Saturday, 2 July 2016
What Will Happen to Europe After the Victory of The “Brexit”? Financial Turbulence on a World Scale?
Global Research, July 02, 2016
After the victory of the “Brexit” in the June 23 referendum, the world economy entered into an episode of turbulence: billions of US dollars disappeared from the principal markets in hours, with which the risks of a new banking crisis in Europe increased. According to Ariel Noyola Rodriguez , the rapid unraveling of the project of European Unity is highly improbable, even though in various countries there has been a call to leave the European Union, the majority of nations of continental Europe form part of the Eurozone and until now, with the exception of political parties of the extreme right, there are no political forces disposed to abandon the common currency.
Although the principal surveys published over several weeks indicated that the British were convinced of their permanence in the European Union, the group in favour of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (the so-called “Brexit”) finally won in the referendum celebrated on June 23 with a margin of nearly four points: 51.9% voted in favour with 48.1% against.
Surprisingly the Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced his resignation moments after; the Pound Sterling registered its worst value since 1985; and the major stock markets collapsed. Both in the Asia-Pacific region as in the European Continent the markets fell between 6 and 10%. In fact, the imminent withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union opened a new picture of great uncertainty at a moment of extreme vulnerability for the world economy.
Financial turbulence on a world scale
At the beginning of June, the World Bank reduced their prevision of growth for 2016 from 2.9 to 2.4%; the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for their part noted that economic nationalism can undermine the free movement of commercial exchange and investment among countries; so that the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) is looking closely at the risks of a new “currency war”.
The fact is that international monetary cooperation is facing one of its major challenges and because of this, with the danger that credit markets may shrink from one moment to another, the European Central Bank (ECB) under Mario Draghi, and the Bank of England under Mark Carney joined the fray to make it clear that they would spare no resources to guarantee financial stability.
Over the long day, but above all after the first signs that the “Brexit” had triumphed in the ballots, the ECB intervened violently in the sovereign debt market to avoid an increase in “risk premiums” of the bonds of the peripheral economies: Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, etc. Meanwhile, the Bank of England had already prepared a powerful battery of 250 billion Pounds Sterling to defend their exchange in the face of attacks by speculators.
The Federal Reserve System (FED), under the mandate of Janet Yellen, established a series of “swaps” to provide additional liquidity along with other central banks of the Group of 7 (G-7, made up of Germany, Canada ,the United States, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom) in case the volatility of financial markets went out of control.
But the contingency plans of the monetary authorities were not sufficient. World stock markets registered losses of more than 2 trillion US dollars in less than 24 hours. It should be noted in addition that the chaos of the Pound Sterling occasioned a massive flight of capital from the London Stock Market, to immediately take refuge in Wall Street. In the face of the financial turbulence, market investors sought protection in safer financial instruments, basically in the dollar and precious metals that serve as reserves of value, gold and silver, for example.
Nevertheless, the massive purchase of dollars deepened the chaos of prices of the rest of commodities, already very low compared to the pre-2009 years. For example, the international reference prices of petroleum, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and the Brent, that had registered some increase during April and May, fell once again.
The prices of hydrocarbons are now below 50 US dollars per barrel, a situation that sharpens deflation (the fall of prices) and that, combined with tendencies of low growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the fall of benefits of the financial sector, increases exponentially the risks of a new banking crisis in Europe.
The “Brexit” does not necessarily imply the end of European integration
The vote in favour of the “Brexit” manifested the enormous rejection of European integration. The economic policy applied in the United Kingdom had basically followed the same route as the rest of the countries of continental Europe: indiscriminate liberalization of trade in goods and services, deregulation of the financial sector, and a policy on labour that left stagnate the increase of wages and that proposed to suppress social benefits of workers.
It is clear that the dream of a democratic, social and solid Europe is only that, a fantasy. The “Welfare State” that was put together after the Second World War, is practically dismantled today. The quality of a democracy cannot be valued only by the celebration of a referendum and the respect of its results by the Government. Democracy means, above all, the direct participation in the principal decisions of concern in a society, both in the area of economics and in political life.
And it is here that the construction of the European Union has its principal faults: the design of the project of integration has been converted into an affair reserved for the business elites. The big corporations have been the principal beneficiaries of the establishment of a “common market”, they are the ones who insist on the approval, as soon as possible, of the Transatlantic Treaty of Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), promoted by the government of the United States, and it is they who promote the offensive of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
It is without doubt true that Europe urgently needs and institutional re-design. In fact, after the victory of the “Brexit”, in various countries referendums have been proposed to abandon the European Union; nevertheless, one has to take into account that the majority of the countries of continental Europe form part of the Eurozone, but this is not the case of the United Kingdom, that has always resisted the adoption of the common currency.
Up to now the progressive forces of Europe have not proposed to abandon the Euro. We recall for example the case of Greece in 2015: with a leftish Government, the troika (made up of the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund) rejected all the proposals of the economic programme of Syriza. And although the Greek Government called a referendum to reject the leonine conditions of the third rescue programme, finally fiscal austerity carried the day.
The Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, was always reluctant that Greece should abandon the Eurozone (the so-called “Grexit”), with all that and to date it has been impossible to establish an alternative economic policy and, at the same time, comply with the demands of the troika. To my own judgement, the great drama that Europe lives in this time is that those who propose an exit from the Euro and then from the European Union, are leaders of political parties of the extreme right, those who utilize the xenophobic rhetoric to distract attention from the true causes of the crisis and who, let us say it clearly, have no intention to promote the rebirth of Europe….
The author is an economist graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Twitter: @noyola_ariel.
Translation: Jordan Bishop.
Source: RT español.
The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Ariel Noyola Rodríguez, Global Research, 2016
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
In the immediate aftermath of Brexit, the issue of its relationship with the UN has come to the fore in the United States.
Sarah Palin, once the governor of Alaska and vice presidential candidate, suggested that the United States take similar steps to leave the United Nations. «May UN shackles be next on the chopping block», she said.
Palin demanded the United States extricate itself from the UN, which «dissolves a nation’s self-determination and sovereignty». The first Republican woman nominated for the vice presidency is an influential figure. She is one of the Tea Party leaders. Her book Going Rogue has sold more than two million copies.
In 2014, Palin launched an online news network, the Sarah Palin Channel.
She has the means to influence the US public opinion.
Now the issue will hit public discourse as the pro-nationalist, anti-globalist sentiment is spreading in the wake of the British «leave» vote.
Actually Sarah Palin’s statement is just part of the story and she is not the only public figure and politician to raise it. Alabama congressman Mike Rogers wants the United States to exit the United Nations. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL3) has long been one of the most vocal opponents of the UN and recently laid out his major issues with the multi-national organization in a statement.
He believes the United States’ participation with the United Nations should end immediately. According to Rogers, the UN continues to prove it’s an inefficient bureaucracy and a complete waste of American tax dollars. «Why should the American taxpayer bankroll an international organization that works against America’s interests around the world?» Rogers asked rhetorically. «The time is now to restore and protect American sovereignty and get out of the United Nations».
Congressman Rogers’ frustrations with the UN led him to introduce H.R. 1205, the American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2015, which he said would «end country’s participation in the UN and any organizations affiliated with them».
Several other liberty-minded congressmen have also sponsored the legislation.
If approved, the legislation would repeal the UN Participation Act of 1945 and shutter the US government’s mission to the outfit. It would also «terminate all membership by the United States in the United Nations, and in any organ, specialized agency, commission, or other formally affiliated body of the United Nations». That specifically includes UNESCO along with the World Health Organization, the UN Environment Program (UNEP), and more. It would end all US involvement in all UN conventions and agreements, too.
The proposed law, introduced in numerous legislative session of Congress in recent decades, would also end all funding to the UN and all of its agencies. The legislation also aims to end all US military involvement in UN military «peacekeeping» schemes and ban United States troops from serving under UN command. Finally, the bill would seek to evict the UN from US soil. It would also ban any use of American government facilities by the global outfit, while stripping UN officials and dignitaries of diplomatic immunity.
In the US Senate, pro-sovereignty sentiment is going strong. Last year, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a former contender for the 2016 nomination which he lost to Donald Trump, blasted the UN and suggested it should be dismantled.
The 2014 Gallup poll showed that a staggering 57 percent of Americans believed the UN was doing a «bad job», versus 37 percent who thought it was doing a «good job».
More than two thirds of Americans were upset with the UN, and independents were also overwhelmingly opposed. But even among Democrats, half thought the UN was doing a bad job.
Indeed, especially in recent years, the UN has become increasingly vocal in attacking the US for violations of human rights and international laws. In 2014 The United Nations Committee Against Torture released a report that deeply criticized the US for racial discrimination and other Civil Rights issues, including electronic surveillance, CIA interrogations, immigrant detentions, the failure to shut down the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay etc.
The report’s findings are the «concluding observations» of hearings during the«Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment», which took place in Geneva.
A new UN report in 2015 criticized the United States for being the only country in the world that imprisons children for life without parole.
The same year the United States was sharply criticized over its human rights record by numerous countries at the United Nations Office at Geneva.
Member nations blasted the US at the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, rebuking the country over its human rights record. During the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the US, country after country urged the US to strengthen legislation and expand training to eliminate racism and excessive use of force by law enforcement officers.
The legality of using drones by the US has been questioned many times by the international community.
In 2003 the US attacked Iraq without the approval of the UN Security Council, in 2011 as a member of NATO alliance it went beyond the UN resolution on Libya.
The list can go on. There is a plethora of examples to prove that the US is a country in serious trouble with the international law.
The UN may be imperfect but at a time when the global security is under threat, let it be terrorists, rogue states of climate change, the Organization remains a vital instrument of international governance in the interdependent world. Engagement and cooperation, not isolation or unilateralism, are the keys to security. After WWII, the world would have been a much worse place without the UN. This international body has managed many conflicts. The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the International Atomic Energy Agency have greatly contributed into preventing a nuclear war. A half dozen core human rights treaties and the creation of a Human Rights High Commissioner to monitor them have changed the world for the better. An extensive international criminal justice system has been developed under UN auspices. More broadly, the UN has addressed social problems to feed the hungry and shelter the dispossessed. It has helped to provide education to millions of children. A world without the United Nations would have thrown us back to the Stone Age. With the UN jettisoned, the US would return to pre-Second World War isolationism in the age of the computer, the Internet, and the high-speed airplane.
The global law and order are threatened by irresponsible US politicians willing to free the country from the burden of international law and global commitments. The decision will undermine every foundation the contemporary world is based on. It’s time to ring alarm bells.
Daash military Leader hunted by Hezbollah Fighters in Jarrod Alqaa hours after Nasrallah Speech اصطياد المسؤول العسكري لداعش في جرود القاع بعد ساعات من كلام السيّد
Few hours after Nasralla promise to protect Alqaa christian border town, Hezbollah Fighters hunted Daash military Leader, ABU KHATAB, in Jarrod Alqaa,
Senior ISIL commander was killed on Saturday along with other terrorists as Hezbollah fighters carried out a qualitative operation against Takfiri insurgents in barrens near the northeastern border village of al-Qaa.
Military Media sources told al-Manar that resistance fighters launched a short-range guided missile on a military port for terrorists in Zwaitinah area in Qaa barrens.
The military commander of ISIL in Qaa barrens, Abu Khattab was killed along with his companions.
The attack is part of operations carried out by Hezbollah fighters against the Takfiri threat posed by ISIL and Nusra Front terrorists.
Saturday operation comes hours after Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah vowed to defend Qaa area and entire Bekaa against the Takfiri threats.
Qaa town was rocked by multiple suicide attacks which claimed the lives of at least five people and injured many others.
Source: Hezbollah Media Relations
|02-07-2016 – 19:34 Last updated 02-07-2016 – 19:34|
Islamic Resistance fighters targeted with guided missiles a couple of Daesh [the Arabic acronym for the terrorist “ISIS” group] sites in the border town of Zwaytineh in Ras Baalbek outskirts, Northern Biqa’, informed sources reported.
The sources further noted that the resistance operation left several killed and others wounded.
In parallel, they targeted an al-Nusra Front terrorist group in Wadi al-Khayl in Arsal outskirts, Northern Biqa’, with heavy machine guns and mortar bombs, causing accurate casualties among them.
Source: al-Ahed News, Translated and Edited by website team
02-07-2016 | 14:05
قتل مسؤول العمليات العسكرية لمنطقة جرود القاع في تنظيم داعش الارهابي ابو خطاب مع عدد من مرافقيه في عملية نوعية ودقيقة نفذها مجاهدو المقاومة الاسلامية صباح اليوم.
واستهدف المقاومون بصاروخ موجه ومن مسافة قريبة مركزاً قيادياً في الزويتينه في جرود القاع راس بعلبك في البقاع الشمالي كان يتواجد فيه ابو خطاب ومرافقيه.
ياتي هذا الاستهداف في اطار العمليات النوعية التي تنفذها المقاومة ضد الارهابيين على الحدود ورؤوسهم المدبرة وقادتهم الميدانيين وفي اطار عملها المستمر وتضحياتها المتواصلة منذ عدة سنوات لحماية لبنان واهله ودرء الخطر التكفيري عنه وهو ما اثمر نتائج امنية هامة .
كما اتى هذا الاستهداف بعد ساعات قليلة من كلام الامين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصر الله الذي تعهد فيه بذل المقاومة كل جهد لحماية القاع وكل البقاع حيث قال “سنحمي هذه البلدات برومش عيوننا”.
وتوجه السيد نصر الله الى أهل القاع حيث أكد ان
“القاع بالنسبة لحزب الله وحركة امل هي كما الهرمل واهل القاع كما اهل الهرمل وكل القرى المحيطة بها، ونحن جيران وأهل ولن نسمح ان يمس احد اهل القاع بسوء ولن نسمح بحصول تهجير”،
“الجيش اللبناني والاجهزة الامنية هم اصحاب المسؤولية في هذا المجال ونحن خلفهم ولكن نحن سنحمي هذه البلدات وأهلها برموش عيوننا وبقلوبنا فهذه مبادئ ديننا وتعاليم الامام المغيب السيد موسى الصدر ووصية سيد شهداء المقاومة السيد عباس الموسوي”،
“المطلوب اليوم ان نبقى وان نثبت ونحن قادرون على إلحاق الهزائم بالتكفيريين ولكن المهم التعاون والتضامن والوحدة الوطنية وان تتحمل الدولة المسؤولية ونحن معها وحتى لو لم تتحمل المسؤولية فنحن جاهزون بتحمل المسؤولية بدون اي تردد او تمييز”.
المصدر: موقع المنار
- نصرالله: ملتزمون الدفاع عن القاع خلف الدولة أو أمامها
- جريمة القاع والإعلام الغوبلزي!
- Pentagon Says Two Senior ISIL Commanders Killed in Strike
- Bangladesh Commandos End Hostage Siege, Kill Gunmen
- Hezbollah Cancels Quds Day Ceremony, S. Nasrallah to Deliver Televised Speech
- Sayyed Nasrallah Receives Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister
- Lebanese Army Raids Syrian Refugee Camps in Baalbek, Arrests 103
- Lebanon on Alert: Wave of Suicide Attacks Rock Al-Qaa Anew
- Qahwaji: Army Resolute in Fighting Terrorism, Protecting Lebanon
Victory for Brexit In EU Referendum: Working Class Brits Stick Two Fingers Up At the Political and Financial Elites
The vote to exit the EU has shocked the financial and political elites and led to massive turmoil on global stock markets. The corporate media is full of shocked pundits lamenting the democratic decision of British people for Brexit. Brexit voters are being blamed for everything from the rise in racism against immigrant families to the increased dangers of terrorist attacks.
The corporate media both in Britain and internationally are furious with the British electorate for voting for Brexit. They never saw it coming and still don’t understand why ordinary people voted for Brexit. More than this, they still don’t understand how the Brexit vote reveals how completely out of touch the corporate media and the political/financial elites are with the millions of working class people who voted for Brexit.
Let’s be very clear about this: the vote for Brexit was a working class rebellion against the financial and political elites of Britain who have presided over a massive redistribution of wealth in favour of the super rich leaving a fifth of the population in poverty. Analysis of the referendum vote shows how the poorer an area was the higher the vote was for Brexit.
The working class stood up to massive pressure from the Bremain camp that included: all of the mainstream political parties, the Bank of England, CBI, IMF, ECB, Obama, the World Bank and the trade union bureaucrats.
The vote for Brexit shows how out of touch the establishment advocates of the EU are with working class people. Millions of working class people are struggling to get by with declining wages, incessant benefit cuts, zero hour contracts, mass unemployment, food banks and poor housing that are putting their families and communities under intense strain. On top of this, working class people suffer the most from the cuts to the welfare state and the incessant cuts to local council services.
Working class people are not stupid they can how the EU is a fundamentally undemocratic organisation that is completely unaccountable to them. The secret negotiations between the EU and the Obama administration over TTIP, which members of the European Parliament have no say over, proves conclusively how this is an organisation run for the benefit of the too big to fail banks and the multi-national corporations.
They can see how the undemocratic EU has bludgeoned the people of Greece into living in permanent austerity and mass poverty despite a referendum last year that decisively rejected austerity measures. Obama’s favourite economist Paul Krugman called the EU’s intervention into Greece last year a ‘coup d’etat’.
The advocates of Bremain such as Mark Carney (ex-Goldman Sachs), Prime Minister Cameron (from a tax avoiding banker family) George Osborne (son of a Baronet) warned working class people that Brexit would lower their living standards more than any other group in UK society.
However, millions of working class people were not taken in by the crocodile tears coming from those responsible for creating a massively unequal society. Quantitative easing and ZIRP have made the super rich fabulously richer as they have benefited from the massive bubbles on the stock market and in property. The top 10% of society own 45% of all wealth totalling over £5 trillion while the bottom 50% of society own a pathetic 9% of the wealth.
Prime Minister Cameron’s government has presided over a savage attack upon welfare benefits which have led to one and half million benefit sanctions leaving people totally destitute and leading to hundreds of people committing suicide. The attack on welfare benefits for disabled people have been so severe that it has prompted the UN to launch an investigation into the human rights violations of disabled people.
The political and financial elites who advocated that Britain should stay in the EU are puzzled as to why so many working class people stubbornly support Brexit. They are incapable of comprehending the anger, pain and suffering of millions of working class people who feel increasing contempt towards a political and financial elite that has no understanding of their daily lives. Over 13 million live in poverty (1 in 5 of the population) while 15 million live in inadequate housing conditions.
This inchoate anger at the daily reality that confronts them has few outlets in life. The EU referendum provided working class people with a means of sticking two fingers up at the political and financial establishment which now presides over a very divided country along lines of class and geography.
The Brexit vote has led to unprecedented turmoil in both of the main political parties in Britain.
A weak, divided Conservative government now faces a further period of infighting as it selects a replacement for David Cameron. The raw wounds within the Conservative Party will not be able to heal as Brexiteers such as Justice Secretary Michael Gove and former Defence Secretary Liam Fox go head to head with those who backed staying in the EU such as Home Secretary Theresa May and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb.
The financial and political elites have suffered a major defeat. The Conservative Party is one of the oldest and most successful political parties in history and has served the British ruling class well for over two hundred years. Now it faces an unprecedented crisis and is unable to effectively govern. It will face huge challenges as the world economy slides into another recession.
This situation presents the opposition Labour Party with a golden opportunity to deal a knock out blow to the Conservative government’s programme of endless austerity and huge public spending cuts. However, the right wing of the Labour Party known as the Blairites, after former Prime Minster Tony Blair, have seen fit to launch their long awaited coup against its socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The ‘Red Tories’ within the Parliamentary Labour Party have let the Conservative government off the hook and are going to launch a leadership challenge to Corbyn. They have remorselessly attacked Corbyn in the corporate media and effectively acted as agents of the ruling class in the Labour movement.
This has provoked a furious backlash from thousands of trade unionists and socialists all over Britain who see Corbyn as offering an opportunity to defeat the austerity agenda of the Conservatives that has inflicted hardship and suffering upon millions of people. If Corbyn can harness the huge mood of discontent revealed by the Brexit vote he has the opportunity to not only defeat the right wing of the Labour Party, but to go on to defeat the Conservatives in the next general election. An election that may be months away.
US weapons--YET AGAIN--land in the hands of ISIS terrorists: How Obama administration policies in Syria are strengthening ISIS
"Video posted by the news agency showed jubilant Islamic State fighters parading in trucks sporting the New Syrian Army’s insignia and fawning over heavy weapons and ammunition belts apparently captured in the fighting. One militant is shown mutilating the corpse of a rebel fighter and cutting off the head. The New Syrian Army withdrew from the area, marking the latest setback for U.S. plans to train and equip Syrian rebels capable of battling Islamic State militants...“They did nothing,” he said. “They went to the border and came back. This was more a media show than anything else.”"
by Jonathan Azaziah
Massive, defiant protests all around the world today for International Al-Quds Day, from the besieged Gaza Strip to the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq to the Islamic Republic of Iran, occupied Kashmir to Sheikh Zakzaky’s Nigeria and beyond, but nobody, and I mean NOBODY, rocked it like Yemen. Bombarded by Dönmeh Al-Saud’s warplanes, starved by the US-UK-Zionist-Saudi siege, attacked from all sides by ISIS, AQAP and fugitive troll-stooge Hadi’s goons, but the Yemeni people marched for Palestine like all this chaos and terror wasn’t even there, because as I rhymed on the seventh track of my record “Felicity Of The Oppressed” earlier this year, “Falasteen is Yemen’s Heart”!!! And the demos in Sanaa were especially gorgeous as the moujahideen of Ansarullah and their committed supporters also happily waved Hizbullah’s flags and giant portraits of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, for in the eyes of the Yemeni Islamic Resistance–and truly, all free, resistant people–there is nothing on this Earth that upholds the Palestinian cause, exemplifies the spirit of our Mouqawamist-Liberationist struggle and signals the inevitable death of ‘Israel’ like Hizbullah. Nothing at all. Yemenis view Sayyed Abou Hadi as their leader in the same light that they view Sayyed Abdul Malik al-Houthi, because each hero is cut from the same Resistance cloth of Anti-Zionism, Anti-Imperialism, Khomeiniism, Love of Martyrdom and a commitment to Palestine’s total liberation that is embedded in their angelic souls. If the toothlessness of the mainstream discourse on Palestine has you depressed, wary and just fed up, let the beauty and the steadfastness of the heroic Yemeni people pick up your spirits and take your breath away. I know that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
#LongLiveYemen #LongLiveAnsarullah #LongLiveHizbullah #LabaykahYaNasrallah #QudsDay2016 #Ta7yaFalasteen
By Pepe Escobar
Global Research, July 02, 2016
Strategic Culture Foundation 30 June 2016
Whenever President Vladimir Putin stresses Russia’s “all-embracing and strategic partnership” with China, one can hear the proverbial howls of anger emanating from the neocon/neoliberalcon axis in the Beltway.
As he met Chinese president Xi Jinping in Beijng this past Saturday, Putin even allowed himself an understatement;
“To say we have a strategic cooperation is not enough anymore. This is why we have started talking about a comprehensive partnership and strategic collaboration. Comprehensive means that we work virtually on all major avenues; strategic means that we attach enormous inter-government importance to this work.”
Why understatement? Because this really ventures way beyond a stream of business deals.
Deals, of course, matter; in Beijing, China and Russia advanced 58 projects worth $50 billion. These include a $6.2 billion loan from Beijing to build the 770 km-long high-speed railway between Moscow and Kazan and $12 billion in loans to build an LNG plant in the Russian Arctic.
Russian Railways, Russian investment company Sinara Group, China Railway, and Chinese CRRC will also invest in a plant in Russia to build 100 high-speed trains, designed for the Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway. The railway inevitably will be connected to the future, $100 billion, high-speed expansion of the Trans-Siberian between Moscow and Beijing.
It goes without saying, this is all part of an essential node of the New Silk Roads. And as if this was not enough, in a further, graphic instance of geoeconomic interpolation, Russia and China’s central banks are setting up a yuan clearing mechanism in Russia.
The inter-connectivity bonanza
Putin and Xi met for the 15th time just after Xi concluded a three-nation Eurasia tour – Serbia, Poland and Uzbekistan – where, alongside Foreign Minister Wang Yi, he explicitly laid down the bridge between the New Silk Roads, or One Belt, One Road (OBOR), as they are officially referred to in China, and the development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
Not by accident China has now also struck a “comprehensive strategic partnership” with Serbia, Poland and Uzbekistan – on the way to weaving a broad “China-Europe strategic partnership” in parallel to the development of the SCO.
This already translates into projects such as the Hungary-Serbia railway; the Pupin Bridge on the Danube River in Belgrade; the expansion and upgrading of a power plant in Kostolac; what Beijing calls the China-Europe freight train service (from eastern China to Duisburg in Germany and also Madrid); the Kamchiq Tunnel in Uzbekistan; and last but not least the massive China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline system.
No wonder Xi keeps stressing the “inter-connectivity” theme over and over gain, as economic corridors are being built at breakneck speed, and the China Railway Express all the way to Europe – although not yet on high-speed rail – is already a go.
So there was plenty to talk about at the 16th SCO Council in Tashkent. Plus, the acceleration of full membership to both India and Pakistan; next year will be Iran’s turn.
What this translates to in practice is the amalgamation of the New Silk Roads/OBOR; the Eurasia Economic Union, EEU (as Putin stressed in the St. Petersburg forum); the SCO; financing mechanisms such as the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); and the overarching Russia-China strategic partnership.
No wonder a certain Sultan Erdogan was watching all this in Ankara with trepidation, and decided to make a move. Erdogan’s attempt at a rapprochement with Russia involves not being hopelessly sidelined in this OBOR/EEU/SCO amalgamation. Turkey cannot afford to be alienated from Russia; the Turkish Stream gas pipeline will be essential to consolidate Ankara’s position as a key energy crossroads towards Europe. At the same time, Ankara must imperatively position itself as a key hub in OBOR.
With India and Pakistan, and later Iran, as full members, the SCO will be able, in the medium term, not only to interface with OBOR on all sides (via the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, CPEC, and also the Indian investment in the Iranian port of Chabahar); but also to be the key player in brokering a solution to the Afghan drama, something that the Americans and NATO would never be able to accomplish. Russia and China have always insisted that Afghanistan needs an Asian solution.
Lean, clean and green
Almost simultaneously to the Putin-Xi meeting in Beijing, and also not by accident, the AIIB turbo-charged its operations.
The AIIB started doing business only six months ago, with 57 founding member countries and $100 billion in committed capital.
It’s scheduled to invest $1.2 billion in 2016. Once again with trademark understatement, Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said, ”the AIIB needs to establish its comparative advantage”, profiting from “lessons of developing countries’ years of development.”
The board approved its first four deals, worth $509 million, with three projects co-financed with the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the United Kingdom Department for International Development and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. They refer to a slum renovation in Indonesia and highways in Pakistan and Tajikistan. A power grid upgrade in Bangladesh will be solely AIIB financed.
And this is just the beginning. The head of AIIB may be Chinese, Jin Linqun (he has promised a “lean, clean and green” AIIB), but one of the five vice presidents is British, Daniel Alexander. Beijing holds 30% of the initial capital but has only 26% of voting power. India holds 7.5% and Russia 5.9%, followed by Germany and South Korea. This is a real multipolar project.
Almost simultaneously to the AIIB in action, Russia and China’s foreign ministers signed a declaration supporting the role of international law, stressing sovereign equality of states; non-interference into internal affairs; and peaceful resolution of disputes. Considering the recent historical record, not exactly The Empire of Chaos’s cup of tea.
Commenting on Brexit, Boris Titov, the Kremlin’s small business ombudsman, ventured, ”it’s not long until a united Eurasia – about 10 years.” Considering the slowly but surely interpenetration of OBOR, EEU, SCO, AIIB, the NDB and the solid Russia-China partnership inside the G20, that’s more than feasible.
In Beijing, Putin and Xi did discuss their common position in the upcoming G20, only three months away in China; that’s where the real action is, not the G7. Compare it also with NATO’s upcoming warmongering summit in Warsaw; that’s what the West has to “offer” the global South.
In a nutshell; the option to a united Eurasia is chaos. And there’s no question the Empire of Chaos will stop trying to sow chaos. Expect Beijing ordering 1,000 heavy transport aircraft from Russia and Russian ships possibly spotted sooner or later in the South China Sea to add to those perennial howls of anger in the neocon/neoliberalcon galaxy.
Posted on June 30, 2016
A campaign has been underway of late to urge Carlos Santana to cancel a gig in Israel which he has scheduled for July 30.
People have been posting on Twitter, and activists have also visited offices in San Rafael, California which house the headquarters of the Milagro Foundation, a charitable foundation set up by Santana in 1998 with the lofty goal of providing help for marginalized children.
The activists were attempting to deliver a petition containing 25,000 signatures urging the musician not to perform in Israel. Some of the activists brought their children. That’s the kids you see in the photo above– looking through the Milagro Foundation’s front windows.
Not only were the activists refused entry, but the Milagro staff reportedly closed the blinds on the doors. A video of the petition delivery attempt has been posted on the Facebook page of Jewish Voice for Peace, and the Electronic Intifada has published a report on it as well. The headline above the EI piece asks the question, “Why is Carlos Santana refusing to honor Israel boycott call?”. The article offers no answer. But it doesmention–and quite curiously–that an earliercall to cancel a performance in Israel washonored by the artist. Here is what the EI reports on that:
“The legendary guitarist canceled a performance in Tel Aviv in 2010, heeding the call from boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists around the world.”
That’s strange. So was Carlos Santana opposed to apartheid in 2010? And did he undergo a change of heart at some point in the six years that have elapsed since? And now, consequently, he simply doesn’t think there’s so much wrong with apartheid anymore, at least not enough to get one’s feathers ruffled? Is that the explanation?
That’s not an easy question to answer, but it does appear very much as if the Electronic Intifada has at least one thing right–and that Santana indeed is “refusing to honor” the Israel boycott call. If you go to the Milagro Foundation website you can read the following:
Carlos Santana is a citizen of the World and he plays his music and spreads his message of Love, Light & Peace wherever he goes. Carlos believes the World should have no borders so he is not detoured or discouraged to play anywhere on this planet. He and the band are looking forward to performing in Israel this summer.
So it’s all about spreading a message of love, light, and peace, at least if we are to believe the statement on the Milagro website. But of course due to the system of apartheid, including its checkpoints, Jews-only roads, and the like, not many Palestinians are likely to be able even to attend the concert or to hear this love-peace-and-light message. This is something which is made clear in the video below:
Perhaps rather than spreading messages of love, light and peace, is it possible Santana’s real reason for going to Israel this summer is his fear of Jewish outrage? There’s quite a lot of this type of outrage spreading around these days. In the following video you can see members of the Israeli Knesset going practically berserk over a comment made by Palestinian MK Haneen Zoabi.
During a Knesset discussion on the recent agreement with Turkey–under which Israel will, finally, compensate families of the Mavi Marmara victims–Zoabi referred to the Israeli soldiers who boarded the humanitarian vessel back in 2010 as murderers. Zoabi likely would have been in a position to know: she was on board the Mavi Marmara at the time.
Here is how Jonathan Cook reports the Knesset fracas which ensued:
A dozen or more Jewish MPs rush to the podium and start circling Zoabi like a pack of baying hyenas. By this stage, when Zoabi is being physically threatened by a number of MPs in the parliament chamber, you might think it would be time for some of them to be forcefully ejected, if only to indicate that this subversion of the democratic process will not be tolerated. But not a bit of it. They are treated with kid gloves.The Knesset guards simply try to block the violent Jewish MPs from reaching the single Palestinian MP in their sights, presumably fearful that were she to be physically assaulted that might make headline news and make Israel look bad.Paradoxically, the only MP you can see on the film being pushed out of the Knesset chamber is Zoabi’s party leader, Jamal Zahalka, who from the look of things is interceding because he’s worried she is in danger. Hazan was finally removed, though after more than eight minutes of heckling, threats and belligerence.Another paradox: Zoabi and her fellow party MPs have only recently been allowed to speak in the Knesset again, after the ethics committee (dominated by Jewish MPs) suspended them for several months because of their “unacceptable” political views.
Jewish outrage has also once again enveloped British Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn. The Labour Party, of course, has been obliged to launch an official inquiry into “anti-Semitism” within its ranks, and on Thursday, just as the findings of that inquiry were being announced, a Jewish Labour MP, Ruth Smeeth, got up and angrily stalked out. The walkout was prompted by a remark voiced by a Corbyn supporter, who apparently implied that Jews control the media.
“Anti-Semitism at the launch of an anti-Semitism report,” remarks the man at 28 seconds in. Following that you see Smeeth get up and walk out.
“This morning, at the launch of the Chakrabarti Inquiry into antisemitism, I was verbally attacked by a Momentum activist and Jeremy Corbyn supporter who used traditional antisemitic slurs to attack me for being part of a ‘media conspiracy,’” Smeeth said later.
The incident is reported in an article by the Times of Israel which describes Smeeth as having “stormed out” of the event, although the writer, Sara Miller, seems to feel the MP’s anger was quite justified.
“The accusation that Jews control the media is a long-standing anti-Semitic trope,” she informs her readers.
Hmm…where have I heard that before? Michael Eisner of Disney, Leslie Moonves of CBS, Arthur Sulzberger of the New York Times, Jeff Bezos of the Washington Post, Bruce Karsh of Tribune Media (L.A. Times, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel, etc.) Jeff Zucker of CNN, Michael Lynton of Sony Pictures–perhaps it is only a “trope” to suggest that all of these people are Jewish.
But let’s be fair and “untropish”–Rupert Murdoch apparently is a Gentile.
“It is beyond belief that someone could come to the launch of a report on antisemitism in the Labour Party and espouse such vile conspiracy theories about Jewish people, which were ironically highlighted as such in Ms Chakrabarti’s report, while the leader of my own party stood by and did absolutely nothing,” Smeeth continued to fume.
“Until today I had made no public comment about Jeremy’s ability to lead our party, but the fact that he failed to intervene is final proof for me that he is unfit to lead, and that a Labour Party under his stewardship cannot be a safe space for British Jews,” she added.
The outrage of Jews in the UK has already resulted in the suspensions of former London Mayor Ken Livingstone and MP Naz Shah, and now it looks like another campaign is building for Corbyn’s ouster. As Miller reports in her Times of Israel piece, there is a “growing list of Labour parliamentarians who have urged Corbyn to step down in recent days.”
If this is the sort of Jewish outrage Santana is concerned about igniting, one can well understand his reluctance to cancel his date in Tel Aviv.
“The only response to BDS is that it is anti-Semitic. I know this because I’ve been accused of being a Nazi and an anti-Semite for the past 10 years,” Roger Waters told The Independent in an interview earlier this year. When asked why more artists don’t participate in the BDS movement, Waters’ answer was: “They’re scared shitless.”
It was Santana’s performance at Woodstock that launched him to fame and fortune. That was in 1969. I was 16 years old at the time. Most of us who didn’t make it to Woodstock got our first chance to see Santana when the movie came out a year or so later.
None of us back then could have imagined that the young man playing such impressive guitar licks on that stage would eventually one day cross an international picket line to do a show in an apartheid state. But then Jewish power has grown exponentially since those idyllic times–it has grown considerably even since the year 2010, when Santana previously refused to play in Israel. And it’s not clear where it’s going to stop.
Today we are seeing states taking steps to criminalize the BDS movement, and as I reported in a post a couple of days ago, even the Democratic Party is considering incorporating official opposition to BDS in its party platform this year.
So in answer to the Electronic Intifada’s question–“Why is Carlos Santana refusing to honor Israel boycott call?”–one might offer the opinion that perchance it has something to do with a certain wish to avoid being surrounded by a “pack of baying hyenas” as Cook so quaintly puts it.
Or it is simply a matter of Carlos wishing to spread his messages of “love, light, and peace”?
You can take your pick.River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian