Iran’s foreign minister has categorically denied the US claims that Tehran ships arms to Yemen, saying Washington itself knows better which international parties spread terrorism throughout the world.
Mohammad Javad Zarif was reacting to comments by US Secretary of State John Kerry who accused Tehran on Thursday of transferring “missiles and other sophisticated weapons” to “rebels” in Yemen.
“By such statements, the US administration has implicated itself in the Saudi regime’s war crimes and inhumane and infanticidal atrocities against the innocent and oppressed Yemeni people. It should undoubtedly accept responsibility and be answerable for all the inhuman crimes,” Zarif said.
Kerry made the accusations during a visit to Saudi Arabia, which has been waging a brutal military campaign against Yemen for more than year.
The top US diplomat was in Jeddah where UN special envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed as well as representatives from Britain and Saudi Arabia’s Persian Gulf allies in the war had gathered to discuss the conflict.
“Mr. Kerry knows well better than anyone that the Saudi government has, over the past year and a half, been invariably and sternly frustrating all the efforts taken to bring about ceasefire in Yemen,” Zarif said.
In his remarks, Kerry said “the threat potentially posed by the shipment of missiles and other sophisticated weapons into Yemen from Iran extends well beyond Yemen and is not a threat just to Saudi Arabia and… the region.”
“It is a threat to the United States and it cannot continue,” he added.
Zarif also dismissed Kerry’s claims of Iranian threat to the region and the US, saying the Islamic Republic’s “military might poses no threat to any country and simply serves defensive purposes.”
“What threatens the region and the world today is the ideological, financial and political bases of Takfiri terrorism in the world, whose source and causes Mr. Kerry should know well.”
The Saudi military has been pounding Yemen since March 2015 to undermine Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement and to restore power to the former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.
Nearly 10,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in Riyadh’s military aggression which lacks any international mandate.
The US maintains strong military ties with Riyadh, which had Washington approve a USD-1.29-billion rearming program for the kingdom last November.
“Without a doubt, the US administration would further discredit its policies in the region through its support and ignorance and inattention to the facts on the ground,” said Zarif.
“It is high time the US administration learned from its glaring past mistakes in Syria and Iraq and open its eyes to realities,” he added.
On Thursday, the UN human rights office said the Saudi military is using cluster bombs against residential areas in Yemen in violation of international law, blaming the Riyadh regime for most of the civilian casualties in its impoverished southern neighbor.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized the United States in May for selling cluster munitions to Saudi Arabia, saying the kingdom had used various types of US-made cluster munitions in its war against Yemen despite evidence of mounting civilian casualties.
With immaculate timing, Turkey unrolled its defiant ‘Plan B’ – billed as the Euphrates Shield operation – in northern Syria just as the US Vice President Joe Biden’s aircraft was about to land in Ankara’s Esenboga airport.
This must be one of the biggest diplomatic snubs that the US has suffered in a long while. And it is being administered by a NATO member country.
I had written yesterday in Asia Times that the US was making a monumental error of judgment by underestimating the grit of the Turkish mind to safeguard its supreme national interests at any cost. (See my article Turkey gets its act together on Syria.)
As I explained, the main purpose of the Euphrates Shield operation is to occupy the strategic border town of Jarablus in northern Syria and have a showdown with the Syrian Kurds (supported by US Special Forces and American air cover). The Kurdish militia had crossed the Euphrates river a few months ago and, contrary to American assurances, they are now moving westward to realise their dream of establishing a Kurdistan straddling Turkey’s border, stretching from Iraq to East Mediterranean coast. Turkey’s ‘red line’ has been breached.
A cat-and-mouse game has been going on between Turkey and the US. The latter was calculating that Turkey won’t act on the ground to confront the Syrian Kurds militarily, especially after the recent coup attempt of July 15, which weakened the military, plus the Russian presence in Syria.
President Recep Erdogan has decided to call the American bluff. In the early hours of the morning, Turkish artillery began pounding Jarablus (which is under the control of the Islamic State presently.) After about 2 hours of shelling, Special Forces crossed the border with F-16 jets providing air cover. The latest reports say a column of Turkish tanks is moving into Syrian territory. (Hurriyet )
The stunning part is that the Turkish incursion follows a tacit understanding with Iran (and Syria). Interestingly, Russian jets aren’t visible anywhere in the Syrian skies to stop the Turkish incursion, either. Surely, NATO is rocking, since it is highly improbable that Turkey took the US-led alliance into confidence over the Euphrates Shield operation, which, ironically, aims at destroying America’s best ally on the Syrian chessboard.
A team of Iranian intelligence officials had made a quick dash to Ankara yesterday morning to give the final touch to the concerted Euphrates Shield operation against the Syrian Kurds. The Iranian delegation presumably carried messages from Damascus for the Turkish side and returned to Tehran yesterday evening itself.
According to Iranian media reports, the deputy head of the Turkish intelligence had paid a secret visit to Damascus on Sunday. Prior to that, Turkish Foreign Minister Mavlut Cavusoglu had a stopover in Tehran on Thursday for 5 hours to personally coordinate with the Iranians – avoiding phone conversations that could have been tapped by the American electronic intelligence system. Clearly, we are witnessing the first tangible signs of a super-secret deal between Turkey and Iran to further their common agenda of preventing the emergence of a Syrian Kurdistan backed by the US and Israel connecting the Kurdish homelands between the Iraqi Kurdistan and Eastern Mediterranean. (Asharq Al-Awsat )
Turkey fears that a Syrian Kurdistan will inexorably boost the separatist Kurdish insurgency on its territory. Iran fears that Kurdistan may turn out to be the playpen of American and Israeli intelligence for undertaking subversive activities against it. Equally, Iraq and Syria also stand to lose since the creation of a Kurdistan will be at the cost of their own national unity and territorial integrity. A convergence on the Kurdish problem brings together Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.
Indeed, for the first time in the Syrian civil war, government forces have begun attacking Kurds. Last week the US warned Damascus not to launch aerial attacks on the Syrian Kurdish militia on the specious plea that its Special Forces are ‘embedded’ with the Kurds. (Telegraph )
If Biden had hoped for a trade-off with Erdogan over the Turkish concerns regarding Kurds, the latter is literally showing the middle finger. The Euphrates Shield is a stark message to the US that Ankara no longer depends on American goodwill or help.
Erdogan is literally signalling to Biden, ‘No more waffling, Buddy, just send Fetullah Gulen back to us’. Now, that is putting Washington in a fix. Erdogan has repeatedly warned that he will take Gulen’s extradition as the litmus test of US intentions toward Turkey and the raison d’etre of the Turkish-American alliance itself. On the other hand, how can the US possibly allow the extradition of Gulen, who has been the CIA’s longstanding ‘strategic asset’ in Muslim countries?
Biden enjoys a fabulous reputation within America’s political class as wheeler dealer par excellence. His reputation faces an acid test through the coming 12 hours. He’s just about sitting down with the Sultan at Ak Saray (White Palace) — Erdogan’s 1000-room palace in the dark and lovely woods outside Ankara — for a ‘frank’ conversation.
Read today’s column by a dear old friend Ilnur Cevik, a noted Turkish editor, in the pro-government daily Sabah, entitled Welcome to the land of the brave, Mr. Biden.
Iran’s media say German engineering giant Siemens has started talks to invest in the country’s petrochemical industry in a fresh sign of growing post-sanctions opening in the business environment of the Islamic Republic.
Mehr News Agency reported that Siemens is already engaged in serious negotiations with Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum over investing in a certain number of the country’s petrochemical projects.
The report added that a ranking delegation from Siemens had visited Tehran over the past few days to meet the related Iranian officials for investment talks.
It also said that another topic in the meetings of the German firm with Iranian officials was providing the advanced technology as well as the related technical and management solutions for Iran’s petrochemical projects.
In May, Siemens reported a rise in its second-quarter profit by €130 million in what it says was a result of the promising prospects of future activities in Iran.
The company announced in a statement that the resurgent business prospects in Iran after the removal of international sanctions has already increased its expectations of second-quarter revenues by €174 million.
The Munich-based company has always been one of the most active German enterprises in Iran. Even during the multiple years of sanctions that a majority of foreign companies left the Islamic Republic, Siemens kept its office in Tehran open to maintain its business in the country.
It has been mostly providing engineering services as well as technical parts including turbines to Iran’s gas projects. After the removal of the sanctions against Iran in January, it became even more active to pursue an ambitious Iran investment agenda.
In March, the company signed memoranda of understanding on rail infrastructure and gas equipment projects potentially worth billions of euros, as well as an energy agreement with Iranian power and infrastructure group MAPNA.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday unveiled the country’s long-awaited Bavar-373 air defense missile system with characteristics similar to Russia’s S-300, according to the local media reports.
On the National Defense Industry Day, which is celebrated in Iran on August 21, Rouhani, accompanied by Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, visited the exhibition at the Iran Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO) at the Defense Ministry, which showcased the latest achievements in the air defense industry, including the domestically-built Bavar-373 air defense system.
The Iranian president inaugurated the Bavar-373 (meaning ‘Belief’), which was commissioned in February 2010 amid the suspension of a deal with Russia on deliveries of five S-300 systems over the adoption of UN Security Council sanctions on Iran.
The long-range mobile Bavar-373 air defense system has been designed and constructed by Defense Ministry scientists and experts in cooperation with the country’s Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base and other scientific and investigative centers.
The home-grown system was successfully test-fired in August 2014. It is similar to the Russian S-300 and is capable of hitting targets at a high altitude.
The new system uses a phased array radar like Russian 96L6 radar for tracking aerodynamic targets and ballistic missiles in medium to long ranges, mounted on the ZAFAR heavy truck.
In May, Dehghan announced that Iran had completed development of the domestically-produced Bavar-373 air defense system, with mass production expected to be launched later in 2016.
Hassan Rouhani also observed the latest achievements and developments in air defense technology, including fighter and transport aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The president was also briefed on the progress in the designing and manufacturing of the first national Turbojet engine.
On Saturday, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said the country is not going to purchase the Russian-made S-400 air defense missile system, though Moscow has offered to sell it to Tehran.
During his press conference in Tehran, the defense minister confirmed that Russia has offered Iran “S-400 and some other systems,” but Tehran currently has no plans to order them.
He also commented on the S-300 system, which Moscow had undertaken to sell to Tehran under a 2007 contract.
Dehqan said Iran has voluntarily terminated a lawsuit against Russia after the delivery of the missile system to Iran began.
However, he added, Iran reserves the right to legally pursue the case if the full implementation of the deal runs into any problems.
Iran has received the bulk of the S-300 missile system, the minister noted, adding that the remaining parts are expected to be delivered within a month.
With more than 34 trillion cubic meters, Iran owns the world’s largest natural gas reserves but its share of global trade in gas is less than 1%
Iran is pitching its massive gas sector for trade with Asia where it sees a better market for exports than Europe.
“Gas prices are more attractive in East Asia than in Europe,” Deputy Petroleum Minister for trade and international affairs Amir-Hossein Zamaninia has said.
The country hopes to eventually export natural gas to East Asia, including Japan, he told the Kyodo news agency in an interview on Sunday.
Zamaninia held the prospect of Iran and Japan forming a long-term partnership for the supply of Iranian LNG to the Asian country.
“Japan has a great potential of becoming a major partner for Iran in developing its gas industry,” he said.
The two countries have a chequered history of trade relations. They had to ditch a massive petrochemical project in 1991 as the Iraqi war of 1980-1988 under former dictator Saddam Hussein dragged on.
In 2010, Japan’s state-owned Inpex walked out of an agreement to develop Iran’s South Azadegan oilfield under US pressures.
Tokyo, however, was among the first countries to rush through a series of measures to lift sanctions on Iran before a nuclear agreement with Tehran went into effect.
In August, Japan sent its State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Daishiro Yamagiwa to Tehran with executives from major trading houses such as Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsui & Co. and Itochu, as well as plant-engineering giant JGC and major banks.
Tehran accounted for 10% of Japan’s oil imports before sanctions cut them to five percent. Japan wants to raise the purchases to the previous level.
“Given that Iran’s oil and natural gas reserves are one of the world’s biggest, there is a possibility that Iran will play a part if Japan seeks to diversify its supply sources,” Kyodo quoted a Japanese gas and oil industry source as saying Sunday.
Zamaninia said Japanese companies are interested in being re-engaged in the Iranian energy sector, especially in the gas sector, adding he thinks Japan’s current policy seems to be focusing less on crude oil.
With more than 34 trillion cubic meters under its belt, Iran owns the world’s largest natural gas reserves but its share of the global trade in gas is less than one percent.
According to an Iranian energy official, natural gas will be the main fuel in the next 20 to 30 years. Zamaninia said within two to three years, Iran will be a major supplier of gas to its neighbors.
Currently, Turkey is Iran’s biggest customer with 30 million cubic meters a day of imports under a 25-year deal signed before the West imposed sanctions on Tehran.
Iran seeks to raise gas production to 1.2 billion cubic meters (bcm) a day in five years, from 800 million cubic meters now. Annual output totals 166 bcm, which is mostly used at home.
The country exports 10 bcm of gas per year. To put it in perspective, Russia exports about 150 billion cubic meters of gas a year.
South Pars in southern Iran is the world’s largest gas field which the country is developing in two dozen phases.
It provides feedstock for a number of petrochemical complexes in an area known the Pars Special Economic Energy Zone (PSEEZ) in Assaluyeh on the Persian Gulf coast.
Yoichi Yamamoto, adviser in charge of the Middle East at the Japan External Trade Organization in Tokyo, says petrochemical products, rather than natural gas itself, might be more attractive for Japanese companies for now.
“To transport gas across the sea, it is necessary to convert gas into liquefied natural gas and use special tankers, resulting in relatively large investment,” he told Kyodo.
“If Japanese companies are to form joint ventures or invest funds in the PSEEZ, petrochemical products produced there would be attractive,” he said.
“They cannot sell all the products in Japan. If they could draw up a business model in which they will sell the products also to third-party countries, I think it would be possible for them to invest,” he added.
In exceptionally assertive remarks on Saturday, Iranian Defence Minister Gen. Hossein Dehqan said in Tehran that more numbers of Iranian military bases could be made available to Russia, depending on operational requirements, in addition to the use of the Hamadan air base by Russian bombers currently.
He added that there is no time limit set to the access given to Russian aircraft to operate out of Hamadan military base. Dehqan disclosed:
- Russian jets and bombers are free to undertake repairs and load ordnance in the Iranian base;
- Iran’s military cooperation with Russia in this respect is “strategic” in nature;
- The cooperation stems from a defence pact to upgrade military cooperation “so as to act in more harmony, particularly in the fight against terrorism”;
- The use of Iranian military bases by Russia is a topic that is beyond the purview of the Majlis (implying it is based on decision by the Supreme Leader);
- The Iran-Russia alliance aims to bring an early end to the Syrian conflict.
The big question will be whether an Iran-Russia mutual security alliance could be in the making – something akin to the Indo-Soviet Treaty of 1971.
A Moscow pundit Prof. Dmitry Yevstafyev tiptoed around the explosive theme in the weekend. He made the following key points in an opinion-piece that is presumably intended for the Western audience:
- There is “still no talk of a full-fledged military union” between Russia and Iran;
- However, the use of Hamadan is not a stand-alone event, either;
- Nor is it to be seen as a mere tactical tie-up with the narrow objective of liberating Aleppo;
- On the contrary, it rests on a solid foundation that has been laid carefully in political, military and economic terms in the Russian-Iranian relations through recent period, which in turn is predicated on a cool assessment by Moscow that the US-Iran ‘honeymoon’ has become a thing of the past;
- Russia and Iran have created together a “completely new context” in the region and aspire to be “decisive players”;
- Russia has signalled to Washington that: a) its partnership with Iran is a “strategic priority”; b) Moscow is no longer bound by US’ ‘red lines’ as regards strategic ties with Iran; c) if Hamadan tie-up is successful, “moves that will lead to an unprecedented convergence between Iran and Moscow are also possible in future”; and, d) Washington cannot stop Moscow in its tracks in the priority task of “destroying the Syrian opposition in Aleppo”;
- Russia’s tie-up with Iran has emboldened Beijing to shed its reticence and to move to “expand its assistance” to the Syrian regime with the intention to “participate in future political and economic processes”.
To my mind, the above is an accurate assessment of the trends that have surfaced. This can only mean that the balance of power in the Middle East is phenomenally shifting.
India needs to take serious note even as Minister of State MJ Akbar arrives today in Damascus on a rare visit by an Indian dignitary. (Where China goes, can India be far behind?)
To be sure, Moscow is moving speedily to create new facts on the ground before the next US president takes over the reins of the US’ Middle East policies. Moscow aims to bolster Iran’s defence capability to a point that a military strike on that country becomes a non-option for the US and/or Israel.
Conceivably, we cannot rule out that there would have been some discussions already between Moscow and Tehran regarding a mutual security alliance in the event of a military threat from a new US administration dominated by neoconservative ideologues (which could be the case in a Hillary Clinton presidency.)
Russia is speeding up the delivery of the S-300 missile system to Iran. Reports from Tehran say that the delivery will be completed within a month from now.
The Israeli military intelligence sources have been cited by Debka as claiming that Russia has deployed the formidable S-400 missile system as well in Hamadan. (Despite Iranian denials, this should not cause surprise since pictures show an unspecified number of Tu-22M3 strategic ‘Backfire’ bombers – capable of carrying nuclear missiles – and Su-34 strike fighters parked in the Hamadan air base; and it is inconceivable that a solid Russian air defence system is not deployed alongside.)
The import of the Russian-Iranian strategic congruence is sinking in regionally. Over the weekend, for the first time Syrian jets attacked Kurdish forces in northern Syria (which are protected by the US Special Forces) despite American warnings to stay clear. (Reuters )
Equally, Turkish Foreign Minister Mavlut Cavusoglu had a 5-hour meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Zarif in Tehran on August 18 to follow up on Zarif’s talks with the Turkish leadership in Ankara on August 12. Cavusoglu’s hurried trip to Tehran aimed at Turkish-Iranian coordination in the move against Kurds.
Ankara will be pleased with the prospect of Damascus taking on the Kurds, finally. In remarks Saturday in Ankara, Prime Minister Binaldi Yildirim strongly hinted at Turkey moving on the ground to prevent the emergence of a Kurdistan enclave in northern Syria (with tacit US backing). Turkey has shared interest in this regard with Tehran and Damascus.
If so, Ankara, Tehran and Damascus may find themselves on the same page sooner than one would have expected. Moscow cannot but be pleased with this prospect.(Sputnik )
After anxiously and incessantly angling for a hardcore neoconservative to take the Republican presidential nomination, the Washington Post’s online blogger Jennifer Rubin has made the long journey home. Rebuffed by Republican voters who selected Donald Trump as their candidate, Rubin’s gunpowder breath is now desperately seeking Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s ear.
Her message? This damned Iran deal is improving US/Iran relations and that is completely intolerable. “Hillary: Please bomb something over there,” Rubin screeches, in her latest installment of the neocon chronicles.
Why is Rubin so hot and bothered? Well, Secretary of State John Kerry has dared to encourage some business investment in Iran after the nuclear deal has begun paying dividends in more stable relations. Doing business is always preferable to sanctions and blockades because it makes war less likely. Each side has too much to lose when there are economic interests at stake so each side will act with more caution. As when a Chinese incident with a US spy plane led the damaged US plane to land in China, yet both sides realized that economic relations were sufficiently important that the potentially volatile situation needed to be carefully walked back from the brink of conflict.
War kills economic opportunities for the average people on both sides, but it also produces unique financial opportunities for the specially connected. Like the people around Jennifer Rubin.
Rubin is given a little corner of Washington’s “paper of record,” but she is either so ill-formed when it comes to the basic situation in Syria that one wonders why she has such a platform when surely there are plenty of better-informed high school students who could fill the slot… or she is purposely obfuscating from her little perch in which case the Washington Post is a witting party to her deception.
For example she writes this:
This week we have also learned that as many as 100,000 Iranian-backed militia members are fighting in Iraq…
But she does not inform her readers that these Iranian militia members are in fact fighting ISIS in Iraq. In other words, they are helping us defeat our sworn enemy. While Washington is pained to admit it, even John Kerry said not long ago that having so many additional fighters taking on ISIS in Iraq is “helpful” to America’s efforts to defeat ISIS.
Rubin would clearly prefer an ISIS victory to accepting the assistance of an Iran that also views the establishment of an anti-Iranian jihadist Caliphate in its backyard an existential threat.
Again Rubin plays fast and loose with the truth when she writes:
Russia is expanding its alliance with Iran and influence in Syria in unprecedented ways. Russian planes are now taking off directly from Iran to bomb Syrian targets…
What she does not tell us once again is that those Russian planes are bombing ISIS and al-Qaeda (those guys who attacked us on 9/11). Does anyone else wonder why she objects to the Russians bombing ISIS and al-Qaeda? Particularly as the US seems to be letting them get away at every possible opportunity.
What is to be done, in the mind of Rubin?
[R]ather than pleading with Russia, we can make clear that we will be establishing a new policy of direct action against the Assad regime, including establishment of safe havens. Vladimir Putin has had a risk-free policy of aggression up to now; that should change.
So, Rubin would have the US attack a Syrian government that has fought for five years against a foreign, radical jihadist insurgency and directly confront a Russia that has the same enemy in the process.
Who’s side is she on? Ours or the terrorists’?
Evidently we can partner with Stalin to defeat Hitler but we dare not partner with Putin to defeat ISIS and al-Qaeda. The neocons are clearly high on their own vapors. Rubin is first in line for neocon bong hits.
An email leaked recently by Wikileaks reveals that in 2011, Jewish oligarch George Schwartz Soros gave step by step instructions to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on how to handle unrest in Albania.
Soros even nominated three candidates whom he believed to “have strong connections to the Balkans.”
Not surprisingly, several days after the email was sent to Clinton, the EU sent one of Soros’ nominees to meet Albanian leaders in Tirana to try to mediate an end to the unrest.
Soros’ email sheds light on who really sets the tone for the West. Clearly it isn’t our so-called ‘democratically elected’ politicians. Instead, it is a small cadre of oligarchs, people like Soros, Goldman and Sachs. People who are driven by mammonism – Capitalism that is based on trade as opposed to production. The mammonites are interested in the pursuit of mammon (wealth) purely for the sake of mammon.
Soros is, without doubt, the most illustrious mammonite of our time. The Jewish billionaire is the “man who broke the Bank of England,” an adventure that made him more than $1 billion in one day in September of 1992. In 2002, a Paris court found Soros guilty of using inside information to profit from a 1988 takeover deal of Bank Societe Generale. In the days leading to the Brexit vote the speculative capitalist used The Guardian’s pages in an attempt to manipulate the Brits into following his advice on Brexit. Apparently the Brits didn’t heed Soros’ wisdom. And, so far, it seems that Soros’ predictions of doom were far fetched, verging on phantasmic. Still open is the question of why the Guardian provided a platform for the speculative capitalist oligarch. Is it a news outlet or an extension ofMammonism’s long arm?
The Jewish oligarch has developed a huge infrastructure that assists him in pursuing his speculative capitalist agenda. Soros realised many decades ago that it is very easy to buy leftist institutions and activists. Since the 1980s, Soros has used his Open Society Institute to invest a fraction of his shekels in some ‘left leaning’ political groups and NGOs worldwide. Soros funds NGOs, activists and Left institutions that are willing to subscribe to his agenda. They support a cosmopolitan philosophy and are dedicated to Soros’ anti nationalist mantra. The outcome has been devastating. Instead of uniting working people, Soros funded ‘left’ organisations divide workers into sectarian groups defined by gender, sex orientation and skin colour.
Many of those who support Palestinian causes were shocked to discover that Soros funded the BDS movement although he was simultaneously invested in Israeli industry and Israeli factories operating in the West Bank such as Soda Stream.
Soros also bankrolls J Street, the American Jewish lobby group that controls the opposition to the ultra Zionist AIPAC. Looking at the huge list of Soros’ supported organisations reveals that the light Zionist oligarch supports some good causes that are particularly good for the Jews and Soros himself.
Soros seems to believe in the synagogueisation ofsociety. He supports the breaking of society into biologically oriented tribes: e.g., Blacks, Women, LGBT, Lesbians. He has invested millions in dividing the working class. Divide and rule is what it is.
Traces of his destructive Open society Institute can be identified in Iran’s failed Velvet Revolution, anti Assad NGO activity in Syria , behind anti Putin intense activism and of course the Gazi Park events in Turkey. These so called ‘civilian’ and ‘popular’ uprises have at least one common denominator. They attempt to destabilise regimes that oppose Zio-cons as well as the mammonite world order.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is preparing to take a high-profile trip to Tehran next week in a move seen by mainstream Arab media as the official launchpad for kickstarting the Turkey-Iran-Russia coalition on Syria.
Erdogan made a half-a-day trip to Russia after the recent coup in Turkey to meet and hold negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Saint Petersburg. Their talks were mainly focused on finding a way to end the war in Syria while both countries have set up a joint commission to implement the results of their talks.
“Given the reports claiming that Erdogan had come to Iran the night of coup and then returned to Turkey after its failure, the Turkish president’s visit to Tehran is highly important in establishing new relations between Tehran and Ankara,” Arabic language al-Hayat newspaper said in a report, according to Fars news agency.
Sources told al-Hayat daily that a trilateral meeting, consisting of the Iranian, Turkish and Russian officials, is due to be held to confer on ways to terminate the Syria war, adding that part of Erdogan’s trip to Tehran will be focused on this issue.
Also, the London-based al-Arab daily referred to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s recent visit to Turkey, and said the trip was made within the framework of the goals pursued by Erdogan during his visit to Moscow.
According to al-Arab, the triangle of Iran-Turkey-Russia is forming an international coalition to confront the West.
The daily underlined that Zarif’s trip showed that rapid and important developments are being formed in the region which will marginalize the Arab states.
Al-Arab quoted analysts as saying that the Arabs’ foreign policy, specially on Syria, has failed deeply.
After the Turkish prime minister said it’s time for his country to improve ties with Damascus, top diplomats in Tehran said that Ankara is likely to initiate a major shift in policy on Syria and move to ally with Iran and Russia.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim suggested a three-pronged road map for a solution to the five-year-old war in Syria, which has not only affected neighboring countries but also many parts of the world with the flight of more than 4 million refugees.
Stating that he was optimistic that a solution was at hand due to the changing nature of Turkish foreign policy, in which Ankara aims to make more friends and decrease its number of enemies, Yildirim said the time had come for Turkey to mend relations with Syria.
He added that Turkey would overcome the Syrian problem together with the regional actors.
After his remarks, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hussein Jaberi Ansari said that Turkey will be invited to join Iran and Russia’s efforts to bring stability to Syria.
Addressing reporters in a press conference with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Bogdanov, Jaberi Ansari said that Turkey was an important country and influential in the Syrian crisis.
“The Iranian and Turkish officials agreed to continue talks in implementation of bilateral agreements in detail; we will soon send an invitation to Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Umit Yalcın and alternatively, I will pay a visit to Ankara to talk about the regional issues in detail,” he added.
Jaberi Ansari expressed the hope that new developments in the region would help the establishment of new grounds for Iran, Russia and Turkey to act in coordination to end the stalemate and humanitarian crisis in Syria, especially in Aleppo.
The Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif had earlier this month visited Turkey.
In remarks made upon his arrival in Ankara, Zarif said, “Iran, Russia, and Turkey are considered important players in the region, and they need to engage in dialogue and cooperation.”
Pointing to the failed coup bid in Turkey, Zarif said, “We believe that the era of bullying and coups is over and such things no longer have a place in our region. People’s choice and will cannot be suppressed by a military group.”
During his one-day visit to Ankara, Zarif also met with President Erdogan.
Also, Zarif and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in a telephone conversation on Thursday discussed bilateral ties and the latest developments in Syria.
In the phone talks, the Iranian and Russian foreign ministers exchanged views on the latest developments in the region, specially Syria.
The two sides called for resolving the regional crises through political means.
The reported remarks Monday by Turkish Prime Minister Binaldi Yildirim regarding a 3-step road map for ending the Syrian conflict would be the latest indication that Ankara is tiptoeing toward restoring Turkish-Syrian relations at the diplomatic and political level.
Yildirim’s road map envisages future Syria to be a unitary state that has an inclusive political system with constitutional safeguards that prevent domination by any sectarian, ethnic or regional groups. Its constructive ambiguity over the core issue of the fate of President Bashar Al-Assad is absolutely delightful. It abandons the pre-condition that President Assad should step down in any transition.
Yildirim instead leaves it to the Syrian electorate’s majority will to decide on Assad’s political future. He thinks Assad may not get a popular mandate, but then, he won’t deny Assad the right to seek one, either. Now, isn’t that a leap of faith? (Hurriyet )
To be sure, with the Turkish-Russian rapprochement in hand and a new-found rapport with Iran in the air, President Recep Erdogan is preparing to address the Syrian question, which is the root cause of the instability in Turkey. (See my recent articles in Asia Times Putin, Erdogan have a deal on Syria and Iran taps into Turkish-Russian reset.)
The road map suggested by Ildirim means that Turkey seeks convergence with the Russian and Iranian stance. Ildirim didn’t say so as many words, but implied that Turkey is abandoning the ‘regime change’ project in Syria. There are signs that Turkey is rolling back its support for the rebel groups fighting the Syrian government forces.
Unsurprisingly, there is a sense of urgency on the part of Turkey against the backdrop of the capture of Manjib from the control of the Islamic State in the weekend by the predominantly Kurdish Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) with the support of US Special Forces and air cover. (Associated Press )
Turkey had sought and obtained an assurance from the US in May that the Syrian Kurds will not be allowed to occupy Manjib and will be asked to leave the town after defeating the IS. However, much water has flown through the Bosphorous since then. US-Turkish relations have come under great stress following the coup of July 15. Suffice it to say, Turkey will be anxiously watching whether Washington will keep its word in the changed circumstances.
Indeed, the reports from Manjib should be highly worrisome for Turkey since the Syrian Kurds are now planning another military campaign to move further westward toward Al Bab, an important city in northern Syria, which will mean a significant expansion of their influence in the regions adjacent to the Turkish border. It would appear that the US is backing the Syrian Kurds in the new offensive on Al Bab. (VOA)
If so, Ankara’s worst fears seem to be coming true. A commentary by Deutsche Welle says that the Syrian Kurds are creating new “facts on the ground”. (German intelligence is active among Kurds.) The following excerpts suggest that the Syrian Kurds with US backing may be creating a fait accompli for Turkey:
- The SDF’s growing political and military clout is likely to further enrage neighboring Turkey, which views the YPG (Syrian Kurds) as a terrorist group because of its close relations with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighting in Turkey. Ankara has repeatedly had its redlines crossed by the Syrian Kurds and the United States. The latest iteration is in Manbij, where first the SDF crossed the Euphrates, thereby crossing one “redline,” then again when the YPG led the recapture of the city. This appears to have broken a reported understanding between Ankara and Washington that Arab forces would take the lead in Manbij.
- The Syrian Kurds’ ultimate goal is to clear IS-controlled ground to the west of Manbij in order to unite their territories in the northeast, the so-called cantons of Kobani and Jazira, with Afrin… Uniting the cantons would give the Kurds an uninterrupted stretch of territory along the Turkish border, a prospect that the Syrian regime and Russia could welcome, as it would also weaken the rebel groups they are fighting. The question remains whether the United States will go along with an SDF offensive to unite the cantons and equally important, Turkey’s response to the prospect of a contiguous Kurdish mini state on its border and what that would mean for any future political solution in the country. (Deutche Welle )
Clearly, Yildirim’s accent on Turkey remaining a unitary state under any settlement needs to be put in the above perspective. Turkey will be dependent on Russia and Iran to prevent the emergence of a Kurdistan straddling its border regions with Syria.
On the other hand, Turkey also cannot antagonize Washington, since it is the US which is active on the ground in northern Syria and is equipping and helping the Syrian Kurds in their military campaign. Turkish Foreign Minister Mavlut Cavusoglu publicly demanded on Monday that the US should keep its word and have the Syrian Kurds vacate the regions to the west of Euphrates (which is Ankara’s ‘red line).
It is possible to see a degree of testiness in Cavusoglu’s words: “The U.S., even President [Barack] Obama, assured Turkey that the PYD (Syrian Kurds) would return to east of the Euphrates River after Manbij’s liberation. We expect them to keep their word.” (Anadolu )
Simply put, yet another fault line is appearing in US-Turkish relations in the run-up to the visit by US Vice-president Joe Biden to Ankara on August 24. Of course, Turkey holds a trump card insofar as the US operations in Syria are largely conducted from the Incirlik air base. But it will play the Incirlik card only if push comes to shove.
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani (R) and Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende in Tehran on August 17, 2016. ©IRNA
Iran says it has been offered a major export credit line by Norway worth €1 billion in what could be a fresh indication of Oslo’s determination to expand relations with the Islamic Republic in post-sanctions era.
The two countries have signed an agreement to the same effect after a meeting between the visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende and his Iranian host Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran, Iran’s IRNA news agency reported.
The agreement was part of a total of three agreements that the Export Guarantee Fund of Iran and the Norwegian Export Credit Guarantee Agency signed to fund some of Iran’s key development and infrastructure projects.
“After the lifting of sanctions, good opportunities have emerged for cooperation and Norway is ready to utilize the post-deal situation to expand cooperation in various fields,” Brende has been quoted as saying by IRNA in a report that was also carried by AFP.
The report added that Brende and Zarif had also discussed the expansion of economic relations between Iran and Norway in different areas, particularly in monetary and banking sectors.
Brende will leave Tehran for Islamabad later in the day. Apart from Zarif, he is scheduled to meet several other top Iranian officials during his single-day stay in the Islamic Republic. They included President Hassan Rouhani, Petroleum Minister Bijan Zangeneh, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani.
By Robert Fantina | Aletho News | August 17, 2016
In 2015, after much ado, and with great, international fanfare, the United States and 5 other nations (China, France, Russia, Great Britain and Germany) entered into an agreement with Iran, regulating that country’s nuclear activities. This was not an easy sell to the U.S. Congress, which, apparently, exists to serve Israel first, and U.S. citizens only after Israel’s needs have been satisfied.
A group of 47 senators succeeded in humiliating the nation by sending a letter to Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian Foreign Minister, purportedly explaining U.S. law.
Mr. Zarif, a U.S. constitutional expert, responded by schooling them.
Then, none other than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress, telling its members, yet again, for the umpteenth time in the last ten years, that Iran was only ‘months away’ from having a nuclear weapon.
Democratic members of Congress particularly beholden to Israel but not wanting to embarrass a Democratic president, danced to a particularly awkward tune as they waited to see if the agreement had enough votes in the Senate to pass. Once it was apparent that the agreement would be approved by a Congressional majority, they were at liberty to express their opposition to it, knowing that doing so would please their Israeli masters, and not impact the vote, thus embarrassing President Barack Obama.
Now, the bizarre reasoning behind why Iran, a nation that hasn’t invaded another country in decades, should be forbidden from developing nuclear weapons, when Israel, a brutal, apartheid regime with more blood on its hands than a doctor after a botched surgery, can, is a topic for another essay. Our purpose today is to examine the agreement that was made with Iran, what concessions were made on each side, and how each is following through.
Iran, which never claimed it had the development of nuclear weapons as its goal, agreed to major reductions in its nuclear development program. It also agreed to allowing an international monitoring team to verify compliance. In return, the U.S. agreed to lift decades-old sanctions that, like most of U.S. sanctions, did little to impact the government, but caused untold suffering among the Iranian population.
It seems, however, that Iran overlooked an important aspect in its negotiations with the U.S. While there is a mechanism in place to monitor Iranian compliance with the agreement, no such measures exist to monitor U.S. compliance.
The U.S., in its usual hypocritical way, has released the obligation of European banks to avoid doing business with Iran, yet maintains some sanctions, thus effectively preventing the banks from conducting any business with that country. As reported by CNN Money in May of this year, “HSBC, Standard Chartered and France’s BNP Paribas have all been in trouble before — and paid billions in fines — for dealing with Iran while U.S. sanctions were in place. So while they may see attractive commercial opportunities in the country of about 80 million people, they’re treading very carefully because some sanctions still linger, including a ban on conducting transactions with Iran in U.S. dollars.”
So while the U.S. adheres to the letter of the law, it violates the spirit of it, and as a result, Iran is getting next to nothing for the concessions it made. “We hold the US responsible for all violations [of the nuclear agreement]. The US must accept responsibility for reneging on its promises on the international level,” Alaeddin Boroujerd, Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, stated on August 1. He further emphasized that the U.S., despite Iran’s adherence to the terms of the agreement, continued to damage “Iran’s economic relations with other countries.”
Now, isn’t the U.S. the land of the free and the home of the brave? Does it not proclaim its moral superiority around the globe, even as it bombs innocent men, women and children? Is its word not worth gold?
The U.S. does not want Iran to have nuclear weapons, because doing so would provide an equal, yet opposing, force to Israel in the Middle East. Current Democratic candidate, the corrupt former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has made support for Israel a cornerstone of her campaign. She has stated that the best way to serve Israel is to topple the government of Syrian president Bashar Assad. So if U.S. government officials will go so far as to overthrow foreign governments (please see Ecuador, Guatemala, Brazil, Bolivia (twice), Portugal, Nicaragua, etc.), with all the killing, mass arrests and oppression that accompanies each coup, certainly crippling the economy of one of Israel’s enemies, and violating its word in order to do so, is a trivial matter by comparison.
When one party to any contract violates the terms of that contract, the other party is no longer bound by it. So when Iran decides that it need not slow its nuclear program, because the U.S. hasn’t respected its side of the agreement, we will all watch U.S. members of Congress proclaiming “I told you so! Those Iranians can’t be trusted!’, when, in fact, it is the U.S. that can’t be trusted. But the corporate-owned media will only report on what it will see as Iran’s violations of the agreement, without mentioning that the U.S. violated it first.
U.S. citizens will gasp in horror at the perfidy of Iran; after all, most Iranians are Muslim, and as the news media either hints at, or boldly proclaims, all Muslims are terrorists. And the way will be open for another U.S. imperial misadventure, something to match the tragedy of Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam or the countless other places where the U.S. has disastrously and illegally intervened. Countless innocent people will suffer and die, the Middle East will be further destabilized, and military contractors’ profits soar. It will be business as usual in the mighty, corrupt U.S.A.