Russia has rejected a US claim that the sales of Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets to Iran were prohibited under a United Nation Security Council resolution.
On Tuesday, the US Department of State Undersecretary for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon said Washington would use its veto power in the Security Council to block the possible sales of the fighter jets to Iran.
“The sale of Su-30 fighter aircraft is prohibited under UNSCR 2231 without the approval of the UN Security Council and we would block the approval of any sale of fighter aircraft under the restrictions,” Shannon said, referring to the UN resolution.
Head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department for non-proliferation and arms control, Mikhail Ulyanov, dismissed the claim.
“Such deliveries are not prohibited, they are allowed, and this follows from the text of the resolution,” the Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.
Resolution 2231, adopted by the Security Council on July 20, 2015, endorsed a nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group, comprising Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany.
Shannon claimed that under the resolution, such weapon deliveries “require the submission of relevant notification to the Security Council and this notification’s endorsement by the Security Council.”
Ulyanov said Moscow has not forwarded such a notification to the Security Council so far.
Political analysts say Resolution 2231 does not prohibit Iran from buying fighter jets, and its language is not legally binding and cannot be enforced with punitive measures.
Su-30 is a multirole advanced fighter aircraft for all-weather, air-to-air and air-to-surface deep interdiction missions.
Iran and the P5+1 finalized the nuclear agreement, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in Vienna, Austria, in July last year. They started to implement the JCPOA on January 16, 2016.
On Tuesday, a senior Russian diplomat also said Moscow would begin the first shipment of its S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran in the coming days.
“I don’t know if this will happen today, but they (S-300 missiles) will be loaded (for shipment to Iran),” Interfax quoted Zamir Kabulov, a department chief at the Foreign Ministry, as saying.
Brazil’s attorney general has slammed impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff as illegal, saying such a bid is nothing more than an attempted coup d’état.
Jose Eduardo Cardozo, the government’s main legal advisor, defended Rousseff before the impeachment committee of Brazil’s lower house of Congress, dismissing the allegations leveled against the embattled president.
Opposition lawmakers, who are seeking to remove Rousseff, accuse her of taking out unauthorized government loans to hide a growing budget deficit.
Cardozo told the 65-member committee that such claims, even if true, could not be dealt with as an impeachment case, saying the “process was compromised from the start and as such it is invalid.”
“As such, impeaching her would be a coup, a violation of the constitution, an affront to the rule of law, without any need to resort to bayonets,” he added.
The hearing was the final plea by Rousseff’s administration against the impeachment. The committee will likely issue its recommendation this week.
If the impeachment passes the lower house, the president would be suspended for up to six months while facing trial in the Senate. Meantime, Vice President Michel Temer would replace her as acting president.
Rousseff, however, vowed that she would stand firm and would not bow to the pressure to bring her down. Her predecessor and ally Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has also pledged to support Rousseff.
The impeachment process began last December after lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha accepted the opposition request for such a move.
Cardozo said Cunha’s decision was motivated by his desire for political revenge against Rousseff, his bitter political rival.
The political crisis has brought Brazil to the brink of economic collapse as it is entangled in a deep recession and corruption allegations.
With the Rio de Janeiro Olympics just four months away, the Latin American country has been the scene of counter rallies in and against the government over the last few weeks, some of which even turned violent.
In the latest of such rallies, anti-government protesters took to the streets on Monday, denouncing the officials for not having decided over the impeachment bid.
In the first of a four-part series, Dan Glazebrook and Sukant Chandan look at the recent spate of revelations about the involvement of British security services in facilitating the flow of fighters into Syria.
Over 13 years ago, in March 2003, Britain and the US led an illegal and unprovoked war of aggression against Iraq, a fellow UN member state. Such a war is deemed to be, in the judgment of the Nuremberg trials that followed World War Two, “not only an international crime” but “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
The mainstream narrative surrounding this war, and the endless catastrophes it bequeathed to Iraq, is that it was the result of a series of unfortunate ‘intelligence failures’: the British government had been led to believe that Iraq posed what Tony Blair called a “clear and present danger” to international security by intelligence that subsequently turned out to be false.
Blair told us that the Iraqi government had an active nuclear weapons program, had acquired uranium from Niger, had mobile chemical weapons factories that could evade UN weapons inspectors, and had stocks of chemical weapons able to hit British troops in Cyprus within 45 minutes.
All of these claims were false, and all were blamed on ‘intelligence failings’, creating an image of an intelligence service totally incapable of distinguishing between credible information and the deluding ravings of crackpots and fantasists, such as the notorious Curveball, the source of many of the various made-up claims later repeated in such grave and reverent tones by the likes of Tony Blair and Colin Powell.
In fact, we now know that sources such as Curveball had already been written off as delusional, compulsive liars by multiple intelligence agencies long before Blair and co got their hands on their outpourings – and the British government was fully aware of this.
The truth is, there were no intelligence failings over the Iraq war. In fact, the intelligence services had been carrying out their job perfectly: on the one hand, making correct assessments of unreliable information, and on the other, providing the government with everything necessary to facilitate its war of aggression. The Iraq war, then, represented a supreme example not of intelligence failure, but intelligence success.
Fast forward to today, and we are again hearing talk of ‘intelligence failings’ and the supposed incompetence of the security services to explain a debilitating Western-sponsored war in the Middle East: this time in Syria.
Earlier this year, British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond admitted that 800 British citizens had gone to join the anti-government terrorist movement in Syria, with at least 50 known to have been killed fighting for Al-Qaeda or Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). The British security and intelligence community, we are to believe, were simply unable to stop them.
Opportunist political opponents blame such shocking statistics on incompetence, while the government and its supporters increasingly weave them into an argument for greater powers and resources for the security services. Both are wrong; and a closer look at some of these so-called ‘intelligence failings’ makes this very clear.
In December 2013, it emerged that MI5 had tried to recruit Michael Adebolajo, one of the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby, just a few weeks before Rigby’s murder. Adebalajo had been on the radar of both MI5 and MI6 for over 10 years. He had been under surveillance in no less than five separate MI5 investigations, including one set up specifically to watch him. He was known to have been in contact with the senior leadership of Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, based in Yemen, and he had been arrested in Kenya on a speedboat on the way to Somalia with five other youths, where he was suspected of hoping to join Al Shabaab.
The Kenyans were furious when they handed him over to the Brits only for him to be turned loose, presumably to continue with his recruitment activities.
The following month, 17-year-old Aseel Muthana left his family home in Cardiff to join rebel fighters in Syria. His brother Nasser had left three months earlier, and his family were worried that Aseel would try to join him. So they confiscated his passport, and informed the police of their concerns. The police kept the family under close scrutiny. They even arrived at his house at 5pm the day he left for Syria, to be told he hadn’t been seen since the night before. He boarded a flight at 8.35pm that night, using alternative travel documents issued by the Foreign Office. His family were horrified that he had been allowed to travel, without a passport, despite all their warnings.
A similar case occurred in June 2015, when three sisters from Bradford traveled to Syria – it is thought to join IS – taking their nine young children with them. Again, the family had been under intense scrutiny from the police ever since their brother went to join IS in Syria earlier that year. And far from being unaware of the risk of their being recruited, counter-terrorist police were, it appears, deeply complicit in their recruitment.
A letter from the family’s lawyers said they were “alarmed” by the police allegedly having been actively promoting and encouraging contact with the brother believed to be fighting in Syria: “It would appear that there has been a reckless disregard as to the consequences of any such contact [with] the families of those whom we represent,” the lawyers said, and continued: “Plainly, by the NECTU [North East Counter Terrorism Unit] allowing this contact they have been complicit in the grooming and radicalizing of the women.”
October 2014 saw the trial of Moazzam Begg, for various terrorism-related offences. Begg had admitted to training British recruits in Syria – but in his defense, he made the incendiary claim that MI5 had explicitly given him the green light for his frequent visits in a meeting they had arranged with him. MI5 admitted it was true, and the trial collapsed.
Six months later, BBC Radio 4 broadcast an interview with Aimen Dean, a founding member of Al-Qaeda who was subsequently recruited by MI6 as a spy. Part of his work for MI6, he said, involved encouraging young impressionable Muslims to go and join the ranks of Al-Qaeda.
Then in June 2015, Abu Muntasir, known as the godfather of British jihadists, thought to have recruited “thousands” of British Muslims to fight in Afghanistan, Kashmir, Burma, Bosnia and Chechnya, gave an interview to the Guardian, repenting his actions. He explained that he came back from fighting in Afghanistan to “create the link and clear the paths. I came back [from war] and opened the door and the trickle turned to a flood. I inspired and recruited, I raised funds and bought weapons, not just a one-off but for 15 to 20 years. Why I have never been arrested I don’t know.”
That same month, a second trial collapsed, for much the same reasons as Begg’s. Bherlin Gildo was arrested in October 2014 on his way from Copenhagen to Manila. He was accused of attending a terrorist training camp and receiving weapons training as well as possessing information likely to be useful to a terrorist. The Guardian reported that the prosecution “collapsed at the Old Bailey after it became clear Britain’s security and intelligence agencies would have been deeply embarrassed had a trial gone ahead.”
In January 2016, it was revealed that Siddhartha Dhar traveled to Syria in September 2014 while on police bail for terrorism offences – the sixth time he had been arrested for terror-related offences, and not long after MI5 had reportedly tried to recruit him. Police had demanded he hand in his passport, but did not follow it up; this was despite the fact that he had revealed – live on BBC morning television no less – that he would “love to live in the Islamic State.” He later posted pictures of himself posing with guns in Raqqa, and is suspected of being the so-called ‘new Jihadi John’, appearing in an IS video executing suspected spies. The original ‘Jihadi John’ – British-Kuwaiti Mohammed Emwazi – had also been well known to the British security services, having – just as Adebolajo and Dhar – apparently been offered a job by MI5.
Is this all just a ‘catalogue of blunders’, more ‘intelligence failings’ on a massive scale?
These cases demonstrate a couple of irrefutable points. Firstly, the claim that the security services would have needed more power and resources to have prevented the absconding is clearly not true.
Since 1995, the Home Office has operated what it calls a ‘Warnings Index’: a list of people ‘of interest’ to any branch of government, who will then be ‘flagged up’ should they attempt to leave the country. Given that every single one of these cases was well known to the authorities, the Home Office had, for whatever reason, decided either not to put them on the Warnings Index, or to ignore their attempts to leave the country when they were duly flagged up. That is, the government decided not to use the powers already at its disposal to prevent those at the most extreme risk of joining the Syrian insurgency from doing so.
Secondly, these cases show that British intelligence and security clearly prioritize recruitment of violent so-called Islamists over disruption of their activities. The question is – what exactly are they recruiting them for?
At his trial, Bherlin Gildo’s lawyers provided detailed evidence that the British government itself had been arming and training the very groups that Gildo was being prosecuted for supporting. Indeed, Britain has been one of the most active and vocal supporters of the anti-government insurgency in Syria since its inception, support which continued undiminished even after the sectarian leadership and direction of the insurgency was privately admitted by Western intelligence agencies in 2012. Even today, with IS clearly the main beneficiaries of the country’s destabilization, and Al-Qaeda increasingly hegemonic over the other anti-government forces, David Cameron continues to openly ally himself with the insurgency.
Is it really such a far-fetched idea that the British state, openly supporting a sectarian war against the Ba’athist government in Syria, might also be willfully facilitating the flow of British fighters to join this war? Britain’s history of collusion with sectarian paramilitaries as a tool of foreign policy certainly suggests this may be so. This history, in Ireland, Afghanistan and the Arab peninsula, and its role in shaping British policy today, will be the subject of the articles to follow.
Dan Glazebrook is a freelance political writer who has written for RT, Counterpunch, Z magazine, the Morning Star, the Guardian, the New Statesman, the Independent and Middle East Eye, amongst others. His first book “Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis” was published by Liberation Media in October 2013. It featured a collection of articles written from 2009 onwards examining the links between economic collapse, the rise of the BRICS, war on Libya and Syria and ‘austerity’. He is currently researching a book on US-British use of sectarian death squads against independent states and movements from Northern Ireland and Central America in the 1970s and 80s to the Middle East and Africa today.
Moscow has submitted data on Turkey’s illegal arms and military hardware supply to Islamic State in Syria to the UN Security Council. Supplies are supervised by the Turkish intelligence service, Russian UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said as cited by Russian media.
“The main supplier of weapons and military equipment to ISIL fighters is Turkey, which is doing so through non-governmental organizations. Work in this area is overseen by the National Intelligence Organization of Turkey,” Churkin wrote.
According to the envoy, transportation “mainly involves vehicles, including as part of humanitarian aid convoys.”
The letter mentioned several NGOs, which are funded from Turkish and foreign sources, which sent different cargo, including military equipment, to Syria last year.
“The Besar foundation (President — D. Şanlı) is most actively engaged in pursuing these objectives and, in 2015, formed around 50 convoys to the Turkmen areas of Bayırbucak and Kızıltepe (260 km north of Damascus),” Churkin stressed, adding that Iyilikder Foundation and The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms were also involved.
In total, the terrorists were delivered 2.5 thousand tons of ammonium nitrate (worth around $788,700), 456 tons of potassium nitrate ($468,700), 75 tons of aluminum powder ($496,500), sodium nitrate ($19,400), glycerin ($102,500) and nitric acid ($34,000 thousand) via Turkey in 2015, Churkin wrote.
The Colombian government announced the launch of formal peace talks on Wednesday with the country’s second-largest rebel group the National Liberation Army or ELN. The announcement takes place after the guerrilla group freed two hostages to meet a government condition for the start of formal peace talks.
During a joint press conference Wednesday, the Colombian government’s top delegate for the ongoing FARC peace talks, Frank Pearl, outlined the key aspects of negotiation between the ELN and the Colombian government, which will include six major points: participation of society, peace through democracy, transformations necessary for peace, victims rights, the end of the armed conflict, and the implementation and signature of the agreement.
Pearl also confirmed that Cuba, Norway, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil and Ecuador will act as guarantor countries.
Meanwhile, moving forward, the ELN commander Antonio Garcia promised to communicate on all future progress made during the talks and vowed “to create a favorable environment for peace.”
Shortly after the press conference, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos delievered a statmenent in which he emphasized the importance of the peace talks with the ELN, stating, “We have to finish this conflict in order to construct peace in our country.”
During his speech, the Colombian President likened the talks to the ongoing negations between the government and the FARC, saying that, “the objective is the same, which is to eliminate violence.”
The announcement marks a new stage in peace negotiations as the government also closes in on a deal with the country’s largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC.
Leading up to the joint press conference, ELN officials thanked the Venezuelan government via Twitter for their role in the Colombian peace process.
“We would like to thank the Venezuelan people for their unconditional support in helping us get to this point.”
Meanwhile, the regional integration bloc, UNASUR, also issued its support in a statement saying, “The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR ) welcomes this agreement, which was made possible in part due to the participation of several regional governments.”
The Foreign Ministry of Ecuador also praised the news, expressing its “profound satisfaction” regarding the recent announcement.
The government and the ELN had been in preliminary talks for more than two years, but had failed to begin formal negotiations until today.
Colombia has seen armed conflict between the state, paramilitaries, crime syndicates and revolutionary left-wing groups such as the FARC and the Marxist-Leninist ELN since the 1960s.
Argentina has officially expanded the outer limits of its continental shelf beyond the UK-claimed Falkland Islands, following a UN commission ruling which increased its maritime territory by 35 percent to include the waters around the disputed islands.
According to the Argentinian Foreign Ministry, the newly introduced continental shelf borders are based on a “unanimous” decision by the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, that ruled in Argentina’s favor earlier in March.
According to UN ruling, Argentinian waters have expanded by 1.7 million sq km, which encompass those surrounding the disputed Falklands, or as they are known in Argentina, Islas Malvinas. Essentially the UN ratified the country’s 2009 petition to fix the limit of its territorial waters at 200 to 350 miles from its coast.
“We’re reaffirming our sovereignty rights over the resources from our continental shelf, minerals, hydrocarbons and sedentary species,” Foreign minister Susana Malcorra said, when making the announcement. “I sincerely believe that is a very significant foreign policy achievement of Argentina.”
“This is a historic occasion for Argentina because we’ve made a huge leap in the demarcation of the exterior limit of our continental shelf,” she added.
The UN ruling increased Argentinian territory by 35 percent, as under the previous 200 nautical mile extension Argentina’s shelf consisted of 4.8m sq km. Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Foradori who chaired the panel presentation at San Martin Palace, said that UN ruling was carried out by design and planning and not by accident.
It “is not a sovereignty dispute, but the creation of national sovereignty quietly and in peace, with all Argentines working in a team, for years, under different governments with a common objective. It was the generation of a policy by design and planning, and not by accident,” Foradori said.
Meanwhile, UK Independence Party’s (UKIP) defense spokesman Mike Hookem slammed the decision, while adding that the British government must “stand by the Falkland Islanders and tell the United Nations it does not accept its decision on Argentina’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).”
“The Falkland Islands do not lie in Argentinian waters and the UN should not be altering customary international law for the sake of one country whose actions in 1982 cost over one thousand lives,” he said in a statement on UKIP’s website.
“I thought the UN was supposed to be a global arbitrator and stick to its own laws, not pick favourites at the expense of its own principles,” he added.
The UN is yet to officially confirm Buenos Aires announcement, but according to Article 76, paragraphs four to seven of the Convention, the coastal state can “delineate the outer limits of its continental shelf, where that shelf extends beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines …” London is also yet to comment on Argentina’s announcement.
In the long standing dispute, Buenos Aires claims it inherited the Falkland Islands from the Spanish crown in 1816, while London justifies its position saying it has continuously administered the territory since 1833, as well as the islands’ population, which is almost entirely of British descent.
While the islands are self-governed, London provides for its defense and foreign affairs, and fought a war with Argentina to protect its claim in 1982. The British government also maintains that islanders cannot accept Argentinian sovereignty against their will. During the 2013 referendum 99.8 percent of residents favored the status quo.
The people of the Falkland Islands are trying to find out from the British government about “what, if any, decisions have been made, and what implications there may be” for the territory in relation to the UN decision.
“As soon as we have any firm information we will make it available,” Mike Summers, chairman of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands, said in an e-mailed statement to the Associated Press. “Our understanding has always been that the UN would not make any determination on applications for continental shelf extension in areas where there are competing claims.”
Militants shot at a Lebanese army surveillance tower in the border town of Hneider early on Saturday, al-Manar correspondent reported.
Our reporter said that following the attack two army soldiers withdrew the surveillance tower to a nearby checkpoint, adding that the army fired flare bombs and targeted the militants with machine guns and artillery fire.
The army soldiers then returned to the surveillance tower, according to our correspondent.
Meanwhile, the National News Agency reported that the Lebanese army “upped security measures in the border town of Hneider and its neighboring towns in the region of Wadi Khaled, following an attack by Syrian gunmen on a surveillance tower on Saturday.”
The surveillance tower which is under construction and aims at observing and controlling the border is under the joint control of the Lebanese Armed Forces, Internal Security Forces and General Security, NNA added.
The US Defense Department reportedly plans to launch a new train-and-equip effort in Syria. The new effort will focus on preparing a small contingent of rebels outside Syria.
The rebels will reportedly be trained in infantry tactics and then sent back to their homeland. The spokesman for the US-led military operation against Daesh, Colonel Steve Warren, said the new effort was part of the Pentagon’s adjustments to the train-and-equip program built on prior experience.
However, many details about the new program remain unclear, including its cost, the number of fighters it aims to train as well as the exact date of its launch, according to Foreign Policy magazine.
Michael Maloof, former Pentagon official and senior security policy analyst in the office of the Secretary of Defense, was not too optimistic about the Pentagon’s ability to learn from the mistakes, saying that his hopes for the new programs were pretty low.
“The program is very vague, no details are being given as to where the training will be conducted and smaller contingents doesn’t necessarily mean a success. The problem has been as to who would be available to fight ISIS as opposed to wanting to take down the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. That has been the problem. Also what countries would actually conduct the training, before it was Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey? Those countries generally are against the government of Syria as it now stands.”
“It is going to be questionable as to how effective this so-called revised program is going to be. I don’t hold much hope for it and it’s just another waste of money frankly at this point,” Maloof said.
Talking about what the Pentagon’s exact goal was for launching this new train-and-equip program, the official said, “The concept is to fight ISIS, but in reality the people that they are recruiting are Sunnis, they are sympathetic to the Sunni ISIS fighters and even though they may not agree with them wholeheartedly, they are Sunnis and Sunnis will not be fighting Sunnis. That’s just the way it goes.”
He further spoke about the reluctance of Turkey in going after ISIS and instead are venting against the Kurds. “The consequences of these actions are questionable and the success is highly dubious and I don’t hold much faith in them.”
Maloof also discussed Saudi Arabia’s position in this situation. He said, “Saudi’s don’t like ISIS either but they are bank rolling, funding them outside the Kingdom but if they start pointing inward that’s another problem for them because ISIS is fundamentally against monarchy.”
Parties to the Yemeni military conflict agreed to hold a new round of peace talks in Kuwait and expressed their readiness to create a national unity government during a meeting in Sanaa, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said Monday.
“Fruitful meetings in Sana, and agreement that Kuwait is a place of upcoming Yemeni negotiations…[Parties] agree on political solution and formation of a national unity government,” the special envoy wrote on his official Facebook page.
The date for a new round of intra-Yemeni talks has not yet been announced.
The first round of talks between Yemeni government representatives and Houthi rebels took place in Geneva in December 2015.
Yemen has been engulfed in a military conflict between the government headed by Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and Shiite Houthi rebels, who have been supported by army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Since late March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against Houthi positions at Hadi’s request.
The Kuwaiti government has deported 11 Lebanese and three Iraqis on charges of having links to Lebanon’s resistance movement, Hezbollah, a report says.
The Kuwaiti Arabic daily al-Qabas quoted a security source as saying on Monday that the 14 people had been expelled on the order of the state security service.
The move came nearly three weeks after the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC), under the influence of the Saudi regime, declared Hezbollah a “terrorist” organization. Arab League foreign ministers, except those of Iraq and Lebanon, later followed suit.
The [P]GCC – comprising Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait – however, did not provide any evidence for its allegation. This comes as the first three monarchies themselves stand accused of supporting extremists and terrorists in the region.
Describing the [P]GCC decision as “reckless and hostile,” Hezbollah blamed it on Saudi Arabia.
Elsewhere in its report, Qabas said that Kuwaiti security officials have prepared a list of “unwanted” Lebanese and Iraqi people, including advisers to big companies, to be expelled for “the public interest.”
The people will not be allowed to enter the [P]GCC member states after their deportation, the daily said.
The recent scandal in Paris concerning the decoration with the Légion d’honneur by the French government of Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammad Ben Nayef, highlights the importance of the absolutist Gulf Monarchy to France’s imperial strategy in the Middle East. The spurious left/right divide in French politics between the Socialist Party and the Republicans, is manifested in a Middle East geopolitics of the Socialist Party’s special relationship with Saudi Arabia, while UMP, formerly led by Nicolas Sarkozy, tends to favor Qatar, the irony being that Qatar is a tad more liberal than the ‘socialist’ backed Saudi behemoth.
While there was muted outrage in the French capital over the decision to honor Ben Nayef on his own request, in order to boost his international ‘credibility’, I believe the French government’s actions were perfectly logical and reasonable. Why wouldn’t the French government honor Saudi officials? Since the creation of a unified kingdom with British backing in 1932, the Saudi dictatorship has served its function well. It has, along with its sister Israel, constituted a bulwark against the two threats to Western, Zionist suzerainty in the Middle East and North Africa: Arab nationalism and revolutionary Shiism.
The Wahhabi regime does this by keeping so many of the Muslims of the former Ottoman Empire indoctrinated in an obscurantist death cult, under the supreme authority of a degenerate ruling caste who, instead of developing the industrial sector of their country so as to improve the lives of the poor, squander billions on Western arms deals in order to better oppress their own people and those of neighboring countries such as Yemen, who are attempting to emancipate themselves from the neocolonial yoke.
Relations between the Saudi monarchy and the French government are currently so good, the words ‘honey moon’, have been used to describe them. When President Holland visited Riyadh Just months after the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks in January 2015, French press pundits on the capitalist ‘left’ and ‘capitalist right’, were waxing lyrical about the ‘great friendship’ that exists between Saudi Arabia and France. In June 2015, the French government signed over 10,3 billion dollars in contracts with the Saudi regime in areas extending from military, aeronautics, health, transport and solar energy. This means that a sizable portion of the French bourgeoisie, what President Clemenceau once referred to as “the syndicate of interests”, are perfectly happy with the Franco-Saudi status quo.
French imperialism currently bears the distinction of having surpassed the United States in bellicosity. The French led the carpet bombing and destruction of Libya in 2011; they have led in the destruction of Syria too. In negotiations with Iran, the Quai d’Orsay was the most intransigent; this won it more favor with Riyadh. With US/Saudi relations strained, due to American détente with Iran, Paris is using Saudi insecurity about its future to gain more influence in the Arabian Peninsula.
The French government sold more arms than ever in 2015 and they intend to sell even more this year, thanks to the ‘honey moon’ relationship with the head chopping regime in Riyadh; a regime openly promoting the Wahhabi death cult all around the world, including in France’s sprawling proletarian banlieux, where mis-fortunate youths such as the infamous Kouachi brothers fall under their influence. The fact that the Saudi regime promotes and funds Takfiri terrorism is not a secret; US Vice President Joe Biden candidly admitted this to students at the Kennedy Business School in Harvard University in 2014.
While US presidential candidate Donald Trump, in what appeared to be a veiled critique of Israeli terrorism, recently declared that ‘everyone knows’ the Saudis are behind Takfiri terrorism.
In fact, it is regularly admitted by the French corporate and establishment media that the Saudis are funding terrorism in Syria and other countries, yet Riyadh remains the privileged partner of countries claiming to be fighting an international ‘war on terrorism’! None of this makes sense but, of course, that is because it doesn’t have to make sense. For this global war on terrorism is a war without a real enemy. The enemies are fabricated by the panoply of agencies that constitute the military-industrial-media-intelligence complex; a netherworld of special interests and high finance.
In this post-modern wasteland of consumerist meaninglessness and zero-consciousness, the terrorist is a shifting signifier. The ‘War on Terror’ narrative operates like Derridean deconstruction, whereby the terrorist is both real and unreal, present and absent, constantly deferred, displaced, with no essential being outside the labyrinthine obfuscations of the war on terror’s ever expanding mythos. And the political elites, who serve corporate and financial power, no longer care what the public thinks of them. They are now discretely admitting that the war on terror is a fraud, that the French government supports the most outrageous dictatorships on earth, that human rights, as Marx noted, signify nothing more than vile property rights ; that money is God and that they have nothing but snickering contempt for the French public.
Everything is now out in the open. We are governed by criminals and tyrants and they don’t mind us taking cognizance of that fact. Therefore, the media disclosure of emails showing how the French government attempted to play down the Légion d’honneur affair will not bother them. Speaking to France Inter last week, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, said: ” Diplomacy can sometimes surprise us. One should see it like that” In other words, this is an affair of state and we have no duty to explain our policies to the public. Procul, procul, este profani! Be off, be gone, ye uninitiated!
In 1999, a relative of Ben Nayef was arrested in Paris in possession of 20 tons of cocaine. The Saudi prince was smuggling drugs from Latin America into Europe, in order to finance Al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan. The prince escaped to Saudi Arabia but was sentenced in absentia to ten years in prison by a French court. The fact that this convicted, felonious relative of Mohammad Ben Nayef was under the protection of the Saudi regime did not even enter into the agenda of the French delegation to Riyadh in 2015.
Why would it? Drug trafficking is a key component of class rule, constituting the carefully concealed underbelly of the global, capitalist system.
Drug dealers operating under the aegis of the French Socialist Party were responsible for crushing the massive French labor strikes of 1948, when there was a real chance of the French Communist Party, (PCF )taking power. In cahoots with the CIA, Socialist Mayor of Marseilles, Gaston Deferre used the drug trafficking mafia clans to crush the worker’s movement. Today, cities like Marseilles are awash with drugs, delinquency, and poverty. The workers are no longer organized as immigration keeps them disunited and demoralized, while Saudi princes party with their French counterparts along the French Riviera. Meanwhile, ‘socialist’ leaders meet farcically in Paris to discuss the “danger of the far right”, movements whose ranks are increasingly being filled with demoralized workers.
The Saudi prince deserves the Légion d’honneur, for the Saudi regime is a worthy partner of French imperialism. It is waging war against the Syrian people, waging war against the Yemeni people, and would soon be waging war against the Iranian people, were it not for the fact that Persia is capable of flattening it.
The Wahhabi regime poisons the minds of millions of young Muslims, diverting their social anger at the ruling class into sectarian hatred of their class allies, killing other poor Muslims and Christians instead of the tyrants spreading hate, oppression and permanent war. The Saudi regime is a Zionist entity, which wages permanent war on Muslims mostly, murdering and defaming them and sullying the Islam. For the deeply unpopular French regime instituting a police state, Saudi Arabia is a role model. In this sense, by bestowing the highest honors of the state on despot Mohammad Ben Nayef, the French government is revealing to the world the true meaning, the transcendental signification of their oft incanted ditty of ‘human rights’, ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’.
Syrian Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem said Saturday UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has no right to talk about Syrian presidential elections, noting that the Syrian Arab Republic delegation will not wait in Geneva forever for other parties to decide to show up.
During a press conference, al-Moallem said the Syrian Arab Republic delegation received a letter from de Mistura scheduling Monday as a date for meeting at the UN HQ in Geneva within the Syrian-Syrian dialogue.
“Meeting with our delegation at first is a good thing,” he said, adding however that the Republic’s delegation “will not repeat the same mistake that happened in the previous round. They are going to wait for 24 hours only.”
“We are looking forward to having dialogue with the broadest spectrum of opposition groups in implementation of de Mistura’s mandate by the UN Security Council and the Vienna and Munich communiqués, particularly the national opposition… that is not linked to any foreign agendas,” al-Moallem added.
He commented on the UN Envoy’s recent statements setting up a schedule for Geneva talks which he said will discuss the regime, the constitution and the parliamentary and presidential elections, saying de Mistura doesn’t have the right to set a schedule, which is something up to the dialogue parties.
He went on saying that de Mistura must be aware, when he talks about the constitution, that it is the national unity government, the subject of discussion in the future, that will appoint a committee to draft a new constitution or amend the standing one, stressing that any outcome will be subject to referendum for approval.
Regarding the presidential elections, al-Moallem stressed that neither de Mistura nor anyone else whomsoever can discuss this issue as it is “an exclusive right of the Syrian people,” dismissing what the envoy said as “a deviation from all the UN documents.”
“We will no longer accept that [de Mistura] gives up objectivity to please this or that party, and our delegation will reject any attempt to put this issue on the schedule,” he added.
As for the upcoming parliamentary elections, al-Moallem said fulfilling the elections is part of the constitution, stressing that this issue should be respected where no reservations can be accepted by anyone, calling for a high turnout of Syrian voters.
Al-Moallem stressed that Syria is committed to the cessation of hostilities agreement, noting that there have been breaches of the agreement by the armed groups that were responded to by the army sometimes and overlooked in other times.
“We affirm our armed forces’ right to respond to breaches,” he added.
He used this opportunity to urge those who have taken up weapons to utilize the agreement of the cessation of hostilities and engage in reconciliations.
The crisis, he affirmed, is coming to an end, and we hereby welcome all those who want to join our armed forces in the fight against ISIL, al-Nusra Front and the terrorist organizations linked to them,” added al-Moallem.
In his comments on the talk about foreign ground intervention in Syria that came up in the past period, al-Moallem reaffirmed that “No one dares to intervene in Syria in a ground war, and that this talk has receded, noting that US President Barack Obama’s recent speech proved that he is not going to such a war.
“I say with confidence that our people will reject any attempts at dividing [the country],” he said.
Al-Moallem referred to the recent statements about a federal model in Syria made by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov as circulated by the media, clarifying that the statements were not quoted objectively because Ryabkov made it contingent on the Syrians’ approval.
“I say as a Syrian citizen, and I’m sure you are with me, that we reject the talk about federalism and we are with the unity of Syria,” he added.
The Foreign Minister reiterated in comments on statements by the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir that the latter is always repeating his talk at all occasions and what he said “was worthless”. “Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” al-Moallem said.
He asserted that the Syrian people are optimistic about the talks in Geneva, adding however that while the Syrian Arab Republic’s delegation is going to Geneva with the intention to make the dialogue a success, this issue depends also on the other parties as well.
“If those have illusions of taking over power through Geneva after they failed in the battlefield, they will fail once again,” he added.
He made it clear that nowhere in the UN documents is there something that talks about a transition period of presidency, “which is why there should be agreement on the definition of transition period.”
“As far as we understand it, transition is to move from a standing constitution to a new one and from a standing government to another that involves the other party,” he said.
Al-Moallem went on saying that the standing constitution will remain in place until holding a referendum by the Syrian people on a new or an amended one, reiterating again that there is no link between the legislative elections and what is going on in Geneva.
“We are going to Geneva and we do not know with whom we will have dialogue,” he said, reiterating that the Republic’s delegation will wait only 24 hours for the other parties to show up and if the other parties don’t show up by that time, the delegation will leave Geneva and the other party will be held responsible for the failure of the talks.
Al-Moallem affirmed that the Republic’s delegation does not put preconditions for the dialogue in Geneva, adding that those who know Syria and the Syrian leadership well realize that “we do not bow to anyone, whether states or groups.”
“We will not have dialogue with any side that discusses the position of the president. This is a red line and it is up to the Syrians alone,” he reiterated.
Asked about the Kurds in Syria, al-Moallem affirmed that “Our brothers, the Kurds, are Syrian citizens, and they are with us in the same trench against ISIL.”