off what Libya’s Muammar Kaddafi managed after the 1988 Lockerbie bombing: offer up some underlings as the fall guys and let the top man evade responsibility. (KARMA ALERT: That didn’t do Kaddafi any good in the long run.)

In the Saudi case the Lockerbie dodge will be harder, as there are already pictures of men at the Istanbul Consulate General identified as close associates of MbS. But they’ll give it the old madrasa try anyway since it’s all they’ve got.Firings and arrests have started and one suspect has already died in a suspicious automobile “accident.” Heads will roll!

Saving MbS’s skin and his succession to the throne of his doddering father may depend on how many of the usual recipients of Saudi – let’s be honest – bribery and influence peddling will find sufficient pecuniary reason to go along. Saudi Arabia’s unofficial motto with respect to the US establishment might as well be: “The green poultice heals all wounds.”

Anyway, that’s been their experience up to now, but it also in part reflects the same arrogance that made MbS think he could continue to get away with anything. (It’s not shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, but it’s close.) Whether spreading cash around will continue to have the same salubrious effect it always has had in the past remains to be seen.

To be sure, Trump may succeed in shaking the Saudi date palm for additional billions for arms sales. That won’t necessarily turn around an image problem that may not have a remedy. But still, count on more cash going to high-price lobbying and image-control shops eager to make obscene money working for their obscene client. Some big American names are dropping are dropping Riyadh in a sudden fit of fastidiousness, but you can bet others will be eager to step into their Guccis, both in the US and in the United Kingdom. (It should never be forgotten how closely linked the US and UK establishments are in the Middle East, and to the Saudis in particular.)

It still might not work though. No matter how much expensive PR lipstick the spinmeisters put on this pig, that won’t make it kissable. It’s still a pig.

Others benefitting from hanging Khashoggi’s death around MbS’s neck are:

  • Qatar (after last year’s invasion scare, there’s no doubt a bit of Schadenfreude and (figurative) champagne corks popping in Doha over MbS’s discomfiture. As one source close to the ruling al-Thani family relates, “The Qataris are stunned speechless at Saudi incompetence!” You just can’t get good help these days).

Among the losers one must count Israel and especially Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. MbS, with his contrived image as the reformer, was the Sunni “beard” he needed to get the US to assemble an “Arab NATO” (as though one NATO weren’t bad enough!) and eliminate Iran for him. It remains to be seen how far that agenda has been set back.

Whether or not MbS survives or is removed – perhaps with extreme prejudice – there’s no doubt Saudi Arabia is the big loser. Question are being asked that should have been asked years ago. As Srdja Trifkovic comments in Chronicles magazine:

“The crown prince’s recklessness in ordering the murder of Khashoggi has demonstrated that he is just a standard despot, a Mafia don with oil presiding over an extended cleptocracy of inbred parasites. The KSA will not be reformed because it is structurally not capable of reform. The regime in Riyadh which stops being a playground of great wealth, protected by a large investment in theocratic excess, would not be ‘Saudi’ any longer. Saudia delenda est.”

The first Saudi state, the Emirate of Diriyah, went belly up in 1818, with the death of head of the house of al-Saud, Abdullah bin Saud – actually, literally with his head hung on a gate in Constantinople by Erdogan’s Ottoman predecessor, Sultan Mahmud II.

The second Saudi state, Emirate of Nejd, likewise folded in 1891.

It’s long past time this third and current abomination joined its antecedents on the ash heap of history.

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