Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 07, 2021

How U.S. Levant Policies Defeated Themselves

The hostility of the U.S. against the resistance axis in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon has led to conflicting aims. While the U.S. wants to isolate the 'resistance' it also wants to keep its own dominating role in Lebanon. Those aims are now in conflict. The U.S. is thus in a situation where it will have to lift sanctions against Syria to be able to politically compete with Hizbullah in Lebanon.

The U.S. had put Lebanon under an economic siege to pressure it into doing its bidding:

Following Israel’s failure to disrupt or defeat Hezbollah in the 2006 war, the victory of the Resistance Axis in the Syrian conflict, and the growing military and strategic reach of Hezbollah, the US set into motion a policy to starve out Lebanon and destabilize the country’s economy. Washington’s bag of tricks is empty, save this one last sanctions-and-siege weapon.
...
Israel wants the US to do the impossible: pressure Lebanon into disarming Hezbollah and resume talks over the disputed Mediterranean Sea border for gas extraction.
...
In the meantime, the Lebanese have lost trust in a banking system that confiscated their life’s savings almost two years ago, and a US-backed Central Bank that has contributed to the collapse of the local currency. The bankrupt Lebanese government has, in turn, eradicated most of the subsidies on gasoline needed for the functioning of hospitals, electricity, transport, and bakeries.

The country has no monetary reserves left to import oil or gasoline and to generate electricity. Power cuts are now lasting 22 hours per day. There is no functional government that could solve those problems.

Lebanon is thus in a extremely deep recession during which the poverty rate has increased from 40% to above 80%. Still - no Lebanese politician or faction leader will dare to attack Hizbullah as it is too powerful to be beaten. Also no one, except maybe Israel or the U.S., wants Lebanon to return to the times of its civil war.

Hizbullah has helped its constituency through the crisis by providing subsidized food. But I can not support all of Lebanon. What it and its friends in Syria and Iran can do is to break the siege the U.S. has put onto the country.

Iran had offered to provide oil to Lebanon in exchange for (worthless) Lebanese lira. But the Lebanese government did not take the offer as the U.S. had threatened it with additional sanctions.

Hizbullah has jumped into the gap. Three tankers have left Iran and are on their way to Syria. Their load will be refined in a Syrian refinery. From there diesel and gasoline will be provided to Lebanon where Hizbullah will organize their distribution.

After this became known, and after the tankers were on their way - protected by a Hizbullah threat to attack whoever touches them - the U.S. had to counter the offer. It could no longer uphold its claim of being a friend of Lebanon when it was seen as doing nothing to help the country while Hizbullah and Iran are providing real support.

The U.S. came up with a rather weird scheme. Egypt will up its natural gas supplies for Jordan where it will be used to generate electricity that will then be exported to Lebanon. Who or how this will be payed for is so far unknown.

Moreover as Lebanon and Jordan share no border the electricity will have to be routed through Syria!

The U.S. scheme to provide some marginal support for Lebanon is thus necessitating a breach of the U.S. sanctions on Syria and its diplomatic isolation:

Jordan will host a meeting of Egypt, Syria and Lebanon's energy ministers on Wednesday to discuss transportation of Egyptian gas to Lebanon for electricity generation, said state-owned broadcaster Mamlaka.

The United States has been in talks with Egypt and Jordan over a plan to ease Lebanon's power crisis which involves using Egyptian gas to generate power in Jordan that would be transmitted via Syria.

A top level Lebanese delegation went to Damascus on Saturday to pave the way for the U.S.-backed plan to ease the power shortages in Lebanon.

U.S. sanctions on Damascus are a complicating factor in any effort to help Lebanon via Syria, but diplomats say Washington is looking at ways to urgently deal with those hurdles.

The U.S. will now have to lift sanctions on Syria to win a public relations war against the resistance in Lebanon. Some payments will also need to be made to Syria to rebuild the necessary electricity lines which were destroyed during the war.

By pushing for sanctions and blockades on whoever disagrees with the 'western' view of the world the U.S. has defeated its own political aims. The chance that all of Lebanon would flip to the resistance side now made it necessary to break its own sanction policies.

That is diplomatic defeat and a loss of face that few in the Middle East will forget about anytime soon.

Posted by b on September 7, 2021 at 16:57 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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thanks b... of course the saying 'with friends like these, who needs enemies?' applies!!

it amazes me how the usa-israel think they can bully their way forever and that they won't run into a wall of opposition... all they have done is cemented a relationship of the oppressed to rise up and slay the monster... financial sanctions is all usa-israel have at this point - which is a lot i acknowledge, but at some point this sorry form of war will give way to something else...

Posted by: james | Sep 7 2021 17:07 utc | 1

A total Cluster F!

Posted by: Seer | Sep 7 2021 17:09 utc | 2

Thanks for the posting b

I think all of the ME dominoes are going to fall (to the resistance side) and take empire down as well.

It is quite the shit show to watch happen in real time....where will we be by the end of the month...grin

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 7 2021 17:22 utc | 3

This is the behaviour of a thug and racketeer. You will obtain a moment of "protection" relief if you do as we want, otherwise the full weight of our knee remains on the collective necks of your civilians.

Posted by: Canadian Cents | Sep 7 2021 17:23 utc | 4

Nice pivot - great story. I guess after the first ship from Iran made it safely to harbor, Hezbollah feels the danger is minimized. Fingers-crossed.

And I concur with james @ 1, but worry that there is a streak of insanity that runs through Israel's core that precludes reason as a determinative factor.

Posted by: gottlieb | Sep 7 2021 17:24 utc | 5

In other news, Iran to join SCO. It also became a more influential country in connection with the Afghanistan management situation. Attempts to isolate Iran failed.

Posted by: Passer by | Sep 7 2021 17:26 utc | 6

Help yourself before helping the neighbours?
The Central Bank Chief, Riad Salameh, was caught smuggling $100'000 in greenbacks into France.
https://thecradle.co/Article/news/1615
(In addition to the Swiss charges against him)

This is only chump change, and he has given no believable reason why several billions are missing from the Central Bnak reserves. Some warlords in Lebanon are suspected of having a hand in the pot as well. For some reason, he claims that he cannot be removed from his post.
**

Well, if he can't leave it, he should be firmly tied to it .....

Posted by: Stonebird | Sep 7 2021 17:38 utc | 7

"The U.S. had put Lebanon under an economic siege to pressure it" yet our newspapers don't mention that. They instead relate sorry tales of suffering of Lebanese in a collapsed economy. How can they ignore that the US collapsed it? The same way they ignore so much else. This is the rule, not the exception, in our "news" coverage. It is how we managed to find defeat in so many wars against the weakest people we could find to attack. We lie to ourselves.

Posted by: Mark Thomason | Sep 7 2021 17:52 utc | 8

By pushing for sanctions and blockades on whoever disagrees with the 'western' view of the world the U.S. has defeated its own political aims.

That is true. This principle also applies to widespread use of censorship.

Posted by: Norwegian | Sep 7 2021 18:00 utc | 9

This is an optimistic view. Lebanon and Syria are on General Clark's Yinon Plan neocon hit list. Four nations destroyed (Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia) two nearly destroyed (Lebanon and Syria) with Iran last.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEigig2qWkc

The USA bombed and invaded eastern Syria and is building up forces in Syria to finish off Syria and Lebanon. Russia needs to be pushed aside with a carrot and stick. Biden okay'd the Nordstream pipeline and told Ukraine it can't join NATO. Maybe recognize Russia's reannexation of Crimea? Maybe wait for Putin to leave? Once Russia's leaves, a false flag is all that is needed to finish the job.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4CbsSR2VvA

Posted by: Carlton Meyer | Sep 7 2021 18:05 utc | 10

Posted by: Carlton Meyer | Sep 7 2021 18:05 utc | 10

I keep getting confused with these kinds of commenters who's speaking as if the credibility of USA wasn't expended to the current lowest as it breaks promises, treaty, agreements and especially when they're openly conspired and hostiles to their target countries.

Posted by: Lucci | Sep 7 2021 18:23 utc | 11

Excellent analysis of the west's present predicament in the Levant by b! But I also see a strait of consistency in the west's failings--knee jerk actions taken on geopolitical situations without the maturity of deeper thoughts and safeguards against 'what-if'. It's a manifestation of collective stupidity of the ruling class. This manifestation of stupidity has been in vogue since a previous demented figurehead was in office, named Raccoon.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Sep 7 2021 18:43 utc | 12

Carlton Meyer | Sep 7 2021 18:05 utc | 10: This is an optimistic view.

I agree with that assessment.

We should expect neocon double-down, not giving in. Especially when Lebanon is so close to Israel and Hezbollah is such a thorn in their side.

I suspect that any move to provide more power to Lebanon is a short-term strategem to counter public outcry when the Iranian oil is blocked.

You can bet that Hezbollah will be blamed for whatever happens (or doesn't happen). And that Western sheeple will meekly accept that as they clutch their pearls.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 7 2021 19:08 utc | 13

For some reason, he claims that he cannot be removed from his post.
**
Well, if he can't leave it, he should be firmly tied to it .....
Stonebird @ 7 Epic! Lol. I salute you Stonebird.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Sep 7 2021 19:32 utc | 14

Slowly but surely, day by day, the US/Israel strangle-hold on the Middle East is coming to an end. On one end the Taliban have liberated the Panjshir Valley, the last holdout province in Afghanistan, and on the other Lebanon will get its needed power from Syria via Iran thanks to Hezbollah. Eurasia is looking solid.
Add Kamala Harris's inept visit to Singapore and Vietnam and little remains except to weep for South America. Even there the ties that bind are loosening.
Things last until they don't, and that until-they-don't moment can come in a rush.
Will The EU grow a pair? Will Japan? Will it be Five Eyes against the world?

Posted by: Hal Duell | Sep 7 2021 20:12 utc | 15

"How U.S. Levant Policies Defeated Themselves"

The headline reflects the ideological constructs of the coercive social relations self-branded as "The United States of America", "exceptionalism" facilitating beliefs in sole/prime agency, the possibility of attaining "hegemony", and its existence.

During the period from 1969 until 1999 this partly facilitated the ongoing transcendence of "The Soviet Union" by the Russian Federation, and several other attempts at "hegemony" in various parts of the world to date.

The coercive social relations self-branded as "The United States of America" were complicit in their own transcendence partly by being rendered so by others, whose strategies were confronted by hopes and their iterations.

Transcendence is a lateral process requiring facility, patience and other wisdoms - a lateral process of varying trajectories and velocities - not prisoners of measured time as are games and premature ejaculations.

Posted by: MagdaTam | Sep 7 2021 20:23 utc | 16

Lebanon has a private monetary system and is a private plantation.

Any nation with a private monetary system (banks creating > 50% of money) is a private plantation (SUZERAINTY). Name a nation without a private monetary system, other than China. Name a democracy that isn’t a suzerainty. Private plantations are in for a big surprise. Fall is coming!

Lebanon is a private plantation with FIEFDOMS. Unfortunately, due to its colonial past, its political evolution has resulted in different fiefdoms. It has operated as a commercial and financial centre. The outside powers have taken advantage of these groups through bribes, subsidies,... Lebanon’s imports were twice that of its exports. It has managed from the remittances from expatriate Lebanese workers. There had been large net inflow of funds into Lebanon. They do have money, where are they allocating it? Maybe they can learn from the Talibans or make Carlos Ghosn as a president. They need to create a sovereign monetary system to build their nation. How many private banks in Lebanon?

Telenor quits Myanmar with $105 mln sale to Lebanon's M1 Group

It is now a target of the Financial Empire to consolidate its power in the Middle East. Will the Empire leave Syria or ME?

“In 2001, in the Pentagon, a general told me : ‘I just received a classified memo from the Secretary of Defense: we will take seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and finally, Iran.’”
— Wesley Clark

People of Private Plantation
Majority of the populace spend their time on entertainment instead of enlightenment. They don’t care about the monetary system, whether it is private or sovereign. The Financial Empire has consistently exploited its control of the monetary, financial and economic system to capture nations.

The Central Bank Chairperson in a nation has more privileges than the president or prime minister. Have you looked at the privileges of Fed’s chairperson? What extra privilege do they enjoy as a member of the private BIS over your president? They can’t be removed easily, better to make them runaway like Afghanistan.

What are Empire’s plans for Lebanon and your plantation?

Posted by: Max | Sep 7 2021 20:24 utc | 17

The hurricane made landfall in Louisiana on August 31, before remnants of the storm ravaged the US northeast.
US Coast Guard investigating 350 reports of oil spills after Ida - https://secretra.com/united-states/5027-us-coast-guard-investigating-350-reports-of-oil-spills-after-ida.html

Posted by: Serg | Sep 7 2021 20:36 utc | 18

Here's some good news on why ships can now go places Amerika doesn't like.

https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL1138098/Chinese-hull-market-overtakes-Lloyds

From NC were MoA links aren't allowed;-)

Thanks b

Posted by: jo6pac | Sep 7 2021 20:49 utc | 19

Just to know when a pile of shit is likely to hit the fan, when is the first of these Iranian tankers supposed to arrive in Syria? In the day or two before making landfall, will they be attacked by the Orcs? Or will they be hassled in passing through the Suez Canal?

Antoinetta III

Posted by: Antoinetta III | Sep 7 2021 21:04 utc | 20

Thanks b. The US strategy is completely irrational. Which country in the ME could trust it? Max @ 17, very interesting points. Nations whose central banks hold reserves in dollars, and hope to undertake an independent development, are at risk of no longer being sovereign. Afghanistan, Venezuela, Iraq, and Iran have at present or in the past seen their accounts frozen by the Hegemonic Empire of the Insane. Central Banks run by private bankers invites corruption and cooptation from the US. This will keep many developing nations under the Empire's thumb.

Posted by: Michael Crockett | Sep 7 2021 21:06 utc | 21

RE: Posted by: Michael Crockett | Sep 7 2021 21:06 utc | 21

" This will keep many developing nations under the Empire's thumb."

That is the hope of "The United States of America" which some others with patience and facility have perceived since at least 1970.

Posted by: MagdaTam | Sep 7 2021 21:20 utc | 22

@ Michael Crockett (#21), thanks.

Many big nations have played the foreign exchange game well. Let’s look at China. It has $3 trillion in foreign reserves and $2 trillion in foreign debt. They are using the remaining $1 trillion to buy influence over the world. They will have no problem if their reserves are frozen. China pays around $60 billion in licensing royalties per year. They will default on the loans and break all the IP, copyright... laws and all future royalties if their reserves are frozen. Also, China can loan to those nations that are being held hostage. It increases their leverage in negotiations. The U$A is giving it on a platter to them. China has a high hand.

Russia has already successfully De- Also, Russia replaced the dollar in the wealth fund with Renminbis. It is only small broken plantations with many traitors that are vulnerable. India too has $500 billion in reserves and $500 billion in dollar/yen debt. Reserves can be cashed out immediately while loans are paid back overtime. Nations would do better by joining together to hold the Empire accountable. Too much hidden money and tricks. One needs to focus on the balance sheet of a nation.

However, just one event will result in dominos falling. Balance sheets will be BALANCED!

Posted by: Max | Sep 7 2021 21:46 utc | 23

Sorry b, UT if you think the US will lift sanctions you are suffering brain fog
1. The US has only lifted Sanctions on those that bow down to Israel

2. The US has a particular hate on for Syria. With Bashar help HZB defeated Israel, with Bashar help the oil squeeze on putin failed

3. The US actually regularly violates its own sanctions policy, without suspending it or retracting it.

4. They will not lift the sanctions. In their mind they gain nothing and lose a lot.

Posted by: Les7 | Sep 7 2021 22:08 utc | 24

@Jackrabbit (13)

I think that you overrate Israel’s willingness to stumble into armed conflict with Hezbollah. They know that H now has the capacity to rain down hellfire upon their cities and also that Syria has demonstrated the ability to blast Israeli missiles from the sky using superior Russian air defenses. There may be Israeli leaders crazy enough to risk going the military route, but I doubt that many Israeli citizens want to become martyrs.

Posted by: Rob | Sep 7 2021 22:30 utc | 25

Thanks b. When my phone died this tablet was still in the previous article. I thought I was in some dyscovidian nightmare. I appreciate that you have to manage what is your site. You can't please everyone.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Sep 7 2021 22:42 utc | 26

Losing Central Asia is understandable from the point of view of a neutral observer. It is a very distant land, heavily contested by mighty regional powers (Russia, China, Iran, India), which the USA never really had a firm and real foothold into (Afghanistan was always that remote landlocked region where American hold was very fragile).

Losing the Levant, however, would be tough for the American Empire. It would be like losing an NFL playoff game where you're favored to win by at least two touchdowns in Las Vegas.

If the USA loses the Levant in the next two decades or so (which I don't think it will, but Israel may collapse), it would take a very hallucinated pro-capitalist ideologue to claim the American Empire still is the sole superpower. Even the well-paid ideologues from Thinktankland would have to admit the absolute hegemony of the USA is finished.

Posted by: vk | Sep 7 2021 22:44 utc | 27

Meanwhile FUKUSAi steals Syrian oil.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 7 2021 22:44 utc | 28

Rob @Sep7 22:30 #25

I think that you overrate Israel’s willingness to stumble into armed conflict with Hezbollah.

No, I don't. I think FUKUSI is trying to get the Lebanese Government to do their dirty work as their proxy. Maybe it gets kicked off by ISIS attacking Hezbollah(?) but USA, UK, and France will rush in (after a suitable ff) to help if Lebanese Government has trouble bringing 'peace' to Lebanon. In FUKUSI eyes, that 'peace' comes only when Hezbollah has been ejected.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 7 2021 22:53 utc | 29

I noted and linked to The Cradle's initial article on this topic soon after it was published about 3 weeks ago, but it stirred no response at the time, not a single comment for such a potentially revolutionary development. It's good that the Outlaw US Empire is finally being called out for its unlawful policies aimed at almost every nation in Southwest Asia, but that's not nearly enough as those policies must cease and be reversed--if not by the Outlaw nations involved, then by the genuine international community. It's beyond time for the International Outlaw and Bully nation and its vassals are stood up to and pushed onto their backsides so people can be allowed to LIVE and be FREE.

Next week the highly important, I would say critical, SCO and CSTO Summits will be held in Dushanbe where a number of key decisions must be made that must reach beyond Afghanistan. The Outlaw US Empire must be ejected from Syria, and IMO Syria must apply for membership in both organizations, and Iraq as well. We shall also get to hear the world's nations views on all this and more with the UNGA Debates which will begin about a week after the conclusion of the Dushanbe Summits.

One other point must be seen: the merging of the Eurasian Bloc and the Arc of Resistance economically and politically. The Imperialist nations have close to zero credibility remaining internationally, although currently somewhat more with their publics. But that's unlikely to last given the twin effects of Neoliberal policies and irrational policies aimed at excluding/decoupling from Russia and China enacted by the EUP.

If the global population were polled and asked to choose between being free or a member/vassal of the Outlaw US Empire, IMO the result would be 6 Billion to 1 Billion. It's a result the West has only itself to blame.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 7 2021 22:59 utc | 30

Biden is worried about low morale in the Lebanese army. Nothing that a few $million can't fix.

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/09/07/US-President-Biden-announces-close-to-50-mln-in-aid-for-Lebanon-s-army

Posted by: dh | Sep 7 2021 23:17 utc | 31

Jackrabbit @29--

In Lebanon currently, the only functioning public oriented, credible organization is Hezbollah. The Outlaw US Empire's proxies within Lebanon still have a media presence because that's what they own, but very few are listening to them since they are all talk and no action. Hezbollah is precisely the opposite as it talks via its actions and has on many occasions declared its goal to aid all Lebanese, not just its own supporters, which it again backs up by actions. To untangle the remaining Colonial Knot requires a new constitution that retains proportional representation but eliminates the previous power sharing relations based on which sect controls which Ministry. IMO, if a genuinely democratic election were held, Hezbollah would win a majority, although IMO Nasrallah doesn't desire becoming PM or President.

If Lebanon were to be attacked now, the full fury of Hezbollah would be released along with Iranian support. And as far as I'm aware, the Outlaw US Empire's terrorist Foreign Legion has little presence within Lebanon, although it might try to infiltrate through Occupied Palestine. Hezbollah would win handily and the fate of the Outlaw US Empire and its Zionist settler colony would be sealed thus finally freeing Palestine.

The West's policy in the Levant since 1900 is criminal, but the reason for its existence is exiting the room. The actual problem is no Western politico sees that reality since they favor the pseudo reality they've constructed to ease their minds despite the abject failure of policies designed to support that reality.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 7 2021 23:20 utc | 32

Individuals are slowly waking up to their private plantation and monetary system.

In the U$ury $lavery Armament$ (U$A), what happens if the president tries to fire Fed’s chairperson?

What kind of immunities does the central bank and its chairperson enjoy? How about BIS? Matrix is very deep.

Revoke World Bank Group, BIS & IMF Immunities from Financial Regulation & Judicial Action

We know the populace was sleeping. What about the Congress, the Justice Department, Law enforcement,...? No INTEGRITY.

Is everyone in the administrations just working for a paycheck?

Posted by: Max | Sep 7 2021 23:32 utc | 33

karlof1

I noticed the comment but have a wait and see approach when i,ts the US doing something even, if it is done under duress. They can usually finesse it to screw something out of somebody.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 7 2021 23:36 utc | 34

@ Posted by: dh | Sep 7 2021 23:17 utc | 31

The problem is the officer has to be alive to enjoy those millions of dollars.

Carthage sacrificed itself to teach us all of the limits of a mercenary army. The Americans should not let that sacrifice go to waste.

Posted by: vk | Sep 7 2021 23:46 utc | 35

In order to not break its sanctions on Lebanon the US has decided to break its sanction on Syria?

Why not just break the sanction on Lebanon and cut out the middle man?

Posted by: jiri | Sep 7 2021 23:57 utc | 36

Well,if you cannot stop one source of energy,why not create another that you can stop.

Just a matter of time before the US/Israel stop the supply as collective punishment.

Posted by: mi | Sep 8 2021 0:04 utc | 37

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 7 2021 22:53 utc | 29

"If the USA loses the Levant in the next two decades or so"

Looks like you are being very very optimistic. Like Max says--

"However, just one event will result in dominos falling. Balance sheets will be BALANCED! "

Posted by: arby | Sep 8 2021 0:20 utc | 38

Well, I'm going to go a bit off-topic here, but still in the general geographic region.

It seems Bhadrakumar is back on the mushrooms. In his latest installment on Afghanistan he starts off well enough:

Panjshir has fallen to the Taliban with a bang — and a whimper. The bang is because a 40-year old legend lies shattered, the legend of the invincibility of Panjshir Valley. And the whimper is because the short-lived ‘resistance’ had a tame ending.

A BBC report said the revolt’s two top leaders Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh were not even in Panjshir during the past 4 days at least but had left for Tajikistan and were apparently leading the so-called ‘resistance’ via Twitter. It may seem farcical and will have deleterious consequences.

Some us noted right at the start that this Panjshir psyop wasn't reality-based. Many here disagreed.

In any case, the Talib have used minimal effort to bring this storm in a teacup under control. Those paying attention to reports from the valley, and in particular comments from ordinary folks there, would have heard many saying that this 'conflict' was unhelpful and not wanted by the local people. Some of them were saying this as they evacuated their families and bemoaned that 'brother should be fighting against brother.'

But after this decent start Bhadrakumar goes totally unhinged. He somehow fingers Russia as having 'supported' the Saleh-Massoud clownshow!

Admittedly, Moscow played a dubious role fuelling the Panjshir revolt. But Taliban and Pakistan are in a forgiving mood, and the good thing is that Russia always knows which side of the bread is buttered.

Really? I don't remember any of that. I do remember the ridiculous INDIAN media going full-retard over this ridiculous psyop. I remember it was the WaPo that ran the Massoud oped. I remember it was the color revolution 'philosopher' and diehard neocon Bernard Henri Levy that parachuted into Panjshir to meet with the clownshow!

Maybe Russia is secretly sponsoring the Russia-hater BHL?

Then he goes on to make another absurd 'calculation':

Russia’s main dilemma, however, remains: If the Taliban stabilise the situation in northern Afghanistan and tighten up border security, the threat perceptions in Central Asia, which currently borders on xenophobia, would recede.

Now, Russia’s grip over Central Asian states is directly linked to its role as provider of security. The more secure those countries feel, the less will be their dependence on Moscow.

Right. Russia, which has been saying consistently that their main priority is a stable border with the northern 'stans, is now in a 'dilemma' if stability actually happens?

And it is patently ludicrous that the 'stans dependence on Russia is in security alone. They have millions of their people working in Russia and sending remittances. They are part of the EEU and open borders with Russia. They are still connected to Russian electricity and gas and transport infrastructure.

Bhadrakumar has been blowing hot and cold throughout the Afghan endgame. He made egregious errors in taking seriously a lot of the ridiculous US talking points that have ALL VANISHED like the morning dew. When he has been right, it is only AFTER THE FACT!

No one has a crystal ball and is able to get everything right every time. But Bhadrakumar is now relegated to the minor leagues as far as this reader is concerned. 😺


Posted by: Gordog | Sep 8 2021 0:27 utc | 39

karlof1 #30

Thank you for the link to the Cradle, that was informative. I see the priority for the the FUKUSAi as the demolition of Hezbollah rather than negotiate, even if that means devastation and civil war in Lebanon. The illegal occupiers of Palestine want this and will accelerate their insane murderous demands for it. Saudis have been willingly positioned as their lever in the Leban.

So what other transformations are emerging in the region that has accelerated Israeli extreme terrorism to this level? It must be more than the lack of credibility in the USA. I assume it is just the next step in permanent instability and crisis creation to prevent economic development for all nations in that region. The izzies see that there is elevated potential for open trade pathways from China right through to Iran and even through to the Mediterranean should the USA be evicted from Iraq and Syria and its proxy Kurds smashed by all including Turkey. These are desperate times for criminal states that steal lands and obstruct development in the middle east.

The report in the Cradle simply reinforces the point that the Iraq and Syrian occupations were always about Israel preventing piped oil and gas through to the Mediterranean via Syria or Lebanon.

I appreciate your analysis and look forward to the forthcoming summits in the next fortnight.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 8 2021 0:47 utc | 40

Gordog 39

I have seen Bhadrakumar do this before in relation to Russia. Quite a bit of hatred there that he usually keeps covered.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 8 2021 0:51 utc | 41

arby @Sep8 0:20 #38

You have the wrong reference. You're quoting from vk @Sep7 22:44 #27 not me.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 8 2021 0:58 utc | 42

karlof1 @Sep7 23:20 #32

You seem to be saying that Hezbollah can not be defeated and no one would ever make an attempt.

I think you may be underestimating FUKUSI's determination and craftiness.

While they may not be able to achieve a clear victory, often disruption is enough of a 'win' - as long as they don't pay any price for that (and they have yet to be held accountable for anything).

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 8 2021 1:07 utc | 43

Gordog #39

Give the mushrooms a break. The only substance that should be considered for Bhadrakumar's derangement is lophophora williamsii.

On the topic of crushing the stuffing out of the 'resistance' then that has been achieved. It should not and was not delayed. That was always my point. From here on it will be restrained to idiot twitter feeds of little teen boys hugging their Kalashnikovs or little teen girls hugging their puppies. And we will never stop hearing of it.

Here is a report from Sputnik (fwiw) on the Taliban ministerial lineup. They are not an inspiring team but then the rise from the ashes will be volatile and obscure for the next six months or so.

I also noticed Sputnik pushing the 'China will hate these guys' line - still. However time will tell and if the Taliban actually throttle opium cultivation they will be likely lured to development strategies that yield jobs and income across the land and that is always immediately achieved by roads, rail and pipelines. Even if they don't deliver traffic immediately, they do deliver life's purpose and wealth and trust in governments for the short term.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 8 2021 1:08 utc | 44

uncle tungsten @40--

Thanks for your reply! I highly suggest reading Alastair Crooke's latest as he expands his critique of the Technocracy and its Class, but also shows how Xi is doing the same in China. These two paragraphs are potential markers for events to come:

"But this time, Beijing has resolved that this kind of subjugation (opium or gaming addiction) will never be allowed to happen again. Xi doesn’t want a society of gamers, he wants a society of engineers, scientists, doctors, and innovators; the sort of people who can ensure that Beijing wins the technological race, and gains the upper hand in the struggle with America. In so doing, he is mobilising the strongest principles of collectivism versus the individualistic nature of western societies, where kids pretty much do what they want. This is a new era of socialist reform, one that is highly ambitious, and unequivocally radical. A fascinating experiment.

"Predictably enough, the West is focussed more on the ferocious property squeeze underway in China. Outright contraction of the sector – it is being said on Wall Street – might occur, even before the end of the year. Indeed, Xi Jinping is deliberately breaking the back of the world’s biggest financial bubble (and it is huge). This crunch comes at a delicate juncture for the West, just as Covid stimulus fades, and emergency support is yanked away. There is a fear that it might precipitate cascades within fragile western economies. It might. But in any event, Xi’s initiative will likely serve purpose in Washington’s scarlet letter ‘blame game’."

Escobar promised to have a new piece out tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 8 2021 1:09 utc | 45


Israelification of American politics (making it petty) has ben disastrous for the Yankistan.

Posted by: Afgun | Sep 8 2021 1:13 utc | 46

Jackrabbit @43--

Au Contraire! I rather expect Hezbollah to be attacked but to survive while becoming even more powerful while its enemies are defeated; and in the case of the Zionists, swept aside by their own hand.

The Outlaw US Empire's retreat has begun and I expect it soon to be hastened, again by its own hand. The balance of forces has shifted rather noticeably, particularly the mental aspect of those immediately on the line.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 8 2021 1:17 utc | 47

The US almost destroyed Lebanon and the Europeans let it happen!

Are they looking for cheap labor what?

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 8 2021 1:20 utc | 48

karlof1 #45

My take away from that is that the USA wall st think tank crew are going to blame China AGAIN for the USA failed state:

The scale of Xi Jinping’s social revolution intensifies every day, Tom Fawdy writes. And, like the Taliban’s sweep through Afghanistan, nothing seems to be safe from its reach. It amounts to a declaration of war on “disorderly capital” i.e. on the western oligarchic business model.

In addition to the dramatic reorganisation of after-school tutoring (making it not-for-profit), the mauling of big tech; internet platforms; fintech; ride-hailing – and the drive against ‘excessive’ income and celebrity culture, the Chinese state has turned its sights onto what it perceives to be excessive gaming amongst young people.

Slowing down foreign listings while simultaneously opening a new stock exchange for small and medium sized China business is adding to the spooked atmosphere in USA:

Plans for the Beijing exchange mark Chinese authorities’ latest attempt to improve the ability of the local stock market to serve as a financing channel for companies.

The dominance of sentiment-driven retail investors has contributed to much speculative activity in the mainland stock market. It is the second-largest in the world but far younger than that of the U.S. at about three decades old.

The mainland’s slow IPO-approval system and high earnings requirements have meant that many of China’s largest companies, especially technology giants like Alibaba and Tencent, have instead chosen to list in New York and Hong Kong. However, tighter scrutiny on Chinese listings in the U.S. by both countries’ governments has essentially halted the flow of Chinese IPOs to New York this summer.

Where is capital to go in covid era? - toward certainty and safety - that excludes the unregulated capitalist hyperdrive western bourse. IMO.

China is expressing its disdain for the trivialisation of society and politics and rather asserting that society and its children will fare better from a world prioritising personal and social effort with games and play in restraint yet accessible. Sounds about right.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 8 2021 2:00 utc | 49

ooops forgot to preview. last two pars are my observations.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 8 2021 2:01 utc | 50

Afgun #46

Israelification of American politics (making it petty) has been disastrous for the Yankistan.

Ditto the Saudification of Lebanese politics (making it hyper-factional).

The Lebanese have been subjected to a century or more of intense mass psychosis programming and gratuitous hateful invasions. They seem to have been the victims of repeated trial site exercises to prevent them identifying as societal people on common land with common future. It is a disgraceful treatment of people.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 8 2021 2:09 utc | 51

Karlof, thanks for the Crooke article!

Of course people with common sense will applaud Xi's reforms to get society back on track. Besides the opiate of video gaming, there is the even more dangerous 'idol chasing' that they are also cracking down on.

"Seasoned idol chasers" reached by the Global Times saw South Korea as the origin of the current Chinese mainland idol-chasing culture, and believed they should not and will not be exempt from recent rectification actions which aim to cleanse the capital chain and bring the youth back to rational consumption.

China regulates fan circles of SK idols, to further impact K-pop industry

How much are kids being brainwashed to spend on this soul-sapping and mind-numbing crap? An astounding 20 billion dollars in China per year! To put that in perspective, that is about the total annual arms exports of Russia---and not far behind the US figure of 30 plus billion.

And that's just in one country. How much is spent on the 'idol market' in Europe and the US? Reportedly, just one single from one of these K-pop outfits 'generated' 1.6 billion dollars for the South Korean economy, according to AFP, as cited in the GT article.

And that's not to even mention the much bigger societal cost of children being literally brainwashed with nonsense. Instead of applying their energies to their education. The world of math and its history can be a fascinating subject for young people. The same is true for science and literature etc.

This idol chasing industry is literally preying on impressionable young folks. And here in the west, unfortunately, a lot of parents see it as harmless, and even consider such 'entertainment' to be necessary.

Obviously guidance from the top is needed, and that is what Xi and the CCP are doing. That is really a good news story of huge proportions in my book.

Let's also remind that this reform encourages proper aesthetics and not things like girly men and such. And yes, there is such a thing as proper aesthetics, although it has been beaten to death in the west---by schlock and ugliness and all manner of garbage posing as 'culture.'

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 8 2021 2:16 utc | 52

Gotta respect Hesbollah (sp)
They keep grinding and taking care of their peeps.
A roots up organization that defies the oligarchies and fascists.

They are surely on the kill list, soon.
Can’t have that popular movement gaining steam.

Posted by: Cadence calls | Sep 8 2021 2:17 utc | 53

When the shit hits the fan in the US,
Insurgents would be wise to follow Hezbollahs strategy,
Provide health care, food, security, schools.

Posted by: Cadence Calls | Sep 8 2021 2:23 utc | 54

In all seriousness now, the Levant is very firmly in American hands. There is no prospect for it to leave the American sphere of influence anytime soon.

First of all, it dominates the almost the entire Arabian Peninsula. Yemen is now a mess, but the Houthi are not revolutionary, and will happily fall itself into American grip if offered the chance.

Secondly, Egypt is a longtime American ally (province). The domination is so complete that the USG, for all intents and purposes, directly governs Egypt.

Thirdly, there's the Jewel of the (American) Crown in the heart of the Levant - Israel.

Fourthly, Greece and Turkey are NATO members, therefore under American absolute control.

Jordan is basically Israel's little bitch, therefore it's a non-factor.

Lebanon and Iraq are pacified in the Roman style: the Americans created a wasteland and called it a peace. They may not be in American absolute control, but then they also guaranteed nobody will have control over them. The USA guaranteed nothing is gonna grow in Iraq and Lebanon for the next century, that's a surety.

The only little dark clouds over the American horizon in the Levant are Syria and Hezbollah (which are in Lebanon). Syria won the war against the USA, but at a so great cost that it cannot even rebuild itself. It cannot fight back in an appropriate counterattack, so it is effectively castrated. Hezbollah can only harass Israel, which bothers the USA very much, but that doesn't mean they're an existential threat to Israel, let alone the USA. In the great scheme of things, Syria and Hezbollah are not decisive defeats for the American Empire in the Levant.

There's only one scenario I can realistically imagine where the region is freed from American hegemony: if the BRI is utterly successful, thus propping up Eurasia, a scenario will take shape where Iran will be able to turn the Levant into its sphere of influence - like ancient Persia did. It would take many decades (probably more than a century, a century and a half) and would require for the American Empire to continue to deteriorate like it is now (which is not probable, borderline impossible). It would also require a hot war between Iran and Israel, and Iran would have to win such war and destroy Israel (unconditional surrender). That scenario would require, as I said, for many variable to align for at least one century to happen.

If we abandon realism, we could also imagine a scenario where a wave of communist revolutions break out and are victorious in Latin America, initiating a process of literal and immediate collapse of the American Empire. The USA would then have to abandon many areas it holds around the globe - how many would depend on the success and intensity of the Latin American revolutions. But it would have to be strong enough to force it to essentially abandon the Levant. That would open a tiny window of opportunity of Iran to take over the region militarily, flattening Israel with an endless barrage of missiles before neutralizing on land. If Latin America is victorious and a Union of Latin American Republics is founded, the Levant (and, for that matter, many other regions, like SE Asia) would be lost forever by the Americans. It would be a catastrophe on the scale of Heraclius' defeat against the Muslims. But even this hypothesis would require at least one century or so - even though the process itself would be quicker - because it relies on the ability of the Latin American Left - one of the most weak and inept Lefts of the world.

Posted by: vk | Sep 8 2021 2:31 utc | 55

VK is obviously on the same mushrooms as Bhadrakumar.

You forgot to mention how Iran is also going to 'happily' fall into the US lap! 🤡

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 8 2021 2:36 utc | 56

Quite a lot of anti-USA hate here... Well I can't disagree that the govt in DC hasn't taken the wrong road over the last 60+ years. But it sure hasn't been with my consent.

Posted by: Adriatic Hillbilly | Sep 8 2021 2:43 utc | 57

@ Posted by: Gordog | Sep 8 2021 2:36 utc | 56

I don't think Iran dreams of being the hegemon of the Levant yet. It sure tries to be a player, and tries to survive in the region (by allying/supporting Hezbollah et al), but they don't seem to seriously prioritize the Levant.

Iran's eyes are clearly on Eurasia (connexion with China and Central Asia, BRI) and the Hormuz Strait region (Eastern Arabia). Those are its two geopolitical priorities - for now. In the Levant, it is prioritizing to fend off the Israeli (American) attacks, i.e. it is on the defensive.

Posted by: vk | Sep 8 2021 2:43 utc | 58

the free market in action! look at the fairness and efficiency go go go. whatever the fate of lebanon or whoever, no one need worry that it will all be "worth it", as M Albright said of Iraqi children starving due to sanctions. the lucky Iraqi infants, that is, who missed out on the fun starting in 2003. poor them.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Sep 8 2021 2:48 utc | 59

I asked at #20 above when the Iranian tankers are due to arrive in Syria. (no response so far.)

What I see as a likely flashpoint is if the tankers might be attacked by Zionist jets as they near Syria. Or might some arm-twisting be applied to Egypt to prevent their passing the Suez Canal.

I ask about the timing of the ships' progress toward Syria, as the closer they get, the more likely the Orcs will act to prevent the delivery of the oil.

Or might they be attacked in the Arabian or Red Sea? Is it plausible that the Orcs will do nothing, and allow them to deliver the oil to Syria without interference? Somehow I see this last as unlikely, but I could be (and hopefully am) wrong.

Anybody else have any thought on this?

Antoinetta III

Posted by: Antoinetta III | Sep 8 2021 3:03 utc | 60

Biden Authorises $47Mln in Assistance to Lebanese Armed Forces - White House

The money is probably intended to stave off a mutiny and/or mass desertions in the Lebanese army, as they're almost all related to the living conditions and comfort of the soldiers (and probably one or two bribes for the superior officers):

"I hereby delegate to the Secretary of State the authority… to direct the drawdown of up to $25 million in commodities and services from the inventory and resources of any agency of the United States Government to provide immediate assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces", Biden said. "I also hereby delegate to the Secretary of State the authority… to direct the drawdown of up to $22 million in defence articles and services from the Department of Defense to provide immediate assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces".

Posted by: vk | Sep 8 2021 3:05 utc | 61

Adriatic Hillbilly #57

Quite a lot of anti-USA hate here... Well I can't disagree that the govt in DC hasn't taken the wrong road over the last 60+ years. But it sure hasn't been with my consent.

Not so much hate as bitter disappointment that you guys have been unable to control 'your guys' at the government level.

The political cynicism and betrayal has rightly alienated a majority of people who could vote but will no longer vote. The recently elected 'fraud squad' of imagined DSA reformers within the Democrat Party turned coat in ONE MONTH. Sad and I commiserate with that but it really is up to USAians to transform the USA from a warmonger nation to a worldbuilder participant. Don't take the hate personal you can leave that to the parents of every starved to death Iraqi child as rjb1.5 points to. I can add every Syrian seaking a peaceful life or every Libyan that laments being transformed from the most advance African nation into a terrorist run insane state.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 8 2021 3:08 utc | 62

Thanks vk, that is a laugh. I guess it worked well in Afghanistan so why not Lebanon. Mind you I think the outcome will be more vicious and far less amusing.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 8 2021 3:14 utc | 63

"The Second Amendment is part of the US Bill of Rights. It gives the right to bear arms in the US, especially for the organization of state militias. The right to bear arms was originally seen as a check against the potential tyranny of the new Federal government as well as foreign invasion."

I always think of that when Americans winge. Perhaps the only state in the world that has that right for that purpose. Americans obviously do not consider their government that send them off to kill people and destroy nations as tyrants.
In the meantime they amuse themselves with this right by shooting each other.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 8 2021 3:21 utc | 64

@60 Maybe this will help a bit...

https://www.thenationalnews.com/mena/2021/09/06/details-of-lebanon-bound-iranian-fuel-ships-expected-imminently/

I saw something somewhere about American senators warning Lebanon not to accept the oil.

Posted by: Dh | Sep 8 2021 3:34 utc | 65

USA hates infrastructure!

Transporting electricity requires infrastructure, but Americans hate infrastructure. I mean, why build a Great Man-Made River when you can buy bottled water from PepsiCo?

To transfer electricity from one country to another the electric grids have to be phase-locked and synchronized. Every generator and every turbine in every hydroelectric power plant has to turn in sync at exactly the same 50 Hz or 60 Hz frequency.

Most of the EU is now connected into one synchronous grid. The United States is divided into three separate synchronous power grids, as the people of Texas recently found out. In the Baltic States the US occupation regime demanded that they disconnect from the post-Soviet IPS/UPS grid and create a mini-Texas.

An alternative to synchronized grids is high-voltage direct current power transmission. Such links again are an expensive investment in infrastructure.

In developed countries you can keep time by counting the pulses of AC current. Railway station clocks used to run on sync with the grid on 220 volts AC. Syria has a hard time providing any current to its grid. Americans bombed the Aleppo Thermal Power Plant the day before it was liberated from ISIS.

For any part of the Syrian electric grid to be able to transport power from Jordan to Lebanon, Syria's blackouts need to end first.

***

It is amazing that PepsiCo managed to keep the 6000 US troops and the thousands of allies and collaborators at the Kabul airport from dehydrating in the 35° C heat. They must have assigned at least one C-17 Globemaster III for flying in plastic water bottles. Too bad there was no water left over to flush the toilets.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 8 2021 3:58 utc | 66

The Amerikastani imperialists have neither the brains nor the basic understanding of history - for which field their contempt is absolute - to comprehend that bullying may not inevitably produce the demanded results.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Sep 8 2021 4:07 utc | 67

Petri Krohn 66 The ground around the airport where the collaborators gathered was a carpet of flattened water bottles. I guess those planes shipped water bottles in and collaborators out.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 8 2021 4:08 utc | 68

Some musings on the middle east etc.

There is a distinct chance for change in the current paradigm of alliances resulting from the Qatar/Taliban alliance and its Muslim Brotherhood affinity. I happened to be reading the report - Arab states edge closer to reconciliation with Syria - by Firas Al-Shoufi at the Cradle and the reporter canvasses the shift in temperature from Saudis and allies.

The report recalls the history of Syria's high role in balancing the Arab world neighbours such as Turkey.

Modern Syria has effectively been a bridge between the Arab states of the Persian Gulf and Tehran, a bulwark against Turkish expansionist efforts in the Arab world, and a key political factor in securing a minimum level of stability in the region.

The shifting allegiances and economic opportunities/pressures and the immediate environment of "untrustworthy/not agreement capable" in the USA has sharpened the focus:

Today, the Gulf States and Jordan are stuck hard between their own geopolitical and economic interests and the aggressive US decision to subjugate Syria at any cost. Their gamble on Syria’s collapse through either war or economic blockade has failed, and attempts to alter Damascus’ position on Israel, Palestine and the Resistance Axis have been counterproductive. If anything, the Syria-Iran-Hezbollah relationship has solidified and been empowered through years of fighting from the same command center.

So where to for the Saudis, Jordanians and allies regarding Syria in this brave new world where there is a Muslim Brotherhood alliance growing stronger every day as a Turkish outreach political strategy?

The bloody war waged by Saudi Arabia and its allies on Yemen soon morphed into a strategic threat to the security of Saudi Arabia and to the commercial sea routes of the Gulf States. Saudi influence in Lebanon receded from its usual playground of political-economic affairs, and left Riyadh with only minor tools to sabotage and shake stability. More importantly, Syria has now become an advanced base for Russian forces, giving Moscow a strategic view of the Mediterranean and a corridor in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

When Syrian forces liberated Deir Ezzor from its mercenary ISIS armies; when conflict hotspots resolved in favor of the Syrian state; when the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence crossed deep into Riyadh’s comfort zones; when Turkish pressures amassed; and when the military resistance by Yemen proved far too mighty to break; only then did the Saudis slowly start to back off.

Meanwhile, countries such as Oman, Algeria, Tunisia and Iraq, who had maintained diplomatic relations with Damascus throughout the mayhem, started demanding Syria’s return to the Arab League.

Perhaps the FUKUSAi hysteria regarding Biden's retreat from Afghanistan can be understood in this regard. They sensed the beginning of the great unraveling of the vampire squid.

The first step in Riyadh’s ‘change of heart’ was an undeclared security–political openness to Damascus. The Saudis have slowly initiated secret lines of communications, the most prominent of which are alleged meetings between the head of the Syrian National Security Office, Major General Ali Mamlouk, and Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, and the visit of the Director of Saudi Intelligence Khaled Humaidan to Damascus in May this year.

On the agenda of the Saudi-Syrian contacts are two main items: reining in Turkey and easing tension with Tehran. An Arab diplomatic source confirms that “the Saudis would have almost opened their embassy in Damascus, had it not been for the American pressure that put brakes on the Saudi initiatives.”

Barflies might appreciate the full text of this really well written report. Not a bad site at all - HT karlof1.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 8 2021 4:46 utc | 69

I hope Hez/Lebanon wins in the end.
Israel is way OP

Posted by: Cadence calls | Sep 8 2021 4:59 utc | 70

ooops and HT to b for Cradle link to an accompanying report above.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 8 2021 5:00 utc | 71

@Posted by: Antoinetta III | Sep 8 2021 3:03 utc | 60

One of the Iranian tankers was in the Red Sea last Friday and due in Syria early this week.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/03/iranian-fuel-tanker-heading-syria-poses-test-us-sanctions

"The first of two Iranian vessels believed to be carrying fuel for Lebanon is expected to reach the Suez Canal by Tuesday evening."

https://www.thenationalnews.com/mena/2021/09/06/details-of-lebanon-bound-iranian-fuel-ships-expected-imminently/

Seems that they may have arrived!

https://twitter.com/TankerTrackers/status/1435249643546456065?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

Posted by: Roger | Sep 8 2021 5:14 utc | 72

Hezbanon

Posted by: Cadence | Sep 8 2021 6:01 utc | 73

Interesting to see that Hayyat Tahrir al Sham, that's Al Qaeda in Idlibistan to you, is far more exultant about the Taliban victory in Afghanistan than the Taliban themselves are. Since the Taliban haven't uttered a word that I saw about Syria, I wonder what the glee is about.

Meanwhile Modi media is making an international joke of itself making up fake stories on Afghanistan, such as using clips from a video game as "proof" that "Pakistan is bombing positions of the Panjshir resistance".

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Sep 8 2021 6:03 utc | 74

This is a surprisingly good article about Afghanistan for the Guardian, but then it was written in 2011 when the Guardian had yet to completely devolve into a neocon rag not worth touching.


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/sep/27/10-myths-about-afghanistan

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Sep 8 2021 6:04 utc | 75

Lebanon is most divided country in the world, it is officially sectarian, confessional, this is inbuilt by the colonial powers after WWI, This renders it dysfunctional during crisis , as an example, the workers and their union run along sectarian lines, when they want to organise collective bargaining , often it collapses, May be Lebanon has to hire VK, in order to organise a Marxist-Leninist Government, that dismantlement religious divide.

Posted by: Grishka | Sep 8 2021 7:34 utc | 76

Biswapriya Purkayast | Sep 8 2021 6:04 utc | 75

Guardian did actually print some factual information prior to Snowden. After their hard drives were drilled they have pumped out a solid stream of five-eyes propaganda.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 8 2021 7:50 utc | 77

uncle tungsten | Sep 8 2021 2:00 utc | 49

"In addition to the dramatic reorganisation of after-school tutoring (making it not-for-profit), the mauling of big tech; internet platforms; fintech; ride-hailing – and the drive against ‘excessive’ income and celebrity culture, the Chinese state has turned its sights onto what it perceives to be excessive gaming amongst young people."

It makes sense in one aspect. If China wants to "dedollarize", then the use of the dollar must also be curtailed. It is not much good simply causing it to "collapse" if the fundamental "pseudo-desires", consumption and "greed", immediately revive it in another form. (which is still controlled by the same groups).

If you "get rid" of the dollar, and it is replaced by a crypt currency or SDR's from US controlled organisms, then you are only substituting names.

So the Chinese, and to a certain extent Russia, are trying to wean their own populations off the "habit" of thinking of dollars as the means to get "pleasure", "position" or "gain".

Posted by: Stonebird | Sep 8 2021 8:49 utc | 78

I'd like to see an analysis on the Taliban's cabinet choices, who's who.

Closest thing I've ever seen to that is the article in the Global Times:
https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202109/1233644.shtml

Posted by: Smith | Sep 8 2021 9:08 utc | 79

Thanx to dh at #65 and Roger at #72.

Unfortunately, the National News results in a "This page cannot be displayed" result.

According to the Guardian article, the US has hinted it won't try to interfere with the oil delivery. However, if the oil is to be trucked from Syria to Lebanon, I'm wondering if the Orcs might not try to take out these trucks en route.

Antoinetta III

Posted by: Antoinetta III | Sep 8 2021 9:21 utc | 80

Antoinetta III | Sep 8 2021 9:21 utc | 80

All those Landrovers and military trucks given by the UK and US need oil as well. I presume that the US has had time to build hidden underground cisterns for enough supply for themselves. The US is going to look bad if it on one hand it forces Lebanon to live under siege, and on the other gets it's own supplies in secretly.

The "Electricity" boondoggle is dependent on too many parameters for it to be serious. It is only a delaying tactic.


*****

Note that Israel usually has a war with Lebanon about every four years, so that it cannot become a rival. Mainly targeting infrastructure and civilian assets which are hard to replace. (Hospitals, Power plants etc. etc.)

Are we due for a new one soon?

Posted by: Stonebird | Sep 8 2021 10:14 utc | 81

So apparently Biden administration wants to offer something constructive, perhaps to avoid an incremental, but lamentable transformation of Lebanese political scene caused by the hatred to Americans and Israelis that would cross partisan and sectarian lines. Already a large block of Christians is cooperating with Shia parties that are dominated by Hezbollah (Amal, second largest and historically largest Shia parties cooperates with Hezbollah). But Sunnis suffer from the economic sabotage from USA in the same degree.

One may hope that it will succeed in reducing some miseries in Lebanon that would remain impoverished but at least having some energy sources that it can afford. The political-Lebanese implication may be preservation of status quo, total incapacitation of the government because of the balance of Future and Resistance loose blocks and various veto mechanisms and avoiding the tilt toward Resistance that includes Hezbollah and comparatively effective government.

Personally, I would wish for improvements for Lebanese in both ways: economic AND political, pushing the economy away from the collapse state AND effective government.

A gigantic unknown about the gas from Egypt scheme is what it really entails. How much energy we are talking about and at what price? Currently the prices of the natural gas in Europe have parity with oil instead of being twice cheaper in many preceding years, Egypt may want to get that price. Egypt also have energy needs of its own, and we know nothing about pipeline capacity on the route from Egypt to Syria and Lebanon. By the way of contrast, Hezbollah may get a discount from Iran for many reasons, Iran may have more oil that it can sell, plus Iran does not have many ways to builds its regional stature and this is one of them. Most ironically, Hezbollah may have a more secure and less limited supply, compared with a scheme that relies on long disused pipeline links that cross some "unstable regions".

I wish Lebanese to enjoy competition between kilowatts that bear American blessing and those that bear the blessing of the Supreme Leader of Iran.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 8 2021 10:55 utc | 82

Lebanon is most divided country in the world, it is officially sectarian, confessional, ...

Posted by: Grishka | Sep 8 2021 7:34 utc | 76

To a degree, this is a regional characteristics. Israel is also very divided with officially sectarian/confessional elements. Besides the laws concerning marriage -- it must be approved by one of the officially recognized religious bodies, bad luck to mixed or irreligious couples, there are even military units formed on religious basis (you can serve part time in a yeshiva and part time in your military unit), and some bizarre confessional barriers. Consider this conundrum: work in electricity generation is restricted to (religious) Jews, and ultra-Orthodox dislike the fact that non-ultras from electricity companies work in Saturday, so they bless exclusively diesel generators that avoid any human intervention on the Shabbat day. Allowing electric companies to hire non-Jews would placate the ultra-Orthodox and raise anger of Modern Orthodox (more official and very militarisitic).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 8 2021 11:08 utc | 83

Posted by: vk | Sep 8 2021 2:31 utc | 55

The Levant is not "firmly in US hands". There is russian fleet based in Syria. The turks bought S-400 from Russia, with the aim of blocking potential US military bullying. US forces in Iraq are constantly under attack. The Houties are a shia group that is tightly connected with Iran, and gives Iran control to the Red Sea entrance. Egypt has good relations with Russia and regularly buys russian military hardware. Libya has significant russian and turkish influence. Saudi Arabia just signed military cooperation deal with Russia. The largest trading partner of middle eastern countries is China. Qatar is close to Iran. Turkey is not under US "absolute control", what kind of stupidity is that. It wouldn't be attacked by US sanctions and it would not refuse to sanction Russia if that was the case. (Newsflash: Turkey is not part of US/EU sanctions on Russia). It regularly attacks US kurdish proxies in the area. The biggest energy and food supplier of Turkey is Russia, and now they are increasing military cooperation as well.

It is much, much more mixed picture than you describe.

Posted by: Passer by | Sep 8 2021 11:52 utc | 84

Posted by: Passer by | Sep 8 2021 11:52 utc | 84

>>Thirdly, there's the Jewel of the (American) Crown in the heart of the Levant - Israel.

You misunderstand who is in control of whom. Nesflash: Israel did not join US sanctions on Russia and China no matter the american urgings. A Chinese operated port just opened in Haifa.

"Israel Rejects US Plan To Inspect Chinese Harbor At Haifa "

https://breakingdefense.com/2021/02/israel-rejects-us-plan-to-inspect-chinese-harbor-at-haifa/

Israel has its own policies, regardless of what the US Empire may want or may not want. In fact, it made the US Empire position worse by bogging it down in the Muslim World, turning it into a target of terrorism, and making it an enemy of Iran, thus pushing Iran to the East and China.

Israel is a parasite on the US Empire, not a puppet of it, and it is actually weakening it in order to make it serve its own interests, by making more enemies for the US (Iran), by not letting it concentrate on Russia and China, while cooperating with Russia and China itself.

Posted by: Passer by | Sep 8 2021 12:05 utc | 85

Antoinetta III @Sep8 3:03 #60:

What I see as a likely flashpoint is if the tankers might be attacked by Zionist jets ...

I doubt they would do anything as obvious and overt as this.

=
Is it plausible that the Orcs will do nothing ...

Orcs? Why use confusing mythical code words when you are comfortable talking about "Zionist jets"?

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 8 2021 12:17 utc | 86

I read with interest this article as it seems to illustrate the reality of the situation in Lebanon and the effort of the surrounding countries to aid Lebanon, orchestrated by Hezbollah. I appreciate what seems to be your expertise in foreign events. For all our sakes, please stick to these topics and leave medical topics alone. They are not your forte.

Posted by: lizzie dw | Sep 8 2021 12:18 utc | 87

Jackrabbit, there is nothing "code-word" about the term "Orcs." The terms "Orc" and "Zionist" are completely interchangeable. "Orc" is just a bit more descriptive.

Antoinetta III

Posted by: Antoinetta III | Sep 8 2021 12:31 utc | 88

If USRael got everything what would they end up doing to the people they hate so much?

By that I mean the Shiites, Alawites, and Houthis who they condemn as 'Iranian proxies'. Sending them all to Iran is not enough because the oil fields would allow them to recover.

1. Install a puppet regime in Iran - check

2. But then ??? Is there a region in Iran barren enough for them to starve. It would be awkward to explain sending them all to Yemen to starve since they have no connection there. They always associate them to Iran.

Usually I do see the 'villain speech' in places like the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies but I don't have the emotional strength to go to that dark place anymore. The last article I read was when they were so excited that Azerbaijan (a Muslim country), w/Israeli help, were killing Armenians (Christians) and how we could use this to destabilize Iran. Gasp. Not claiming Armenia is always right, just that here is a renowned Think Tank cackling over what they accuse Iran of doing.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Sep 8 2021 12:33 utc | 89

My take on Bhadrakumar and mushrooms: he writes for foreigners… yes, the mushroom metaphor applies to those of us in the western world, especially about India and its politics!! (Kept in the dark, fed…)

Telesur coverage of the takeover of Panjshir valley mentioned that Masoud said, the international community is “completely responsible” for facilitating the Taliban takeover and criticized that it is “silently” observing the insurgents’ attacks on Panjshir province. Heard that CIA asset and self-proclaimed president of Afghanistan, Amrulleh Saleh barely managed to escape Panjshir before the Taliban took it over. Looks like the Taliban had a powerful insider giving them a helping hand to victory! And it looks like Panjshir knew this guy was double-crossing them so the declaration of Taliban victory is premature?? That’s my impression.


Who said that King Salman was frantic to make amends? John Cleary? David Horsman? To your point:
I
https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Saudi-King-Sacks-Security-Chief-Over-Corruption-Charges-20210907-0010.html


Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Sep 8 2021 13:01 utc | 90

My take with all this confusion and misinformation from all sides is that the world is getting nearer to multi-polar, thus many new viewpoints are created and entertained.

Like Cao Cao after he lost in Chibi, he said Shu and Wu are strong because they are united against Wei, if leaving them alone, Shu and Wu will distrust each other and fight each other, leaving opportunities to Wei. This seems like a cope or a re-assurance from Cao at the time, but it turns out to be true, Shu and Wu did fight each other and weaken themselves for Wei to take over.

Posted by: Smith | Sep 8 2021 13:30 utc | 91

Dear B, you have misread the aforementioned Lebanon situation. It is more complex and intriguing than that. Allow me to explain in bullet points for easier read:

1. The main issue to examine is the "Fuel Shortage Crisis" in Lebanon. So let's examine what regional actors (state and non-state) are doing about it in terms of pursuing their "interests".

Note: One could argue that the main issue even beyond the "Fuel Shortage Crisis" in Lebanon is freefall toward becoming a "Failed State", i.e. the total collapse of the Lebanese government in carrying out the most basic tasks of the government. So keep this larger issue in the back of your mind too.

2. There has been chaos, anger, arson, destruction, and even many cases of the Lebanese killing each other over fuel especially during the summer. The Lebanese state apparatus has its hands full/unable to carry out regular tasks and the level and magnitude of crises have risen so much that now every situation (as simple as filling your gas tank at the station) has a great potential of becoming a security issue. From this point on Lebanon is ready to explode and create regional instability to Europe too.

3.Lebanon has not seen regular effective government for several years now and the political elites are utmost corrupt and blame everything on Hezbollah and try to make it so that it's not their fault but Seyed Nasrallah's. The best example of their corruption is Sa'ad Hariri whose only purpose in life is to make life miserable for the Lebanese and exists only at the behest of KSA.

4.In all fairness, the socio-cultural (multi-ethnic) composition of Lebanon is also very much to blame, prone to division/national disunity and is like a powder keg always ready to explode if one party decides to spoil it for others. The same socio-cultural factor exists in Iraq which makes it quite ungovernable and esp. in times of crises. How in the world can anyone expect rather small and brazenly multi-ethnic countries to have stable and effective government? it is very difficult indeed. The idea of the division of the Lebanese and Iraqi government's branches by ethnicity is wrong and very very bad idea. It must be based on merit, not ethnicity. And on top of it, once you introduce democracy into the equation it makes it even harder to see stability at the end of the day.

5. The situation in Syria has been evolving. The Arab world are starting to gradually bring Syria into the mix and create new dynamics in the geopolitics of the region. Iraq is a key node here trying to stay neutral and play a new regional mediator role in the region. Additionally, the role of Russia had been expanding, while Iran's has been reducing. Russia has been the main diplomatic and security backer of Syria, while Iran's view of Syria was more in the larger security-first land bridge of "Syria-Lebanon", and not 'only Syria' per se, which is different from Russia's one-leg only Syrian view. Since summer (for a 3rd time already) Russia has been finally helping Syria to defend against illegal Israeli bombings by releasing exact reports of Israeli bombings and their operations, this is shift from the past and shows that Russia will take further steps protecting its Syrian interests and as a warning to Israel.

6. Iran wants more involvement in Syrian reconstruction and generally is seeking more role in integrating its "resistance movement" model into the political structure of its regional partners similar to Lebanon. Interestingly in Afghanistan it also seeks the same thing, i.e. 'persuading' the Taliban to have some political role and representation via the Hazarah shiite minority there. So far,-to the best of my knowledge- Iran has only signed a security agreement with Syria and have not seen more than that. I doubt Russia would allow Iran to have a larger and more entrenched presence in Syria once the U.S. leaves the region, which it happening as we are speaking.

7. Syria plays a key role in the ongoing Fuel shortage situation. The Lebanese government has been seeking to solve the fuel shortage since JUNE but it is a very complex issue that whether it likes or not involves many actors and players. So the destiny of Lebanon and the stability of the region is mostly in the hands of its neighbors than itself which is a very sad reality. There are 2 ways that Lebanon can secure its fuel needs, each INEVITABLY involving Syria serving as a TRANSIT: a) From Egypt to Jordan and then to Syria and then to Lebanon. This is also a plan supported by Sen. Chris Murphy and goven nod by France and Israel too. b) from Iranian oil tankers to Baniyas refinery in western Syria and then to Lebanon all via Hezbollah's distribution networks. The first method benefits Syria more as it strongly enables U.S. to ease up on sanctions. Mind you, the U.S. have already lifted SOME sanctions that allowed NGOs and UN aids to enter Syria, so there is precedent here and the first scenario will complement the earlier sanctions removals and probably paves the way for more reconciliatory measures by the West in general. It will also helps Syrian role as constructive in the region and better relations with its neighbors, most notably with EGYPT. The Lebanese government also benefits as will have easier time and less hassle to secure its fuel shortages.

8. The first method also a test of the Lebanese government to see through its problem of governance and responsibilities and can help with future western reconstruction plans. But in doing so it is faced with risking tarnish its relations vis-a-vis Hezbollah. In other words, it must choose between Iran/Hezbollah vs U.S., France, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Israel.

9. Iran would benefit from a weaker central government as it would enable Hezbollah to 'shine' its capacities and potentials beyond establishing security and defending against Israeli aggression. The question is: Can Hezbollah carry out this task as same as maintaining security and balance of power against Israel which has been successfully accomplishing since 2006? Iran wants the world and the region to show that YES it can and it WILL, even despite sanctions and severe limitations imposed by the West.

10. Understand that Iran/Hezbollah's Fuel Plan came after the EGPYT-JORDAN-SYRIA-LEBANON plan as a reaction, not the other way around. There was this no-so-secret-meeting (link below) between Hezbollah and Egypt's national security advisor to Sisi, Abbas Kamel that is of note here back in the early summer. Additionally, Iran in order to 'sweeten' the deal offered to sell oil in the worthless Lira, hoping to strengthen to some extent at least the Lira's value and to woo Lebanon, which would also potentially bring about secondary sanctions against the Lebanese banks and make things even worse.

There's more to this very interesting Lebanese situation but I think I have already written too long about this, to I apologize to the readers.

Nevertheless, tnx a bunch B for allocating an entire piece for this topic. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Russell Kirk | Sep 8 2021 14:03 utc | 92

I'm concerned that the large Israeli delegation/shakedown crew which visited the US last week apparently left beaming. Never a good sign. This hasty plan to provide electricity to brunt the Hezbollah PR win was likely part of it, but I doubt all. I would be more concerned that Israel intends to attempt to disrupt the Iranian oil deliveries more directly, and have received US assurances that if Hezbollah attacks Israel (leaving out that it would be Israel starting the fight), the US will back Israel to the hilt. Idiotic, but that seems to be the way these people think. If Israel received such assurances, you can bet a provocation is on the way.

Posted by: J Swift | Sep 8 2021 14:13 utc | 93

On Libanon, Meyssan's Voltaire.net is a must read. Difficult to be agree with all of this thesis, but he is with real knowledge
https://www.voltairenet.org/article213966.html
///
@ Petri Krohn [remembering Ryanair]
and friends. A little bit north of topics, but...
I just posted information on OpenThread

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2021/09/the-moa-week-in-review-ot-2021-068.html?cid=6a00d8341c640e53ef0282e11f9117200b#comment-6a00d8341c640e53ef0282e11f9117200b

Posted by: Odenwälder | Sep 8 2021 14:21 utc | 94

@ Petri Krohn #66

For any part of the Syrian electric grid to be able to transport power from Jordan to Lebanon, Syria's blackouts need to end first.

Perhaps an alternative...

They just need power THROUGH Syria...
Not want to provide Syrian infrastructure with electricity produce in Jordan by any Israeli asset from [Palestinian] gas sold by UEA joint venture and transiting from Leviathan to Egypt

An independent 40 or 400kV line.
100 km on 1974 ceasefire line, through de militarized Golan

Posted by: Odenwälder | Sep 8 2021 14:43 utc | 95

@ Posted by: Passer by | Sep 8 2021 12:05 utc | 85

Literal absolute obedience doesn't exist in global affairs, it is utopian. Indeed, the USA can barely keep its own territory fully obedient (see Texas' anti-abortion law).

What I mean by absolute control is a state where the controlled nation will always side it the controller nation when the proverbial cookie crumbles. Israel may make ten thousand trade deals with China, what makes it an American province is the fact that, if the Americans declare war against the Chinese, Israel will immediately and unconditionally side with the Americans. That's what sphere of influence means, that's what's absolute domination means in the nation-state field.

Posted by: vk | Sep 8 2021 14:52 utc | 96

US foreign policy is confused clusterfuckery

Posted by: rgl | Sep 8 2021 15:13 utc | 97

Push-Pull Prelude to Civil War in Lebanon

Push: sabotage of Beirut Port causes Hezbollah to be ejected from the government and an intensified economic crisis.

Pull: tens of billions of dollars of aid and reconstruction withheld until/unless Lebanon removes Hezbollah from the country.

Why would FUKUSI take the pressure off Lebanon when it is at the core of their strategy?

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 8 2021 15:14 utc | 98

Posted by: vk | Sep 8 2021 14:52 utc | 96

The US has declared a trade war on China and a Cold War on Russia, neither Turkey, nor Israel joined that.

All of G-7, Europe, plus Australia, has sanctions on Russia. But not Turkey.

The sanctions issue is a significant marker.

Posted by: Passer by | Sep 8 2021 15:24 utc | 99

In other words, it must choose between Iran/Hezbollah vs U.S., France, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Israel.

Posted by: Russell Kirk | Sep 8 2021 14:03 utc | 92

This is not a very original conclusion. What is astounding is that France, US (and UK) insist on Lebanon surrendering to Israel before they'll help the Lebanese in their sufferings. I don't think that's going to happen as Hizbullah has a blocking vote, if not a place in government. Hizbullah must be about the most powerful and best organised entity in Lebanon these days, as the Shi'a are most the most numerous ethnic unit. Kirk makes the mistake of thinking that there's some mythical Lebanese government who can take a decision to centralise power. There isn't and the Israelis wouldn't like a powerful one.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 8 2021 15:31 utc | 100

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