Category Archives: China

Why there is still no Iran nuke deal in Vienna, by Pepe Escobar

Consider this a back to back special on the ongoing Iranian Nuclear negotiations. If you have not already read Pepe’s last piece, then please do here for some background.

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Source: Asia Times

VIENNA – As the Iran-P5+1 negotiation hit the crucial stage on Monday night, and the technical teams pushed for a clean text to be released on Tuesday – albeit unsuccessfully – the top sticking point turned out to be the conventional arms embargo imposed on Iran by the UNSC, a senior European diplomat told Asia Times.

BRICS members Russia and China had a coordinated position; “yes” to the end of the embargo. The US and the UK voted “no.” And, crucially, France was wavering.

If this was a decision solely in the hands of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, the vote would be “no.” But arguably if the final decision rests with President Francois Hollande, it would be a “yes.” There is nothing the French weapons industry would like better than to add Tehran to its still meager list of customers for Rafales and Mistrals.

Turning to the Big Picture, Iranian diplomats were stressing that, “all nuclear-related sanctions should be removed. That was agreed upon in Lausanne.” This means the conventional arms embargo – imposed by the UN in 2007, and tied up in the nuclear sanctions – should also go.

So what was reported by Asia Times early this week continued to apply; there are severe cracks within the P5+1 on several key issues — thus their need to spend more time negotiating amongst themselves than with Iran.

That’s the key reason for a new deadline extension — to Thursday, July 9. And even that may not be the end of the road.

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Iran nuke deal — what’s behind the new Vienna deadline, by Pepe Escobar

Unparalleled insight from one of the most well known geopolitical analysts around, Pepe is absolutely a pleasure to read!

This is the closest you will get to the negotiating table.

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Source: Asia Times

VIENNA – The decision mechanism at the UN Security Council (UNSC) is the main sticking point preventing a nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 being reached this Tuesday, a top Iranian official told Asia Times.

This is directly related to “the credibility of the UNSC at stake,” after “so many imposed resolutions” considered as unjust and illegal by Tehran.

Iranian diplomats insist on a “fundamental shift” at the UNSC; “The Iranian file should not have been sent to the UNSC in the first place,” says another official. And here Iranian diplomats open a complex discussion on two fronts; the politicization of the IAEA, and the UNSC being used to arbitrate on an eminently technical dossier.

So it’s no wonder that for Iran, the removal of past UN resolutions is considered “only as a starting point.”

Iran has floated the idea of a UN resolution revoking all previous sanctions immediately after the announcement of a deal in Vienna. Iranian negotiator Abbas Araghchi had advanced on Iranian TV the idea that a deal — including the annexes — could be endorsed by the UNSC as early as this week.

That’s extremely unlikely; the US Senate would go ballistic — as in US sovereignty being seriously compromised. This does not prevent the fact that the extremely sensitive text of a UN resolution erasing all previous sanctions is being discussed at the negotiating table in Vienna.

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Continue reading Iran nuke deal — what’s behind the new Vienna deadline, by Pepe Escobar

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Nuke Deal Inches Ahead as US-Iran Play Information War, by Pepe Escobar

VIENNA – So today is not D-Day. No landing in post-Wall of Mistrust territory. A nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 won’t be clinched today – for a number of very complex reasons, way beyond the vicious media information war; not least finding the absolute, exact wording in every line of 85 pages of text.

It still amounts, for all the bluster and the dramatic turnarounds, to a question of trust. Rather, breaching the 36-year-plus Wall of Mistrust between Washington and Tehran.

There are breakthroughs, of course. On the status of the Fordo research site, for instance, for the first time both sides reached an agreement. Compare it to the cosmic gap — exacerbated by the American wordplay — on the gradual lifting of sanctions.

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US To Begin Invasion of Syria,by Tony Cartalucci

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Unbeknownst to the general public, their elected politicians do not create the policy that binds their national destiny domestically or within the arena of geopolitics. Instead, corporate-financier funded think tanks do – teams of unelected policymakers which transcend elections, and which produce papers that then become the foundation of legislation rubber stamped by “legislators,” as well as the enumerated talking points repeated ad naseum by the corporate-media.

Such a policy paper has been recently written by the notorious US policy think-tank, the Brookings Institution, titled, “Deconstructing Syria: Towards a regionalized strategy for a confederal country.” The signed and dated open-conspiracy to divide, destroy, then incrementally occupy a sovereign nation thousands of miles from America’s shores serves as a sobering example of how dangerous and enduring modern imperialism is, even in the 21st century.

Pretext ISIS: US Poured Billions Into “Moderates” Who Don’t Exist

The document openly admits that the US has provided billions in arming and training militants fed into the devastating and increasingly regional conflict. It admits that the US maintains – and should expand – operations in Jordan and NATO-member Turkey to provide even more weapons, cash, and fighters to the already catastrophic conflict.

It then recounts the rise of the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS), but fails to account from where its money, cash, and weapons came. It should be obvious to readers that if the United States has committed billions in cash, weapons, and training on multiple fronts to alleged “moderates” who for all intents and purposes do not exist on the battlefield, a state-sponsor of greater magnitude would be required to create and sustain ISIS and Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front who Brookings admits dominates the “opposition” uncontested.

In reality, ISIS’ supply lines lead right into US operational zones in Turkey and Jordan, because it was ISIS and Al Qaeda all along that the West planned to use before the 2011 conflict began, and has based its strategy on ever since – including this most recent leg of the campaign.

The US Invasion of  Syria

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After arming and funding a literal region-wide army of Al Qaeda terrorists, the United States now plans to use the resulting chaos to justify what it has sought since the beginning of the conflict when it became clear the Syrian government was not to capitulate or collapse – the establishment of buffer zones now called “safe zones” by Brookings.

These zones once created, will include US armed forces on the ground, literally occupying seized Syrian territory cleared by proxies including Kurdish groups and bands of Al Qaeda fighters in the north, and foreign terrorist militias operating along the Jordanian-Syrian border in the south. Brookings even admits that many of these zones would be created by extremists, but that “ideological purity” wound “no longer be quite as high of a bar.

The US assumes that once this territory is seized and US troops stationed there, the Syrian Arab Army will not dare attack in fear of provoking a direct US military response against Damascus. The Brookings paper states (emphasis added):

The  idea would be to help moderate elements establish reliable safe zones within Syria once they were able.American, as well as Saudi and Turkish and British and Jordanian and other Arab forces would actin support, not only from the air but eventually on the ground via the  presence  of  special  forces  as  well.The  approach would  benefit  from  Syria’s open desert  terrain  which  could  allow  creation  of  buffer  zones  that could  be  monitored  for possible  signs  of  enemy  attack  through  a  combination  of  technologies, patrols,  and other methods that outside special forces could help Syrian local fighters set up.

Were Assad foolish enough to challenge these zones, even if he somehow forced the withdrawal  of  the  outside  special  forces,  he  would  be  likely  to  lose  his  air power  in ensuing  retaliatory  strikes  by  outside  forces,  depriving  his  military  of  one  of its  few advantages over ISIL.Thus, he would be unlikely to do this.

In a single statement, Brookings admits that the government of Syria is not engaged in a war against its own people, but against “ISIL” (ISIS). It is clear that Brookings, politicians, and other strategists across the West are using the threat of ISIS in combination with the threat of direct military intervention as a means of leverage for finally overrunning and seizing Syria entirely.

The Invasion Could Succeed, But Not for US Proxies

The entire plan is predicated on America’s ability to first take and hold these “zones” and subsequently mesh them into functioning autonomous regions. Similar attempts at US “nation building” are currently on display in the ravaged failed state that used to be North Africa’s nation of Libya, Syria’s neighbor to the southeast, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and the list goes on extensively.

The folly of this plan both in attempts to use non-existent credibility and military will to actually implement it, as well as in terms of those foolish enough to place their trust in a nation that has left a swath of global destruction and failed states in its wake stretching from South Vietnam to Libya and back again, can be described only as monumental.

This strategy can almost certainly be used to finally destroy Syria. It cannot however, be used to do any of the things the US will promise in order to get the various players necessary for it to succeed, to cooperate.

Almost certainly there are measures Syria, its allies Iran and Hezbollah, as well as Russia, China, and all other nations facing the threats of Western hegemony can take to ensure that US forces will not be able to take and hold Syrian territory or ultimately succeed in what is essentially an invasion in slow motion. Already the US has used their own ISIS hordes as a pretext to operate militarily within Syrian territory, which as predicted, has led to this next stage in incremental invasion.

An increase in non-NATO peacekeeping forces in Syria could ultimately unhinge Western plans altogether. The presence of Iranian, Lebanese, Yemeni, Afghan, and other forces across Syria, particularly bordering “zone” the US attempts to create, may offer the US the prospect of a multinational confrontation it has neither the political will, nor the resources to undertake.

The ability of Syria and its allies to create a sufficient deterrence against US aggression in Syria, while cutting off the logistical lines the US is using to supply ISIS and other terrorist groups operating in Syria and Iraq will ultimately determine Syria’s survival.

Source: Neo Eastern Outlook

Tony Cartalucci is Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.

He also maintains the Land Destroyer Report and is an independent American geopolitical analyst based in Thailand. Land Destroyer can be followed on Twitter here and Facebook here. Comments, questions, corrections, and article submissions should be sent to cartalucci@gmail.com, or through the Contact LD page.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.


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Beating Uncle Sam at His Own Game, Mike Whitney

“Washington is not looking for peace or war. They’re looking for domination. If they can achieve domination peacefully – that’s fine. If they can’t, they’ll use war. It’s that simple.”

— William Blum, Interview with Russia Today

“The U.S. is frantically surrounding China with military weapons, advanced aircraft, naval fleets and a multitude of military bases from Japan, South Korea and the Philippines through several nearby smaller Pacific islands to its new and enlarged base in Australia…. The U.S. naval fleet, aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines patrol China’s nearby waters. Warplanes, surveillance planes, drones and spying satellites cover the skies, creating a symbolic darkness at noon.”

— Jack A. Smith, “Hegemony Games: USA vs. PRC”,CounterPunch

The vast build up of military assets in the Asia-Pacific signals a fundamental change in U.S. policy towards China. Washington no longer believes that China can be integrated into the existing US-led system. Recent actions taken by China– particularly the announcement that it planned to launch an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) that would compete head-to-head with the World Bank and IMF— have set off alarms in the Capital where behind-the-scenes powerbrokers and think tank pundits agree that a more “robust” policy is needed to slow China’s ascendency. The current confrontation in the South China Sea–where the US has demanded that China immediately cease all land reclamation activities–indicates that the new policy has already been activated increasing the prospects of a conflagration between the two nuclear-armed adversaries.

There’s no need to go over the details of China’s land reclamation activities in the Spratly Islands since reasonable people can agree that Washington has no real interest in a few piles of sand heaped up on reefs 10,000 miles from the United States. The man-made islands pose no threat to US national security or to freedom of navigation. The Obama administration is merely using the Spratlys as a pretext to provoke, intimidate and harass Beijing. The Spratly’s provide a justification for escalation, for building an anti-China coalition among US allies in the region, for demonizing China in the media, for taking steps to disrupt China’s ambitious Silk Roads economic strategy, and for encircling China to the West with US warships that threaten China’s access to critical shipping lanes and vital energy supplies. This is the ultimate objective; to bring China to its knees and to force it to comply with Washington’s diktats. This is what Washington really wants.

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China: Silk roads and open seas, by Pepe Escobar

Chinese missile destroyers (Reuters/China Daily)
Chinese missile destroyers (Reuters/China Daily)

Beijing’s disclosure earlier this week of its latest military white paper, outlining a new doctrine moving beyond offshore defense to “open seas” defense, predictably rattled every exceptionalist’s skull and bone.

Almost simultaneously, in Guangzhou, the annual Stockholm China Forum, hosted by the German Marshall Fund and the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, was mired in deep thought examining the vast Eurasian integration project known in China as “One Road, One Belt”.

What is also known as the New Silk Road project – displaying all the romantic connotations of a remix of a golden era – is not only about new roads, high-speed railways, pipelines and fiber optics, but also about a naval network from East Asia all the way to the Middle East and Europe.

So Chinese maritime expansion in the “open seas” – from the South China Sea to the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean – had to be intimately tied to protection of the Maritime Silk Road.

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Conversation: The China-Xi-Putin-Russia gambit, The Saker interviews Jeff J. Brown

This is by far one of the most interesting interviews we have read in a while. Absolutely worth every minute of your time!

Jeff takes you on a whirl wind compact journey of his amazing story and tells you from the inside of the Chinese Dream what its all about!

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Vice-Admirals Zinchen and Fedotenkov

The Saker: Please introduce yourself and explain your connection with, and experience of, China.

Jeff J. Brown: I have learned over the last 61 years that getting de-brainwashed takes a lot of effort, humility and personal courage. I get inspired reading about others people’s journeys to discovering the truth. Please allow me to share mine.

I grew up in Oklahoma, USA, in the 50s-60s. Red scare. Commies. Nuclear bomb shelters. Teachers practicing with us, “When you see the flash of light, duck and cover”. Sputnik. The space race. Kennedy (since learned it was a coup d’état). RFK and MLK murdered (since learned done by the deep state). Vietnam. Nixon. Sex ‘n drugs ‘n rock ‘n roll. Spent half my time in the city and half on a family farm. Driving a tractor, harvesting crops, cleaning manure out of animal pens, helping ewes give birth to newborn lambs at 3am in the freezing cold, riding a horse, hunting and fishing – all this left an indelible mark on my psyche. Getting your hands dirty and living the science and art of agriculture will do that to you.

Got a BS (Oklahoma State, 1976) and MS (Purdue, 1978) in Animal Sciences, thinking I was going to go back home and farm. But the Brazilian community at Purdue adopted me and I quickly learned Portuguese, discovering that I had a knack for languages (along with all the hard work to learn). Went to Brazil to seek my fortune as a soybean farmer. Couldn’t get anybody to lend me the startup money. In retrospect, I am not disappointed. Had I done so, I would probably be impoverishing local natives, clearcutting rain forest and destroying the environment, while getting very rich, at the expense of the aforementioned. Looking back, it’s not what I want to be during my time on Planet Earth.

Brazil whet my appetite to see the world. I became a volunteer for the Peace Corps, in Tunisia, as an agriculture extension agent (1980-82), learning fluent Arabic, speaking, reading and writing. This background got me into international agricultural marketing in Africa and Middle East (1982-90). During this time, I learned French, met my Parisian wife in Algeria in 1988, whereupon, we left for China in 1990.

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BRICS trample US in South America, by Pepe Escobar

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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (R) and Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner arrive to the official photo session for the BRICS summit (Reuters / Sergio Moraes)

It started in April with a rash of deals between Argentina and Russia during President Cristina Kirchner’s visit to Moscow.

And it continues with a $53 billion investment bang as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits Brazil during the first stop of yet another South American commercial offensive – complete with a sweet metaphor: Li riding on a made in China subway train that will ply a new metro line in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2016 Olympics.

Where is the US in all this? Nowhere; little by little, yet inexorably, BRICS members China – and in a smaller measure, Russia – have been no less than restructuring commerce and infrastructure all across Latin America.

Countless Chinese commercial missions have been plying these shores non-stop, much as the US did between World War I and II. In a key meeting in January with Latin American business leaders, President Xi Jinping promised to channel $250 billion for infrastructure projects in the next 10 years.

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Eurasia as we (and the U.S.) knew it is dead, by Pepe Escobar

President Xi on a tour of Pakistan, where he is expected to offer approximately $50 billion in investment.
President Xi on a tour of Pakistan, where he is expected to offer approximately $50 billion in investment.

Move over, Cold War 2.0. The real story, now and for the foreseeable future, in its myriad declinations, and of course, ruling out too many bumps in the road, is a new, integrated Eurasia forging ahead.

China’s immensely ambitious New Silk Road project will keep intersecting with the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union (EEC). And that will be the day when the EU wakes up and finds a booming trade/commerce axis stretching from St. Petersburg to Shanghai. It’s always pertinent to remember that Vladimir Putin sold a similar, and even more encompassing, vision in Germany a few years ago – stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

It will take time – and troubled times. But Eurasia’s radical face lift is inexorable. This implies an exceptionalist dream – the U.S. as Eurasia hegemon, something that still looked feasible at the turn of the millennium – fast dissolving right before anyone’s eyes.

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Power Play Behind Regime Change in Russia, by Pepe Escobar

The Empire of Chaos dream of regime change in Russia has always hinged on controlling large swathes of Eurasia.

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With “friends” like European Council President Donald Tusk and top NATO commander Gen. Philip Breedlove, the EU certainly doesn’t need enemies.

Gen. Breedhate has been spewing out his best Dr. Strangelove impersonation, warning that evil Russia is invading Ukraine on an everyday basis. The German political establishment is not amused.

Tusk, while meeting with US President Barack Obama, got Divide and Rule backwards; he insisted, “foreign adversaries” were trying to divide the US and the EU – when it’s actually the US that is trying to divide the EU from Russia. And right on cue, he blamed Russia — side by side with the fake Caliphate of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

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