Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 01, 2017

Reuters Suggests But Can Not Find "Iran's new route to Yemen"

The Trump administration is filled with people who, for whatever reason, hate Iran. These people are attempting to break the "nuclear deal" with Iran and other powers. Their propaganda accuses Iran of every "evil" in this world. Their position is fully in line with the Israeli-Saudi anti-Iran axis.

Since the U.S., the UK and the Saudis wage war against Yemen they claim that Iran is allied with the Zaydi people of northern Yemen who, together with the Yemeni army, resist the Saudi invasion. Iran is regularly accused of smuggling weapons to them even as no evidence for this has ever been shown.

Reuters jumps into the breach with this fantastic fake-news item: Exclusive: Iran Revolutionary Guards find new route to arm Yemen rebels:

LONDON (Reuters) - Iran's Revolutionary Guards have started using a new route across the Gulf to funnel covert arms shipments to their Houthi allies in Yemen's civil war, sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters.
For the last six months the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has begun using waters further up the Gulf between Kuwait and Iran as it looks for new ways to beat an embargo on arms shipments to fellow Shi'ites in the Houthi movement, Western and Iranian sources say.

Using this new route, Iranian ships transfer equipment to smaller vessels at the top of the Gulf, where they face less scrutiny. The transhipments take place in Kuwaiti waters and in nearby international shipping lanes, the sources said.

"Parts of missiles, launchers and drugs are smuggled into Yemen via Kuwaiti waters," said a senior Iranian official. "The route sometimes is used for transferring cash as well."

The writer of that Reuters piece is one Jonathan Saul. Other most recent piece on his Reuters page are: European banks struggle to solve toxic shipping debt problem, Global shipping feels fallout from Maersk cyber attack and Lenders to ramp up pressure on holders of toxic shipping debt - survey. Older stories by Saul have similar headlines. Saul writes from London about the global shipping industry. That surely qualifies him as an expert on Yemen.

But even an expert can err. The Houthi are not Shia in the sense that Iran is predominantly Shia. They are Zaidi and follow the Hanafi school of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence. They pray in same mosques as Sunni believers do. Using the term Shia for the Zaidi side of the Yemen conflict is a lazy repeat of unfounded Saudi claims which try to set any local conflict in the Middle East into a "Sunni-Shia" frame even when that is completely inappropriate. As the Carnegie Endowment states:

Claims of Iran’s influence over the Houthis have been overblown. While the Houthis do receive some support from Iran, it is mostly political, with minimal financial and military assistance. However, since the Houthis took control of Sanaa, the group has increasingly been portrayed as “Iran-backed” or “Shia,” often suggesting a sectarian relationship with the Islamic Republic. Yet until after the 2011 upheavals, the term “Shia” was not used in the Yemeni public to refer to any Yemeni groups or individuals.

The Reuters piece comes with this rather unhelpful map.


While that map (bigger, original link) is headlined "Iran's new route to Yemen" it shows no route at all.

Pushing anonymous rumors of Iranian weapon transfers at high sea the Reuters piece totally fails to explain how these weapons would then be transported INTO Yemen. There is no route shown for that. Saudi Arabia and its al-Qaeda allies on the ground blockade and control all sea and land routes into Yemen. Millions of Yemenis are near starving and a huge Cholera epidemic is ravaging the country with 400,000 infected and hundreds dying each day. Hardly any food and no medicine comes through. How please are Iranian weapons supposed to jump from some Daus into the hands of the Houthi when not even food can be passed along?

The claim of weapon transfers near in the upper Persian Gulf makes no sense at all. It is about 2,000 kilometers from the area to the Yemeni coast. There are many much shorter routes from Iran to Yemen which small ships could use without any higher risk. Deeper down the Reuters piece even admits that and thereby contradicts itself:

"Smaller Iranian ports are being used for the activity as major ports might attract attention," [a second senior Iranian official said.]

Another sign that the Reuters piece is utter bullshit is the claimed sourcing from three(!) anonymous "senior Iranian officials". Are we to believe that multiple "senior Iranian officials" admit to a shipping correspondent in London that Iran is willfully breaching UN resolutions by smuggling weapons into Yemen? Why would they do that? Why would they confirm Saudi anti-Iran propaganda?

The Reuters piece makes a fantastic claim that has no practical logic. The author lacks knowledge of the actual conflict at hand. The sourcing is extremely dubious.  Reuters itself can not find "Iran's new route" on the map it provides.

Reuters is the major British news agency. Britain is heavily involved in the conflict in Yemen and the Saudis and their allies are the biggest customers of British weapon manufacturers. The piece on the ominous "new route" will surely make a splash but it disqualifies Reuters as a reliable source of information.

Posted by b on August 1, 2017 at 18:24 UTC | Permalink

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This Jonathan Saul is obviouly an imbecile writting for a CNN type of audience after Saudies or even Israelis paid for it. Is just more of the "Maduro Dictatorship" or "US War on Terror" garbaje. The incredible thing is the Huties Victories and the Saudi Army incompetence. The Anencephalics pushing for a war with Russia, perhaps should seek to recruit Houties instead

Posted by: opereta | Aug 1 2017 18:56 utc | 2

Last week, the PBS News Hour had a 15 minute segment on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
Apparently, the fake liberals at PBS just noticed that people are starving to death after the 3 year-long war.
This suggests to me that the US is building a case for intervention.
This Reuters piece supports that theory.

Posted by: plantman | Aug 1 2017 19:04 utc | 3

With respect, the English term for small vessels in the Gulf area is "Dhows".
Apart from that, one would think that Oman and Somalia would be obvious suspects for the smuggler's route unless anyone has a better idea.

Posted by: Cousin Jack | Aug 1 2017 19:11 utc | 4

Could there be some coincidence with the official opening of China's Djibouti Naval Base?

I long ago entered Reuters onto my list of non-credible news sources.

Southfront has an excellent if brief primer on the background to the latest installment of war in Yemen. It concludes thusly, "With the increasing complexity of the crisis in Yemen and the increase in the number of parties, it is widely believed that the Saudi alliance will not achieve any of its objectives in Yemen, and that they’ll continue the military intervention only to provoke Iran." [My Emphasis]

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 1 2017 19:21 utc | 5

Is there a UNSC resolution that prevents Iran from supplying food and medecine directly to the Yemenis?

Posted by: chet380 | Aug 1 2017 19:24 utc | 6

plantman @3--

Recent legislation passed by US House may also pass in Senate and goes against your premise. Excerpt from linked article:

"The Davidson amendment prohibits the United States from carrying out any military action in Yemen prior to its approval. According to the legislation, US military action in Yemen, since it’s not targeting Al-Qaeda or ISIS, is not subject to permission to use force against terrorist organizations given in 2001.

"The Nolan amendment prohibits the deployment of US troops in Yemen, and may prevent the United States even from air refueling Saudi and UAE warplanes over Yemen. Moreover, the House of Representatives is working to persuade the United States Senate to approve the same legislation to push US President Donald Trump to agree to stay away from Yemen war."

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 1 2017 19:25 utc | 7

In the age of "experts" like Elliot Higgins and Charles Lister absolutely anybody can become an instant expert on anything. All you have to do is get a recognized MSM outlet to vouch for your "expertise" and you're in business!

I did notice a factual error in the article. The Zaidiyyah (or Zaidi) sect is indeed Shi'ite, but not all Houthis are adherents. The majority do come from a Zaidi background but the group also has Sunni menbers as well. It is worth mentioning that of the Shia sects the Zaidiyyah are the closest to Sunni Islam, which might account for some of the confusion.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Aug 1 2017 19:26 utc | 8

Hey, maybe they can find a local proxy warlord to invade Kuwait?

Posted by: david | Aug 1 2017 19:59 utc | 9

thanks b.... it would be one thing if a country in tow to a corporate msm heavily under the $ or spell of israel-ksa, could express some love for whatever it is ( i know - freedom and democracy, lol) , but to always be in a position of hate towards other countries they know next to nothing about, while claiming all sorts of falsehoods really casts a poor light on that country and by extension the people of that country... i think it's a sign of that country in serious decline... ain't no bible puncher that is gonna change any of this either..

Posted by: james | Aug 1 2017 20:26 utc | 10

We all know who hates Iran. The ME's smallest country and biggest thief/bully.
Their illicit, detrimental influence on US politics is well documented.The
Their list for power, land and water, insatiable.

Posted by: CD Waller | Aug 1 2017 20:28 utc | 11

#8: To be considered an "expert", one must merely toe the line of the powers that be. Voila! Instant expert!

Posted by: WorldBLee | Aug 1 2017 20:39 utc | 12

Jemen is an ongoing genocide an nobody cares. The world's to busy with inflaming other regions and Reuters lends the gasoline and seemingly could spare a bit for Jemen. "If thousands die, they're going to die over there. They're not going to die here", Graham said supposedly quoting Tronald, speaking about Corea. He might think the same about Jemen. May be that's to optimistic this time.

Posted by: Pnyx | Aug 1 2017 20:50 utc | 13

You're right, b. It's lazy journalism ... or rather, reporting. I've always thought that if there really were an Iran-to-Yemen smuggling route it had to be via Oman since there's a Saudi-US blockade of Yemen. Where is their proof of these weapons?

plantman 3
I caught that PBS segment, too and they did not mention the Saudi war and blockade against Yemen that is the main cause of the suffering. PBS may cover the news a bit more in depth than the rest of the MSM but they're still in the club and push familiar agendas.

It's like it's Roto Reuters going through the sewers of the MSM and then feeding it back to them.

Posted by: Curtis | Aug 1 2017 20:52 utc | 14

well it appears Reuters is in fact part of the Empire of Fake News... :

anyway, I hope the Yemeni people do not just get weapons but also enough food and a soon ending of this most pointless war of all.

Posted by: Peter K. | Aug 1 2017 20:53 utc | 15

All western MSM is fully part of the US full spectrum warfare. On rare occasions Reuters does write word for word what is said by Putin, Lavrov or other Russian officials word for word with no fictional leadup or ending by the Reuters hacks. Not sure if any of the other propaganda rags do this or not.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 1 2017 21:10 utc | 16

As you say, b, absolute bullshit. Iran has no means of seriously resupplying the Houthis, Evidently the Houthis do have their means, in desperation, as Houthi missiles continue to fall on Saudi.

I do wonder though what the point of demonising the Shi'a is now. Obviously the Saudis are still in the middle of genociding their Shi'a at Awamiyya (point: the Shi'a sit on the Saudi oil-fields). However Israel has more or less given up on bombing Iran, unless the US does it for them, and even then, what is it going to do for Israel? As for the US, what is a war with Iran going to do for them? Trump doesn't show any sign of wanting additional war commitments. He likes big bangs, but that's the limit so far.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 1 2017 21:17 utc | 17

Robert Parry at consortium news, sometime ago wrote two articles on the CIA takeover of western media, post Vietnam, based on the release of the Reagan papers. Murdoch and some other media tycoon were first on board, voluntarily for this, and apparently the Reagan papers showed the meetings ect that initiated the CIA control/takeover of all western media. Freelance investigative journalists were not able to get their stories published, hacks willing to churn out propaganda - pure fiction/opinion pieces taking their place. Everything written in MSM needs to be taken as pure CIA propaganda.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 1 2017 21:33 utc | 18

re my 17. I forgot the point for Israel is to cut the resupply of Hizbullah. However, for the moment, Hizbullah have got all they need to hit Israel where it hurts. No doubt with multiple site displacements, to confuse a Israeli attack.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 1 2017 21:40 utc | 19

One does wonder from where the Houthis get (any) supplies if not from Iran. Erythrea's Assab port seems to be a favorite of the KSA coalition to resupply Aden and with Erythrea/Ethiopia relations not being the best, perhaps Ethiopea (through Djibouti?) or Somali private parties support them and manage to bypass the naval blockade..

Posted by: Lozion | Aug 1 2017 23:27 utc | 20

Typical warmonger fake news propaganda in the Western media.

"Millions of Yemenis are near starving and a huge Cholera epidemic is ravaging the country with 400,000 infected and hundreds dying each day. Hardly any food and no medicine comes through." Are the sociopathic leaders in the West happy yet?

The West is vile and despicable. The sooner it goes to hell the better.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Aug 2 2017 0:36 utc | 21

Magic carpets must be the means of transportation for the invisible goods. Especially in the "Arabian" Gulf.

Posted by: Cortes | Aug 2 2017 0:36 utc | 22

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 1, 2017 5:33:26 PM | 18
(CIA Vietnam Era control of Western MSM)

Cute, but wrong.
Hollywood is a component of Western Media and Jews owned that after WWI and were up to their nostrils in pro-West WWII propaganda. With minimal research you'll be able to confirm that a majority of Western MSM was either owned by Jews, or by oligarchs sympathetic to the notion of a Jewish State, when Jews were staking claims in Palestine, and murdering & maiming Palestinians and their children, in the late 1940s. This early control was essential to minimising bad publicity about Jewish crimes in Palestine before 1950.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 2 2017 1:18 utc | 23

Jonathan Saul shows a "professionalism" very similar to other Israel's devoted slaves such as Judith Miller and others. A stinking wind, that's all what it produces!

Posted by: virgile | Aug 2 2017 3:17 utc | 24

horse 23

Shove the cute but wrong bit up your arse horse.
Palestinians have fuck all to do with South America and now eastern Europe.
The likes of Parry, Hersh ect can no longer get published in any MSM on any subject.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 2 2017 5:51 utc | 25

Can we call the US's actions in Yemen 'complicity to genocide' yet? It's just that they and their friends have rather set the precedent with the Yugoslavia Tribunal in the Hague ICTY. It doesn't have to be true at all of course or make any sense, just being outraged is enough. Prosecutors can say whatever they want. Oh silly me! The US if not party to the ICC or International Cricket Council...

Posted by: et Al | Aug 2 2017 7:13 utc | 26

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 2, 2017 1:51:41 AM | 25

Logic's a bitch isn't it?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 2 2017 7:37 utc | 27

It is necessary to sort the propaganda from the facts.. To do that, one needs a model of Zionism (allowing a certain few people access to the political power and financial resources needed to place and keep those select few in control of global resources defines Zionism). Its admission policies and its member benefits are layered in well defined. hierarchically arranged, classes [groups or persons; different clubs in different nations so to speak].
Zionism is itself a loosely knitted global network (while the network may have racial or religions Jewish majorities at many of its nodes, Judaisms probably have little to do with the span of influence and layered class admission criteria that define global network Zionism. (Note: Israel is a long term project of Zionism, but Israel is not a project of a particular race or a particular religion). Zionism is an enabling-empowering members only network; able to move capital, media, resources and talent (CMRT) between places or to influence social, political or religious movement outcomes as might be needed to maintain control, dominate, and rule (CDR) advantage objectives for its membership. The common objects of the network, allow the highly-distributed groups to independently engineer different sets of goals, and to tailor them to, local circumstance) but at the same time, to benefit from the awesome powers available on the network to the locality or movement as is needed. Powerful corporations are part of the network as well as thousands of politically empowered and wealthy individuals.
IMO a network model explains why Palestine has not been successful with Israel, the Palestinians see it as a local race and religious matter, while Zionism see it as a resource and power grab opportunity project. It also explains much of the turmoil in the world: opportunity or threat activates the network. A network model can explain Reuters journalism..

Posted by: project yemen | Aug 2 2017 8:16 utc | 28

I would say when wondering whether Saul got the material for his piece from high ranking Iranian officials or somewhere in Virginia, one needs merely look at the map he was provided, which not only neglects to show any "routes," but is careful to push the new truthspeak of the US that is trying to change the very name of the Persian Gulf to something that sounds more like a place US warships have some business being in. "The Gulf" as a place name on a map? Seriously?

Posted by: J Swift | Aug 2 2017 9:33 utc | 29

KSA and Egypt have no courage to face the clerics. They are implementing their vision for the future the hard way: prices are sky rocketting, so people will understand that large families is something of the past.
KSA planning islands in the Red Sea for luxury tourist resorts, and to provide redlight areas to its elite?
Yemen is part of the plan, it has the most beautiful areas in terms of tourism perspective, and there too, facing the conservative mentalities is not even on the page.

Posted by: Mina | Aug 2 2017 10:17 utc | 30

horse 27 "logic is a bitch'

It is at times. You'll just have to toughen up a bit and start using some.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 2 2017 12:44 utc | 31

Houthi arms bonanza came from Saleh, not Iran

Claims Iran is supplying the Houthis with weapons ignore the fact the group was already flush with American arms from ex-president Saleh

Posted by: somebody | Aug 2 2017 12:55 utc | 32

The truly insane thing, of course, is that the US flouts the presumed spirit, if not the letter of the embargo by supplying Saudi Arabia to the hilt

Posted by: paul | Aug 2 2017 12:59 utc | 33

Leaks like that have to be inspected through "cui bono" lens. KSA and UAE form much reduced "Sunni Axis" from which Qatar was booted out. Kuwait refused to take sides. Kuwait is roughtly 1/3 Shia, and Kuwaiti families may have both Shia and Sunni members, Kuwait rulers do not need and do not want unnecessary internal conflicts (they already have some). So think tankers on the payroll of "Sunni Axis" hatch some stories.

Of course, as a smuggling route the story makes no sense whatsoever. If I were responsible for designing such a route, I would secure intermediate warehousing in Puntland or Somaliland, to hop to Erithrea which should be possible with some bribing to officials. As Somaliland and Puntland are "de facto" countries, the trade is probably "unofficial" so it creates a haystack (traffic on small vessels with sketchy documentation) where one can place some needles. Intermediate stages of smuggling should be in the ports that trade with Puntland and Somaliland, and preferably with a lesser security than in a rich Persian Gulf monarchy, so perhaps Oman, Pakistan, Kenia, or Tanzania.

Keep in mind that "independent Yemen" does have some trade even if the import of food and necessities is being harrassed. But again, it is reduced to small ship "informal" cargos. The bottom line is that import exists and from the point of view of KSA+UAE and tacitly, USA (defender of the freedom of navigation, ha ha) it is smuggling, and Yemenis with insufficient food production did not starve completely yet, so there is a substantial cargo volume with little checking if any. Cash is definitely transferred, mostly from family members working abroad -- why Yemenis have any money to buy food?

That said, there are no convincing indications that "revolutionaries" have more weapons than the arsenals of the military (that sides with Houthis) could provide: the intensity of war in Yemen seems to be a fraction of Syrian war, and Saleh was "collecting" weapons and ammunition for years. Similarly, there are no convincing indications that Houthis have more money that they could extract from the Yemenis.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 2 2017 13:26 utc | 34

There's a story on the BBC of unrest in Saudi Arabia's Eastern province which might be an adjunct to this claim about arms smuggling.

Originally the Beeb entitled it as being about unrest in the Eastern province, but has since watered it down to "Awamiya: Hundreds flee clashes in Saudi town.". But the body of the article remains unchanged:

"It is the latest intensification of sporadic unrest in the Eastern Province, which is largely Shia."

Posted by: johnf | Aug 2 2017 13:54 utc | 35

The downfall of the article is that the published a map. They might as well have said that the Iranians have found a route through the Delaware River in NJ because it faces less scrutiny. Uh .. true but it takes you farther away from Yemen. How do those clever Persians get from Kuwait to Yemen, do they sneak across Saudi Arabia?

J Swift, "I would say when wondering whether Saul got the material for his piece from high ranking Iranian officials or somewhere in Virginia"
LOL. Good one J Swift. I wonder if he is talking about Iranian leaders in exile, the west's favorite pets, MEK.

I read an interview by a leader of the Houthis who said that the Iranians refused to help them militarily when they asked for anti-aircraft missiles. That explanation made sense to me, what else would they ask for? They haven't gotten any of those.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Aug 2 2017 14:23 utc | 36

"...The piece on the ominous "new route" will surely make a splash but it disqualifies Reuters as a reliable source of information..."

Reuters disqualified itself a long time ago as a reliable source of information, but has continually asserted its function of salting the MSM with baseless facts to support their next narrative. Actually, Langley's next narrative - but why split hairs?

Of course the shipping routes discovery is nonsense, and the "Iran supports the Houthis" narrative is getting long in the tooth and serves no real purpose anymore. I will speculate that this story supplies 'evidence' (as defined by Reuters) that will support one or more of the planned narratives:

- Iranian "missile parts, launchers, drugs and cash" are being smuggled by Iranian shipping, therefore the Evil Orb coalition must start inspecting Iranian vessels in international waters to save humanity. Maybe a UN resolution ordering such inspections can be arranged so it's all legal and such.

- Poor Kuwait is too small to police its own waters to prevent this illegal activity. The Evil Orb Navies should take over the task. I could even imagine the Evil Orb pressuring Kuwait into making this request for itself publicly. "See? Kuwait is begging for our help. It would be immoral to ignore their plight. We need to start patrolling their waters to guard against imaginary evil Iranian smugglers." We expect the UN to recognize this peril and endorse our actions

- Smaller Iranian ports are the source of many illegal arms shipments. Iran is unable or unwilling to stop that activity. We'll give the tanker ports a pass, but the Evil Orb coalition must blockade and inspect all shipping originating from these 'smaller' Iranian ports. There needs to be a UN resolution calling for the blockade/inspections - it's the only logical way to save humanity.

This has little to do with Yemen and everything to do with ramping up the provocations against Iran. Remember, Iran MUST appear to start the war. All US provocations are necessary and justified. They will have nothing to do with Iran's eventual response. The Evil Orb coalition abhors fighting and death, but will sadly be left with no other choice. It will respond (with the utmost reluctance) by destroying/partitioning Iran. Its for the children, you see.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 2 2017 14:55 utc | 37

A short piece about the manipulation with maps that may be worth reading in this context:

“Every map is created to illustrate what its creator wants us to see and, for purpose of accuracy, has to be utilized in a specific context. The primary role of maps is to arrange the complexity of the real world into a meaningful visual whole (no map, however, due to its nature as a two-dimensional medium, is perfect!). They can be an incredibly powerful tool for illustrating and understanding issues. They can also be a manipulative tool to make us believe that the perception of reality in a combat zone is indeed the reality.”
“Complementary maps are included in the documents for complementary, even esthetic, rather than analytical purposes. Usually political reference maps, created by third parties and widely used and recognized, they primarily serve as ornaments in intelligence papers and frequently support established myths (see Figure 1 below). In this context, the maps are not data around which a written analytical interpretation forms the document; rather, they are page fillers because someone said a paper should contain a reference map.”

Rest at:

Posted by: 47 | Aug 2 2017 15:00 utc | 38

PavewayIV @36--

"This has little to do with Yemen and everything to do with ramping up the provocations against Iran. Remember, Iran MUST appear to start the war. All US provocations are necessary and justified. They will have nothing to do with Iran's eventual response. The Evil Orb coalition abhors fighting and death, but will sadly be left with no other choice. It will respond (with the utmost reluctance) by destroying/partitioning Iran. Its for the children, you see."

The bolded portion is rather similar to FDR's justifications for dealing with Japan in the lead up to Pearl Harbor and shows just how little the provocation game has changed since 1940, which is quite instructive.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 2 2017 15:22 utc | 39

karlof1@38 - ...and similar to Trump's current justifications for dealing with North Korea. Psychopaths stick with what works: false flags or provocations. Little people love simple, comic-book morality justifying their governments repeatedly perpetrating inhumanity and death on others.

"We're the good guys and they're the bad guys. That's all that matters!"

The alternative is to take direct moral responsibility for the actions of one's government. Why would anyone do that? There's already an opioid crisis (there's not nearly enough).

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 2 2017 15:47 utc | 40

@ PavewayIV | 37

This has little to do with Yemen and everything to do with ramping up the provocations against Iran. Remember, Iran MUST appear to start the war. All US provocations are necessary and justified. They will have nothing to do with Iran's eventual response. The Evil Orb coalition abhors fighting and death, but will sadly be left with no other choice. It will respond (with the utmost reluctance) by destroying/partitioning Iran. Its for the children, you see.

Thats actually pretty good and spot on. I would just add few points:

There wont be direct war vs Iran. The Coalition of the killing cant win it, nor can afford it. It would be a suicide mission.

What will definitely happen - escalation on different fronts. Sanctions is a given (unilateral, more and more ignored by the rest). Terror attacks here and there as well, especially when Syria/Iraq's terror is winding down.

US and co are finalizing Kurdistan project, and it will be a launching ground to attack and partition first Syria and Iraq, followed by endeavour to partition Iran (some Kurd puppets already professed undying hatred of Iran, and started attacking Iran's border). I'm not sure if Syria/Iraq will be able to stop Kurdistan, but Iran will be able to resist IMO. Of course it will be followed by crocodile tears in the West "look at these evil mulas killing innocent peaceful Kurds, more sanctions! (and more weapons for those "peaceful" cuddly Kurds).

Posted by: Harry | Aug 2 2017 19:03 utc | 41

ot - trump signs russia sanctions bill - "Yet despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity," Trump said. "It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues so that these sanctions will no longer be necessary."

translation... "despite its problems, i am signing this bill for the sake of the financial, military and oil industrial complex.. it represents the will of these corporations to see that russia takes this 'medicine'/arsenic'... it will help improve relations with trump incorporated and these corporations.. we hope that these sanctions will be no longer necessary, but until we finish off russia, we will continue with them..."

Posted by: james | Aug 2 2017 19:31 utc | 42

james @42

What will happen now that the Trump headfake has failed to result in Russian concessions?

IMO Trump was installed over Hillary specifically to wrest concessions. The view of pro-Trump people that Trump wants better relations with Russia is silly. He is a Clinton protege and opportunist. Note: I supported Trump over Hillary but wised-up after the missile attack on Syria.

Perhaps now more people will be skeptical about how Trump was elected/selected:

How Things Work: Betrayal by Faux Populist Leaders

Fake News Distracts Us From Fake Election

What happens now? Is Trump ready to be a war President? Is he willing to dirty his small hands in that way? Or will he help to create a pre-text for his resignation/removal so McCain's buddy Pence can take the reins (e.g. by firing Mueller)?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 2 2017 20:06 utc | 43

@41 ".....look at these evil mulas killing innocent peaceful Kurds, more sanctions! (and more weapons for those "peaceful" cuddly Kurds)."

And more pictures of fearless Kurdish girls fighting for freedom and democracy.

Posted by: dh | Aug 2 2017 20:21 utc | 44

Reuters is owned by the Rothschilds so that explains it.

Posted by: Bill Warrick | Aug 2 2017 20:22 utc | 45

Also interesting that the Saudi-Qatar spat is back on just as Trump's Russian rapprochement has failed. Coincidence?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 2 2017 20:37 utc | 46

It's easy to overlook the motive for this Reuters fairy tale.
If AmeriKKKa's scheme to destroy Yemen was going to plan then there would be no reason to blame Iran for anything. We all know that Yankees ALWAYS select soft targets for their Fake Wars because, like their Saudi and "Israeli" friends, warriors they ain't.

Soon after the Yemen clusterfuck began, b predicted that Saudi Barbaria's squibs, pansies and brats were going to have their asses handed to them.
This story is a confession, from no less an authority than Reuters, that b was right and the Christian Colonial Empire of Chaos is suffering the consequences of believing too much of their own bullshit.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 2 2017 21:14 utc | 47

I'm also quite fond of the notion that the dimwits responsible for attacking Yemen, and losing, are toying with the idea of further publicly embarrassing themselves by attacking Iran.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 2 2017 21:26 utc | 48

A guy at ZeroHedge had a clever thought: Trump could veto the sanctions bill as unconstitutional and institute the same sanctions by executive order - but without the onerous stipulations that amount to Unconstitutional over-reach. Then Trump would be free to lift the sanctions at any time AND if Congress over-rode his veto then it would show that they were only interested in dictating foreign policy (esp. wrt Russia).

Also, Trump could've taken his case to the people. Instead he pretends that Congresses vote reflects "the will of the American people" when it is clear that the will of US MIC, neocons, and Israeli, Saudi, and eastern European hardliners (what some call "the Deep State") are much more likely to be reflected in Congress' pass of this sanctions bill.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 2 2017 21:32 utc | 49

james @42--

Trump should have vetoed the bill since it's unconstitutional--it grossly trespasses on the president's ability to conduct foreign relations. But then Trump probably has never read the document he swore to defend and uphold, although he did utter something akin to a "signing statement." McCain's gloating, But it's McCain and his ilk that are destroying what remains of the 1787 Constitution all for the greed of gold and blood.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 2 2017 21:37 utc | 50

And, continued tensions with Russia make the maneuvering of a General into the WH Chief of Staff position, ummm ... suspect.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 2 2017 21:45 utc | 51

karlof1 @50

If Congress had overturned his veto, Trump could've turned to the Supreme Court - and the people.

How is continuing tensions with Russia - and now possibly with EU - consistent with "America First"?

This marks yet another cave-in for Trump on foreign policy and his domestic agenda is stalled.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

>> Iran is not a threat to an energy-independent USA.

>> North Korea is not a threat - Kim is not a "mad man" with his finger on a nuclear trigger. He has nukes because of what US did to Qaddafi (who had given up his nuclear program).

>> Russia is derided as a "gas station, not a country" and an existential threat in the same breath. This is neocon double-speak.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 2 2017 22:08 utc | 52

Also, Trump caved despite the fact that the "Russia hacked the election" story is falling apart.

There's never been any evidence of such "hacking" or of Trump Campaign collusion with Russia. And recent polling shows that the American people see such accusations as fake news stemming from partisan politics. And now we have this: Consortium News: Intel Vets Challenge Russia Hack Evidence. Which explains why it is likely that the DNC suffered from a LEAK not a HACK.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 2 2017 22:22 utc | 53

re 37 on maps. A map is just what you decide to draw. It can be truthful, but doesn't need to be.

By the way, I'm always amused by the maps of Syria, which show the Kurds as holding a solid block of maximalist territory. But ISIS or Asad, they're reduced to thin trails, the minimum that you're forced to attribute to them. I don't quite understand why unoccupied desert territory can be attributed to the Kurds (falsely, by the way), but not to Asad or to Da'ish.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 2 2017 22:55 utc | 54

Jackrabbit @52--

Thanks for your reply! Just a few quibbles:

The Outlaw US Empire is extremely dependent on energy and will never become energy independent, nor will any other nation.

North Korea has nukes because of the genocide inflicted upon it by the Outlaw US Empire and its UN allies--The horror of the Korean War lives within the North Korean peoples, and within many South Koreans too. What would have been a unified and independent Korea for the first time in decades was destroyed by the Outlaw US Empire's Anti-Communist Crusade--a Crusade that killed tens of millions, rendered refugees tens of millions more, and destroyed at least a dozen nations, while retarding development of dozens more.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 2 2017 23:15 utc | 55

55 Further--

As expected, Merdouris has weighed in on Trump's veto,

I have yet to see anyone note that Trump could've Pocket Vetoed this bill since Congress goes into recess until Labor Day.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 2 2017 23:41 utc | 56

USA's economy is strained by these unsustainable burdens:

>> bloated military budget (defense spending + defense-related debt payments + and black budget);

>> inefficient, wasteful for-profit healthcare system designed for doctors, insurance companies, and capitalists;

>> financialized economy.

Instead of fixing what is broken, Trump has put forth a vision of USA as "energy hegemon" and arms dealer. Such an economic line-up is as unhinged as it is unsustainable. Only exceptional! opportunitists like Trump and his coterie of privileged dunderheads advisors would think this is workable.

What this plan does is create an artificial reason to support Saudi/GCC and to engage in conflicts with competitors (principally Iran and Russia). To pay the bills for these conflicts, Trump's plan relies on overseas markets for overpriced US energy and arms. Forcing allies to pay US for these essentially amounts to an imperial tax (aka extortion).

The EU is already balking at Trump's plan, which would cost them tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars per year.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 2 2017 23:54 utc | 57


1. Mercouris is wrong. Trump's statement does malign Russia. Trump writes:

I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization.
And Trump underscores this when he says (immediately following):
That is why, since taking office, I have enacted tough new sanctions on Iran and North Korea, and shored up existing sanctions on Russia.

2. Why hasn't Trump tweeted or spoken about this Congressional power grab? He's been rather quite about it (how many will read the President's statement?) Especially given that Trump has previously tweeted that the Russian investigation is a "witch-hunt"?

3. Lastly, just what does Trump/USA want? before US-Russian relations can be normalized? Russia is not going to give up the Crimea. It's not going to send gas over Ukrainian pipelines. It's not going to stop supporting the Donbas and Syria. It's not going to exit SCO. So what does USA/Trump want that Russia might reasonably deliver?

>> Assad's head?

>> Stop trading with Iran?

>> Sunnistan?

These would go against Russia's stated policy of 'non interference' in internal affairs and/or would damage relations with allies for the hope of better relations with a country that Putin has deemed "not agreement capable".

In any case Russia has not agreed to whatever it is that Trump/USA wants and Medvedev's statement makes it clear that it has no intention of EVER agreeing. So Cold War II is back on. Sad.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 3 2017 0:32 utc | 58

@Jackrabbit 57

The US has more fundamental problems than that - but if Trump seriously wants to rebuild the economy, I'm with him on that. To do so requires exactly one thing: Devalue the US$. Everything else ranges from pointless to dangerous to ridiculous.

@Paveway 37

Sounds plausible enough, but I don't see it happening bc of the economic/ financial dire straits the US finds itself in, plus lack of any allies whatsoever. Would be great for the oil price though.

Posted by: smuks | Aug 3 2017 0:36 utc | 59

I should add that I have have previously wrote that Putin is likely to agree to the establishment of Sunnistan to avoid needless war and buy time for SCO to develop (see Putin-Trump at the G20: The Birth of Sunnistan?). Putin might also get ABM missiles removed from Eastern Europe and/or a promise not to arm Ukraine.

But how f*cked up is this!?!? It creates the "salafist principality" that US ME allies wanted. This state would be a danger to its neighbors and the world because it would likely harbor extremists.

This isn't MAGA. MAGA would be allowing R+6 to deal with the Syrian and Iraqi head-choppers as Trump promised when he campaigned.

Trump's new approach emphasizes US as "energy hegemon" and arms dealer (as I wrote above). How are the imperatives of Trump's economic and foreign policy approach ANY DIFFERENT than what Hillary's approach would've been?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 3 2017 0:57 utc | 60

The Mercouris article on the new sanctions law is interesting. According to Trump, he negotiated some changes to it so as not to cause too much hardship for European and American companies. I was hoping the US would use it to keep kicking their European dog until it ran of to Russia and China, so see what happens on that one.
Trump generally seems to be pro Russia anti China. He has had a few meetings with Kissinger, and several time Kissinger has been to Moscow to see Putin.
In cold war 1.0 Soviet ideology was the main threat to US hegemonic ambitions, and they US ensured they did nothing that would bring China and USSR together, actively working to keep them apart.
The main threat to the hegemon now is the Chinese economy, yet US neo-cons ect has pushed Russian and China together and are still fixated on Russia as the main threat.
US take in too many eastern block dissidents/trouble makers in cold war 1.0?

It seems Trump or whoever is behind him can see that China's economy is the main threat to US power, yet the crazies that occupy US politics remain fixated on Russia?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 3 2017 1:01 utc | 61

The only interesting point in this b/s story is that the alleged cargo comprises "Parts of missiles, launchers and drugs" - why on earth would they insert 'drugs' here, if not to confuse readers and divert attention from the real ongoing drug supply chain, i.e. captagon for ISIS?

[my theory: in wartime, one side tends to accuse the other of the exact crimes it is committing itself]

Syria update:

The predictions we made about the al-Tanf area were pretty good; the US is abandoning its temporary allies there, who are switching sides (bc they are no longer paid and resupplied). I presume the SF have already withdrawn?

In Idlib, the dust appears to settle with HTS now openly dominating the province. Turkey & Qatar thus lose what remained of their influence, which reduces the complexity of the situation in western Syria.

The remaining interesting question is the relation between Damascus and the SDF, with the contact line being suspiciously quiet. The Kurds would be stupid to place all their eggs in one (US) basket and alienate everyone around far, they have managed to avoid this trap, and I don't think they'll fall for it now. So I'd rather expect some surprise deal with the Syrian govt, as in joint control of Raqqa.

Posted by: smuks | Aug 3 2017 1:01 utc | 62

@58 The U.S. wants an end to the Moscow-Beijing axis. Eurasian integration is a threat to U.S. dominance in sectors such as defense, tech, finance, and resource extraction. Even pop culture would suffer from the U.S. elites perspective.

Dominance for the sake of dominance doesn't poll well, so an enemy has to be created. Libya and Iraq were both attacked after it was known they couldn't retaliate.

The U.S. foreign policy establishment is so rotten at this point it no longer possesses the ability for self-reflection. All it really knows is a Moscow-Beijing axis or a Moscow-Berlin axis is bad for American power and rich/connected American citizens who want to profit. A Moscow-Tehran-Beijing axis is a major deal in the long run.

As far as Trump, he didn't think he was going to be President. He's an old carnival barker with orange skin.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Aug 3 2017 1:18 utc | 63

@Peter AU 1 (same as the old Peter?)

China alone is no 'threat' bc it lacks resources. Only together with Russia can it challenge US/ NATO hegemony. The US on the other hand has natural resources, but little industrial capacity - it needs to join forces with either Europe or Asia (or both).

Driving Moscow and Beijing into forming an alliance (something Putin had always avoided) was an incredible geopolitical blunder, which Washington is now trying (in vain) to correct, by offering some form of cooperation first to the one, then to the other. Whichever card is played on a given day - the strategic rival is and will always be Russia, for economic and geographical reasons.

As a businessman focused on numbers, Trump probably didn't understand this before entering office - but I presume geostrategists like Kissinger have since explained a few things to him.

Posted by: smuks | Aug 3 2017 1:26 utc | 64

J Swift 29
Good catch. The Gulf sounds like a deliberate snub.

As to Trump, I'm starting to think that he'll wage some of his battles below the radar like the Syrian strategy of not direclty supporting al Nusra and going with the coalition that does not attack Syrian govt forces. His desire to rapprochement with Russia has been preempted. And he's not well spoken enough to side-step or trounce the media otherwise he could have the bully pulpit advantage.

Posted by: Curtis | Aug 3 2017 1:35 utc | 65

smuks @64

Yes, I am beginning to see that too. I struggled with what Trump might reasonably expect from Putin short of a break with China and came up with Sunnistan (which US ME allies appear to desire). But I acknowledge that it seems rather insufficient in that it only leads to more conflict.

Yet it is very difficult to see what Trump might offer Putin to get him to switch sides given the USA's horrible conduct in Syria and other countries. It seems the only thing USA offers is to a change in attitude. It's the classic counterproductive strategy of: "the beating will continue until morale improves".

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Wm Engdahl: The Fatal Flaw in Washington’s New Energy Strategy. Discusses plans for US export monopoly of LNG to Poland/Eastern Europe which has angered Germany. Engdahl sees Qatar's plans to ship gas to Europe via an Iran-Turkey pipeline as the reason for the break its relations with Saudi/GCC (a break that has US blessing).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 3 2017 2:04 utc | 66

smuks @64

Yes, I am beginning to see that too. I struggled with what Trump might reasonably expect from Putin short of a break with China and came up with Sunnistan (which US ME allies appear to desire). But I acknowledge that it seems rather insufficient in that it only leads to more conflict.

Yet it is very difficult to see what Trump might offer Putin to get him to switch sides given the USA's horrible conduct in Syria and other countries. It seems the only thing USA offers is to a change in attitude. It's the classic counterproductive strategy of: "the beating will continue until morale improves".

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

See: Wm Engdahl's "The Fatal Flaw in Washington’s New Energy Strategy".
Engdahl discusses plans for US export monopoly of LNG to Poland/Eastern Europe which has angered Germany. Engdahl sees Qatar's plans to ship gas to Europe via an Iran-Turkey pipeline as the reason for the break its relations with Saudi/GCC (a break that has US blessing).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 3 2017 2:06 utc | 67

Can anyone imagine a politician more susceptible to blackmail than Trump? Regardless of whether he's voting his conscience or being coerced, he's toeing the line with respect to the "official" line on Russia.

Posted by: Information_Agent | Aug 3 2017 2:12 utc | 68

British media is just a lie-concocting machinery. You'd be hard pressed to find anything even remotely truthful in there. That phenomena is easily explained by the calamitous condition of the UK itself. Obfuscation is all modern Britain has left while it avoids facing reality as hard as it can.

Posted by: telescope | Aug 3 2017 2:29 utc | 69

I'm sure most MoA readers are aware of the need to give any news source the hairy eyeball, but this is particularly true of Reuters whose parentage and corporate loyalties have been made deliberately murky.

For example if one does a web search of 'reuters' the first non advertisement entry is "Reuters A Brief History" by the guardian. The 'history' goes to great lengths about how Reuters moved into private ownership in 1941 to prevent the englander government forcing it to regurgitate propaganda but it also which claims "The new owners, the British national and regional press, formed the Reuters Trust, with independent trustees who must safeguard the group's independence and neutrality. "

Yeah right that may have been correct up until about 5 seconds after it was written after which Reuters was bought out by right wing Canadian newspaper publishers Thomson (the mob who sold 'The Times' to murdoch's news limited).
It is far from an independent cooperative now as it is a wholly owned subsidiary of Thomson_Reuters as the head corporation has been named. Wikipedia which we all know to peruse with a grain of salt gives a somewhat objective picture here.
In that entry it is stated that

" In July 2013, David Fogarty, former Reuters climate change correspondent in Asia, resigned after a career of almost 20 years with the company and wrote about a "climate of fear" which resulted in "progressively, getting any climate change-themed story published got harder" following comments from then deputy editor-in-chief Paul Ingrassia that he was a "climate change sceptic". In his comments, Fogarty stated that "Some desk editors happily subbed and pushed the button. Others agonised and asked a million questions. Debate on some story ideas generated endless bureaucracy by editors frightened to take a decision, reflecting a different type of climate within Reuters—the climate of fear," and that "by mid-October, I was informed that climate change just wasn't a big story for the present. …Very soon after that conversation I was told my climate change role was abolished." Ingrassia, currently Reuters' managing editor, formerly worked for The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones for 31 years."

As a news source Reuters has been getting dodgier and dodgier yes there are occasions where Reuters slant appears at odds with standard neoliberal or governmental thinking, but IMO that is only when the corporate position is at odds with government.
The only use for Reuters is as a means to ascertain what the lizard point of view about a particular issue is.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Aug 3 2017 2:32 utc | 70

@karlof1 #39

Since 1940? I have always felt it was more like the 16th century since anything other than lexicon and terms of reference have changed, at least as far as command and control was concerned. Sure we have more bells and whistles and we no longer defecate in our drinking water. Still the more things have changed the more the important things have not, at least since the 16th century anyways.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Aug 3 2017 3:00 utc | 71

Tannenhouser @70--

Contextually for the current discourse, yes. Overall, since Sun Tzu at the very least. Thanks for your reply!

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 3 2017 4:14 utc | 72

As far as Trump, he didn't think he was going to be President. He's an old carnival barker with orange skin.
Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Aug 2, 2017 9:18:23 PM | 63

Did you mean to say he didn't know he was going to be President (unlike Hillary)?
I followed the campaign from the day he nominated. And I recorded and watched every pro & anti Trump doco broadcast on Oz TV (more than a dozen).
Trump has had Presidential aspirations for several years, at least, and nominated for 2016 because he thought he knew how to win and believed he could win.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 3 2017 5:10 utc | 73

more ot - regarding that bill trump signed - jackrabbit, peter au and others.. i basically agree with smuks @64... what this signing of the bill tells me about trump is that he's not really in control of anything at this point..shitty leadership material, unless you want someone to rubber stamp the corporate agenda.. just a loser in a cheap or expensive suit as the case may be... either way - an empty suit...

Posted by: james | Aug 3 2017 6:54 utc | 74

and in other ot news, special remarks at the daily press briefing today from tillerson - ex ceo of exxon... "Clearly, Russia has aligned itself early on in the conflict with the Syrian regime and Bashar al-Assad, which we find to be unacceptable. So we’re working with Russia through how do we achieve the end state, which is a unified Syria – not divided – but a Syria that is – has the opportunity for the Syrian people to put in place a new constitution, have free and fair elections, and select a new leadership. And it continues to be our view that the Assad regime has no role in the future governing of Syria."

more of the same shit from the same morons essentially...

or how about this? "The second condition we have is that Iran’s military influence, the direct presence of Iranian military forces inside of Syria, they must leave and go home, whether those are Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces or whether those are paid militias, foreign fighters, that Iran has brought into Syria in this battle. Those are our two end state conditions, and those are shared by many of our coalition partners the world over."

all you moderate headchoppers that the us supported? you can all stay, seeing as you are such a moderate bunch, lol...

what liars and sociopaths these american corp leaders playing gov't are at present...

Posted by: james | Aug 3 2017 7:02 utc | 75

smuks 64

same as the old Peter. Added the 1 because another started using the same name for a couple of comments.

Obama's pivot to Asia Pacific, I take it, was about cutting China's supply of raw materials and otherwise disrupting China's trade with the world. that seemed to get sidetracked by the middle east and Syria fighting back longer than it should have and also Ukraine not going to plan. Then there was the Hague court case which ASEAN totally disregarded in the end, perhaps due to Duterte. It seems to be the EU sanctions that the US pushed through on the back of MH17 that made Russia turn fully to China.
China with access to raw materials I would have thought of as the immediate financial threat to the US as it now seems big enough to start setting up a viable alternative financial system, whereas Russia with population about half the size of US would be a long way off setting up a viable alternate financial system on its own?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 3 2017 7:10 utc | 76

Peter AU 1 | Aug 3, 2017 3:10:03 AM | 75

Russia is looking at block chain technology and a crypto currency (its own) called gas.

It's not the article I read (I can't remember where I read it).

And Russia's economy is in way better shape than the U.S., for a certainty.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 3 2017 8:06 utc | 77

That would free up both China (also looking at block chain/crypto) and Russia from the tyranny of the U.S. dollar.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 3 2017 8:12 utc | 78

MOAR information;

All that said; I can't say I understand the whole blockchain/crypto thing; I mean, I understand the concept but am lost in the technology bits.
Having physical gold/silver is more my comfort zone.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 3 2017 8:50 utc | 79

V. Arnold

Not sure that I understand it much either, but to set up an attractive alternative financial system, I think a country would have to conduct a large amount of trade.
The AIIB was interesting. Although the Obama administered hegemon ordered vassals not to join, once UK joined a large number of vassals also joined the Chinese AIIB. Everyone hedging their bets? China and Russia aligned.. resources and manufacturing combined, mutually compatible vision for the future rather than ideology... China - a world connected by trade. Russia a multipolar world. The hegemon now run by indoctrinated kids handed power on a plate.. move over PNAC, something bigger and better is moving in?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 3 2017 9:18 utc | 80

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 3, 2017 5:18:43 AM | 80

...something bigger and better is moving in?

As the Zen monk said; "We'll see..."

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 3 2017 9:36 utc | 81

Film of the destruction by the Saudis of their own Shia town Awamiya in the Eastern Province:

Posted by: johnf | Aug 3 2017 10:17 utc | 82

@Peter AU

There's no need for an 'alternative financial system' if the IMF is reformed, which is China's real goal. It's getting there - note the recent announcement to move the IMF seat to Beijing in 10 years time. AIIB, NDB, CIPS and CRA are only the backup option/ 'plan B'/ threat in case western countries don't play along.

Actually it was the Bush Jr. years that destroyed western hegemony. Attacking Iraq without international support was a major mistake; 'the world' started looking elsewhere for leadership...and found Putin. The crisis in 2007ff showed how broken the western financial system was, and how incapable of sweeping reforms.
The hegemonic transition would have taken place around 2025, but these two events hastened it by ten years.

Posted by: smuks | Aug 3 2017 12:31 utc | 83

smuks | Aug 3, 2017 8:31:52 AM | 82
The IMF is a tool of the west; are you serious????
There is every need in the world for an alternative financial system; are you daft?
The point is to defang the U.S.'s dollar, financial hegemony...HELLO...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 3 2017 12:50 utc | 84


'Sunnistan' has existed for the last five years and is now rapidly collapsing. Looks like Washington won't try to resurrect it, but rather secure parts of it which are 'up for grabs'.
A joint exploration of the Pars gas field by Qatar and Iran, with one pipeline to India and another to Europe, is pretty much the only option that makes sense. I'm not aware of any new developments in this area though, which could explain the sudden escalation...?

@Peter AU

The 'pivot to Asia' never really took off bc Washington was unable to find allies there: It's been desperately trying to establish military bases in SE Asia, without success. Not only Duterte - also the rest of ASEAN was absolutely not willing to risk a major conflict with Beijing over the SCS.
Actually I see the 'pivot' not as any new strategy, but mostly as distraction - to divert attention from (gradual) US withdrawal from the Middle East and Central Asia. After all, East Asia is 5000 km 'closer to home' than Afghanistan...but that's just my interpretation.

An 'alternative financial system' is pointless if it's not backed up by something tangible.
China can only overcome western financial hegemony if it can physically (i.e. militarily) control the flow of goods, esp. oil and gas. That's not (yet?) possible in seaborne trade, which is why the New Silk Road is so important: The US still controls global sea lanes, but Russia, China and Iran control land routes. Breaking the petrodollar monopoly requires for oil & gas to arrive via pipelines...which is why it didn't happen until 2014. cf. Qatar pipeline plans (see above): If Qatar exports LNG by ship, it has to sell in $ only - via an Iran-Turkey-Europe pipeline, it can accept any currency.


"shitty leadership material, unless you want someone to rubber stamp the corporate agenda."

-- which was Trump's role from the very start: Pretending to be anti-establishment, to fool ordinary folks into supporting him - so it would take them a while to notice that he's more pro-1% than anyone else.
Once his voters realize his economic policies don't improve their lives (quite the contrary), there's always racism and nationalism/ aggressive foreign policy to satisfy them.
Right-wing leaders are all the same in this regard.

Posted by: smuks | Aug 3 2017 13:15 utc | 85


We're in 2017, not 1997.
Welcome to the present; you'll be amazed how things have changed while you were sleeping!

Posted by: smuks | Aug 3 2017 13:18 utc | 86

smuks | Aug 3, 2017 9:18:43 AM | 85

Ya think? :-)

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 3 2017 13:43 utc | 87

Jackrabbit @58--

Mercouris has written a new piece that's rather thought provoking and includes the text of the actual signing statement, which was far more complex than Trump's verbal commentary,

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 3 2017 15:24 utc | 88

The worst aspect of the Yemen tragedy is the shameful stamp of legality it attained in the UN Security Council.
The resolution was carried unanimously, with Russia abstaining. It gave the Saudis a free hand to wage a war of annihilation against the Houthis.
I suspect China as well as Russia were richly bribed by the Saudi royals not to veto Resolution 2216. Their acquiescence legalized the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen in 2015.
Blame China and Russia for Yemen. They are just as responsible as the Western powers for this unfolding atrocity.

Posted by: Aren Haich | Aug 3 2017 17:19 utc | 89


When Flynn left I made the same argument: if Trump had tried to save Flynn, he would've risked being removed from office.

But since then, I have come to see the partisan bickering as a charade. Obama also faced crazy criticism (e.g. foreign-born socialist Muslim!) and Trump was one of the leaders in using criticism to establish guardrails for Obama(!) In doing so, he was carrying water for Hillary - who was the one that first questioned if Obama was born in the USA.

I see Trump as a faux populist like Obama. The 2016 election was completely rigged with Sanders as 'sheepdog' and "populist" Trump being a shoe-in against his hubris-filled establishment opponent. Now Seymour Hersh claims that the CIA was involved in the DNC leak.

Not surprising to me. (but I need to add the Hersh claim to my blog)

IMO Trump was INSTALLED to negotiate USA out of a jam: Obama-Hillary drove Russia and China together. They couldn't see the forest for the trees because they were both lining their pockets with Zionist-Wahhabi $$$$ to remake the Middle East.

Once again,

How Things Work: Betrayal by Faux Populist Leaders

Taken In: Fake News Distracts Us From Fake Election

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 3 2017 17:22 utc | 90


i am not convinced of this idea of reforming the imf and etc... is someone going to denominate oil in something other then us$? hasn't worked out for a few key countries that entertained that idea... the whole financial system is a grand ponzi scheme at this point...

Posted by: james | Aug 3 2017 19:07 utc | 91

Jackrabbit @90--

Thanks for your reply! Hersh's explanation seems plausible enough and that jibes with what Assange and Murray said about it being a leak, not a hack.

IMO, Obama was the CIA's boy from gestation to present, with HRC deemed to be the replacement to further solidify CIA rule since 1981. And even though Trump's an outlier, he's still following the same overall policy goals. What's changed since 2009 is planetary resistance to the Outlaw US Empire and its policy goal of Full Spectrum Dominance, which has shown just how big a Paper Tiger the Empire actually is in most respects.

Right now, I'd like to know what's transpiring within the SCO as the Empire seems to have its foot in the door using Modi as a provocateur.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 3 2017 19:18 utc | 92

92 cont'd--

I see Michel Chossudovsky has weighed-in on the SCO dynamic,

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 3 2017 19:34 utc | 93


It's not an 'idea' - just look at what's happening: Russia and China trade oil & gas in Yuan, and the first round of IMF reforms was done in late 2015. I'm just extrapolating an ongoing process into the future.

Posted by: smuks | Aug 3 2017 20:57 utc | 94

smuks @94--

It's long been Pepe Escobar's thesis that while Russia, China, and a host of other nations want an end to petrodollar recycling and replacement of dollar as primary reserve currency by a basket, they also desire a soft landing to this change, not a crash. And so far, that's what's happening since the Outlaw US Empire no longer has the financial leverage to keep the process from occurring. Those running the Casino know they can make money regardless, an example being Goldman Sachs and its Venezuelan bonds. IMO, one place the Neocons aren't is Wall Street and The City--they lack the intellectual capacity for such work.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 3 2017 21:47 utc | 95

For those way up at the top of this page who are arguing this, here are my two cents:

A stalking horse:

Jeremiah Johnson: [Jeremiah and Bear Claw hunt elk] "Wind's right, but he'll just run soon as we step out of these trees."

"Bear Claw Chris Lapp: Trick to it. Walk out on this side of your horse."

Jeremiah Johnson: "What if he sees our feet?"

Bear Claw Chris Lapp: "Elk don't know how many feet a horse has!" -- Author Unknown

It just seems so very obvious that the Zionists rule the West, and that's the problem. Look very closely and "count the feet". What looks so very obvious --- is far too obvious! They are clearly a stalking horse for the Hidden Worldwide Mafia.

As far as the Bitcoin/blockchain "currency" goes, I say it's sort of a very convenient "soft Ponzi" ploy. My almost decent knowledge of the technological basis for it informs me that it will never be very important in the great scheme of things. It's a little grease for the financial gears, but not the major solution of anything.

Posted by: blues | Aug 4 2017 3:28 utc | 96

I suspect Oman is involved in smuggling to Yemen. They are no friends of the Saudis.

There is an awful lot of trading going on between warring parties. I would not be in the least bit surprised if Aden-based Yemenis bought weapons from al Qaeda and the Saudis and sold it to the Sanaa-based Yemenis. That is the way things work in the real world. Money talks - everywhere not just in the Middle East.

Funny how the "official" government of Yemen seems to be based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. They have absolutely no legitimacy.

Posted by: Alfred | Aug 4 2017 10:03 utc | 97

My bet is Massawa in Erythrea. Very good deep-water harbour - known in the past for pirates and smuggling. Ships taking Haji's to Mecca anchored just outside and the crews "profited" from the "red-light district" for a week. Don't know if it still exists in the same fashion now.
Oman: In the 70's there was reputed to be a boat (Dhow style) with twin RR Merlin engines fitted (Type Spitfire) to run gold from Oman to India/Pakistan. The faster "Dhows" had a better line to their hulls (rudder hung from narrow transom) and could move in an almost a flat calm. Not the dumpy square sterned things visible nowadays.

Posted by: stonebird | Aug 4 2017 11:13 utc | 98

Follow the qat track and you'll find

Posted by: Mina | Aug 4 2017 12:40 utc | 99

@karlof 95

Yes, Beijing wants a smooth transition of hegemony and finance, one that most people don't even notice.
So far things look pretty good, with China, OPEC and god-knows-who-else reducing their $ holdings without causing a crash. The rest of the world is more than willing to help the US through these difficult times, if only because any turmoil could get really ugly. But will it accept this help & its new global position?

But whether or not banks & Co. can still make money in a multipolar world, where the financial system is dominated by a few central banks...I wouldn't be too sure. By cannibalizing each other, yes - but on a daily basis, in the longer run? How so, if CBs guarantee cheap financing for states and corporations?
'Financial markets' are quickly turning into a playground for a few big children who refuse to see how the rest of the world is changing around them. They're just dealing with each other - one wins what the other loses.

@Alfred 97

Quite plausible indeed.

Posted by: smuks | Aug 4 2017 13:50 utc | 100

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