country:islamic republic of iran

  • Spain’s Far-right Vox Received Almost $1M from ’Marxist-Islamist’ Iranian Exiles: Report | News | teleSUR English
    https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Spains-Far-right-Vox-Received-Almost-1M-from-Marxist-Islamist-Irania

    It is unlikely that Vox’s hyper-nationalist voters know that their party scored a significant presence in Spain’s parliament mostly thanks to Zionists, Islamists and foreigners.

    With the April 28 general elections in Spain over, the far-right party Vox gained about 10 percent of parliamentary seats, marking the far-right’s rising comeback into politics four decades after Francisco Franco’s dictatorship. While a less alarmist reading would say that the far-right was always there, hidden in the conservative People’s Party (PP), the fact that they are out in the open strengthens Europe’s wave of far-right xenophobic and anti-European advance.

    The party appealed to voters in one of Spain’s most contested elections since its return to democracy, mostly basing its arguments against leftists politics, social liberals, migrants, charged mainly with an Islamophobic narrative. Emphasizing the return of a long lost Spain and pushing to fight what they refer to as an “Islamist invasion,” which is the “enemy of Europe.” One could summarize it as an Iberian version of “Make Spain Great Again.”

    Yet while this definitely appealed to almost two million voters, many are unaware of where their party’s initial funding came from. Back in January 2019, an investigation made by the newspaper El Pais revealed, through leaked documents, that almost one million euros - approximately 80 percent of its 2014 campaign funding - donated to Vox between its founding in December 2013 and the European Parliament elections in May 2014 came via the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a self-declared “Marxist” organization and an Islamist group made up of Iranian exiles.

    However, this is where things get complicated. The NCRI is based in France and was founded in 1981 by Massoud Rajavi and Abolhassan Banisadr, nowadays its president-elect is Maryam Rajavi (Massoud’s wife). The Rajavis are also the leaders of the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK). A reason for many to believe that the NCRI is just a front for the MEK, which over the past few decades has managed to create a complicated web of anti-Iranian, pro-Israel and right-wing government support from all over the world.

    To understand MEK, it’s necessary to review the 1953 U.S. and British-backed coup which ousted democratically elected prime minister of Iran Mohammad Mosaddegh and instituted a monarchical dictatorship led by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

    The oppression carried out by the Pahlavi royal family led to the creation of many radical groups, one which was MEK, whose ideology combined Marxism and Islamism. Its original anti-west, especially anti-U.S. sentiment pushed for the killing of six U.S citizens in Iran in the 1970s. While in 1979, they enthusiastically cheered the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. After the Iranian Revolution, its young leaders, including Rajavi, pushed for endorsement from the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, but were denied.

    So Rajavi, allied with the winner of the country’s first presidential election, Abolhassan Banisadr, who was not an ally of Khomeini, either. Soon Banisadr and MEK became some of Khomeini’s main opposition figures and had fled to Iraq and later to France.

    In the neighboring country, MEK allied with Sadam Hussein to rage war against Iran. In a RAND report, allegations of the group’s complicity with Saddam are corroborated by press reports that quote Maryam Rajavi encouraging MEK members to “take the Kurds under your tanks, and save your bullets for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards."

    The organization was deemed a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union for the better part of the 1990s, but things changed after the U.S. invasion to Iraq in 2003. This is when the U.S. neoconservative strategist leading the Department of State and the intelligence agencies saw MEK as an asset rather than a liability. Put simply in words they applied the dictum of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

    The U.S.’s dismissal of past crimes reinvigorated MEK’s intense lobbying campaign to have itself removed from terrorist lists in the U.S. and the European Union. MEK, which by the beginning of the 21 century had morphed into a cult-like group according to many testimonies from dissidents, moved from Camp Ashraf to the U.S-created Camp Liberty outside of Baghdad. And that’s when things rapidly changed.

    According to the Guardian, between 2007 and 2012, a number of Iranian nuclear scientists were attacked. In 2012, NBC News, citing two unnamed U.S. officials, reported that the attacks were planned by Israel’s Mossad and executed by MEK operatives inside Iran. By 2009 and 2012, the EU and the U.S. respectively took it out of its terrorist organizations list.

    Soon after it gained support from U.S. politicians like Rudy Giuliani and current National Security Advisor John Bolton, who now call MEK a legitimate opposition to the current Iranian government. As the U.S. neocon forefathers did before, MEK shed its “Marxism.” After the U.S.’s official withdrawal from Iraq, they built MEK a safe have in Albania, near Tirana, where the trail of money can be followed once again.

    Hassan Heyrani, a former member of MEK’s political department who defected in 2018, and handled parts of the organization’s finances in Iraq, when asked by Foreign Policy where he thought the money for MEK came from, he answered: “Saudi Arabia. Without a doubt.” For another former MEK member, Saadalah Saafi, the organization’s money definitely comes from wealthy Arab states that oppose Iran’s government.

    “Mojahedin [MEK] are the tool, not the funders. They aren’t that big. They facilitate,” Massoud Khodabandeh, who once served in the MEK’s security department told Foreign Policy. “You look at it and say, ‘Oh, Mojahedin are funding [Vox].’ No, they are not. The ones that are funding that party are funding Mojahedin as well.”

    Meanwhile, Danny Yatom, the former head of the Mossad, told the Jersulamen Post that Israel can implement some of its anti-Iran plans through MEK if a war were to break out. Saudi Arabia’s state-run television channels have given friendly coverage to the MEK, and Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief, even appeared in July 2016 at a MEK rally in Paris.

    With Israel and Saudi Arabia backing MEK, the question of why a far-right movement would take money from an Islamist organization clears up a bit. Israel’s support of European far-right parties has been public. In 2010, a sizeable delegation arrived in Tel Aviv, consisting of some 30 leaders of the European Alliance for Freedom, gathering leaders such as Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, Philip Dewinter from Belgium and Jorg Haider’s successor, Heinz-Christian Strache, from Austria.

    Yet for the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia, MEK represents an anti-Iranian voice that they so desperately need, and that on the surface didn’t come from them directly. It is unlikely that Vox’s hyper-nationalist voters know that their party scored a significant presence in Spain’s parliament mostly thanks to Zionists, Islamists and foreigners.

    #Espagne #extrême_droite #Israël #Iran #Arabie_Saoudite #OMPI #Albanie

  • Boxed in: $1 billion of Iranian crude sits at China’s Dalian port - Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-iran-oil-sanctions-idUSKCN1S60HS


    FILE PHOTO: Oil tankers pass through the Strait of Hormuz, December 21, 2018.
    REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo

    Some 20 million barrels of Iranian oil sitting on China’s shores in the northeast port of Dalian for the past six months now appears stranded as the United States hardens its stance on importing crude from Tehran.

    Iran sent the oil to China, its biggest customer, ahead of the reintroduction of U.S. sanctions last November, as it looked for alternative storage for a backlog of crude at home.

    The oil is being held in so-called bonded storage tanks at the port, which means it has yet to clear Chinese customs. Despite a six-month waiver to the start of May that allowed China to continue some Iranian imports, shipping data shows little of this oil has been moved.

    Traders and refinery sources pointed to uncertainty over the terms of the waiver and said independent refiners had been unable to secure payment or insurance channels, while state refiners struggled to find vessels.

    The future of the crude, worth well over $1 billion at current prices, has become even more unclear after Washington last week increased its pressure on Iran, saying it would end all sanction exemptions at the start of May.

    No responsible Chinese company with any international exposure will have anything to do with Iran oil unless they are specifically told by the Chinese government to do so,” said Tilak Doshi of oil and gas consultancy Muse, Stancil & Co in Singapore.

    Iran previously stored oil in 2014 at Dalian during the last round of sanctions that was later sold to buyers in South Korea and India.

    China last week formally complained to the United States over the unilateral Iran sanctions, but U.S. officials have said Washington is not considering a further short-term waiver or a wind-down period.

    The 20 million barrels is equal to about a month’s worth of China’s imports from Iran over the past six months, or about two days of the country’s total imports.

    Iran says it will continue to export oil in defiance of U.S. sanctions.

    A senior official with the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters: “We will continue to sell our oil.”

    “_Iran is now desperate and will deal with anyone with steep discounts as long as they get paid somehow,” said Doshi.

  • Twelve Empty Supertankers Reveal Truths About Today’s Oil Market - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-21/twelve-empty-supertankers-reveal-truths-about-today-s-oil-market

    They are slowly plowing their way across thousands of miles of ocean toward America’s Gulf of Mexico coastline. As they do, twelve empty supertankers are also revealing a few truths about today’s global oil market.

    In normal times, the vessels would be filled with heavy, high sulfur Middle East oil for delivery to refineries in places like Houston or New Orleans. Not now though. They are sailing cargo-less, a practice that vessel owners normally try to avoid because ships earn money by making deliveries.

    The 12 vessels are making voyages of as much as 21,000 miles direct from Asia, all the way around South Africa, holding nothing but seawater for stability because Middle East producers are restricting supplies. Still, America’s booming volumes of light crude must still be exported, and there aren’t enough supertankers in the Atlantic Ocean for the job. So they’re coming empty.

    What’s driving this is a U.S. oil market that’s looking relatively bearish with domestic production estimates trending higher, and persistent crude oil builds we have seen for the last few weeks,” said Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING Bank NV in Amsterdam. “At the same time, OPEC cuts are supporting international grades like Brent, creating an export incentive.

    The U.S. both exports and imports large amounts of crude because the variety it pumps — especially newer supplies from shale formations — is very different from the type that’s found in the Middle East. OPEC members are likely cutting heavier grades while American exports are predominantly lighter, Patterson said.

    • Trois jours plus tard, Bloomberg remet une couche…

      des supertankers traversent l’Atlantique chargés d’eau de mer (sur ballast, quoi…)

      Rise of Shale Oil and OPEC Cuts Leave Supertankers Empty - Bloomberg
      https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-02-24/rise-of-shale-oil-and-opec-cuts-leave-supertankers-empty

      Supertankers hauling seawater across the Atlantic? That’s just one of the odder results of the U.S. shale boom.

      Crude oil has always flowed backwards and forwards across the world’s oceans. A typical voyage by one of the global fleet of around 750 of the giant ships currently in service might see it haul Middle Eastern exports across the Atlantic to a refinery on the U.S. Gulf coast, then pick up a cargo from Venezuela for delivery to China or India, before returning to the Persian Gulf.

      Vessels only earn money when they’re full, so being able to haul cargoes in both directions across the seas makes a great deal of sense for ship owners. But soaring U.S. production, OPEC output cuts and sanctions on Iran and Venezuela are turning the global crude oil trade on its head.
      […]
      Add to this a pickup in the flow of oil out of the Caribbean – Venezuela is shipping more of its crude east now that U.S. sanctions prevent it from targeting its traditional buyers on the Gulf coast.

  • Iran says it will send 2 satellites to orbit amid US concern
    https://apnews.com/4f432f1f5c61456baf37de1fa784ab4b

    Iran’s president said Thursday the Islamic Republic soon will send two new satellites into orbit using Iran-made rockets, despite U.S. concern the launch could help further develop its ballistic missiles.

    President Hassan Rouhani’s comments, during a commemoration for the late President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, confirmed the rocket launches would take place.

    Iran typically displays achievements in its space program in February, during the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. This year will mark the 40th anniversary of the revolution, which saw the Persian monarchy of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi replaced by the Islamic Republic overseen by a Shiite cleric.

    “Soon, in the coming weeks, we will send two satellites into space using our domestically-made rockets,” Rouhani said, without elaborating.

    Previously, Iran has sent several short-lived satellites into orbit over the past decade, and in 2013 launched a monkey into space. The U.S. and its allies worry the same satellite-launching technology could be used to develop long-range missiles.

    Raison de plus pour certains de penser qu’il est vraiment temps de s’occuper rapidement de ces enturbannés... #iran

  • Scoop: Netanyahu rejected Russian plan to work with U.S. on Syria, Iran
    Axios - 20 déc 2018
    https://www.axios.com/russia-proposal-syria-israel-iran-united-states-c6d0bde9-583a-4dab-8a38-b2a21

    More than three months ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s national security adviser Nikolai Patrushev gave his Israeli counterpart a document. It contained an unofficial proposal for a deal between the U.S. and Russia on Syria and Iran intended to start a wider dialogue between Washington and Moscow to improve relations, two Israeli officials with direct knowledge tell me.

    Why it matters: The Russian proposal would have tied a U.S. withdrawal from Syria to an Iranian exit from the country, and provided the U.S. and Israel more influence over a future political settlement in Syria. However, it also called for a freeze on U.S. sanctions on Iran — something Netanyahu found unacceptable. Ultimately, the U.S. gave up much of its leverage in Syria with President Trump’s surprise announcement Wednesday of a unilateral withdrawal.

    Background: Last month, I reported that Netanyahu told a closed door hearing at the Knesset that Russia proposed a deal for pushing Iranian forces out of Syria in return for relief from some U.S. sanctions against Iran. We now know that Netanyahu’s comments referred to a document called the “Patrushev Paper.”

    The Patrushev Paper was given to Israel in a meeting that took place in Moscow on Sept. 13 — four days before the downing of a Russian military plane in Syria that kicked off a deep crisis between Israel and Russia.
    The two Israeli officials told me Russia’s proposal was that Israel would act as a facilitator between the U.S. and Russia and encourage the White House to start a dialogue with the Kremlin on Syria and Iran as an opening for a wider bilateral discussion.
    “They asked us to open the gates for them in Washington,” one Israeli official told me. (...)

    #Israel #Russie #Syrie #USA #Iran

  • How Europe Could Blunt U.S. Iran Sanctions Without Washington Lifting A Finger – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/03/how-europe-can-blunt-u-s-iran-sanctions-without-washington-raising-a-

    It has been nearly seven months since the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal. As sanctions begin to bite, Iranian companies are laying off employees, and Iranian households are facing renewed hardships. Iran has exercised remarkable patience while it waits for Europe to devise its #special_purpose_vehicle (#SPV), a new entity intended to help Iran blunt the impact of U.S. secondary sanctions by making it possible for companies to trade with Iran, despite the fact that most international banks refuse to process payments to and from the country.

    The SPV will do so by offering a “#compensation” service. By overseeing a ledger of payments related to exports and imports between Europe and Iran, the SPV will be able to coordinate payments so that a European exporter of goods to Iran can get paid by a European importer of goods from Iran, eliminating the need for cross-border transactions. The SPV simply coordinates payments so that exporters can be paid from funds outside of Iran while importers can be paid by funds within Iran.

    Compensation is a solution that companies have been using informally for years—the proposed mechanism is feasible. But time is running out to get the SPV up and running. Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s atomic energy agency, recently warned that “the period of patience for our people is getting more limited.

    Europe’s SPV could be launched in the nick of time. France and Germany will likely formally establish the entity in January. But many critics believe the SPV will have a negligible impact on Iran’s economy, not least because it is unlikely that the mechanism will be used to facilitate European purchases of Iranian oil.

  • CIA Intercepts Underpin Assessment Saudi Crown Prince Targeted Khashoggi - WSJ
    Conclusion that Mohammad ‘probably ordered’ killing relies in part on 11 messages he sent to adviser who oversaw hit squad around time it killed journalist

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/cia-intercepts-underpin-assessment-saudi-crown-prince-targeted-khashoggi-154364

    WASHINGTON—Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent at least 11 messages to his closest adviser, who oversaw the team that killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in the hours before and after the journalist’s death in October, according to a highly classified CIA assessment.

    The Saudi leader also in August 2017 had told associates that if his efforts to persuade Mr. Khashoggi to return to Saudi Arabia weren’t successful, “we could possibly lure him outside Saudi Arabia and make arrangements,” according to the assessment, a communication that it states “seems to foreshadow the Saudi operation launched against Khashoggi.”

    Mr. Khashoggi, a critic of the kingdom’s leadership who lived in Virginia and wrote columns for the Washington Post, was killed by Saudi operatives on Oct. 2 shortly after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he sought papers needed to marry his Turkish fiancée.

    Excerpts of the Central Intelligence Agency’s assessment, which cites electronic intercepts and other clandestine information, were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

    The CIA last month concluded that Prince Mohammed had likely ordered Mr. Khashoggi’s killing, and President Trump and leaders in Congress were briefed on intelligence gathered by the spy agency. Mr. Trump afterward questioned the CIA’s conclusion about the prince, saying “maybe he did; and maybe he didn’t.”

    The previously unreported excerpts reviewed by the Journal state that the CIA has “medium-to-high confidence” that Prince Mohammed “personally targeted” Khashoggi and “probably ordered his death.” It added: “To be clear, we lack direct reporting of the Crown Prince issuing a kill order.”

    The electronic messages sent by Prince Mohammed were to Saud al-Qahtani, according to the CIA. Mr. Qahtani supervised the 15-man team that killed Mr. Khashoggi and, during the same period, was also in direct communication with the team’s leader in Istanbul, the assessment says. The content of the messages between Prince Mohammed and Mr. Qahtani isn’t known, the document says. It doesn’t say in what form the messages were sent.

    It is unclear from the excerpts whether the 2017 comments regarding luring Mr. Khashoggi to a third country cited in the assessment are from Prince Mohammed directly, or from someone else describing his remarks.

    Saudi Arabia has acknowledged Mr. Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate. But it has denied Prince Mohammed had any role and blamed the operation on rogue operatives. The Saudi Public Prosecutor’s office last month announced charges against 11 Saudis in connection with Mr. Khashoggi’s death, saying it would seek the death penalty in five cases. The office didn’t release their names.

    The U.S. Treasury Department in mid-November slapped sanctions on 17 Saudis whom it linked to the killing. But Mr. Trump, in a statement days later, said he intended to maintain strong relations with the crown prince because of Saudi Arabia’s opposition to Iran, its investments in the U.S. and its role in the oil market.

    The Trump administration’s posture has angered many in Congress, and the intercepts and intelligence gathered by the CIA may complicate Mr. Trump’s efforts to maintain relations with Prince Mohammed, the de facto leader one of the world’s biggest oil producers. The two are among the world’s leaders meeting this weekend in Buenos Aires for a summit of Group of 20 nations.

    Earlier this week, the Senate voted to begin consideration of a resolution to withdraw U.S. support for a Saudi-led military coalition fighting against Houthi rebels in Yemen, with senators venting their frustration over Mr. Trump’s reluctance to hold Prince Mohammed responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s death.

  • Going Through the Back Door : Will UAE Sideline Renewed Iran Sanctions ?
    https://insidearabia.com/uae-sideline-renewed-iran-sanctions

    Les Emirats et leur petite cuisine avec l’Iran : pas de raison deu cela cesse, y compris avec les sanctions US.

    In June 2018, the Center for Advanced Defense Studies in a report entitled, “Tracing Sanctions Evasion Through Dubai’s Luxury Real Estate Market,” revealed that Dubai is used by seven individuals sanctioned by the US and the EU as well as their respective networks who bought 81 luxury properties in the UAE as part of an extensive “money laundering scheme” worth millions.

    The report stated:

    “Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has become a favorable destination for these funds due in part to its high-end luxury real estate market and lax regulatory environment prizing secrecy and anonymity. While the UAE has taken steps to address this issue, its response thus far has failed to fully confront the underlying drivers enabling the manipulation of its real estate market. The permissive nature of this environment has global security implications far beyond the UAE. In an interconnected global economy with low barriers impeding the movement of funds, a single point of weakness in the regulatory system can empower a range of illicit actors. Our research shows that lax regulatory and enforcement environments –in Dubai, but also in other financial centers – have attracted criminal capital from around the world and offered a pathway into the international financial system for illicit actors and funds.”

    #Emirats #Iran

  • Iran Was Closer to a Nuclear Bomb Than Intelligence Agencies Thought – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/11/13/iran-was-closer-to-a-nuclear-bomb-than-intelligence-agencies-thought

    ecret Iranian archive seized by Israeli agents earlier this year indicates that Tehran’s nuclear program was more advanced than Western intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency had thought, according to a prominent nuclear expert who examined the documents.

    That conclusion in turn suggests that if Iran pulls out of the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal that U.S. President Donald Trump has already abandoned, it has the know-how to build a bomb fairly swiftly, perhaps in a matter of months, said David Albright, a physicist who runs the nonprofit Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C.

    Iran would still need to produce weapons-grade uranium. If it restarts its centrifuges, it could have enough in about seven to 12 months, added Albright, who is preparing reports on the archive.

    Before the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal mainly negotiated by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, that would have taken only two months, but under the accord Iran was required to ship about 97 percent of its nuclear fuel out of the country and dismantle most its centrifuges.
    […]
    The archive, which is well over 100,000 pages long, covers the period from 1999 to 2003, a decade before negotiations on a nuclear deal began. But the trove of documents demonstrates that Washington and the IAEA were constantly underestimating how close Tehran was to a bomb.
    […]
    Mossad agents seized the archive in a daring nighttime raid on a warehouse in Tehran at the end of January. In late April, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed some of the content in a speech that was panned as a melodramatic attempt to prod Trump into leaving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name for the Iran nuclear deal. “These files conclusively prove that Iran is brazenly lying when it said it never had a nuclear weapons program,” Netanyahu said.

  • The Illogic of the U.S. #Sanctions Snapback on #Iran | Crisis Group
    https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/gulf-and-arabian-peninsula/iran/b64-illogic-us-sanctions-snapback-iran

    A 40-year analysis of Iran’s economic performance and regional policy reveals little to no correlation between the two, as Tehran has continued to pursue policies it deems central to its national security no matter its degree of economic wellbeing at home.

    En Iran, les #pauvres, premières victimes des sanctions américaines
    https://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2018/10/23/en-iran-les-pauvres-premieres-victimes-des-sanctions-americaines_5373267_321

    #Etats-Unis

  • The Vulnerability Contest

    Traumatized Afghan child soldiers who were forced to fight in Syria struggle to find protection in Europe’s asylum lottery.

    Mosa did not choose to come forward. Word had spread among the thousands of asylum seekers huddled inside Moria that social workers were looking for lone children among the general population. High up on the hillside, in the Afghan area of the chaotic refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, some residents knew someone they suspected was still a minor. They led the aid workers to Mosa.

    The boy, whose broad and beardless face mark him out as a member of the Hazara ethnic group, had little reason to trust strangers. It was hard to persuade him just to sit with them and listen. Like many lone children, Mosa had slipped through the age assessment carried out on first arrival at Moria: He was registered as 27 years old. With the help of a translator, the social worker explained that there was still time to challenge his classification as an adult. But Mosa did not seem to be able to engage with what he was being told. It would take weeks to establish trust and reveal his real age and background.

    Most new arrivals experience shock when their hopes of a new life in Europe collide with Moria, the refugee camp most synonymous with the miserable consequences of Europe’s efforts to contain the flow of refugees and migrants across the Aegean. When it was built, the camp was meant to provide temporary shelter for fewer than 2,000 people. Since the European Union struck a deal in March 2016 with Turkey under which new arrivals are confined to Greece’s islands, Moria’s population has swollen to 9,000. It has become notorious for overcrowding, snowbound tents, freezing winter deaths, violent protests and suicides by adults and children alike.

    While all asylum systems are subjective, he said that the situation on Greece’s islands has turned the search for protection into a “lottery.”

    Stathis Poularakis is a lawyer who previously served for two years on an appeal committee dealing with asylum cases in Greece and has worked extensively on Lesbos. While all asylum systems are subjective, he said that the situation on Greece’s islands has turned the search for protection into a “lottery.”

    Asylum claims on Lesbos can take anywhere between six months and more than two years to be resolved. In the second quarter of 2018, Greece faced nearly four times as many asylum claims per capita as Germany. The E.U. has responded by increasing the presence of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and broadening its remit so that EASO officials can conduct asylum interviews. But the promises that EASO will bring Dutch-style efficiency conceal the fact that the vast majority of its hires are not seconded from other member states but drawn from the same pool of Greeks as the national asylum service.

    Asylum caseworkers at Moria face an overwhelming backlog and plummeting morale. A serving EASO official describes extraordinary “pressure to go faster” and said there was “so much subjectivity in the system.” The official also said that it was human nature to reject more claims “when you see every other country is closing its borders.”

    Meanwhile, the only way to escape Moria while your claim is being processed is to be recognized as a “vulnerable” case. Vulnerables get permission to move to the mainland or to more humane accommodation elsewhere on the island. The term is elastic and can apply to lone children and women, families or severely physically or mentally ill people. In all cases the onus is on the asylum seeker ultimately to persuade the asylum service, Greek doctors or the United Nations Refugee Agency that they are especially vulnerable.

    The ensuing scramble to get out of Moria has turned the camp into a vast “vulnerability contest,” said Poularakis. It is a ruthless competition that the most heavily traumatized are often in no condition to understand, let alone win.

    Twice a Refugee

    Mosa arrived at Moria in October 2017 and spent his first night in Europe sleeping rough outside the arrivals tent. While he slept someone stole his phone. When he awoke he was more worried about the lost phone than disputing the decision of the Frontex officer who registered him as an adult. Poularakis said age assessors are on the lookout for adults claiming to be children, but “if you say you’re an adult, no one is going to object.”

    Being a child has never afforded Mosa any protection in the past: He did not understand that his entire future could be at stake. Smugglers often warn refugee children not to reveal their real age, telling them that they will be prevented from traveling further if they do not pretend to be over 18 years old.

    Like many other Hazara of his generation, Mosa was born in Iran, the child of refugees who fled Afghanistan. Sometimes called “the cursed people,” the Hazara are followers of Shia Islam and an ethnic and religious minority in Afghanistan, a country whose wars are usually won by larger ethnic groups and followers of Sunni Islam. Their ancestry, traced by some historians to Genghis Khan, also means they are highly visible and have been targets for persecution by Afghan warlords from 19th-century Pashtun kings to today’s Taliban.

    In recent decades, millions of Hazara have fled Afghanistan, many of them to Iran, where their language, Dari, is a dialect of Persian Farsi, the country’s main language.

    “We had a life where we went from work to home, which were both underground in a basement,” he said. “There was nothing (for us) like strolling the streets. I was trying not to be seen by anyone. I ran from the police like I would from a street dog.”

    Iran hosts 950,000 Afghan refugees who are registered with the U.N. and another 1.5 million undocumented Afghans. There are no official refugee camps, making displaced Afghans one of the largest urban refugee populations in the world. For those without the money to pay bribes, there is no route to permanent residency or citizenship. Most refugees survive without papers on the outskirts of cities such as the capital, Tehran. Those who received permits, before Iran stopped issuing them altogether in 2007, must renew them annually. The charges are unpredictable and high. Mostly, the Afghan Hazara survive as an underclass, providing cheap labor in workshops and constructions sites. This was how Mosa grew up.

    “We had a life where we went from work to home, which were both underground in a basement,” he said. “There was nothing (for us) like strolling the streets. I was trying not to be seen by anyone. I ran from the police like I would from a street dog.”

    But he could not remain invisible forever and one day in October 2016, on his way home from work, he was detained by police for not having papers.

    Sitting in one of the cantinas opposite the entrance to Moria, Mosa haltingly explained what happened next. How he was threatened with prison in Iran or deportation to Afghanistan, a country in which he has never set foot. How he was told that that the only way out was to agree to fight in Syria – for which they would pay him and reward him with legal residence in Iran.

    “In Iran, you have to pay for papers,” said Mosa. “If you don’t pay, you don’t have papers. I do not know Afghanistan. I did not have a choice.”

    As he talked, Mosa spread out a sheaf of papers from a battered plastic wallet. Along with asylum documents was a small notepad decorated with pink and mauve elephants where he keeps the phone numbers of friends and family. It also contains a passport-sized green booklet with the crest of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is a temporary residence permit. Inside its shiny cover is the photograph of a scared-looking boy, whom the document claims was born 27 years ago. It is the only I.D. he has ever owned and the date of birth has been faked to hide the fact that the country that issues it has been sending children to war.

    Mosa is not alone among the Hazara boys who have arrived in Greece seeking protection, carrying identification papers with inflated ages. Refugees Deeply has documented the cases of three Hazara child soldiers and corroborated their accounts with testimony from two other underage survivors. Their stories are of childhoods twice denied: once in Syria, where they were forced to fight, and then again after fleeing to Europe, where they are caught up in a system more focused on hard borders than on identifying the most damaged and vulnerable refugees.

    From Teenage Kicks to Adult Nightmares

    Karim’s descent into hell began with a prank. Together with a couple of friends, he recorded an angsty song riffing on growing up as a Hazara teenager in Tehran. Made when he was 16 years old, the song was meant to be funny. His band did not even have a name. The boys uploaded the track on a local file-sharing platform in 2014 and were as surprised as anyone when it was downloaded thousands of times. But after the surprise came a creeping sense of fear. Undocumented Afghan refugee families living in Tehran usually try to avoid drawing attention to themselves. Karim tried to have the song deleted, but after two months there was a knock on the door. It was the police.

    “I asked them how they found me,” he said. “I had no documents but they knew where I lived.”

    Already estranged from his family, the teenager was transported from his life of working in a pharmacy and staying with friends to life in a prison outside the capital. After two weeks inside, he was given three choices: to serve a five-year sentence; to be deported to Afghanistan; or to redeem himself by joining the Fatemiyoun.

    According to Iranian propaganda, the Fatemiyoun are Afghan volunteers deployed to Syria to protect the tomb of Zainab, the granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammad. In reality, the Fatemiyoun Brigade is a unit of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, drawn overwhelmingly from Hazara communities, and it has fought in Iraq and Yemen, as well as Syria. Some estimates put its full strength at 15,000, which would make it the second-largest foreign force in support of the Assad regime, behind the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah.

    Karim was told he would be paid and given a one-year residence permit during leave back in Iran. Conscripts are promised that if they are “martyred,” their family will receive a pension and permanent status. “I wasn’t going to Afghanistan and I wasn’t going to prison,” said Karim. So he found himself forced to serve in the #Fatemiyoun.

    His first taste of the new life came when he was transferred to a training base outside Tehran, where the recruits, including other children, were given basic weapons training and religious indoctrination. They marched, crawled and prayed under the brigade’s yellow flag with a green arch, crossed by assault rifles and a Koranic phrase: “With the Help of God.”

    “Imagine me at 16,” said Karim. “I have no idea how to kill a bird. They got us to slaughter animals to get us ready. First, they prepare your brain to kill.”

    The 16-year-old’s first deployment was to Mosul in Iraq, where he served four months. When he was given leave back in Iran, Karim was told that to qualify for his residence permit he would need to serve a second term, this time in Syria. They were first sent into the fight against the so-called Islamic State in Raqqa. Because of his age and physique, Karim and some of the other underage soldiers were moved to the medical corps. He said that there were boys as young as 14 and he remembers a 15-year-old who fought using a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

    “One prisoner was killed by being hung by his hair from a tree. They cut off his fingers one by one and cauterized the wounds with gunpowder.”

    “I knew nothing about Syria. I was just trying to survive. They were making us hate ISIS, dehumanizing them. Telling us not to leave one of them alive.” Since media reports revealed the existence of the Fatemiyoun, the brigade has set up a page on Facebook. Among pictures of “proud volunteers,” it shows stories of captured ISIS prisoners being fed and cared for. Karim recalls a different story.

    “One prisoner was killed by being hung by his hair from a tree. They cut off his fingers one by one and cauterized the wounds with gunpowder.”

    The casualties on both sides were overwhelming. At the al-Razi hospital in Aleppo, the young medic saw the morgue overwhelmed with bodies being stored two or three to a compartment. Despite promises to reward the families of martyrs, Karim said many of the bodies were not sent back to Iran.

    Mosa’s basic training passed in a blur. A shy boy whose parents had divorced when he was young and whose father became an opium addict, he had always shrunk from violence. He never wanted to touch the toy guns that other boys played with. Now he was being taught to break down, clean and fire an assault rifle.

    The trainees were taken three times a day to the imam, who preached to them about their holy duty and the iniquities of ISIS, often referred to as Daesh.

    “They told us that Daesh was the same but worse than the Taliban,” said Mosa. “I didn’t listen to them. I didn’t go to Syria by choice. They forced me to. I just needed the paper.”

    Mosa was born in 2001. Before being deployed to Syria, the recruits were given I.D. tags and papers that deliberately overstated their age: In 2017, Human Rights Watch released photographs of the tombstones of eight Afghan children who had died in Syria and whose families identified them as having been under 18 years old. The clerk who filled out Mosa’s forms did not trouble himself with complex math: He just changed 2001 to 1991. Mosa was one of four underage soldiers in his group. The boys were scared – their hands shook so hard they kept dropping their weapons. Two of them were dead within days of reaching the front lines.

    “I didn’t even know where we were exactly, somewhere in the mountains in a foreign country. I was scared all the time. Every time I saw a friend dying in front of my eyes I was thinking I would be next,” said Mosa.

    He has flashbacks of a friend who died next to him after being shot in the face by a sniper. After the incident, he could not sleep for four nights. The worst, he said, were the sudden raids by ISIS when they would capture Fatemiyoun fighters: “God knows what happened to them.”

    Iran does not release figures on the number of Fatemiyoun casualties. In a rare interview earlier this year, a senior officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard suggested as many as 1,500 Fatemiyoun had been killed in Syria. In Mashhad, an Iranian city near the border with Afghanistan where the brigade was first recruited, video footage has emerged of families demanding the bodies of their young men believed to have died in Syria. Mosa recalls patrols in Syria where 150 men and boys would go out and only 120 would return.

    Escaping Syria

    Abbas had two weeks left in Syria before going back to Iran on leave. After 10 weeks in what he describes as a “living hell,” he had begun to believe he might make it out alive. It was his second stint in Syria and, still only 17 years old, he had been chosen to be a paramedic, riding in the back of a 2008 Chevrolet truck converted into a makeshift ambulance.

    He remembers thinking that the ambulance and the hospital would have to be better than the bitter cold of the front line. His abiding memory from then was the sound of incoming 120mm shells. “They had a special voice,” Abbas said. “And when you hear it, you must lie down.”

    Following 15 days of nursing training, during which he was taught how to find a vein and administer injections, he was now an ambulance man, collecting the dead and wounded from the battlefields on which the Fatemiyoun were fighting ISIS.

    Abbas grew up in Ghazni in Afghanistan, but his childhood ended when his father died from cancer in 2013. Now the provider for the family, he traveled with smugglers across the border into Iran, to work for a tailor in Tehran who had known his father. He worked without documents and faced the same threats as the undocumented Hazara children born in Iran. Even more dangerous were the few attempts he made to return to Ghazni. The third time he attempted to hop the border he was captured by Iranian police.

    Abbas was packed onto a transport, along with 23 other children, and sent to Ordugah-i Muhaceran, a camplike detention center outside Mashhad. When they got there the Shia Hazara boys were separated from Sunni Pashtuns, Afghanistan’s largest ethnic group, who were pushed back across the border. Abbas was given the same choice as Karim and Mosa before him: Afghanistan or Syria. Many of the other forced recruits Abbas met in training, and later fought alongside in Syria, were addicts with a history of substance abuse.

    Testimony from three Fatemiyoun child soldiers confirmed that Tramadol was routinely used by recruits to deaden their senses, leaving them “feeling nothing” even in combat situations but, nonetheless, able to stay awake for days at a time.

    The Fatemiyoun officers dealt with withdrawal symptoms by handing out Tramadol, an opioid painkiller that is used to treat back pain but sometimes abused as a cheap alternative to methadone. The drug is a slow-release analgesic. Testimony from three Fatemiyoun child soldiers confirmed that it was routinely used by recruits to deaden their senses, leaving them “feeling nothing” even in combat situations but, nonetheless, able to stay awake for days at a time. One of the children reiterated that the painkiller meant he felt nothing. Users describe feeling intensely thirsty but say they avoid drinking water because it triggers serious nausea and vomiting. Tramadol is addictive and prolonged use can lead to insomnia and seizures.

    Life in the ambulance had not met Abbas’ expectations. He was still sent to the front line, only now it was to collect the dead and mutilated. Some soldiers shot themselves in the feet to escape the conflict.

    “We picked up people with no feet and no hands. Some of them were my friends,” Abbas said. “One man was in small, small pieces. We collected body parts I could not recognize and I didn’t know if they were Syrian or Iranian or Afghan. We just put them in bags.”

    Abbas did not make it to the 12th week. One morning, driving along a rubble-strewn road, his ambulance collided with an anti-tank mine. Abbas’ last memory of Syria is seeing the back doors of the vehicle blasted outward as he was thrown onto the road.

    When he awoke he was in a hospital bed in Iran. He would later learn that the Syrian ambulance driver had been killed and that the other Afghan medic in the vehicle had lost both his legs. At the time, his only thought was to escape.

    The Toll on Child Soldiers

    Alice Roorda first came into contact with child soldiers in 2001 in the refugee camps of Sierra Leone in West Africa. A child psychologist, she was sent there by the United Kingdom-based charity War Child. She was one of three psychologists for a camp of more than 5,000 heavily traumatized survivors of one of West Africa’s more brutal conflicts.

    “There was almost nothing we could do,” she admitted.

    The experience, together with later work in Uganda, has given her a deep grounding in the effects of war and post-conflict trauma on children. She said prolonged exposure to conflict zones has physical as well as psychological effects.

    “If you are chronically stressed, as in a war zone, you have consistently high levels of the two basic stress hormones: adrenaline and cortisol.”

    Even after reaching a calmer situation, the “stress baseline” remains high, she said. This impacts everything from the immune system to bowel movements. Veterans often suffer from complications related to the continual engagement of the psoas, or “fear muscle” – the deepest muscles in the body’s core, which connect the spine, through the pelvis, to the femurs.

    “With prolonged stress you start to see the world around you as more dangerous.” The medial prefrontal cortex, the section of the brain that interprets threat levels, is also affected, said Roorda. This part of the brain is sometimes called the “watchtower.”

    “When your watchtower isn’t functioning well you see everything as more dangerous. You are on high alert. This is not a conscious response; it is because the stress is already so close to the surface.”

    Psychological conditions that can be expected to develop include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Left untreated, these stress levels can lead to physical symptoms ranging from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME) to high blood pressure or irritable bowel syndrome. Also common are heightened sensitivity to noise and insomnia.

    The trauma of war can also leave children frozen at the point when they were traumatized. “Their life is organized as if the trauma is still ongoing,” said Roorda. “It is difficult for them to take care of themselves, to make rational well informed choices, and to trust people.”

    The starting point for any treatment of child soldiers, said Roorda, is a calm environment. They need to release the tension with support groups and physical therapy, she said, and “a normal bedtime.”

    The Dutch psychologist, who is now based in Athens, acknowledged that what she is describing is the exact opposite of the conditions at #Moria.

    Endgame

    Karim is convinced that his facility for English has saved his life. While most Hazara boys arrive in Europe speaking only Farsi, Karim had taught himself some basic English before reaching Greece. As a boy in Tehran he had spent hours every day trying to pick up words and phrases from movies that he watched with subtitles on his phone. His favorite was The Godfather, which he said he must have seen 25 times. He now calls English his “safe zone” and said he prefers it to Farsi.

    When Karim reached Greece in March 2016, new arrivals were not yet confined to the islands. No one asked him if he was a child or an adult. He paid smugglers to help him escape Iran while on leave from Syria and after crossing through Turkey landed on Chios. Within a day and a half, he had passed through the port of Piraeus and reached Greece’s northern border with Macedonia, at Idomeni.

    When he realized the border was closed, he talked to some of the international aid workers who had come to help at the makeshift encampment where tens of thousands of refugees and migrants waited for a border that would not reopen. They ended up hiring him as a translator. Two years on, his English is now much improved and Karim has worked for a string of international NGOs and a branch of the Greek armed forces, where he was helped to successfully apply for asylum.

    The same job has also brought him to Moria. He earns an above-average salary for Greece and at first he said that his work on Lesbos is positive: “I’m not the only one who has a shitty background. It balances my mind to know that I’m not the only one.”

    But then he admits that it is difficult hearing and interpreting versions of his own life story from Afghan asylum seekers every day at work. He has had problems with depression and suffered flashbacks, “even though I’m in a safe country now.”

    Abbas got the help he needed to win the vulnerability contest. After he was initially registered as an adult, his age assessment was overturned and he was transferred from Moria to a shelter for children on Lesbos. He has since been moved again to a shelter in mainland Greece. While he waits to hear the decision on his protection status, Abbas – like other asylum seekers in Greece – receives 150 euros ($170) a month. This amount needs to cover all his expenses, from food and clothing to phone credit. The money is not enough to cover a regular course of the antidepressant Prozac and the sleeping pills he was prescribed by the psychiatrist he was able to see on Lesbos.

    “I save them for when it gets really bad,” he said.

    Since moving to the mainland he has been hospitalized once with convulsions, but his main worry is the pain in his groin. Abbas underwent a hernia operation in Iran, the result of injuries sustained as a child lifting adult bodies into the ambulance. He has been told that he will need to wait for four months to see a doctor in Greece who can tell him if he needs another operation.

    “I would like to go back to school,” he said. But in reality, Abbas knows that he will need to work and there is little future for an Afghan boy who can no longer lift heavy weights.

    Walking into an Afghan restaurant in downtown Athens – near Victoria Square, where the people smugglers do business – Abbas is thrilled to see Farsi singers performing on the television above the door. “I haven’t been in an Afghan restaurant for maybe three years,” he said to explain his excitement. His face brightens again when he catches sight of Ghormeh sabzi, a herb stew popular in Afghanistan and Iran that reminds him of his mother. “I miss being with them,” he said, “being among my family.”

    When the dish arrives he pauses before eating, taking out his phone and carefully photographing the plate from every angle.

    Mosa is about to mark the end of a full year in Moria. He remains in the same drab tent that reminds him every day of Syria. Serious weight loss has made his long limbs – the ones that made it easier for adults to pretend he was not a child – almost comically thin. His skin is laced with scars, but he refuses to go into detail about how he got them. Mosa has now turned 18 and seems to realize that his best chance of getting help may have gone.

    “Those people who don’t have problems, they give them vulnerability (status),” he said with evident anger. “If you tell them the truth, they don’t help you.”

    Then he apologises for the flash of temper. “I get upset and angry and my body shakes,” he said.

    Mosa explained that now when he gets angry he has learned to remove himself: “Sometimes I stuff my ears with toilet paper to make it quiet.”

    It is 10 months since Mosa had his asylum interview. The questions he expected about his time in the Fatemiyoun never came up. Instead, the interviewers asked him why he had not stayed in Turkey after reaching that country, having run away while on leave in Iran.

    The questions they did ask him point to his likely rejection and deportation. Why, he was asked, was his fear of being persecuted in Afghanistan credible? He told them that he has heard from other Afghan boys that police and security services in the capital, Kabul, were arresting ex-combatants from Syria.

    Like teenagers everywhere, many of the younger Fatemiyoun conscripts took selfies in Syria and posted them on Facebook or shared them on WhatsApp. The images, which include uniforms and insignia, can make him a target for Sunni reprisals. These pictures now haunt him as much as the faces of his dead comrades.

    Meanwhile, the fate he suffered two tours in Syria to avoid now seems to be the most that Europe can offer him. Without any of his earlier anger, he said, “I prefer to kill myself here than go to Afghanistan.”

    #enfants-soldats #syrie #réfugiés #asile #migrations #guerre #conflit #réfugiés_afghans #Afghanistan #ISIS #EI #Etat_islamique #trauma #traumatisme #vulnérabilité

    ping @isskein

  • Exclusive: Mesa to include nine countries while prioritising Iran threat - The National

    https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/exclusive-mesa-to-include-nine-countries-while-prioritising-iran-threat-

    S Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Gulf Affairs Tim Lenderking has spent the last three weeks in shuttle regional diplomacy across the Gulf to lay the groundwork for a US-hosted summit in January that would launch the Middle East Strategic Alliance (Mesa), a concept similar to an Arab Nato.

    In an interview with The National on Wednesday, Mr Lenderking divulged details about the structure of Mesa and its long term prospects. He said besides the Gulf Cooperation Council members – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman – the US and both Egypt and Jordan would be members of such an alliance.

    Mr Lenderking said that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be hosting a GCC + 2 meeting on the margins of United Nations General Assembly on Friday to prepare for the January summit.

    “This stems from the Riyadh summit in 2017 where everyone agreed that the US and the GCC would meet on an annual basis...we added on top of that the keen interest on both sides in building Mesa,” Mr Lenderking explained. The alliance would be based on a security, economic and political agreement that would bind together the GCC countries, along with the US, Egypt and Jordan.

    Notwithstanding the different policy priorities within the GCC itself, Mr Lenderking said the idea of Mesa is “it builds a good strong shield against threats in the Gulf,” naming Iran, cyber concerns, attacks on infrastructure, and coordinating conflict management from Syria to Yemen as part of its agenda.

    “The more we have coordinated efforts, the more effective in enhancing stability,” he said, adding that Iran was the “number one threat” on the Mesa list.

    The senior US official confirmed that the US would be part of the alliance and “we [US] would like to agree on the concept of Mesa by the January summit.”

    He cautioned, however, that these conversations are still in their early stages and “if we find we need to change dates we need to be flexible on that”.

  • German firms lead exodus out of Iran | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 21.09.2018
    https://www.dw.com/en/german-firms-lead-exodus-out-of-iran/a-45577191

    The EU has responded to the sanctions by updating a Blocking Statute to protect EU companies doing business with Iran from the impact of US sanctions.

    But the EU signatories to the deal — Germany, France and the UK — have failed so far to convince US President Donald Trump not to reimpose sanctions, or to persuade him to grant waivers for EU-based companies doing business with Tehran.

    Many observers expect many more big firms to leave Iran. “We expect almost all of the European and Japanese companies along with major Korean companies to leave #Iran,” Sara Vakhshouri, the president of SVB Energy International in Washington DC, told DW.

    #ue

  • Now you see it, now you don’t: oil surplus vanishes ahead of Iran d...
    https://diasp.eu/p/7650967

    Now you see it, now you don’t: oil surplus vanishes ahead of Iran deadline

    Source: Reuters

    “An overhang of homeless crude in the Atlantic Basin has halved in recent weeks, suggesting oil traders are bracing for a further supply loss from Iran due to U.S. sanctions and a new rally in prices. Iran’s oil exports are already dropping fast as refiners scurry to find alternatives ahead of a reimposition of U.S. sanctions in early November, which in turn has helped drain a glut of unsold oil. The millions of unsold barrels of crude that had pooled around northwest Europe, the Mediterranean and West Africa over July and August are rapidly draining. A months-long surplus in the West African market that depressed prices to their lowest in months has almost vanished.” (08/30/18) (...)

  • Trump’s War of Words With Iran Shines Spotlight on Vital Oil Route
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-23/trump-war-of-words-with-iran-shines-spotlight-on-vital-oil-route

    Comment acheminer le pétrole du Moyen-Orient en se passant du #détroit_d'Ormuz

    The war of words between U.S. President Donald Trump and his counterpart in Iran over oil exports and sanctions is shining a spotlight on the narrow, twisting conduit for about 30 percent of the world’s seaborne-traded crude.

    The Middle East’s biggest oil exporters rely on the #Strait_of_Hormuz, the passage linking the Persian Gulf with global waterways, for the vast majority of their crude shipments — some 17.5 million barrels a day.

    Should a regional conflict block that bottleneck, three of the largest Gulf Arab crude producers have pipeline networks that would potentially enable them to export as much as 4.1 million barrels via alternative outlets, according to Bloomberg calculations. Even so, this amount of oil, if sent by pipeline, would be less than a quarter of the total that typically sails on tankers through Hormuz.

  • ’This is Iraq’: Rapper decries US legacy in Iraq in bitter parody of Childish Gambino (VIDEO) — RT World News
    https://www.rt.com/news/433651-iraq-rapper-us-torture-video
    https://cdni.rt.com/files/2018.07/article/5b4fdc93fc7e9352138b4605.png

    A musical video by an Iraqi rapper calling out the US on its abuses at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in the war-ravaged country following the 2003 invasion has gone viral, racking up over 500,000 views.

    The video was filmed by rapper I-NZ as another parody of Childish Gambino’s ’This is America.’ While Gambino took on police brutality and racial bias in his acclaimed work, the Iraqi rapper chose to cast the light on the ugly results of the Iraq War, with its well-documented instances of maltreatment and humiliation of detainees by US soldiers. The name of the former US military prison, Abu Ghraib, the video’s supposed set, became synonymous with abuse after harrowing images and accounts of physical and psychological torture within its walls became public in 2004.

    (...) The rapper, who was born to Iraqi parents and grew up in New Zealand and has never actually been to Iraq in his life, highlights the lack of coverage on the issue and the impunity of foreign forces and local corrupt elites with the line: “They’re immune, this is telly, that’s the news, media blackout, then it’s lights out, keep sniffin’ the tar.” The video also mocks former US President George W Bush for his infamous May 2003 speech, which he delivered under a “Mission Accomplished” banner, and after which the war continued for eight more years, arguably paving the way for the rise of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and for leaving the country in economic and political disarray.

    The video was released on July 4, and it has been watched over 500,000 times on YouTube since. Speaking to VICE Arabic, the rapper said that he did not initially plan for it to coincide with the US Independence Day, however, he then decided to speed up the release to draw more attention to the issue.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvxZLKtkgiM

    #irak #rap

    • أدب .. بدر شاكر السياب : النهر و الموت
      http://www.adab.com/modules.php?name=Sh3er&doWhat=shqas&qid=68099

      بويب
      بويب
      أجراس برج ضاع في قرارة البحر
      الماء في الجرار و الغروب في الشجر
      و تنضح الجرار أجراسا من المطر
      بلورها يذوب في أنين
      بويب يا بويب
      فيدلهم في دمي حنين
      إليك يا بويب

    • The River And The Death Poem by Badr Shakir al-Sayyab - Poem Hunter
      https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-river-and-the-death

      Buwaib , Oh Buwaib ,
      Bells of a lighthouse lost at the bottom of the sea ,
      Water is in the pots , and the sunset in the trees ,
      The pots ooze bells of rain ,
      Their crystal melts away in wailing .

      Buwaib , Oh Buwaib !
      Sympathy for you , Buwaib darkens in my blood ,
      Sad like rain , O my river ,
      I wish I could run in the darkness ,
      Tightening my both fists to carry ,
      In each finger , a year of yearning ,
      As if I were carrying votive offerings ,
      Of wheat and roses .
      I wish I could approach from the hills beds ,
      To glance the moon ,
      Wading between your banks ,
      Planting shadows and filling the baskets ,
      With water , fish and roses .
      I wish I could wade you , to follow the moon ,
      And hear the pebbles rattle in the bottom ,
      The rattling of thousands of sparrows on the trees .
      Are you a wood of tears or a river ?
      And will the fish sleep at dawn ?
      And will these stars stay waiting ,
      To feed with silk thousands of needles ?
      And you , Buwaib , how I wish I could sink into you ,
      To pick up oyster shells to build a house out of them ,
      To enlighten with it the verdancy of water and trees ,
      Of what the stars and the moon ooze ,
      To reach the sea in you with the ebb ,
      For death is a strange world ,
      That enchants the young ,
      And its hidden door was with you , Buwaib .

      Buwaib , O Buwaib .
      Twenty years have gone , every year is like ages ,
      And today , when darkness overcast ,
      To stay up sleepless in bed ,
      And to delicate the conscience up to the daylight ,
      Like a tree with delicate branches , birds and fruits .
      I feel the blood , the tears as the rain ,
      Ooze by the sad world .
      Bells of the dead are shaking in my veins ,
      To darken sympathy in my blood ,
      Sympathy for a bullet to cut open the depths of my heart ,
      With its constrictive ice ,
      To burn up the bones like the hell .
      I wish I could run to support the strugglers ,
      To tighten my both fists and slap the fate .
      I wish I could drown in my blood to the bottom ,
      To bear the burden with human beings ,
      To infuse life . My death is then triumph .

      Translated by : Jamil Azeez Mohammad
      Badr Shakir al-Sayyab

    • Badr Shakir al-Sayyab — Wikipédia
      https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badr_Shakir_al-Sayyab

      Badr Shakir al-Sayyab (en arabe : بدر شاكر السياب ; Djaykur, 24 décembre 1926 - Koweït, 24 décembre 1964) est un poète et traducteur irakien de langue arabe. Il est la référence incontestée de la poésie arabe moderne et l’un des fondateurs du Vers libre dans la littérature arabe.

    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Buwaib

      Battle of Buwaib - Wikipedia
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Buwaib

      Battle of Buwaib (Arabic: معركة البويب‎) was fought between Sassanid Empire and Rashidun Caliphate soon after Battle of the Bridge.
      […]
      The war ended with huge success to the Muslims in which they killed the Persian leader Mihran bin Badhan, and got momentum to further expand their wars against the Sassanids and their allies.

    • بدر شاكر السياب - انشودة المطر - song of the rain
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NTD35zenp0

      Rain Song Poem by Badr Shakir al-Sayyab - Poem Hunter
      https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/rain-song-7

      [… 7:12]
      In every drop of rain
      A red or yellow color buds from the seeds of flowers.
      Every tear wept by the hungry and naked people
      And every spilt drop of slaves’ blood
      Is a smile aimed at a new dawn,
      A nipple turning rosy in an infant’s lips
      In the young world of tomorrow, bringer of life.
      Drip.....
      Drop..... the rain . . .In the rain.
      Iraq will blossom one day ’
      I cry out to the Gulf: ’O Gulf,
      Giver of pearls, shells and death!’
      The echo replies
      As if lamenting:
      ’O Gulf,
      Giver of shells and death.’
      And across the sands from among its lavish gifts
      The Gulf scatters fuming froth and shells
      And the skeletons of miserable drowned emigrants
      Who drank death forever
      From the depths of the Gulf, from the ground of its silence,
      And in Iraq a thousand serpents drink the nectar
      From a flower the Euphrates has nourished with dew.
      I hear the echo
      Ringing in the Gulf:
      ’Rain . . .
      Drip, drop, the rain . . .
      Drip, drop.’

      In every drop of rain
      A red or yellow color buds from the seeds of flowers.
      Every tear wept by the hungry and naked people
      And every spilt drop of slaves’ blood
      Is a smile aimed at a new dawn,
      A nipple turning rosy in an infant’s lips
      In the young world of tomorrow, bringer of life.
      And still the rain pours down.

      Translated by: Lena jayyusi and Christopher Middleton

  • How US sanctions on Iran can help Russia win trade battle with European rivals — RT Business News
    https://www.rt.com/business/428532-russia-iran-us-sanctions

    Russian companies working in Iran have an advantage over European rivals – they are already under US sanctions, so they have nothing to lose, TeleTrade Chief Analyst Petr Pushkarev told RT.

    Russian companies will continue doing business in Iran as if nothing happened at all – in oil, gas and nuclear energy. They have this advantage over the Europeans, who, like Total or Airbus, have major businesses in the US and are listed on American exchanges,” Pushkarev said.

    India & Iran drop dollar in oil trade to bypass US sanctions – report
    Companies from Russia can simply ignore Washington’s threats of imposing fines for trade with Iran or for conducting projects in Iran, the analyst says. Russian trade with Iran accounts only for $2 billion, but it can grow significantly, Pushkarev notes.

    This is quite real because Russia and Iran are natural allies in Syria. #Rosneft has preliminary agreements with Iran worth up to $30 billion, and even if only a small part of these plans are implemented with Russia, and not with European partners, it can be a significant gain for Moscow,” he said.

    Another possible sphere for boosting business ties between Moscow and Tehran are contracts for the delivery of civil aviation aircraft, Pushkarev says. Iran planned the purchase of 100 aircraft from Boeing, 80 from Airbus and another 20 from the Franco-Italian ATR. “Russia will have a chance to deliver its MC-21 jets, if Iran agrees to wait for a couple of years, since the aircraft is just on the way and ends the testing phase,” he said.

    Une ouverture à l’exportation pour le tout nouveau Irkout #MS-21 ?

    Irkout MS-21 — Wikipédia
    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irkout_MS-21

    En 2009, Irkut annonce une première sortie de chaîne en 2014 et une certification européenne en 2016. Sa version de base MS-21-200 de 150 places devrait être suivie du MS-21-300 de 180 places et du MS-21-400 de 210 places.

    En septembre 2014, à la suite de retards, on déclare qu’il fera son premier vol en avril 2016 et entrera en service en 2017. Il est prévu d’en construire 50 exemplaires par an à partir de 2018.

    Le MS-21-300 effectue son premier vol le 28 mai 2017 à Irkoutsk. Il est rejoint par un deuxième prototype le 12 mai 2018.

  • Israel braces for Iran missile attack from Syria over last month’s deadly strike

    Israeli officials believe Iran is determined to retaliate for the April 9 airstrike on Syria’s T4 airbase, which killed seven Iranian military advisers and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards

    Amos Harel May 06, 2018
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-braces-for-iran-missile-attack-from-syria-over-t4-airstrike

    Israeli defense officials are bracing for the possibility of an Iranian revenge attack from Syria in the near future, in the form of rocket and missile launches at northern Israel.
    Officials believe Iran is determined to retaliate for the April 9 airstrike on Syria’s T4 airbase, which killed seven Iranian military advisers and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Iran blames Israel for this attack.
    >> Iran’s proxy wars: The four battlegrounds Iran uses to threaten Israel and the Middle East | Analysis: Despite Iran’s threats, Israeli army pushes aggressive line against Tehran in Syria >>
    Israel has detected unusual involvement by Hezbollah in Iran’s preparations for retaliation, even though the organization has been trying to keep its activity low-profile so as not to affect its position within Lebanon. Aside from Hezbollah commanders, operatives from the Shi’ite militias that Iran funds in Syria have also been active in the preparations.
    The operational planning, however, is being done by members of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds force.

  • Despite Iran’s threats, Israeli army pushes aggressive line against Tehran in Syria

    IDF believes Iran won’t strike back before Trump’s deadline on nuclear deal, elections in Lebanon

    Amos Harel May 04, 2018
    Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-israeli-army-chief-eisenkot-stay-forceful-in-syria-despite-iran-1.

    Both the government and the military are sticking to an aggressive policy on Iran, arguing that Israel must continue to act in any way possible to stop Iran’s military consolidation in Syria.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    Even after the two latest airstrikes attributed to Israel in Syria, on April 9 and April 29, and despite Iran’s threats of revenge, there has been no sign of any change in Israeli policy.
    The person spearheading this activist policy in the north is Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, whose position is backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Reportedly, no cabinet minister has voiced opposition to the IDF’s stance, despite the risks it entails.
    According to the defense establishment’s analysis, Iran continues to send advanced weapons systems to Syria. But these arms are no longer necessarily slated to be passed on to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Instead, they are being used to bolster Iran’s military deployment in Syria, and may even be meant to prepare an Iranian military response against Israel.

    For now, however, Tehran seems to be debating over the nature of its promised retaliation against Israel, and even more, over its timing.
    One theory being advanced is that Tehran may be reluctant to respond prior to Lebanon’s parliamentary elections this coming Sunday and U.S. President Donald Trump’s expected announcement on May 12 as to whether his country is quitting the nuclear agreement with Iran. Israel’s announcement of the theft of Iran’s nuclear archive by Mossad agents is likely to increase Iranian leaders’ embarrassment.

  • Syria tensions : Unannounced Air Force flyover terrifies central Israel - Israel News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/syria-tensions-unannounced-air-force-flyover-terrifies-central-israel-1.599

    Israeli jet fighters appeared over the skies of central Israel Thursday, alarming citizens as they circled low amid rising tensions in the Middle East, in what was later revealed to be an unannounced flyover rehearsal for Israel’s Independence Day celebrations. The army later appologized for causing the scare.

    During the flyover, Israeli jets fired flares from a system designed to counter anti-aircraft missiles. For a layman watching, these could seem like missile fire from the fighter jets.

    The IDF usually notifies the public regarding training drills involving increased military activity.

    Calls from concerned Tel Aviv residents poured into police hotlines, prompting the Israeli Defense Forces to clarify it was a training drill. Many Israelis went on social media and criticized the fact that there was no early notice in the media - particulalry in light of Iran’s recent threats to exact revenge on Israel for the strike in Syria.

  • Iraq: Al-Sadr & Communist Party ally against Corruption, Iranian Hegemony
    https://www.juancole.com/2018/03/communist-corruption-hegemony.html

    Nativist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, 44, is encouraging members of his Sadr Movement to vote in the upcoming national elections for parliament. “Vote,” he said, “and save our country from corruption.”
    A newly formed political party, al-Istiqama or the Upright Party, will hew the Sadrist line.
    There have been reports that Sadr’s party will ally with the Iraqi Communist Party on an anti-sectarian ticket. Both Sadr and the small Communist Party have criticized the spoils system of Iraq where government positions and contracts are doled out according to membership in a sectarian political party.
    Both objected vigorously to the statement of Ali Akbar Vilayeti, an adviser to Iran’s clerical Leader Ali Khamenei, on his visit to Baghdad in February that he would not allow the return of liberals, secularists and Communists in Iraq.
    It was widely thought that he was criticizing Sadr for his alliance with the Communists and the “civil” or secular movement in Iraq.

  • Iran’s Zarif forced to ask German military for help to refuel his official jet - The National
    https://www.thenational.ae/world/iran-s-zarif-forced-to-ask-german-military-for-help-to-refuel-his-offici

    Munich airport authorities told Mr Zarif’s department he could either fly in with a sufficient reserve of fuel for his trip to Munich, in the southern state of Bavaria, or fly to the nearby Austrian capital of Vienna, where the suppliers did not take the same precautionary view.

    Suddeutsche Zeitung said Mr Zarif had planned to travel to Moscow after leaving the security conference

    Iranian officials rejected the choices and instead requested the conference organiser, Wolfgang Ischinger, who was previously Germany’s ambassador to the US, lobby the German government to assist their plans. Germany’s defence ministry agreed to take over the refuelling a day before Mr Zarif’s arrival.

    In a robust address to the conference, Mr McMaster decried the European rush to invest in Iran following the 2015 accord that eased sanctions over its nuclear programme.

    “Now is also the time to address serious flaws in the Iran deal and counter Iran’s destabilising activities, including its development and proliferation of missiles—and its support for terrorist proxies and militias that fuel destructive conflicts across the greater Middle East,” the US national security adviser said. “The Iranian regime foments this violence with support from commercial entities affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or IRGC—including Mahan Air, which lands right here in Munich Airport.”

    In addition to citing Mahan Air, a subsidiary of the state airline, Mr McMaster went on to say that corporations dealing with Iran “might as well cut the IRGC a cheque” to fund its killing activities in the Middle East.

    #Europe #comparses #Etats-Unis