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  • Tajikistan cedes land to China - BBC News (janvier 2011)

    China and Tajikistan say that they have settled a century-old border dispute, after the Central Asian nation agreed to cede land to China.
    The Tajik parliament voted on Wednesday to ratify a 1999 deal handing over 386 square miles (1,000 sq km) of land in the remote #Pamir mountain range.
    The Tajik foreign minister said that this represented 5.5% of the land that Beijing had sought.
    China said the move thoroughly resolved the border dispute.
    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei gave no details on the treaty.
    But he said the dispute was solved “according to universally recognised norms of international law through equal consultations”.


    Note : la frontière entre le #Tadjikistan et la #Chine ne semble toujours pas avoir été délimitée. Je n’en trouve pas le tracé actuel et Gg:maps non plus qui la laisse en pointillé (sur une longeur d’un peu plus de 100 km. On notera la proximité immédiate de la (très) stratégique #Route_du_Pamir (M41 sur la carte)

  • Asia Times Online : : Sep 2, ’14
    Obama’s ’stupid stuff’ legacy
    By Pepe Escobar

    (...) After dabbling briefly with “leading from behind” - a non-starter - Obama finally went Mackinderesque with his stellar “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” foreign policy doctrine.

    Nevertheless, an always alert former secretary of state Hillary Clinton said “Don’t do Stupid Stuff” isn’t a “foreign policy organizing principle”. Yet “Stupid Stuff” is all that the Obama foreign policy team knows how to do.

    Starting with Obama treating Russia under President Vladimir Putin the way Hillary’s husband treated Russia under vodka container Boris Yeltsin. Then came the decision - without any public debate - to start bombing Iraq all over again. And soon Syria. Bombs Away in Syraq!

    So “protect” Yazidis, yes. Protect Gazans, no. “Protect” Kiev’s bunch of neo-Nazis, fascists and shady oligarchs, yes. Protect Russophones in Eastern Ukraine, no.

    It all started with protecting Irbil - already protected by Sumerian goddess Ishtar for millennia. Then protecting Irbil and Baghdad. Then protecting all “strategic” sites in Iraq.

    Retired General Carter Ham of AFRICOM/"We came, we saw, he died" fame, was adamant that it will be “very difficult” to pull off so much protecting with only a few fighter jets. So drones will be needed. And troops on the ground.

    From protecting ExxonMobil and Chevron to double bombing in Syraq. No wonder the Return of the Living (Neo-Con) Dead are so excited. It’s the Greater Middle East all over again. And guess who will be part of the coalition of the willing to fight the Caliph? Britain, Australia, Turkey, Jordan and Gulf Cooperation Council stalwarts Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    Almost the same bunch (five among seven) that enabled the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the first place, from “Assad must go” to “good” and “bad” jihadis, and finally to ISIS (now the Islamic State) configured as the sprawling abode - complete with flush private army - of Caliph Ibrahim.

    And no, there’s no strategy. Hee haw! (...)

  • Asia Times Online : : World Affairs

    And yet, and as usual with all things Brazil, all things World Cup got incredibly messy - a running metaphor of the typical assortment of ills faced by the struggling Global South. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been forced to appeal to the historical stereotype of the Brazilian “cordial man” and stress tolerance, diversity, dialogue and even sustainability, as well as condemning racism and prejudice, to exhort the population to forget about their troubles and welcome an army of foreign visitors.

    That’s a given, considering the average Brazilian is heartwarming and exceedingly friendly; the devil is in the details - as in, for instance, at least 200,000 poor people evicted from their places or at least threatened with eviction, to make way for major works bound to increase “urban mobility”. Well, only 10% of these works were finished, due in most cases to massive corruption. In Rio, not a single real was invested in a chaotic transport system serving the proletarian peripheral sprawl.

  • Gonzo-journalisme en provence :

    Asia Times Online : : World Affairs

    ON THE ROAD IN PROVENCE - To quote Lenin, what is to be done? Back to Brussels and Berlin? A close encounter with dreary Northern NATOstan, consumed by its paranoid anti-Russia obsession and enslaved by the infinitely expandable Pentagon euro-scam? Perhaps a jaunt to Syria war junkie Erdogastan?

    Talk about a no contest. Joie de vivre settled it; thus The Roving

    Eye hooked up with Nick, The Roving Son, in Catalonia, and armed with La Piccolina - Nick’s vintage, go-go ’80s Peugeot caravan powered by a Citroen engine - we hit the road in Provence, prime southern NATOstan real estate. Instead of breaking crystal meth, non-stop breaking of fine infidel liquids and choice Provencal gastronomy.

    #NATOstan #gonzo #apt

  • Asia Times Online :: Why France is playing ’stupid’ on Iran
    Nov 12, ’13 / By Pepe Escobar

    Meet Bandar Fabius
    As far as French behavior is concerned, it is conditioned as much by the formidable Israeli lobby in Paris as hard cash from Gulf petro-monarchies.

    It certainly helped that, according to The Times of Israel, French parliament member Meyer Habib - also a holder of an Israeli passport, a former official Likud spokesperson in France, and a close pal of Bibi’s - called French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to tell him Israel would attack Iranian nuclear installations if the current deal on the table was clinched. [3]

    Call it the AIPAC effect. Habib is the vice-president of the Conseil Representatif des Institutions juives de France, or CRIF - the French equivalent to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The ghostwriter of President Hollande’s speeches also happens to be a member of CRIF.

    Fabius, grandiloquent and as slippery as runny Roquefort, invoked - what else - “security concerns of Israel” to derail Geneva. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammed Javed Zarif were always extremely worried about being sabotaged by their own internal opposition, the hard line Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. So their number one directive was that no details of the deal should be leaked during the negotiations.

    That’s exactly what Fabius did. Even before Kerry landed in Geneva, Fabius was telling a French radio station that Paris would not accept a jeu des dupes ("fools’ game").

    The role of Fabius was pricelessly summed up by the proverbial unnamed Western diplomat telling Reuters, “The Americans, the EU and the Iranians have been working intensively for months on this proposal, and this is nothing more than an attempt by Fabius to insert himself into relevance late in the negotiations.” [4]

    Terabytes of spin have been asserting that Washington and Paris are playing good cop-bad cop on the Iranian dossier. Not exactly; it’s more like the Gallic rooster once again showing off.

    Hollande was gung-ho on bombing Damascus when Obama backed off at the 11th minute from the Pentagon’s “limited” attack; Hollande was left staring at a stale bottle of Moet. On both Syria and Lebanon, Paris is unabashedly playing a mix of neocolonial hugs and kisses while sharing the bed with Israel and the House of Saud.

    But why, once again, shoot itself in the foot? Paris has lost a lot of money - not to mention French jobs, via automaker Peugeot - because of the Iran sanctions dementia.

    Ah, but there is always the seduction of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush, and the Gulf petro-monarchies. In a nutshell; Bandar Fabius was nothing but playing paperboy for the House of Saud. The prize: huge military contracts - aircraft, warships, missile systems - and possible construction of nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia, a deal similar to the one energy giant French Areva clinched last year with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

    The ghost of Montaigne must be squirming; France does not do irony anymore. Iran has no right to have its own nuclear plants, but France builds them and operates them for its Wahhabi clients.

    The West doing Israel’s bidding makes sense; after all Israel may also be interpreted as a Western aircraft carrier in the heart of the Arab Middle East. As for France doing the Wahhabis’ bidding, just follow the money - from Veolia building and operating water desalination plants in Saudi Arabia to all those Rafale fighter jets to be unloaded.

    Qatar, that slavery paradise presented by FIFA with a World Cup, has already invested over US$15 billion - and counting - in France, from shares in Veolia and energy behemoth Total to construction firm Vinci, media giant Lagardere, and full control of Paris Saint Germain, home of the new King of Paris, football icon Zlatan “Ibracadabra” Ibrahimovic. Not to mention that Qatar has bought virtually every significant square inch between Madeleine and Opera in Paris.

    Hollande is a joke. This week he’s on the cover of the Courrier International weekly (headline: “The Art of the Fall”), with pan-European media judging him “incoherent”, “paralyzed” and “incompetent” (and these are the merciful epithets). On the weekend edition of the establishment Le Figaro daily, he was being destroyed because of France’s (latest) credit rating downgrade by Standard & Poor’s.

    King Sarko The First - aka former president Nicolas Sarkozy - must be beaming; Hollande is now the most unpopular president in French history. Paris remains great - but mostly for hordes of fleeting tourists from emerging markets, not for hordes of unemployed Parisians.

    So it’s Bandar Fabius to the rescue! Gulf petro-monarchy cash is the salvation. In thesis, this show of “independence” should translate into billions of euros in contracts and investments. It also helps that “incompetent” Hollande is on an official visit to Israel in the next few days.

    That pivot to Persia
    Forget about finding details of the real reasons for this “show of independence” in French mainstream media, apart from Le Monde Diplomatique’s Alain Gresh in his blog. [5]

    Explanations are absolutely pathetic. France is “alone against all”; it has shown “responsibility”; it has “reaffirmed its independence”. And of course all the blame lies on Kerry, who allegedly “came up with a text that nobody ever saw before”. Every shill has scrambled to cast Israeli-firster Fabius as savior. And yet the Elysee Palace has stressed that Fabius was just following Hollande’s orders - which, in thesis, meant renegotiating the “weak points” of the deal. Call it, essentially, “incompetent” Hollande showing Obama he’s got balls.

    ‘Israel will attack Iran if you sign the deal, French MP told Fabius’
    Paris legislator Meyer Habib, a friend of Netanyahu, called his FM in Geneva to warn of likely response should accord be signed, Israeli TV reports
    By Times of Israel staff November 10, 2013, 8:53 pm


  • Asia Times Online :: Fear and loathing in House of Saud
    Pepe Escobar, Oct 11, ’13

    The House of Saud’s nightmare is amplified by paranoia. After all those warnings by King Abdullah for Washington to cut “the head of the snake” (Iran), as immortalized on WikiLeaks cables; after all those supplications for the US to bomb Syria, install a no-fly zone and/or weaponize the “rebels” to kingdom come, this is what the House of Saud gets: Washington and Tehran on their way to reaching a deal at the expense of Riyadh.

    So no wonder fear, loathing and acute paranoia reign supreme. The House of Saud is and will continue to do all it can to bomb the emergence of Lebanon as a gas producer. It will continue to relentlessly fan the flames of sectarianism all across the spectrum, as Toby Matthiesen documented in an excellent book.

    And the Israeli-Saudi axis will keep blossoming. Few in the Middle East know that an Israeli company - with experience in repressing Palestinians - is in charge of the security in Mecca. (See here and here (in French)). If they knew - with the House of Saud’s hypocrisy once more revealed - the Arab street in many a latitude would riot en masse.

    One thing is certain; Bandar Bush, as well as the Saudi-Israeli axis, will pull no punches to derail any rapprochement between Washington and Tehran. As for the Bigger Picture, the real “international community” may always dream that one day Washington elites will finally see the light and figure out that the US-Saudi strategic alliance sealed in 1945 between Franklin D Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud makes absolutely no sense.

  • Asia Times Online :: Kerry becomes first war casualty
    By M K Bhadrakumar

    (...) Within hours all hell broke loose. The high drama was neatly captured by the well-known Nigerian-American novelist Teju Cole (author of Open City), who twittered:

    Kerry: We won’t attack ... if you do this impossible thing. Syria? Oh, We’ll do it. Russia: They’ll do it. UN: They’ll do it. Kerry: Shit!

    All sorts of conspiracy theories have since popped up - including that a secret Russian-American plan is afoot to help Obama to beat a decent retreat from war plan against Syria. But the honest truth is Kerry made yet another gaffe, and this time it took a life of its own.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (who plays ice hockey by the way) crashed into Kerry within a split second to grab the puck:

    We [Russia] do not know if Syria agrees to this, but if placing the chemical weapons under international control helps avoid military strikes, then we will immediately get to work on this.

    We are calling on the Syrian authorities to reach agreement, not only on putting chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also on its subsequent destruction and then joining the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

    We have already handed over this proposal to [Syrian foreign minister Walid] Muallem, who is in Moscow, and hope for a quick and positive answer.

    Muallem, of course, didn’t even bother to consult Damascus:

    I have attentively listened to Mr Lavrov’s statement. I declare that Syria, guided by its concern for the lives of its citizens and the security of the country, welcomes the Russian initiative.

    Indeed, it is not that Russia and Syria were taking advantage of the time difference between Washington and London (from where Kerry spoke.) Even David Cameron got deceived. The British prime minister said the excellent Russian plan to place Syria’s stockpiles under international control is "hugely welcome’’.

    A fire-fighting operation began no sooner than folks in Washington heard about Kerry’s offer and the Russian plan and the Syrian response, et al. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf called her boss’s words “hypothetical” and “rhetorical” and poured cold water on the Russian plan as "highly unlikely’’. She clarified, “Secretary [Kerry] was not making a proposal.” (...)

  • Asia Times Online :: Obama dips toe in Syrian Rubicon
    By M K Bhadrakumar , 4 septembre 2013

    A leading international authority on the subject, Professor Jack Goldsmith at the Harvard Law School (who previously served as US Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel and also as Special Counsel to the Department of Defense, apart from being a member of the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law) warned on Sunday, “There is much more here [in the proposed AUMF] than at first meets the eye.”

    In a detailed commentary for the Lawfare journal, the professor wrote:

    It [AUMF] authorizes the President to use any element of the US Armed Forces and any method of force. It does not contain specific limits on targets - either in terms of the identity of the targets (eg the Syrian government, Syrian rebels, Hezbollah, Iran) or the geography of the targets.

    Does the proposed AUMF authorize the President to take sides in the Syrian Civil War, or to attack Syrian rebels associated with al Qaeda, or to remove Assad from power? Yes, as long as the President determines that any of these entities has a (mere) connection to the use of WMD in the Syrian civil war, and that the use of force against one of them would prevent or deter the use or proliferation of WMD within, or to and from, Syria, or protect the US or its allies (eg Israel) against the (mere) threat posed by those weapons. It is very easy to imagine the President making such determinations with regard to Assad or one or more of the rebel groups.

    Does the proposed AUMF authorize the President to use force against Iran or Hezbollah, in Iran or Lebanon ? Again, yes, as long as the President determines that Iran or Hezbollah has a (mere) connection to the use of WMD in the Syrian civil war, and the use of force against Iran or Hezbollah would prevent or deter the use or proliferation of WMD within, or to and from, Syria, or protect the US or its allies (eg Israel) against the (mere) threat posed by those weapons.

    The proposed Syrian AUMF is worth a lot, for it would (in sum) permit the President to use military force against any target anywhere in the world (including Iran or Lebanon) as long as the President, in his discretion, determines the target has a connection to WMD in the Syrian civil war and the use of force has the purpose of preventing or deterring (broad concepts) the use or proliferation of WMDs in, to, or from Syria, or of protecting the US and its allies from the mere threat (again, a broad concept) of use or proliferation of WMDs connected to the Syrian conflict.

    Congress needs to be careful about what it authorizes. [Italics as in original text.]

  • Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs
    By Pepe Escobar / 6 septembre 2013

    (...) Free bombing. For three months. With inbuilt free upgrading. Operation Tomahawk With Cheese but also bacon, onions, chilies, mayo, guacamole, the works. All courtesy of Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar bin Sultan - aka Bandar Bush - plus minions Emirates and Qatar. What’s not to like? The inestimable Vijay Prashad, author of The Poorer Nations, has been using his calculator:

    Exhibit A: Saudis have put ’’on the table’’ their offer to pay for the entire US assault on Syria. Exhibit B: in case of an attack on Syria, the price of oil is slated to go from $109 to $125 per barrel (base case scenario), with an upside scenario of $150 per barrel. Saudi Arabia will produce 9.8 million barrels of oil a day. Which means if the spike is only the base case scenario, Saudi will gross a super-profit of $156.8 million per day. If it is the upside scenario, then the Saudi super-profits will be $401.8 million per day. Not a bad arbitrage game from Mr Bandar and his gang of Saudi “democrats”.

    Addendum: each Tomahawk costs only US$1.5 million. With a prospective free flow of Bandar Bush’s cash, no wonder there’s a compatible free flow of Krug at Raytheon’s HQ.

    Confronted with the sumptuous marriage of the industrial-military complex and the House of Saud producing lethal cruise offspring duly employed as al-Qaeda’s Air Force, a pesky detail like hardcore Chechen jihadis forming their own militia, The Mujahedin of the Caucasus and the Levant, is, well, irrelevant. As irrelevant as the fact that these jihadis are run by none other than Bandar Bush, who bragged to President Vladimir Putin he can turn them on and off at will.

    So if these Chechens are Bandar’s minions, they are also Friends of Obama/Kerry/Rice/Power. Just like the jihadis who are fighting to take over the “crusader” village of Maloula - where people still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus - so they can proceed to gleefully behead a few Christian infidels.

  • Asia Times Online :: Khamenei plays hardball with Obama
    By M K Bhadrakumar

    It was an extraordinary week in the politics of the Middle East and it ended appropriately by being rounded off with a reality check lest imaginations ran riot.

    Three major happenings within one week would have to be taken as the inevitable confluence of a flow of developments and processes: the offer by the Syrian opposition of a bilateral dialogue with the Bashar al-Assad regime; the historic visit of an Iranian president to Egypt; and the public, unconditional offer by the United States of direct talks with Iran and the latter’s ready acceptance of it.

    Yet, they are interconnected.

  • Asia Times Online : : North Korean minders endure Chinese invasion

    Les touristes chinois sont bienvenues en Corée du Nord, ce sont les principaux pourvoyeurs de devises étrangères. Air Koryo dessert Pékin et Shanghaï...
    By Yvonne Su

    PYONGYANG, North Korea - Although the North Korean government is known for being paranoid about foreign visitors, it has recently adopted a softer attitude toward Chinese tourists on the issue.

    The totalitarian regime has also been modernizing its infrastructure to lure Chinese visitors, as was noted by senior North Korean tourism department official Hong Yin-chel at an economic, trade, culture and tourism promotion event hosted jointly with China in October.

    #corée-du-nord #chine

  • Asia Times Online : : Syria : Waiting for someone named Obama

    Even as German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who was on a visit to China, diverted himself to Istanbul in a mission on Saturday aimed at tamping down Turkish-Syrian tensions, Der Spiegel calmly reported that the information about the “non-civilian cargo”, which led to the interception of a Syrian aircraft by the Turkish Air Force the previous Wednesday night, was actually passed on to Ankara by US intelligence.

    Furthermore, Der Spiegel disclosed authoritatively, “Ankara only forced the plane to land after close contact with its Western allies.”

    The question naturally arises: Was it an incident that had been choreographed by Washington with a view to change the dynamics of the Syrian situation? Stranger ways have been found to kick-start wars in history. Or did the United States have another motive?

    The pattern of the rhetoric may give some clues. Russia, of course, vehemently and promptly denied that it had violated international law. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in fact, gave a detailed explanation as if he were pleading with the Turks not to be taken in by whatever they might have heard:

    In the wake of all sorts of insinuations spread in connection with the Syrian jet’s landing, I’d like to stress we don’t have secrets in this respect. We’ve cleared out the situation and the truth is that, quite naturally, the jet was not carrying any weapons and certainly couldn’t be carrying them.

    The cargo was supplied by a legal Russian supplier in a legitimate way to a legal customer. It’s electric engineering equipment for a radar station, a dual-purpose equipment that isn’t forbidden by any international conventions. Airway bills for it were filled out in strict compliance with international requirements. Transportation of these cargoes by civil-aviation jets is normal practice, and this is confirmed by the fact the Turkish authorities offered the crew either to change the route or to land in Ankara before it entered Turkey’s airspace.The captain decided to land because he knew the crew wasn’t doing anything illegal.

    Interestingly, the Turkish side has pointedly refused to take issue with Moscow’s narrative. The Turkish statement was actually evasive and loquacious - to the effect that Ankara had acted on the basis of “information that the plane was carrying cargo of a nature that could not possibly be in compliance with the rules of civil aviation”.

  • Asia Times Online :: Moscow beckons Pakistan’s Kiani

    Oct 3, 2012 / By M K Bhadrakumar

    The enemy’s enemy…
    Meanwhile, even as Lavrov heads for Islamabad, Kiani will have set out for Moscow. To be sure, Moscow’s priority will be to sit across the table with Kiani, as he is the fountainhead of authority in Pakistan on major foreign and security policy issues. Also, he is an unusual Pakistani general, having run into difficulties with the United States, while pushing for Pakistan’s “strategic autonomy” on the geopolitical chessboard.

    Indeed, the present moment is pregnant with possibilities. Russia and Pakistan in varying measure - for different reasons though - have come under US pressure. Both appreciate that the US has “lost” the war in Afghanistan, is pulling out of it and would have little choice but to negotiate with the Taliban; both sense a power vacuum could develop in Afghanistan but also feel uneasy that the US is yet keeping strategic ambiguity about its future military presence in the region.

    But Russia’s capacity to influence the ebb and flow of Afghan politics in its favor is virtually nil. The specter that is haunting Moscow (and Pakistan) is that the US might at some point decide to come to terms with a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. The mainstream opinion within the US strategic community is veering round to the view that the Taliban as such do not pose any threats to America’s national security interests and therefore Washington must differentiate the al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

  • Asia Times Online :: Brother Obama, where art thou?
    Pepe Escobar

    Libya is now militia hell - from neighborhood-watch outfits to mini-armies. They won’t disarm. They refuse to be part of government security forces because their logic is tribal. They’re fighting one another. No weak central government in car-bomb-infested Tripoli will rein them in.

    Another way to put it is that “liberated” Libya is now warlord country. Home of vendettas in the desert and tribal pogroms against other tribes - and even whole towns.

    The Salafi-jihadis - with whom Washington, London and Paris were unashamedly in bed during their humanitarian bombing campaign - are based in Cyrenaica, eastern Libya. Some have come from Iraq. Some are shuttling back and forth to and from Syria, aiming to destroy yet one more secular Arab republic.

    They include the heavily armed gang that attacked the US consulate - the self-described Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades, which surfaced only four months ago. Three months ago, hundreds of AK-47-equipped Salafi-jihadis held Benghazi hostage demanding sharia law.

    The (disintegrated) police and army of “liberated” Libya could not possibly face them down. Local tribes don’t care. Salafi-jihadis have been attacking Sufi mosques and tombs; Sufi Islam is infinitely more moderate - and intellectually sophisticated - compared with medieval Wahhabism.

    The training camps are near Derna - which has a history of being a top source of al-Qaeda-style jihadis, especially active in occupied Iraq. This does not mean all the Salafi-jihadis are affiliated with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM); it’s a much more local Libyan affair.

  • Asia Times Online : : Mr Blowback rising

    By Pepe Escobar

    So how will Washington “bring the perpetrators to justice” in Libya? After all this is the same gang that was hailed as “heroes” when they sodomized, lynched and snuffed out “evil” Gaddafi.

    Asia Times Online has been warning for over a year about blowback in Libya - and potentially in Syria, where medieval Saudi sheikhs frantically issue fatwas legitimating a widespread massacre of “infidel” Alawites. This is all a rerun of the same old 1980s’ Afghan jihad movie; first you call them “freedom fighters”, but when they attack us they revert to being “terrorists”.

    Now we have NATO-armed Salafi-jihadis in Libya, and House of Saud-financed and Turkey-based Salafi-jihadis in Syria - deploying “terra” antics such as suicide bombers to bring down the Assad regime - all wired up and ready to roll. It certainly adds a new meaning to Obama’s “kinetic action” gig.

    Blowback - as in Afghanistan - might have taken years. This time Mr Blowback reared its ugly head in only a few months. And that’s just the beginning.

    So what now? Who’re you gonna bomb? Who’re you gonna drone to death? What about bombing Benghazi a year after condemning Gaddafi to death because he might have threatened to ... bomb Benghazi?

  • Asia Times Online :: Morsi delivers his calling card

    By Pepe Escobar / Aug 31, 2012

    (...) With just one stroke, Morsi cut off the head of a fake snake being sold to Washington for years by the Jordanian King Playstation and the House of Saud; that of an “evil” Shi’ite crescent from Iran to Lebanon via Iraq and Syria undermining the “stability” of the Middle East.

    What Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and Jordan’s younger Abdullah II in fact fear is the unrest and rage of their own populations, not to mention the mere idea of democracy; it’s easy to blame rampant Shi’ism for everything because Washington is gullible - or expedient - enough to buy it.

    The “Shi’ite crescent” myth can be debunked in a number of ways. Here’s just one - that I have witnessed in person, on the spot, for quite a while during the mid-2000s. Tehran knows that the majority of Iraq’s powerful clergy are totally adverse to the Khomeinist concept of the Islamic Republic. No wonder Tehran is very much worried about the renaissance of Najaf in Iraq as the premier holy city in Shi’ite Islam, to the detriment of Qom in Iran.

    Washington buys this propaganda because it’s right at the heart of the New Great Game. Whatever the administration in place, from Bush to Obama and beyond, a key Washington obsession is to neutralize what is seen as a Shi’ite axis from Lebanon, via Syria and Iraq, across Iran and all the way to Afghanistan.

    A mere look at the map tells us this axis is at center of the humongous US military deployment in Asia - facing China and Russia. Obviously the best intel in Beijing and Moscow has identified it for years.

    The Russians and the Chinese see how the Pentagon “manages” - indirectly - a great deal of the region’s oil reserves, including the Shi’ite northeast of Saudi Arabia. And they see how Iran - as the gravity center of the whole region - cannot but be Washington’s ultimate obsession. The nuclear row is just a pretext - the only one in the market, actually. Ultimately, it’s not a matter of destroying Iran, but of subjugating it to the condition of a docile ally.

    Into this hardcore power play steps in Brother Morsi, reshuffling a deck of cards as lightning quick as a Sheldon Adelson-employed Macau croupier. What might have taken months and perhaps years - the sidelining of the old SCAF leadership, Qatar being privileged to the detriment of Saudi Arabia, a presidential visit to Tehran, Egypt stepping up as a leader of the Arab world - was accomplished in barely two months. (...)

    Pour Morsi le changement c’est maintenant.

  • Asia Times Online

    Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs
    By Pepe Escobar / Aug 22, 2012

    Ali Akbar Asadi, from the International Relations Dept at the University of Allameh Tabatabaei, expands on the key event of the next few weeks: the renewed diplomatic relationship between Iran and Egypt - which is drawing Washington’s unmitigated wrath; the State Department, in a childish move, is even saying that Iran “does not deserve” to host the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Tehran, which will be attended by Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi. [8]

    Asadi goes to the jugular - the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) petro-monarchies are terrified that “Egypt may renew relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran or even enter into strategic relations with Turkey, thus working to undermine the influence and clout of the GCC in the new balance of regional power.”

    Egypt thumbs the nose at US
    By M K Bhadrakumar / Aug 21, 2012

    In sum, Morsi’s decision to open a line to Beijing and Tehran needs to be weighed against a big backdrop. The Brothers apprehend a US-Israeli plan to destabilize Morsi’s government if it doesn’t fall in line with Washington’s diktat. Therefore, they are looking for ways and means to whittle down the current level of Egypt’s over-dependence on the US and its Persian-Gulf allies by diversifying the country’s external relationships and adding countervailing partnerships that would help enhance the country’s strategic autonomy.

    Next week promises to be a defining moment in Middle Eastern politics and inter-Arab alignments when Morsi travels to Beijing and Tehran. With Egypt drifting away, the US’ regional strategies are in great disarray. The immediate question will be what is gained, after all, by conquering Damascus with such mindless brutal violence and bestiality if Cairo and Baghdad have already been lost.

    • Ajout : dernier article en date de Pepe Escobar dans Asia Times sur la Syrie, et plus précisément sur l’avertissement comminatoire d’Obama sur les armes chimiques syriennes et les réponses russe et chinoise :
      En voici la conclusion :

      All the key players here - the US, Russia and China - know Damascus won’t commit the folly of using (or “moving”) chemical weapons. So no wonder Moscow and Beijing are extremely suspicious this “red line” gambit may be yet another Obama deception maneuver, as in “leading from behind” in Libya (this is nonsense; in fact the attack on Libya started with Africom and then was transferred to NATO).

      As Asia Times Online has been reporting for over a year, once again the big picture is clear; this is a titanic battle between NATO-GCC and BRICS members Russia and China. At stake is nothing less than the rule of international law, which has been steadily going down the drain since at least Agent Orange being sprayed all over Vietnam, through Dubya’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, and with the Libyan “humanitarian bombing” reaching an abysmal low. Not to mention Israel daily threatening to bomb Iran - as if this was a trip to a kosher deli.

  • Asia Times Online : : Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs

    German intelligence: al-Qaeda all over Syria
    By John Rosenthal

    German intelligence estimates that “around 90” terror attacks that “can be attributed to organizations that are close to al-Qaeda or jihadist groups” were carried out in Syria between the end of December and the beginning of July, as reported by the German daily Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ).

    Sans être pro-Assad il semble qu’il ait quelques raisons de se poser des questions à propos du traitement de la situation en Syrie par la presse française.

  • Pour archives : 11 août 2006, Timur Goksel pense que si Israël ne parvient pas à détruire les capacités de commandement et de contrôle du Hezbollah, c’est parce que celui-ci n’a pas besoin d’une telle structure centralisée. (Mais depuis 2008, on sait qu’il y a un réseau de communication terrestre spécifique.)

    Asia Times Online - Hezbollah’s lack of structure its strength

    RFE/RL: A common strategy in wartime is to disrupt the command-and-control capability of the enemy. But Hezbollah seems to have survived almost a month of heavy Israeli bombing. How does the militia remain effective on the battlefield?

    Goksel: They don’t work in military hierarchies or military command levels. They don’t have anything like that. There is one leader in Beirut and all the other units in the field are autonomous, they know what they are doing [by themselves]. They don’t need communications, they don’t report everything, they don’t ask for orders, they know what they are doing.

    There are small units of not more than 20 men, and most are local people. They operate on their own, they don’t need supplies. They are very independent. That makes it very difficult to catch them, of course.