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Oman – Not Like the Rest of the Gulf

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By Andre Vltchek – New Eastern Outlook – 20.05.2019

Everyone who visits this once ‘hermit Sultanate’ could easily testify: Oman is ‘different’ from the other countries of the Gulf Region. Its people are warm, talkative and proud. Despite the fact that Oman is poorer than Bahrain or Saudi Arabia, it actually feels richer, because there is no extreme misery there; the citizens are clearly well taken care of.

While in Saudi Arabia, during Ramadhan, outrageous orgies of wasting food and vulgar wealth-flashing are performed on a daily basis; Oman is quietly trying to save children in neighboring Yemen instead.

An airport employee, Muhammad, explained to me:

“My country is habitually sending two flights per week to neighboring Yemen. During Ramadhan, the frequency increases. Our airplanes bring gravely injured and very sick men, women and children to Oman. Here, they get first rate and free medical treatment. Our doctors are trying to save their lives, as if they were our own people. Yemeni people are our brothers.”

This is quite shocking, considering that the militantly anti-Shia regime that is Saudi Arabia (KSA) is actually bombing big parts of Yemen back to the Stone Age, while an Omani neighbor – the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – is occupying the coastal area of Yemen, including its most important port of Aden.

The Syrians also have plenty of good things to say about Oman. I have heard praise all over the country.

In turn, the Syrian government is generally admired by Omani people; not by all, but definitely by the majority. Oman has always maintained diplomatic relations with Damascus, and never joined any coalition that has been trying to destabilize or to overthrow the legitimate Syrian administration. All this is in sharp contrast to Qatar and Saudi Arabia – countries that have been, for years, on behalf of the West and Israel, injecting and then supporting various terrorist organizations that have been brutalizing millions of Syrian citizens.

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Oman does not have any US or EU military bases on its territory. It does not need them. It is not at war with anybody, and it is not trying to overthrow any regional governments. Hosting strategic bombers, US Navy ships, and ‘Central Commands’ are not how Oman’s rulers want to guarantee their country’s prosperity.

Instead, there is a magnificent opera house near the coast in Muscat, and right next to it, a lavish public palace dedicated to the arts. Despite the proximity of some luxury 5-star hotels, the beach remains public. The Ruler of Oman apparently loves music and the arts. A shocking contrast to places such as Saudi Arabia, where the arts and music are discouraged, or out rightly banned; considered ‘haram’.

I spoke to Omani people, and they appear to be satisfied with their lives, and with the direction in which their country is evolving.

I stopped a group of men (Sunni Muslims), leaving a mosque, and asked them about the Sunni and Shia divide, as well as their feelings towards Iran, which is presently facing an imminent threat from the United States.

The Shia, they replied, “are our brothers”:

“Here, it is nothing like in Saudi Arabia where they kill Shia Muslims. Nothing like in Bahrain, where most of people are Shia, but are treated with horrible spite, often having to live in total misery. We don’t differentiate and do not discriminate against Shia. In Oman, we inter-marry, and it is not a big deal. Sometimes we break the fast together, and we bring gifts to each other. We help our neighbors, when they are in trouble, and it matters nothing whether they are Sunni or Shia.”

Almost everybody here feels great sympathy for Iran and its people.

My driver has travelled to Teheran and Shiraz on nine occasions. He admires Iran’s culture, as well as the kindness and determination of the Iranian people. He strongly believes that they have the full right to live their own lives, free from the illegal sanctions imposed on them by Washington.

A group of worshippers, also expressed great admiration for Syria and its government, and then of the two countries that are now, apparently, reshaping the world:

“Without Russia and China, the United States and its allies would have already swallowed us all.”

Their support for the Palestinians, and their outrage over the Israeli actions and apartheid, appears to be genuine, not hypocritical or ‘theoretical’, as it is in the rest of the Gulf.

I have always felt comfortable here, even during my previous visits, but this time, in the era of global madness that is being spread by the West, I felt greatly impressed by the wisdom, kindness and civility of this ‘forgotten Sultanate’, which possesses a big heart and an impressive understanding of the global situation.

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It is not that Oman has been always such a gentle and considerate nation. In the past, its Muslim warriors, colonized and plundered the east coast of Africa, from Somalia to what is now Kenya, and all the way down to Tanzania. Like the Europeans, Omanis practiced the slave trade.

But things changed, and eventually, Oman turned into an introverted nation, and stayed as such for many decades. Then, when it began “opening up to the world”, it did it on its own terms, without becoming subordinate to foreign interests.

While Oman’s Duqm Port is now theoretically “open” to British ships, Oman is not hosting any permanent US military bases, like those located all around Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Oman is maintaining a very close relationship with Iran, and no pressure from the West is managing to change this reality.

And while to ‘the world’ it is now opening up, it does not mean that “the world” is exclusively the West.

Sure, for my taste, there are still too many reports in the local newspapers, taken from the AFP and other Western press agencies and sources. Omani people are not immune to the ‘official narrative’ which is being injected into all the corners of the world by the West. But that is only a small part of the story. Interacting with Omani people, I realized that they are much more knowledgeable about the world than the rest of the Gulf.

What is especially significant is that China is becoming a close friend and an ally of Oman. This mutually beneficial relationship is here to stay.

My good acquaintance, a Chinese diplomat based in the Gulf, told me on condition of anonymity:

“China and Oman share a profound friendship of over 1,200 years. As early as 750 AD, a great Omani voyager Abu Obeid, made his journey to Guangzhou, China, and marked the beginning of the friendly exchanges between China and Oman, and also the exchanges between Chinese civilization and Arabic civilizations.”

Remarkably, that happened in the historic period when the West (Europe) was plundering and murdering its own people, as well as the populations of the ‘surrounding areas’.

On April 30, 2019, the Oman Observer, in an article, “Sultanate important partner in building Belt and Road”, interviewed Ms Li Lingbing, the Ambassador of China to Oman:

“Li Lingbing… stressed the Sultanate’s important role in the Belt and Road Initiative, pointing out the traditional friendly relations between the two countries, and the important role of the Sultanate on the belt and road since ancient times.

The Omani and Chinese sides announced last year the establishment of a strategic partnership and signed the Belt and Road cooperation document. Oman officially joined the circle of friends of “Belt and Road”, she said in a press conference held at the Chinese Embassy in Muscat. She noted that the Sultanate and China share a long historical heritage, adding that Oman enjoys an important geographical location and excellent ports, such as Duqm, Salalah and Sohar that have a natural advantage in participating in building the “Belt and Road”.”

It appears that Oman is one ‘sane’ nation in the middle of a region which has been colonized and usurped by the West. Oman’s rulers are more interested in the wellbeing of their people than in amassing tremendous wealth for the few, through shameless collaboration with Washington, London, Paris and Tel Aviv.

According to Dr Hamed Alhamami, an Omani citizen and the regional director of a UN office, “Oman is a special place in the region with many divisions. We play a neutral, impartial role and mind our own business. We support countries and people in need when we can, like Yemen and Syria, on humanitarian grounds.”

Oman is no one’s colony. It is now close to China. It is close to Iran. It helps the devastated people of Yemen, and it does what it can for Syria. It keeps friendly relations with the West and with other countries in the Gulf, but it takes no dictates from anyone. It has managed to survive this way for decades.

As a result, it is liked and deeply respected by most of the people of the Middle East.

Andre Vltchek is philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He’s a creator of Vltchek’s World in Word and Images, and a writer that penned a number of books, including China and Ecological Civilization.

May 19, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , | 4 Comments

Democrat Tulsi Gabbard fends off ‘fake news’ accusations of Russian support

RT | May 19, 2019

Democratic presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard’s anti-war stance has seen her slammed in the media for over-friendliness to Moscow. After this week’s hit piece the Hawaiian Congresswoman called these accusations “fake news.”

Speaking to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, Gabbard repeated several of her core foreign policy messages: Regime change operations are “counterproductive and wasteful,” and escalating military tension with Russia and China is a “dangerous” game for the US.

A combat veteran and foreign-policy focused candidate, Gabbard launched her presidential campaign in January. From the outset she was lambasted by both parties and the mainstream media for meeting with Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad, and was branded a “Putin puppet” for suggesting that the US improve relations with Russia, at a time when most of her party was consumed with ‘Russiagate’ hysteria.

Stephanopoulos kept the theme going on Sunday, pressing Gabbard on a recent Daily Beast article accusing her campaign of taking a shocking THREE donations from “Putin apologists,” and one from actress Susan Sarandon – who committed the mortal sin of supporting the Green Party’s Jill Stein in her 2016 election bid, and not Hillary Clinton, as the Hollywood consensus demanded.

Save for one returned contribution from a businessman involved in some unlicensed transactions, no donation mentioned by the Daily Beast amounted to more than $1,000.

“It’s unfortunate you’re citing that article, George, because it’s a whole lot of fake news,” Gabbard responded. “What’s in the best interest of national security? Keeping American people safe.”

“And what I’m pointing out consistently, time and time again, is our continued wasteful regime change wars have been counterproductive to the interests of the American people.”

The latest debacle was ridiculed by commentators on Twitter. Independent journalist Ben Norton called the Daily Beast’s article “embarrassingly bad,” while The Hill’s Krystal Ball blasted the Daily Beast’s reporters for searching through 65,000 donors to find “3 with views that fit their pre-conceived narrative.”

Gabbard is currently polling at around one percent, in a crowded field of 24 Democratic candidates. As the mainstream media continues to fixate on her supposed sympathies for the Kremlin, the Hawaiian has stuck to her guns. On Thursday, Gabbard warned President Donald Trump against “launching a very stupid and costly war with Iran,” and called out “war hawks in his administration” like National Security Advisor John Bolton, for leading the US towards another conflict in the Middle East.

May 19, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | 4 Comments

Netanyahu to blame for US warmongering against Iran: American officials

Press TV – May 19, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is behind the US administration’s continued hostility towards Iran and the recent flare-up in tensions between the two sides, according to a number of American political figures and analysts.

Ben Rhodes, an advisor to the administration of former US president Barack Obama, was quoted as saying by The Jerusalem Post that “Bibi” was one of those “pushing to confront Iran.”

Last week, US Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard also blasted “Saudi Arabia, Netanyahu [and] al-Qaeda” for promoting war with the Islamic Republic.

The report pointed to a 2006 essay on “The Israel Lobby” by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, which later became a book. The authors argued back then that Israel and pro-Israel groups worked to shape the US administration’s policy towards Iran as part of a “grand scheme for reordering the Middle East.”

Moreover, the far-left and far-right parties view Israel as the shadowy manipulator of Washington’s policies towards Tehran.

“Who wants this war with Iran?” American political commentator Patrick Buchanan’s official website asked on Friday. “Answer: [US Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo and [National Security adviser John] Bolton, Bibi Netanyahu, [Saudi] Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

The US far-right has also blamed Israel for Trump’s policies, with one website claiming that “Bibi Satanyahoo” is pushing for a war with Iran.

On the far-left, the website Mondoweiss has a headline that says, “Israel wants the Trump administration to attack Iran, but US mainstream media ignores Netanyahu’s instigating.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recently pointed out that the US administration in Washington was taken over by “Netanyahu firsters”, according to the post.

Zarif blamed Israel and what he called the “B-team” for the US foreign policy decisions.

The hawkish “B-team” is comprised of US National Security Adviser John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Tensions mounted between Tehran and Washington last May, when President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and re-imposed harsh sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism.

The tensions saw a sharp rise on the first anniversary of Washington’s exit from the deal as the US moved to ratchet up the pressure on Iran by tightening its oil sanctions and sending military reinforcements, including an aircraft carrier strike group, a squadron of B-52 bombers, and a battery of patriot missiles, to the Middle East.

On May 5, US National Security Advisor John Bolton — an ardent Iran hawk — said the deployment was in response to a “troubling and escalatory indications” of Iranian activity in the region, without giving details or evidence to support the claims.

Trump, however, later ordered his administration to avoid a military confrontation with Iran, The New York Times and Reuters reported.

Netanyahu’s influence with Trump is nothing short of conspicuous when it comes to regional issues in the Middle East.

Apart from relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds and declaring the historical city as the “capital” of Israel, the American head of state has suspended aid to Palestinian groups and also recognized the Syria’s Golan Heights as being Israeli territory.

See also :

Iran says US officials pawns in Netanyahu’s game

May 19, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 4 Comments

A Partial History of US Ignominy in Latin America

By Steve Brown | The Duran | May 19, 2019

Argentina:

In 1976 the democratically elected president of Argentina Isabel Perón was ousted by a military coup d’état, beginning the military dictatorship of General Jorge Rafael Videla, known as the National Reorganization Process. The coup resulted in 30k+ people dead or missing. Both the coup and subsequent authoritarian regime were actively endorsed and supported by the United States government, with US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger frequently visiting Argentina during the Videla dictatorship.

El Salvador:

In El Salvador, repressive governments under control of US interests like the United Fruit Company were opposed by peasant and worker’s revolts for many years. When Farabundo Martí’s social revolts were violently crushed in 1979, efforts to take power democratically were thwarted by US intervention. The United States provided $1–2 million per day in military aid to the government of El Salvador during the Reagan and Carter regimes, with human rights abuses extant, and mainly attributed to the US-supported government. Civil war spread in El Salvador when US-endorsed far-right governments brutally oppressed/suppressed the population.

Mexico, Francisco I. Madero:

Madero was an advocate for social justice and democracy and Mexico’s youngest president. Madero sparked the Mexican revolution and challenged Mexican President Porfirio Díaz in 1910. Henry Lane Wilson the US ambassador to Mexico was deeply involved in ousting Madero. In February 1913, a military coup led by General Victoriano Huerta, the military commander of the city, and supported by the United States, resulted in Madero’s arrest and execution, along with his Vice-President, José María Pino Suárez, on 22 February 1913, following the series of events known as the Ten Tragic Days.

Nicaragua, Augusto Sandino:

Sandino was a Nicaraguan anti-colonialist leader, revolutionary, and leader of the rebellion to end the U.S. military occupation of Nicaragua, between 1927 and 1933.  Sandino disarmed his troops when US Marines withdrew from the country. Sandino was subsequently assassinated in 1934 by Anastasio Somoza, a Philadelphia-educated Nicaraguan run by the US and CIA, who seized power in a coup d’état two years later. Somoza maintained Falange/fascist rule in Nicaragua for many years, while amassing a huge personal fortune.

Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz Guzman:

An elected president of Guatemala, Guzman continued the social reform policies of his predecessor, which included an expanded right to vote, the ability of workers to organize, legitimizing political parties, and allowing public debate. He authored agrarian reform law under which uncultivated land-holdings were expropriated in return for compensation, and redistributed to poverty-stricken agricultural laborers. Approximately one-half million people benefited from the decree, the majority of them indigenous. Árbenz was ousted in 1954 by a coup d’état engineered by the US Department of State and Central Intelligence Agency. Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas, a lackey of the US, replaced Arbenz as president. Árbenz went into exile via several countries; his daughter committed suicide and Guzman descended into alcoholism and insanity, eventually dying in Mexico. In October 2011, the Guatemalan government issued an apology for Árbenz’s overthrow.

Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic):

Rafael Trujillo was murdered In May 1961 with weapons supplied by the CIA. An investigation by the Office of Inspector General into the murder disclosed “quite extensive [CIA] Agency involvement with the plotters”. The CIA described its role in Dominican Republic regime change as a ‘success’ by transforming the Dominican Republic into a ‘Western-style democracy’ from a dictatorship. Eisenhower approved the coup when Castro deposed Batista in Cuba; Eisenhower believed that a communist regime might succeed in deposing Trujillo’s corrupt rule. Trujillo’s son hurried home to replace his murdered father, however US State didn’t like the son either. Young Trujillo was deposed and replaced by Joaquin Balaguer, who was replaced by the elected Juan Bosch. But Bosch was deemed too leftist and was deposed, again by U.S. clandestine intervention.

Chile, Salvador Allende:

The president of Chile was killed in a military coup engineered by the United States CIA, and carried out by Augusto Pinochet, on September 11, 1973. At the time, Henry Kissinger informed President Nixon that the US was not involved in the coup, however the CIA had been plotting against Allende ever since Allende came to power. Pinochet’s subsequent military rule was particularly brutal.

May 19, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Who Won This Year’s Eurovision: Israel or Palestine?

By Adam Garrie | EurasiaFuture | May 19, 2019

Like the Olympics, the Eurovision Song Contest has attempted to create national harmony through head-to-head competition on the basis of national demarcations. While singing or running around a track are vastly preferable expressions of nationalism than killing one another, it is nationalistic rivalry nevertheless and this automatically means that such an event is political, in spite of droning claims to the contrary.

But while recent years have seen the increasingly dated Song Contest become ever more controversial, this year’s events in Tel Aviv represented a watershed moment in public opinion. Multiple artists, activists, philosophers, politicians and even erstwhile apolitical people tried to persuade the Eurovision organisers to relocate the event to a more politically neutral place. No matter what one’s view on Palestine, Israel is more politically polarising than Switzerland and it would be difficult to find anyone who could honestly disagree. In this sense, the real Eurovision Political Contest was one between Israel and Palestine.

The fact that the contest went ahead does represent an initial victory for Israel against the Palestinian civil society activists who encouraged a relocation to a politically neutral place. While the official viewing figures are not yet in for this year’s event, these numbers will eventually offer insight into which side has ultimately won the battle for public opinion. If in fact the viewing figures are significantly down vis-a-vis 2018, this could indicate that the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) call for a television boycott may have had some success.

But even before the numbers are out, several things are apparent. Public perceptions of Palestine have reached a critical turning point in the western world. It is no longer fashionable to ignore the cause of Palestine. Whilst even ten years ago, many apolitical people in the west tended to automatically associate Palestine with “terrorism” while associating Israel with the opposite, at nearly 20 years since the turn of the century, today it is Palestine that is considered “fashionably victimised” while Israel is considered cold, unjust and reactionary.

It goes without saying that it is crude and vulgar to reduce the decades long suffering of Palestine to a “fashion statement”. As such, true supporters of the Palestinian people would never do so. However, one must be honest enough to realise that all political causes in an increasingly fickle western public square are eventually diluted to fashion statements once they reach a critical mass.

True believers in the Palestinian cause should therefore not be put off by the fact that while support for Palestine isn’t growing because thousands of otherwise apolitical westerners have discovered the speeches of George Habash, it is growing nevertheless – this necessary critical mass in public opinion has just about been reached.

In the vulgar world of politics or geopolitics, any form of positive attention is good for one’s cause and the fact of the matter is that from the debating halls of Washington and Westminster, to pop music stages throughout the western world, to social media, art galleries and “hip and cool” public gatherings, it is becoming close to impossible to hold political views that are socially fashionable whilst simultaneously favouring Israel over Palestine. In other words if one wants to be “woke” one has to be woke to Palestine.

This means that while the old paradigm for public figures involved a choice between supporting Israel and supporting Palestine, today’s question for public figures is one of favouring Palestine without reservation (Roger Waters, for example) versus showing solidarity with Palestine while calling for Israel to have its proverbial “F. W. de Klerk moment” whereby the old reactionary regime grudgingly embraces inclusivity.

Some long time Palestine supporters might find this latter view to be naive. That being said, the fact that even the less overtly pro-Palestinian option for western public figures who wish to remain fashionable is still at least somewhat pro-Palestine and in some cases is rhetorically very pro-Palestine, is indicative of the fact that the nature of the Palestine argument for westerners has changed. Palestine is no longer a symbol of “terror” in the eyes of the middle of the road westerner. Palestine is now symbolic of injustice and this is even the case among those whose demographic positions within western societies would have in the past indicated unequivocal acceptance if not support for the Israeli status quo. Beyond this, as western politics itself becomes more polarised between the haves and have-nots, it is becoming all the more natural for westerners to sympathise with those abroad who have not even their own land.

This was reflected in two ways during last night’s Eurovision Final. First of all, those actively boycotting the event had a strong presence on social media, one so strong that hardline Israel supporters were generally on the defensive. This represents a major shift from previous decades when Palestinian supporters had to be on the defence against allegations of “apologising for terrorism”. Now, among trendy westerners it is supporters of Israel who are on the defensive – having to justify their whitewashing of oppression against a people increasingly seen as the victims of supreme injustice.

Secondly, even some of those who defied the proverbial BDS picket line and performed in Tel Aviv felt sufficiently guilty about having done so. Such people ended up showing their support for Palestine while the international cameras were rolling. Most notably, the Icelandic performers held up large banners reading “PALESTINE”, complete with Palestinian flags right in front of the cameras. Then, in a reportedly unauthorised move, Madonna whose performance was the most controversial of the evening had some of her backup dancers wear both Israeli and Palestinian flags. Whilst Madonna’s move will be viewed as a cop-out by many pro-Palestine activists (rightly so from an ethical point of view), the fact that she felt the need to include Palestinian imagery at all is symptomatic of an opportunist trying to have it both ways.

Yet even this opportunistic act is indicative of the fact that supporting Palestine now presents as many opportunities for public figures as it does challenges. Compared to recent years, this is one major step in the right direction as at the turn of the 21st century, trying to do anything positive for Palestine earned one undiluted excoriation from mainstream western society. This is no longer the case.

Thus, the final verdict is this: unlike mid-1980s South Africa, it is still possible for western pop starts to perform in Israel without their careers being ruined by verdicts passed in the court of public opinion. But on the other side of the coin, it is now possible and at times even practically advisable for such pop stars to support Palestine and this of course means supporting BDS.

In the battle of public opinion, Israel is still able to mobilise its troops, but through persistence and by building a genuinely big tent of support, Palestine is now forcing many in the west to side with the victims rather than the oppressors. In this sense, the true winner of last night’s Eurovision Song Contest were the silenced voices of Palestinians whose echos are reverberating ever louder among otherwise aloof people who are becoming slowly acquainted with their conscience.

May 19, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , | Leave a comment

When North Korea’s Air Force Fought Israel

The Beginnings of Pyongyang’s Military Involvement in the Middle East and its Evolution Over Half a Century

Military Watch Magazine | October 7, 2018

While the Yom Kippur War is a well known Cold War engagement between Soviet and Western aligned forces which took place in the midst of the Vietnam War, pitting the forces of a number of Arab states including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Algeria against their longstanding adversary Israel, the role played by personnel deployed from external powers remains less well known. One party which played a significant role in the conflict, the beginnings of its extensive involvement in the Middle East to undermine the Western Bloc’s regional interests which continues to this day, was the Korean People’s Army (KPA) – the armed forces of North Korea. Having waged an intensive and brutal war with the Untied States and its allies in the 1950s, where an estimated 20-30% of its population was lost primarily due to the American bombing campaign, North Korea well understood the importance of air superiority and set about rebuilding its air and air defence forces with the most capable Soviet made weapons systems available. North Korean pilots and air defence crews were tasked not only with guarding the country’s airspace in the event of a future war with the Untied States, but also of contributing to the war efforts of a number of friendly countries – which they continue to do to this day. North Korean pilots played a considerable role in the Vietnam War, and according to Korean sources downed several U.S. fighter jets over the country. As the air war over Vietnam neared its end in the early 1970s, the KPA Air Force dispatched pilots to Egypt to aid the Soviet aligned country’s own war effort.

North Korean pilots had been stationed to aid Egyptian forces in defending their airspace months before the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, and according to the Egyptian Military’s Chief of Staff Saad Al Shazly, Korean assistance provided critical assistance at a time of great need. Recalling that personnel from the USSR had been flying approximately 30% of the Egyptian MiG-21 fleet and operating about 20% of the country’s surface to air missile batteries, he noted that following the departure of Soviet forces under the decree of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat the Egyptian Air Force had struggled with a significant shortage of trained MiG pilots. Regarding North Korea’s role in solving this issue, the General stated in his memoirs:

“The solution occurred to me in March 1973, during the visit to Egypt of the Vice President of the Democratic (People’s) Republic of Korea (official name of North Korea.) On March 6, while escorting their Vice Minister of War, General Zang Song, on a tour of the Suez front, I asked if they could support us – and give their pilots useful combat training – but sending even a squadron of men. I knew at that time that his country flew MiG-21s. After much political discussion, in April I went on an official visit to president Kim Il Sung to finalise the plan. My fascinating ten day tour of that extraordinary republic, an inspiring an example of what a small nation of the so called Third World can achieve with its own resources is, alas, rather outside the scope of this memoir, as is my stopover in Peking (former English name for Beijing.)

Korean pilots – all highly experienced, many with more than 2,000 hours, arrived in Egypt in June and were operating by July. Israel or her ally ( the United States) soon monitored their communications, of course, and on August 15 announced their presence. To my regret, our leadership would never confirm it. The Korean s were probably the smallest international military reinforcement in history: only 20 pilots, eight controllers, give interpreters, three administrative men, a political advisor, a doctor and a cook. Bu their effect was disproportionate. They had two or three encounters with the Israelis in August and September and about the same number in the war. Their arrival was a heartwarming gesture. I mention the story here mainly to pay tribute to them and to apologise for the churlishness of our leadership in not also doing so.”

While Egyptian forces had long claimed that the MiG-21 was poorly suited to engage the F-4E, Israel’s prime air superiority fighter, and that the Soviet jet lacked the necessary survivability against the heavier American made platform, they were proven wrong not only by the successes of North Vietnamese pilots against the United States – but also by North Korean pilots operating against Israeli Phantoms over Egyptian airspace itself. According to Israeli sources, reporting on an engagement between North Korean piloted MiGs and their own Phantoms, the Korean pilots demonstrated considerable skill and were effectively untouchable in close range engagements – taking full advantage of the MiG-21’s superior manoeuvrability to evade multiple Israeli strikes with impunity. Whether North Korean pilots downed any Israeli fighters remains unknown, though reports indicate that no Koreans were shot down by Israeli jets. A number of reports do indicate however that the poorly trained Egyptian surface to air missile (SAM) crews mistook returning Korean MIG-21 fighters for Israeli jets, and proceeded to fire upon them. This was a common error made by Egyptian SAM crews, one which cost the country a number of fighter jets.

North Korean pilots’ participation in the Yom Kippur War represented only the beginning of the country’s military involvement in the Middle East, nor the last time the country would aid Arab states at war with Israel. While Egypt pivoted towards the Western Bloc in the war’s aftermath, abandoning the Soviet Union and its Arab allies, the country would pursue a number of joint weapons projects with North Korea and continues to import significant quantities of arms from the country. The Egyptian ballistic missile arsenal has North Korean origins, and the Korean Rodong-1 remains the country’s most capable platform in service today. North Korean assistance was also commissioned to construct a war museum in Egypt commemorating the Yom Kippur War, which was based heavily on the larger Fatherland Liberation War Museum in Pyongyang commemorating the Korean War. North Korean forces have since the Yom Kippur War also formed close ties to Syria and Yemen, and the KPA is involved in wars against Western aligned forces in both countries.

Korean assistance has been key to upgrading Syria’s surface to air missile network, while special forces have reportedly been deployed for ground operations. KPA personnel were also reportedly involved in the Lebanon War in alongside their Syrian allies, and were later responsible for aiding the Lebanese militia Hezbollah to construct underground fortifications key to its military success against Israel in 2006. A number of key figures in Hezbollah’s leadership, including its leader Hassan Nasraallah, reportedly travelled to Korea for military training in the 1980s. Korean assistance has been key to strengthening the missile capabilities of Libya, Syria and Yemen, as well as Iran and Hezbollah, with all these parties relying heavily on a wide variety of the country’s missile designs until today. The East Asian state has since the Yom Kippur War played a considerable role in supporting regional forces against the Western Bloc and their allies, and is set to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

May 19, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

‘All decent people’ oppose ‘damaging’ Russia sanctions, Salvini says ahead of EU elections

RT | May 19, 2019

EU sanctions targeting Russia don’t work and “all decent people” support removing them, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said ahead of next week’s European Parliamentary elections.

“I continue to believe that we don’t need sanctions. The issue of their removal unites all decent people,” Salvini told Sputnik news agency after holding a major rally that included leaders of 11 right-wing European parties in Milan on Saturday.

The leader of the right-wing League party argued that the economic warfare between the EU and Russia has “caused damage and resolved nothing.”

“If a tool does not work, it is removed,” he added.

Salvini stressed that much would depend on the outcome of the upcoming elections, including whether it would be possible to repeal the anti-Russia restrictions.

Polls show that Salvini’s right-wing alliance, Europe of Nations and Freedom, is expected to become one of the largest blocs in the next EU parliament.

The political group “will perform a historic feat to pass from the 8th place in Europe to third or maybe second,” National Rally leader Marine Le Pen predicted while speaking at the Milan rally.

The United States and the European Union imposed restrictions on Russia produce and other goods following Crimea’s reunification with Russia in 2014. Moscow reciprocated the sanctions in a tit-for-tat move. Since then, the sanctions regime has expanded to include banking and other sectors.

As a result, many European businesses have been pushed out of the Russian market. The issue has sparked considerable anger in Germany, where politicians from both the left and the right have spoken out against the policy as counter-productive and harmful to German interests.

May 19, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

How Russiagate replaced Analysis of the 2016 Election

By Rick Sterling | Dissident Voice | May 19, 2019

An honest and accurate analysis of the 2016 election is not just an academic exercise. It is very relevant to the current election campaign. Yet over the past two years, Russiagate has dominated media and political debate and largely replaced a serious analysis of the factors leading to Trump’s victory. The public has been flooded with the various elements of the story that Russia intervened and Trump colluded with them. The latter accusation was negated by the Mueller Report but elements of the Democratic Party and media refuse to move on. Now it’s the lofty but vague accusations of “obstruction of justice” along with renewed dirt digging. To some it is a “constitutional crisis”, but to many it looks like more partisan fighting.

Russiagate has distracted from pressing issues

Russiagate has distracted attention and energy away from crucial and pressing issues such as income inequality, the housing and homeless crisis, inadequate healthcare, militarized police, over-priced college education, impossible student loans and deteriorating infrastructure. The tax structure was changed to benefit wealthy individuals and corporations with little opposition. The Trump administration has undermined environmental laws, civil rights, national parks and women’s equality while directing ever more money to military contractors. Working class Americans are struggling with rising living costs, low wages, student debt, and racism. They constitute the bulk of the military which is spread all over the world, sustaining continuing occupations in war zones including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and parts of Africa. While all this has been going on, the Democratic establishment and much of the media have been focused on Russiagate, the Mueller Report, and related issues.

Immediately after the 2016 Election

In the immediate wake of the 2016 election there was some forthright analysis. Bernie Sanders said, “What Trump did very effectively is tap the angst and the anger and the hurt and pain that millions of working class people are feeling. What he said is, ‘I Donald Trump am going to be a champion of the working class… I know you are working longer hours for lower wages, seeing your jobs going to China, can’t afford childcare, can’t afford to send your kids to college. I Donald Trump alone can solve these problems. … What you have is a guy who utilized the media, manipulated the media very well. He is an entertainer, he is a professional at that. But I will tell you that I think there needs to be a profound change in the way the Democratic Party does business. It is not good enough to have a liberal elite. I come from the white working class and I am deeply humiliated that the Democratic Party cannot talk to the people where I came from.”

Days after the election, the Washington Post published an op-ed titled “Hillary Clinton Lost. Bernie Sanders could have won. We chose the wrong candidate.” The author analyzed the results saying, “Donald Trump’s stunning victory is less surprising when we remember a simple fact: Hillary Clinton is a deeply unpopular politician.” The writer analyzed why Sanders would have prevailed against Trump and predicted “there will be years of recriminations.”

Russiagate replaced Recrimination

But instead of analysis, the media and Democrats have emphasized foreign interference. There is an element of self-interest in this narrative. As reported in “Russian Roulette” (p127), when the Clinton team first learned that Wikileaks was going to release damaging Democratic National Party emails in June 2016, they “brought in outside consultants to plot a PR strategy for handling the news of the hack … the story would advance a narrative that benefited the Clinton campaign and the Democrats: The Russians were interfering in the US election, presumably to assist Trump.”

After losing the election, Team Clinton doubled down on this PR strategy. As described in the book Shattered (p. 395) the day after the election campaign managers assembled the communication team “to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up and up …. they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.”

This narrative has been remarkably effective in supplanting critical review of the election.

One Year After the Election

The Center for American Progress (CAP) was founded by John Podesta and is closely aligned with the Democratic Party. In November 2017 they produced an analysis titled  “Voter Trends in 2016: A Final Examination“. Interestingly, there is not a single reference to Russia. Key conclusions are that “it is critical for Democrats to attract more support from the white non-college-educated voting bloc” and “Democrats must go beyond the ‘identity politics’ versus ‘economic populism’ debate to create a genuine cross-racial, cross-class coalition …” It suggests that Wall Street has the same interests as Main Street and the working class.

A progressive team produced a very different analysis titled Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis. They did this because “the (Democratic) party’s national leadership has shown scant interest in addressing many of the key factors that led to electoral disaster.” The report analyzes why the party turnout was less than expected and why traditional Democratic Party supporters are declining. It includes recommendations to end the party’s undemocratic practices, expand voting rights and counter voter suppression. The report contains details and specific recommendations lacking in the CAP report. It includes an overall analysis which says “The Democratic Party should disentangle itself – ideologically and financially – from Wall Street, the military-industrial complex and other corporate interests that put profits ahead of public needs.”

Two Years After the Election

In October 2018, the progressive team produced a follow-up report titled “Autopsy: One Year Later“.  It says, “The Democratic Party has implemented modest reforms, but corporate power continues to dominate the party.”

In a recent phone interview, the editor of that report, Norman Solomon, said it appears some in the Democratic Party establishment would rather lose the next election to Republicans than give up control of the party.

What really happened in 2016?

Beyond the initial critiques and “Autopsy” research, there has been little discussion, debate or lessons learned about the 2016 election. Politics has been dominated by Russiagate.

Why did so many working class voters switch from Obama to Trump? A major reason is because Hillary Clinton is associated with Wall Street and the economic policies of her husband President Bill Clinton. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), promoted by Bill Clinton, resulted in huge decline in manufacturing jobs in swing states such as Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Of course, this would influence their thinking and votes. Hillary Clinton’s support for the Trans Pacific Partnership was another indication of her policies.

What about the low turnout from the African American community? Again, the lack of enthusiasm is rooted in objective reality. Hillary Clinton is associated with “welfare reform” promoted by her husband. According to this study from the University of Michigan, “As of the beginning of 2011, about 1.46 million U.S. households with about 2.8 million children were surviving on $2 or less in income per person per day in a given month… The prevalence of extreme poverty rose sharply between 1996 and 2011. This growth has been concentrated among those groups that were most affected by the 1996 welfare reform.”

Over the past several decades there has been a huge increase in prison incarceration due to increasingly strict punishments and mandatory prison sentences. Since the poor and working class have been the primary victims of welfare and criminal justice “reforms” initiated or sustained through the Clinton presidency, it’s understandable why they were not keen on Hillary Clinton. The notion that low turnout was due to African Americans being unduly influenced by Russian Facebook posts is seen as “bigoted paternalism” by blogger Teodrose Fikremanian who says, “The corporate recorders at the NY Times would have us believe that the reason African-Americans did not uniformly vote for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats is because they were too dimwitted to think for themselves and were subsequently manipulated by foreign agents. This yellow press drivel is nothing more than propaganda that could have been written by George Wallace.”

How Clinton became the Nominee

Since the 2016 election there has been little public discussion of the process whereby Hillary Clinton became the Democratic Party nominee. It’s apparent she was pre-ordained by the Democratic Party elite. As exposed in the DNC emails, there was bias and violations of the party obligations at the highest levels. On top of that, it should now be clear that the pundits, pollsters and election experts were out of touch, made poor predictions and decisions.

Bernie Sanders would have been a much stronger candidate. He would have won the same party loyalists who voted for Clinton. His message attacking Wall Street would have resonated with significant sections of the working class and poor who were unenthusiastic (to say the least) about Clinton. An indication is that in critical swing states such as Wisconsin and Michigan Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary race.

Clinton had no response for Trump’s attacks on multinational trade agreements and his false promises of serving the working class. Sanders would have had vastly more appeal to working class and minorities. His primary campaign showed his huge appeal to youth and third party voters. In short, it’s likely that Sanders would have trounced Trump. Where is the accountability for how Clinton ended up as the Democratic Party candidate?

The Relevance of 2016 to 2020

The 2016 election is highly relevant today. Already we see the same pattern of establishment bias and “horse race” journalism which focuses on fund-raising, polls and elite-biased “electability” instead of dealing with real issues, who has solutions, who has appeal to which groups.

Mainstream media and pundits are already promoting Joe Biden. Syndicated columnist EJ Dionne, a Democratic establishment favorite, is indicative. In his article “Can Biden be the helmsman who gets us past the storm?” Dionne speaks of the “strength he (Biden) brings” and the “comfort he creates”. In the same vein, Andrew Sullivan pushes Biden in his article “Why Joe Biden Might be the Best to Beat Trump“. Sullivan thinks that Biden has appeal in the working class because he joked about claims he is too ‘hands on’. But while Biden may be tight with AFL-CIO leadership, he is closely associated with highly unpopular neoliberal trade deals which have resulted in manufacturing decline.

The establishment bias for Biden is matched by the bias against Democratic Party candidates who directly challenge Wall Street and US foreign policy. On Wall Street, that would be Bernie Sanders. On foreign policy, that is Tulsi Gabbard. With a military background Tulsi Gabbard has broad appeal, an inclusive message and a uniquely sharp critique of US “regime change” foreign policy. She calls out media pundits like Fareed Zakaria for goading Trump to invade Venezuela. In contrast with Rachel Maddow taunting John Bolton and Mike Pompeo to be MORE aggressive, Tulsi Gabbard has been denouncing Trump’s collusion with Saudi Arabia and Israel’s Netanyahu, saying it’s not in US interests. Gabbard’s anti-interventionist anti-occupation perspective has significant support from US troops. A recent poll indicates that military families want complete withdrawal from Afghanistan and Syria. It seems conservatives have become more anti-war than liberals.

This points to another important yet under-discussed lesson from 2016: a factor in Trump’s victory was that he campaigned as an anti-war candidate against the hawkish Hillary Clinton. As pointed out here, “Donald Trump won more votes from communities with high military casualties than from similar communities which suffered fewer casualties.”

Instead of pointing out that Trump has betrayed his anti-war campaign promises, corporate media (and some Democratic Party outlets) seem to be undermining the candidate with the strongest anti-war message. An article at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) says, “Corporate media target Gabbard for her Anti-Interventionism, a word they can barely pronounce.”

Russiagate has distracted most Democrats from analyzing how they lost in 2016. It has given them the dubious belief that it was because of foreign interference. They have failed to analyze or take stock of the consequences of DNC bias, the preference for Wall Street over working class concerns, and the failure to challenge the military industrial complex and foreign policy based on ‘regime change’ interventions.

There needs to be more analysis and lessons learned from the 2016 election to avoid a repeat of that disaster. As indicated in the Autopsy, there needs to be a transparent and fair campaign for nominee based on more than establishment and Wall Street favoritism. There also needs to be consideration of which candidates reach beyond the partisan divide and can energize and advance the interests of the majority of Americans rather than the elite. The most crucial issues and especially US military and foreign policy need to be seriously debated.

Blaming an outside power is a good way to prevent self analysis and positive change. It’s gone on far too long.

Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist who grew up in Canada but currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. He can be reached at rsterling1@gmail.com.

May 19, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Sniper-killing journalist game pulled after outcry over ‘Breaking News’ mission

RT | May 19, 2019

A popular sniper-mission video game encouraging players to assassinate a journalist has been pulled by its developer after media reports exposed the controversial shooting scene.

‘Sniper 3D Assassin’ was a free game on Apple devices as well as gaming platform Steam, and was available on Amazon, Google and Microsoft app stores.

New York Times journalist Jamal Jordan tweeted about the journalist killing mission after his nephew showed him the game.

The ‘Breaking News’ mission tells players to make a journalist “famous in a different way,” by shooting them after they receive documents from a police officer. When the mission ends, the screen reads, “That’s a cover story.”

Revelations about the journalist murder mission game were received with horror on Twitter, especially by media workers.

Developers from TFG Co. pulled the game after it was contacted by the HuffPost, insisting it had been “fictional” and intended for “mature audiences.”

“At TFG, we work to create games that bring fun and entertainment to users all around the world,” CTO Mac-Vicar said. “As such, we take feedback from our players very seriously. After listening to our community today, we have decided to remove the mission ‘Breaking News’ from the game.”

The game was released in 2014 and had 10 million downloads in its first month. At one stage in 2016 it was the most downloaded game on Apple’s App Store.

May 19, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Saudi king calls for urgent meetings of Arab leaders

Press TV – May 19, 2019

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has called for emergency meetings of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) and the Arab League, following mysterious “sabotage” attacks on Saudi and Emirati oil tankers as well as drone strikes targeting Saudi oil pumping stations.

The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday that Salman had invited Arab leaders to convene urgent summits in the city of Mecca on May 30 to discuss ways to “enhance the security and stability in the region.”

An official source at the Saudi Foreign Ministry said that the Saudi monarch had called the meetings due to “grave concerns” about recent attacks on commercial vessels off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and drone strikes on oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia as well as the effects of those incidents on supply routes and oil markets.

The summits are meant “to discuss these aggressions [sic] and their consequences on the region,” the source said.

The Emirates’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has welcomed the Saudi call for the emergency meetings.

“The current critical circumstances entail a unified Arab and [Persian] Gulf stance toward the besetting challenges and risks,” the ministry said in a statement.

On May 12, four oil tankers, including two Saudi ones, were purportedly targeted near the port of Fujairah, in what the Emirates described as “sabotage” attacks. While Riyadh and Abu Dhabi failed to produce evidence of the attacks on their vessels, pictures emerged of a Norwegian-flagged tanker at the port having sustained some damage.

Two days later, drone strikes were launched on two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia. These attacks were believed to have been carried out by Yemen’s Houthi fighters in retaliation for the prolonged Saudi war against Yemen.

The attacks led Saudi Arabia to halt its main cross-country oil pipeline temporarily.

Saudi and Emirati officials have not said who carried out the attacks on the tankers and the pumping stations, but some political and media figures within the United States have claimed that Iran is responsible.

A day after the reported attacks on the oil tankers, Tehran called them “worrying,” and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later called them “suspicious.”

Yemen’s Houthis also noted that the retaliatory drone strikes on the Saudi oil pipeline were an act of self defense and had nothing to do with Iran.

Pompeo calls bin Salman

On Saturday night, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held a phone conversation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The SPA reported that the two sides exchanged views on the “developments in the region and efforts to enhance security and stability.”

Jubeir claims Riyadh doesn’t seek war

In a separate development on Sunday, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir claimed that his country did not want a war with Iran.

“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want a war in the region nor does it seek that,” he told a press conference in Riyadh.

“It will do what it can to prevent this war and at the same time it reaffirms that in the event the other side chooses war, the kingdom will respond with all force and determination, and it will defend itself and its interests,” he added.

May 19, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 4 Comments