Monday 24th of September 2018

a country under siege...

under siege...

When the Obama administration sold its Iran nuclear deal to Congress in 2015, one of its primary arguments was that the agreement was narrow. It lifted only nuclear sanctions. America, President Barack Obama told us, would remain a vigilant foe of Iran's regional predations through sanctions and other means.

Thanks to stunning new reporting from Politico's Josh Meyer, we can now assess these assertions and conclude that they are … well, "alternative facts."

Meyer reports that while the U.S. and other great powers were negotiating a deal to bring transparency to Iran's nuclear program, top officials in Obama's government dismantled a campaign, known as Operation Cassandra, intended to undermine Hezbollah's global drug trafficking and money laundering network.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-12-18/obama-s-alternative-facts-on-the-iran-nuclear-deal

Gus:
With this, we can understand why a guy like Trump would like to rescind on the Iranian deal and turn the screws on that country that has become “successfully” independent of US influences from 1979 onwards with the return of the “republic” it first sought in the 1920s. But public opinion is not in Trump’s favour, so he has to gain traction. His AG, Session, starts snooping to find “ammos”.... 

It’s a complicated situation and the dynamics here are linked to the various relationships between the US and the duplicitous house of Saud, the US and the Israelis, the Iranians and Hezbollah, the Russians and the Iranians, and the survival of those who oppose or do not want to be part of the US dominion. Why would some countries and some people do not want to be part of a US dominated world? The answer seems to be that the US can bring a lot of advantages, but with the Middle East under US control, one can see parallels with Europe, benefiting from Nazi occupation during WWII or with India under the English Empire...

The USA have been favouring the Sunnis and the Israelis in the region. These alliances are obviously seen by the others as a threat to their Shiite or Allawite existence and countries such as Iran has taken steps to “defend” itself — steps which have been deemed dangerous by the USA. Iran has thus various mechanisms to deal with the potential US aggression, whether real or not. Let’s not forget, the Iranians were under attack from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the 1980s and they do know that the USA were supporting Hussein in this unwinable bloody war. Hussein was also oppressing the Shiites, the majority population in Iraq as well as the Kurds. His Sunni Baath outfit was quite ruthless but beneficial for the Americans to bother the Iranians after these succeeded to get rid of the Shah. Hence the uneasy alliance of the USA with Saddam Hussein until he had overshot his “used-by-date”. He was taken out in 2003, with our “mission accomplished” little Bush turd. This had the unfortunate/fortunate effect to free the majority Shiite in Iraq and that country realigned with Iran instead of with the Saudi Sunnis. 

Relationships are complex. Though a Sunni, Saddam did not trust Saudi Arabia and he hated Al Qaeda (the Sunni terrorists responsible for 9/11). With the Shiites taking over Iraq political landscape, the Iraqi Sunnis became disenfranchised and after ten years, eventually joined with the Syrian Sunnis to form Daesh. In order to win the hearts and minds of young Sunni fighters around the world, Daesh became atrociously religiously polarized with promises of cash, women and power of death over those who resisted. They got a lot of clout and armament from various sources, including via the “moderate” Sunni rebels that the USA was “officially” supporting in Syria to not so discreetly oust the Assad regime. They also raided the stockpiles of US weapons in Iraq.

The atrocities committed by Daesh became a focal point of Western political and mediatic campaign, as if the Sunnis had gone one notch too far, thus giving “valid reasons” for the West to go and provide military help to “moderate Sunni fighters" who on one hand would “fight" Daesh but also fight the Assad regime, which we wanted to get rid of. Every Western countries send planes to go and bomb Daesh but from time to time, too often, they would destroy some of the regular Syrian army by “accident” to give the “moderate” rebels (and Daesh as well) a better chance to take over the regime. 

This Western ploy to change the political landscape in Syria in favour of the Sunnis was equivalent as if the USA had supported Hitler during WWII, in his desire to “unify” Europe under the Nazi regime. All this as well to favour the oil industry.

Despite support from Iran and Hezbollah, the Syrian government’s armies were being swamped by having to fight “moderate rebels” supported by the USA and having to fight “Daesh” discreetly supported by the Sunni Gulf states, from the Saudis to Qatar — this latter country being blamed for the whole Daesh terror thing by the other Gulf States, while only trying to seek peace with the Shiite of Iran. So with the Syrian armies becoming ineffective, the US could claim that Assad was not fighting Daesh with intent, while the US kept Assad busy with the other Sunni rebels. The US tactic was clear and it was cruising along, letting the Assad regime slowly being overtaken and loosing all the battles against Daesh and the “moderate rebels”. This US/Saudi tactic was devastating for the Syrian population and after the disastrous intervention in Libya that had sent waves of refugees to Europe, more refugees from Syria came along. This weakened Europe. This was also a side benefit for the US that had always seen Europe as a vassal, never as an equal partner.

Enter the Russians two years ago. They provided air and ground support to the Syrian armies that soon regained the upper hand against Daesh and the “moderate rebels”. The Western ploy was crumbling fast. Even the USA asked for cease-fire so "their rebels" would not be crushed. Soon, the Russians, the Iranians, the Turks, Hezbollah worked out “deconflicted zones” where peace could return to Syria, to the chagrin of the USA and their allies, The Saudis, the Europeans (who always follow blindly what the US asked) and Israel, that wanted “Assad to go” at ANY cost, including a lot of death which they — and our rabid media — tried to pin on Assad “killing his own people”.

So it is not surprising now that Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a review of the claims in an explosive Politico report that said former President Obama dropped prosecutions of the terrorist group Hezbollah in order to strengthen the chance that his nuclear deal with Iran be successful.

Here one would have to know that a) the new US Trump administration would have had to be made aware of the terms of the deal, b) that the Politico report would have been leaked by the present US administration to c) hurt the deal made between Iran and the USA by Obama and d) to review the deal by exposing its flaws, especially dropping the investigation into Hezbollah (if what has been exposed is true. There are many false flags at every corner of history). 

Nothing happened by accident.

So Hezbollah is supposedly to be trafficking in drugs… and for the Iran deal to stick, the USA had to abandon pursuing Hezbollah...

A point to be made here is that without drugs, legal or illicite, the US social structure would actually collapse. I know it’s a big call but, from big pharma to cocaine pushers, the US is addicted to drugs and necessarily so, because without drugs (including their silly religious beliefs that “ are" a god-given right) the majority of Americans would wake up to the true extend of their social hubris and deceit. This is why the “war on drugs” cannot be won. The only moot point is who is going to supply the illicit drugs? The Mexican cartels, Hezbollah or US free-market enterprises? 

The dynamics against some various players here are that they hurt “American interests” in overseas countries such as Venezuela, Colombia, etc… We thus need to define “American interests” as US processes of exploiting some people in other countries for profit. It might provide with certain standards of living for some people, but it also restrict freedoms of thoughts and of political beliefs. And in which way does Hezbollah selling drugs and weapons, say to Venezuela, hurts American interests? Modifying political views? It’s a bit more complex...

Sanctions are usually punishing allies rather than targeted countries. For example the sanctions imposed on Russia by the US, and adhered by the Europeans are actually also destroying Europe. It shows that Europe is weak, fragmented and unable to make its own decision without Big Brother USA.

In Feb. 12, 2008, CIA and Israeli intelligence detonated a bomb in MughniyehImad MughniyehA Hezbollah mastermind who oversaw its international operations and, the DEA says, its drug trafficking, as head of its military wing, the Islamic Jihad Organization.×’s car as he was leaving a celebration of the 29th anniversary of the Iranian revolution in Damascus, Syria. He was killed instantly. It was a major blow to Hezbollah, but soon after, wiretapped phone lines and other U.S. evidence showed that his criminal operation was busier than ever, and overseen by two trusted associates, according to interviews with former Project Cassandra officials and DEA documents.
https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/obama-hezbollah-drug-trafficking-investigation/


So, it’s a battle of wills and influences — the US empire versus tinpot shithole countries which will do as much to expose the US hypocrisy, before, during and beyond Trump.
The US and its allies, especially the Israelis, will do everything to stop peace in Syria while Assad (who is not a dummy) remains in power. Israeli planes go and bomb stuff near Damascus. The Israelis know they can do this with impunity because should the Syrians and the Russians retaliate, they would have to face the full might of the USA. And this we (and them) do not want to see. Not because the US has massive fire-power, but because the Russians and the Chinese have equal fire-power each. This could be the end game for humanity… Everyone would have too much to loose. So in the meantime it’s business as usual for annoying destructive little acts that show we do want to cooperate with anyone else but our other hypocritical friends. It’s ugly gang warfare at the level of nations... 

Meanwhile, In October 2017, the Syrian Defense Ministry released a report with footage of ammunition confiscated from numerous terrorist organizations, including Daesh and al-Nusra Front, now named Tahrir al-Sham, claiming that those weapons had been manufactured in the United States or by its close allies. The report outlined that those groups were supplied with “rockets, rifles, machine guns, anti-air weapons and even tanks” allegedly in exchange for oil from the territories. By a cruel twist of fate, those weapons happened to be a part of the routine “arms delivery” by the anti-Daesh coalition to the “moderate opposition”.
https://sputniknews.com/us/201801111060688638-terrorists-obtaining-weapons-coalition/


A new round of sanctions likely to be imposed on Moscow by Washington will be an obvious attempt to disrupt Russian internal affairs ahead of the presidential elections, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister has said.“We see this as yet another attempt to influence our internal affairs, especially ahead of the presidential election,” Deputy FM Sergey Ryabkov told TASS on Saturday.The sanctions are expected to follow the presentation of two Trump administration reports in Congress at end of January, according to Ryabkov. “One of the reports will apparently include a list of individuals who might be targeted with the American sanctions, and the other as we believe, will encompass the effectiveness of the sanctions already in place,” he said.The reports are the latest step in the implementation of the ‘Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act’ signed by US President Donald Trump last August. Sanctions imposed at that time targeted a range of entities and individuals – namely Russian weapon manufacturers, banks and the energy sector, as well as those the US accuses of meddling with the 2016 presidential elections.The reports have already been preceded by a document titled ‘Putin’s asymmetric assault on democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for US national security,’ which was published on Wednesday. The report has reiterated virtually all the rumors and conspiracy theories about alleged Kremlin activities, citing a number of media outlets and individuals well-known for their strong anti-Russian bias as “sources.” https://www.rt.com/news/415836-us-sanctions-russian-elections/

A group of militants which attacked Russia’s Khmeimim airbase in western Syria on New Year’s Eve has been eliminated in a high-precision strike, the Russian Defense Ministry said.The group was found and killed by Russian Special Operations forces, according to the Ministry’s statement.“During the final stage of the operation a Russian Special Operations unit located the base camp of the militant saboteur group near the western border of Idlib province. As the terrorists arrived at the location, the entire group was eliminated with a high-precision ‘Krasnopol’ weapon as they were about to board a minibus,” the statement reads.Russian military intelligence also found a location in the province where the militants assembled and stored unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The facility was subsequently destroyed with a high-precision strike.The same ‘Krasnopol’ shell, which is a large-caliber howitzer-launched guided projectile, was also used in the operation, according to the Ministry.The Defense Ministry has released two short clips, demonstrating the strikes on the militant saboteur group and the drone facility. Direct hits on targets can be seen in the videos, captured by an aerial monitoring device.https://www.rt.com/news/415721-russian-mod-militants-killed-syria/

Let’s hope that all this bad will will stop. This general nonsense has to subside and we all should accept the validity of others, even if they do not want to play the game of empire… The country with the most to gain by seeking unconditional peace now is the USA, because it has the most to loose in the long run.

“political and moral” support only...

The accusation that Hezbollah is involved in drug trafficking, the representative said, “is part of the campaign to distort the image of Hezbollah as a resistance movement against the Israelis. Of course, it is possible to have Lebanese people involved in drugs, but it is not possible for them to be members of Hezbollah. This is absolutely not possible.”

Asked about Safieddine’s role in the organization, the official said, “We don’t usually expose the roles everyone plays because it is a jihadi organization. So it is a little bit secret.”

Safieddine’s cousin Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, has publicly rejected the idea that Hezbollah needs to raise money at all, through drugs or any other criminal activity, because Iran provides whatever funds it needs.

Safieddine himself, however, suggested otherwise in 2005, when he defiantly refuted the Bush administration’s accusations that Iran and Syria supplied Hezbollah with weapons. Those countries provided “political and moral” support only, he told Agence France-Presse. “We don’t need to arm ourselves from Tehran. Why bring weapons from Iran via Syria when we can procure them anywhere in the world?”

 

Read more:

https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/obama-hezbollah-drug-trafficking-investigation/

chinese support...

China has reiterated its support for the Iran nuclear deal, praising Tehran for adhering to the agreement despite Washington’s unilateral sanctions and constant threats to scrap it unless some “disastrous flaws” are fixed.

“As the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] has not come by easily, all relevant parties should cherish it,”Chinese Foreign Minister Lu Kan said on Saturday. He was responding to US President Donald Trump’s announcement on Friday that he would reintroduce sanctions on Iran if a new nuclear deal is not negotiated within the next four months.

Lu stressed that China “always firmly supports” the deal and considers it an important multilateral achievement that serves a prime example of how international issues can be resolved by diplomatic and political means.

China hopes the landmark agreement, which curbed Iran’s nuclear enrichment program in exchange for sanctions relief, will be “universally supported” and the international community will “fully recognize the efforts made by Iran to implement it.”

China defended the deal, which has been left hanging in the balance since the beginning of Trump’s tenure in the White House, after the US leader waived sanctions against Iran on Friday, saying he would give the deal “a last chance” before the US ultimately withdraws at the end of the 120-day extension.

In a thinly-veiled criticism of the new round of sanctions recently imposed by Washington on Iranian entities, Lu said that China is opposed to “unilateral sanctions imposed by relevant countries on other countries in accordance with their domestic law.”

"This position is consistent and clear-cut,” he stressed.

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/415846-china-cherish-iran-nuclear-deal/

paying cash for "spontaneous"...

At the end of 2017, a dozen cities across Iran, including the capital Tehran, were rocked by spontaneous protests which continued into the New Year. The protests drew attention to the country’s deteriorating economic conditions, along with the regime’s abysmal human rights record.

They also paved the way for President Donald Trump’s announcement on January 12th that this would be a “last chance” for waiving US nuclear sanctions under the Iran nuclear deal for a further 60 days, after which the US would withdraw if its “disastrous flaws” cannot be fixed.

A range of recent official documents, from Congressional research to US foreign aid funding reports, throw new light on the Trump administration’s approach. The documents reveal the US government’s continued interest in triggering major political change in Iran to pull the country into the orbit of American interests. This includes the possibility of exploiting political unrest and other crises — including a worsening water crisis — to turn popular opinion against the regime.

Iran’s unrest has mostly been driven by a convergence of domestic ecological, energy and economic crises. The State Department has sought to exploit these crises to undermine the legitimacy of the regime, by funding opposition groups as well as anti-regime broadcasting to the tune of tens of millions of dollars a year.

One State Department funding document, for instance, refers to a project to use Iran’s growing water crisis to drum up public anger against regime “mismanagement”. To date, US government records show that the Trump administration has spent over $1 million, at least, since 2016, on financing anti-regime activism within Iran.

The policy is not new, though. Altogether, since 2006, successive US administrations have invested tens of millions of dollars a year on ‘democracy promotion’ efforts in Iran, serving as cover for longstanding ‘regime change’ aspirations.

Much of the media programming funded by the State Department has focused on glorifying the reign of the Shah of Iran, the brutal US-UK backed dictator who was deposed by the 1979 revolution. The propaganda appears to have worked, with many participants in the latest protests calling for the Shah’s exiled son, Reza Pahlavi, to return to power in Iran.

AXIOM: New US government documents reveal that the Trump administration is intensifying efforts to undermine the Iranian regime, through a combination of diplomatic pressure, military encroachment, and continuing financing of domestic opposition groups.Militarization of the Iran strategy

Two Congressional documents published early last year, and one released just a month before the protests, throw light on the Trump administration’s policy of escalation in Iran. The documents are research reports published by the Congressional Research Service written by Kenneth Katzman, a former CIA analyst specialising in Iran, Iraq and the Gulf states.

Read more:

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/trumps-state-department-spent-over-1m-in-iran-to-exploit-unrest-c8878ec7fa2a

US betrayal...

...

Speaking to Sputnik Turkey, political scientists Hasan Unal and Hasan Oktay explained why it was the US's misguided policies, not Russia's efforts, which have driven Turkish-US relations to their present low point.

 

Unal, the head of the department of international relations at Atilim University in Ankara, began by explaining why Nauert's statements were ridiculous.

"No one apart from the US itself is exacerbating tensions in Turkish-US relations," the academic noted. "Washington simply needs to learn to look itself in the mirror. Relations between Turkey and the US are being spoiled not by Russia, but by America's own absurd policy, and first and foremost, by its project for the creation of a 'Greater Kurdistan'."

According to Unal, so long as that project continues to hold a key place in the US's Middle East strategy, prospects for reestablishing close relations between Turkey and America will remain poor.

"The US has to stop searching for excuses, inventing this nonexistent 'Russian trace', and finally understand that the problem is in themselves. Because the US is persistently trying to create a Kurdish state, violating the territorial integrity of four countries in the region – Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. They thought that they would be able to move forward with the implementation of this plan, while simultaneously maintaining [good] relations with Turkey. But it was always obvious that Turkey would, sooner or later, oppose such a scenario, and resort to force, which is what we are observing today," the political scientist said.

Pattern of Betrayal

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201801251061062646-turkish-us-relations-prospects-analysis/

 

Study the "wished" US map at top of the Sputnik article...

wars under false pretexes, from an expert...

Fifteen years ago this week, Colin Powell, then the secretary of state, spoke at the United Nations to sell pre-emptive war with Iraq. As his chief of staff, I helped Secretary Powell paint a clear picture that war was the only choice, that when “we confront a regime that harbors ambitions for regional domination, hides weapons of mass destruction and provides haven and active support for terrorists, we are not confronting the past, we are confronting the present. And unless we act, we are confronting an even more frightening future.”

Following Mr. Powell’s presentation on that cold day, I considered what we had done. At the moment, I thought all our work was for naught — and despite his efforts we did not gain substantial international buy-in. But polls later that day and week demonstrated he did convince many Americans. I knew that was why he was chosen to make the presentation in the first place: his standing with the American people was more solid than that of any other member of the Bush administration.

President George W. Bush would have ordered the war even without the United Nations presentation, or if Secretary Powell had failed miserably in giving it. But the secretary’s gravitas was a significant part of the two-year-long effort by the Bush administration to get Americans on the war wagon.

That effort led to a war of choice with Iraq — one that resulted in catastrophic losses for the region and the United States-led coalition, and that destabilized the entire Middle East.

This should not be forgotten, since the Trump administration is using much the same playbook to create a false impression that war is the only way to address the threats posed by Iran.

Just over a month ago, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said that the administration had “undeniable” evidence that Iran was not complying with Security Council resolutions regarding its ballistic missile program and Yemen. Just like Mr. Powell, Ms. Haley showed satellite images and other physical evidence available only to the United States intelligence community to prove her case. But the evidence fell significantly short.

It’s astonishing how similar that moment was to Mr. Powell’s 2003 presentation on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction — and how the Trump administration’s methods overall match those of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. As I watched Ms. Haley at the Defense Intelligence Agency, I wanted to play the video of Mr. Powell on the wall behind her, so that Americans could recognize instantly how they were being driven down the same path as in 2003 — ultimately to war. Only this war with Iran, a country of almost 80 million people whose vast strategic depth and difficult terrain make it a far greater challenge than Iraq, would be 10 to 15 times worse than the Iraq war in terms of casualties and costs.

If we want a slightly more official statement of the Trump administration’s plans for Iran, we need only look at the recently released National Security Strategy, which says, “The longer we ignore threats from countries determined to proliferate and develop weapons of mass destruction, the worse such threats become, and the fewer defensive options we have.” The Bush-Cheney team could not have said it better as it contemplated invading Iraq.

The strategy positions Iran as one of the greatest threats America faces, much the same way President Bush framed Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. With China, Russia and North Korea all presenting vastly more formidable challenges to America and its allies than Iran, one has to wonder where the Trump team gets its ideas.

Though Ms. Haley’s presentation missed the mark, and no one other than the national security elite will even read the strategy, it won’t matter. We’ve seen this before: a campaign built on the politicization of intelligence and shortsighted policy decisions to make the case for war. And the American people have apparently become so accustomed to executive branch warmongering — approved almost unanimously by the Congress — that such actions are not significantly contested.

So far, news organizations have largely failed to refute false narratives coming out of the Trump White House on Iran. In early November, news outlets latched onto claims by unnamed American officials that newly released documents from Osama bin Laden’s compound represented “evidence of Iran’s support of Al Qaeda’s war with the United States.”

It’s a vivid reminder of Vice President Cheney’s desperate attempts in 2002-03 to conjure up evidence of Saddam Hussein’s relationship with Al Qaeda from detainees at Guantánamo Bay. It harks back to the C.I.A. director George Tenet’s assurances to Mr. Powell that the connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden was ironclad in the lead-up to his United Nations presentation. Today, we know how terribly wrong Mr. Tenet was.

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/05/opinion/trump-iran-war.html

 

See also: the trilogy