Showing posts with label International Affairs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label International Affairs. Show all posts

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Biden extends the state of emergency against Iran

    Thursday, March 14, 2024   No comments

US President Joe Biden ordered the extension of the “national emergency” related to Iran for another year, stressing the maintenance of comprehensive sanctions against Tehran to respond to the threat it poses to American national security.

Biden sent a message to Congress regarding the continuation of the law signed by the administration of former President Bill Clinton on March 15, 1995.

He said in his letter that “the actions and policies of the Iranian government continue to pose an unusual and exceptional threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

Biden stressed that “it is necessary to continue the (national emergency) declared in Executive Order No. (12957) with respect to Iran and to maintain comprehensive sanctions against Iran to respond to this threat.”

The “national emergency” was first declared by former President Bill Clinton in an executive order on March 15, 1995, based on “the extraordinary threats created by the actions and policies of the Iranian government against the national interests and U.S. foreign policy; Including missile development, support for terrorist groups, malign activities by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, regional destabilization, and possession of weapons of mass destruction.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Media review: The Gaza war creates a new Islamic front and threatens American influence--Foreign Affairs

    Saturday, February 10, 2024   No comments

The American magazine Foreign Affairs published a long article dealing with the impact of the Gaza war on the Islamic and Arab worlds, saying that this war created a new Islamic front that may be the greatest challenge facing America.

The article, written by Toby Matthiesen, a senior lecturer in global religious studies at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, explained that the Gaza war is no longer limited to the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and Israel.

He pointed out the extension of this war and the participation of the so-called “Axis of Resistance” that includes Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen in it, and it has gone beyond that until it has now become, 4 months after its beginning, a strong unifying force for Sunnis and Shiites and has awakened a comprehensive Islamic front that includes the Sunni Arab masses, who are opposed by a majority. Overwhelming, Arab normalization.

The article added that for the United States and its partners, this development constitutes a strategic challenge that goes far beyond confronting the Iraqi factions and the Houthis with targeted strikes. By bringing together a region long divided, the war in Gaza threatens to further undermine American influence and, in the long term, could make many American military missions untenable.

He said that this new rapprochement also raises major obstacles to any US-led efforts to impose a top-down peace agreement that excludes Palestinian Islamists.

The writer reported that Arab opinion polls and social media show great Arab support for the Hamas movement and its strategy of armed resistance, and a significant decline in support for the United States and the regimes closely associated with it.

The same opinion polls now show, according to the article, that an overwhelming percentage of the population - more than 90% - opposes establishing relations with Israel, adding that the Arab Opinion Index for last January, a survey conducted in Doha that included 16 Arab countries, shows agreement. More than 3 quarters of respondents said their views of the United States had become more negative since the war began.

Matthiesen advised the pro-Western Arab countries to seek to bridge the widening gap between their policies and the sympathy of their citizens, saying that after years of neglect, these masses will urgently press for a just solution to the Palestinian issue, which threatens to spark a new wave of Arab uprisings.

He stressed that it is increasingly clear that it will be impossible for Washington to stop the regional escalation unless it is able to secure a ceasefire in Gaza, end the occupation, and finally establish a viable Palestinian state, adding that in the absence of concrete, credible steps in this direction, the pressure will continue. Popular influence on governments in the region.

Matthiesen concluded his article by emphasizing that without a just and broad solution to the Palestinian issue, the Middle East will never achieve lasting peace or the kind of political and economic cooperation that many have long dreamed of, indicating that the alternative is an endless cycle of violence, the decline of Western influence, and the integration of the region. In a way that is completely different from what the West wants, and even fundamentally hostile to it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

The midnight statement of the Saudi Foreign Ministry regarding normalization: What prompted it?

    Wednesday, February 07, 2024   No comments

The abstract of this developing story is this: The Saudi rulers are no longer benefiting from the diplomacy of ambiguity in relations to normalization with Israel. So they took a decisive step at the heels of the fifth visit by the US top diplomat to state in clear and unambiguous terms that Saudi Arabia will not take any steps towards normalization until concrete steps are taken to stop the war in Gaza and establish and recognize an independent Palestinian state over the 1967 borders. Some context, including reactions by media outlets and political entities will provide more clarity.  

“Negotiations aimed at normalizing relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel continue to advance.” A phrase that the United States and “Israel” have continued to promote continuously, in various forms, and at an intense pace, specifically after October 7, 2023. But what the Saudi statement stated regarding the relationship with “Israel” and the conditions set by Riyadh debunks the falsehood of the Israeli and American narrative in this context, and brings Riyadh into the equation of cards that pressure the occupation to force it to stop its aggression against Gaza. What are the implications of the statement?

The statement issued by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, today, Wednesday, which stressed the Saudi insistence on the necessity of establishing an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with “East Jerusalem” as its capital, stopping the aggression against Gaza, and complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, as a condition for establishing diplomatic relations with the Israeli occupation, came. As a response to the American leaks, which claimed that Saudi Arabia was ready to accept a political commitment from “Israel” to establish a Palestinian state, in order to conclude a defense agreement with Washington, before the American presidential elections, and here the talk is about a “political commitment” and not practical steps.

In this context, the American newspaper "Washington Post" reported that the United States informed "Israel" that the Saudi normalization agreement should begin within the next two months.

According to the newspaper, this is partly because Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is demanding, as part of the normalization package, a treaty that provides NATO-like guarantees for Saudi security.

Given that it is an election year in the United States, according to the newspaper, such a deal would likely receive Senate approval by June, “and if it is later than that, it will be buried under campaign politics.”

However, all of these accounts contradict the official Saudi position, which was issued just one day after US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s visit to Saudi Arabia and his meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh.

The Saudi newspaper “Okaz” said that the Kingdom’s statement, including its clear positions regarding normalization with “Israel,” comes to “refute all the allegations made by Washington and Tel Aviv to serve their interests.”

According to the Saudi newspaper, the American-Israeli leaks, which attempt to mislead public opinion that the Kingdom is open to the idea of establishing a normal relationship with “Israel” in light of its continued aggression against the Gaza Strip, aim to influence the Saudi effort aimed at achieving an immediate ceasefire.

The newspaper added, "The Kingdom's statement blocked the way for any bidding regarding the Kingdom's firm and historical position towards the issue of Palestine and its permanent support for the rights of the Palestinian people, strengthening their steadfastness, and providing them with a decent life."

The Saudi position expressed in the Foreign Ministry’s statement regarding the necessity of resolving the Palestinian issue first and foremost and establishing their independent state is, according to the Saudi newspaper, “a historical position par excellence.”

Two weeks ago, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Rima bint Bandar Al Saud, confirmed that her country is unable to continue discussions regarding the normalization agreement with the Israeli occupation entity before the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Noting here that the idea of “normalization” is widely and popularly rejected in Saudi Arabia, as expressed in the latest opinion polls, which were conducted by the Washington Institute in December 2023.

The poll results show that (96%) agree with the proposal that “the Arab countries must immediately cut off all diplomatic, political, economic and any other contacts with Israel, in protest against its military action in Gaza.”

The results of the survey also showed that the popularity of the Hamas movement has increased significantly among Saudis, as there was a thirty-point shift in positive attitudes towards the movement, from only 10% in August 2023 to 40% in December 2023.

The opinion poll indicated that (91%) of Saudis agree with the statement that “despite the destruction and loss of life, this war in Gaza is a victory for the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims.”

The first reaction to the Saudi Foreign Ministry's statement came in the Israeli newspaper "Jerusalem Post", where it considered that the United States had hoped that "Israel's" willingness to engage in a "peace" process towards a two-state solution would be sufficient to allow the issue to move forward, but, within hours Saudi Arabia made clear that this was not the case, issuing a sharp statement in the middle of the night.

The newspaper saw that Saudi Arabia linked the normalization process to the war on Gaza, and said that to achieve the normalization agreement, “the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip must stop and all Israeli occupation forces must withdraw from the Gaza Strip.”

The newspaper commented by saying, "Israel's willingness to make peace is not enough for the Saudis."

Commenting on the statement, Israeli commentators were quick to consider it “an expression of Saudi anger at the statements of US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, who touched on the normalization talks that preceded the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation - October 7 during a press conference earlier this week, and pointed out that These discussions are continuing, and his country has received positive reactions from both parties (Saudi Arabia and Israel), within what he described as a separate track and not specifically related to trying to reach a truce in Gaza.

This comes after what Reuters reported on Friday that Saudi Arabia would be ready to accept a political commitment from Israel to establish a Palestinian state in order to conclude a defense agreement with Washington before the US presidential elections.

According to Reuters, in order to create room for maneuver in the talks on recognizing “Israel” and putting the American agreement back on track, Saudi officials told their American counterparts that Riyadh would not insist that “Israel” take concrete steps to create a Palestinian state, and that it would “accept, in lieu of This includes a political commitment to establishing a Palestinian state within the two-state solution policy.”

Also, one regional source told Reuters that Saudi officials secretly urged Washington to pressure Israel to end the Gaza war and commit to a “political horizon” for a Palestinian state, saying that Riyadh would then normalize relations and help finance the reconstruction of Gaza.

Earlier, the American newspaper "Washington Post" reported that the United States informed "Israel" that the Saudi normalization agreement should begin within the next two months.

According to the newspaper, this is partly because Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is demanding, as part of the normalization package, a treaty that provides NATO-like guarantees for Saudi security.

Given that it is an election year in the United States, according to the newspaper, such a deal would likely receive Senate approval by June, “and if it is delayed, it will be buried under campaign politics.”

Two days ago, Saudi Arabia resumed talks with the United States regarding establishing closer “defense relations” after stopping them following the events of October 7, 2023, according to what the American “Bloomberg” agency reported, citing sources.

Two weeks ago, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Rima bint Bandar Al Saud, confirmed that her country is unable to continue discussions regarding the normalization agreement with the Israeli occupation entity before the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

It is noteworthy that the administration of US President Joe Biden is pressuring Saudi Arabia to conclude a normalization deal. In return, the Saudi Crown Prince sets conditions for its completion, including “obtaining security guarantees from Washington and helping to develop a civilian nuclear program.”

Thursday, April 06, 2023

media review: CIA Director expressed dissatisfaction with Saudi Arabia's rapprochement with Iran

    Thursday, April 06, 2023   No comments

According to media reports, the CIA chief complained US was blindsided by Saudi outreach to Syria and Iran. Similar reports appeared in the Wall Street Journal. According to the newspaper, William Burns told Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that the United States is shocked by Riyadh's rapprochement with Iran and Syria, which are still under the influence of Western sanctions.

The director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), William Burns, during an unannounced visit to Saudi Arabia, expressed dissatisfaction with the decision of the kingdom's authorities to establish relations with Iran and Syria. This was reported on Thursday with reference to sources by The Wall Street Journal.

Earlier, Al Arabiya TV channel reported, citing a source, that the CIA director visited Saudi Arabia this week to meet with representatives of the kingdom's authorities. According to the interlocutor of the TV channel, Burns confirmed Washington's desire to strengthen cooperation with Riyadh on security issues and the fight against terrorism. The representative of the administration did not specify with whom exactly the head of the CIA met and how long he was in the kingdom.

On March 10, Tehran and Riyadh agreed to restore diplomatic relations and reopen embassies within two months. Representatives of the two countries held talks in Beijing for several days, following which a trilateral statement was prepared.

Wednesday, April 05, 2023

China's time to become a global powerhouse is now, how will it manage its new role?

    Wednesday, April 05, 2023   No comments

The West’s unlimited military support to Ukraine, its unbalanced Middle East relations, its ambiguous stance on the status of Taiwan, and its failure to honor its nuclear deal with Iran are propelling China to become a global leader. These three news stories should make the case for the role China will play in this decade.


How China sees the expansion of NATO? 

This editorial in a Chinese media outlet close to the ruling class of China provides the answer.

Finland joins NATO; Europe's overall security landscape more 'precarious'

With a Finnish flag rising first time outside the NATO headquarters, the Nordic nation officially became NATO's 31st member country at a meeting of the US-led bloc's foreign ministers, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on Tuesday in Brussels, a historic shift away from the Nordic nation's traditional policy of neutrality, which Chinese experts believe now pushes Finland to the forefront against Russia and may spur Moscow to boost its nuclear deployment, thus making Europe's overall security landscape even more precarious.


Political division in Taiwan regarding the position of Beijing and Washington

While Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen was visiting the United States, her predecessor Ma Ying-jeou was in China, where the country's two main parties were debating which superpower would side with her.


During a long overseas trip to the United States, the Taiwanese president delivered a consistent and blunt message about countering Chinese threats: Taiwan needs the United States to be supportive, the newspaper reported.


But while she was garnering American support, her predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou, was working on a very different agenda, and is currently on a tour of China, the first former president to ever make such a visit, according to the newspaper.


She noted that the symbolism of Ma Ying-jeou's visit to China was "amazing" and stood in stark contrast to Tsai's travels.


"Strongly echoing the rhetoric used by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Ma Jiu invoked the memory of China's past humiliation at the hands of foreign invaders, during a visit last week to the mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China who overthrew the last emperor in 1911," she added.


Speaking of a delegation of Taiwanese youths he was accompanying, Ma Jiu said that they "will strive peacefully to revitalize the relationship with China, and sincerely hope that the two sides of the Strait will make joint efforts to achieve peace and prevent war."


According to the newspaper, the conflicting flights indicate that the question of Taiwan's belonging in the world may reach a point of crisis, amid the most intense hostility between China and the United States.


Earlier in the day, the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration in Fujian announced that military authorities had begun patrolling the Taiwan Strait, following reports of a meeting between Taiwan's President and US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy.


And Tsai arrived, on Tuesday evening, in Los Angeles, USA, to hold this meeting, after a diplomatic tour in Central America.


McCarthy had planned to follow the example of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat who visited Taiwan last August, angering China.


Yesterday, Chinese diplomacy saw that the meeting between the two parties would "cause more damage" to relations between Beijing and Washington.




Macron: China can play a major role in achieving peace in Ukraine


French President Emmanuel Macron said today, Wednesday, at the start of a three-day state visit to China that Beijing can "play a major role" in finding a "path leading to peace" in Ukraine.


Macron told the French community in the Chinese capital: "China has proposed a peace plan, thus showing a will to take responsibility and try to forge a path leading to peace."


Macron added, "This war has trampled many of the principles of the United Nations Charter, which we, as members of the Security Council, must firmly defend."

He continued, "I see that defending it also means progressing together, and trying to find a path that leads to peace."


Last February, China proposed its plan for peace in Ukraine, which consists of 12 clauses that include calls for a cease-fire, respect for the legitimate interests of all countries in the field of security, and a settlement of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.


It is noteworthy that French President Emmanuel Macron arrived, today, Wednesday, in China for a 3-day visit, according to what was announced by the Elysee Palace, on his first trip to this country since 2019.


Macron will hold talks, tomorrow, Thursday, with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in which European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will participate in part, and will move to Canton in southern China on Friday.


Before leaving for China, the French President held a telephone conversation with his American counterpart, Joe Biden. During which they expressed their hope that "China will engage in joint efforts to accelerate an end to the war in Ukraine and establish a sustainable peace," according to French officials.


Reuters: The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Iran will meet in Beijing tomorrow

An Iranian official and a Saudi-owned newspaper reported that the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Iran will meet in Beijing tomorrow, as the two regional powers seek to arrange the next steps for their diplomatic rapprochement, under a Chinese-brokered deal.

 "The two chief envoys agreed to meet on April 6 in Beijing, because China facilitated the agreement," a senior Iranian official told Reuters.


Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Media Review: A multipolar world is indeed good for the disempowered, it has always been that way

    Wednesday, March 08, 2023   No comments

It is no secret that our bias is heavily tilted towards stories that touch on human rights, and that bias is decidedly on the side of those whose human rights have been abused. From this position of bias, we never fudge the facts and bend the truth. With that in mind, it is our biased position also that a multipolar world is always better for disempowered peoples whose human rights are often abused. It would seem that that position is now shared by another expert from an elite institution that is in fact the pipeline that produces the smart people who have been running the United States for decades. 

Harvard's Prof. Stephen Walt makes a good case for multipolarity being better than US hegemony, even for the US. To him, hegemony fed the US's worst instincts and led them to effectively become the world's bully, which they couldn't do in a multipolar world.

Walt just published a piece titled, America Is Too Scared of the Multipolar World. It is prefaced as an expert's point of view on a current event. Some excerpts might help make the case for us, though we might be motivated by different interests:

ISR Editorial Team 

Read the rest for yourself.

By Stephen M. Walt, a columnist at Foreign Policy and the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University. 

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Western Media Review: After the Ukraine war, the West has become more isolated

    Thursday, February 23, 2023   No comments

A year after the war in Ukraine, the West has never been more isolated, Politico reported Thursday.

The newspaper said, "The war in Ukraine accelerated the development of a post-Western world, and given current trends, it seems that this world may be more united, but also more isolated from the rest."

She added, "A year after the war in Ukraine, European and American governments defied critics with an extraordinary display of unity," asking: "But has this internal cohesion been achieved at the expense of external influence?"

This is the main question explored in a new survey by the European Council on Foreign Relations and the Europe in a Changing World project at Oxford University, which covers public opinion from 10 European countries and five from other regions of the world.

According to the results of the survey, while the war brought the West closer together, it also revealed a gap between the West's perception of Russia and the war, and the perception of other countries, and part of this gap comes from radically different perceptions of the state of the world.

Citizens from Europe and non-Western countries share the same conviction that the US-led liberal order is over, but their understanding of what kind of order will come next differs sharply, according to the survey.

He also revealed that many in the West believe, through the legacy of the Cold War, that we are entering a bipolar world dominated by the United States and China, but in other parts of the world, they do not believe this division. The fundamental reason for this is that from the perspective of those in China, Turkey or Russia, we are entering a multipolar world between many centers of power, not a bipolar one.

In other words, the citizens of these countries believe that fragmentation into different systems will determine the future. In this scenario, the entire West would be just one center of power among many others, which would not single-handedly define order and lead global democracy.

According to the newspaper, the most fundamental reason for this view is that people in non-Western major powers now tend to believe that they also represent a real democracy. % of Indians, 36% of Turks, and 20% of Russians.

The newspaper pointed out that with Western governments anticipating the return of the Cold War-type bipolarity between democracy and tyranny, they often tend to view countries such as India and Turkey as swing states that can be persuaded to take sides, pointing out that "these countries see themselves completely differently, As emerging great powers, they may side with the West on some issues, but not on everything.

She also reported that "the ability of the West to work alongside those international partners who have a different understanding of the conflict will have an important impact on the outcome of the war, as well as on the shape of geopolitics," noting that "it takes humility to see countries like India, Brazil and Turkey as partners." In shaping the future system, not as players being moved to the right side of history."

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

War narratives and justifications: the case of war in Ukraine

    Tuesday, February 07, 2023   No comments

War is never a simple "bad versus good", "right versus wrong"; every war has its competing narratives and justifications; the 2022 war in Ukraine is no different. The same applies to the wars in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and all the wars whose justifications were reduced to bad-versus-good.

Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs presents this narrative, in an interview on “Winter of Our Discontent” forum - Belgrade, Serbia.

“I'm deeply unimpressed with the analysis that the war in Ukraine began on 24 February, by an unprovoked attack by President Putin - it's just not true.”


Thursday, February 02, 2023

Only three Muslims-majority countries, Turkey, Pakistan and Morocco provide some form of military aid to Ukraine

    Thursday, February 02, 2023   No comments

When will the war in Ukraine be declared a world war?

With almost all NATO member states and EU countries now openly providing weapons to Ukraine, pressure will be buidling on the rest of the world to take clear position on this conflict--though Russia has not openly asked for any military assistance from what it calls "friendly nationa states."

It should be noted also that only three Muslim-majority countries, Turkey, Pakistan and Morocco, provide some form of military aid to Ukraine.

From Europe, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Moldova still observe conditional neutrality.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Putin, Erdogan and Raisi meeting raises concerns for German Foreign Minister

    Wednesday, July 27, 2022   No comments

German Foreign Minister Annalina Birbock has criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for posing for a photo with Russian and Iranian President Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi.

"The fact that the Turkish president is in this picture is a challenge to NATO," the German Foreign Minister said, in an interview with the newspaper "Bild", adding that this is "simply, incomprehensible."

This week, the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran met in Tehran, where they held tripartite talks and took a joint photo at an extraordinary summit in light of the ongoing international conflict, with Syria being its most prominent focus. They also discussed joint relations, in addition to a number of files, including the Ukrainian grain export agreement.

Commenting on the German parliament's accusations about the "slowing down" of arms supplies to Kyiv, Bierbock said that the Federal Republic of Germany "has no aim to deceive its European neighbours."

"We can't deliver tanks with the tip of a finger," Birbock added.

The Ukrainian authorities appealed to Western countries to continue supplying them with weapons, while Kyiv accused Germany of being very slow in supplying them.



Monday, June 27, 2022

Media Review: The Causes and Consequences of the Ukraine Crisis

    Monday, June 27, 2022   No comments

With the Russian military operation in Ukraine entering its fifth month, voices against American policies began to rise, especially as the sanctions policy it imposed directly affected European countries and gave counterproductive effects that Washington has not succeeded in avoiding so far.

In a speech adapted into an article with the title, the Causes and Consequences of the Ukraine Crisis, University of Chicago political science professor John J. Mearsheimer has described the war in Ukraine as a multidimensional disaster, likely to get worse in the near future. "When a war is successful, no one cares much about its causes, but when its outcome is catastrophic, understanding how it happened becomes very important. Everyone would like to know how this horrific situation was reached," he said.

Mearsheimer believes that, "With regard to the Ukrainian war, the United States is primarily responsible for causing this crisis. This does not mean that Putin started the war and that he is responsible for Russia's conduct in the war. Nor does this mean denying that America's allies bear some responsibility, but they are to a large extent They are following Washington's example for Ukraine."

This came in a lecture delivered by Mearsheimer at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy, last week, in which he spoke in detail about the causes and repercussions of the war in Ukraine, and was published by the American National Interest magazine. It can be argued that the United States has pushed policies toward Ukraine that Putin and other Russian leaders consider an existential threat, especially America's obsession with including Ukraine into NATO and making it a Western fortress on the Russian border. The Biden administration had no willingness to end this threat diplomatically, and recommitted in 2021 to bring Ukraine into NATO. Putin responded by invading Ukraine on February 24.

In Mearsheimer's words, the Biden administration's response to the outbreak of war was to increase pressure on Russia. Washington and its Western allies are resolutely committed to defeating Russia in Ukraine and using comprehensive sanctions to significantly weaken Russian power. And the United States is not seriously interested in finding a diplomatic solution to the war, which means that the war could last months, if not years.

There is no doubt that Ukraine, which has already suffered seriously, will suffer more damage during the war. There is a risk of an escalation of the war, with NATO likely to be drawn into the fight and the possible use of nuclear weapons. It can be said that we live in perilous times.

The war is likely to have catastrophic repercussions. For example, there is reason to believe that the war will lead to a global food crisis, with the death of many millions of people. World Bank President David Malpass said that if the Ukraine war continued, we would face a global food crisis that would be a "humanitarian catastrophe".

In addition, the relations between Russia and the West have been so poisoned that it will take many years to repair. At the same time, this intense hostility will fuel instability around the world, especially in Europe. Some would say that there is one thing that is positive: relations between the countries of the West have improved significantly due to the Ukraine war.

This may be true for now, but there are cracks deep beneath the surface. For example, relations between Eastern European countries and Western European countries are likely to deteriorate as the war continues because their interests and views on the war are not the same.

To be sure, the war has already mainly damaged the global economy, and this situation is likely to get worse with time.

At the conclusion of his lecture, Mearsheimer said that the current war in Ukraine is clearly a colossal catastrophe, which will cause everyone around the world to search for its causes. Those who believe in facts and logic will quickly discover that the United States and its allies are primarily responsible for this devastation. It was inevitable that the decision issued in April 2008 to annex Ukraine and Georgia to NATO would lead to war with Russia.


I have witnessed this phenomenon twice in my lifetime—first with the Vietnam war and second with the Iraq war. In both cases, Americans wanted to know how their country could have miscalculated so badly. Given that the United States and its NATO allies played a crucial role in the events that led to the Ukraine war—and are now playing a central role in the conduct of that war—it is appropriate to evaluate the West’s responsibility for this calamity.

One might argue that Putin was lying about his motives, that he was attempting to disguise his imperial ambitions. As it turns out, I have written a book about lying in international politics—Why Leaders Lie: The Truth about Lying in International Politics—and it is clear to me that Putin was not lying. For starters, one of my principal findings is that leaders do not lie much to each other; they lie more often to their own publics. Regarding Putin, whatever one thinks of him, he does not have a history of lying to other leaders. Although some assert that he frequently lies and cannot be trusted, there is little evidence of him lying to foreign audiences. Moreover, he has publicly spelled out his thinking about Ukraine on numerous occasions over the past two years and he has consistently emphasized that his principal concern is Ukraine’s relations with the West, especially NATO. He has never once hinted that he wants to make Ukraine part of Russia. If this behavior is all part of a giant deception campaign, it would be without precedent in recorded history.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Putin: Energy and food problems are the result of the West's wrong policies; All objectives of the Russian military operation in Ukraine will be achieved

    Friday, June 17, 2022   No comments

 Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed today, Friday, that "the world is diverse and one framework cannot be imposed on everyone from one center," adding: "The world is no longer the same as before."

In his speech at the Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin said that "the United States of America announced that it had won the Cold War and considered itself descended from heaven."

He recalled what he said in Davos a year and a half ago that the "unipolar world has ended" and that there are strenuous attempts to try to restore it, noting that "it is no longer possible to ignore the interests of the new centers of power in the world."

"Outdated geopolitical illusions have undermined confidence in global currencies," Putin said.

The West expected the ruble to collapse, but what happened was the opposite

The Russian president pointed out that "the West's measures to destroy the Russian economy failed and did not bear fruit," explaining that "the reaction of the Russian people came against what the West wanted, as we have increased strength and cohesion."

Putin stressed that "the Russian financial system is stable," noting that "the West expected the ruble to collapse and reach 200 against the dollar, but what happened was the opposite and their expectations were not fulfilled."

"The goal of the sanctions was to bring down the Russian economy, but they did not succeed because the Russian economic sector worked efficiently," he said.

"The Russian people are a strong people who will deal with any problem, and this is evidenced by the thousand-year history of our country," Putin said.

He added that "European politicians have harmed their countries' economies," noting that "the consequences of sanctions imposed on Russia will be $400 billion on European economies."

He stressed that "sanctions can be imposed on any country, including European countries and any European companies."

The European Union has completely lost its sovereignty

During his speech, Putin saw that "the European Union has completely lost its sovereignty, is subject to external dictates, and implements everything that is dictated to it," noting that "inflation growth in some eurozone countries has now exceeded the level of 20%."

Considering that "the world has reached this situation as a result of the activities carried out by the seven major industrialized countries at the level of economy and politics."

There is a danger that Ukrainian wheat will go to finance arms deals

"The Russian military operation in Ukraine was an excuse to hold Russia responsible for all the mistakes," the Russian president said, stressing that "the special military operation in Donbas has nothing to do with the situation in Europe."

He pointed out that "the United States was at the forefront of exporters in the global market, but the US role has now changed."

Putin pointed out that "the West deliberately created a food crisis by buying foodstuffs in world markets above its actual needs," adding that "the United States was the main supplier of many food commodities, and today it has become an importer rather than an exporter."

He revealed that "Russia is interested in exporting 50 million tons of wheat, a priority for needy countries in the countries of the Middle East and Africa," explaining that "the West is pursuing the same old policy of plunder and imperialism, but in a new way."

He added, "Democratic procedures, elections in Europe sometimes look at what's going on there, what forces come to power. It all seems like a screen [to camouflage], because political parties are alike, like twins, superseding each other. However, the The essence of this does not change, the real interests of citizens, national business are being pushed more and more into the backyard, to the fringes.”

He stressed that Russia does not obstruct food exports from Ukraine and that it is not the one who planted mines in the ports, and said in this context, "We will secure the transportation of grain from the ports, but the Ukrainian side should secure the ports from what they planted of sea mines."

Putin warned that "there is a danger that Ukrainian wheat will go to finance arms deals."

Putin: All objectives of the Russian military operation will be achieved

Putin said that "the reason for the energy crisis in Europe lies in the wrong policy of the European Union and the unjustified dependence on alternative energy," stressing that "there was no escape from the decision to launch military currency, as the Donbas residents were subjected to abuse by the Western-backed Ukrainian regime."

Putin added that "all the objectives of the Russian military operation will be achieved," adding that "our soldiers are defending the homeland, the people and human values, and they are resisting extraneous values ​​and moral decay."

He pointed out that "sovereignty in the 21st century is indivisible."

He denounced Western actions, saying: "The West has always been generous in raising the level of hostility against Russia and creating a poisonous atmosphere of Russophobia."

Putin: Russia will not be isolated

Putin pointed out that "the change in the Russian economy and its ability to confront sanctions is what we have made over the past years," noting that "the structure of Western sanctions was based on a false belief that Russia is not a self-sufficient economy."

"The sanctions provide us with a great opportunity and impetus to move forward with regard to technological independence," he said, adding that "Russia will not undergo the process of isolation that the hostile countries thought we would submit to."

He added that "Russia will deal with leaders who want to deal with it, who are able to distinguish between the interests of their countries and foreign dictates."

Putin predicted that "the current situation in Europe will lead to an escalation of radicalism in the future to change the ruling elites," adding that "everyone working with Russia is under unprecedented pressure from the United States and the European Union."

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Esper's diary: Trump relied on fabricated and misleading information to target Soleimani

    Tuesday, May 10, 2022   No comments

Former US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, in his memoirs, asserts that "Trump greatly exaggerates his statements, and often makes unreliable and fabricated statements."

Former US Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed that he "opposed" former US President Donald Trump's decision to target the commander of the Quds Force, the martyr Qassem Soleimani, after Trump claimed "Soleimani was involved in targeting 4 US diplomatic missions."

Esper's newly released memoirs, titled "A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Defense Secretary During Difficult Times", stated that "the daily intelligence briefings, which he reviewed, did not include any evidence to support the theory of accusing Soleimani of an attack on American embassies," adding that "Trump Adopt a pattern of behavior based on lying.

"Trump greatly exaggerates his statements, often making unreliable and fabricated statements," Esper wrote in his memoirs.

Esper was directly attacked by President Trump, who accused him of dishonesty, and was subsequently dismissed from office in November 2020.

Earlier, Esper revealed, in his memoirs, that Trump suggested shooting demonstrators who demanded racial justice, when the demonstrations approached the White House.

Redacted quotes in a new book by former US defence secretary Mark Esper suggest that former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on US President Donald Trump to take direct military action against Iran's nuclear programme. 

In the book, A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times, Esper notes that Trump seemed firm in his commitment not to enter a war with Iran, the Haaretz newspaper reported on Tuesday.

He writes: "The president often had others in the room, and foreign leaders like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling him [REDACTED]."

Esper wrote that Milley told him that Robert O'Brien, Trump's national security adviser, had called to say that "the president wanted to strike a senior military officer who was operating outside of Iran".

"But why now? What was new? Was there an imminent threat? What about gathering the national security team to discuss this?

"Milley said he was 'stunned' by the call, and he sensed that O'Brien 'put the president up to this,' trying to create news that would help Trump's re-election."

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

German Foreign Minister calls for economic system independent of US: Maas wants EU own SWIFT system

    Wednesday, August 22, 2018   No comments

It is also important to correct fake news because it can quickly result in the wrong policies. As Europeans, we have made it clear to the Americans that we consider the withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran to be a mistake. Meanwhile, the first US sanctions have come back into force.

In this situation, it is of strategic importance that we make it clear to Washington that we want to work together. But also: That we will not allow you to go over our heads, and at our expense. That is why it was right to protect European companies legally from sanctions. It is therefore essential that we strengthen European autonomy by establishing payment channels independent of the US, a European monetary fund and an independent SWIFT [payments] system. The devil is in thousands of details. But every day that the Iran agreement lasts, is better than the potentially explosive crisis that threatens the Middle East otherwise.

A balanced partnership also means that, as Europeans, we bring more weight to bear when the US withdraws. We are concerned about Washington’s withdrawal of affection, in financial and other terms, from the UN — and not only because we will soon be on the Security Council. Of course we can’ t fill all the gaps. But together with others, we can cushion the most damaging consequences of the thinking that says success is measured in dollars saved. That is why we have increased funding for relief organizations working with Palestinian refugees and sought support from Arab states.

We are striving for a multilateral alliance, a network of partners who, like us, are committed to sticking to the rules and to fair competition. I have made my first appointments with Japan, Canada and South Korea; more are to follow. This alliance is not a rigid, exclusive club for those with good intentions. What I have in mind is an association of states convinced of the benefits of multilateralism, who believe in international cooperation and the rule of the law. It is not directed against anyone, but sees itself as an alliance that supports and enhances a global, multilateral order. The door is wide open — above all to the US. The aim is to tackle the problems that none of us can tackle on our own, together — from climate change to fair trade.

I have no illusions that such an alliance can solve all the world’s problems. But it is not enough just to complain about the destruction of the multilateral order. We have to fight for it, especially because of the current trans-Atlantic situation.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Is the the presence of and military operations of Russia, the United States and Israel in Syria Legal?

    Wednesday, July 11, 2018   No comments

That question was asked The scientific in the German Bundestag. The answer was released and found that, while Russia's presence may be legal because it was operating per request of the Syrian government, the presence of and operations carried out by others is illegal. 

The 13-page report was released Tuesday as reported by Germany based AWDNEWS. The summary and the report are made available below.

English summary as provided by AWDNEWS:

The Scientific Services of the German Bundestag are the equivalent to the Congressional Research Service in the United States. Members of Parliament can ask the services to give their neutral expert opinions on legal questions and other issues. Opinions by the Scientific Services are held in high regard.

Alexander Neu, a Member of Parliament for the Left Party in Germany, requested an opinion on the legality of the military presence and operations by Russia, the United States and Israel in Syria.

The result (pdf, in German) is quite clear-cut:

- Russia was asked by the recognized government of Syria to help. Its presence in Syria is without doubt legal under International Law.

- U.S. activities in Syria can be seen as two phases:

Regime Change

The provision of arms to insurgents in Syria by the U.S. (and others) was and is illegal. It is a breach of the Prohibition on the Use of Force in international law specifically of the UN Charter Article 2(4):

    All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

Fight against ISIS

The U.S. argues that its presence in Syria is in (collective) self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter because the Islamic State in Syria threatens to attack the United States. That, in itself, would be insufficient as Syria is a sovereign state. The U.S. therefore additionally claims that the Syrian state is "unwilling or unable" to fight against the Islamic State.

The Scientific Services says that the claim of "unwilling or unable" was already dubious when the U.S. operation started. This for two reasons:

    It is not law or an internationally accepted legal doctrine. (The 120 members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and others have argued strongly against it.)
    The Syrian government itself was fighting ISIS, but it could not operation in large parts of its territory where the Islamic State had taken control. Some argue that this justified the "unable" argument. But ISIS is largely defeated and it no longer has any significant territorial control.

The already dubious legal case for the presence of U.S. (and other 'coalition' troops in Syria) can thus no longer be made. The U.S. presence in Syria is illegal.

- Israel's attacks on Hizbullah and Iranian units and installations in Syria, as well as against Syria itself, are claimed by Israel to be 'anticipatory self-defense' under UN Charter Article 51. But 'anticipatory self-defense' could only be claimed when attacks against Israel were imminent. That case has not been made. The Israeli attacks are thus 'pre-emptive self defense' which is not an accepted doctrine of International Law.

The service was not asked for an opinion on Turkey's incursion into Syria but it notes that claims of 'self defense', as Turkey makes in its fight against Kurdish entities in Syria, are often abuses for Geo-strategic purposes.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Who armed ISIS? A three year study provides some answers

    Thursday, December 14, 2017   No comments

Supplies of materiel, including advanced light weapons systems the U.S. military, from foreign parties — notably the United States and Saudi Arabia, ended up in the hands of ISIS fighters.

This report is the result of more than three years of field investigation into Islamic State supply chains. It presents an analysis of more than 40,000 items recovered from the group between 2014 and 2017. These items encompass weapons, ammunition, and the traceable components and chemical precursors used by the group to manufacture improvised explosive devices.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Facts and Biases: "Mass shootings are terrorism when perpetrated by Muslims"

    Sunday, June 18, 2017   No comments
Legally and morally, we see intent as the best way to distinguish terrorism from mass murder. Federal law defines terrorism as certain violent acts “that appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government.”

But because Hodgkinson is dead and did not declare an aim to dethrone the House majority to which his victims belong, we can only speculate about his motives. Like so many other killers in recent years, it’s impossible to know what his specific goals were, because he didn’t tell anyone. We know that these people intended to commit murder, but not why. And if we assume we know — as in the case of Syed Rizwan Farook in San Bernadino or Jared Lee Loughner in Tucson — it’s probably because of our preexisting stereotypes or our partisanship. Mass killings look the most like terrorism when their perpetrators seem the most alien from the Judeo-Christian, white majority. That’s no way to judge a crime. We need a new way to classify these attacks.
This discrepancy poses two dangers. First, the assumption that mass shootings are terrorism when perpetrated by Muslims but not by others may lead law enforcement and the public to overlook threats posed by non-Muslims. For instance, civil rights lawyer and former FBI agent Mike German, who infiltrated white supremacist groups, has argued that the domestic threat posed by right-wing extremist groups is as great as, if not greater than, that posed by Arab or Muslim terrorists, and yet has been largely ignored by the FBI. A report by the Government Accountability Office tallied 106 killings perpetrated by right-wing extremists in the United States from Sept. 12, 2001, to the end of 2016, more or less equal to the 119 by Muslim extremists in that time. While the exact number in each category may change slightly depending on how we classify individual attacks, the point is that there’s close to parity in the danger posed by each group.

Second, it’s possible that law enforcement and other decision-makers will acknowledge and respond to this singular focus on Muslims by overcompensating in the opposite manner so as to appear nondiscriminatory. The Fort Hood shooter, for example, had repeatedly drawn complaints from fellow soldiers for appearing to justify terrorist attacks against Americans in the Middle East. The FBI was even aware that Hasan had been in email contact with al-Qaeda provocateur Anwar al-Awlaki. It is one thing to avoid racial or religious stereotyping but another to ignore red flags for fear of being perceived as bigoted, as appears to be the case with Hasan. Yet this tension is inherent in stereotype-based law enforcement.

One first step toward resolving the question of “what is terrorism?” — at least in the colloquial sense — is to stop focusing so much on the perpetrator’s perceived intent and to look more at the effects of the violent act. Today, attackers such as Hodgkinson, Hasan, Rizwan, Malik, Loughner and Roof have one thing clearly in common: Even if it’s not clear why, they want to kill as many people as possible. That should be enough to call them all terrorists.

James T. Hodgkinson, the man who shot five people at a Republican baseball practice Wednesday, including a member of Congress, harbored ill will toward President Trump and the GOP. So was Hodgkinson a terrorist?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Trump's Sword dancing and saber rattling in Saudi Arabia, homeland of nearly all of the 9/11 attackers

    Monday, May 22, 2017   No comments
The contrast couldn't be greater: In Saudi Arabia, Donald Trump joined in the sword dance - a dance of war, as King Salman explained to his American guest. And in Iran, the people were dancing in the streets to celebrate the landslide victory of moderate reformer Hassan Rouhani in the presidential election, and the rejection of hardliner Ebrahim Raisi.

Despite, or maybe even because of the war dance, the mood in Saudi Arabia is also one of joy and celebration. Trump's speech on Sunday has been seen as turning the page on US relations with the Arab world generally, and Saudi Arabia in particular. It didn't just mark the end of the Obama administration's critical stance on the kingdom, it also declared its geostrategic adversary, Iran, to be the biggest villain in the region - one best left in isolation, as it was during the George W. Bush era. And because isolation alone might not have been enough, Trump arrived bearing arms contracts worth some $110 billion (98 billion euros) for his hosts - a deal of historic proportions.

No vision of peace

It's a bitter irony that, while visiting the homeland of nearly all of the 9/11 attackers, Trump singled out Iran alone for supporting terrorism. He made no mention of the fact that Riyadh has been supporting the so-called "Islamic State" and other jihadist groups with money and arms, as former US Vice President Joe Biden made clear in a speech he gave at Harvard University in the fall of 2014.
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