Saturday, 24 October 2020

AZERBAIJANI FORCES RUSH TO CAPTURE LACHIN CORORIDOR FROM RETREATING ARMENIANS

 South Front

The Armenian defense in the southern part of the Nagorno-Karabakh region seems to be collapsing as the advancing Azerbaijani forces are about to reach the strategic Lachin corridor.

On October 23, Azerbaijani troops were filmed near the village of Muradxanlı, which is located in about 15 km from this strategic area. Even if this Azerbaijani unit was just a field recognizance patrol and the main forces of the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc still have to overcome Armenian resistance to reach the area, the fact of the Azerbaijani presence there marks the hard situation on the frontline for the Armenians.

The Lachin corridor is a mountain pass within the de jure borders of Azerbaijan, forming the shortest route between Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Republic of Artsakh). The cutting off of Lachin will destroy the remaining hopes of the Armenian side to achieve a military victory in the ongoing war. Meanwhile, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev announced that his forces took full control of the Azerbaijani-Iranian border after capturing the village of Aghband. The Azerbaijani leader also declared that the Armenians lost 21 more settlements in the districts of Zangilan, Fuzuli and Jabrayil.

The Armenian military denies the collapse of its defense lines in the south and claims that Azerbaijani units appearing on video are just sabotage parties. According to the Armenian side, various Azerbaijan troops tried to advance in the western, northern and northwestern directions, but all of these offensive attempts were repelled. The Azerbaijani military allegedly suffered heavy losses.

The Armenian side insists that the towns of Hadrut and Fuzuli are in fact not in the hands of Azerbaijan. It insists that various units of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan penetrate into different settlements in the front-line zone trying to create panic and make selfies there. These groups, according to Armenian media, are very small and often run away from Armenian troops. The optimism of Armenian officials is at least surprising.

According to reports, Armenian troops left the town of Aghband with almost no resistance to the Azerbaijani Armed Forces supported by Turkish specialists and Syrian militants. This move was likely a result of the need to save personnel and keep at least some reserves needed on other parts of the frontline. The defending of the almost surrounded town makes no sense. Nonetheless, videos and photos appearing online indicate that Armenian sabotage groups are also active in the rear of the advancing Azerbaijani forces. In that area, if they have enough supplies and weapons, they would be able to deliver painful blows to the logistical convoys of the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc. It is likely that his activity is a formal pretext behind the statements of the Armenian Ministry of Defense that Azerbaijan has not gained full control of the border with Iran.

Forces of Azerbaijan continue to take control of settlements and villages in the south of Karabakh. Most of them are empty as the locals (ethnic Armenians) know well what fate they could face. It seems that the south of Karabakh is already lost for Armenia.

The Azerbaijani advance along the border with Iran through the relatively flat ground (if one compares it with the rest of Karabakh) appears to be a success. Now the Azerbaijani military and its allies are working to fully secure the border with Iran and set conditions for an operation to capture the Lachin corridor. The ability or inability of Azerbaijan to capture Lachin could become another turning point in the war.

Under the current conditions, it seems that a relatively positive outcome of the conflict for Karabakh forces would be possible in the event of the involvement some third power that would provide them with direct military assistance. Nonetheless, this scenario remains unlikely as long as even Armenia, which for years has been using Karabakh as its own protectorate, is not hurrying up to do so. Some Armenian sources even claim that the Pashinyan government oriented towards the West and NATO has just opted to sell the contested region to Azerbaijan under some formal pretext to remove the unresolved territorial disputes factor and open a way towards the further ‘democratic’ transformation of Armenia that it desires so much.

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صخرة رأس الناقورة المبتدأ…‏‎ ‎فما الخبرُ في التفاوض‎ ‎حول الحدود البحريّة؟

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

من الطبيعي أن تبدأ مفاوضات ترسيم الحدود البحرية بين لبنان وفلسطين التي يحتلها العدو الإسرائيلي. من الطبيعي أن تبدأ بالتأكيد على النقطة الأساس على صخرة رأس الناقورة التي تشكل نقطة التقاء الحدود البرية والحدود البحرية الجنوبية للبنان. لأنها نقطة الحدود البرية التي تصل اليها مياه البحر. نقول هذا لأنه وفقاً للقواعد المعتمدة في قانون البحار للعام 1982 تعتمد كنقطة أساس لرسم الحدود البحرية اول نقطة حدودية برية تصل اليها مياه البحر، ومن نقطة الأساس هذه ينطلق خط الوسط او الخط المنصف LIGNE MEDIANE الذي يفصل بين المياه الإقليمية والمنطقتين الاقتصاديتين الخالصتين لكيانين سياسيين متجاورين.

وفي الحال اللبنانية ووفقاً لاتفاقية بوليه – نيوكومب لعام 1923 والمُصادق عليها من قبل عصبة الأمم والتي ترسم بشكل نهائي الحدود الدولية المعترف بها بين لبنان وفلسطين، فإنّ نقطة الأساس هذه هي صخرة رأس الناقورة الظاهرة بشكل نتوء صخري نافر يدخل في البحر مميّزاً عن كلّ ما عداه ونصت عليها الاتفاقية الفرنسية – البريطانية بنص صريح حرفتيه “تنطلق الحدود من البحر الأبيض المتوسط من النقطة المسمّاة رأس الناقورة وتتبع خط القنن من هذا النتوء / الحافز الى المعلم / العلامة رقم 1 “

“la frontier part de la mer mediterranee de point appele RAS-EL-NAKURA et suit la ligne de crete de cet eperon jusqu,au signal 1…..”

وكان من الطبيعي أن لا يخضع تحديد نقطة الأساس هذه لأيّ نقاش او جدل طالما ان اتفاقية بوليه – نيوكومب هي في الأصل بمنأى عن أيّ جدل ونقاش وهي ثابتة ونهائية قبل اغتصاب فلسطين وقبل قيام الكيان الصهيوني المحتلّ، كما ان اتفاقية الهدنة للعام 1949 بين لبنان والعدو الإسرائيلي أكدت على هذه الاتفاقية ثم جاء القرار 425 الصادر عن مجلس الأمن للعام 1978 يؤكد على الحدود الدولية للبنان تلك كما وعلى اتفاقية الهدنة التي تستند عليها لرسم خط الهدنة تطابقاً معها. (للأسف ان تفاهم الإطار لم يذكر كلّ ذلك ولكن حسناً فعل رئيس الجمهورية بتوجيهاته لرئيس الوفد الذي ذكرها في كلمته الافتتاحية).

بيد انّ المنطق والحق والقانون لا يكون سهل التناول والتطبيق عندما يكون الطرف المعني بتطبيقه عدواً كالعدو الإسرائيلي القائم أساساً خلافاً للحق والمشروعية، لهذا يكون من المفيد ان يستند المرء في مواجهة العدو الإسرائيلي الى القوة المادية الميدانية أيضاً التي تحصّن الحق المنبثق من قانون او منطق. وهكذا فإنّ لبنان عندما احتلت ارضه من قبل “إسرائيل” في العام 1982 نظم مقاومة شعبية تمكنت بعد 18 سنة من الكفاح والقتال من طرد “إسرائيل” من معظم الأرض اللبنانية في العام 2000.

وقد قيّض لي أن أكون رئيساً للجنة عسكرية لبنانية أنيطت بها مهمة التحقق من خلو أرض لبنان من جند العدو، وطردهم منها خارج الحدود الدولية المعترف بها كما ينص القرار 425 الذي زعمت “إسرائيل” أنها تنسحب تنفيذاً له وطلبت من الأمم المتحدة ان تواكب هذا الانسحاب لتتأكد من اكتماله.

وبعد طويل تحضير ونقاش وجدل حول الخرائط والخطوط توصلنا مع الأمم المتحدة الممثلة بقوات اليونيفيل الى معايير وقواعد للتحقق من هذا الانسحاب. وذهبنا للبدء من التحقق الى النقطة المبتدأ أيّ رأس الناقورة. كان ذلك يوم الأربعاء الواقع فيه 8/6/2000 وبوصولنا تحققت على الأرض مباشرة من 3 أمور أساسية وفقاً لاتفاقية بوليه نيوكمب والسلوك المعادي: الأول ان صخرة الناقورة المقتحمة للمياه لا زالت موجودة ولكن يصعب الوقوف عليها لأنها أسفل جرف صخري، ثانيها انّ النقطة B1 التي تشكل أول علامة ذات إحداثيات نملكها لنقاطنا الحدودية ازيلت من مكانها ونقلت مسافة 20 م باتجاه الشمال داخل لبنان، ثالثها انّ النقطة Bp1 وهي العلامة الحدودية الرئيسية الاولى التي ذكرها نص توصيف الحدود المُشار اليه أعلاه هي داخل حقل ألغام يصعب الوصول اليها.

سجلت يومها ملاحظاتي تلك وطلبت من رئيس الوفد الأممي الجنرال سيرينن معالجتها ليصوّب الوضع عبر وفده الأممي العامل على الجانب الآخر (رفضنا نحن قيام لجنة ثلاثية مشتركة تجمعنا مع الأمم المتحدة و”إسرائيل” وفرضنا قيام لجنة لبنانية – أممية ولجنة أممية – “إسرائيلية” وتكون الأمم المتحدة هي مَن يتولى الاتصال).

وعليه نكون قد عاينا 3 نقاط حدودية رئيسية هي نقطة صخرة راس الناقورة التي لم يعبث بها، ونقطةB1 التي عبثت بها “إسرائيل” وحركتها 20 م شمالاً، ونقطة Bp1 التي لم نتمكن من الوقوف عليها مباشرة بسبب حقل الألغام.

سجلت ملاحظاتنا وتلقينا وعداً من الجنرال سرينن بالمعالجة، التي تمّت بالفعل بعد طويل مماطلة إسرائيلية زادت مدّتها عن الأسبوع تقريباً تمكنّا خلالها من إعادة النقطةB1 إلى مكانها الصحيح حسب الإحداثيات التي لدينا، كما تحققنا من النقطة Bp1 في مكانها الصحيح من خلال عملية التحقق في جولتها الثانية، وتأكدنا في نهاية المطاف انّ الخط المتشكل من النقاط الثلاث تلك مطابق لخط القنن كما تنص عليه اتفاقية بوليه – نيوكومب. وعندما أنهينا مهمة التحقق الشاملة بعد 3 أشهر من بدئها كان الوضع الحدوديّ في الناقورة سليماً ميدانياً وصحيحاً على الخرائط التي كانت الأمم المتحدة تحاول وبدفع من “إسرائيل” أن تعبث بها لتقتطع 13 منطقة من لبنان ومنها رأس الناقورة لتعطيه لـ “إسرائيل”، لكنها تراجعت بعد أن اصطدمت محاولتها بصلابة الموقف اللبناني في العام 2000.

بيد أنّ هذا الواقع انقلب بعد ذلك حيث اكتشفتُ التغيير في العام 2009 عندما قمتُ مع العماد إميل لحود في 14/5/2009 بزيارة تفقدية استطلاعية للحدود (زيارة خاصة وشخصية بعد ان كنت قد استقلت من الجيش وكان الرئيس لحود قد أنهى ولايته في رئاسة الجمهورية) حيث تبيّن لي انّ “إسرائيل” عبثت بالحدود في الناقورة كما في مناطق أخرى من المناطق الـ 13 التي كانت تطمع بها في العام 2000، وأنها خلال عدوانها على لبنان في العام 2006، عادت ودخلت إلى المنطقة وعبثت بمعالمها الحدودية، وأجرت تحويراً للحدود طال الصخرة وادّعت انّ نتوءاً يبعد عن صخرة الأصل مسافة 10 أمتار شمالاً هو نقطة بدء الحدود البرية، كما انها نقلت المعلم B1 حوالي 25 م شمالاً اما النقطة Bp1 فبدا لي ظاهراً انها لا زالت يومها في موقعها لم تمسّ. (اسمت المناطق المعتدى عليها بأنها مناطق متنازع عليه ومتحفظ عليها وهو وصف تزويري لانّ التحفظ واقع على 3 مناطق فقط هي رميش والعديسة والمطلة فضلاً عن مزارع شبعا).

والآن ومع ظهور النفط والإلحاح على ترسيم الحدود البحرية وتكليف وفد عسكري – تقني لبناني للتفاوض حولها تكاد تبدو مهمة الوفد اللبناني سهلة وشاقة في الآن ذاته. وهي مهمة يجب ان تبدأ حتماً وبدون نقاش من رأس الناقورة بإعادة الحال فيه الى ما كان عليه في حزيران /يونيو من العام 2000 مستنداً في ذلك الى اتفاقية بوليه – نيوكومب ونقاطها الـ 38 المشار اليها برمز Bp مضافاً إليها النقاط الـ 96 الوسيطة المشار اليها برمز B ومعها معيار حاسم في منطقة الناقورة لا يتبدّل ولا يتحور وهو خط القنن، فالحدود تتبعه تطابقاً وتستطيع صور الأقمار الاصطناعية ان تحدّد الخط بدقة متناهية ولا يبقى هنا كـ مجال لغلط او احتيال. ولهذه الأسباب كانت ملاحظاتنا على تفاهم الإطار الممهّد للمفاوضات واصرارنا على أنّ مرجعية التفاوض يجب ان تكون اتفاقية بوليه نيوكومب واتفاقية الهدنة والقرار 425 وليس تفاهم نيسان 1996 الذي نخشى أن يطرح له تأويل هنا لا يكون في مصلحة لبنان.

ان اختبار نيات العدو وجدية الوسيط الأميركي في مفاوضات الناقورة لترسيم الحدود البحرية يبدأ وينتهي في الناقورة اختبار لن يتعدّى ميدانه الأمتار الـ 25 هي المسافة بين المكان الخطأ والمكان الصواب للنقطة B1 معطوفاً على الأمتار العشرة للصخرة القائمة على رأس الناقورة والفاصلة بين المكان الحقيقي والمكان المزعوم لها؛ فإن نجح المختبرون فتحت الطريق امام الترسيم الآمن وإن فشلوا فلا يكون فائدة من متابعة التفاوض التقني غير المباشر لرسم الحدود البحرية…

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River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

FDA Approves First COVID-19 Drug

FDA Approves First COVID-19 Drug

By Staff, Agencies

US regulators on Thursday approved the first drug to treat COVID-19: remdesivir, an antiviral medicine given to hospitalized patients through an IV.

The drug, which California-based Gilead Sciences Inc. is calling Veklury, cut the time to recovery by five days — from 15 days to 10 on average — in a large study led by the US National Institutes of Health.

It had been authorized for use on an emergency basis since spring, and now becomes the first drug to win full Food and Drug Administration approval for treating COVID-19. US President Donald Trump received it when he was sickened earlier this month.

Veklury is approved for people at least 12 years old and weighing at least 40 kilograms who are hospitalized for a coronavirus infection. For patients younger than 12, the FDA will still allow the drug’s use in certain cases under its previous emergency authorization.

The drug works by inhibiting a substance the virus uses to make copies of itself. Certain kidney and liver tests are required before starting patients on it to ensure it’s safe for them and to monitor for any possible side effects. And the label warns against using it with the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, because that can curb its effectiveness.

“We now have enough knowledge and a growing set of tools to help fight COVID-19,” Gilead’s chief medical officer, Dr. Merdad Parsey, said in a statement.

The drug is either approved or has temporary authorization in about 50 countries, he noted.

Its price has been controversial, given that no studies have found it improves survival. Last week, a large study led by the World Health Organization found the drug did not help hospitalized COVID-19 patients, but that study did not include a placebo group and was less rigorous than previous ones that found a benefit. The FDA’s approval statement noted that, besides the NIH-led one, two other studies found the drug beneficial.

Gilead charges $2,340 for a typical treatment course for people covered by government health programs in the United States and other developed countries, and $3,120 for patients with private insurance. The amount that patients pay out of pocket depends on insurance, income and other factors.

So far, only steroids such as dexamethasone have been shown to cut the risk of dying of COVID-19. The FDA also has given emergency authorization to using the blood of survivors, and two companies are currently seeking similar authorization for experimental antibody drugs.


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Armenian Forces Use Their Last Chance To Turn Tide Of War With Azerbaijan

South Front

The Azerbaijani Armed Forces have been developing their advance on Armenian positions in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region. On October 19, they captured 13 more villages in the Jabrayil district. The capturing of Soltanli, Amirvarli, Mashanli, Hasanli, Alikeykhanli, Gumlag, Hajili, Goyarchinveysalli, Niyazgullar, Kechal Mammadli, Shahvalli, Haji Ismayilli and Isagli was personally announced by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Early on October 20, Azerbaijani forces also reached the town of Tumas and engaged Armenian units deployed there. Pro-Azerbaijani sources insist that the town already fell into the hands of Baku.

The country’s defense ministry claims that in the recent clashes Azerbaijani forces destroyed a number of enemy troops, at least 2 T-72 tanks, 2 BM-21 “Grad” MLRS, 1 D-30, 1 D-20 gun-howitzers, and 11 auto vehicles.

On October 19, pro-Armenian sources for the first time provided video evidence that they had shot down at least one of the Bayraktar TB2 combat drones operated by the Azerbaijani military and Turkish specialists.  Meanwhile, the Armenian Defense Ministry claimed that 5 unmanned aerial vehicles were shot down during the evening of that day only.

According to the Armenian side, the total number of Azerbaijani casualties in the war reached 6,259. 195 UAVs, 16 helicopters, 22 military planes, 566 armoured vehicles and 4 multiple rocket launchers of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan were allegedly destroyed. Yerevan claims that the Armenian forces have repelled two powerful attacks in the northern part of Karabakh, while intense fighting has been ongoing in the south. Nonetheless, Armenian military officials avoid confirming the recent Azerbaijani advances and insist that the recent developments are just a part of modern maneuver warfare. By these claims, the political leadership of Armenia tries to hide that the Azerbaijani advance along the Iranian border faced little resistance.

The Azerbaijani progress was mostly complicated by a limited number of mobile Armenian units, which were avoiding a direct confrontation and focusing on ambushes and mine warfare. According to reports, the Armenian side is now reinforcing its positions in the area of the Akari River seeking to prevent the further Azerbaijani advance towards the Armenian state border and the Lachin corridor.

On the other hand, the goal of the Azerbaijani-Turkish bloc is to overcome this resistance and to develop the current momentum to reach the Lachin mountain pass thus threatening to cut off the shortest route between Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh. In the event of success, this would predetermine the Azerbaijani victory in the war. Military hostilities are ongoing amid another round of international diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the situation and return the sides to the negotiating table.President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan declared that they are ready to meet in Moscow. The Azerbaijani leader even said that his country is ready to halt the operation if Armenia demonstrates a constructive approach. Nonetheless, the ‘constructive approach of Armenia’ in the view of Azerbaijan is the full and public surrender of Karabakh. Such an agreement will mark the collapse of the current political leadership of Armenia and is unlikely to be accepted.Therefore, the war will likely continue until the military victory of one of the sides and that side would likely be Azerbaijan.

Baku has already achieved an impressive breakthrough on the frontline if one compares the current situation with local military escalations in the previous years. As to Armenia, it will not likely be able to turn the tide of the conflict if it continues limiting its response to indirect support of forces of the Republic of Artsakh instead of a direct military action to repel the Azerbaijani-Turkish bloc. Clashes of the previous weeks already demonstrated that Baku has an upper hand in the current format of the military standoff in Karabakh. Therefore, if Yerevan really wants to change something, it should change the rules of the game even if this would create additional risks for Armenia itself.

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Israel Bombs an Elementary School in Quneitra Southwest of Syria

 October 21, 2020 Arabi Souri

Israel bombed a school in Quneitra southwest of Syria

Israel bombed an elementary school with a missile shortly after midnight in the village of Hurriyah in the northern countryside of Quneitra Province, southwest of Syria.

The school has six classes for elementary learning and all the school’s windows and doors were broken in this bombing, the Syrian Ministry of Edcuation dispatched its maintenance teams to estimate the damage and removing the rubble and the repairs started immediately.

At 12:05 after midnight the Israeli IDF launched a missile at the school which caused material damage with no given reason and in breach of Syrian sovereignty, the international law, the UN charter, and the 1974 truce and under the watching eyes of the useless United Nations UNDOF observers.

Embattled Israeli PM Netanyahu needs an escape from the pressing protests against him by the foreign imported settlers and land thieves in occupied Palestine, just how corrupt he is that land thieves protest against his corruption!

Israel bombed an elementary school in Quneitra sothwest of Syria

Israel also needs the US cannon fodders to be involved in any war it might starts because it can surely start it but wouldn’t be able to handle it, especially not after the the year 2000 when the Lebanese Hezb Allah forced it out of southern Lebanon and later in 2006 when the same party brought it to the point of begging for a ceasefire from the USA and Qatar. Trump needs to withdraw his forces from West Asia before end of year standing, otherwise they’ll return laying in coffins as Iran and the Iraqi PMU vowed to force them out after Trump killed the Iranian General Qasim Soleimani and the Iraqi PMU Top Commander Abu Mahdi Muhandis.

The latest cross-border bombing of a school from the Syrian occupied Golan might be testing fire or just a message that Israel still has an army that can come out of their bunkers they’re hiding in since August when they killed a soldier of Hezb Allah near Damascus, and the Party’s chief vowed to kill an Israeli IDF soldier in response.

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River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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RCF: Ramzy and Zarefah Baroud on Gaza’s History of Resistance (WATCH)

 October 22, 2020

Ramzy and Zarefah Baroud discuss Gaza’s history of resistance. (Photo: video grab)

By Rachel Corrie Foundation

The Gaza Strip has been made into an Israeli combat zone with the decided aim of crushing Palestinian resistance. Israeli weapons, most of which are courtesy of Washington, have for, at least, 14 years turned Gaza into the world’s largest open air prison. But neither prison nor siege have ended the Palestinian struggle for freedom. Palestinians in Gaza, as elsewhere, are determined to claim their rights, no matter how high the price.

The discussion touches on the stories of real Palestinians who have paid a high price for their resistance, in all of its forms.

For more information on Ramzy’s latest book, These Chains Will Be Broken, follow this link.

Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books on Palestine, including My Father Was a Freedom Fighter, The Last Earth and his latest, These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University, and at the Johannesburg-based Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is ramzybaroud.net.

Zarefah Baroud is a recent Master’s graduate from the University of Washington, researching American aid programs to the Israeli military. She works for American Muslims for Palestine in Washington DC and produces advocacy and education based content surrounding the Palestinian struggle. Baroud has published various articles on CounterPunch, Common Dreams, Socialist Worker, and others.

(Rachel Corrie Foundation)


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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Iron Curtain still separates Russia and the EU

 Iron Curtain still separates Russia and the EU

October 21, 2020

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister, is the world’s foremost diplomat. The son of an Armenian father and a Russian mother, he’s just on another level altogether. Here, once again, we may be able to see why.

Let’s start with the annual meeting of the Valdai Club, Russia’s premier think tank. Here we may follow the must-watch presentation of the Valdai annual report on “The Utopia of a Diverse World”, featuring, among others, Lavrov, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, Dominic Lieven of the University of Cambridge and Yuri Slezkine of UCLA/Berkeley.

It’s a rarity to be able to share what amounts to a Himalayan peak in terms of serious political debate. We have, for instance, Lieven – who, half in jest, defined the Valdai report as “Tolstoyian, a little anarchical” – focusing on the current top two, great interlocking challenges: climate change and the fact that “350 years of Western and 250 years of Anglo-American predominance are coming to an end.”

As we see the “present world order fading in front of our eyes”, Lieven notes a sort of “revenge of the Third World”. But then, alas, Western prejudice sets in all over again, as he defines China reductively as a “challenge”.

Mearsheimer neatly remembers we have lived, successively, under a bipolar, unipolar and now multipolar world: with China, Russia and the US, “Great Power Politics is back on the table.”

He correctly assesses that after the dire experience of the “century of humiliation, the Chinese will make sure they are really powerful.” And that will set the stage for the US to deploy a “highly-aggressive containment policy”, just like it did against the USSR, that “may well end up in a shooting match”.

“I trust Arnold more than the EU”

Lavrov, in his introductory remarks, had explained that in realpolitik terms, the world “cannot be run from one center alone.” He took time to stress the “meticulous, lengthy and sometimes ungrateful” work of diplomacy.

It was later, in one of his interventions, that he unleashed the real bombshell (starting at 1:15:55; in Russian, overdubbed in English): “When the European Union is speaking as a superior, Russia wants to know, can we do any business with Europe?”

He mischievously quotes Schwarzenegger, “who in his movies always said ‘Trust me’. So I trust Arnold more than the European Union”.

And that leads to the definitive punch line: “The people who are responsible for foreign policy in the West do not understand the necessity of mutual respect in dialogue. And then probably for some time we have to stop talking to them.” After all, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen had stated, on the record, that for the EU, “there is no geopolitical partnership with modern Russia”.

Lavrov went even further in a stunning, wide-ranging interview with Russian radio stations whose translation deserves to be carefully read in full.

Here is just one of the most crucial snippets:

Lavrov: “No matter what we do, the West will try to hobble and restrain us, and undermine our efforts in the economy, politics, and technology. These are all elements of one approach.”

Question: “Their national security strategy states that they will do so.”

Lavrov: “Of course it does, but it is articulated in a way that decent people can still let go unnoticed, but it is being implemented in a manner that is nothing short of outrageous.”

Question: You, too, can articulate things in a way that is different from what you would really like to say, correct?”

Lavrov: “It’s the other way round. I can use the language I’m not usually using to get the point across. However, they clearly want to throw us off balance, and not only by direct attacks on Russia in all possible and conceivable spheres by way of unscrupulous competition, illegitimate sanctions and the like, but also by unbalancing the situation near our borders, thus preventing us from focusing on creative activities. Nevertheless, regardless of the human instincts and the temptations to respond in the same vein, I’m convinced that we must abide by international law.”

Moscow stands unconditionally by international law – in contrast with the proverbial “rules of the liberal international order” jargon parroted by NATO and its minions such as the Atlantic Council.

And here it is all over again, a report extolling NATO to “Ramp Up on Russia”, blasting Moscow’s “aggressive disinformation and propaganda campaigns against the West, and unchecked adventurism in the Middle East, Africa, and Afghanistan.”

The Atlantic Council insists on how those pesky Russians have once again defied “the international community by using an illegal chemical weapon to poison opposition leader Alexei Navalny. NATO’s failure to halt Russia’s aggressive behavior puts the future of the liberal international order at risk.”

Only fools falling for the blind leading the blind syndrome don’t know that these liberal order “rules” are set by the Hegemon alone, and can be changed in a flash according to the Hegemon’s whims.

So it’s no wonder a running joke in Moscow is “if you don’t listen to Lavrov, you will listen to Shoigu.” Sergey Shoigu is Russia’s Minister of Defense, supervising all those hypersonic weapons the US industrial-military complex can only dream about.

The crucial point is even with so much NATO-engendered hysteria, Moscow could not give a damn because of its de facto military supremacy. And that freaks Washington and Brussels out even more.

What’s left is Hybrid War eruptions following the RAND corporation-prescribed non-stop harassment and “unbalancing” of Russia, in Belarus, the southern Caucasus and Kyrgyzstan – complete with sanctions on Lukashenko and on Kremlin officials for the Navalny “poisoning”.

“You do not negotiate with monkeys”

What Lavrov just made it quite explicit was a long time in the making. “Modern Russia” and the EU were born almost at the same time. On a personal note, I experienced it in an extraordinary fashion. “Modern Russia” was born in December 1991 – when I was on the road in India, then Nepal and China. When I arrived in Moscow via the Trans-Siberian in February 1992, the USSR was no more. And then, flying back to Paris, I arrived at a European Union born in that same February.

One of Valdai’s leaders correctly argues that the daring concept of a “Europe stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok” coined by Gorbachev in 1989, right before the collapse of the USSR, unfortunately “had no document or agreement to back it up.”

And yes, “Putin searched diligently for an opportunity to implement the partnership with the EU and to further rapprochement. This continued from 2001 until as late as 2006.”

We all remember when Putin, in 2010, proposed exactly the same concept, a common house from Lisbon to Vladivostok, and was flatly rebuffed by the EU. It’s very important to remember this was four years before the Chinese would finalize their own concept of the New Silk Roads.

Afterwards, the only way was down. The final Russia-EU summit took place in Brussels in January 2014 – an eternity in politics.

The fabulous intellectual firepower gathered at the Valdai is very much aware that the Iron Curtain 2.0 between Russia and the EU simply won’t disappear.

And all this while the IMF, The Economist and even that Thucydides fallacy proponent admit that China is already, in fact, the world’s top economy.

Russia and China share an enormously long border. They are engaged in a complex, multi-vector “comprehensive strategic partnership”. That did not develop because the estrangement between Russia and the EU/NATO forced Moscow to pivot East, but mostly because the alliance between the world’s neighboring top economy and top military power makes total Eurasian sense – geopolitically and geoeconomically.

And that totally corroborates Lieven’s diagnosis of the end of “250 years of Anglo-American predominance.”

It was up to inestimable military analyst Andrey Martyanov, whose latest book I reviewed as a must read, to come up with the utmost deliciously devastating assessment of Lavrov’s “We had enough” moment:

“Any professional discussion between Lavrov and former gynecologist [actually epidemiologist] such as von der Leyen, including Germany’s Foreign Minister Maas, who is a lawyer and a party worm of German politics is a waste of time. Western “elites” and “intellectuals” are simply on a different, much lower level, than said Lavrov. You do not negotiate with monkeys, you treat them nicely, you make sure that they are not abused, but you don’t negotiate with them, same as you don’t negotiate with toddlers. They want to have their Navalny as their toy – let them. I call on Russia to start wrapping economic activity up with EU for a long time. They buy Russia’s hydrocarbons and hi-tech, fine. Other than that, any other activity should be dramatically reduced and necessity of the Iron Curtain must not be doubted anymore.”

As much as Washington is not “agreement-capable”, in the words of President Putin, so is the EU, says Lavrov: “We should stop to orient ourselves toward European partners and care about their assessments.”

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Yemen’s Never Ending War

 Western Hegemony, Gulf State Despots and Modern-Day Genocide of the Yemeni People

By Timothy Alexander Guzman

Global Research, October 21, 2020

Recently, US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden released a statement on his promise to end his country’s support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen saying that “under Biden-Harris Administration, we will reassess our relationship with the [Saudi Arabia] Kingdom, end US support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, and make sure America does not check its values at the door to sell arms or buy oil.”

It’s an absurd statement coming from a former vice-President to Barack Obama who supported Saudi Arabia’s brutal war on Yemen in the first place.

Saudi Arabia’s intervention was to regain its once influential hegemonic power over Yemen since the Houthis gained power by ousting President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi who fled to Saudi Arabia soon after. The Saudi-led coalition and its air force began using American and British made weaponry targeting mostly civilians and helped create al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Earlier this month, the prime minister of Yemen’s National Salvation government, Abdulaziz bin Habtoor issued a powerful statement that condemned Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for murdering the Yemeni people with Western and Israeli support. They are “commemorating the death of thousands of Jews during Germany’s “Nazi era” he said. Abdulaziz bin Habtoor was referring to the recent peace agreements sponsored by the Trump administration between the UAE, Bahrain and Israel that was signed in Washington on September 15th. He said that “the Houses of Saud and Nahyan must first and foremost remember that they are killing their (Arab) brethren in Yemen, than to commemorate Jews killed by Nazi forces” and that “the neo-Nazis are Al Saud and Al Nahyan families as well as all those who stand with them against Yemeni people, and support their unjustified killing of civilians” according to AhlolBayt News Agency (ABNA) based in Iran.

Yemen is in a never-ending war.

The Yemeni people are facing a catastrophe with more than 91,000 people dead, an economy that has basically collapsed, diseases, famine with an increase of refugees who left the war torn country. Since the start of the war, the Yemeni people experience death and destruction on a daily basis due to their opposition to the Saudi-backed President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) recently said that 20% of the Yemeni population is currently suffering from mental health disorders because of the ongoing war. Hadi was part of a long-list of political puppets of the US and Saudi Arabia who were responsible for the continued economic and political policies that favored his foreign backers for decades. The Yemeni people’s only crime was their resistance to Western hegemonic powers and its Saudi lap-dogs in their own country, and they pay the ultimate price.

The civil war in Yemen began in September 2014 when the Houthis, a shia-led movement and other elements including Sunni and Shia factions who were disenfranchised began a popular revolt to overthrow the Hadi government. The Houthi-led movement and military forces that are made up of both Shia and Sunni loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh began an offensive by advancing to the southern provinces defeating Hadi loyalists as time went on. Since then, the Saudi Coalition whose warplanes, attack helicopters, bombs, missiles, naval fleets and mid-air refueling planes which are all supplied by Western arms dealers allowed them to wage a bombing campaign on the Yemeni population targeting their schools, hospitals, mosques, funerals, family homes, farms, power utilities with reports of even graveyards being hit. Military personnel from the US and the UK has played a major role in the destruction of Yemen by providing intelligence, mid-flight aerial refueling assistance to both the Saudi and UAE Air Forces while targeting Houthi positions that has killed numerous civilians in the process.

As the Houthis gained territorial control, Saudi Arabia began Operation Decisive Storm and launched military operations with airstrikes attacking positions held by the Houthi militia and loyalists of the former President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh who the West and Israel claim is backed by Iran. Saudi Arabia’s coalition included the Gulf State puppets of the West including the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain who was joined by Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan and long-standing US ally since its Frankenstein creation, Israel. The coalition was allowed to operate from military bases in Africa that included Djibouti, Eritrea, and Somalia. The US and the UK in many cases supported the coalition with intelligence and logistical support and to add insult to injury, saw an economic opportunity for its arms industry that sold weapons to the coalition.

Washington’s long-standing relationship with one of the coalition’s members is with the UAE. The US and the UK currently has thousands of military personnel in the UAE along with its fighter jets and an array of drones. The UAE is probably one of the most loyal subjects to Western Imperial powers next to Saudi Arabia that has “expeditionary forces” in a number of countries including Afghanistan and Yemen. The UAE also has overseas bases even in Africa. The UAE is a former British protectorate became a country in 1971 with its national military force made up of a federation of several ‘sheikhdoms’ that entered the US-led 1991 Gulf War that pushed Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. In 1999, the UAE joined NATO-led forces into Kosovo in what was called a peace mission. After the September 11 false flag attacks, the UAE sent special forces to Afghanistan alongside its Western allies against the Taliban. It is well-known that the UAE hosts US and other Western forces at its military bases. Since the start of the war on Yemen, the UAE has joined Saudi-led forces in attacks against rebel strongholds. In other words, the UAE is a complete puppet regime.

The Mainstream Media’s Silence on US Involvement in Yemen

The Western powers with help from its mainstream-media (MSM) all repeat the same narrative and that it is Iran who is sponsoring the Houthis thus allowing Saudi Arabia and the UAE to justify the bombing of Yemen into oblivion. The MSM including CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, NBC, ABC, CBS, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Sky News and the BBC to name a few, all repeat the same propaganda that the Houthi movement is “Iran-Backed.” A perfect example of propaganda is from a recent article published last month by The Washington Post who headlined with ‘U.S. launches new terrorism review of Iran-backed rebels in Yemen’ claiming that “The Trump administration is considering new steps to intensify pressure on Yemen’s Houthi rebels, including a potential foreign terrorist organization designation, according to several officials, in a bid to further isolate the group’s patron, Iran.” To be clear, Iran and the Houthis do have a common faith, but not a military alliance, it can be best described more or less as a political and diplomatic relationship.

To this day, the MSM is involved in a cover-up of the US and its allies involvement in Yemen’s genocide. In March of 2018, MSM watchdog, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (Fair.org) published a story by Adam Johnson based on MSNBC’s reporting on the war in Yemen who he compared to Breitbart ‘In Run-Up to Vote to End Yemen War, MSNBC Remains Totally Silent: MSNBC outflanked from the left by Breitbart’:

MSNBC’s three major stars—Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell—haven’t used their sizable social media followings to highlight the issue either. None of the well-paid pundits has tweeted about the topic of Yemen in 2018. While Hayes has handwrung about the topic on Twitter in the past, he hasn’t covered it on his show since summer 2016. O’Donnell has tweeted about Yemen once in 20,000 tweets since joining the social media platform in June 2010; Maddow has mentioned it in four out of 7,000 tweets, two of those mentions in 2010. Even as frequent MSNBC guests Bernie Sanders and Chris Murphy, as well as celebrities like Mark Ruffalo and Susan Sarandon, lobby directly for the bill, MSNBC has not dedicated a single segment to the war, or to the recent high-profile efforts to end it

An article by Johnson from 2017 ‘Ignoring Washington’s Role in Yemen Carnage, 60 Minutes Paints US as Savior’criticized one of the MSM’s longest running news programs ’60 Minutes’ on their coverage of Yemen’s humanitarian crisis without mentioning the role the U.S. has played in the genocide:

In one of the most glaring, power-serving omissions in some time, CBS News’ 60 Minutes (11/19/17) took a deep dive into the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and did not once mention the direct role the United States played in creating, perpetuating and prolonging a crisis that’s left over 10,000 civilians dead, 2 million displaced, and an estimated 1 million with cholera. Correspondent Scott Pelley’s segment, “When Food Is Used as a Weapon,” employed excellent on-the-ground reporting to highlight the famine and bombing victims of Saudi Arabia’s brutal two-and-a-half year siege of Yemen. But its editors betrayed this reporting—and their viewers—by stripping the conflict of any geopolitical context, and letting one of its largest backers, the United States government, entirely off the hook

Once a Salesman, Always a Salesman: Trump Sells Weapons to the House of Saud

In March 2018 and with the war in full-force, the Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) decided to meet Trump for a business meeting with the intentions of buying weapons from US arms manufacturers. Bloomberg Newsreported what was the purpose of the visit by the prince of Saudi Arabia:

The 32-year-old prince will meet Donald Trump on March 20, his first trip to the U.S. since taking over as de facto leader of the world’s largest oil exporter. The aim is to strengthen their bond after he rolled out the red carpet for the U.S. president last May in Riyadh. On that visit, both sides played up their mutual interests in containing Iran, tackling Islamic extremists and enhancing business ties

And of course, the Bloomberg report also mentioned that MBS and the former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster who was replaced with neocon warmonger John Bolton spoke about Iran as a threat and “the humanitarian crisis in Yemen” they helped create:

Since then, things have changed. Prince Mohammed locked up dozens of the Saudi business elite in November for about three months in a declared crackdown on corruption. The kingdom is also likely to delay the sale of a stake in oil giant Aramco until next year. Cuts to government subsidies are proving trickier and there’s uncertainty about how the country’s ultra-conservatives are reacting to social changes.

Prince Mohammed “will try to convince the U.S. business community that the anti-corruption campaign is not a threat to commercial operations in Saudi Arabia,” said Hani Sabra, founder of New York-based Alef Advisory. “He will play up his social reform agenda to try to repair the image of Saudi Arabia in the U.S. He will advance the narrative that he’s the steward that will take the country in a more liberal direction.”

The White House said the visit will strengthen ties between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Prince Mohammed will also dine with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster to discuss $35 billion of business deals, Iran’s threat to their interests and the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, according to a National Security Council spokesperson

Since the meeting between Trump and MBS, the Saudi coalition has increased its bombing campaign in Yemen. In August 2018, the Arab coalition conducted an airstrike in Yemen that targeted a busload of children and the surrounding area that killed more than 100 people. Now a Yemeni court has sentenced high-ranking members from Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and members from Hadi’s government. The incident took place in the Sa’ada province where a missile strike hit a school bus killing more than 40 children with ages that ranged from 10 to 13 years old and wounding more than 79 other people close to the bombing. Mehr News Agency which is based in Iran said that “According to Saba news agency, the Specialized First Instance Criminal Court in Saada province has ruled to execute ten of the defendants in killing Dhahyan’s students by the aggression coalition’s warplanes. The verdict sentenced ten of the defendants to death for targeting and killing the students in Dhahyan in Saada.” Those convicted are high-ranking officials from the Houthis enemy list:

According to the ruling issued in the session presided over by the court Chief Judge Riyadh al-Ruzami, the court sentenced to death ten of the convicted for targeting and killing students in Dhahyan in the airstrikes, they are as follows: 

1) Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, 2)Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, 3)Turki bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, 4)Donald John Trump, 5)James Norman Mattis, 6) Giselle Norton Allen Schwartz, 7) Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, 8)Ali Mohsen Saleh al-Ahmar, 9) Ahmed Obaid Bin Dagher, 10) Mohammad Ali Ahmad al-Maqdashi

The report mentioned the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) which produced an analysis in 2019 that paints a clear picture of the Saudi Arabia’s war crimes that has claimed the lives of more than 91,600 Yemenis since 2015. “The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The United Nations has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.” The report on casualties is grim and there is no end in sight:

ACLED records over 91,600 total reported fatalities1 from the start of 2015 to the present

Approximately 17,100 were reported in 2015; 15,100 in 2016; 16,800 in 2017; 30,800 in 2018; and 11,900 in 2019 thus far

More than 39,700 conflict events have been reported since the start of 2015

Approximately 7,700 in 2015; 8,700 in 2016; 7,900 in 2017; 10,200 in 2018; and 4,900 in 2019 thus far

Overall, 2018 is the war’s deadliest and most violent year on record

Yemen’s war continues unabated. The world is witnessing one of the worst catastrophes in modern human history with the majority of Yemen’s population including more than 12 million children caught in the crosshairs in a brutal civil war since 2015. The Saudi Coalition with help from its Western allies including the US and the UK has carried out numerous deadly airstrikes on Yemen. Despite what’s going on in Yemen, the drumbeats of war grows louder by the day as the US and Israel increase tensions with Iran, Syria and Lebanon (Hezbollah). Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East will continue to suffer a humanitarian crisis. The MSM remains silent on the issue while Washington, London, Tel Aviv and Riyadh continue their quest for dominance in the region which confirms that Yemen is just another victim of Western Imperialists, Israel and their puppet Monarchs from the Gulf states. As long as the Western powers continue their support of the Saudi coalition and their war on the Houthi-led resistance, more bloodshed is only guaranteed. This war needs to end now before it becomes the most catastrophic period in Yemen’s history.

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Timothy Alexander Guzman writes on his blog site, Silent Crow News, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

All images in this article are from SCNThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Timothy Alexander Guzman, Global Research, 2020


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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!