Friday, June 23, 2023

Towards a world without American hegemony

    Friday, June 23, 2023   No comments

In an essay written for the electronic magazine "Responsible Statecraft", which is affiliated with the American Quincy Institute for Studies, William Minter states that the United States has achieved limited success in building a global coalition to support Ukraine, stressing that it has not succeeded in expanding the required alliance that it sought to achieve, despite being "stronger than opponents on paper.

The essay referred to the amount of military spending of the United States in 2022, as it amounted to 877 billion dollars, more than the total of 849 billion dollars spent by the following ten countries combined, pointing out that the volume of its military spending is three times greater than the 292 billion dollars spent by China, and more than 10 times the amount spent by Russia.

The article also shed light on the stationing of US military forces in more than 750 military bases, in 80 countries around the world, noting that "if there is any country that may claim global hegemony, it will be the United States. 

I assumed that if hegemony meant the ability to get other countries to comply with demands, the United States was thus far from being a global hegemon.


Washington proved its ability to cause massive destruction, in a long series of wars in Korea and Vietnam in the latter half of the 20th century, to Iraq and Afghanistan in the 21st century, but it won no more than costly victories, as the cost included not only lives, but also the erosion of trust. inside and outside.


And the magazine dealt with showing American opinion polls that public support for the war in Ukraine has decreased somewhat this year, in addition to some Republicans in Congress questioning its cost, but most American politicians still see support for negotiations as a step too far.


In turn, the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, strongly rejected the option of a ceasefire in Ukraine, and the President of the United States, Joe Biden, and the Prime Minister of Britain, Rishi Sunak, also pledged that their countries would continue to support Ukraine "for as long as it takes."


The Russian expert, Fiona Hill, of the Brookings Institution in Washington, said that "in 2023 we will hear a resounding rejection of American hegemony, and we will see a clear appetite for a world free of hegemony." Ukraine is an open rebellion.


Hill asserted that this rebellion against the "collective West" "dominates the international discourse and imposes its problems on others," explaining that it is "a very clear negative reaction to the American tendency to define the world order and force countries to take sides."


The refusal to take sides among the competing great powers seems clear among the countries of Southeast Asia, where one might expect the competition between the United States and China to be at its peak, and all ten ASEAN member states participate in China's Belt and Road initiative to build infrastructure. Despite the strong American campaign against it.


The "Responsible Statecraft" called on American policymakers to accept the new reality, explaining that they must do so in practice, as most developing countries, including the emerging powers in the south, are no longer willing to make "zero-sum" choices between the United States and its geopolitical competitors.


_____________

William Minter is the editor of AfricaFocus Bulletin. He has been a writer, researcher, and activist since the mid-1960s, concentrating on African and global issues. He taught in Tanzania and Mozambique at the secondary school of the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) in 1966-68 and 1974-76. He has worked with Africa News Service (now allAfrica.com ), the Washington Office on Africa , and other Africa-related groups. Since November 2020, he has served as a senior consultant with the new U.S.-Africa Bridge Building Project.

Minter studied at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria in 1961-62. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology and a certificate in African studies from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Minter’s most recent book is No Easy Victories: African Liberation and American Activists over a Half Century, 1950-2000, co-edited with Gail Hovey and Charles Cobb Jr.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Truth is often the first victim to fall in the battlefield: The politics of war, media, and journalism

    Thursday, June 22, 2023   No comments

A detailed report by The Intercept, titled "Ukraine Prevents Journalists from Access to Frontlines, Escalates Censorship," has been reported by veteran war correspondents accusing Ukrainian officials of making reporting on the reality of the war, with rare exceptions, now nearly impossible.

The report, written by the Italian writer on international affairs and military issues, Alice Sperry, stated that "the Ukrainian government has intensified its efforts to control the narrative associated with the war now, by tightening access for journalists to the front lines of the conflict."

 Sipri stated that "after the Ukrainian forces regained control of the coastal city of Kherson last November, after 8 months of Russian control, some journalists entered the liberated city within hours, but the journalists' credentials were confiscated by the Ukrainian authorities, under the pretext that they were" They ignored the current restrictions.

 

Katerina Sergatskova, editor-in-chief of the independent Ukrainian newspaper Zaporona Media, said they "tried to impose more control on journalists, and now it's really difficult to report from Kherson, for example."

 

Simafor news agency reported earlier this month that since Russia launched its all-out offensive last year, Ukrainian authorities have threatened, revoked or denied press credentials to journalists working for 6 Ukrainian and foreign news outlets because of their coverage of the events. 

 

Sipri touched on one recent example, where "the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine did not renew the press credentials of a photographer based in Ukraine, who accused the country's security services of subjecting him to interrogations, a lie detector test, and accusations that he was working against the national interest of Ukraine."

 

Government officials were forced to re-accredit photographer Anton Skiba last week after a pressure campaign by colleagues and press freedom advocates, who denounced tighter access for frontline media, but the incident highlighted tensions between Ukrainian authorities and the journalists they cover. escalating conflict in recent months.

 

Veteran war correspondents, for their part, accuse Ukrainian officials of making coverage of the war, with rare exceptions, nearly impossible.

 “The Ukrainian government has made it virtually impossible for journalists to do real frontline reporting,” said Luke Muggleson, a journalist for The New Yorker. on the one hand, and superficially documented by the press on the other.

 

"It's surprising how little of what's happening is being chronicled, and the main reason, though not the only reason, is that the Ukrainian government has made it virtually impossible for journalists to do real reporting," Mugelson told The Intercept.

 

Mugelson explained that the restrictions come from military and political leaders, and interfere with the desire of ordinary soldiers to share their experiences.

 

Some Ukrainian journalists also warned that "the strict censorship practiced by the military distorts the coverage of the war," if a Ukrainian soldier said to a journalist, "I hate this war so much," and the press officer asked him to respond with, "Yes, the war is difficult, but we maintain our morale." 

"This is the narrative that many of the Ukrainian public is getting," Sipri asserted. Late last year, Zelensky signed into law a law giving the government sweeping powers over the media, and the European Union of Journalists described the initial draft of the bill as "befitting the worst authoritarian regimes."

 Earlier this year, a poll indicated that trust in the media among the Ukrainian public currently stands at 57%.

 Several Western reports talked about heavy Ukrainian losses on the front after Kiev launched its counterattack against the Russian forces, and this reflected the statements of the Ukrainian and Western leaders, as well as Moscow's assurances, but the Ukrainian media prevents the transfer of any press materials from the fronts, which was translated into the lack of documentary materials. the results of the attack.

 

Sunday, June 18, 2023

U.S. has resumed indirect talks with Iran - CNN reported

    Sunday, June 18, 2023   No comments

The U.S. administration has secretly resumed indirect talks with Iran to curb its nuclear program and release U.S. prisoners, CNN writes, citing sources. 

The talks began last December in New York and have since continued in Oman. 

According to U.S. officials, the U.S. goal is to reach a "political truce."

In return, Tehran is demanding the unfreezing of billions of dollars of Iranian assets abroad.



Chinese Foreign Minister: Relations with Washington are at their lowest level since 1979

    Sunday, June 18, 2023   No comments

Chinese Foreign Minister Chen Gang announced today, Sunday, that "relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest level since 1979" (the date of the start of diplomatic relations between them).

Gang told US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken that the Taiwan file represents "the most significant threat" to relations with Washington.

"The Taiwan issue is the core of China's core interests, and it is the most important issue in Sino-US relations and the most prominent threat to it," Gang added, according to what was reported by the official Chinese CCTV.


And the US State Department announced that the Chinese foreign minister had agreed to visit Washington, after holding "constructive talks" with his US counterpart, Anthony Blinken, in the capital, Beijing.


US State Department spokesman Matt Miller said that Blinken had extended an invitation to his Chinese counterpart and that they "agreed to set a date for the visit at a time convenient for both parties."


Earlier today, the Chinese Foreign Minister received his US counterpart in Beijing, amid escalating tensions between the two largest economies in the world, due to a number of issues, including Taiwan and the war in Ukraine.


The official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that Blinken, who is the first representative of the United States at the ministerial level since the Biden administration took power in early 2021, will visit Beijing on June 18 and 19.


Blinken is spending two days in the Chinese capital as part of this visit, which was originally scheduled for February, but was suddenly canceled at the time after a Chinese balloon flew over American territory, which Washington considered to be for "espionage" purposes, while Beijing confirmed that it was a meteorological vehicle that deviated from its course.


Blinken's visit is the first by a US Secretary of State to China since a visit in October 2018 by his predecessor, Mike Pompeo, who later pursued a strategy of confrontation with Beijing in the last years of Donald Trump's presidency.


A few days ago, the US State Department reported that its secretary had made a phone call to his Chinese counterpart, during which he stressed the importance of maintaining "open lines of communication" to responsibly manage relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China to avoid miscalculation and conflict.


Earlier today, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying responded to an article published by the US agency "Bloomberg", about alleged provocative activities by the Chinese army.


And the Chinese spokeswoman confirmed that "if a military conflict breaks out between the United States and China, it will be caused by the activities of the American army near Chinese territory."


read Chinese media coverage


Friday, June 16, 2023

The Great Convergence: Global Equality and Its Discontents

    Friday, June 16, 2023   No comments

An article in the magazine "Foreign Affairs" talks about global income levels, within the next twenty to thirty years, and says that the number of Chinese who earn salaries equal to the salaries of middle-income Americans will be equal, which reduces American hegemony.

The current century has witnessed a significant decline in global income inequality, after falling to levels not seen in more than a century. This is the conclusion reached by Branko Milanovic, one of the world's foremost inequality researchers.


Milanovic said in an article published in the American magazine "Foreign Affairs", that "at a time when the population of the United States is only 4% of the world's population, increasing equality would be beneficial to the planet as a whole, but it heralds the end of American hegemony."


According to the author, inequality is measured using a Gini coefficient (a unit of measurement), which extends on a scale from 0 (perfect equality) to 100 (where one person gets all the income in the world).


On this measure, the inequality index fell from 69 in 2000 to 60 in 2018, and it is certainly lower today. In other words, the world is more equal now than at any time since 1875.


Recently, that number due to inequality within countries has risen slightly, and now stands at about 13, up from 7 in the 1990s. Conversely, the component decreased from a high of 63 in 1988 to only 47 in 2018 due to inequality between countries.


This is a complete reversal of what happened during most of the Cold War, when inequality between countries was increasing, but inequality within a single country was greatly reduced.


Milanovic notes in his article that "in the 1970s, India's share of global GDP was less than 3%, while the share of Germany, a major industrial power, was 7% by 2021, then these proportions reversed."


People who were poor by the standards of the United States, and other rich countries, were rich by global standards.


"People's incomes in Asia have reached unprecedented levels," adds Milanovic.


For every 100 middle-income Americans, 25 Chinese earned an equal amount.


Within the next 20 to 30 years, the number of Chinese earning salaries equal to that of middle-income Americans will be equal, and then rapidly exceed that proportion.


"This, in turn, reflects a broader shift in economic, technological and even cultural power in the world," says Milanovic.


For the global genetic coefficient (the unit of measure) to continue to decline, Africa will need to become significantly richer in the coming decades, "which is not likely to happen yet," according to Foreign Affairs.



The Four Amigos: How the close alliance grew between the far Global South Flanks

    Friday, June 16, 2023   No comments

There is no doubt that Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi's current visit to South American countries, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, constitutes a strengthening of Iran's course of cooperation with Latin American countries and the confrontation of unilateral US sanctions.

This path has brought the far one closer geographically, and has developed rapidly since the beginning of the new millennium, with the emergence of a new generation of Bolivarian leaders.

And with the presence of leaders such as the late Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, Rafael Correa and Lula da Silva, some of these relations began to enter the stage of strategic alliances, especially during the years 2005-2013, as Iran became an observer member of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Latin America, ALBA, in 2008, in one of the manifestations of these Alliances.

As a continuation of this rapprochement, Iran and Venezuela signed more than 270 agreements between 2005 and 2012, which included automobile manufacturing projects, energy programs, and others.

In 2019, following the coup of Venezuelan Parliament Speaker Juan Guaido against elected President Nicolas Maduro and the United States announcing his recognition, America froze the Venezuelan government's assets abroad, and exacerbated the suffering of Venezuelans, in conjunction with a humanitarian crisis that struck the world as a result of the spread of the Corona virus and the subsequent economic recession.

Iran sent 5 tankers of oil derivatives to Caracas to alleviate the unprecedented fuel crisis, and helped repair a number of Venezuelan oil refineries that were damaged by US sanctions, in a message confirming the strength of this alliance, and a challenge to the hegemony of the United States whose patrols in the Caribbean did not dare to intercept the fleet yet. Iranian warnings.

The first year of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's term did not pass, until he signed with his Venezuelan counterpart in Tehran a map of bilateral cooperation between the two countries in June 2022. Subsequently, Raisi handed over, in a ceremony via video technology, the second Iranian-made Venezuelan oil tanker, and committed Renovation of the largest oil refinery complex in Venezuela.

For his part, the Iranian president stressed, in a joint press conference with his Venezuelan counterpart, that "relations between Tehran and Caracas are not ordinary diplomatic relations, but rather strategic relations," noting that the two countries have "common opponents, common interests and common views in the areas of seeking independence, freedom and justice." 

The Iranian president participated in the ceremony of resuming the production line of two Iranian companies for cars and tractors in Venezuela, and said during the visit: "The volume of trade exchange can be increased to 10 billion dollars in a first step, and to 20 billion dollars in a second step," after the exchanges increased from 600 million dollars in 2008. 2021 to more than $3 billion.


During his meeting with Iranian and Venezuelan businessmen, he stressed that there is a great untapped potential to increase economic exchanges between Iran and Venezuela, and stated that the way to achieve the $20 billion agreements is serious activity and investment between the two countries.


The memorandums of cooperation included the sectors of communications and information technology, energy, insurance, maritime transport, higher education, agriculture, medicine and medicine, culture, and the mining sector, in addition to Iran’s decision to transfer micro and nanotechnology through government and private institutions, in order to build a model of Iranian-Venezuelan partnership and integration. It can circulate in a lot of countries that want an equal relationship.


These agreements provide opportunities for mutual investment in the field of agriculture, facing food security problems and exchanging commodities.


Commenting on the economic sanctions imposed by the United States on Venezuela, Roy Warran tells Al-Mayadeen Net: "Iran has a clear position against sanctions, and it rejects them completely, whether sanctions against Iran or any other country." He adds, "Our position is principled against sanctions. Therefore, Iran sent tankers carrying oil production requirements to Venezuela, in a practical step to refuse, whatever the price."


In the same context, since February 2023, two ships carrying Iranian products have arrived at Venezuelan ports, after the Iranian-Venezuelan shipping line was recently launched, as the Iranian-Venezuelan cooperation map stipulates that a ship sails from Iranian shores heading to Venezuela every 3 months.


"A large part of Venezuela's refining sector, which was neglected due to sanctions, has been put into operation with the help of Iranian experts," said Iranian Oil Minister Javad Auchi.


Iran will provide technical and engineering support, as well as equipment, to help modernize petrochemical complexes, loading docks and oil terminals in Venezuela.

After the Venezuelan president's visit to Tehran in 2022, the state oil company "Petroleos de Venezuela" and the state-owned National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company worked to renovate the "Paraguana" refining center, the largest refining complex in Venezuela, in a move to end Venezuela's dependence on American refinery technology. .

A unit of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company had earlier signed a contract worth 110 million euros with Petroleos de Venezuela last May to repair the El Palito oil refinery, which has a capacity of 146,000 barrels per day.


Since December 2022, Iranian commercial ships have been moving along the road leading to Venezuela to transport petrochemical products, primarily naphtha, which Venezuela needs in the production of Venezuelan oil.

  



Thursday, June 15, 2023

China's president, Xi, calls for a Palestinian state to become full member of UN

    Thursday, June 15, 2023   No comments

Meeting the Palestinian president, China's president, Xi, calls for a Palestinian state to become full member of UN.

Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated to Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday his call for a state of Palestine to become a "full member" of the United Nations, state media reported.

The Palestinian President arrived in Beijing, on Monday, on his fifth official visit, which will continue until Friday.

The Chinese president told his Palestinian counterpart at a reception in the Great Hall of the People that China "is ready to strengthen coordination and cooperation with the Palestinian side, in the face of a century of global changes and new developments in the situation in the Middle East."

He added, "Today, we will jointly announce the establishment of a strategic partnership between China and Palestine, which will represent an important milestone in the history of bilateral relations."

Abbas is holding talks with senior Chinese leaders, including Premier Li Qiang, where the two sides' discussions will discuss ways to strengthen relations and confront the "long-term challenges" of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.


It is noteworthy that the two presidents signed a card issuing a Palestinian stamp issued on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of Chinese-Palestinian diplomatic relations.


A spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wang Wenbin, said in a regular press conference, Friday, that “President Abbas is an old friend of the Chinese people,” pointing out that he is the first Arab head of state that China has received this year, and that this embodies the “high level of Chinese-Chinese relations.” Traditionally good Palestinian.


Winbin affirmed that "the Palestinian issue is the core of the Middle East issue, and affects peace and stability in it, and international justice and justice."


President Abbas expressed his appreciation for China's agreement to join the State of Palestine as a dialogue partner in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, pending the approval of other member states.

And he considered that "these regional gatherings and similar ones are an opportunity to strengthen relations, and for the peoples and countries of the world to have a fair opportunity for development and progress, away from manifestations of domination and exploitation."


In April's UNSC meeting, China representative called for a new approach to solving the Palestinian question. In his remarks at a meeting of the Security Council, Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, stressed the importance of upholding fairness and justice on the Palestinian issue.


He said, "What is lacking in resolving the Palestinian issue is not a grand plan, but rather a living conscience to establish justice. The fulfillment of the Security Council's responsibilities does not depend on blatant slogans, but on concrete measures."


"On issues related to the future and fate of the Palestinian people, no party has the right to use the veto," Zhang added.


Xi expressed Beijing's position during a summit with Arab countries in Saudi Arabia in December, although the latest call comes as the Asian powerhouse works to strengthen its role as mediator in the Middle East.

Xi met Abbas during the December trip and pledged to "work for an early, just and durable solution to the Palestinian issue".

Beijing has since positioned itself as a mediator in the Middle East, brokering the restoration of ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia -- rivals in a region where the United States has for decades been the main powerbroker.

The Saudi-Iranian relations have improved since the China sponsored agreement. Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud will travel to Tehran on Saturday for talks with senior Iranian officials.

The top Saudi diplomat and his delegation will visit Tehran on June 17 to hold a series of talks with Iranian officials.

Sources had reported earlier that the embassy of Saudi Arabia in Tehran will reopen during the ministerial visit to Iran.

The foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia held a meeting in South Africa in early June to weigh plans for the full restoration of relations and broaden regional and economic cooperation between Tehran and Riyadh.

After several days of intensive negotiations hosted by China, Iran and Saudi Arabia clinched a deal on March 10 to restore diplomatic relations and reopen embassies and missions after seven years of estrangement.


******

Commenting on these developments, some media outlets and think tank analysis sites highlighted the geopolitical changes occuring since the start of the war in Ukraine. "The United States of America is lagging behind while the Middle East is embracing a new geopolitical era," said the Responsible Statecraft magazine, in a report.


"As the region progresses towards a multipolar system, Washington must promote more cooperation and economic development," the magazine said.


It added, "Amidst the reopening of Iranian and Saudi diplomatic missions after a 7-year hiatus, symbolizing their official rapprochement and the changing geopolitical dynamics in the Persian Gulf, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Riyadh last week with an old agenda."


The magazine commented, "Washington's failure to adapt to the new regional realities left it isolated, as its policies no longer resonate with its partners in the region."

And while "the United States remains deeply invested in the region for the foreseeable future, its policies have become the main impediment to diplomatic engagements, as well as economic development and integration in the broader Middle East," according to the magazine.


For example, the US administration implicated the Gulf in the war on Yemen, and it, however, made it clear that it was "not ready to solve it," according to Responsible Craft.


Likewise, “the absence of the United States in recent regional developments has provided opportunities for other global actors to assert their influence and enhance multilateral cooperation,” as the upcoming summit between Iran, the GCC and China in Beijing and the third meeting of the Baghdad conference later this year will provide “multiple avenues.” parties for dialogue and cooperation.


It is worth mentioning here that the United States will be absent from both events, which further highlights its isolation and diminished influence in the region.


Accordingly, the magazine concluded, "The changing dynamics and the emergence of alternative centers of power necessitate a recalibration of US policies in line with new geopolitical shifts throughout the Middle East."


She made it clear that this can be achieved by adopting a multipolar system and promoting economic development, and Washington should allow the region to further explore these diplomatic avenues and not hinder them.



Similarly, the European electronic magazine "Modern Policy" dealt with the issue of political transformations in what it called "the era of self-help in the post-American Middle East," stressing that the Gulf states will seek to form their foreign alliances based on their interests in the region.


The magazine explained that the US's relations in the region are not only with Saudi Arabia, but also with all Arab countries in the Gulf, noting that these relations today are "far from their golden years."


And she stressed, in the context, that if the countries of the region cannot see a role for the United States in stabilizing and maintaining stability, and if they cannot obtain a real American contribution to their security, then of course they will have to search for other potential partners.


She pointed out that the new isolation of the United States had dire consequences for the American leadership in the Middle East, which led to a great vacuum in its authority, which it tried to ensure its expansion in the region.

The magazine talked about Russia's efforts to fill this void in countries such as Syria and Libya, in addition to the efforts of regional powers such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Turkey to exercise greater influence within their areas of influence.

Relations between the United States and the countries of the region deteriorated almost globally, as a result of the United States ignoring the influence of local powers, for a period of time, in addition to its failure to realize the need for urgent intervention to repair these relations.

Also, China's work in the region as a mediator comes at the expense of the American role in it, especially since Beijing succeeds in reconciling the opponents in the region and putting an effective end to the conflicts in it, unlike the United States, according to the magazine, especially since it refrains from imposing political conditions on Middle Eastern countries during reconciliation efforts.




Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Raisi visit Venezuela, Nicaragua, as part of his Latin American tour

    Wednesday, June 14, 2023   No comments

The Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, left the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, heading to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, after the end of his two-day official visit, at the head of two political and economic delegations, as part of a tour to several countries in Latin America.

During his visit to Caracas, my president met with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, and high-level delegations of the two countries signed 25 agreements.

Raisi also met with the Speaker of Parliament and a group of chairmen of the Venezuelan National Assembly committees, visited the science and technology exhibition of Iranian achievements, sponsored the revival of the production line of two Iranian car companies, and met with Venezuelan youth groups and elites.

Earlier today, Tuesday, Iran and Venezuela signed a number of agreements in the presence of Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in the capital, Caracas, including agreements related to oil, trade, health and technology.

In a joint press conference with his Venezuelan counterpart, the Iranian president stressed that "relations between Tehran and Caracas are not ordinary diplomatic relations, but rather strategic relations," noting that the two countries have "common opponents" and "common interests and common views in the areas of seeking independence and freedom." and justice.”

Referring to an increase in the volume of trade between the two countries from $600 million in 2021 to more than $3 billion, Raisi said, "The volume of trade exchange can be increased to $10 billion in a first step, and to $20 billion in a second step."

In turn, the Venezuelan president said, "Raisi's visit marks a new milestone in the relationship with Iran, which plays an excellent role as one of the most important emerging powers in the new world."


"We signed 25 agreements during this historic visit by President Raisi, and new agreements are still under negotiation," he said, explaining that "the goal of the sanctions is to make Venezuelan society collapse so that the United States can control its oil."

Monday, Raisi began his tour to Latin America, which includes Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, with the aim of "continuing the policy of strengthening relations with friendly countries and promoting cooperation, economically, politically and scientifically."


This visit will last for 5 days, at the official invitation of Raisi's counterparts in the three countries.

A year ago, on such days, Tehran hosted the Venezuelan president, and the two sides signed a 20-year cooperation agreement.


Iran and Venezuela are two major oil producers and members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which makes them the focus of international discussions on the energy crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine.


Iran is strengthening its orientation towards Latin American countries, within the framework of its policy aimed at "diversifying foreign relations", which coincides with its efforts to strengthen and improve relations with the countries of the region, under the title of "neighborhood policy".

In the face of sanctions.. Raisi from Nicaragua calls for pluralism

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi affirmed his country's readiness to expand and strengthen bilateral cooperation with Nicaragua, stressing that the relations between the two countries are strategic.

Raisi added during his meeting with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega: "We want to increase and deepen our relations in the political, economic and cultural fields, and in all other fields, especially in the field of science and technology."


He thanked the government for the warm reception and hospitality he received and the delegation accompanying him on his first visit, which began yesterday evening to the Central American country.


In turn, Ortega stressed that Nicaragua and Iran are twin revolutions that have deep roots in defending the identity and well-being of peoples.


When welcoming his Iranian counterpart, Ortega highlighted the perpetual struggle of both countries against empires that throughout history have tried to seize various lands to control the world.


The Head of State reviewed some of the battles waged by the first Nicaraguan anti-colonialists, while he told his Iranian counterpart the different stages of Nicaragua's struggle in defense of freedom and national sovereignty.


"Over the years, the United States has been extremely brutal with Nicaragua in its search for hegemony to build an inter-oceanic canal here, because this route was so coveted by North American businessmen," Ortega said.


Ortega received his Iranian counterpart at the head of a high-level political and economic delegation in Freedom Square in the capital, Managua, during an official reception ceremony.

Meanwhile, the Iranian president called for an end to unilateral sanctions that aim to subjugate people, calling on Latin American countries to bet on pluralism.


In an interview with Telesur, Raisi said, "We have to put an end to this unilateralism, create a multipolar world, and put an end to this oppression against human beings."


According to Raisi, "Sanctions are a declared war against states, and the tool was military. Now, sanctions are used to subjugate people."

He pointed out that "the Americans are looking for their interests in that region and all over the world, and they are looking for their hegemony. And what Trump said is the reality of the United States; that fact is that they are looking to usurp the reserves and plunder them."

Likewise, the Iranian president believed that the United States wanted to punish countries that did not submit to its policy.


He stressed that "Iran will not oppress anyone, and therefore will never accept being subjected to oppression," adding, "They do not want us to be independent and self-sufficient."


Raisi referred to "the various damages caused by the northern force in several countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan," stressing "the need to respect the internal decisions of each country."


It is noteworthy that the Iranian president had arrived yesterday in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, at the end of his visit to Venezuela, as part of a tour in Latin America that also includes Cuba, which he started last Monday.


The Iranian President's visit to Nicaragua comes at the official invitation of his counterpart, President Ortega.


Prior to his Latin tour, Raisi said that the position of Iran and the countries he will visit is to "stand up to the hegemonic regime," stressing that relations with independent Latin countries are strategic.


Iran is strengthening its orientation towards Latin American countries within the framework of its policy aimed at "diversifying foreign relations", which coincides with its efforts to strengthen relations with countries in the region under the title of "neighborhood policy".


After cancelling a scheduled visit to France, the Algerian President goes to Russia on an official visit

    Wednesday, June 14, 2023   No comments

On Tuesday, the Algerian Presidency website announced that President Abdelmadjid Tebboune will visit Russia for 3 days, at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

And the official website of the Algerian presidency wrote, “At the invitation of the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, the President of the Republic, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, embarks today on a three-day visit to Russia, within the framework of strengthening cooperation between the two friendly countries.”


  During this visit, President Tebboune will participate in the work of the International Economic Forum, in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.


It is worth mentioning that the President of the Federal Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia, Valentina Matviyenko, confirmed, last March, Moscow's support for Algeria's desire to join the "BRICS" group.


Valentina Matviyenko said, in media statements, after meeting with the President of the Republic of Algeria, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, that she had conveyed to him an official message from President Vladimir Putin, which included an official invitation to visit Russia.


It is noteworthy that the former Algerian Foreign Minister, Ramtane Lamamra, had declared that "Algeria and Russia are important partners."


And Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced, during a visit to Algeria, that Algeria and Moscow are now convinced that "a strategic cooperation agreement must be signed."


Tuesday, June 13, 2023

African leaders are increasingly calling for use of African currencies for African trade; President of Kenya calls on all African countries to abandon the US dollar for local trade transactions

    Tuesday, June 13, 2023   No comments

Realizing that much of the economic problems of Africa are due to unfair financial practices at the hands of institutions controlled by colonial powers, African leaders are now willing to look at local solutions to local problems--including using local currencies for local trade.  

President William Ruto stressed that the mechanism that will allow Africans to switch to local currencies will be provided by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).

Afreximbank is a supranational financial institution that unites most African countries (51 states).

The cost of currency convertibility due to the use of U.S. dollars in trade among African countries is close to 5 billion dollars annually, according to Wamkele Mene, secretary general of the AfCFTA Secretariat. "That is expensive and so we have rolled out the pan Africa payment and settlement system that enables trading in local currencies."


he African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is striving for the usage of local currencies in trade among countries in the continent, an official said Thursday.


Cross-border trading among countries in the Economic Community of West African States is already happening through the use of local currencies instead of the use of U.S. dollars, said Wamkele Mene, secretary general of the AfCFTA Secretariat, on the sidelines of a trade forum in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.


"We now want to expand to other regional blocs including the East African Community which is in talks with the African Export-Import Bank," Mene said.


He said that the cost of currency convertibility due to the use of U.S. dollars in trade among African countries is close to 5 billion dollars annually. "That is expensive and so we have rolled out the pan Africa payment and settlement system that enables trading in local currencies."



Kenya President William Ruto has urged African leaders to sign up for the pan-African payments system to facilitate trade within the continent to reduce reliance on the US dollar.


He urged his peers in Africa to mobilise central and commercial banks to join the Pan-African Payments and Settlement System, which was launched in January 2022, Business Daily newspaper reported.


The system for intra-African trade was developed by African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), an initiative backed by the African Union and African central banks.


“We are all struggling to make payments for goods and services from one country to another because of differences in currencies,” the president told an AfCFTA forum in Nairobi.


“There has been a mechanism where all our traders can trade in the local currency, and we leave it to the Afreximbank to settle all the payments. We do not have to look for dollars,” he said, seeking settlement of payment through local currencies.

Algeria's president, Tebboune, signs a decree requiring the full performance of the Algerian national anthem

    Tuesday, June 13, 2023   No comments

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune recently signed a decree imposing the full performance of the national anthem with its five stanzas, to include a stanza containing words bearing a threat to France, and this stanza had angered Paris earlier.

It is noteworthy that Algeria wrested its independence from France in 1962 after 132 years of struggle against French colonialism, as that period was considered bloody in the history of the Arab country and remained a deep wound in the heart of every Algerian despite the passage of generations.


The Algerian national anthem is the only one that mentions another country in its lyrics, as one of its stanzas includes these sentences:

Oh France, the time for admonition has passed,
and we folded it as the book is folded,
O France, the day of reckoning,
prepare and take from us the answer,
in our revolution Separate the speech, and 
we resolved that Algeria would live.
so bear witness, 
bear witness, 
bear witness.

 


The section was sometimes sung, and at other times the Algerian authorities were satisfied with showing only part of the anthem to shorten it, but Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune signed the decree imposing the full performance of the anthem with its five sections.

The abbreviated version can be performed on certain occasions, such as receiving heads of state during official visits, or speeches addressed by the president to the nation, military decrees at the Ministry of Defense, and others.

The clip had aroused "France's anger", and the French negotiating delegation objected to it prior to the signing of the "Evian" treaty with the then interim Algerian government, which recognized Algeria's independence, but its request was rejected.

The clip was deleted during the reign of President Chadli Ben Jedid during the eighties of the last century, after that the former Algerian President Liamine Zeroual decided to restore it finally in 1995.

In 2007, the section of the Algerian national anthem was removed from school books, which caused great discontent in Algeria at the time.

Indeed, the video of Tebboune's inauguration ceremony and his taking the constitutional oath, in 2019, shows the full performance of the Algerian national anthem, including the passage that mentions France.

It is noteworthy that Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune was scheduled to visit France last May, but he postponed his visit without giving reasons.

 


Monday, June 12, 2023

ISR Weekly Review Bulletin for June 12, 2023

    Monday, June 12, 2023   No comments

 Keeping our readers informed about the most consequential events in this fast changing world.

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Behind the raft of OPEC+ production decisions riling the collective west lies a tight Russian-Saudi strategy and enhanced Russian-Iranian energy cooperation

Current EventsGeopolitics

Behind the raft of OPEC+ production decisions riling the collective west lies a tight Russian-Saudi strategy and enhanced Russian-Iranian energy cooperation

by MK Bhadrakumar * A curious thing happened in Vienna on Sunday just as the…

Saudi Arabia seeks closer ties with China, defends criticism from the west, explains ties to China as "Cooperation for prosperity"

    Monday, June 12, 2023   No comments

 Saudi Arabia, one of the key partners of the United States in the region, seeks to develop cooperation with China, despite the concerns of Western countries. This was stated by the Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman Al Saud, speaking at the Tenth Conference of Arab and Chinese entrepreneurs in Riyadh.

"Today's reality is that China occupies, has occupied and will continue to occupy a leading position. We should not compete with China, we should cooperate with it," the minister said, whose speech was broadcast by Asharq TV channel. "Cooperation with China is advisable because they have taken the initiative to attract the right manufacturers."

When asked how the minister perceives the criticism that Western countries are subjecting Saudi Arabia to for expanding economic and political ties with China, he said that he "actually ignores it." "Like any business person, you will go where there are appropriate opportunities," he added.

The tenth Conference of Arab and Chinese entrepreneurs is being held on June 11-12 in Riyadh under the slogan "Cooperation for prosperity". The event, organized by the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia, is aimed at strengthening economic cooperation between China and the countries of the Arab world. The conference is attended by more than 3 thousand people - high-ranking officials and representatives of large businesses.


According to the Saudi Press Agency, on the first day of the conference, its participants signed dozens of investment agreements worth more than $ 10 billion. Among them is a $533 million agreement between Amar Al-Oula and Zhonghuan International Group, which involves the construction of an iron ore processing plant in Saudi Arabia, as well as a $500 million agreement between ASK Group and the Chinese National Geological and Mining Company on the development of a copper mining project in the kingdom.


Khamenei: There is no harm in concluding an agreement with the West and not heading towards building a nuclear weapon, not because of our fear of enemies, but rather because of our faith

    Monday, June 12, 2023   No comments

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday it is possible to reach an agreement with the West over Tehran's nuclear activities if the country's nuclear infrastructure remains intact, at a time of disagreement between Iran and the United States over reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.


Indirect talks between Tehran and Washington to revive the deal with six major powers hit an impasse in September, with both sides accusing each other of making unreasonable demands.

Khamenei's cautious approval comes days after both Tehran and Washington denied a report that they were close to an interim agreement under which Iran would curb its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

"There is nothing wrong with the agreement (with the West), but the infrastructure of our nuclear activities should not be touched," Khamenei was quoted as saying by state media.

The 2015 agreement limited Iran's uranium enrichment activity and made it difficult for Tehran to develop nuclear weapons, in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

In 2018, then-US President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement and re-imposed sanctions that crippled the Iranian economy, prompting Tehran to move gradually to not abide by the provisions of the agreement stipulated. This renewed US, European and Israeli fears that Iran might seek to obtain an atomic bomb.

Khamenei said, repeating his country's official position, that the Islamic Republic has never sought to build a nuclear bomb.


And he added, “Talking about Tehran’s nuclear weapons is a lie, and they (the West) know that. We don't want to build nuclear weapons because of our religious faith, otherwise they wouldn't have been able to stop it."

Khamenei, who has the supreme say in all state affairs including the nuclear program, added that Iran's Atomic Energy Organization should continue to work with the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency "within a framework of guarantees".

However, Khamenei called on the Iranian authorities "not to bow to the exaggerated and wrong demands of the International Atomic Energy Agency," adding that a law passed by the Iranian parliament in 2020 must be respected.

Under the law, Tehran suspends IAEA inspections of Iranian nuclear sites and ramps up uranium enrichment if sanctions are not lifted.

At the end of May, the UN body reported “progress” in cooperation with Iran, while noting that the Islamic Republic had significantly increased its stockpile of enriched uranium in recent months.

In addition, the International Atomic Energy Agency decided to close the file on the presence of nuclear materials in one of the three undeclared sites, after this led to strained relations between the two parties for a long time.

On Sunday, Khamenei urged those responsible for the nuclear program to "not succumb to pressure... baseless allegations," without providing further details.

He said, "There is no problem in signing an agreement with the agency, but the infrastructure of the Iranian nuclear industry should not be harmed."

These statements come at a time when press reports reported indirect contacts between Iran and the United States to resume negotiations on the Iranian nuclear agreement that was concluded in 2015, and the United States withdrew from it during the era of former President Donald Trump in 2018.

This agreement was aimed at restricting Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

And Monday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reiterated that President Joe Biden's administration will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear bomb, which Iran denies seeking.

In the context, Khamenei said, “We do not want to reach nuclear weapons on the basis of our Islamic principles. Otherwise, they would not have been able to prevent us from obtaining this weapon, just as they have not been able to stop our nuclear developments so far.

"This is a good law... it must be respected and not violated when giving access to (the International Atomic Energy Agency) sites and information," Khamenei said.

Last month, the IAEA reported limited progress on issues at issue with Iran, including the reinstallation of some monitoring equipment originally installed under the 2015 deal and ordered removed by Tehran last year.


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