Category Archives: Pepe Escobar

A Caliph in a wilderness of mirrors, by Pepe Escobar

I’m aiming at you, lover
Cause killing you is killing myself

Orson Welles (director), The Lady from Shanghai,1947

The Lady from Shanghai: Rita Hayworth (Elsa 'Rosalie' Bannister) and Everett Sloane (Arthur Bannister) in the final scene in the mirror maze, where they shoot at each other (screenshot of the edition 2014 Blu-Ray)
The Lady from Shanghai: Rita Hayworth (Elsa ‘Rosalie’ Bannister) and Everett Sloane (Arthur Bannister) in the final scene in the mirror maze, where they shoot at each other (screenshot of the edition 2014 Blu-Ray)

He’s invincible. He beheads. He smuggles. He conquers. He’s the ultimate jack-of-all-trades. No Tomahawk or Hellfire can touch him. He always gets what he wants; in Kobani; in Anbar province; with the House of Saud (which he wants to replace) trying to make Putin (who he wants to behead) suffer because of low oil prices.

If this was a remake of Orson Welles’s noir classic The Lady from Shanghai, in the mirror sequence the lawyer (American?) and the femme fatale (Shi’ite?) would also get killed; but The Caliph of Islamic State would survive as a larger than life Welles, free to roam, plunder and “give my love to the sunrise” – as in a Brave Caliphate World shining in “Syraq” over the ashes of the Sykes-Picot agreement.

He’s winning big in Iraq’s Anbar province. The Caliph’s goons are now closing in on – of all places – Abu Ghraib; Dubya, Dick and Rummy’s former Torture Central. They are at a mere 12 kilometers away from Baghdad International. A shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile (or MANPAD) away from downing a passenger jet. Certainly not an Emirates flight – after all these are trusted sponsors.

[Please click below to continue reading]
Continue reading A Caliph in a wilderness of mirrors, by Pepe Escobar

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on TumblrDigg thisBuffer this pageShare on StumbleUponFlattr the authorShare on RedditPrint this pageShare on LinkedIn

THE ROAD GOES ON FOREVER.

pilgrim

While I was in the “realm of hungry ghosts” – a.k.a. NATOstan – and then on a Tehrani magic carpet ride, my great friend Arthur was on the road to enlightenment.

This is his pic of a Tibetan pilgrim doing a kora – sacred pilgrimage/circuambulation/prostration – around holy Mt. Kailash, in the Western Tibetan plateau. It’s 52 km. Walking, you can do it in two and a half days. For this pilgrim, it will take several weeks.

I’ve been to Tibet twice – but never made it to a kora. Arthur just performed his second, and since this is the Year of the Wooden Horse, it amounts to 12. Adding the previous one, he’s now on 13; that is, according to Hinduism, he’s been face to face with the lingam of Shiva.

Mt. Kailash is as sacred to Buddhism as to Hinduism. Arthur, a blessed soul (he took his eldest son to the kora) gave me a stone from Kailash (arguably 45 million years old); the best Tibetan incense; THE definitive guide (it had to be German) for the inner and outer Kailash pilgrimage; and made me drink the pure water of sacred Lake Manasarovar.

This means now I’m stronger than a million Tomahawks – ready to take on The Caliph and his goons and exterminate them all in a flash. Just need a magic carpet to take me to Syraq.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on TumblrDigg thisBuffer this pageShare on StumbleUponFlattr the authorShare on RedditPrint this pageShare on LinkedIn

Nobel

I’ll have Fredrik Heffermehl, author of The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted, have the last word, straight from Oslo:

“Malala Yousafzai is a courageous, bright and impressive person, education for girls is important and child labor a horrible problem. Worthy causes, but the committee once again makes a false pretense of loyalty to Nobel and confuses and conceals the plan for world peace that Nobel intended to support. If they had wished to be loyal to Nobel they would have stressed that Malala often has spoken out against weapons and military with a fine understanding of how ordinary people suffer from militarism. Young people see this clearer than the grown ups. She even, when she met U.S. President Obama, gave him a stern warning against drone warfare and said it only served to increase hatred and the number of terrorists.

“I do hope that Malala will stick to her early concerns of the problem of militarism. There are signs that her helpers and advisors have turned her away from the delicate issues of militarism and over to the safer issue of education. By moving her away from the Nobel idea of global disarmament she has become more palatable to the Nobel committee.

“Once again the Norwegian awarders have got it wrong. They have a person-focus not an idea-focus. Nobel’s intention was not a prize for nice people doing fine things, but for persons promoting a specific approach to world peace.”

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on TumblrDigg thisBuffer this pageShare on StumbleUponFlattr the authorShare on RedditPrint this pageShare on LinkedIn

THE SULTAN CHANNELS LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

Lawrence

Sultan Erdogan pulled a spectacular Lawrence of Arabia yesterday in Istanbul, at Marmara University:

“Lawrence was an English spy in an Arab land. But currently, the spies are springing out from our own countries in the shape of a journalist, writer or even a terrorist. You can witness the new ‘Lawrences’ trying to set the region on fire.”

Fascinating; virtually a century after perfidious Albion spawned the 1916-18 Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire, the New Sultan is now once again denouncing the West a well as Arabs.

The Sultan also stressed the “artificially made” borders drawn by colonial Britain and France post-World War 1 are “the real cause of long-term pain and crises.”

That’s even more fascinating; he’s as stridently decrying the Skykes-Picot agreement as his rival… The Caliph!

For The Sultan, “Turkey is the only country that can provide peace in the region. Turkey is the hope of the Middle Eastern people. Turkey can remove the barriers between Middle Eastern people not by changing physical borders, but by instilling hope and trust.”

As in “Assad must go; all power to the Muslim Brotherhood; preventing any possibility of Kurdish self-determination; and getting NATO to do the dirty work.

But all of this, of course, is off the record.

The Sultan has all the motives in the world to be uneasy. It’s true that a century later, Arabs are not revolting – again – against the New Sultan. But as much as they are also pro-“Assad must go”, their not-so-hidden agenda is fundamentally intolerant and sectarian: against Iran and Shi’ism in both Iraq and Syria.

Not to mention against the Muslim Brotherhood – which they see as a mortal threat to their dictatorships.

And not to mention these GCC petrodollar Arabs are not exactly jubilant with the notion of Turkey as the dominant regional power.

So many Lawrences on the loose. Such an enticing alliance on the horizon between The Sultan and The Caliph. Where’s Peter O’Toole when we need him?

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on TumblrDigg thisBuffer this pageShare on StumbleUponFlattr the authorShare on RedditPrint this pageShare on LinkedIn

What’s the deal between Iran and the US?, by Pepe Escobar

Isfahan-Uranium-Conversion-Facility
A worker works at the Fuel Manufacturing plant at Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility (Reuters / Caren Firouz)

Everything in Tehran revolves around three major discussions: the nuclear deal arguably to be clinched on November 24, Iran back to selling energy to the West, and the fight against ISIS/ISIL.

I’ve just spent a frantic week in Tehran as a guest of the New Horizon conference of Independent Thinkers. Here is some of what I’ve witnessed.

Three overarching themes monopolize all important discussions in Tehran at this critical historical juncture:

1) the real possibility of a nuclear deal with the P5+1 on November 24;

2) the end of sanctions and the possibility of Iran soon starting to supply the EU with loads of natural gas;

3) the fight against ISIS/ISIL, which Iranians, as much as the Arab street, refer to as Daesh.

Everything about the nuclear deal is entangled in a dense web of information war. In Tehran I had the pleasure to spend a lot of time and go to meetings with my friend Gareth Porter, the author of the definitive book on the subject: Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iranian Nuclear Scare.

[Please click below tp continue reading] Continue reading What’s the deal between Iran and the US?, by Pepe Escobar

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on TumblrDigg thisBuffer this pageShare on StumbleUponFlattr the authorShare on RedditPrint this pageShare on LinkedIn

Pure War in Tehran, by Pepe Escobar

ReyShrine
Rey shrine; working-class neighborhood, foundation stone of Tehran, one of the top pilgrimage sites in Iran alongside Qom and Mashhad.

I’ve just spent a frantic week in Tehran. Before departure, I had made a conscious decision; only one book in the backpack. Maximum concentration. I ended up choosing Pure War, the 2008 reprint by Semiotext(e) in LA of the 1983 Paul Virilio classic I had picked up at the revamped Foyles in London a few days back. 

For a roving correspondent, going to Iran is always extra-special. Getting a press visa approved usually takes ages. This was my sixth trip – and I had no visa. Just a number, tied to a visa at the airport. Until the last minute, I thought I’d be deported from Imam Khomeini International – back to Abu Dhabi, which is now pretending to bomb The Caliph. Then, a small miracle; a VIP room, a visa in 10 minutes and the next I know I’m zooming into an eerily deserted Tehran at sunrise on a Friday, past the psychedelic space station decked in green that is Imam Khomeini’s shrine.

Why Virilio? Because he was the first to conceptualize that with the explosion of asymmetrical warfare, Total War had become local – on a global scale. I expanded on the theme in my 2007 book Globalistan and in my writings. Washington and Tel Aviv had been threatening to bomb Iran for years. Virilio was the first to assert that “peace” merely extends war by other means. 

[Please click below to continue reading]

Continue reading Pure War in Tehran, by Pepe Escobar

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on TumblrDigg thisBuffer this pageShare on StumbleUponFlattr the authorShare on RedditPrint this pageShare on LinkedIn