Aletho News


Sanders’ Written Remarks to AIPAC

By Stephen Lendman | March 23, 2016

AIPAC is a rogue lobbying group with enormous influence in Washington, one-sidedly supporting Israel at the expense of regional peace and Palestinian rights.

Bernie Sanders addressed its annual conference in spirit, not in person, delivering his remarks in written form – expressing longstanding support for a ruthless apartheid state run by hate-mongering Zionist zealots.

“Israel is one of America’s closest allies,” he said, “and we – as a nation – are committed not just to guaranteeing (its survival), but also to its people’s right to live in peace and security.”

Fact: Both countries partner in each other’s high crimes, Sanders failed to explain.

Fact: Israel’s survival isn’t threatened. Its only threats are ones it creates. Sanders paid no heed to its longstanding reign of terror on defenseless Palestinians.

Fact: Calling their freedom fighters “terrorists” mocks their dignity, humanity, and “right to live in peace and security” Israel systematically denies them.

Claiming as president he’ll “work tirelessly to advance the cause of peace as a partner and as a friend to Israel” belies reality.

No peace process exists, not now or earlier going back decades. Israel rejects it out-of-hand, pretending otherwise, wanting historic Palestine for Jews only, its people denied their fundamental rights.

Sanders knows what he won’t explain, one-sidedly supporting Israel while pretending otherwise. His voting record belies his claim about being “a friend not only to Israel, but to the Palestinian people.” When did he ever introduce legislation supporting their rights? Never!

He backs naked Israeli aggression on the phony pretext of responding to Hamas rocket attacks, used only in self-defense.

Saying he “believe(s) that Israel, the Palestinians, and the international community can, must, and will rise to do what needs to be done to achieve a lasting peace” ignores what never happened before and won’t now.

Again, Sanders knows what he won’t say, maintaining the fiction of efforts for regional peace when none exist. Washington and Israel systematically undermine them.

His formula for peace isn’t reality based. After decades of Israeli state terror, slow-motion genocide affecting an entire population, punctuated by intermittent premeditated wars, apartheid worse than South Africa’s, and governance of, by and for hate-mongering Zionist zealots, how can anyone believe it wants peace and stability.

Sanders is like all the rest, demanding “Hamas and Hezbollah renounce their efforts to undermine the security of Israel… Peace has to mean security for every Israeli from violence.”

Saying “attacks of all kinds against Israel” must end is code language for wanting Palestinians denied their international law guaranteed right of self-defense.

Adding “peace also means security (and well-being) for every Palestinian,” their right to “self-determination, (and) ending ‘what amounts’ (sic) to the occupation of Palestinian territory, establishing mutually agreed upon borders, and pulling back settlements in the West Bank (like earlier) in Gaza” ignores no possibility of achieving any of the above.

Sanders failed to explain Ariel Sharon’s so-called disengagement from Gaza transferred its settlers to stolen Palestinian West Bank land, displacing Palestinians from what’s rightfully theirs.

It put Jews out of harm’s way ahead of three Israeli wars of aggression on Gaza – in 2008-09, 2012 and 2014, along with frequent aerial and ground assaults, an entire population terrorized and besieged for nearly a decade with no prospect for relief.

Sanders saying “economic blockade of Gaza” must end ignores its political imposition, unrelated to security concerns.

Expressing rhetorical support for “a sustainable and equitable distribution of precious water resources so (both sides) can thrive as neighbors” ignores his one-sided support for Israel for 30 years.

He willfully lied, claiming Israel’s 2014 Gaza war followed “weeks of indiscriminate rocket fire into its territory and the kidnapping of (its) citizens.”

Operation Protective Edge was planned months in advance, naked Israeli aggression unrelated to Hamas rockets (launched only in self-defense after repeated Israeli provocations) and nonsensical kidnapping claims.

Sanders can’t get his facts straight, including false claims about Hamas “construct(ing) a network of tunnels for military purposes.”

They’re built as a vital lifeline, supplying goods essential to survive, restricted or prohibited by Israel’s suffocating blockade, one of many examples of its genocidal policy – what Sanders never explains.

His address featured numerous examples of misinformation and one-sided support for Israel. Rhetorically expressing concern for Palestinian rights rang hollow.

Throughout his political career, he never cared. Why should anyone believe he turned a new leaf.

Judge him and other politicians only by their voting record. Rhetoric is meaningless.

Stephen Lendman can be reached at

His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.

March 23, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Raul Castro Should Ask Obama: What About U.S. Political Prisoners?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford | March 22, 2016

President Obama knew it was impolitic to play his hypocritical human rights game while in the presence of Cuban President Raul Castro, in Havana, this week. So Obama had one of his kiss-up White House reporters do the sneak attack for him. CNN’s Jim Acosta, the son of a Cuban exile, asked President Castro why his country kept political prisoners. Castro replied, “What political prisoners?” and asked Acosta to provide a list of such people. It was an awkward moment – not diplomatic at all – but Obama was clearly enjoying it. And, well he might, because neither Jim Acosta nor any of the other corporate mouthpieces in the White House press corps would dare, or even think, to ask a U.S. president about the plight of American political prisoners.

The U.S. media traveling with Obama have easy access to all sorts of lists of Cubans who are supposedly in prison for opposition to the their government – although even Amnesty International says that the Cubans released their last political prisoner, back in September.

The United States, on the other hand, is still holding scores of political prisoners, many of them captured in the 1960s and 70s. Their numbers are decreasing only because they are dying of old age – accelerated by the inhuman conditions and practices of the world’s largest prison system. If the corporate media were really concerned about political prisoners, they could go to the web site of the Jericho Movement and see the pictures of 50 of them. Eighteen were members of the Black Panther Party, the Black Liberation Army or the Republic of New Africa, including Mumia Abu Jamal, whose life hangs by a thread because the State of Pennsylvania refuses to treat his Hepatitis C. Black Panther Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald has been incarcerated since 1969. There are men and women from the MOVE organization, all with the last name “Africa,” whose children were killed and their home bombed by the Philadelphia police. There are Native American activists from the First Nation group and American Indian Movement, including Leonard Peltier, who has been behind bars since 1976. There are white Class war, Anti-imperialist and Anarchist Hacker political prisoners, and, Marie Mason, a white Earth Liberation Front woman and Black female community activist Rev. Joy Powell.

No Truce in This War

There are prisoners who became political after they were imprisoned – which is why they are still there. There are Chicano political prisoners and the great Puerto Rican independence fighter, Oscar Lopez Rivera. There is the former H. Rap Brown, who’s doing life without parole as Imam Jamil Al-Amin. There are members of the Portland 7 and the Virgin Island 5 and the Ohio 7. There is the brilliant Mutulu Shakur, father of Tupac Shakur, who the feds say masterminded the escape and exile to Cuba of Assata Shakur. If Obama could somehow get her back behind bars in the U.S., he’d claim she wasn’t a political prisoner, either.

The Jericho Movement’s pictures do not include lots of other political prisoners, like Rev. Edward Pinkney, who’s serving up to ten years in prison for non-violently standing up for the people of Benton Harbor, Michigan.

President Obama this week told the Cuban people, “I Have Come Here To Bury The Last Remnant Of The Cold War.” But he won’t end the long war against Black people in the United States, a war that has sent millions to prison under a political policy of mass Black Incarceration. In that sense, they are all political prisoners.

Glen Ford can be contacted at

March 23, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 3 Comments

Is the ISIS Behind the Brussels Attacks? Who is Behind the ISIS?


By Prof Michel Chossudovsky | Global Research | March 22, 2016

Dramatic loss of life in the terror attacks in Brussels: 34 killed and more than 180 wounded according to the latest reports.

Prior to the conduct of a police investigation, in the hours following the attacks, the Western media went into overdrive, intimating without evidence that the Islamic State (ISIS) operating out of Raqqa, Northern Syria was responsible for the attacks.

According to the Independent “Isis supporters have been celebrating the Brussels attacks online [social media] as speculation mounts that the group is behind a wave of deadly attacks in the Belgian capital.”

The report is based on information emanating from social media, which does not constitute a  reliable source of information.

An unkown self-proclaimed news agency (Amaq Agency ) allegedly representing the ISIS provided the following report:

This mysterious agency was then immediately quoted by Reuters in an authoritative report.

In turn, alleged supporters of ISIS on twitter were quoted. According to the Jerusalem Post (March 21, 2016):

The “tears of joy” that were shed by ISIS supporters on Twitter are also related to the fact that the terrorists succeeded in paralyzing the activity in the airport attacked. One of ISIS’ main declared goals is to devastate the Western economy and replace the dollar with its own coin as the only international legal tender.

Who Controls the ISIS social media and twitter accounts?  

Police and intelligence are often aware of the identity of  ISIS social media, IP addresses, geographic location.

According to London’s Mirror (December 16, 2015):

Hackers have claimed that a number of Islamic State supporters’ social media accounts are being run from internet addresses linked to the [UK  government] Department of Work and Pensions.

A group of four young computer experts who call themselves VandaSec have unearthed evidence indicating that at least three ISIS-supporting accounts can be traced back to the DWP.

Every computer and mobile phone logs onto the internet using an IP address, which is a type of identification number.

The hacking collective showed Mirror Online details of the IP addresses used by a trio of separate digital jihadis to access Twitter accounts, which have been used to spread extremist propaganda.

At first glance, the IP addresses seem to be based in Saudi Arabia, but upon further inspection using specialist tools they appeared to link back to the DWP.  ..

[T]he British government sold on a large number of IP addresses to two Saudi Arabian firms.

After the sale completed in October of this year, they were used by extremists to spread their message of hate.

Jamie Turner, an expert from a firm called PCA Predict, discovered a record of the sale of IP addresses, and found a large number were transferred to Saudi Arabia in October of this year.

He told us it was likely the IP addresses could still be traced back to the DWP because records of the addresses had not yet been fully updated.

What the Daily Mirror report suggests (as well as other reports) is that the IP addresses of the ISIS are indirectly linked to the British government, i.e. 1) the identity of the ISIS social media is  invariable known to police authorities, and 2) The ISIS social media are sponsored by Saudi Arabia, which is also involved in the recruitment and training of terrorists in liaison with US-NATO.

It is worth noting that the British government has acknowledged its responsibility:

The Cabinet Office has now admitted to selling the IP addresses on to Saudi Telecom and the Saudi-based Mobile Telecommunications Company earlier this year as part of a wider drive to get rid of a large number of the DWP’s IP addresses. (Mirror, op cit cit, emphasis added)

The State Sponsors of Terrorism

The events in Brussels raises the broader question: who is behind the ISIS?

Israel intelligence sources (DEBKA) in a 2011 report confirmed the role of NATO operating out of its Brussels headquarters and Turkey’s high command in the training and recruitment of terrorists:

NATO headquarters in Brussels and the Turkish high command are meanwhile drawing up plans for their first military step in Syria, which is to arm the rebels with weapons for combating the tanks and helicopters spearheading the Assad regime’s crackdown on dissent. … NATO strategists are thinking more in terms of pouring large quantities of anti-tank and anti-air rockets, mortars and heavy machine guns into the protest centers for beating back the government armored forces. (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011)

This initiative, which was also supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, involved a process of organized recruitment of thousands of jihadist “freedom fighters”, reminiscent of  the enlistment of  Mujahideen to wage the CIA’s jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war:

Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (Ibid, emphasis added)

These mercenaries were subsequently integrated into US and allied sponsored terrorist organizations including Al Nusrah and ISIS.

And then in August 2014, Obama launched his counter-terrorism campaign. Yet the evidence confirms that instead of destroying the ISIS, the US and its allies including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel were in fact protecting the ISIS.

Again according to the Daily Mirror in a 2015 report, the counterterrorism campaign was conducive to ISIS doubling the territory under its control, until the launching of the Russian intervention in late September 2015.

Sheer Incompetence of  the US Air Force (doubtful) or Washington’s complicity in protecting the terrorists?

Recently the release of the Hillary Clinton email archive as well as leaked Pentagon documents confirm that the US and its allies were supportive of ISIS, which are according to press reports, the alleged architects of the Brussels attacks.

The 7-page Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document dated August of 2012, points to US complicity in supporting the creation of an Islamic State:


March 23, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

UN set to establish database of businesses involved in Israeli settlements

MEMO | March 23, 2016

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is set to vote on Thursday on whether to establish a database of businesses involved in Israeli settlements.

The UNHRC, meeting in its 31st session, will be considering four resolutions under Item 7, which focuses on the impact of the Israeli occupation on human rights in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. Such resolutions are routinely adopted.

A resolution on Israel’s illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, however, has reportedly upset European Union member states, in particular by calling for “a database of all business enterprises involved” in illegal settlement activities, which will be updated annually.

The database is presented as a follow up to an earlier fact-finding mission, which investigated “the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”

Middle East Monitor understands from sources familiar with the discussions taking place that European Union member states will either vote against, or abstain from, the resolution. The UK is reportedly expected to vote against, with significant pressure being applied on Palestinian officials to remove the paragraph establishing the database of businesses involved in settlement activities.

The resolution notes that “the settlement enterprise and the impunity associated with its persistence, expansion and related violence continue to be a root cause of many violations of the Palestinians’ human rights, and constitute the main factors perpetuating Israel’s belligerent occupation of the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, since 1967.”

The resolution goes on to express concern that “some business enterprises have, directly and indirectly, enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction and growth of the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

The UNHRC resolution also notes that “products wholly or partially produced in settlements have been labelled as originating from Israel”, and that “private individuals, associations and charities in third States” are “involved in providing funding to Israeli settlements and settlement-based entities, contributing to the maintenance and expansion of settlements.”

As well as the database, the draft text urges all states to “provide guidance to individuals and businesses on the financial, reputational and legal risks, including the possibility of liability for corporate involvement in gross human rights abuses as well as the abuses of the rights of individuals, of becoming involved in settlement-related activities.”

On Monday, the UNHRC head from outgoing Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Makarim Wibisono, who presented his final report to the Council.

Among other recommendations, “he urged Israeli authorities to…halt the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements, to refrain from acts causing the forced displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and to urgently implement recommendations by the United Nations Children’s Fund with respect to the detention of children.”

March 23, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Palestinians face severe restrictions during Jewish holiday

Ma’an – March 23, 2016

israeli-checkpoint-military-checkpoint-Einav-checkpoint-east-ofTulkarem-2BETHLEHEM – Palestinians faced severe movement restrictions on Wednesday, as Israeli authorities shut down all movement through checkpoints in and out of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip ahead of the Jewish holiday of Purim.

An Israeli army spokesperson said that beginning at 1 a.m. on Wednesday and lasting until midnight Saturday, the checkpoints would be closed to all Palestinians with the exception of humanitarian cases.

Palestinian citizens of Israel, as well as holders of foreign passports, would still be allowed to pass through the checkpoints, she said, noting: “They’re only closed for Palestinians.”

She said Palestinians could seek to arrange “special circumstances” with Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

Sources inside the Palestinian liaison department confirmed the measures would be extended to the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings into the Gaza Strip, with only humanitarian cases and a limited number of Palestinian Christians allowed to leave the blockaded coastal enclave.

Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said there would be heightened security measures, including a number of police patrols, across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank throughout the holiday.

Palestinian access has also been restricted to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, with all Palestinian men younger than 50 denied entry to the site, which is the third holiest in Islam.

Access restrictions to the mosque compound during a succession of Jewish holidays last September played a major role in triggering a wave of unrest that has since left more than 200 Palestinians and nearly 30 Israelis dead.

Tensions were running high in the West Bank on Wednesday morning after Israeli forces escorted hundreds of Israelis, including settlers, to holy sites there, with clashes breaking out nearby Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus.

The Jewish holiday of Purim, which commemorates the Biblical account of the saving of the Jewish people from Haman, an ancient Persian vizier, begins Wednesday evening and ends late Thursday this year.

March 23, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Netanyahu equates intifada with terrorism

MEMO | March 23, 2016

benjamin-netanyahu-large-8Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Palestinians of making their way to statehood through knives, Israeli newspaper Maariv reported.

During his speech at the AIPAC conference in Washington yesterday, Netanyahu branded all attacks as terrorist activity, including the Palestinian resistance attacks against the Israeli occupation carried out in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

“What is happening is a continuous attack against all of us,” Netanyahu said. “What is enough for them is eradicating us and imposing their absolute domination over us. But, this will not happen my friends.”

“The only solution is cooperation and unity in the war against them… Political and moral unity.”

March 23, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Banks still too afraid of US fines to process Iran deals

Press TV – March 23, 2016

Despite the January removal of economic sanctions against Iran, global enterprises are complaining that trade with the country is still difficult as a result of lingering fears of US punitive actions.

Reuters in an exclusive report has quoted business leaders as saying that a key obstacle which is specifically affecting business with Iran is the unwillingness of international banks to process transactions with the country.

US banks are still forbidden to do business with Iran and while lenders based elsewhere are not covered by this ban, major problems remain, emphasized the report. Chief among these are rules prohibiting transactions in dollars from being processed through the US financial system, it added.

The Iranian business community believes the United States has failed to spell out exactly what is permitted and what is not, leading to the uncertainty that makes international banks reluctant to process Iranian-linked transactions, wrote Reuters.

Iranians based in Dubai, historically one of Iran’s main trading partners, complain they cannot get letters of credit to finance deals with their home country, while others have even had their company bank accounts closed in recent weeks.

The problems are also complicating Iran’s plans to sell more oil, as well as recover up to $100 billion in assets that had been frozen by the sanctions in foreign bank accounts, the report added.

The failure by European banks to play their due role in business with Iran has already provoked reactions from several EU leaders and business leaders.

British Prime Minister David Cameron in early March rebuked Barclays for hampering companies trying to export to Iran.

In a strongly worded letter to the bank, Cameron said that Barclays appeared to be operating “in opposition to the policy of the UK government”.

Also, Airbus which sealed an agreement with Iran in January to sell over 100 new planes to the country, has called on EU banks to dispel fears of doing business with Iran.

Iranian officials have also taken their own initiative to urge European banks to open their doors to transactions relating to Iran.

Mohammad Nahavandian, the chief of staff of President Hassan Rouhani, in a visit to London earlier this month called for the facilitation of banking transactions with Iran now that the sanctions against the country have been lifted.

March 23, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

Israeli Minister Facebook Rant Blames Brussels Bombing on EU Labeling of Illegal Settlement Goods

21st Century Wire – March 23, 2016

Now here’s another interesting take on the Brussels Attacks.

There are three possible angles you could read this story from:

1. This Israeli minister is essentially saying that because the EU chose to worry about the Palestinian plight, it reaped the scourge of Islamist terror on its capital.

2. This Israeli minister is a few cards short of a full deck.

3. And finally there’s this option: by blaming the EU for accurately labeling its food products that come from from illegal settlements, is this Israeli minister somehow inferring that the Brussels bombing was a retaliation for that EU regulation?

It’s hard to know for sure, but at the very least, the Israeli minister’s off-hand comments are very revealing about the current schizophrenic political mindset in Tel Aviv…

Middle East Monitor – March 22, 2106

The EU’s labeling of goods from illegal Israeli settlements led to the bombing in Belgium, Brussels, today, The New Arab reported an Israeli minister saying.

Minister of Science, Technology and Space, Ofir Akunis, said Europeans lost sight of “terrorism of extremist Islam” by focusing on boycotting Israeli goods instead allowing the attacks to take place.

“Many in Europe have preferred to occupy themselves with the folly of condemning Israel, labeling products, and boycotts. In this time, underneath the nose of the continent’s citizens, thousands of extremist Islamic terror cells have grown,” Akunis wrote on Facebook.

“There were those who repressed and mocked whoever tried to give warning. There were those who underestimated. To our sorrow, the reality has struck the lives of dozens of innocent people.”

March 23, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism | , , , , | 1 Comment

EU Urges UN to Join Anti-Russia Sanctions

By Alex GORKA – Strategic Culture Foundation – 23.03.2016

The European Union called on March 18 for more countries to impose sanctions on Russia over Crimea joining the Russian Federation two years ago.

In a statement issued on the anniversary of Crimea’s formal accession to Russia, the EU said it will maintain its sanctions that ban European companies from investing in Russian Black Sea oil and gas exploration.

«The European Union remains committed to fully implementing its non-recognition policy, including through restrictive measures», the European Council, which represents EU governments, said. «The EU calls again on UN member states to consider similar non-recognition measures».

Separately, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg urged the EU and United States to maintain their broader economic sanctions against Russia over its support for self-declared republics in the eastern part of Ukraine. «It is important that we continue the economic sanctions», Stoltenberg told an event in Brussels.

The Crimean Peninsula became a part of the Russian Federation on March 18, 2014 after the referendum carried out on March 16 showed 97 percent of voters supported joining Russia.

The Kremlin responded by saying that the issue of Crimea could not be «a matter of negotiations or international contacts». «Our position is known: this is a region of the Russian Federation. Russia has not discussed and will never discuss its regions with anyone», President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a teleconference with reporters.

«In this case we should treat with respect the expression of the will of Crimean residents and the decision which was taken two years ago», he emphasized.

The 28-nation EU imposed its Crimea sanctions in July 2014 and then tightened them in December 2014, banning EU citizens from buying or financing companies in Crimea. The United States, Japan and some other major economies, including Australia and Canada, also imposed sanctions on Russia, whereas many other economically developed nations, like, for instance, China and Brazil, refused to join.

It should be noted that the extension of anti-Russian sanctions is a very much divisive issue inside the European Union.

Hungary and Italy said last week they would not agree to extend the EU’s toughest economic sanctions on Russia, the EU’s major energy supplier, without discussions before the summer.

Germany’s Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel called on March 17 for the EU to try to create conditions by this summer to lift sanctions.

France’s Minister for the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs Emmanuel Macron said in January that Paris will look to assist in the lifting of Western backed sanctions on Russia by the summer.

Serbia, a nation in talks on joining the EU, has firmly rejected the idea of joining the sanctions regime.

US Republican Senator John McCain has the reputation of hawk calling for getting tough on Russia. But even he had to admit the fact that the sanctions are becoming increasingly unpopular inside the EU. «I think there is clearly a lot of conversation amongst the Europeans about lifting the sanctions… There are many countries that are looking for the exit sign», the Senator said in February. «I have been hearing it for months, that there is enormous pressure in a lot of countries, particularly Germany, to lift the sanctions», he noted.

At that the prominent US politician believes it is up to Washington if and when the sanctions are eventually lifted, saying that the final decision will «to some degree depend on American leadership». Actually, the US right-wing politician openly stated the EU decision on the sanctions is made under US pressure.

Indeed, the EU is following the US. President Obama announced American sanctions against Russia are to be prolonged for another year on March 2.

The EU obediently chimed in 16 days later.

The attempts of the EU to influence other countries into joining the anti-Russia sanctions regime look especially ridiculous against the organization’s failure to make the tiny nation of San Marino, an enclaved microstate surrounded by Italy, comply with the EU’s demands. The republic is not officially part of the European Union and does not face Russia’s food embargo. According to Rossiyskaya Gazeta, a Russian government daily newspaper of record which publishes the official decrees, statements and documents of state bodies, San Marino and Russia signed an export agreement on March 18 during the International Economic Forum of CIS countries.

San Marino’s Minister of Regional Development and International Economic Cooperation Antonella Mularoni attended the forum. Now this European country will export to Russia a range of products, including Parmesan cheese and premium meat products like local Parma type ham. «There are 24 dairies in the republic, and a lot of enterprises engaged in meat smoking», the executive director of the national wholesalers association Vladimir Lishchuk told Rossiyskaya Gazeta. According to him, imports will take the place of illegal goods bypassing the Russian food embargo. Russia’s food safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said it would monitor food imports from San Marino to prevent re-exports of sanctioned products from neighboring EU countries. Russia introduced the food embargo in August 2014 in response to Western sanctions. The ban applied to meat, poultry and fish, cheese, milk, fruit and vegetables from the United States, the EU, Australia, Canada, Norway, Japan and a number of other countries. According to Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development, the import of banned products has fallen by nearly half to $6 billion in the first six months of 2015. Overall imports from the EU have fallen by 45 percent.

Evidently, the EU’s call for UN members to join the sanctions is an effort doomed to go down the drain. The European Union has no leverage strong enough to make world nations comply.

The organization itself is not in a strong position. Looks like it has seen its best days. Brussels is facing a host of acute problems. Many of them seem to be a tall order, for instance: the flows of migrants, the economic inequality of the Union’s members, debt problem and the conflicting views of the UK and Germany on European integration, to name a few.

Doing away with the divisive issue of anti-Russia sanctions could provide an impetus to making progress in other fields, but Brussels prefers a different approach.

The EU statement shows the Union’s leadership is adamant in its desire to go down the slippery slope risking a revolt among the member-states with tensions running already high inside «the European family».

March 23, 2016 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment