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Russia Gives US Red Line on Venezuela

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 22.03.2019

At a high-level meeting in Rome this week, it seems that Russia reiterated a grave warning to the US – Moscow will not tolerate American military intervention to topple the Venezuelan government with whom it is allied.

Meanwhile, back in Washington DC, President Donald Trump was again bragging that the military option was still on the table, in his press conference with Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro. Trump is bluffing or not yet up to speed with being apprised of Russia’s red line.

The meeting in the Italian capital between US “special envoy” on Venezuelan affairs Elliot Abrams and Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov had an air of urgency in its arrangement. The US State Department announced the tête-à-tête only three days beforehand. The two officials also reportedly held their two-hour discussions in a Rome hotel, a venue indicating ad hoc arrangement.

Abrams is no ordinary diplomat. He is a regime-change specialist with a criminal record for sponsoring terrorist operations, specifically the infamous Iran-Contra affair to destabilize Nicaragua during the 1980s. His appointment by President Trump to the “Venezuela file” only underscores the serious intent in Washington for regime change in Caracas. Whether it gets away with that intent is another matter.

Moscow’s interlocutor, Sergei Ryabkov, is known to not mince his words, having earlier castigated Washington for seeking global military domination. He calls a spade a spade, and presumably a criminal a criminal.

The encounter in Rome this week was described as “frank” and “serious” – which is diplomatic code for a blazing exchange. The timing comes at a high-stakes moment, after Venezuela having been thrown into chaos last week from civilian power blackouts that many observers, including the Kremlin, blame on American cyber sabotage. The power grid outage followed a failed attempt by Washington to stage a provocation with the Venezuelan military over humanitarian aid deliveries last month from neighboring Colombia.

The fact that Washington’s efforts to overthrow the elected President Nicolas Maduro have so far floundered, might suggest that the Americans are intensifying their campaign to destabilize the country, with the objective of installing US-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido. He declared himself “acting president” in January with Washington’s imprimatur.

Given that the nationwide power blackouts seem to have failed in fomenting a revolt by the civilian population or the military against Maduro, the next option tempting Washington could be the military one.

It seems significant that Washington has recently evacuated its last remaining diplomats from the South American country. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commented on the evacuation by saying that having US personnel on the ground “was limiting” Washington’s scope for action. Also, American Airlines reportedly cancelled all its services to Venezuela in the past week. Again, suggesting that the US was considering a military intervention, either directly with its troops or covertly by weaponizing local proxies. The latter certainly falls under Abrams’ purview.

After the Rome meeting, Ryabkov said bluntly: “We assume that Washington treats our priorities seriously, our approach and warnings.”

One of those warnings delivered by Ryabkov is understood to have been that no American military intervention in Venezuela will be tolerated by Moscow.

For his part, Abrams sounded as if he had emerged from the meeting after having been given a severe reprimand. “No, we did not come to a meeting of minds, but I think the talks were positive in the sense that both sides emerged with a better understanding of the other’s views,” he told reporters.

“A better understanding of the other’s views,” means that the American side was given a red line to back off.

The arrogance of the Americans is staggering. Abrams seems, according to US reporting, to have flown to Rome with the expectation of working out with Ryabkov a “transition” or “compromise” on who gets the “title of president” of Venezuela.

That’s what he no doubt meant when he said after the meeting “there was not a meeting of minds”, but rather he got “a better understanding” of Russia’s position.

Washington’s gambit is a replay of Syria. During the eight-year war in that country, the US continually proffered the demand of a “political transition” which at the end would see President Bashar al Assad standing down. By contrast, Russia’s unflinching position on Syria has always been that it’s not up to any external power to decide Syria’s politics. It is a sovereign matter for the Syrian people to determine independently.

Nearly three years after Russia intervened militarily in Syria to salvage the Arab country from a US-backed covert war for regime change, the American side has manifestly given up on its erstwhile imperious demands for “political transition”. The principle of Syrian sovereignty has prevailed, in large part because of Russia’s trenchant defense of its Arab ally.

Likewise, Washington, in its incorrigible arrogance, is getting another lesson from Russia – this time in its own presumed “back yard” of Latin America.

It’s not a question of Russia being inveigled by Washington’s regime-change schemers about who should be president of Venezuela and “how we can manage a transition”. Moscow has reiterated countless times that the legitimate president of Venezuela is Nicolas Maduro whom the people voted for last year by an overwhelming majority in a free and fair election – albeit boycotted by the US-orchestrated opposition.

The framework Washington is attempting to set up of choosing between their desired “interim president” and incumbent Maduro is an entirely spurious one. It is not even worthy to be discussed because it is a gross violation of Venezuela’s sovereignty. Who is Washington to even dare try to impose its false choice?

On Venezuela, Russia is having to remind the criminal American rulers – again – about international law and respect for national sovereignty, as Moscow earlier did with regard to Syria.

And in case Washington gets into a huff and tries the military option, Moscow this week told regime-change henchman Abrams that that’s a red line. If Washington has any sense of rationality left, it will know from its Syria fiasco that Russia has Venezuela’s back covered.

Political force is out. Military force is out. Respect international law and Venezuela’s sovereignty. That’s Russia’s eminently reasonable ultimatum to Washington.

Now, the desperate Americans could still try more sabotage, cyber or financial. But their options are limited, contrary to what Trump thinks.

How the days of American imperialist swagger are numbered. There was a time when it could rampage all over Latin America. Not any more, evidently. Thanks in part to Russia’s global standing and military power.

March 23, 2019 - Posted by | War Crimes | , ,

3 Comments »

  1. I hope earnestly that Russia will make this red line “stick” and not be washed away by rain or wind or diversion. (I might wish that Russia had incorporated “lift the goddammed war-crime-equivalent sanctions on Venezuela…now…complete…full stop” as a red line imperative.)

    I wish for another red line from Russia: that Trump’s announcement that the Golan Heights will be transferred from Syria’s sovereignty to the sovereignty of the Ziomonster that took the Golan by military might in June 1967 must be rescinded and never put into effect. The opposite: that the Golan is to be returned to Syrian sovereignty immediately before the Ziomonster creates more facts on the Golan ground, pursues its warfare-wordfare-lawfare methods of establishing faits accompli, and ever further deepens US dependence and subservience on the dictates of the satanic tribe that illegally invaded the “holy” land and the region throughout the 20th Century and continuing into this 21st.

    Adelson, Trump, Bolton, Abrams, Pompeo, Kushner and the vast rest of the Zio-centric horde…it can’t get any worse, or can it? (oh–I must not neglect John Hagee and the “Christian” Zionists “united for the Ziomonster”)

    Thanks to Finian, as always, and to Aletho News for bringing him before us.

    Comment by roberthstiver | March 23, 2019 | Reply

  2. “How the days of American imperialist swagger are numbered”
    A tantrum type reaction from the US is not to be excluded and the influence of big oil, who have their tentacles throughout the US administration, will encourage and nurture such irrational responses if deemed in their interest. Given, in addition, that the chief marionettist is Elliot Abrams; I do not see a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Comment by redracam | March 23, 2019 | Reply

  3. If the USA Military Industrial Complex hasn’t ruined the USA’s credibility in this modern World, it wont be long before it has. The USA believes itself to be “Ruler of the World” and quite frankly the rest of the World looks on at the RATBAG President, politicians, and Lobby Groups who OWN the government and shake their head in disbelief. How has it come to this?
    Every area of the USA’s government, economy, Legal system(don’t laugh) and of course, the MEDIA are firmly under the control of “Powerful Interests” with NO LOYALTY to The American people.
    The USA, is now owned by these people, and it will be the American people who eventually pay a very high price.

    Comment by Brian Harry | March 24, 2019 | Reply


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