Tag Archives: Iran

Letter from Tehran: Trump ‘the bazaari’, by Pepe Escobar

Source: Asia Times

The Iranian Parliament just hosted its annual conference on Palestine and, among the dignitaries – that included Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani – and the 700 foreign guests from more than 50 countries was Asia Times columnist Pepe Escobar.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei speaking at the international conference on Palestine in Tehran. Photo: Asia Times.

he art of the deal, when practiced for 2500 years, does lead to the palace of wisdom. I had hardly set foot in Tehran when a diplomat broke the news: “Trump? We’re not worried. He’s a bazaari”. It’s a Persian language term meaning he is from the merchants class or, more literally, a worker from the bazaar and its use implies that a political accommodation will eventually be reached.

The Iranian government’s response to the Trump administration boils down to a Sun Tzu variant; silence, especially after the Fall of Flynn, who had “put Iran on notice” after it carried out a ballistic missile test, and had pushed the idea of an anti-Iran military alliance comprising Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Jordan. Tehran says the missile test did not infringe the provisions of the Iran nuclear deal and that naval drills from the Strait of Hormuz to the Indian Ocean, which began on Sunday, had been planned well in advance.

I was in Tehran as one of several hundred foreign guests, including a small group of foreign journalists , guests of the Majlis (Parliament) for an annual conference on the Palestine issue.

Not surprisingly, no one from Trump’s circle was among the gathering of parliamentarians from over 50 nations who attended the impressive opening ceremony in a crowded, round conference hall where the center of power in Iran was on display; Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani.

Khamenei proclaimed that “the existing crises in every part of the region and the Islamic ummah deserve attention”, but insisted that the key issue remains Palestine. The conference, he said, could become “a model for all Muslims and regional nations to gradually harness their differences by relying on their common points”.

Khamenei’s was an important call for Muslim unity. Few in the West know that during the rapid decolonization of the 1940s and 50s, the Muslim world was not torn apart by the vicious Sunni-Shi’ite hatred – later fomented by the Wahhabi/Salafi-jihadi axis. The Wahhabi House of Saud, incidentally, was nowhere to be seen at the conference.

Hefty discussions with Iranian analysts and diplomats revolved on the efficacy of multilateral discussions compared to advancing facts on the ground – ranging from the building of new settlements in the West Bank to the now all but dead and buried Oslo two-state myth.

On Palestine, I asked Naim Qassem, deputy secretary-general of Hezbollah about the Trump administration’s hint of a one-state solution. His answer, in French; “One state means war. Two states means peace under their conditions, which will lead us to war.”

As with most conferences, what matters are the sidelines. Leonid Savin, a Russian geopolitical analyst, claimed that Russian airspace is now all but sealed with multiple deployments of the S-500 missile defense system against anything the US might unleash. Albanian historian Olsi Jazexhi deconstructed the new Balkans powder keg. Muhammad Gul, son of the late, larger-than-life General Hamid Gul, detailed the finer points of Pakistan’s foreign policy and the drive to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Pyongyang was also in the house. The North Korean delegate produced an astonishing speech, essentially arguing that Palestine should follow their example, complete with a “credible nuclear deterrent”. Later, in the corridors I saluted the delegation, and they saluted back. No chance of a sideline chat though to go over the unclear points surrounding Kim Jong-nam’s assassination.

Blake Archer Williams, a.k.a. Arash Darya-Bandari, whose pseudonym celebrates the “tyger tyger burning bright” English master, gave me a copy of Creedal Foundations of Waliyic Islam (Lion of Najaf Publishers) – an analysis of how Shi’ite theology led to the theory of velayat-e faqih (the ruling of the jurisprudent) that lies at the heart of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Every time I’m back in Tehran I’m impressed with the surprising number of open avenues for serious intellectual discussion. I was constantly reminded of Jalal Al-e Ahmad, the son of a mullah born in poor south Tehran who later translated Sartre and Camus and wrote the seminal Westoxification (1962).

He spent the summer of 1965 at Harvard seminars organized by Henry Kissinger and “supported” by the CIA. He pivoted to Shi’ism only toward the end of his life. It was his analysis that paved the way for sociologist Ali Shariati to cross-pollinate anti-colonialism with the Shi’ite concept of resistance against injustice and produce a revolutionary ideology capable of politicizing the Iranian middle classes, leading to the Islamic Revolution.

That was the background for serious discussions on how Iran (resistance against injustice), China (remixed Confucianism) and Russia (Eurasianism) are offering post-Enlightenment alternatives that transcend Western liberal democracy.

But in the end it was all inevitably down to the overarching anti-intellectual ghost in the room; Donald Trump (and that was even before he got a letter from Ahmadinejad).

So I did what I usually do before leaving Tehran; I hit the bazaar, via a fabulous attached mosque – to get reacquainted with the art of the deal, the Persian way.

That led me to Mahmoud Asgari, lodged in the Sameyi passage of the Tajrish bazaar and a serious discussion on the finer points of pre-WWI Sistan-Baluchistan tribal rugs from Zahedan. The end result was – what else – a win-win sale, bypassing the US dollar. And then, the clincher: “When you call your friend Trump, tell him to come here and I’ll give him the best deal”.

Pepe Escobar wrote his The Roving Eye column for Asia Times from 2000-2015. His books include Globalistan (2007), Red Zone Blues (2007), Obama does Globalistan (2009), Empire of Chaos (2014) and 2030 (2015).

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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CPEC AND THE 21ST CENTURY CONVERGENCE OF CIVILIZATIONS, by Andrew Korybko

Source: Katehon

The current century presents a plethora of strategic opportunities for Pakistan, provided that Islamabad knows how to pluck the low-hanging fruit and take the initiative. The steady development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is making the country ever more attractive for a wide variety of international partners, some of which have traditionally been aligned with Pakistan, and others which are entirely new and unprecedented. No matter which of the two categories these states fall under, it’s evident that they’re all interested in taking advantage of this game-changing series of infrastructure projects.

Never before has China had a reliable overland trade corridor to the Indian Ocean, and this in turn opens up a wide range of options for the People’s Republic and its economic partners. Moreover, the eventual completion of CPEC will allow Russia and the landlocked states of Central Asia to more easily conduct commerce with the broader Indian Ocean Region, thereby leading to the creation of previously uncharted trade routes which will invigorate each set of partners and profit the irreplaceable transit state of Pakistan. In terms of the bigger picture, each crisscrossing network of economic connections in one way or another is expected to pass through Pakistan by means of CPEC, thereby empowering Islamabad to leverage its crucial geostrategic position in pursuit of its national interests.

The convergence of so many diverse civilizational actors – including Europeans, Russians, Turks, Arabs, Iranians, Chinese, and Africans – in one state is made possible by Beijing’s One Belt One Road vision of global connectivity as manifested through CPEC, and it accordingly allows for Pakistan to mediate over a dialogue of civilizations in the 21st century. This is a pivotal role of the utmost importance and highest responsibility, and it has the very real potential of transforming Pakistan from a regional leader to a hemispheric Great Power within the next decade. This analysis will thus explore the way in which this grand strategy can be actualized, sequentially describing the overall concept, the various civilizational-connectivity channels, and the challenges that Pakistan can expect to face.

Concept

Abstract:

The economic attractiveness of CPEC serves as an irresistible magnet for all sorts of various actors to utilize its infrastructural connectivity in facilitating their trade objectives, whether it’s enhancing bilateral trade with China such as the EU, Mideast, and African states may naturally be interested in, or in acquiring a convenient outlet to the Indian Ocean such as what Russia and the Central Asian republics desire. The convergence of so many civilizational forces in Pakistan will propel the South Asian state to worldwide importance by gifting its leaders with the impressive potential to serve as the common middle ground between each of them, both literally in terms of CPEC connectivity and figuratively as it relates to the broader dialogue of civilizations concept.

The latter objective is wholly dependent on the former, meaning that Pakistan is unlikely to bring together a wide array of hemispheric interests and actors if the CPEC project isn’t completed or is severely undermined after the fact. Conversely, the completion of CPEC will enable Pakistan to do just that, which thus propels the country’s significance to global heights. The second and largest part of this research will describe the different connectivity channels that CPEC opens up between Pakistan and the rest of Afro-Eurasia, but at this point a lot more needs to be said about the grand strategy behind this exciting endeavor.

Once CPEC becomes fully operational, Pakistan will unofficially become China’s most important gateway to the rest of the world. Although the People’s Republic currently engages in a staggering amount of trade with each of its countless partners, the vast majority of this is conducted via maritime routes which traverse the bottlenecked chokepoint of the Strait of Malacca and the contentious waters of the South China Sea, both of which are uncomfortably vulnerable to an American blockade or similar sort of interference in the event of a conflict between the two Great Powers. It’s mostly for this reason and due to the foresight of Chinese strategists that Beijing decided to pioneer an overland trade route to the Indian Ocean through CPEC, relying on its decades-long and all-weather friendship with Pakistan in order to make this a reality.

Continue reading CPEC AND THE 21ST CENTURY CONVERGENCE OF CIVILIZATIONS, by Andrew Korybko

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Conversation: “Human Rights Watch” vs. Professor Stephen Cohen

Watch the head of Human Rights Watch speak for Al Qaeda with a straight face. Of course, Democracy Now is itself Al Qaeda propaganda light.

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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Conversation: Eva Bartlett Reports On The Ground Realities In Syria

Permanent Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations – Press Conference, 9 December 2016

Eva Bartlett has been to Syria 6 times since 2014, two of these trips with international delegations, the remaining four were self funded trips, she speaks fluent Arabic and has been to Aleppo four times apart from the rest of Syria as well.

This is a must hear account of actual ground reality. If you care for the truth on Syria, then have a listen.

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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US, British ‘Clean House’ to Delete Syria Terror Links, by Finian Cunningham

Source: Information Clearing House

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November 15, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – “SCF” –  US President Barack Obama has just given the Pentagon orders to assassinate commanders of the Al Nusra terror network in Syria. American media reports over the weekend say the new urgency arises from US intelligence fears that al Qaeda-affiliated groups are preparing to mount terror attacks against Western targets from strongholds in Syria.

The purported US «kill list» will be acted on through drone strikes and «intelligence assets». The latter refers, presumably, to US special forces that are already operating in northern Syria alongside Turkish military.

Last week, a similar announcement was carried in the British press, which reported that elite British SAS troops had received orders to kill up to 200 jihadi volunteers from Britain who are suspected to be active in Syria (and Iraq). Again, the same rationale was invoked as in the latest American plan. That the assassination program was to pre-empt terror attacks rebounding on Western states.

A British defense official was quoted as saying that the mission could be the most important ever undertaken by the SAS in its entire 75-year history. «The hunt is on», said the official, «to take out some very bad people».

Significantly, too, the British SAS kill operations in Syria are reportedly being carried out as part of a «multinational effort». That suggests that the Pentagon’s initiative reported this weekend in being coordinated with the British.

However, there is something decidedly odd about this sudden determination by the Americans and British to eliminate terrorists in Syria. Continue reading US, British ‘Clean House’ to Delete Syria Terror Links, by Finian Cunningham

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The Breakaway Civilisation, by Mohsin Siddiqui

Illustration by Steve Cutts @ http://www.stevecutts.com/
Illustration by Steve Cutts @ http://www.stevecutts.com/

The US elections much like the rest of our usual daily consumption of Mass Media are more about stage managed theatre with bucket loads of Americanism, a seasoning of hyperbole and most certainly reality-free. The constant barrage of infotainment from the indispensable nation, the exceptional nation and the benign super power tells us of a distinct desire to consume information reality-free.

This informational GMO has permeated every facet of our existence and has infected the minds of billions around the world. It can be ridiculed, seen as inferior or even unsustainable. But do understand that it is the food for the liberal soul and it is a formidable force to be reckoned with.

Human beings drive the vast bulk of their understanding of the world through information either delivered directly via consumable media or indirectly via peer impressions, religion, anecdotes, fables and cultural norms. All of it ultimately centres on the flow of information which is a commodity that has been designed, refined, repackaged and is continually ‘improved’. Most of us underestimate the true awesome power of mass media, we read the statistics, the concentration of power and observe the echo chamber yet we still need to let it all sink in to truly grasp what it means.

Mass media is the encapsulation of the spectrum of information; From magazine to sports to history to business to politics, it is driven by a seamless thread of a philosophy guiding the ego & soul towards an atomised individualistic view of the world. It is an echo chamber that has not seen its parallel before on this planet, an organ to shape reality for the billions. A human being is a hodge-podge of history, culture, religion, philosophy, geography, epigenetics and a host of many more layers of information. Mass Media is the flute that organises this cacophony into a melody, and just like that a marionette of the modern man is born.

Resistance to the pied piper is possible but requires one to leave that womb of comfort that the information matrix provides with its legions of followers; That feeling of belonging, of being understood, of being ‘right’ and of being good. The strength can only come from reality but in our upside down world many are malnourished on the diet of GM information and it is not a problem for only Americans – who are severely affected – but instead it is a global phenomenon.

Successful entrepreneurs, businessmen, academics, financial experts, journalists, neighbours, friends, brothers, sisters and parents can all be entangled in the web of the information matrix.  Many of us have been at pains to explain the conflicts in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Ukraine and Yemen to our colleagues and friends but it is as if the words fall on deaf ears. The cognitive dissonance is heavy and the Teflon like value-matrix – a product of pre-packaged popularly accepted globalised values- lets all facts, figures and evidence that we present slip off. It is about the first woman president elect and not her war crimes, it is about the opposing camp saying that a racist, misogynist bigot is worse than a psychopathic mass murderer. It is inverted reality. It is full on dystopia.

Where do you begin to explain that elections are for the most part mere stage managed theatre? That the USA is an Empire of 1,000 military bases and not a country? That Obama the peace maker has incinerated civilians in 7 countries with impunity? That Hillary’s black lives did not matter for whole black Libyan towns that were extinguished? That President Asad’s Syria is LGBTQ friendly and the “Syrian revolution” that never was is the opposite? Or that it simply is not about personality politics, gay rights and black lives but is about a class struggle?

Continue reading The Breakaway Civilisation, by Mohsin Siddiqui

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Conversation: Living in Aleppo

Journalist & activist Eva Bartlett who has spent several months in Syria had this to say:

Impressive report with Pierre Le Corf in
#Aleppo, speaking on the terrorist snipers which plague civilians in quarters near the frontlines of terrorist-occupied areas of eastern Aleppo, also of the real hardships Aleppo residents face daily: lack of water, lack of electricity (both thanks to terrorists control the flow of both), and the media war in which corporate media refuse to honestly portray, or report on period, life in government-secured western/greater Aleppo.

Some comments Pierre mentioned to me:
 
“The French media are trying to hide the attacks from Al-Nusra but because they want to show something full of action, they can’t hide it when I pass front of sniper curtain or when they shot on me at the end. 

A lot of people wrote me about that video and were surprised of the situation here, finally.
 
I’m tired to see that very few people know about the situation…”
 
Please share widely.

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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Urgent Update From The UN Security Council

Dear readers,

The pace of geopolitics is on such an uptick that it is practically impossible to stay up to date unless you are hooked onto your twitter,facebook and favourite alternate sites bookmark list 24/7.

However, what we often fail to realise is that actual power is not on the political spectrum which is more or less the theatre for the masses.

In the interest of keeping our readers informed, we thought that the below visual description communicates more accurately what has been happening at the UN Security Council for the past few months compared to all the articles,footage,interviews and canned news reels you have been subjected to.

global_update

AE

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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