Doing Advance Work

News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Girly Man Trump bullies young Caribbean and Latin baseball players, won’t let them play in Venezuela Winter Leagues. This must be one of those things that only punishes Venezuela’s elected government, has no effect on others and could easily be solved by letting US bankers run Venezuela again

8/22/19, “MLB bans playing in Venezuela amid Trump order, ESPN, Jeff Passan 

“Major League Baseball has banned all affiliated players from participating in the Venezuela winter league this season, a response intended to comply with President Donald Trump’s embargo against the country’s [elected President] Nicolas Maduro-led government. 

“MLB has been in contact with the relevant government agencies regarding the Executive Order issued by President Trump on Venezuela,the league said in a statement. “MLB will fully adhere to the policies implemented by our government. With respect to the Venezuela Winter League, MLB will suspend its involvement in that leagueuntil it receives direction from the relevant agencies that participation by affiliated players is consistent with the Executive Order.” 

The potential repercussions of the prohibition, which prevents major league and minor league players from joining the 75-year-old Liga Venezolana de Beísbol Profesional (LVBP), could be significant. Multiple sources told ESPN they feared the ban would warp the heretofore strong bond between MLB and Venezuela and spawn a situation similar to that of Cuba, another embargoed country whose complicated relationship with the league has festered for decades. 

Dozens of affiliated players either return home to Venezuela or travel there annually to play winter ball, as many supplement paltry minor league incomes with low- to mid-five-figure sums to play in a 63-game season.The LVBP, whose champion participates with those from the Dominican, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Cuban and Panamanian leagues in the annual Caribbean Series, is sponsored by Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), the country’s state-run oil company, according to sources. 

The murkiness of the LVBP’s link to a government-run business spurred MLB to consider the ban and consult with the Major League Baseball Players Association, according to sources. The fear, sources said, is that players agreeing to deals with a government-affiliated entity — or agents consummating the deals — would run afoul of the Aug. 5 executive order, which banned any such transactions. 

Venezuela, once a bustling economic power in Latin America, has plunged into crisis, with widespread food and medicine shortages….The U.S. recognizes Juan Guaidó, the leader of the opposition, as president instead of [the country’s elected Pesident] Maduro, who remains in power. 

One consequence of MLB’s plan, sources said, could be Maduro retaliating by banning MLB teams from signing amateur players in Venezuela. The country has proved to be a hotbed of talent, with Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr.Houston Astros second baseman Jose AltuveChicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras and New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres among the 95 Venezuela-born players who have logged major league time this season. 

In recent years, as the economic strife worsened, teams shut down academies in Venezuela and consolidated their Latin American operations in the Dominican Republic. Top Venezuelan prospects have begun following suit, according to sources. Some of the best 12- and 13-year-old players in the country have moved with their families to the Dominican Republic in anticipation of signing with major league teams at age 16, sources said. 

While all of the concerns about the executive order could be mollified by an agreement between the United States and Venezuela — both countries on Thursday acknowledged recent back channel discussions — MLB’s desire to abide by it comes at a moment when the league’s international dealings have been under scrutiny. 

The Trump administration in April scuttled a deal between MLB and the Cuban government that would have allowed Cuban players to sign directly with the league instead of taking the circuitous and dangerous paths offered by traffickers. The Justice Department continues a wide-ranging investigation into baseball’s Latin American business — including deals for Cuban defectors — that sources said have targeted a number of teams, including the Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.
MLB this week contacted the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the U.S. Treasury department that imposes economic sanctions, seeking clarity on the executive order, according to a source.

Teams expect to continue to sign amateur players as long as Venezuela does not prohibit it, believing that doing so would not breach the executive order because individual teenage players are not under the Venezuelan government’s purview. 

Whether that legal argument holds up is unclear and part of the complications caused by the embargo. While a number of major league and minor league players planned to compete in the LVBP, contracts are not typically agreed upon until September and October. With no affiliated players allowed, Luis Amaro, the general manager of the Aguilas del Zulia, said he expected Venezuela natives playing in the Mexican and Italian leagues this summer to fill out the rosters. 

Until then, MLB and the MLBPA can only wait to see the consequences of the potential action. The lockdown of the Venezuelan talent pool, while not crippling, would significantly hinder the talent base in the minor leagues, where hundreds of Venezuelans play. The lack of a winter option for young players in Venezuela concerned one agent, who said LVBP helps keep players out of trouble when they return home. Another agent, who expected multiple clients to make up for below-minimum-wage minor league salaries by playing in Venezuela, said he hopes clients still can get jobs in the Dominican, Mexican and Puerto Rican leagues.”


EU membership in NATO means elimination of international law, submission to US-led “international order,” and complicity in all US taxpayer funded invasions, bombings, annexations, and famines-Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire, 4/23/19

"Therefore it is completely off-subject to look at the European elections as opposing progressives and nationalists [12]. This is not the point at all. The progressives affirm their desire to build a world governed by International Law, which their godfather, the United States wants to eradicate."
4/23/2019, The European Union is obliged to participate in US wars, Thierry Meyssan 

“The multiplication of theatres of war – and therefore of the pretended « sanctions » – began to cause serious problems for the allies of the United States, including the European Union. 

The EU did not appreciate the threats of seizure aimed at companies which had invested in Cuba, and, remembering the actions engaged to forbid them access to the Iranian market, reacted by threatening in their turn to seize the Arbitration Committee of the World Trade Organization (WTO). And yet, as we shall see, this revolt by the European Union is doomed to failure, since it was anticipated 25 years ago by Washington. 

The European Union – trapped 

Anticipating the current reaction of the European Union, worried about not being able to trade with whomever it saw fit, the administration of Bush senior elaborated the « Wolfowitz Doctrine », which was concerned with making sure that the Western and Central Europeans would never have an independent defence system, but only a system which was autonomous [9]. This is why Washington castrated the European Union at its birth by imposing a clause to be inserted in the Treaty of Maastricht – the suzerainty [a dominant state controlling the foreign relations of a vassal state but allowing it sovereign authority in its internal affairs] of NATO. I am writing here about the European Union, not the Common Market. 

We should remember the total support offered by the European Union to all of the Pentagon’s adventures, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. In all these cases, without exception, the EU marched along in step with its suzerain, NATO. 

This vassal condition is in fact the only reason that the Western European Union (WEU) was dissolved, and it is also why President Trump gave up the idea of dissolving the Atlantic Alliance’s permanent military organisationwithout NATO, the European Union would gain its independence, since it is only to NATO – and not the United States – that these treaties refer. 

Of course, the treaties stipulate that all this must be implemented in conformity with the United Nations Charter. 

*But, for example, on March 2019, the United States questioned the resolutions it had approved concerning the sovereignty of Golan. Without warning, they changed their minds, provoking the de facto collapse of International Law [10]. 

*Another example – the United States this week took position in Libya for General Khalifa Haftar, with whom President Trump shared a telephone call to assure his support against the government created by the UNO [UN] [11], and we are now seeing members of the European Union, one by one, following his lead. 

Because of the consecutive treaties, it would be impossible for the EU to free itself from NATO, (which means the United States), and declare itself a power in its own right. Protests against the pseudo-sanctions which were yesterday decided against Iran and today against Cuba are doomed to failure in advance. 

Contrary to a commonly-held belief, NATO is not governed by the North Atlantic Council, in other words the states which are members of the Atlantic Alliance. When, in 2011, the Council, which had approved an action intended to protect the Libyan population against the alleged crimes of Mouamar Kadhafi, declared itself in opposition to a « régime change », NATO attacked without consultation. 

The members of the European Union, which formed a single bloc with the United States during the Cold War, discovered with stupefaction that they do not have anything like the same culture as their trans-Atlantic ally. During this parenthesis, they had forgotten both their own European culture and the « exceptionalism » of the USA, and believed wrongly that they were all in agreement with one another. 

Whether they like it or not, they are today co-responsible for Washington’s wars, including for example the famine in Yemen, consecutive to the military operations by the Saudi Coalition and to US sanctions. They now have to choose either to assume these crimes and participate in them, or to leave the European treaties. 

Globalisation is finished 

International commerce is beginning to decline. This is not a passing crisis, but a deep-rooted phenomenon. The process of globalisation which defined the world from the dissolution of the USSR to the mid-term elections of 2018 is now ended. It is no longer possible to export freely all over the world. 

Only China still has this capacity, but the US State Department is currently developing methods forbidding it access to the Latin-American market. 

In these conditions, debates on the respective advantages of free-exchange and protectionism are no longer pertinent, because we are no longer at peace and we no longer have a choice. 

In the same way, the construction of the European Union, which was imagined at a time when the world was divided into two irreconcilable blocs, is today completely inadapted. If they want to avoid being dragged by the United States into conflicts which are not their own, its members will have to free themselves from the European treaties and the integrated command of NATO. 

Therefore it is completely off-subject to look at the European elections as opposing progressives and nationalists [12]. This is not the point at all. The progressives affirm their desire to build a world governed by International Law, which their godfather, the United States wants to eradicate, while certain nationalists, like the Poland of Andrzej Duda, are preparing to serve the United States against their partners in the European Union. 

Only certain British subjects have sensed the current storm. They have attempted to leave the Union, but without managing to convince their parliamentary representatives. It’s said that « to govern is to foresee », but most members of the European Union have foreseen nothing.”


International Law doesn’t allow US to bomb, overthrow, or starve innocent people. So US made up its own system, “US-led Rules Based International Order” under which US–but no one else–is free to invade, murder, and starve millions-Australian Inst. of International Affairs, 7/7/18

International law contains a whole host of checks and balances built into the system in a way that rules do not….Rules could indeed be made up by whoever has the power to do so, and they could be changed as frequently as the most powerful wishes.” 

“If the core ideal…is no longer going to be international law, then there will be another, and the rules-based international order is a current contender.”… 

Chatham House: “US-led Rules based international order” long ago proved non-functional. US bombings, 2003 invasion of Iraq, US drone programs, and 2008 world financial collapse proved “rules” didn’t apply to US and global fat cats. US could’ve proposed updating obviously antiquated WWII era “rules” but has shown no interest in doing so. US isn’t constrained by “laws,” or even “rules.” Since US makes the “rules” and is in charge of enforcing them, it can murder and starve people all it wants. 

7/7/2018, “In Defense of the International Law-Based Order, Australian Institute of International Affairs, by Professor Shirley Scott 

“Contrary to popular belief, a rules-based international order is not in continuity with the past, but a replacement for an international law-based order. The decay of the ideal of politically-neutral international law is a dangerous shift. 

Most references to a rules-based international order appear to see it as in simple opposition to a power-based international order. The rhetorical emphasis on a rules-based order is generally presented as a continuity from the post-WWII international order. 

From this perspective, the United States, having `won’ World War Two, went on to lead in the establishment of a suite of key multilateral treaties. Most fundamental of course was the Charter of the United Nations, but this was followed by others of importance, including the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the international human rights covenants and the Geneva Conventions. More recently there has been the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Treaty Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO). 

A rules-based international order encompasses not only these `hard law’ instruments but also soft law instruments and shared norms. RBIO thus becomes a particularly difficult ideal to challenge. 

Except, of course, that the term “rules-based international order” is relatively recent. Prior to this the West did not emphasise the term per se, but put its collective weight behind respect for international law. If one believes that exact words matter, then a rules-based international order is not a continuity from the past, but a replacement for an international law-based order. 

This is a dangerous rhetorical shift. 

International law was integral to the functioning of the US-led international order and a key dimension of US power. International law represented a normative ideal to which all in the community in question agree and the ideal was then used as both a medium of interaction and as a bargaining pivot in diplomacy and international negotiations. 

As an ideal it consisted of several inter-related principles: that international law is politically neutral; that states should comply with international law; that international law exists ahead of policy decisions and that it can solve any issues between states as a path to peace. 

The political obligation for states in the US-led order to uphold this ideal meant that references to international law assumed them true, that states could be `called out’ where their actions detracted from this image and that the political obligation could be skillfully manipulated to convince other states to align their behaviour with values and policy preferences embedded into international law. Importantly, the obligation was shared by all states and so the less powerful were also, at times, able to draw on this political obligation to at least hold their own. 

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, US diplomacy drew on the ideal to influence Soviet choices, despite the relevant law being arguably more in Soviet than American favour. 

Certainly when it comes to questions of security, the ideal of international law is nowhere near as strong today as it was in 1962. 

The turning point was likely the 2003 invasion of Iraq, where the blatant undermining of the ideal by the US put the falseness of the image of international law as politically neutral in neon signs. 

Interestingly, during the intense exchanges between the US and North Korea last year [2017] it was North Korea that made more references to international law, when the US could easily have made diplomatic mileage out of the obligation not to threaten to use force. Instead, Trump attracted widespread criticism by making his own threats. 

According to ideology theory, there is always a core set of principles integral to a social or political system. So if the core ideal in the order is no longer going to be international law, then there will be another, and the rules-based international order is a current contender. 

The dangers of having the rules-based order accepted as a replacement for the ideal of international law are at least threefold: 

Perhaps most basically is the problem that the rhetorical shift does not actually tackle head-on the primary issue at the heart of the decline. Perceived US hypocrisy, as symbolised by the 2003 invasion of Iraq (but also other uses of force also of dubious legality, including that during the Kosovo crisis), caused what now seems to have been irreparable harm in how others viewed the ideal of international law. Putin has not let the West forget with his parodying of rhetorical references to international law. 

In fact, it may be that the shift from ILBO to RBIO makes the situation worse. Not only was the assumption of the obligation to comply with international law weakened by the West through its actions, but similarly affected was the component principle emphasising the universality of international law. International law was, in 2003, something that the West imposed on others. The shift to RBIO invites an acceleration of this questioning, by prompting the question: `whose rules’? 

This is unfair to international law because while it may have been US-dominated, it did leave room for others. China’s experience with international law [as opposed to "US-led Rules Based International Order] is a case in point: China has a seat on the UN Security Council, it is part of one of the inner circle of states in the NPT and is an equal player in the WTO. 

However, most serious is the concern that RBIO is too broad a term compared to ILBO. The replacement of ILBO with RBIO as the ideology of the international system places the West in far greater danger than if the West were to stick with international law. 

International law contains a whole host of checks and balances built into the system in a way that rules do not. If all that countries agree to as a normative ideal is a set of rules, those rules could indeed be made up by whoever has the power to do so, and they could be changed as frequently as the most powerful wishes. RBIO could be used offensively as a diplomatic pivot against the West to hasten its relative decline.” 

“Shirley Scott is Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at UNSW Canberra.  

This article is based on a presentation at the EU-Australia Leadership Forum Sectoral Policy Workshop on a Rules-Based International Order, which took in Brussels on 26-7 April [2018]. The AIIA is part of the international consortium delivering this project.”

Added: World War II era “US-led Rules based international order” long ago proved non-functional. Various US bombings, 2003 invasion of Iraq, US drone programs, and 2008 world financial collapse proved “rules” didn’t apply to US and global fat cats. US could’ve proposed updating obviously antiquated WWII era “rules” but has shown no interest in doing so. US isn’t constrained by pesky “laws” or even “rules.” US makes the “rules” and is in charge of enforcing them. 

The UK monarchy, "special friend" of US elites, is patron of Chatham House. 

2015, Challenges to the Rules-Based International Order, Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, London Conference, Session One   

“Economic and political upheavals are emboldening challengers to the rules-based international system, and to the [so-called] liberal Western values it embodies. To stay relevant, the system must address three major flaws.” [Legitimacy, equity, and an excess of self-confidence
“The international order established by the victorious allies after the Second World War has been remarkably enduring. The framework of liberal political and economic rules, embodied in a network of international organizations and regulations, and shaped and enforced by the most powerful nations, both fixed the problems that had caused the war and proved resilient enough to guide the world into an entirely new era. 

But given its antique origins, it is not surprising that this order now seems increasingly under pressure. Challenges are coming from rising or revanchist states; from unhappy and distrustful electorates; from rapid and widespread technological change; and indeed from the economic and fiscal turmoil generated by the liberal international economic order itself.  

In general these challenges seem serious rather than catastrophic. There is little coherence or common interest among the challengers, except for discontent with aspects of the current order, and therefore little coordination. There is no sign of any integrated international opposition movement which might unite the discontented and advocate an alternative system, leading to the sort of ideological struggle that marked the last century. And, despite continuing conflicts around the world [and excluding constant US invasions, bombings, and starvations], war remains an exceptional and disreputable activity rather than, as in much of the past, a proper and attractive tool of international dispute resolution.  

These are small mercies. The danger to the current order comes not from a single deathblow from a rival system, but from its gradual weakening in the face of widespread dissatisfaction among those it needs to serve. If the system is to survive, its weaknesses must be recognized and resolved, and it must adapt better and faster to the changing international situation.  

Three interconnected problems must be resolved. The first is the problem of legitimacy. For a system based on rules to have effect, these rules must be visibly observed by their principal and most powerful advocates. In this respect, the decision by the George W. Bush administration to invade Iraq in 2003 under a contested UN authorization continues to cast a long shadow over America’s claim to be the principal defender of a rules-based international system. Questioning the legitimacy of US leadership has not eased under Barack Obama, despite his more multilateral approach to problem-solving and reticence in using overt military force. The failure to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility; the Senate report on the use of torture under the previous administration; the continued use of presidential authority under ‘war on terrorism’ directives to carry out lethal drone strikes in the Middle East and Pakistan; and the exposure by Edward Snowden of the way US intelligence services used the dominance of US technology companies over the internet to carry out espionage – all have left the United States vulnerable to the accusation that it is as selective as any country about when it does and does not abide by the international norms and rules that it expects of others….  

The second problem, which is tied to the question of legitimacy, is one of equity, in that a rules-based order must work to the advantage of the majority and not a minority. This has always been a problem. Ever since the institution of the current international system, any assessment of its fairness and effectiveness was often a matter of perspective. Democracy and respect for human rights were established in Western Europe, but not in the East. Decolonization reduced formal Western influence in Africa and Asia, but this was often replaced by the informal constraints of debt and foreign economic domination of key market sectors and finance. Freer movement of trade, investment and people stimulated economic growth in the developed and developing worlds, but also threatened cherished notions of culture, identity and religion.  

For much of the past 70 years such problems, though grave, did not threaten the system.This changed with the global financial crisis of 2008–09. The impact of the crisis was both economic and ideological, spreading dissent among those affected, and exposing the structural weaknesses and unfairness of much of the established international economic system.  

This was particularly apparent in the European Union, perhaps the most rules-based and rules-observant of all branches of the current international order. Discontent in many member states was triggered by the economic impact of the financial crisis, but it has expanded to include dissatisfaction with the EU’s policies on issues such as migration, the Union’s elite-led political culture, and the balance of political and economic power within it. In response, the EU is working its way through an uncomfortable, messy and difficult restructuring programme; for this to be successful it will have to convince member states and their citizens that it can serve them better than in the past, and that it is more open and responsive to their concerns.  

The third problem is one of [excess] self-confidence. The longevity of the current international system may have led to the assumption that it was in some way the natural order of things, requiring only occasional repair and defence against particular challengers. This has bred complacency.  

Many aspects of the order are in fact revolutionary, disruptive and disorderly. They provoke violent and understandable resistance from those who see themselves as champions of their own established order, based on different rules. Global free trade regimes, UN Security Council-sanctioned interventionism, human rights activism on such issues as gay rights, and anti-censorship campaigns are elements of a transformative agenda being actively pursued by Western states and societies. What many in the West see as an attempt to spread the benefits of modernity is perceived elsewhere as an aggressive bid for dominance by Western economic and political interests and by the West’s materialism and secularism.

To its opponents, the West’s refusal to accept that it has such an agenda makes its liberal policies appear all the more sinister. For many regimes, the Western agenda is truly an existential threat. 

These fears do not provide a case for the West changing its approach, withdrawing or accepting cultural relativism. However, the West must recognize how radical its agenda can be, realize the depth of the opposition it may provoke, and sometimes tailor its policies accordingly….  

These three problems – of legitimacy, equity and [excess] self-confidence – are serious, to be sure. But they do not imply that there is something fundamentally wrong with a rules-based system.

Rather they suggest that the rules need to be revised to ensure that they remain relevant, and that they need to be applied as consistently and extensively as possible. In this, form follows function. Any reform of the rules-based order must first decide what the order aims to accomplish, and only then consider what structure is needed to achieve this. Just as the current order was constructed with the clear aim of avoiding a repeat of the nationalism, totalitarianism and conflict of the 1930s and 1940s, a modernization effort should reflect a reforming agenda intended to tackle the problems of the 2000s and 2010s.  

Who decides this agenda, and what it should contain, remain open questions.  

The West has the opportunity to take the initiative, to decide now what sort of revised rules it would like to establish, and how far it is willing to take into account the interests of its rivals or alternatively to fight for its own priorities.  

If the leading Western powers do not take this opportunity – and at the moment there is little sign that they will – there are now plenty of others who might.” 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Russia has patiently and successfully worked to re-establish international law in the Middle East. Unlike the US, Russia isn’t seeking regime changes to impose its own vision on the world-Voltaire, Thierry Meyssan

For five years, Russia has been multiplying its approaches in order to re-establish international Law in the Middle East. It has relied in particular on Iran and Turkey, whose manner of thinking it does not really share. The first results of this patient diplomatic exercise are redefining the lines of division existing at the heart of several conflicts.” 

8/20/19, The successes of Russian diplomacy in the Middle East, Voltaire, Thierry Meyssan, Damascus, Syria 

“The political changes which have been transforming the Middle East for the last two months are not the result of the destruction of any of the protagonists, but the evolution of the Iranian, Turkish and Emirati points of view. Where the military might of the United States has failed, the subtlety of Russian diplomacy has succeeded. Refusing to comment on the crimes of one party or the other, Moscow is slowly managing pacify the region. 

New balances of power and a new equilibrium are being set up discreetly in the Nile valley, in the Levant and the Arab peninsula. On the contrary, however, the situation is blocked in the Persian Gulf. This considerable and coordinated change is affecting different conflicts which in appearance have no connection with one another. It is the fruit of patient and discreet Russian diplomacy [1] and, in some cases, the relative good will of the USA. 

Unlike the United States, Russia is not seeking to impose its own vision on the world. It begins on the contrary with the culture of its interlocutors, which it modifies by small touches at its contact. 

The withdrawal of the jihadists and Kurdish mercenaries in Syria

Everything began on 3 July – one of the five founders of the PKK, Cemil Bayik, published an op ed in the Washington Post calling for Turkey to open negotiations by lifting the solitary confinement of their most famous prisonerAbdullah Öcalan [2]. Suddenly, prison visits for the leader of the Kurdish autonomists in Turkey, forbidden for four years, were once again authorised. This opening was a secret for no-one. The rumour had been disseminated by the Peoples’ Republican Party, who considered it treason. While waiting for clarification, his electors abstained during the municipal election in Istanbul on 23 June, inflicting a severe electoral defeat on President Erdoğan’ candidate. 

Simultaneously, combats flared againin the zone occupied by Al-Qaïda in the North of Syria, the governorate of Idlib. This Islamic Emirate has no central administration, but a multitude of cantons assigned to various combatant groups. The population is supplied by European « NGO’s » affiliated with the secret services of their countries, and the presence of the Turkish army prevents the jihadists from attempting to conquer the rest of Syria. Since this situation can not be openly admitted, the NATO Press presents the Islamic Emirate of Idlib as a peaceful refuge for « moderate opponents of Assad’s dictatorship ». Suddenly, Damascus, backed up by Russian air support, began to reconquer their territory as the Turkish army withdrew in silence. The combats were extremely violent, first of all for the Republic. However, after several weeks, the advance was clear, so that if nothing occurs to prevent it, the province could be liberated in October. 

On 15 July, the third anniversary of the attempted assassination of which he was the object and the improvised coup d’état which followed, President Erdoğan announced the redefinition of Turkish identity, no longer on a religious, but a national basis [3]. He also revealed that his army was going to sweep the forces of the PKK out of Syria and transfer some of the Syrian refugees to a frontier zone approximately 30 to 40 kilometres deep. This zone more or less corresponds to that in which, in 1999, President Hafez el-Assad had authorised Turkish forces to suppress any Kurdish use of artillery. After having announced that the Pentagon would not abandon its Kurdish allies, US envoys came to Ankara to do just that, and to approve the Turkish plan. As we have always said, it so happens that the leaders of « Rojava », this pseudo autonomous Kurdish state in Syrian territory, are almost all of Turkish nationality. They are therefore occupying the area that they had ethically cleansed.

Their troops, of Syrian nationality, sent emissaries to Damascus to ask for President Bachar el-Assad’s protection. Let’s remember that the Kurds are a nomad population which was settled at the beginning of the 20th century. According to the King-Crane Commission and the International Conference of Sèvres (1920), a Kurdistan state is only legitimate within what is currently Turkish territory [4]. 

It is unlikely that France and Germany will allow Syria to reconquer the totality of the Islamic Emirate of Idlib, and will abandon their fantasy concerning a Kurdistan, wherever it may be (in Turkey, Iran, Iraq or Syria, but not in Germany, where Kurds number a million). They may be forced to do so.

Similarly, despite the current discussions, it is unlikely that, should Syria be decentralised, it would grant the slightest autonomy to the region that was occupied by the Turkish Kurds. 

After several years of blockage, the liberation of Northern Syria depends entirely on the change of the Turkish paradigm, fruit of the errors by the United States and Russian Intelligence. 

The de facto partition of Yemen 

In Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Israël support President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi, with an aim to exploit the oil reserves which straddle the border [5]. The latter has to face up to the rebellion of the Zaïdis, a school of Chiism. With time, the Saudis have received help from the Emirati, and the Zaïdi Resistance is supported by Iran. This war, fuelled by the Western powers, has provoked the worst famine of the 21st century. 

However, unlike the organisation of the two sides, on 1 August, the Emirati coast-guards signed an agreement for transborder cooperation with the Iranian frontier police [6]. The same day, the head of the Yemeni militia, Abu Al-Yamana Al-Yafei – financed by the Emirates (known as the « Southern Transitional Council (STC) », or « Safety Belt », or again « Separatists ») was assassinated by the Muslim Brotherhood of the Islah party, financed by Saudi Arabia [7]. 

Clearly, the alliance between two crown princes of Arabia and the Emirates, Mohammed ben Salmane (« MBS ») and Mohammed ben Zayed Al Nahyane (« MBZ »), is under pressure. 

On 11 August, the militia supported by the Emirates attacked the presidential palace and several ministries in Aden, despite the support of Arabia for President Hadi, who had been sheltered in Riyadh for a long time. The following day, « MBS » and « MBZ » met in Mecca in the presence of King Salmane. They rejected the coup d’etat and called for a display of calm on the part of their respective troops. On 17 August, the pro-Emiratis evacuated the houses of government in good order.. 

During the week in which the « Separatists » had taken Aden, the Emirates had de facto control over the two coasts from the very strategic detroit of Bab el Mandeb linking the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Now that Riyadh has preserved its honour, it will be necessary to give something back to Abou Dhabi.

On the battlefield, the change can only be attributable to the Emirates, who, after heavy suffering, have learned the lesson of this unwinnable war. Prudently, they approached the Iranians before firing a warning shot intended for their powerful ally and neighbour, Saudi Arabia. 

Musical chairs in Sudan [from Qatar to Saudi] 

In Sudan, after President Omar el-Bechir (dissident Muslim Brother), had been overthrown by demonstrations of the Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC) and the rise in bread prices had been cancelled, a Military Council of Transition was handed power. Practically speaking, this social revolt and a few billion petro-dollars enabled the country – unknown to the demonstrators – to transit from a Qatari tutorship to another, Saudi tutorship [8]. 

On 3 June, a new demonstration by the AFC was dispersed in blood by the Military Council of Transition, causing 127 deaths. Faced with international condemnation, the Military Council began negotiations with civilians and came to an agreement on 4 August which was signed on 17 August. For a period of 39 months, the country will be governed by a Supreme Council composed of 6 civilians and 5 military officials, whose agreements do not specify their identities. They will be controlled by an Assembly of 300 members – nominated but not elected – including 67 % of the representatives of the AFC. There is evidently nothing democratic here, and none of the parties is complaining.

The economist Abdallah Hamdok, ex-manager of the UN Economic Commission for Africa will become the Prime Minister. He should obtain the lifting of sanctions on Sudan and reintegrate the country into the African Union. He will bring to trial ex-President Omar el-Bechir in his own country in order to guarantee that he will no longer risk being extradited to The Hague and arraigned before the International Criminal Court. 

Real power will be held by « General » Mohammed Hamdan Daglo (alias « Hemetti »), who is not a General, not even a soldier, but the head of the militia employed by « MBS » in order to paralyse the Yemeni Resistance. During this game of musical chairs, Turkey – which has a military base on the Sudanese island of Suakin as a means of encircling Saudi Arabia – has said nothing. 

Thus Turkey is accepting to lose in Idlib and Sudan in order to win against the pro-US Kurdish mercenaries. Only this last wager has anything vital for Turkey. It has taken a wealth of discussions for Turkey to realise that it can not win all these games at once, and that it must organise its priories. 

The United States against Iranian Oil 

London and Washington are pursuing their concurrence, set in motion seventy years ago, to control Iranian oil. Just as during the time of Mohammad Mossadegh, the British Crown intends to be the only decider concerning what belongs to them in Iran [9]. Washington, however, does not want the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq to benefit Teheran (a consequence of the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski doctrine) and means to fix the prices for world energy (the Pompeo doctrine) [10]. 

These two strategies came together with the seizing of the Iranian oil-tanker Grace 1 in the waters of the British colony of Gibraltar. Iran, in its turn, boarded two British tankers in the straits of Ormuz, pretending – the supreme insult – that the primary was transporting « contraband oil», in other words Iranian oil which was subsidised by London on the black market [11]. When the new British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, realised that his country had gone too far, he had the « surprise » to see the « independent » justice of his colony liberate the Grace 1. Washington immediately issued a mandate to seize it again. 

Since the beginning of this affair, the Europeans have been paying for US policy, and protesting without much consequence [12]. Only the Russians are defending international Law – rather than their Iranian ally – as they did concerning Syria [13]. This allows them to maintain a political line which is always coherent.

In this dossier, Iran is demonstrating great tenacity. Despite the clerical about-face of the election of Sheik Hassan Rohani, in 2013, the country has been redirecting itself towards the national policy of the secular Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [14]. Its use of the Chiite communities in Saudi Arabia, Bahreïn, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen could morph into a simple solution. Here too, the long discussions of Astana [Syria's future] could demonstrate that what is evident for one has become evident for all. 


With time, the objectives of each protagonist have been organised into a hierarchy and are becoming clearer. 

In conformity with its tradition, Russian diplomacy, unlike that of the United States, is not attempting to redefine frontiers and alliances. It is working to untie the contradictory objectives of its partners.Thus it helped the ex-Ottoman Empire and the ex-Persian Empire distance themselves from their religious definition – (the Muslim Brotherhood for the former, and Chiism for the latter – and return to a post-Imperial national definition. This evolution is clearly visible in Turkey, but supposes a change of leaders in Iran in order to become operational. Moscow is not seeking to « change the régimes », but to change some aspects of the mentalities.” 

Thierry Meyssan
Translation Pete Kimberley
“[1] See paragraphs 3, 4, 5 and 10 of the « Joint Declaration by Russia, Iran and Turkey relative to Syria », Voltaire Network, 2 August 2019, and compare them to the declarations from previous meetings.
[2] “Now is the moment for peace between Kurds and the Turkish state. Let’s not waste it”, by Cemil Bayik, Washington Post (United States) , Voltaire Network, 3 July 2019.
[3] “Turkey will not align itself with either NATO or the CSTO”, “Turkey gives up on the idea of a Caliphate for the second time”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 6 and 18 August 2019.
[4] “The Kurdistan projects”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 5 September 2016.
[5] “The secret projects of Israël and Saudi Arabia”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 27 June 2015.
[6] “إيران والإمارات توقعان اتفاقا للتعاون الحدودي“, RT, 01/08/19.
[7] “Missile fired by Yemen rebels kills dozens of soldiers in port city of Aden”, Kareem Fahim & Ali Al-Mujahed, The Washington Post, August 1, 2019.
[8] “The Overthrow of Omar el-Bechir”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 16 April 2019; « Le Soudan est passé sous contrôle saoudien », « La Force de réaction rapide au pouvoir au Soudan », Réseau Voltaire, 20 & 24 avril 2019.
[9] “London defends the shreds of its Empire against Iran”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Al-Watan (Syria) , Voltaire Network, 23 July 2019.
[10] “The new Grand Strategy of the United States”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Zero Hedge (USA) , Voltaire Network, 26 March 2019. “Advancing the U.S. Maximum Pressure Campaign On Iran” (Note: The graph was distributed with the text !), Voltaire Network, 22 April 2019.
[11] « Royaume-Uni/Iran : « Grace 1 » et « British Heritage » », Réseau Voltaire, 11 juillet 2019.
[12] « Déclaration conjointe des chefs d’État et de gouvernement de France, d’Allemagne et du Royaume-Uni à propos de l’Iran », Réseau Voltaire, 14 juillet 2019.
[13] “Russian comment on the seizure of the Panama-flagged tanker by Gibraltar authorities ”, Voltaire Network, 5 July 2019.
[14] By ’secular’, we mean that the very mystical President Ahmadinejad wanted to separate the religious and political institutions and put an end to the Platonic function of the Guide of the Revolution.”


US and UK happily roll along sponsoring Islamic terrorism while loudly demanding other countries not do the same. UK had a man on trial for ‘terrorism’ until it was learned UK government was doing much worse. The trial was canceled-UK Guardian, S. Milne, June 3, 2015

My, my, my. All my respect goes to Mr. Assad and the people of Syria for continuing to fight the terror sponsoring US war industry in its ongoing criminal campaign to literally murder Syria. “The United States has the power to decree the death of nations.” Syria would be perfectly justified in bombing the US in return–or at least planting its flag on US soil as US has done in Syria.

[Image: 12/30/2018, “US flag flies in Syria’s Manbij despite pullout notice,” AFP, Delil Souleiman.] 

June 3, 2015, “Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq, UK Guardian, Seumas Milne 

“The war on terror, that campaign without end launched 14 years [18 years ago as of 2019] ago by George Bush, is tying itself up in ever more grotesque contortions. On Monday the trial in London of a Swedish man, Bherlin Gildo, accused of terrorism in Syria, collapsed after it became clear British intelligence had been arming the same [Islamic terrorist] rebel groups the defendant was charged with supporting. 

The prosecution abandoned the case, apparently to avoid embarrassing the [UK] intelligence services. The defence argued that going ahead with the trial would have been an “affront to justice” when there was plenty of evidence the British state was itself providing “extensive support” to the armed [Islamic terrorist] Syrian opposition. 

That didn’t only include the “non-lethal assistance” boasted of by the government (including body armour and military vehicles), but training, logistical support and the secret supply of “arms on a massive scale”. Reports were cited that MI6 had cooperated with the CIA on a “rat line”of arms transfers from Libyan stockpiles to the Syrian [Islamic terrorist] rebels in 2012 after the fall of the Gaddafi regime. 

Clearly, the absurdity of sending someone to prison for doing what ministers and their security officials were up to themselves became too much. But it’s only the latest of a string of such cases. Less fortunate was a London cab driver Anis Sardar, who was given a life sentence a fortnight earlier for taking part in 2007 in resistance to the occupation of Iraq by US and British forces. Armed opposition to illegal invasion and occupation clearly doesn’t constitute terrorism or murder on most definitions, including the Geneva convention. 

But terrorism is now squarely in the eye of the beholder. And nowhere is that more so than in the Middle East, where today’s terrorists are tomorrow’s fighters against tyranny – and allies are enemies – often at the bewildering whim of a western policymaker’s conference call.
For the past year, US, British and other western forces have been back in Iraq, supposedly in the cause of destroying the hyper-sectarian terror group Islamic State (formerly known as al-Qaida in Iraq). This was after Isis overran huge chunks of Iraqi and Syrian territory and proclaimed a self-styled Islamic caliphate. 

The campaign isn’t going well. Last month, Isis rolled into the Iraqi city of Ramadi, while on the other side of the now nonexistent border its forces conquered the Syrian town of Palmyra. Al-Qaida’s official franchise, the Nusra Front, has also been making gains in Syria. 

Some Iraqis complain that the US sat on its hands while all this was going on. The Americans insist they are trying to avoid civilian casualties, and claim significant successes. Privately, officials say they don’t want to be seen hammering Sunni strongholds in a sectarian war and risk upsetting their Sunni allies in the Gulf. 

A revealing light on how we got here has now been shone by a recently declassified secret US intelligence report, written in August 2012, which uncannily predicts – and effectively welcomes – the prospect of a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria and an al-Qaida-controlled Islamic state in Syria and Iraq. In stark contrast to western claims at the time, the Defense Intelligence Agency document identifies al-Qaida in Iraq (which became Isis) and fellow Salafists as the “major forces driving the insurgency in Syria”and states that “western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey” were supporting the [Islamic terrorist] opposition’s efforts to take control of eastern Syria.” 

[Ed. note: On page 3 of US Intel report linked above Muslim Brotherhood is cited as one of 3 major forces driving war in Syria: “B. The Salafist, The Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al Qaeda] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” …The ubiquitous Brothers like to keep a low profile, and that’s fine with their US pals.] 

(continuing): “Raising the “possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality”, the Pentagon report goes on, “this is exactly what the supporting powers to the [terrorist] opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian [elected government] regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)”.

Which is pretty well exactly what happened two years later [in 2014]. The report isn’t a policy document. It’s heavily redacted and there are ambiguities in the language. But the implications are clear enough. A year into the [Islamic terrorist] Syrian rebellion, the US and its allies weren’t only supporting and arming an opposition they knew to be dominated by [terrorist] extreme sectarian groups; they were prepared to countenance the creation of some sort of “Islamic state”despite the “grave danger” to Iraq’s unity – as a Sunni buffer to weaken Syria. 

That doesn’t mean the US created Isis, of course, though some of its Gulf allies certainly played a role in it – as the US vice-president, Joe Biden, acknowledged last year. But there was no al-Qaida in Iraq until the US and Britain invaded. And the US has certainly exploited the existence of Isis against other forces in the region as part of a wider drive to maintain [US taxpayer funded] western control. 

The calculus changed when Isis started beheading westerners and posting atrocities online, and the Gulf states are now backing other [terrorist] groups in the Syrian war, such as the Nusra Front. But this US and western habit of playing with jihadi groups, which then come back to bite them, goes back at least to the 1980s war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, which fostered the original al-Qaida under CIA tutelage. 

It was recalibrated during the occupation of Iraq, when US forces led by General Petraeus sponsored an El Salvador-style dirty war of sectarian death squads to weaken the Iraqi resistance. And it was reprised in 2011 in the Nato-orchestrated war in Libya, where Isis last week took control of Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte. 

In reality, US and western policy in the conflagration that is now the Middle East is in the classic mould of imperial divide-and-rule. American [US taxpayer funded] forces bomb one set of [terrorists] rebels while backing another [terrorist group] in Syria, and mount what are effectively joint military operations with Iran against Isis in Iraq while supporting Saudi Arabia’s military campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi forces in Yemen. However confused US policy may often be, a weak, partitioned Iraq and Syria fit such an approach perfectly…. 

Endless [US taxpayer funded] western military interventions in the Middle East have brought only destruction and division. It’s the people of the region who can cure this disease – not those who incubated the virus.”



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I'm the daughter of an Eagle Scout (fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Mets) and a Beauty Queen.