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‘First Day’, the drama about a transgender 12yo, shouldn’t be on the BBC children’s channel. It’s harmful, shameless propaganda

By Debbie Hayton | RT | August 24, 2020

I’m transgender myself but this film is misleadingly telling viewers as young as six that if they are unhappy with their sex then they can choose the other one, and then all will be fine. But they can’t and it won’t, of course.

The transition from primary school to secondary school can be an anxious time for all children, and it is surely a worthy topic for children’s television to cover.

But “First Day” – the latest offering from the children’s arm of the BBC – focuses on a transgender-identified child who transitions from male to female at the same time. The synopsis is simple: an unhappy feminine boy, mocked and bullied by others, overcomes enormous adversity to become the centre of attention, popular with peers and feted by teachers after they metamorphose from boy to girl.

The four-episode miniseries – produced in Australia and originally shown on ABC – opened last week on CBBC, the BBC TV channel aimed at 6 to 12 year olds. The scene was set when the high school principal told 12 year-old Hannah Bradford that while they would be enrolled under their legal name Thomas, but that any non-legal documents would use the name Hannah.

So far so good – and preferred names are used widely in schools – but then came the bomb-shell: Hannah would be required to use the sick bay toilets in case other parents found out that “a boy was using the girls toilets”. Hannah’s heart-felt plea that they were not a boy pulled hard on the emotional heartstrings. Less than three minutes into episode one, the young hero was already pitched against unknown and unseen adults who presumably might be “transphobic”.

The series continues on Wednesday 26th August at 5 pm, with a plot reminiscent of a modern-day fairy tale. Hannah’s initial plan is stealth: to hide the past and pose as a girl to all the other children. But the first hurdle – a sleepover party – could be Cinderella at the ball. Hannah is not allowed to sleep over, but not for the sake of the other girls. Hannah’s parents were adamant: it was purely about Hannah’s safety and need for support. The disappointment is palpable when Hannah’s doting mother arrives at the party. The car might not turn into a pumpkin on the way home, but the events of the next day could have come straight from Disney.

Hannah’s friend calls, Hannah tells her the truth, they hug, and they all live happily ever after. Despite continued obstacles – there are two more episodes to fill – Hannah wins over bullies, overcomes fears and, by the time the series finishes on September 9th, blossoms to become a key role model at the school camp.

But while fairy stories are set in fantasy, “First Day” is supposedly rooted in reality and that worries me. As a teacher, I know that 6 to 12-year olds are yet to develop critical thinking skills. Indeed, some still believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy.

“First Day” makes outrageous claims that are neither challenged nor analysed but presented as unquestionable truth. As Hannah came out to the friend, impressionable primary school children hear that, “It’s like when you’re born, everyone thinks you’re a boy or a girl, but you know you are not. You’re really the opposite.” When the friend suggests that Hannah is really a boy, she is rapidly corrected, “No, I’m really a girl. It’s just when I was born, I looked like a boy, and everyone thought I was a boy”.

This is just not true. I’m transgender myself and I was most definitely a boy. What matters is not what anyone thinks but scientific truth. Not surprisingly, therefore, what makes Hannah a girl is never explained, though Hannah’s distaste for boys’ toys roots it in sexist stereotypes. Hannah did not want trucks for birthday presents, therefore Hannah is a girl. Deliberately and necessarily simple – considering the target audience – but potentially devastating for any young boy watching who doesn’t like trucks either.

At the same time, young female viewers were presented with a role model of their own in Sarah. A progressive script may have celebrated the fact that girls can crop their hair and play with trucks. But poor Sarah was cast as an unhappy child scared that she was “getting further and further away from who I really am”. Inevitably, Hannah took her in hand and told her, “I’m going to help you”. Unforgivably, in my view, the sentence was never completed with, “tell a teacher.”

But this is not an educational film, it is shameless propaganda. The primary school viewers are told that if they are unhappy with their sex then they can choose the other one. They can’t, of course, but biological facts are not in the script. Setting the programme among a group of 12-year olds avoided the knotty problem of puberty. In real life, we all know that it is much harder for older boys to pass as girls. Unless, of course, their natural physical development had been halted by puberty blockers: powerful cancer drugs that act on the pituitary gland to stop the production of sex hormones in the gonads.

But that did not trouble the film makers as they presented a happy ending without ever hinting at the consequences. The rather emotional conclusion paints a picture of happy children – with Hannah centre stage – starting out on perfect lives. The uplifting soundtrack announces, “this is where it all begins”, but what actually does begin is never made clear to the young viewers who by now are possibly indoctrinated with misinformation.

As the British National Health Service itself warns: “Little is known about the long-term side effects of hormone or puberty blockers in children with gender dysphoria. [Nor is it] known what the psychological effects may be. It’s also not known whether hormone blockers affect the development of the teenage brain or children’s bones.”

In a final twist, transgender-identified Hannah Bradford is played by transgender-identified Evie MacDonald, something that can only magnify the impact on impressionable youngsters considering the MacDonald family’s high-profile activism. Evie’s mother, Meagan MacDonald is a transgender advocate in Australia, offering advice to parents of “Gender Diverse Children”, while Evie models fashion and took on Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison personally over a tweet she perceived as being “hateful” towards trans kids.

Evie is a patient at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne (RCH) and features in the Australian Standards of Care and Treatment Guidelines for trans and gender diverse children and adolescents. According to 9 News Australia, Evie is taking hormone blockers, which perhaps explains why a 14-year old male could successfully portray a 12 year-old child who passes as a girl.

This is a politically savvy family at the heart of a film that has a political message. It is not harmless entertainment; it promotes an ideology that has driven a 1767% rise in demand at the RCH Gender Clinic since 2012. That, however, was absent from the film.

While “First Day” might be something for parents to watch – to be forewarned is to be forearmed – it is unsuitable for primary school children, and certainly unaccompanied children, who could well latch on to transgenderism as an escape route from problems around identity and relationships. Parents, be warned!

Debbie Hayton is a teacher and a transgender campaigner, based in the UK. She tweets @DebbieHayton

August 24, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | Leave a comment

A high-flying US senator warns Modi against Putin

Russian Ka-226T helicopter to be produced under ‘Make in India’ is advantageous in high-altitude environments
By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | August 24, 2020

The Nikkei Asian Review, well-known for its anti-China reportage, featured an article over the weekend titled India should ignore Putin’s offer to broker accord with China. The author is none other than Marco Rubio, the high-flying Republican senator from Florida and the Acting Chairman of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, Co-Chair of the Congressional Executive Commission on China and a ranking member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Rubio is one of President Trump’s closest supporters today, apart from being an old ally of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, dating back to their days in Congress. Pompeo had endorsed Rubio against Trump during his run for president in 2016. Pompeo wrote at that time,

“When I think of the challenges facing our nation – whether it’s our broken healthcare system, runaway government spending, or job creation domestically, or threats from terror groups like ISIS, al-Qaeda, or the terror regime in Iran internationally – there is simply no candidate better to tackle them than Marco Rubio.”

The Rubio piece is dripping with Russophobia and reminds one of Pompeo’s trademark style. The leitmotif is Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Rubio demonises as someone who singularly aims ‘to shatter the current U.S.-led international system’ with tools he perfected in Russian domestic politics — ‘supporting thugs, undermining democracy, and stealing everything that isn’t nailed to the wall.’

Rubio draws illustrative examples from Putin’s ‘exploitative playbook’ in Venezuela, Syria, Turkey, Libya and Belarus. And he spotlights India for special attention. Rubio writes:

“Across the globe in the Himalayas, relations between India and China have remained tense since May following a clash of troops near the countries’ disputed border in Ladakh. The violent clashes, as well as domestic moves such as India’s decision to ban over a hundred Chinese electronic apps, has stoked fears of further escalatory action between the two nuclear-armed nations. Sensing an opportunity to prove itself as an important global power, Moscow has attempted to act as a mediator in the conflict.

“But even a cursory look at Moscow’s motivations makes clear that Putin’s interests are that of his own. Russia considers China to be its most important strategic partner. Having antagonized many nations to its west and finding itself diplomatically isolated as a result, Moscow has in recent years looked to a fellow authoritarian regime in Beijing to develop a rapport. This relationship has continued in the form of enhanced cooperation in digital infrastructure, military exercises, as well as growing trade relations.

“But Moscow is also amid a major effort to cultivate relations with New Delhi, as well. India is crucial for economic and geopolitical reasons, its government is a longtime purchaser of Russian military equipment. But India is a vibrant democracy and is moving decisively toward other liberal democracies to confront authoritarian states. Putin shouldn’t count on helicopter purchases to maintain friendly relations with India as he blatantly cozies up to China.”

Succinctly put, Rubio warns Prime Minister Modi to be wary of Putin and Russia, which is a friend of China, who is India’s enemy. It is a familiar theme lately that American think tankers have been plugging, ably supported by the US lobbyists in India.

Rubio must be standing in for Pompeo. The article alludes to India’s helicopter deal with Russia, which apparently annoys Washington. Reports say that India and Russia have agreed to resolve issues around the production of Ka-226T helicopters and fast track it. This was discussed during Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Moscow in June.

The project is on ‘Make in India’ mode. India will be able to receive some crucial helicopter technologies from Russia as well. This is known to be a project that Putin personally promoted with Modi. Rubio appears to sound a warning to Modi who is known to enjoy close personal rapport with Putin.

Indian PM Narendra Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin at an informal summit in Sochi, Russia, 21 May 2018

Rubio writes, “Much like Putin’s foreign adventurism, the goal has simply been to enrich himself and his inner circle. Those considering relying on the Kremlin should realize that they will have no long-term stable partner in Russia while he remains in power.” Without doubt, this is Pompeo speaking even as New Delhi and Moscow are discussing high-level visits in a near future.

Rubio’s article appears even as India is opting for deployment of the indigenous Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) made by HAL Bengaluru, in Ladakh on the Chinese border, in preference to the new US-made AH-64E Apache. Compared to the LCH, the Apache is faster, has more engine power, and carries far more weapons, but LCH has a longer range. The Indian experts evaluate that the LCH has an edge over Apache due to its ability to perform at high altitudes in the upper reaches of the Himalayas.

The Trump administration has been hoping for some big helicopter deals and has been pulling strings in Delhi but to its dismay finds that Russia has stolen a march. The rancour shows in Rubio’s venomous attack on Putin.

From the geopolitical perspective, Rubio finds it unacceptable that a ‘Quad’ member country — “India is a vibrant democracy and is moving decisively toward other liberal democracies to confront authoritarian states” — should be having a dalliance with Russia at all. Of course, there is a body of opinion in India too that an alliance with the US is what the country should prioritise in the backdrop of its face-off with China in Ladakh. They blithely assume that the US is raring to go to wage a joint war against China.

Rubio’s piece should be an eyeopener for such people besotted with the superpower as to what in reality an alliance with the US entails — a demanding partnership that locks in India. Rubio wrote in anticipation of likely initiatives by Putin to ease India-China tensions. Putin is expected to visit India in October. And a spate of summit meetings can also be expected in the coming months under the rubric of BRICS, SCO, G20 that would bring together the Russian, Indian and Chinese leaderships.

The US is panicking that India might bolt away just as a window of opportunity opened to tether it to the Quad stable (thanks to the standoff in Ladakh), which has been a key objective of the US regional strategies against China in the Asia-Pacific. Rubio’s vituperative attack on Putin highlights the depth of anxiety in the American mind that the Kremlin leader may breathe fresh life into the Russia-India-China triangle.

Indeed, it is in Russia’s self-interests to tamp down Sino-Indian tensions. But what unnerves Washington most is that any easing of India-China tensions will knock the bottom out of its containment strategy against Beijing. With a likely transition in the Japanese leadership, and taking into account China’s close ties with ASEAN countries as well as the European allies’ disinterest in joining the US bandwagon against China, Washington is practically being left with a solitary ally in the Asia-Pacific — Australia.

Facing such stark isolation, the stakes have never been so high for the US to shackle India to its regional strategy in the Asia-Pacific. Washington senses that the anchor sheet of India’s strategic autonomy lies in its longstanding partnership with Russia, which remains firm and immutable despite the changes in world politics in the post-cold war era.

The partnership has gained in verve and swagger given the high importance Modi personally attaches to it. Hence this assault on the Russian-Indian strategic understanding. Thus, a huge propaganda campaign is under way portraying Russia as an ally of China whom India can longer trust. Rubio has lent his name to dignify the US propaganda and draw the attention of Indian policymakers.

August 24, 2020 Posted by | Russophobia | , , | 2 Comments

In Blow to US Efforts, Morocco Says No to Normalization with Israel

Palestine Chronicle | August 24, 2020

Morocco will not follow the lead of the United Arab Emirates and normalize with Israel, the country’s Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El-Othmani said during a high-level political meeting late on Sunday.

El-Othmani told members of his Justice and Development Party that Morocco “refuses to normalize relations with the Zionist entity (referring to Israel) because this will embolden it to further breach the rights of the Palestinian people.”

The top Moroccan official reiterated that the country’s King, government and people will remain steadfast in defense of the rights of the Palestinian people and Al-Aqsa Mosque, located in occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem (Al-Quds).

“In 1993, Morocco and Israel had low-level diplomatic ties following the signing of the Oslo Accords between the Palestinians and Israel,” Anadolu news agency reported on Monday.

“However, Rabat suspended the relations with Israel following the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising in 2000,” Anadolu added.

On August 13, Israel and the UAE have reached a deal that is expected to lead to “full normalization of relations” between the small Arab nation and Israel in an agreement that US President Donald Trump brokered.

August 24, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 1 Comment

After Hiroshima and Nagasaki: U.S. and Australian Brutalisation of Women on the Japanese Mainland

By A.B. Abrams for The Saker Blog | August 24, 2020

Over a year ago I published the book Power and Primacy: The History of Western Intervention in the Asia-Pacific, which was an attempt to fill what I saw as a gap in scholarship on the subject. I found that while several scholars had covered individual cases of Western powers intervening in the region, from David Easter and Geoffrey B. Robinson’s works on the Western-engineered coup and massacres in Indonesia of an estimated 500,000 to 3 million people[1] – to Bruce Cumings and Hugh Deane’s works on the Korean War, there were no major works assessing broader trends and consistencies in Western intervention. Power and Primacy was thus written to show the consistencies in Western designs towards the region and the means used to achieve them over a period of more than 70 years, from the Pacific War which began in 1941 to Western policies towards China and North Korea today.

This month marks the 75th anniversary of the dismantling of the Japanese Empire, and the famous declaration by General Douglas MacArthur that, with the region’s only non-Western military power and the world’s only non-Western naval power now defeated, ‘The Pacific is now an Anglo-Saxon lake.’ While the U.S. and its allies portrayed themselves as a benevolent and democratising force in the region, the darker aspects of East Asia’s time under the new hegemon, which starkly contradict this, have seen very little discussion or coverage. It is notable, for example, that after the Japanese Empire’s fall not only did living standards in southern Korea fall dramatically after it was placed under the rule of an American military government, but mass rapes, the use of comfort women, and serious human trafficking – the very things used by many to justify the American embargo on Japan which had started hostilities in 1941 – not only continued but were expanded under U.S. control. The government of Syngman Rhee, the Princeton-educated Christian radical the U.S. placed in power, killed 2% of its population at the most conservative estimate within five years, placing hundreds of thousands more in concentration camps and exercising a level of brutality not seen even under the Japanese Empire.

With Japan today having seen 75 uninterrupted years with tens of thousands of Western soldiers based on its territory, where they appear set to remain indefinitely, this is a suitable time to reflect on the nature of the relationship between the country and the West – which is very far from that of equal sovereign powers with shared goals and ideals. Evidence for this has ranged from massive involvement of American intelligence in the political process, including funding pro-Western political parties and supporting their election campaigns,[2] to the testimonies of multiple officials. Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, for example, noted regarding his country’s inability to reach a deal with Russia over the Kuril Islands due to an effective American veto over all major foreign policy decisions: “I think it represents a big problem that when making foreign policy decisions, Tokyo is always guided by the United States’ approach. Japan depends on America.” He further stated: “The Japanese media and government… always take America’s side. Tokyo is dependent on the US’ views … Japan will continue to side with America and the G7 countries.”[3] Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama, who in the 1950s had also sought to resolve the dispute with Moscow and sign a peace treaty on the basis that Japan would receive two of the four islands, was harshly threatened by the U.S. and was ultimately forced to concede to Washington’s demands not to go through with an agreement. Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori came to a similar conclusion regarding the country’s lack of effective sovereignty in an interview with Russian state media in 2018. [4]

Beyond these political indicators, however, are more human indicators of the nature of America’s place in post-war Japan which cannot be overlooked, and which contrast very strongly with portrayals in the vast majority of Western media including both documentaries and popular media. An extract from the book Power and Primacy, pages 66-69, given below, recently reached over 3 million viewers on social media and highlighted the true consequences for Japan’s population of subjugation by the United States. The full references are provided in the book itself. Perhaps most importantly, this is not presented as an isolated set of cases of U.S. and Western conduct towards an East Asian population placed under their power – rather it is part of a much wider trend which if anything was considerably more extreme in Vietnam and in both South and North Korea – the latter of which was briefly occupied by U.S. forces in 1950. An understanding of the past is key to comprehending the nature of Western involvement in the Asia-Pacific region today, which is why I found that this project was particularly essential now in light of the ‘Pivot to Asia,’ the North Korean nuclear crisis, the Trump administration’s recent ‘Tech War’ on China and other key events which have increasingly placed the region at the centre of determining the future of world order.

Text Start:

There was a far darker side to the U.S. and allied occupation of Japan, one which is little mentioned in the vast majority of histories – American or otherwise. When Japan surrendered in August 1945, mass rapes by occupying forces were expected… [despite setting up of a comfort women system which recruited or otherwise trafficked desperate women to brothels] such crimes were still common and several of them were extremely brutal and resulted in the deaths of the victims. Political science professor Eiji Takemae wrote regarding the conduct of American soldiers occupying Japan:

U.S. troops comported themselves like conquerors, especially in the early weeks and months of occupation. Misbehavior ranged from black-marketeering, petty theft, reckless driving and disorderly conduct to vandalism, assault, arson, murder and rape. Much of the violence was directed against women, the first attacks beginning within hours after the landing of advanced units. In Yokohama, China and elsewhere, soldiers and sailors broke the law with impunity, and incidents of robbery, rape and occasionally murder were widely reported in the press [which had not yet been censored by the U.S. military government]. When U.S. paratroopers landed in Sapporo an orgy of looting, sexual violence and drunken brawling ensued. Gang rapes and other sex atrocities were not infrequent […] Military courts arrested relatively few soldiers for their offences and convicted even fewer, and restitution for the victims was rare. Japanese attempts at self-defense were punished severely. In the sole instance of self-help that General Eichberger records in his memoirs, when local residents formed a vigilante group and retaliated against off-duty GIs, the Eighth Army ordered armored vehicles in battle array into the streets and arrested the ringleaders, who received lengthy prison terms.’

The U.S. and Australian militaries did not maintain rule of law when it came to violations of Japanese women by their own forces, neither were the Japanese population allowed to do so themselves. Occupation forces could loot and rape as they pleased and were effectively above the law.

An example of such an incident was in April 1946, when approximately U.S. personnel in three trucks attacked the Nakamura Hospital in Omori district. The soldiers raped over 40 patients and 37 female staff. One woman who had given birth just two days prior had her child thrown on the floor and killed, and she was then raped as well. Male patients trying to protect the women were also killed. The following week several dozen U.S. military personnel cut the phone lines to a housing block in Nagoya and raped all the women they could capture there – including girls as young as ten years old and women as old as fifty-five.

Such behavior was far from unique to American soldiers. Australian forces conducted themselves in much the same way during their own deployment in Japan. As one Japanese witness testified: ‘As soon as Australian troops arrived in Kure in early 1946, they ‘dragged young women into their jeeps, took them to the mountain, and then raped them. I heard them screaming for help nearly every night.’ Such behavior was commonplace, but news of criminal activity by Occupation forces was quickly suppressed.

Australian officer Allan Clifton recalled his own experience of the sexual violence committed in Japan:

‘I stood beside a bed in hospital. On it lay a girl, unconscious, her long, black hair in wild tumult on the pillow. A doctor and two nurses were working to revive her. An hour before she had been raped by twenty soldiers. We found her where they had left her, on a piece of waste land. The hospital was in Hiroshima. The girl was Japanese. The soldiers were Australians. The moaning and wailing had ceased and she was quiet now. The tortured tension on her face had slipped away, and the soft brown skin was smooth and unwrinkled, stained with tears like the face of a child that has cried herself to sleep.’

Australians committing such crimes in Japan were, when discovered, given very minor sentences. Even these were most often later mitigated or quashed by Australian courts. Clifton recounted one such event himself, when an Australian court quashed a sentence given by a military court martial citing ‘insufficient evidence,’ despite the incident having several witnesses. It was clear that courts overseeing Western occupation forces took measures to protect their own from crimes committed against the Japanese – crimes which were largely regarded as just access to ‘spoils of war’ at the time by the Western occupiers.

As had been the case during the war, underreporting of rapes in peace- time due to the associated shame in a traditional society and inaction on the part of authorities (rapes in both cases occurred when Western militaries were themselves in power) would lower the figures significantly. In order to prevent ill feeling towards their occupation from increasing, the United States military government implemented very strict censorship of the media. Mention of crimes committed by Western military personnel against Japanese civilians was strictly forbidden. The occupying forces ‘issued press and pre-censorship codes outlawing the publication of all reports and statistics “inimical to the objectives of the Occupation.”’ When a few weeks into the occupation Japanese press mentioned the rape and widespread looting by American soldiers, the occupying forces quickly responded by censoring all media and imposing a zero tolerance policy against the reporting of such crimes. It was not only the crimes committed by Western forces, but any criticism of the Western allied powers whatsoever which was strictly forbidden during the occupation period – for over six years. This left the U.S. military government, the supreme authority in the country, beyond accountability. Topics such as the establishment of comfort stations and encouragement of vulnerable women into the sex trade, critical analysis of the black market, the population’s starvation level calorie intakes and even references to the Great Depression’s impact on Western economies, anti-colonialism, pan-Asianism and emerging Cold War tensions were all off limits.

What was particularly notable about the censorship imposed under American occupation was that it was intended to conceal its own existence. This meant that not only were certain subjects strictly off limits, but the mention of censorship was also forbidden. As Columbia University Professor Donald Keene noted: ‘the Occupation censorship was even more exasperating than Japanese military censorship had been because it insisted that all traces of censorship be concealed. This meant that articles had to be rewritten in full, rather than merely submitting XXs for the offending phrases.’ For the U.S. military government it was essential not only to control information – but also to give the illusion of a free press when the press was in fact more restricted than it had been even in wartime under imperial rule.

By going one step further to censor even the mention of censorship itself, the United States could claim to stand for freedom of press and freedom of expression. By controlling the media the American military government could attempt to foster goodwill among the Japanese people while making crimes committed by their personnel and those of their allies appear as isolated incidents. While the brutality of American and Australian militaries against Japanese civilians was evident during the war and in its immediate aftermath, it did not end with occupation. The United States has maintained a significant military presence in Japan ever since and crimes including sexual violence and murder against Japanese civilians continue to occur.”

Text End

For Full Manuscript of Power and Primacy


For A. B. Abrams’ upcoming work, scheduled for publication in October 2018, titled Immovable Object: North Koreans 70 Years at War with American Power:

  1. ‘Indonesia’s killing fields,’ Al Jazeera, December 21, 2012. ‘Looking into the massacres of Indonesia’s past,’ BBC, June 2, 2016.
  2. Weiner, Time, ‘C. I. A. Spent Millions to Support Japanese Right in 50’s and 60’s,’ New York Times, October 9, 1994.
  3. ‘Stationing American troops in Japan will lead to bloody tragedy – ex-PM of Japan,’ RT, (televised interview), November 6, 2016.
  4. ‘Ex-Japan FM: I Told Putin We Follow U.S. Policy as We’re Surrounded by Nuke States,’ Sputnik, May 22, 2018.

August 24, 2020 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Sudan parties reject normalising ties with Israel

MEMO | August 24, 2020

Sudan’s Ba’ath and Popular Congress parties have rejected any attempt to normalise ties with Israel, considering it an occupation power in Palestine, Quds Press reported yesterday.

Both parties said in a joint statement issued on Saturday that “Israel is an occupation state that occupies beloved Palestine.”

They stressed that “it is impossible and it is not right to normalise relations with the Israeli occupation state.”

Meanwhile, the Sudanese Communist party declared its opposition to the normalisation of ties with Israel, reiterating its support for Palestinian rights and principles.

These statements came following remarks made by the former spokesman of the Sudanese Exterior Ministry Haidar Badawi who said that his country is looking forward to normalising ties with Israel.

The ministry denied his remarks and sacked him.

However, the Deputy Head of Sudan Sovereignty Council Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo has recently met with a senior Israeli official in the UAE and discussed promoting his country’s relations with Israel.

 This comes just weeks after US President Donald Trump announced a peace deal between the UAE and Israel brokered by Washington.

Abu Dhabi said the deal was an effort to stave off Tel Aviv’s planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, however, opponents believe normalisation efforts have been in the offing for many years as Israeli officials have made official visits to the UAE and attended conferences in the country which had no diplomatic or other ties with the occupation state.

Netanyahu repeated on 17 August that annexation is not off the table, but has simply been delayed.

READ ALSO: Sudan’s foreign policy is in question following the revelation of secret talks with Israel

August 24, 2020 Posted by | Zionism | , | 1 Comment

Despite threats, the U.S. will not sanction India over its relations with Russia

By Paul Antonopoulos | August 24, 2020

After Russia, the U.S. is the second largest arms exporter to India. As a major Washington defense partner, New Delhi signed two $3.5 billion arms purchase agreements earlier this year. However, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Clarke Cooper reiterated Washington’s supposed dismay over India’s military purchases from Russia. Issuing a warning, he said that significant purchases of Russian weapons, such as anti-aircraft systems or advanced fighter jets, “risk future opportunities that may be impeded by significant Russian defense articles.”

Although he said that Washington recognizes “the historic legacy sustainment line that New Delhi had with Moscow and that, to use a metaphor, it’s not a light switch to turn on or off,” and that they do not want “to put at risk India’s sovereignty or India’s national defense as there’s a maturation toward future modernization of their systems,” he said “there is a risk when significant Russian systems are brought forth that put at risk interoperability with not only the United States, but with other partners that India may be seeking to work with that are either of NATO status or NATO-aligned. And then there’s also the risk of potential exploitation of technology when we’re looking at significant Russian platforms.”

Despite U.S. threats, India last month approved the purchase of 21 MiG-29 and 12 Su-30MKI fighters for a total value of more than $2.5 billion from Russia, with Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh urging for the delivery of the S-400 anti-aircraft defense systems as soon as possible.

However, it is unlikely that Washington will choose to sanction India for purchasing Russian weapons. Former financial adviser to the Indian Ministry of Defense, Amit Cowshish highlights that imposing sanctions on New Delhi will only hurt Washington’s own interests since the South Asian country is one of the largest markets in the world. Cowshish stressed that if the Trump administration moves ahead with sanctions, India will say it cannot buy U.S. equipment, which will hurt its own military industry as it loses a major market.

According to a Stimson Center working paper by Sameer Lalwani, India’s defense equipment is overwhelmingly Russian – 90% of the Army, 41% of the Navy and two-thirds of the Air Force.

“India’s share of Russian systems has grown, not decreased, because of Indian Army acquisitions. While India’s naval and air forces are decreasing their quantitative reliance on Russian arms, their most advanced or offensive capabilities still originate from Russia,” Lalwani wrote. “While the United States treats Russia as an equally revisionist threat to the global order as China, India sees Russia as a partner to ensure a multipolar balance of power, and a hedge against a potential Sino-Russian bloc.”

As India is the key player in the Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS), it is unlikely Washington is willing to antagonize New Delhi so quickly. The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled the IPS report in June 2019. It demanded that India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines and Thailand serve Washington’s interests in Asia-Pacific because “these alliances are indispensable to peace and security in the region and our investments in them will continue to pay dividends for the United States and the world, far into the future.” Effectively, the IPS is the U.S.’ strategy to attempt to maintain its unilateral hegemony in Asia-Pacific, and India has a key role in this vision.

The IPS is directly aimed against China, and not Russia, and it is for this reason that although New Delhi may be willing to oppose Beijing within limits, it is highly unlikely that India will want to sever its long relationship with Moscow on Washington’s demand. It is likely that the comments by Cooper, despite being a high official, do not reflect on Washington’s real demands and expectations of New Delhi. Although Washington would want India to stop its relations with Moscow, the Americans know this is not possible and recognize that for now Russia has very limited influence in the Indo-Pacific region. It is for this reason that New Delhi’s relations with Moscow can for now be tolerated by Washington so long as they remain in opposition to China. It is also for this reason that it is unlikely Washington will sanction India over its procurement of Russian-made weapons.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

August 24, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

German government says there’s ‘a certain probability’ that Moscow protest leader Navalny was poisoned, as tests continue

RT | August 24, 2020

A spokesman for the German government said on Monday that Berlin believes there’s a ‘certain probability’ that Russian anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny was poisoned and that he requires personal protection.

“We are dealing with a patient where there is a certain probability that he was poisoned,” Steffan Seibert told a press conference on Monday morning. On this basis, Berlin is convinced that Navalny needs to be protected, he explained.

However, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas sounded a note of caution, warning that it’s necessary to wait for a statement by the doctors treating him before making judgements. Maas added that many facts relevant to the case are still missing.

“I am one of those people who bases my views on facts,” Mass said during a news conference. “Many facts are missing in the case of Navalny: medical and also likely criminological. We must wait for those (facts).”

Navalny became ill during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow last Thursday. His plane made an emergency landing, and the protest leader was taken to a hospital in Omsk in a serious condition. He was placed in an induced coma and connected to a ventilator.

His associates believe that he was poisoned, but Russian doctors claim that two different laboratories found no poisons in his system. German doctors are expected to talk about his condition later on Monday. He was airlifted to Berlin on Saturday.

Russian Doctors Deny Navalny Had Traces, Symptoms of Cholinesterase Inhibitors Poisoning

Russian Doctors Deny Navalny Had Traces, Symptoms of Cholinesterase Inhibitors Poisoning

Sputnik – 24.08.2020

Earlier, the doctors treating Navalny in the Berlin-based Charite clinic said they had found in his body traces of intoxication with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. However, the exact substance is still unknown, the press service of the clinic added.

Tests of Alexey Navalny’s samples at the Omsk hospital in Russia showed no traces of poisoning with cholinesterase inhibitors substances, as German doctors treating him have claimed, neither has he had symptoms typical of such poisoning, Omsk Chief Toxicologist Alexander Sabayev said on Monday.

“Upon his admission to the [Omsk] hospital, Alexey Navalny was tested on a wide range of narcotics, synthetic substances, psychedelics and medicinal substances, including cholinesterase inhibitors — all tests came back negative,” Sabayev said in a press statement, as quoted by the Omsk Ministry of Health.

“Additionally, Navalny lacked symptoms specific of the poisoning with cholinesterase inhibitors substances. As we said earlier, we are ready to share Alexey Navalny’s samples with our German colleagues for examination,” the health official added.

Earlier in the day, the doctors treating Navalny in the Berlin-based Charite hospital claimed they found traces of intoxication with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors in his body.

The version of German doctors on the diagnosis of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny was worked out by Russian specialists on the very first day, but it did not find confirmation, the head of anesthesiology and reanimation department at Russia’s Pirogov Center, Boris Teplykh, said.

“For me, nothing new has yet been announced in the statement of colleagues from Charite. They talk about clinical data showing intoxication with cholinesterase inhibitors,” the doctor said.

“Well, firstly, they speak about clinical data, and not about the substance itself, which neither we nor, apparently, they have discovered at the moment. The same version was worked out by us on the first day of the patient’s admission, but no confirmation was found,” Teplykh said.

He added that Navalny was injected with Atropine, which was prescribed by German colleagues for treatment, from the first minute after admission. And subsequently, the need for its repeated injection was discussed, Teplykh said.

“In addition, the presence of such a chemical reaction in the body is possible both as a result of the use of other medications and in the natural course of the disease,” he said.

At the same time, the expert stressed that the main thing is that “the patient did not get any worse as a result of transportation.”

“Let’s hope that the improvement of the patient’s condition, which was observed back in Omsk, will continue. We are ready to interact with German colleagues,” he said.

August 24, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | 1 Comment

USA’s Militarization of Latin America

By Yanis Iqbal | Dissident Voice | August 24, 2020

Maj. Gen. Andrew Croft, the commander of 12th Air Force, wrote on 22 August: “I have seen an increasingly contested strategic space where Beijing and Moscow are aggressively investing time and resources in Latin America to support their authoritarian models of governance. The Air Force must reinforce the strength of our longstanding commitment to the Western Hemisphere. We lose ground when we are unable to commit to spending the time and resources to fly our aircraft south and train alongside our partners.”

Croft’s statement reflects the growing American hysteria against the presence of any extra-regional actors in the Latin American continent. For US policy-makers, Latin America is not an aggregation of sovereign nations but a large lump of subordinated states constituting “America’s backyard”. Consequently, this conceptualization of Latin America as a natural extension of the American empire has led to viewing the engagement of any South American country with China, Russia and Iran as a “threat” to peace and security.

On February 7, 2019, Admiral Craig S. Faller – the commander of the United States Southern Command – told the Congress that the Western Hemisphere is facing “a troubling array of challenges and threats”. These threats included alarmist assertions about the growing dominance of China, Russia and Iran and a general demonization of the socialist governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua:

“China has accelerated expansion of its Belt and Road Initiative at a pace that may one day overshadow its expansion in Southeast Asia and Africa. Russia supports multiple information outlets spreading its false narrative of world events and U.S. intentions. Iran has deepened its anti-U.S. Spanish language media coverage and has exported its state support for terrorism into our hemisphere. Russia and China also support the autocratic regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, which are counter to democracy and U.S. interests. We are monitoring the latest events in Venezuela and look forward to welcoming that country back into the hemisphere’s community of democracies.”

In response to the perceived threats posed by the China-Russia-Iran nexus, the Secretary of Defense has decided to conduct an assessment of the sufficiency of resources available to the U.S. Southern Command, the U.S. Northern Command, the Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to carry out their respective missions in the Western Hemisphere. This assessment is required to include “a list of investments, programs, or partnerships in the Western Hemisphere by China, Iran, Russia, or other adversarial groups or countries that threaten the national security of the United States.”

In addition to warlike preparations, USA has also pursued a policy of increased militarization wherein it has tried to ensure “technological superiority” with regard to “anti-US actors”. In March, 2020, USA decided to send additional ships, aircraft and forces to South America and Central America in order to combat the influence of Russia and China. According to Navy Adm. Craig Faller, commander of Southern Command, “This really was born out of a recognition of the threats in the region,”. Along with the mobilization of the Southern Command, USA has substantially enlarged its security aid to Latin America: From $527,706,000 in 2019, US security aid to Latin America has increased by 10% to $581,270,000.

Chinese Footprint

The present-day US militarization of Latin America is rhetorically driven by an imperialist discourse framing the continent as a possession of the American empire which China, Russia and Iran are trying to appropriate. To take an example, R. Evan Ellis, a Latin America Research Professor at the US Army War College, stated before the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission that China’s engagement with Latin America “threatens the position of the United States, our security and prosperity, and the democratic values, rights, institutions and laws on which we depend.” To substantiate his statements, Ellis enunciated various strategies through which China is undermining USA’s dominance:

  • “Trade with, loans to, investment in, and other forms of economic and other support to anti-US regimes, indirectly enabling their criminal activities and contributions to regional instability”.
  • “Through providing an alternative to commerce, loans and investment from the West, making governments of the region less inclined to support the US on political, commercial, or security issues, or to stand up for rule of law, democracy or human rights, particularly where it might offend the PRC;”

In both these points, one can observe the imperialistic high-handedness with which Ellis is declaiming his pro-US rhetoric. While Beijing’s efforts to engage with sovereign nations and construct an alternative to the global American empire are regarded as enabling “regional instability”, no questions are asked about USA’s expansionist quest to imperialize the entire world through militaristic tactics.

In order to vilify China and smear its non-aggressive foreign policy, hawkish security experts have framed the country’s diplomatic involvement with various Latin American nations as a type of authoritarian tactic. Using this line of reasoning, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) writes: “Beijing has now officially established its own version of soft power… which emanates from its undemocratic system and rests on its ability to shape the viewpoints of others through co-optation and persuasion.” Not having any empirical evidence to prove its unconvincing statements, NED talks vaguely about the “hypnotic effects” exercised by “Chinese-style warm welcome”: “The Chinese-style warm welcome, the carefully selected tours that include visits to sites with symbolic historical and cultural significance, and ad hoc friendly discourse delivered by the Chinese hosts can have hypnotic effects on their foreign guests.” This is an indication of the extent to which America hysteria against China can reach.

In the same way as NED, the Brookings Institution has also tried to slander China’s diplomatic initiatives in Latin America to preserve the coercive dominance of USA in the continent. As per the think tank, “it would be fair to assume that China’s growing economic power and ambitions of global leadership, coupled with its inherently closed and repressive model of political control, will hurt the region’s prospects for strengthening its liberal democratic systems and respect for human rights.” While saying this, the Brooking Institution conveniently forgets that it the US, with its Western-styled liberal democracy, that has hurt the region most in the form of coups, violence and overt brutality against social movements. Most recently, a US-backed coup in Bolivia has resulted in two massacres and massive repression of social movements.

The Iranian Connection

Like China, Iran, too, experiences American hostility towards its engagement with Latin American countries. Lieutenant Andrew Kramer of the U.S. Navy terms Iranian support for the “economically backward governments” of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela as efforts “to maintain pockets of instability and hostility close to U.S. borders.” Echoing this perspective, William Preston McLaughlin, a Colonel (Ret.) of U.S. Marine Corps and Magdalena Defort, an Intern Analyst at the Foundation of Defense of Democracies, argue that “Iran’s presence in Latin America is an imminent threat to peace and political stability in the Western Hemisphere because its forces interact with Latin America’s deeply rooted revolutionary ideology and various well-intentioned but flawed “liberation theology” social movements.” Here, both of the analysts are merely parroting the imperialist “Monroe Doctrine” that subverted the sovereignty of Latin American nations and tethered the people of the continent to the whims of the American empire. Through the Monroe Doctrine, USA relegated the entire Latin American continent to the status of the empire’s handmaiden and constantly used its military muscles to overpower any regional initiatives challenging the dynamics of subjugation. Now, when Iran is lending support to the anti-imperialist administrations of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, it has come under the radar of USA for ostensibly destroying peace and political stability in the Western Hemisphere. In August 2020, for instance, USA confiscated four Iranian fuel shipments that had been bound for Venezuela, making it clear that it would not tolerate anti-imperialist opposition in Latin America.

In addition to portraying Iran as a threat to global peace, both the analysts also used a shrill, scaremongering rhetoric to over-exaggerate the strength of the country. According to the analysts, “Iran has used every agency within its borders to help extend Iranian tentacles into the political, cultural, economic, and military life of Latin America.” This bears striking resemblance to the traditional war-mongering US narrative that frames Hezbollah as a menace to justify the militarizary raising funds, seeking recruits, probing for our weaknesses and challenging our defenses,”. Through these discourses, USA seeks to unleash a new war against the anti-imperialist axis of Latin America which is standing up to militaristic predatoriness of the global hegemon.

Russian Presence

Besides Iran and China, Russia is another nation perceived as a “threat” to US security. General John Kelly, commander of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) noted in his Congressional testimony, “it has been over three decades since we last saw this type of high-profile Russian presence” in Latin America. In his command’s 2015 Posture Statement, Kelly added:

“Periodically since 2008, Russia has pursued an increased presence in Latin America through propaganda, military arms and equipment sales, counterdrug agreements, and trade. Under President Putin, however, we have seen a clear return to Cold War tactics. As part of its global strategy, Russia is using power projection in an attempt to erode U.S. leadership and challenge U.S. influence in the Western Hemisphere.”

John Kelly’s representation of Russia as a military threat has been repeated by the Commander of US Southern Command, Admiral Kurt W. Tidd who said in his February 2018 Posture Statement to the US Senate Armed Services Committee that:

“Russia’s increased role in our hemisphere is particularly concerning, given its intelligence and cyber capabilities, intent to upend international stability and order, and discredit democratic institutions… Left unchecked, Russian access and placement could eventually transition from a regional spoiler to a critical threat to the U.S. homeland.”

With the help this narrative, USA has aggressively pushed forward the agenda of greater militarism in Latin America as it strives to maintain “technological superiority” in relation to Russia and expand its already large military expenditure.

On top of depicting Russia as a military threat, US analysts have additionally portrayed the country’s support of socialist governments in Latin America as a danger to the economically empty liberal democracies of the West. According to IBI Consultants, a National Security consulting company specializing in Latin America, Russia’s growing presence in Latin America “is now an integral part of an alliance of state and nonstate actors that have shown their hostility toward the United States in their ideology, criminalized behavior, and anti-democratic nature.” Reiterating this point, on July 9, 2019, Admiral Faller declared before the Congress that “Russia seeks to sow disunity and distrust, propping up autocratic regimes in Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, which are counter to democracy and U.S. interests.” For Faller, those nations which don’t doggedly toe America’s imperialist line automatically become “threats” to democracy and if Russia shows solidarity with these anti-imperialist nations, it, too, classifies as a threat to US interests.

As the USA continues to militarize Latin America, it is increasingly becoming clear that it wants to protect its old, imperial structures from being challenged by anyone. It has been explicitly acknowledged even by pro-US analysts such as Ellis that US military assistance in Latin America “potentially serves U.S. strategic interests by helping to inoculate receiving states against radical or anti-democratic [read “socialist”] solutions which find receptivity when populations lose faith in the ability of a democratic political system and a free market economy to effectively address the corruption, inequality, injustice, and other dysfunctionalities plaguing their country [Emphasis mine].” US military assistance, therefore, is not apolitical and is ideologically tarnished with the objectives of stabilizing free market economies-bourgeoisie democracies and subverting socialist countries.

The United States Intelligence Community’s assessment of threats to US national security had stated in 2019 that “anti-US autocrats [in the Western Hemisphere]will present continuing challenges to US interests, as US adversaries and strategic competitors seek greater influence in the region.” Here, “anti-US autocrats” refers to the socialist administrations of three Latin American countries: Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. These three countries have been facing strong US belligerence for their anti-imperialist stance. US sanctions against Cuba have tightened during the pandemic; USA’s hybrid war against Venezuela has intensified as Trump has decided to use frozen funds to topple Nicolas Maduro and USAID (United States Agency for International Development) has strengthened its regime change operations against the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. Due to the support lent by China, Russia and Iran to the socialist governments of Latin America, USA has decided to eradicate these extra-regional actors from its “own” backyard and re-proclaim a complete American dominance in the region. In times like these, the international community needs to oppose the militarism of USA against new regional alliances in Latin America.

Yanis Iqbal is a student and freelance writer based in Aligarh, India.

August 24, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey’s Erdogan Cuts off Water to One Million Syrian Civilians in the Blazing Summer Heat

By Steven Sahiounie | Mideast Discourse | August 24 ,2020

Turkish President Erdogan has sought to create an image for himself as the champion of religion. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) also tried to claim they were following a religion, yet both used water as a weapon of war.

Water in Islam

Turkey is almost 100% Muslim and has made world headlines converting Christian cathedrals into Mosques. Turkish President Erdogan has been converting a secular democracy in Turkey, founded by Ataturk, into a Muslim Brotherhood haven, which follows Radical Islam as a political ideology, which is the same ideology as ISIS.

Water in Islam is considered as a gift from God, belonging to all equally, which has to be distributed equally among all living beings, humans, animals, and plant life, according to Cherif Abderrahman Jah, an Islamic academic and humanist.

The ISIS terrorists have often used water as a weapon of war in Iraq and Syria by cutting off supplies to villages that resisted their rule and as a tool to expand their control over the region’s water infrastructure.

They wanted to seize the water to prove they were building an actual state. In 2014 ISIS besieged the Syrian town of Kobane to secure a piece of the border with Turkey.

6 years later, 2020, the same scenario plays out, and in the same area, but ISIS has been defeated, and the Erdogan regime in Turkey has taken their place. Many experts feel ISIS and Turkey have been connected in their use of Radical Islam as a political tool, devoid of any connection to Islam, which is a religion.

ISIS was using water as a weapon, according to Tobias von Lossow of Berlin’s Institute for International and Security Affairs. He said, “IS uses water systematically and consistently. IS uses the entire range of possibilities and variations of water warfare.”

Death without water

A person can survive without water for about 3 days; however, a person living in a very hot climate will sweat, causing them to lose more water, which leads to dehydration, causing extreme thirst, fatigue, and ultimately, organ failure and death. A person living in a hot place, like Hasaka, and having to perform laborious activities such as taking care of animals, or small children, could die in only a few days without water.

The role of the SAR in the crisis

Friday marked the ninth consecutive day without water in Hasaka.  The Turkish occupation forces, and their Radical mercenaries, are endangering the lives of more than a million civilians.

The SAR water authorities continue to try to provide clean drinking water, with cooperation from the Hasaka City Council and civil society groups, who used many water tankers to provide the locals with drinking water from Nafasha and al Himah Water Projects.

Chairman of Hasaka City Council Adnan Khajou, said that the daily quantity of water to be transported is 300,00 liters, which came from shallow wells dug by the locals, but is not drinkable and used only for cleaning.

The Turkish Army of occupation and its terrorist mercenaries in Ras-al-Ayn countryside continue to stop the operation of Alouk water project and to cut off the drinking water from Hasaka city, threatening one million persons with thirst and causing them to suffer from the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

General Director of Hasaka Water Establishment Mahmoud Ukla said that since the Alouk Water Station was shut off by the Erdogan regime army, and their mercenaries, the summer temperatures have soared and water demand has increased, with the devastating additional threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, which needs water for hygiene.

Aziz Michael, geologist and water specialist, said that the Alouk water station is essential for water and it should be reopened.

The role of Turkey in the crisis

Turkey has a long history of using water as a weapon of war in Syria. In 1998 Erdogan had threatened to shut off water to Syria, which brought the two countries close to military conflict.

In May the water supply to 460,000 civilians in northeastern Syria was cut off by Turkey for the sixth time.

Syrian Observatory activists have reported Friday that residents have been protesting in Ras al-Ain, which is under Turkish Army occupation, and were calling for water, and electricity to be restored.

The role of the UN 

On Friday, Ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari, Syria’s Permanent Representative at the UN, called on the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to intervene immediately and to exert all his efforts to stop the Erdogan regime’s crime of cutting off drinking water for nearly one million Syrian citizens in Hasaka. In the phone call between al-Jaafari and Guterres, the Ambassador stressed that the Turkish aggression constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity.

He said that the situation caused by this crime is exacerbated by hot weather and the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guterres said that he has tasked the UN team in Syria and his Special Envoy Geir Pedersen with taking steps to address this matter, resolve it urgently, and deliver humanitarian aid to affected people. He said he will exert his best efforts by contacting the Turkish government to put pressure and resolve this matter.

Guterres has asked Pedersen to meet the representatives of the US, Russia, and Turkey in Geneva on Monday, as the committee for drafting a new Syrian constitution meets, which is part of the UN 2254 resolution which will pave the way to a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict.

The SAR and AANES (Autonomous Administration of North and East of Syria)

The Northeast section of Syria is split by various groups. The SAR based in Damascus controls areas, and has forces, checkpoints, and provides free health care and education to those areas it controls. The AANES is a separate group of Kurds, following a communist political platform, and they have become known to foreigners as “Rojava”. They have a military wing, the SDF, which was aligned with the terrorist group PKK, and they were in a coalition with the US military, who are now illegally occupying parts of the region while tasked with stealing Syrian oil by the Trump regime.

Covid-19 danger

“Turkish authorities’ failure to ensure adequate water supplies to Kurdish-held areas in Northeast Syria is compromising humanitarian agencies’ ability to prepare and protect vulnerable communities in the COVID-19 pandemic,” Human Rights Watch said in a report published late March.

What is the solution?

The Kurdish leaders of the ‘Rojava’ area, and the central government of the SAR in Damascus, are in complete agreement that the solution of the water crisis in Hasaka must be the removal of all Turkish occupation forces, and their Radical terrorist mercenaries. The SAR is a secular government, and this is what the Kurdish leadership of ‘Rojava’ also claim as a core value of their administration. With so much in common, and both ‘Rojava’ and the SAR facing the same enemy, Turkey, and the possible resurgence of ISIS, it appears they may soon form renewed cooperation to re-take the land from occupation forces and defend the borders from all enemies.

Steven Sahiounie began writing political analysis and commentary during the Syrian war, which began in March 2011. He has published several articles, and has been affiliated with numerous media. He has been interviewed by US, Canadian and German media.

August 24, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Alliance between Venezuela and Iran evolves into the military sphere

By Lucas Leiroz | August 24, 2020

The alliance between Venezuela and Iran seems to be taking new directions. The ties between the two countries began to strengthen in an economic sphere when, in the first half of 2020, Tehran started sending oil ships to Venezuela, circumventing the international trade rules imposed by Washington with the aim of blocking Caracas economically. Earlier this year, Tehran sent several cargoes of gasoline to Venezuela to help the South American country overcome fuel shortages, as well as equipment to help state oil company PDVSA overcome production and export difficulties during the crisis.

The presence of Iranian ships on the Venezuelan coast has been a real affront to the United States, which has always played a role of naval hegemony in the Caribbean. Recently, the United States claimed to have seized four ships carrying Iranian gasoline en route to Venezuela, prompting Washington to tighten sanctions on both countries. But the US was unable to contain the Iranian advance and now the alliance between Caracas and Tehran has advanced into a military step.

Recently, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro thanked Iran for helping the South American country overcome US sanctions on its oil industry. At the time, he said that Iran is helping to maintain all Venezuelan national governance but did not elaborate on how this cooperation was taking place. He said it was important to maintain secrecy on the topic because of the economic boycott imposed by the US – which he called a “brutal war”. However, Colombian President Iván Duque said last week that Maduro was interested in buying missiles from Iran, which Venezuelan officials denied, but later Maduro responded that Duke’s statement was a “good idea” and that he had not yet considered it .

Shortly thereafter, Maduro confirmed his interest in buying Iranian weapons. According to the Venezuelan president, Iran, possessing advanced military technology, can be a great partner of the South American country in case of possible attacks by the US. According to Maduro, buying Iranian missiles was not in his plans until the moment that Iván Duque gave him this idea by accusing him in a condemning tone of being acquiring such equipment.

“With Iran having tremendous military technology, buying short, medium and long-range rockets and missiles from Iran to defend against imperialist threats seemed like a good idea, [so] I gave the order to Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino to evaluate all potentialities and possibilities, and if it is possible and convenient, we will buy these missiles at the right time”, said Maduro in an interview with the state television channel” Venezolana de Televisión”. According to the Venezuelan president, the Duke’s pronouncement was intended to attack Venezuela to take international attention away from Colombia’s national problems, such as the massacres and murders perpetrated by drug trafficking militias and the great social crisis generated by the new coronavirus, however, it ended up arousing the Venezuelan government’s interest in buying such Iranian missiles.

Now, it seems that the possibility of buying Iranian missiles is being evaluated by Vladimir Padrino, leader of the Venezuelan Defense, and there is a great likelihood for the negotiations to be concluded, considering that there is a willingness on both sides for international cooperation since they have a common enemy. Looking at the case from a realistic point of view, it is very unlikely that negotiations between Iran and Venezuela started due to Iván Duque’s pronouncement. Both countries were probably already discreetly maintaining this dialogue and the accusatory and condemnatory pronouncement served only as an opportunity to make the news public. In fact, it seems that Duque’s words were a flawed blow: Venezuela was expected to deny the accusations and thus create a scenario of tensions and uncertainties, but, contrary to what was predicted by the Colombia-US coalition, Venezuela has made public its intention to acquire the missiles and now the alliance is almost official.

If the missiles are bought by Caracas, this will be a major blow to the American presence in South America and, at the same time, a major milestone for Iranian international projections. The most important thing to note is that this agreement has a much deeper dimension than mere military trade: everything indicates that it will only be the first step in a major military alliance. Venezuela will have its defense system strengthened and will guarantee greater security against possible attacks by both Americans and Colombians. Likewise, in a possible war against Washington, Iran will have the definitive support of Venezuela – a strategically well located ally, with its coastline pointing to the Caribbean Sea, an important area of ​​American influence.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

August 24, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 1 Comment