Aletho News


US forces ‘transporting by choppers’ Daesh terrorists in Afghanistan: Taliban

Press TV – February 1, 2021

The Taliban says the US occupation forces in Afghanistan are engaged in “transporting by their choppers” members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the war-torn country’s east.

Senior members of a Taliban delegation, who are on an official visit to Iran for talks on the Afghan peace process and relevant topics, made the assertion in a news conference in Tehran on Monday, saying that the US forces in Afghanistan are assisting the Daesh terrorists to escape the areas that are coming under the Taliban control.

“Daesh were in Nangarhar and Kunar; they existed in those areas. They were eliminated by the Taliban there but their members were transferred by choppers,” Suhail Shaheen, a negotiating member of the Taliban told reporters, adding, “When the Taliban laid a siege on them, we saw that only American choppers could fly as the Afghan airspace is fully under the control of Americans.”

The senior Taliban member also referred to the escalation of violence in Afghanistan after the US-Taliban deal last February and said the US forces were to blame as they defaulted on their obligation to end their occupation and resumed the assault.

“After the signing of the agreement, we gave a chance to the Americans to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan and we were committed not to launch any attacks, so if they terminated the occupation we were committed to refrain from any assaults or attacks so it would pave the way for intra-Afghan talks but unfortunately new attacks were launched against us and we were forced to defend ourselves and they even tried to capture our region and they conducted nightly attacks,” he said.

“We have no access to the media but they have. They attribute violence to us and that is not true. They start the violence. They start the violent action and that’s still continuing.”

During the news conference, the Taliban negotiator said the group was after an “inclusive system and establishment” in Afghanistan and not after “monopolizing power,” adding that they would reconsider the agreement with US ‎if foreign forces failed to withdraw from Afghanistan.

“We have resisted the occupation of Afghanistan for 20 years and we will continue resistance against occupation if foreign forces remain in the country,” the senior Taliban member said.

Last week, the Taliban political delegation arrived in Tehran at the invitation of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, the latest of such visits that have been paid several times over the past months.

Iran strongly supports the realization of peace and stability in Afghanistan, which has been embroiled in decades of militancy fueled by foreign military intervention.

The intra-Afghan talks started after the United States agreed to withdraw 12,000 US troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban’s halting of their attacks on international forces under a deal between the two sides in February 2020.

The deal was intended to result in the reduction of bloodshed, but violence continues to take a heavy toll on the country.

In recent months, deadly attacks and high-profile assassinations have seen a rise in Afghanistan. The Taliban have denied responsibility for the killings, but Afghan and US officials have pinned the blame on the group.

Despite the ongoing talks between Kabul and the Taliban, the administration of US President Joe Biden has said it would review the peace deal reached last year.

The US first invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the banner of fighting “terrorism.” The invasion toppled the Taliban, but the group has never stopped its attacks, citing the foreign military presence as one of the main reasons behind its continued militancy.

Since the US invasion of Afghanistan, Washington has spent more than two trillion dollars for the war on the impoverished country, according to some estimates. Over 2,400 US soldiers and tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed.

February 1, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , | 1 Comment

Top Navalny aide asked alleged British spy for millions in funding: intelligence video released by Russia’s FSB

RT | February 1, 2021

Surveillance footage, recorded in the early 2010s, appears to show a close associate of Alexey Navalny seeking cash and intelligence from an alleged British spy and suggesting his anti-corruption work may benefit firms in London.

The tape, which was first reported by RT television on Monday, is said to have been filmed by the Federal Security Service (FSB) sometime in 2012 and allegedly shows a meeting between Vladimir Ashurkov and an employee of the British Embassy in Moscow. Ashurkov is the executive director of the FBK, Alexey Navalny’s anti-corruption organization.

The person he met at a Moscow cafe was identified as James William Thomas Ford, then Second Secretary for political affairs of the UK embassy in Russia. The FSB suspected he was an MI6 agent working under diplomatic cover. The discussion presents problematic optics for Navalny and the FBK team, and appears to support the Russian government’s claim that they deserve to be considered foreign agents.

Part of Ashurkov’s pitch, recorded secretly by the security service, was dedicated to fundraising.

“If we had more money, we would expand our team, of course,” he said, adding that his goal of obtaining “a little money” like “10, 20 million dollars a year” would make a huge difference. “And this is not a big amount of money for people who have billions at stake. And that’s the message I am trying to project in my fundraising efforts and talking to people in the business community,” he said.

The FBK’s stated goal is to expose alleged cases of corruption in Russia. While it is essentially a type of journalistic organisation, its work is ultimately tied to Navalny’s aims of gaining political power. Ashurkov outlined the organization’s activities as “mass protests, civil initiatives, propaganda, establishing contacts with the elite and explain to them that we are reasonable people and we are not going to demolish everything and take away their assets.”

At the time of the meeting, Vladimir Putin had just returned to the Kremlin, and was taking a tougher line on foreign meddling in Russia’s domestic affairs. His predecessor, Dmitry Medvedev, had been more liberal and Western-leaning and Putin’s comeback was greeted negatively in the US and Britain.

In addition to explaining the FBK’s financial needs, Ashurkov said it could use information provided by the British government, particularly the Serious Fraud Office, for its exposés. The agency “has access to a lot of information that would not be available to us, from British sources” on certain Russian people. He named businessmen Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov, who both have assets in United Kingdom, as examples.

Other UK government agencies could have helped as well, the activist suggested, while London, in general, was “already taking a tougher stance towards Russia.”

The FBK’s activities would have benefited British business too, the activist said. “We will release a report on VTB bank [a major financial institution in Russia] in association with Henry Jackson society [a neo-conservative lobby group with an avowed anti-Russian agenda] in London,” he said. Allegations of corruption involving one of the largest Russian banks would “make the case that it represents a threat to European financial markets and their integrity because it is a significant player in Europe.”

“And they make it more difficult for British firms like Lloyds or RBS or other big banks like Barclays to compete.”

The British diplomat did not commit to helping FBK during the conversation, citing the Russian legislation on foreign agents that was primed to come into force in November 2012. But he suggested turning to Transparency International for grants. Ashurkov said he doubted working with Transparency “would be effective.”

Ashurkov is currently residing in the UK, having left Russia in 2014. In his home country, he is wanted on allegations of committing fraud to finance Navalny’s 2013 campaign for the office of the mayor of Moscow.

He was one of the witnesses invited by the British Parliament for its 2018 inquiry into alleged corruption in Russia. His name was also listed in the leaked documents of the Integrity Initiative, an apparent British state-run clandestine information warfare operation linking public figures to coordinate them in supporting London’s preferred narratives and political goals.

The year the tape was allegedly filmed is incidentally the same as when a British government official finally acknowledged that an infamous fake rock espionage incident in Russia was genuine. The scandal broke in 2006 and involved British diplomats using a WiFi device disguised as a rock to collect intelligence from sources in Russia.

“The spy rock was embarrassing,” Tony Blair’s chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, told the BBC at the time, adding that Moscow made its allegations public for political reasons. The purpose, the broadcaster suggested, was to justify the passage of the foreign agents law.

RT has reached out to Mr Ford, Mr Ashurkov, as well as the UK Foreign Office and UK Embassy in Moscow for their comment on the story, but has yet to hear back from any of them.

February 1, 2021 Posted by | Deception | , | Leave a comment

More Than Half Of Americans To Delay Having Covid Vaccine Or Refuse It

By Richie Allen | February 1, 2021

A Tracking Project by the not for profit Kaiser Family Foundation, has revealed that more than half of Americans are likely to delay having a Covid vaccine or refuse it altogether. According to the survey, only 41 per cent of those who took part said that they are eager to receive the shots as soon as possible. The study which was conducted in January, revealed that 31 per cent of those polled said they would wait and see further results from the vaccines, seven per cent said they would only get inoculated if they were made to, while 13 per cent said they will definitely not receive the shots.

The study has also looked into the concerns among those who are hesitant to receive the jabs, with 68 per cent of those people saying they are worried about the long term effects of the vaccines. Some respondents expressed fears that the vaccine could cause Covid-19 and that it might cause serious side effects, though these concerns are more pronounced in the groups less keen to receive the shots.

Here in the UK, a recent report found that as many as 72 per cent of Black people surveyed said they wouldn’t have a vaccine. Robin Shattock, from the Department of Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London said recently:

“I know there has been concerns about the safety of these vaccines but these are theoretical risks which are so much smaller than getting the virus and potentially becoming very ill or transferring it to a loved one. These vaccines will save a huge number of lives and I urge those who are reluctant to take up the opportunity to be vaccinated.”

Shattock should tell that to the relatives of the 22 seniors who died in a care home in Basingstoke recently, as I’ve written about here:

Tell the families of those who died in Norway, or in Gibraltar, shortly after receiving a Covid vaccine, that the risks are theoretical.

Dr. Vernon Coleman, over at is doing a terrific job documenting the reports of adverse effects and deaths that are pouring in from around the world. The numbers are mounting. The media, as usual, is silent.

February 1, 2021 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 2 Comments

Russia ramps up natural gas supplies to China via Power of Siberia mega-pipeline

RT | February 1, 2021

Russian energy major Gazprom pumped more gas to China in January via the Power of Siberia pipeline than it had initially planned, boosting daily supplies by as much as 2.5 percent.

“The export of gas to China through the Power of Siberia gas pipeline continues to grow. Supplies regularly exceed Gazprom’s daily contractual obligations,” the company said in a statement, adding that the volume of gas delivery last month “was 2.9 times higher than in January 2020.”

The 3,000km (1864 mile) cross-border pipeline started official deliveries of Russian natural gas to China in 2019. The so-called eastern route’s capacity is 61 billion cubic meters of gas per year, including 38 billion cubic meters for export.

The agreement on gas supplies via the Power of Siberia pipeline was reached in 2014, with Russia’s energy giant Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) inking a 30-year contract. It is Gazprom’s biggest-ever agreement and the first natural gas pipeline between Russia and China.

Gazprom exported some 2.3 billion cubic meters of gas along the route during the first eight months of 2020. It plans to boost exports by an additional six billion cubic meters.

Russia is set to further increase supplies of piped gas to China, including via the Power of Siberia 2 project. The latter pipeline entered the design stage last year, and will be capable of delivering as much as 50 billion cubic meters of gas once finished.

Gazprom intends to become China’s biggest supplier, making up more than 25 percent of gas imports by 2035.

February 1, 2021 Posted by | Economics | , | 2 Comments

Locusts; or A Tale of Monstrous Foolishness

By Catte Black | OffGuardian | February 1, 2021

One day in a land far away and a time long gone a Priest came to where the Many were tending their crops and livestock and said…

“There are locusts coming and we must prepare!”

“But locusts come every year and all the years gone by”, the Many replied, “It is always so, why must we prepare?”

“These are not the locusts of all the years gone by,” the Priest said, “these are new and terrible locusts that I call by a New Name. We must prepare.”

“What do these new and terrible locusts with the New Name do?” the Many asked in great fear.

“Why,” said the Priest, “they consume a portion of our crops and then move on.”

The Many trembled in dread.

“But this is what locusts always do”, one man of the Many said, “why must we prepare this year when we never have before?”

The Priest regarded the one man of the Many.

“Did you not hear me?” he said. “These are not the old locusts of years gone by, these are new and terrible locusts and they have a New Name. We MUST PREPARE.”

“But what do the new and terrible locusts with the New Name do that is worse than the old locusts of years gone by?” the one man said.

“Why, are you a fool?” the priest cried. “Did I not tell you they consume our crops and then move on. We MUST PREPARE!”

“Yes, we must prepare!” cried the many in unison, though they did not know what this required.

“I do not understand”, the one man of the Many persisted, “do these new and terrible locusts look different from the old locusts of years gone by?”

“I have not said that,” the Priest replied.

“Do they consume more of our crops than did the old locusts of years gone by?”

“I have made no such claim,” the Priest replied.

“Then if the new and terrible locusts do not look different from the old locusts of years gone by and do not consume any more of our crops than the old locusts of years gone by, how are they new and terrible?”

At this the Priest grew wrathful with a priestly wrath.

“Who are you little man to put others at risk with these questions? Have I not told you these are new and terrible locusts and HAVE A NEW NAME?”

And the Many turned to the one man and said “Yes, fool, do not put others at risk with these questions. The Priest has told you – the new and terrible locusts HAVE A NEW NAME! Be silent in your foolishness and let the Priest tell us how we should prepare.”

And then they turned as one to the Priest and knelt before him and begged: “Oh wise one, tell us how we must prepare against the new and terrible locusts.”

So the Priest stood before them and said…

“I have spoken with great minds and with the gods, and they have told me the only way to prepare against the new and terrible locusts is to wear these hats of Monstrous Foolishness…”

…and he held a hat aloft of such exceeding monstrous foolishness that the Many were dismayed…

“Oh great one, how will the wearing of these hats of Monstrous Foolishness save us from the new and terrible locusts?” they cried.

“The great minds and the gods have studied the question and that is sufficient”, the Priest replied. “All those who have care for others will wear these hats and together we will save ourselves from the new and terrible locusts.”

The Many looked at one another and saw the wisdom of the Priest’s words, and willingly placed the hats of Monstrous Foolishness upon their heads and went back to tending their crops and their livestock, happy that they had been saved.

~ * ~

The next day the Priest came back to where the Many were tending their crops and livestock and wearing their hats of Monstrous Foolishness and said…

“Alas, I have spoken further with great minds and with the gods and they tell me the wearing of the hats of Monstrous Foolishness is not enough to save us from the new and terrible locusts. More is needed”.

The Many turned to the Priest in great alarm and cried, “oh wise one, tell us what we must do! to save us from the new and terrible locusts”

“It is this”, the Priest said, “to save us from the new and terrible locusts you must burn your crops to the ground before they can be eaten!”

“Thank you oh wise one!” the Many cried.

“Wait”, the one man of the Many said, “how will burning our crops to the ground before they can be eaten save them from the new and terrible locusts?”

“Foolish one,” the Priest answered, ” do you not understand the new and terrible locusts will pass us by if our crops are all gone?”

“But”, said the man, “you said to me that the new and terrible locusts will eat no more than the old locusts of years gone by.”

“That is true”, said the Priest.

“So, if we let the new and terrible locusts eat their fill and move on we will still have most of our crops as in years gone by, but if we burn them to the ground we will have none”.

The Priest sighed and the Many sighed also, following his example.

“Do you care nothing for those whose crops will be eaten if we do nothing?” the Priest asked in indignation.

“Do you care NOTHING for the crops that will be eaten?” echoed the Many, in great indignation for the callousness of the man.

And they went into their fields and burned all their crops to the ground so that a portion would not be eaten by the new and terrible locusts.

“But what will we do for bread,” asked the man, “now all our crops are burned to the ground?”

The Many looked troubled at this, for truly that question had not occurred to them. They turned to the Priest for answer.

“Sacrifices must be made, in times of need”, the Priest said.

“Yes”, the Many agreed, finding he spoke the very words they had in their own minds, “sacrifices must be made – and at least we are now safe from the new and terrible locusts!”

“I see the Priest has not burned HIS crops to the ground,” said the one man of the Many, “why is this?”

The Many turned to him at this and said “be silent, fool, enough of your nonsense, the Priest has spoken with great minds and with the gods and he knows best how to save us from the new and terrible locusts. All praise to our Priest and his wisdom.”

~ * ~

Next day the Priest came back to where the people were wearing their hats of Monstrous Foolishness standing in their burned fields and tending their livestock and said…

“Alas, I have spoken further with the gods and great minds and they tell me wearing the hats of Monstrous Foolishness and burning the crops to the ground is not enough to save us from the new and terrible locusts! We must also slaughter all our livestock and let their blood water the earth”.

“How will slaughtering livestock and letting their blood water the earth save us from locusts?” the one man of the Many asked.

The Many were indeed somewhat troubled by this new question and they turned to the Priest for answer.

“Do you not hear me say these are new and terrible locusts?”, the Priest said in his kindly voice. “Do you not understand that new ways must be found to save us from them?”

The Many looked relieved at this and found, once again, the Priest had spoken the very thoughts in their own minds. And so they willingly slaughtered their livestock and let the blood water the earth and rejoiced that they were now finally saved from the new and terrible locusts.

~ * ~

The Priest came a fourth time to where the people were sitting in their burned fields newly watered with the blood of their livestock, wearing their hats of Monstrous Foolishness, and he saw some were dead or dying.

“Alas,”, he said, “because of the incursions of the new and terrible locusts, we now have no bread and no meat and no milk, and even the wearing of the hats of Monstrous Foolishness, the burning of the crops and the slaying of the livestock has not been enough to save us, for see how many are dying.”

At this there was great fear and despair among the Many.

“Oh woe,” they cried, “truly these new and terrible locusts are a deadly scourge for look how many people are now dying despite all that we have done!”

And they turned to the Priest and begged “tell us oh wise one what must be done to save us from the new and terrible locusts that are killing us despite all we have done!”

“Truly”, said the Priest in great sadness, “this land is so scorched and devoured by the new and terrible locusts that nothing remains to be done but to leave our old lives behind and begin again in a new state of equity. You must come to my compound where I will protect you. I have a little food in my own storehouses, which you may have a portion of if you work for the common good by cleaning my house and tending my crops and livestock”.

“Thank you oh wise one!” the Many cried, and prepared to follow the Priest to the safety of his compound.

“Wait”, cried the one man of the Many, “it was not the new and terrible locusts that took away our food, it was us at your command, and now you want to make us your slaves?”

The Priest shook his head in pity, and the Many followed his example.

“What must be done with such persistent ignorance?” he demanded.

“Terrible persistent ignorance”, agreed the Many in unison.

And the Priest said:

“Do you not understand, that if we had NOT worn the hats of Monstrous Foolishness and burned down our crops and killed our livestock the new and terrible locusts would have made things far, far worse than they are now?”

“How?” asked the one man of the Many.

The priest chuckled and the Many followed his example.

“Why, simple fool, because the new and terrible locusts are new and terrible and have a NEW NAME!”

“A new name!” the Many echoed looking in disbelief at the one man who did not understand what this meant.

And then they turned and filed into the Priest’s compound in their hats of Monstrous Foolishness, to work for the common good by tending the Priest’s crops and livestock and cleaning the Priest’s house and singing songs of hope for their new beginning that the Priest’s scribes had written for them to sing.

Meanwhile, the one man left alone in the barren and bloody fields set out alone to find another path and sing his own songs.

February 1, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Rights Group Calls on Israel to Immediately Release Palestinian UN Worker

UN employee and human rights activist, Shireen Al-Araj.
Palestine Chronicle | February 1, 2021

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor today expressed its grave concern over the Israeli authorities’ arrest of a UN Palestinian employee in Jerusalem, calling for her immediate and unconditional release.

The Israeli authorities arrested UN employee and human rights activist, Shireen Al-Araj, on January 25, in front of the Magistrate’s Court in Jerusalem. She was summoned to an interrogation on charges of “contacting with foreign clients and persons.”

Al-Araj, who holds an Israeli ID in addition to a UN diplomatic passport, had returned to the Palestinian territories after an Israeli ban that lasted for five years. Her lawyer had contacted her informing her that she has to return to the Palestinian territories to renew her residency papers or she will lose her residency and become a “refugee”, which will deny her entry into the Palestinian territories again.

On January 24, at the border between Jordan and the Palestinian territories, Al-Araj was interrogated upon her arrival, where she was ordered to go to the Magistrate’s Court in Jerusalem the next day for further investigation by the Israeli police.

As she arrived at the court, Israeli intelligence agents stopped Al-Araj near the court door, took her to her home, and confiscated her computers and mobile phones. After that, she was taken to Petah Tikva prison in central Israel. The Israeli authorities prevented her lawyer and an Israeli lawyer appointed by the UN from meeting her or even being with her during the interrogation.

Al-Araj has been working with the UN in several organizations and programs, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA), the United Nations Population Fund and the Office of the High Commissioner in Turkey.

Israel restricts the work of UN workers in the Palestinian territories, despite the UN’s coordination with the Israeli authorities. The Israeli authorities also follow a strict policy with local and international human rights defenders and impose significant restrictions on granting them entry visas to Israel or accessing the Palestinian territories.

February 1, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Libertarian Terrorists?

By Ron Paul | February 1, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security issued on Wednesday a nationwide terror alert lasting until April 30. The alert warns of potential terrorist attacks from Americans who are “ideologically motivated” and have “objections to the exercise of government authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives.”

The language used in this alert suggests that millions of Americans are potential terrorists. Second Amendment supporting, antiwar, anti-tax, anti-politics, anti-militarization, pro-life, and anti-Federal Reserve activists certainly have “objections to the exercise of government authority.” They are certainly viewed by the political class and its handmaidens in big tech and the mainstream media as ideological extremists. Anyone who gets his news from sources other than mainstream media or big tech, or who uses certain “unapproved” social media platforms, is considered to have had his grievances “fueled by false narratives.” For something to be considered a false narrative, it need only contradict the “official” narrative.

The “domestic terrorist” alert is the latest sign that activities on January 6 on Capitol Hill, like the attacks of September 11, 2001, are being used to advance a long-standing anti-liberty agenda. Legislation expanding the federal government’s authority to use its surveillance and other unconstitutional powers against “domestic terrorists” is likely to soon be considered by Congress. Just as the PATRIOT Act was written years before 2001, this legislation was written long before January 6. The bill’s proponents are simply taking advantage of the hysteria following the so-called insurrection to push the bill onto the congressional agenda.

Former CIA Director John Brennan recently singled out libertarians as among the people the government should go after. This is not the first time libertarians have been smeared. In 2009, a federally-funded fusion center identified people who supported my presidential campaign, my Campaign for Liberty, or certain Libertarian and Constitution parties candidates as potentially violent extremists.

The idea that libertarianism creates terrorists is absurd. Libertarians support the non-aggression principle, so they reject using force to advance their political goals. They rely instead on peaceful persuasion.

Libertarianism is being attacked because it does not support just reforming a few government policies. Instead, it presents a formidable intellectual challenge to the entire welfare-warfare state.

The ultimate goal of those pushing for a crackdown on “domestic terrorism” is to make people unwilling to even consider “radical” ideas — to make people so afraid of certain ideas that they refuse to even give those ideas a fair hearing.

Progressives who are tempted to support what is being promoted as a crackdown on right-wing violence should consider the history of government harassment of progressive movements and leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. What do they think a future right-wing authoritarian would do if given power to go after “ideological extremists”?

All Americans who cherish the Bill of Rights should come together to stop this latest crackdown on liberty. My Campaign for Liberty will be mobilizing Americans to stop passage of any domestic terrorism legislation, while my Institute for Peace and Prosperity and my Liberty Report will provide Americas with the most up-to-date information about the continuing attempts to smear those who speak the truth about government lies.

(You can watch the Ron Paul Liberty Report live on YouTube Monday-Friday at noon, eastern time.)

Copyright © 2021 by RonPaul Institute.

February 1, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | Leave a comment

Hezbollah fighters intercept, shoot down Israeli reconnaissance drone in southern Lebanon

Press TV – February 1, 2021

The Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement says it has intercepted and shot down an Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle as it crossed into Lebanon’s airspace near the border village of Blida in the south of the Arab country.

Hezbollah said in a brief statement that the drone was struck on Monday morning, adding that it was now in the control of the drone. It did not provide any further details.

The Israeli military, however, asserted that the drone had fallen in Lebanese territory during an operation, alleging that “there is no risk of breach of information.”

The development came a day after Palestinian resistance fighters brought down an Israeli quadcopter conducting an espionage mission against the besieged Gaza Strip.

The drone was shot down on Sunday while taking images over Beit Hanoun Crossing, which is located on the enclave’s northern border with the occupied territories, the Arabic-language Palestine al-Yawm news agency reported.

Israel frequently violates Lebanon’s airspace. Lebanon’s government, Hezbollah and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) have repeatedly condemned Israel’s overflights, saying they are in clear violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and the country’s sovereignty.

The resolution, which brokered a ceasefire in the war Israel launched against Lebanon in 2006, calls on the Tel Aviv regime to respect Beirut’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

On August 23 last year, Hezbollah resistance movement said it had downed and seized an Israeli drone as it flew over the Lebanese border.

The Israeli military claimed back then that a drone had fallen in Lebanon during operational activity along Lebanese border, claiming that there was no risk of breach of information.

Tensions have been running high between Israel and Hezbollah since July 20 last year, when Tel Aviv killed Hezbollah member Ali Kamel Mohsen in an airstrike in Syria.

The Israeli military has placed its forces near the Lebanese and Syrian borders on high alert after Hezbollah promised retaliation.

Israeli forces shelled the Lebanese village of Habaria in late July 2020 to stop an alleged Hezbollah offensive, but the Lebanese movement dismissed the allegation, calling it the result of tension and confusion among Israeli forces.

February 1, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

Azerbaijan won the war in Nagorno-Karabakh but reduced its sovereignty

By Paul Antonopoulos | February 1, 2021

Although Azerbaijan won the war against Armenia, both countries have in fact lost part of their sovereignty.

Azerbaijan won the war and expanded territorially after it captured or received the districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh proper that Armenian forces captured in the first war (1988-1994). The status of Nagorno-Karabakh proper remains undetermined but is protected by Russian peacekeepers and is still governed by Armenians.

Despite this territorial expansion, Azerbaijan has in fact partly lost its sovereignty. During the war, reports began emerging that Azerbaijani military leaders were becoming increasingly frustrated with the level of control that Turkey had over their fighting forces. These reports were quickly dismissed and denied by Azerbaijan as Armenian attempts to create division through misinformation. But if this was just misinformation, then there would be no risk of division to begin with, meaning it would not be worth giving attention to, suggesting there was certainly an element of truth to it.

Azerbaijan’s military success lays with two key factors: the Armenian political and military incompetency and lack of will, and Turkey’s contribution with drones, special forces, intelligence and transfer of Syrian jihadists.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan never truly committed to the war effort as Armenian forces were never fully mobilized, powerful Iskander missiles infrequently used, the Armenian Air Force mostly grounded, Armenian diaspora and foreign volunteers rejected from fighting, and local Armenian militias not equipped with enough ammunition, maps and communication devices, nor were the militias assigned commanders – yet this was supposedly a “war for survival,” as Pashinyan termed it.

None-the-less, despite the incompetency of the Armenian leadership, Azerbaijan’s rapid success in Nagorno-Karabakh would not have been possible without significant Turkish support. Even Azerbaijan’s success is limited as it did not achieve its main war aim – the capture of Nagorno-Karabakh.

More importantly, Ankara’s footprint in the country massively expanded through the deployment of more Turkish troops to Azerbaijan, control of more military bases, and the establishment of a joint observation center with Russia in the Agdam region.

As said, reports circulated during the war that divisions in the Azerbaijani military and political circles were emerging between a pro-Turkish faction and another faction in opposition to Turkey’s dominant role in the war effort. These reports have only intensified in recent days as Turkish troops are now deployed in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani politicians and military leaders are beginning to worry about Ankara’s strong influence in the country, with critics commenting that Azerbaijan has become the 82nd province of Turkey. Although Azerbaijan now controls most of the formerly Armenian-held territory, it cannot exercise control over it without Turkish and Russian oversight.

In fact, even Iran has greater opportunities to influence Azerbaijan that it was not able to do before the war. Azerbaijan’s capture of the districts to the south of Nagorno-Karabakh proper means that it shares external borders with only Armenia and Iran. Effectively Iran has great opportunities to be one of the leading foreign investors in the region as Armenia and Azerbaijan have not normalized their relations. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited the Nakhichevan exclave of Azerbaijan, the region wedged between Armenia, Turkey and Iran, to boost regional cooperation through new railroad and transportation routes.

In turn, it will be inevitable that Iran will attempt to gain influence through pan-Shi’ism, but this may prove difficult to gain a foothold as pan-Turkism has become the dominant ideology of Azerbaijan because of Turkey’s own soft power manoeuvers. Russia will utilize its influence through its peacekeepers in the region, and also soft power through economic exchanges.

Although Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will relish his country’s long-awaited victory after his father Heydar Aliyev signed a humiliating ceasefire in May 1994 to conclude the First Nagorno-Karabakh War, the long-term repercussion means that Turkey dominates the Azerbaijani military and wields great political influence over Baku. Also, there is limited Azerbaijani governance in the territories it controls because of Russia’s watchful eye through the deployment of peacekeepers. And finally, we can see much stronger Iranian influence as it aims to penetrate the region through economic and religious means.

Azerbaijani flags may be flying over the captured territories, but it certainly has come at the price of reduced sovereignty – militarily, economically, politically, and perhaps even religiously and culturally.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

February 1, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment