Category Archives: Iran

The Real Story on Iran, US, Russia and China, by Pepe Escobar

The real story is, and will continue to be, how Iran, the key power in Southwest Asia, is about to be positioned in the nonstop complex ballet between the US, Russia and China. That’s one of the key vectors of the New Great Game in Eurasia.

The real story was never about how warmonger Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, a foreign leader, would crudely use the House of Cards, sorry, the US Capitol, as a lowly re-election bully pulpit to mould the US presidency and American foreign policy.

A graphic indication is that while “Bomb Iran” Bibi was distilling his 39-minute harangue in Washington, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif were engaged in their third round of nuclear negotiations in Montreux.

The real story is also only partially about this perennial soap opera — the Iranian nuclear dossier. By the end of this month there will be a deadline to reach a framework agreement, and by June – optimistically – a comprehensive final settlement.

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The “Black Knights” are the Partisan Fighters in an Economic War, by Valentin Katasonov

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Occasionally while discussing issues related to the West’s economic sanctions against various countries, the subject of the «black knights» crops up. The term «black knight» is given to the small trading partners of a country that is affected by sanctions. They act as intermediaries, facilitating trade and economic relations between that country and the rest of the world. Currently, «black knights» are doing business on such a huge scale that the companies themselves are finding their own clients from among the countries under sanctions, and those nations are able to select the intermediaries that best fit their needs.

Most of the information about the activities of «black knights» comes from media outlets with ties to Iran. Some experts argue that the first «black knights» appeared on Iran’s horizon immediately after Washington introduced sanctions against that country in 1979. Some of them were thought to already have experience working with other countries under sanctions, such as Cuba, South Africa, and Rhodesia. The «black knights» that are now offering their services to Iran are registered in some of the farthest-flung corners of the globe: Latin America, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the CIS countries. And from time to time they may change the country in which they are registered or simply vanish without a trace. In the latter case, it means that the firm had been established for merely a single day’s work on a single transaction.

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Eurasia rises: The Dragon,the Lion and the bear, by Pepe Escobar

Pepe Escobar has an amazing knack for drawing the big picture while keeping an eye on the ground. His Roving Eye has traveled the plains that he speaks about and his analysis is on a different playing field altogether.

We have had the pleasure of reading Pepe’s latest book Empire of Chaos, and can certainly recommend it. In it you see the blue prints of the great chessboard like no where else. Chapter after Chapter, Pepe’s lays it all out for you in his calm,engaging and hilarious style. 

His first piece of 2015 is a continuation of our journey with Pepe as he starts with a fresh canvas for 2015, a year he says will be all about China,Iran and Russia.

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BEIJING, December 31 (Sputnik) — Fasten your seatbelts; 2015 will be a whirlwind pitting China, Russia and Iran against what I have described as the Empire of Chaos.

So yes – it will be all about further moves towards the integration of Eurasia as the US is progressively squeezed out of Eurasia. We will see a complex geostrategic interplay progressively undermining the hegemony of the US dollar as a reserve currency and, most of all, the petrodollar.

For all the immense challenges the Chinese face, all over Beijing it’s easy to detect unmistakable signs of a self-assured, self-confident, fully emerged commercial superpower. President Xi Jinping and the current leadership will keep investing heavily in the urbanization drive and the fight against corruption, including at the highest levels of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Internationally, the Chinese will accelerate their overwhelming push for new ‘Silk Roads’ – both overland and maritime – which will underpin the long-term Chinese master strategy of unifying Eurasia with trade and commerce.

Global oil prices are bound to remain low. All bets are off on whether a nuclear deal will be reached by this summer between Iran and the P5+1. If sanctions (actually economic war) against Iran remain and continue to seriously hurt its economy, Tehran’s reaction will be firm, and will include even more integration with Asia, not the West.

No matter how it was engineered, the fact that stands is that the current financial/strategic oil price collapse is a direct attack against (who else?) Iran and Russia.

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Energy Aggression Against Russia is Expanding, by Peter Lvov

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During his recent trip to Ankara, President Vladimir Putin said on December 1 that the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline project for Southern Europe would be terminated due to the negative position of both Bulgaria and Brussels. Instead of that, it was proposed to build a gas pipeline through the territory of Turkey to its western borders with the EU, where it will be possible to create a kind of a “gas hub” for the countries of Southern and South-Eastern Europe. Naturally, this has caused a nervous reaction of some Europeans. It is one thing to bluff to the tune of the Americans, while it’s quite another to lose an opportunity to purchase gas directly from Russia, bypassing another difficult transit country – Turkey, instead of unreliable Ukraine. What we are talking about here means to “bargain one trouble for another”.

And the fact that Ankara is not the easiest partner for Brussels is understandable; after all, it was EU that for decades stubbornly refused Turkish membership in the EU. At the same time they are actively involving Turkey in NATO plans in relation to Iraq and Syria. And almost immediately the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms. Federica Mogherini, arrived as a head of the representative delegation to meet with President Erdogan in an attempt to convince him to refuse from engaging in President Vladimir Putin’s gas project proposal.

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USAID Exposed in Cuba – What it Tells Us About US Subversion Worldwide, by Tony Cartalucci

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December 13, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – Revealed in an Associated Press (AP) investigation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had for two years attempted to create and exploit a social network within Cuba for the purpose of sparking unrest and overthrowing the Cuban government. The program was an abject failure, primarily because the Cuban government took the necessary measures to investigate, interrogate, and otherwise disrupt what was foreign-backed sedition.

AP would reveal in its report titled, “US co-opted Cuba’s hip-hop scene to spark change,” that:

The program is laid out in documents involving Creative Associates International, a Washington, D.C., contractor paid millions of dollars to undermine Cuba’s communist government. The thousands of pages include contracts, emails, preserved chats, budgets, expense reports, power points, photographs and passports.

The work included the creation of a “Cuban Twitter” social network and the dispatch of inexperienced Latin American youth to recruit activists, operations that were the focus of previous AP stories.

Far from the first time USAID and other US organizations claiming to be aiding in development but in fact engaged in political subversion, the Cuban program itself was based on another US-backed program used to topple the government of Serbia in 2000, AP would reveal.

The USAID operation involved money covertly funneled into Cuba through front companies and offshore banks. USAID, despite the evidence, has wholly denied the operation, as has other US organizations caught in blatant political subversion.

Regarding USAID’s denial, AP would report:

“Any assertions that our work is secret or covert are simply false,” USAID said in a statement Wednesday. Its programs were aimed at strengthening civil society “often in places where civic engagement is suppressed and where people are harassed, arrested, subjected to physical harm or worse.”

If by “civil society,” USAID means networks of political subversion operating in the interests of Wall Street and Washington, then that is precisely what USAID was doing in Cuba, and does elsewhere around the world. However, USAID’s insistence that none of its work was “secret or covert” is simply a lie.

AP, in another report titled, “5 things to know about USAID’s Cuban hip-hop plan,” would reveal that USAID covered up its Cuban program under the guise of “health and civic programs.”  The same report would claim that USAID funding was hidden from the Cubans themselves involved in the program, adding an extra layer of duplicity and deceit.

What USAID’s Cuban Subversion Tells Us About US Subversion Globally 

1. The United States is engaged in political subversion around the world, disguised as “democracy promotion” and even development aid for “health and civic programs.”

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Syrian No-Fly-Zone a Bid to Save Al Qaeda, by Tony Cartalucci

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Recent strikes on Syria by Israel have been alleged to be part of a regional plan by the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel to establish a no-fly-zone (NFZ) over Syria, just as NATO did in Libya in 2011 effectively handing the entire nation over to Al Qaeda and now “Islamic State” terrorists. DEBKA File has suggested in its article, “Israel air strikes wiped out Russian hardware for thwarting US no-fly zone plan over Syria,” that:

High-ranking American military sources revealed Monday, Dec. 8, that Israel’s air strikes near Damascus the day before wiped out newly-arrived Russian hardware including missiles that were dispatched post haste to help Syria and Hizballah frustrate a US plan for a no-fly zone over northern Syria.

Regardless of the veracity of this report, attempts to justify and impose a NFZ over Syria has been a stated goal of Western policymakers since 2011 when a similar ploy was used under the guise of “humanitarian intervention” in Libya.

No-Fly-Zone to Protect Terrorist Mercenaries, Not “Civilians” or “Rebels” 

Corporate-financier funded policymakers from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) published an article in 2013 titled, “Jack Keane and Danielle Pletka: How to Stop Assad’s Slaughter,” claiming:

Syria is not Libya. Bashar Assad’s troops are well armed, and his ground forces are waging successful campaigns against rebel forces across the country. But eliminating Assad’s ability to take to the air and tilting the balance of power in favor of anti-Assad rebels—as the United States and its allies did with the fighters who eventually overthrew Moammar Gadhafi—is both achievable and advisable.

However, in Libya, NATO’s “humanitarian” NFZ clearly was implemented not to protect innocent civilians, but to provide air cover for terrorist mercenaries armed and directed by NATO itself. These terrorists are now revealed to be Al Qaeda and the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS). It is clear then that “Assad’s slaughter” is in all actuality a war being waged upon the depraved ranks of Al Qaeda – from its Al Nusra front to ISIS.

From the beginning of Syria’s conflict in 2011, the US State Department itself revealed Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front was not only involved in early fighting, but had already established a nationwide presence carrying out hundreds of attacks in every major Syrian city. In an official statement by the US State Department designating Al Nusra as a foreign terrorist organization and as an alias for Al Qaeda in Iraq, it was reported that:

Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks – ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised explosive device operations – in major city centers including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr. During these attacks numerous innocent Syrians have been killed.

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Iran nuclear deal enters the danger zone, by Pepe Escobar

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In the end, a nuclear deal with Iran was aborted in Vienna. Is that a hopeful sign? Or should everyone start praying – and running for cover?

The players – Iran and the P5+1 (the five UN permanent members plus Germany) – not only missed the original November 24 deadline; they have now come up with two new deadlines; one on March 1 to reach a hazy “framework agreement”, and the second – in theory – on July 1 for the final deal.

The P5+1 and Iran are negotiating under the November 2103 Geneva Joint Plan of Action – which calls for a freeze of some aspects of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions, but not all sanctions. After all some of these illegal sanctions have absolutely nothing to do with the Iranian nuclear program, and must be lifted by the US Congress.

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IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL COUNTDOWN, by Pepe Escobar

Tasnim News Agency asked me about a possible Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal as we approach crunch time. Article is in Farsi. This is what I said, in English:

“In these final crucial days there’s a lot of Western spin about an extension of negotiations; as in an understanding reached on Monday, followed by renewed talks up to March 2015. That’s NOT a good idea – in fact dangerous. All those powerful forces against a deal will work on overtime to sabotage it.

All the technical controversy about number of centrifuges and how much low-enriched uranium Iran must hold mask the key fact; if the US wants a deal, everything is on the table. Russia, China and Germany want a deal. The White House, for its part, wants a very particular kind of deal that smells of surrender. The American rhetoric essentially remains the same: Iran is an evil threat that must be contained.

Team Obama is under the assumption Tehran needs Washington to deal with Daesh – thus it must make additional nuclear concessions. This is totally absurd – as if the White House had the power to open the gates for Iran to be part of its coalition of the clueless/cowards fighting Daesh. In fact, Iraqi Shi’ite militias can easily defeat Daesh – by themselves, with some Iranian help. At the same time, the Obama administration would like Tehran to persuade Assad to do nothing while the “coalition” smashes Daesh (and they won’t). And then what? A renewed American surge attempting regime change in Damascus?

The Obama administration also carries an Alice in Wonderland idea that the “international community” will blame Tehran if there’s no deal. That’s rubbish. It would certainly be the spin in Washington, London, Paris, Riyadh and Jerusalem. And that’s it. The BRICS know very well what’s going on, as well as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

Obama seems more helpless than a lame duck in this situation. The Israel lobby still dictates the unrelenting agenda – along with all Republicans and most Democrats; we gotta remain very tough. An extension of the negotiations means the new US Congress will push for no end to sanctions – unless the White House comes up with a deal that means unconditional Iranian surrender.

In parallel, the House of Saud – backed by the GCC – is allied with Israel and political Washington. They want no deal at all – as it will empower Iran as the key geopolitical actor in Southwest Asia. In their paranoia, the House of Saud sees the rise of Iran as even more dangerous for their survival than Western democracy.

There’s no evidence the White House is strategically equipped to deal with all these complex interlocked factors. If Obama REALLY wants a deal (and that would represent his ONLY foreign policy success) he will have to force all those powerful domestic enemies – plus Israel and Saudi Arabia – to toe the White House line. It’s obvious to any unbiased geopolitical observer that a normalization between Iran and the US and the EU is a win-win game, as the Chinese say. The key problem is that Washington simply refuses to admit it.

FarsiPepe

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Lame-duck Obama’s brave new world, by Pepe Escobar

Fresh out of his latest Congressional election shellacking delivered by the minority who bothered to vote in the United States, the formerly most powerful leader in the world, US President Barack Obama, will star in a thriller this weekend, appearing in the same room with China’s Xi Jinping, Japan’s Shinzo Abe and – fasten your seat belts – Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

What a drag – the Bomber-In-Chief must be musing. The global economy is mostly a disaster. China, even growing at “only” 7% a year, keeps eroding his “indispensable nation” aura. Japan has decided to copy the Federal Reserve and embark on its own kamikaze version of quantitative easing. Numerous Southeast.

Asian nations keep freaking out about a few rocks in the South China Sea.

And last but not least, Obama’s nemesis, pesky Vlad “the Hammer” Putin, has just been crowned Most Powerful Leader in the world – even if for the most stupid reasons (“unpredictable” head of a “rogue state”) [1] – while he, the Nobel Peace Prize leader of the exceptionalist, indispensable nation, is now nothing but a pitiful lame duck.

The get-together, extended to Monday and Tuesday, will be the highlight of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing – actually, outside of Beijing, so presumably unpolluted blue skies may also have a chance at the photo op. This is APEC’s 25th birthday. And the 20th birthday of the Indonesian summit in Bogor – I happened to be there – which, under Bill Clinton’s flowery charm, set the 21-member APEC nations a goal of “free” and open trade and investment by 2020. “Free” as in US corporations dictating the rules, of course.

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