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The ‘Ukrainian Resistance’ and the Houthis – A contrast in media coverage

By Gavin O’Reilly | Ron Paul Institute | March 28, 2022

In the now month-long mainstream media coverage of the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, much attention has been paid to the actions of the ‘Ukrainian Resistance’.

In a manner not dissimilar to its coverage of the ‘Syrian rebels’ a decade ago, a romanticised image of ‘Ukrainian freedom fighters’ fighting bravely against a militarily superior Russian foe has been widespread amongst corporate outlets, alongside their fawning over Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his calls for the implementation of a No Fly Zone – a move that would undoubtedly trigger nuclear war.

This Hollywood-style PR makeover of the Ukrainian military by the corporate media, including the notorious neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, also shares a strong similarity with the aforementioned ‘Syrian rebels’ in that it highlights the strong presence of CIA involvement in the background.

Indeed, the training of Ukrainian military personnel by the CIA to engage in guerrilla warfare against Russia was recently outlined in a Western corporate media report, indicating that a plan was in place to draw Moscow into an Iraq-war style military quagmire in Ukraine – the second largest country in Europe.

Such a tactic has historical usage against the Kremlin, when in 1979, then-US President Jimmy Carter would launch Operation Cyclone, a CIA programme which would see the arming, funding and training of Wahhabi insurgents known as the Mujahideen, who would go onto wage war on the USSR-aligned government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan – with Kabul, previously Western-friendly, having come under Soviet influence following the 1978 Saur Revolution.

This romanticised image of ‘Ukrainian freedom fighters’ by the corporate media however, lies in stark contrast to their coverage of Ansar Allah, more commonly known as the Houthis, currently waging an armed resistance campaign against Western-allied Saudi Arabia’s seven year long war and blockade on neighbouring Yemen – leading to mass-starvation in what is already the most impoverished country on the Arabian Peninsula.

Indeed, this was evidenced as such on Friday, when the Yemeni armed forces launched air strikes against a key oil refinery in the Saudi city of Jeddah, to a noticeable absence of articles by the Western media celebrating the actions of the Yemeni resistance against the Western-backed might of Riyadh, unlike their coverage of Ukraine and Russia.

To understand this contrasting approach to both Yemen and Ukraine by the corporate media, one must look further into the wider geopolitical and historical context in the West’s relationship with both countries.

In 1979, the same year as the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, the Islamic Revolution in Iran saw the anti-Western and anti-Zionist Ayatollah Khomeini come to power in Iran following the overthrow of the US and UK-aligned Shah Pahlavi – who had himself come to power following 1953’s Operation Ajax, an MI6 and CIA-orchestrated regime change operation launched in response to then-Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh’s decision to nationalise Iran’s vast oil reserves.

In order to counter the influence of Khomeini’s newly-established anti-Imperialist state and to maintain hegemony in the Middle East, the United States adopted the strategy of using Saudi Arabia – separated from the Islamic Republic by the Persian Gulf – as a political and military bulwark against Iran.

This is where the media coverage of the Yemen conflict comes into play, with Tehran long being accused of backing the Houthis, whose seizure of the capital Sana’a in March 2015 led to Riyadh launching its current air campaign – involving US and British-supplied bombs – in a bid to restore its favoured Presidential candidate, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, to power.

Therefore, with the aims of Ansar Allah consequently being opposed to the aims of the US-NATO hegemony, this explains why no heroic descriptions such as ‘Yemeni resistance’ or ‘freedom fighters’ are ascribed to the Houthis by the Western media, in stark contrast to their coverage of the Armed Forces of Ukraine – supported by the West since the 2014 Euromaidan colour revolution and their subsequent war on the breakaway Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, a situation that has escalated to the point where nuclear war has now become a distinct possibility.


Copyright © 2022 by RonPaul Institute

March 28, 2022 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Specter of Asymptomatic Spread

By Aaron Kheriaty | The Brownstone Institute | March 28, 2022

In January 2020, at the very start of the pandemic, the New England Journal of Medicine published a letter that suggesting the possibility that covid could be spread by people who did not show any symptoms of the illness. This article was based on a single case report.

Germany’s public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), later spoke with the person mentioned in the case report, who was supposedly the asymptomatic spreader, and she clarified that she did have symptoms encountering the second person mentioned in the article. So, this case report, published in one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals, was a false alarm. But no matter, the myth of asymptomatic spread was born.

On June 8, 2020, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced that asymptomatic people could transmit covid. That same day, Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead for the covid pandemic, clarified that people who have covid without any symptoms “very rarely” transmit the disease to others.

WHO then backtracked on their original alarmist statement one day later. Weeks later, Kerkhove was pressured by the public health establishment, including Harvard’s Global Health Institute, to backtrack on her statement that asymptomatic spread was very rare, claiming that the jury was still out.

Her original claim that asymptomatic spread was not a driver of the pandemic was correct, as is now clear. Given that no respiratory virus in history was known to spread asymptomatically, this should not have surprised anyone.

But the damage was already done. The media ran with the asymptomatic threat story. The specter of people with no symptoms being potentially dangerous—which never had any scientific basis—turned every fellow citizen into a possible threat to one’s existence.

We should notice the complete reversal that this effected in our thinking about health and illness. In the past, a person was assumed to be healthy until proven sick. If one missed work for a prolonged period, one needed a note from a doctor establishing an illness. During covid, the criteria was reversed: we began to assume that people were sick until proven healthy. One needed a negative covid test to return to work.

It would be hard to devise a better method than the widespread myth of asymptomatic spread combined with quarantining the healthy to destroy the fabric of society and to divide us. People who are afraid of everyone, who are locked down, who are isolated for months behind screens, are easier to control.

A society grounded on “social distancing” is a contradiction—it’s a kind of anti-society. Consider what happened to us, consider the human goods we sacrificed to preserve bare life at all costs: friendships, holidays with family, work, visiting the sick and dying, worshipping God, burying the dead.

Aaron Kheriaty, former Professor of Psychiatry at the UCI School of Medicine and Director, Medical Ethics at UCI Health, is a Senior Scholar of the Brownstone Institute.

March 28, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Pakistan PM Imran Khan accuses US of funding ‘conspiracy’ to topple his government

Press TV – March 28, 2022

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan accused an unnamed “foreign power” – in a clear reference to the United States – of funding a “conspiracy” to topple his democratically elected government.

Addressing a large rally in the capital Islamabad on Sunday, Khan said the “foreign power” sent millions of dollars to opposition parties to launch a no-confidence vote against him in the parliament.

Khan, who had formed a coalition government after winning the election in 2018, said he was the subject of a “foreign conspiracy” aimed at dislodging his government and that “funding was being channeled into Pakistan from abroad.”

A no-confidence motion has been tabled in Pakistan’s National Assembly, with days of debates expected to start next week before the vote. The opposition needs a simple majority to oust Khan, after which a new prime minister would be chosen by the parliament.

“We have been threatened in writing but we will not compromise on national interests,” said Khan, who met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow on February 24, the same day the Russian leader ordered a military operation in neighboring Ukraine.

Before that, Khan visited Beijing in January, defying US President Joe Biden’s call for a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics.

“The money is from abroad and the people that are being used are ours (Pakistan’s). Some of them unknowingly, and some knowingly, are using this money against us,” the prime minister said.

“Attempts are being made to influence our foreign policy from abroad. We have been aware of this conspiracy for months. We also know about those who have assembled these people (the opposition parties) but the time has changed. This is not the era of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” he said, referring to the former prime minister of Pakistan who was allegedly threatened by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger over the country’s nuclear program.

Bhutto’s government was toppled and he was hanged by the military in 1979.

“This is the era of social media. Nothing can be hidden. We will not accept anyone’s dictation. We will have friendships with everyone but we will not submit ourselves to anyone,” Khan said.

“Attempts are being made through foreign money to change the government in Pakistan. Our people are being used. Mostly inadvertently, but some people are using money against us. We know from what places attempts are being to pressure us. We have been threatened in writing but we will not compromise on national interest,” the Dawn newspaper reported.

Khan then splashed a letter and said it would prove his point. “I am placing the case of Pakistan’s independence before you. The letter I have is proof and I want to dare anyone who doubts this letter. I will invite them off the record. We have to decide for how long we will have to live like this. We are getting threats. There are many things about the foreign conspiracy which will be shared very soon.”

“The nation wants to know who the man sitting in London is meeting with and whose directions the characters based in Pakistan are following? I am revealing the proofs we have. I cannot talk more in detail because I have to protect the interest of my country. I cannot talk about anything that harms my country. I could have told you about it. I do not fear anyone but I care about Pakistan’s interest,” he stated.

March 28, 2022 Posted by | Corruption | , | 5 Comments

Biden’s Disastrous European Tour

By Ron Paul | March 28, 2022

Previewing President Biden’s trip to Europe last week, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that, “the president is traveling to Europe to make sure we stay united.”

That sure didn’t go as planned. This may have been the most disastrous – and dangerous – Presidential overseas trip ever.

The US and its NATO allies have repeatedly proclaimed that “protecting Ukraine’s democracy” has never been about threatening Russia. Holding out NATO membership and sending billions of dollars in military equipment to Ukraine, starting under Trump, was not threatening Russia. CIA training camps in eastern Ukraine, where paramilitaries were trained on US weapons systems, was not about threatening Russia.

But at every stop, President Biden seemed to undermine the narrative his own Administration had carefully crafted. First up, warning that Russia might use chemical weapons in Ukraine, Biden promised it would “trigger a response in kind,” meaning the US would use chemical weapons as well. That would be a serious war crime.

National Security Advisor Sullivan had to be brought to explain that the US has “no intention” of using chemical weapons.

Later, speaking to the 82nd Airborne in Poland, President Biden told them that US troops would soon be in Ukraine. He said to the troops, “you’re going to see — you’re going to see women, young people standing — standing the middle of — in front of a … tank, just saying, ‘I’m not leaving. I’m holding my ground.’”

A White House spokesman had to clarify that, “the president has been clear we are not sending US troops to Ukraine and there is no change in that position.”

Clear? Well, not really. He had just said the opposite to our own troops!

Then, at the end of Biden’s final speech in Poland, the President inadvertently told the truth: the US involvement in Ukraine is all about “regime change” for Russia. Speaking of Russian President Putin, he told the audience, near the border of Ukraine, “for God‘s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

The President’s disaster control team immediately mobilized in the person of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who offered this pained interpretation of Biden’s clear statement, “I think the president, the White House, made the point last night that, quite simply, President Putin cannot be empowered to wage war or engage in aggression against Ukraine or anyone else.”

No, that’s not what he said. The president has a leading Constitutional role in the formation of US foreign policy, and he said in a public speech that “regime change” in Russia is US policy. Any attempt by his staffers to try to explain it away looks terrible: either the President has no idea what he’s saying so we should not take seriously what is essentially a declaration of war on Russia, or the President took the opportunity on the border with Ukraine to essentially declare war on Russia.

Presidents Reagan, Ford, and Bush Jr. were all known for their gaffes. Some were funny and some were serious. But none of them declared war on a nuclear-armed adversary in that adversary’s own backyard and then afterward had to send out staff to explain that the president didn’t mean what he just said.

Interestingly, Biden saved his most hawkish and bombastic statements for this final speech in Poland, at which none of the more cautious NATO partners like Germany and France were present. So much for “unity” being the prime purpose of the trip.

There is a real problem in the Biden Administration and the sooner we face it the better.

Copyright © 2022 by RonPaul Institute

March 28, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Russia states position on West’s mediation in Ukraine talks

Samizdat | March 28, 2022

Moscow is eager for a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Ukraine, but it won’t be needing any Western mediation during its talks with Kiev, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

“We’re ready to give diplomacy a chance. That’s why we agreed to the talks, which are resuming in Istanbul,” Lavrov said during a video conference on Monday with the Serbian media. The discussions are scheduled to continue on Tuesday.

The Turkish government, which has good ties with both Russia and Ukraine, has been putting a great deal of effort into getting the two sides around the negotiating table. But there’s no need to include the EU or the US – which support Kiev in the conflict – in the peace process, according to the minister.

“There are many examples of times when the achievements of diplomacy were shattered by Western colleagues. They can’t be trusted anymore,” Lavrov opined.

“I wouldn’t want to see any shuttle diplomacy from our Western partners, because they’ve already done their ‘shuttling’ – in February 2014 in Ukraine and in February 2015 in Minsk,” he added.

In February 2014, the EU became the guarantor of the agreements between Ukraine’s then-president Viktor Yanukovych and the Maidan protesters in Kiev, Lavrov reminded viewers. “It was a pinnacle of diplomacy. But, the next morning, the opposition spat on that diplomacy, and the EU had to swallow it.”

Yanukovich ended up being deposed after violent clashes and fleeing the country, and the new Ukrainian authorities soon sent its military to the eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, where most of the population refused to recognize the coup in the capital.

In September of the same year, the Minsk I agreement between the breakaway republics and the government in Kiev was achieved in the Belarusian capital of that name, having been negotiated by Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France in the so-called Normandy Format. The deal called on the two sides to stop fighting, organize prisoner exchanges, allow deliveries of humanitarian aid, and withdraw heavy weaponry.

“The diplomacy then reached new heights in February 2015, when the agreements that were signed in Minsk ended the war in eastern Ukraine and opened the way to restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity by granting a special status to the Donbass,” the minister continued.

The second agreement, Minsk II, introduced another ceasefire and paved the way for administrative and political reform in Ukraine as well as for autonomy and local elections in the Donbass republics. However, Kiev’s Western backers were subsequently unable to persuade the Ukrainian government to fulfil its promises.

“The European Union has proven its incompetence as an organization that is capable of fulfilling the agreements being reached,” Lavrov said.

Russia sent its troops into Ukraine over a month ago, following a seven-year standoff over Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Moscow has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it had been planning to retake the two republics by force.

March 28, 2022 Posted by | Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

RAND Report Prescribed US Provocations Against Russia and Predicted Russia Might Retaliate in Ukraine

By Rick Sterling | Global Research | March 28, 2022

According to a 2019 Rand report titled “Overextending and Unbalancing Russia”, the US goal is to undermine Russia just as it did the Soviet Union in the cold war. Rather than “trying to stay ahead” or trying to improve the US domestically or in international relations, the emphasis is on efforts and actions to undermine the designated adversary Russia. Rand is a quasi-US governmental think tank that receives three-quarters of its funding from the US military.

The report lists anti-Russia measures divided into the following areas: economic, geopolitical, ideological/informational, and military. They are assessed according to the perceived risks, benefits and “likelihood of success”.

Screenshot from RAND

The report notes that Russia has “deep seated” anxieties about western interference and potential military attack. These anxieties are deemed to be a vulnerability to exploit. There is no mention of the cause of the Russian anxieties: they have have been invaded multiple times and had 27 million deaths in WW2.

Significance of Ukraine

Ukraine is important to Russia. The two countries share much common heritage and a long common border. One of the most important leaders of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, was Ukrainian. During WW2, Ukraine was one of Hitler’s invasion routes and there was a small but active number of Ukrainian collaborators with Nazi Germany. The distance from the capital of Ukraine, Kiev, to Moscow is less than 500 miles.

For these same reasons of geography and history, Ukraine is a major component of a US/NATO effort to undermine Russia.  Current Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, said that over 20 years the US invested $5 billion in the project to turn Ukraine. The culmination was a violent coup in February 2014.  Since 2015, the US has been training ultra nationalist and Neo-Nazi  militias. This has been documented in articles such as “U.S. House admits Nazi role in Ukraine” (Robert Parry, 2015),  “The US is arming and assisting neo-nazis in Ukraine while the House debates prohibition”(Max Blumenthal, 2018),  “Neo Nazis and the far right are on the march in Ukraine” (Lev Golinken in 2019) and “The CIA may be breeding Nazi terror in Ukraine” (Branko Marcetic Jan. 2022).

Rand suggested provocations

Prior to 2018, the US only provided “defensive” military weaponry to Ukraine. The Rand report assesses that providing lethal (offensive) military aid to Ukraine will have a high risk but also a high benefit.  Accordingly, US lethal weaponry skyrocketed from near zero to $250M in 2019,  to  $303M in 2020,  to $350M in 2021. Total military aid is much higher.  A few weeks ago, The Hill reported, “The U.S. has contributed more than $1 billion to help Ukraine’s military over the past year”.

The Rand report lists many techniques and “measures” to provoke and threaten Russia. Some of the steps include:

  • Repositioning bombers within easy striking range of key Russian strategic targets
  • Deploying additional tactical nuclear weapons to locations in Europe and Asia
  • Increasing US and allied naval force posture and presence in Russia’s operating areas (Black Sea)
  • Holding NATO war exercises on Russia’s borders
  • Withdrawing from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty

These and many other provocations suggested by Rand have, in fact, been implemented. For example, NATO conducted massive war exercises dubbed “Defender 2021” right up to Russia’s border. NATO has started “patrolling” the Black Sea and engaging in provocative intrusions into Crimean waters. The US has withdrawn from the INF Treaty.

Since 2008, when NATO “welcomed” the membership aspirations of Ukraine and Georgia, Russia has said this would cross a red line and threaten its security. In recent years NATO has provided advisers, training and ever increasing amounts of military hardware. While Ukraine is not a formal member of NATO, it has increasingly been treated like one. The full Rand report says “While NATO’s requirement for unanimity makes it unlikely that Ukraine could gain membership in the foreseeable future, Washington’s pushing this possibility could boost Ukrainian resolve while leading Russia to redouble its efforts to forestall such a development.”

The alternative, which could have prevented or at least forestalled the current Russian intervention in Ukraine, would have been to declare Ukraine ineligible for NATO. But this would have been contrary to the US intention of deliberately stressing, provoking and threatening Russia.

Ukraine as US client

In November 2021, the US and Ukraine signed a Charter on Strategic Partnership. This agreement confirmed Ukrainian aspirations to join NATO and rejection of the Crimean peoples decision to re-unify with Russia following the 2014 Kiev coup. The agreement signaled a consolidation of Washington’s economic, political and military influence. 

December 2021 Russia red lines followed by military action

In December 2021, Russia proposed a treaty with the US and NATO. The central Russian proposal was a written agreement that Ukraine would not join the NATO military alliance.

When the proposed treaty was rebuffed by Washington, it seems the die was cast. On February 21, Putin delivered a speech detailing their grievances. On February 24, Putin delivered another speech announcing the justification and objectives of the military intervention to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine.

As Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov later said, “This is not about Ukraine. This is the end result of a policy that the West has carried out since the early 1990’s.”

Afghanistan again?

As earlier indicated, the Rand report assesses the costs and benefits of various US actions. It is considered a “benefit” if increased US assistance to Ukraine results in the loss of Russian blood and resources. Speculating on the possibility of Russian troop presence in Ukraine, the report suggests that it could become “quite controversial at home, as it did when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.” (p 99 of full report)

That historical reference is significant. Beginning in 1979, the US and Saudi Arabia funded and trained sectarian foreign fighters to invade and destabilize the progressive Afghan government. The goals were to overthrow the socialist inclined government and lure the Soviet Union into supporting the destabilized government. It achieved these Machiavellian goals at the cost of millions of Afghan citizens whose country has never been the same.

It appears that Ukrainian citizens are similarly being manipulated to serve US  goals.

A “disadvantageous peace settlement”

The Rand report says, “Increasing U.S. military aid would certainly drive up the Russian costs, but doing so could also increase the loss of Ukrainian lives and territory or result in a disadvantageous peace settlement.”

But who would a peace settlement be “disadvantageous” for? Ukrainian lives and territory are currently being lost. Over fourteen thousand Ukrainian lives have been lost in the eastern Donbass region since the 2014 coup.

A peace settlement that guaranteed basic rights for all Ukrainians and state neutrality in the rivalry of big powers, would be advantageous to most Ukrainians. It is only the US foreign policy establishment including the US military media industrial complex and Ukrainian ultra-nationalists who would be “disadvantaged”.

Since Ukraine is a multi-ethnic state, it would seem best to accept that reality and find a compromise national solution which facilitates all Ukrainians. Being a client of a distant foreign power is not in Ukraine’s national best interest.

The Rand report shows how US policy focuses on actions to hurt Russia and manipulates third party countries (Ukraine) toward that task.

*

Rick Sterling is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He can be contacted at rsterling1@protonmail.com

March 28, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

UAE: There is no substitute for Russian oil

Samizdat | March 28, 2022

The world’s energy markets need Russian oil and no producer can replace it, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of Energy Suhail al-Mazrouei said on Monday.

Russia produces some 10 million barrels of oil a day, which makes it a critical member of the OPEC+ energy alliance, al-Mazrouei explained during an energy forum in Dubai.

“Leaving the politics aside, that volume is needed today,” he insisted, adding that “unless someone is willing to come and deliver that amount, we don’t see that someone can substitute Russia.”

Russia is the world’s second biggest crude exporter after Saudi Arabia. Following Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, some nations, led by the US, have pledged to stop buying Russian oil and gas. The United States, Europe, and others have been calling on Gulf Arab oil producers to ramp up production and help bring down crude prices, which at one point shot above $120 a barrel.

The International Energy Agency announced earlier this month that it had decided to release 60 million barrels of oil from its emergency reserves, saying that global oil markets were already tight with highly volatile prices and commercial inventories at their lowest level since 2014.

Many have expressed doubts, however, about whether it was possible to ditch Russia’s energy resources.

Last week, the EU stepped back from imposing an embargo on Russian crude and petroleum products, despite pressure from the US. An immediate embargo on Russia’s fossil fuels “from one day to the next would mean plunging our country and the whole of Europe into a recession,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said last week. Europe gets nearly 30% of its crude and roughly 50% of its petroleum products from Russia.

Reducing dependence on natural gas – something that the EU hopes to achieve over the next few years – may prove difficult as well. Qatar – which holds the third-largest natural gas reserves in the world – said last week that it was practically impossible to replace Russian gas on the European market, as between 30 and 40% of the total volume of gas supplied to the world market comes from Russia.

March 28, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Iran draws up gas field development plan after Saudi-Kuwaiti move

Some 23 Iranian hydrocarbon fields lie in border areas and are shared between Iran and adjacent countries
Press TV – March 28, 2022

An official says Iran has worked out a plan to develop its part of the Arash natural gas field shared with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait after the two Arab states announced having signed a document to build the reservoir without Tehran’s participation.

Last week, Kuwait said it planned to extract 1 billion standard cubic feet per day of gas and 84,000 barrels per day of condensate from the field under an agreement signed with Saudi Arabia. Iran dismissed the agreement as “illegal”, saying it breached their discussions to build the field together.

Ahmad Asadzadeh, deputy petroleum minister for international and commercial affairs, said Sunday Iran believes shared fields should be carried out jointly, adding this would lead to the strengthening of economic ties among the countries.

“Even if the border is not demarcated, the field can be developed jointly using internationally tested models,” he said. “The Ministry of Petroleum declares its readiness to negotiate in this regard,” Asadzadeh added.

Iran began talks with Kuwait in 2000 to develop the field but no agreements were reached. In 2013, the National Iranian Oil Company said it had jackets and rigs ready to develop the field and that if talks did not lead to a development plan, it would have the right to go ahead alone.

Iran, Asadzadeh said, has delayed developing the shared field in anticipation of a decision on the demarcation of the border with Kuwait.

“But given that the other side, regardless of the previous talks, is unilaterally moving to develop the field, there is no reason for delay,” Asadzadeh said.

“The Ministry of Petroleum has made necessary preparations and carried out studies to develop and exploit the shared field of Arash,” he added.

Arash was discovered in 1962 in the Persian Gulf with around 13 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Petroleum said parts of the Arash gas field which Kuwait and Saudi Arabia call al-Durra are located in areas between Iran and Kuwait whose water borders have not yet been defined.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran also reserves the right to exploit the gas field,” it said in a tweet in reaction to the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation’s statement on its bilateral agreement with Saudi Arabia.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said: “The recent move by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in the framework of a cooperation document is contrary to what was previously discussed, and illegal.”

“Any action on the operation and development of this field should be in the coordination of all three countries,” he added.

Some 23 Iranian hydrocarbon fields lie in border areas and are shared between Iran and adjacent countries, including Kuwait, Iraq, Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Turkmenistan.

Most of Iran’s oil and gas fields lie in a belt running along its maritime boundary in the Persian Gulf and the foothills of the Zagros Mountains – an extensive folded zone which is geologically the result of the Arabian plate’s collision with the central Iranian plateau.

The collision has trapped thick layers of ancient limestone and sandstone and turned them into some of the world’s biggest oil and gas accumulations.

The Zagros basin covers more than 550,000 square kilometers, stretching from Turkey and Syria through the Iraqi Kurdistan into Iran where its sediments are ideally up to 12,000 meters thick.

March 28, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

US resets the containment of Iran

BY M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | INDIAN PUNCHLINE | MARCH 28, 2022

The summit of Arab diplomats on March 27-28 hosted by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in the southern Negev Desert is doubtless a landmark event. The UAE’s Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Bahrain’s Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, Morocco’s Nasser Bourita, and Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry are the Arab participants, while the visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken becomes the sole “extra-regional” participant.

The expectation that more West Asian countries would join the Abraham Accords failed to materialise, but the security and military ties between Israel, UAE, Bahrain — and Saudi Arabia behind the curtain — have deepened. Egypt also joins the nascent partnership.

There is much symbolism surrounding the venue of the Arab-Israeli summit: Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, lived at Sde Boker and he is buried there, overlooking the Zin wilderness. Lapid hopes to take his guests to visit the gravesite.

To be sure, wherever Blinken goes, the agenda would include Ukraine conflict and he is sure to make a pitch for isolating Russia and urge his Arab interlocutors to join Western efforts in support of Ukraine, but it has had limited success even with his Israeli hosts, much less so with the US’ Arab allies.

For a variety of reasons, Israel is wary of antagonising Russia (although under US pressure it set up a field hospital inside Ukrainian territory to treat those injured by Russian forces and has also sent several shipments of humanitarian supplies to the war zone.) Israel has refused repeated requests from Kiev for weapons.

Israel also opted out of imposing sanctions against Russian oligarchs. This rankles the Biden administration. The acerbic tongue of US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland lashed out during a Channel 12 interview, “You (Israel) don’t want to become the last haven for dirty money that’s fuelling Putin’s wars.”

Israel ignored her barb. Israel sought a mediatory role in the conflict initially but lately stepped back, and, at any rate , Russia does not really need mediators to bring this conflict to an end once its special operation is successfully concluded. On the whole, Israel tries to walk a tightrope to maintain good relations with both Ukraine and Russia. 

As for Gulf states, they do not even pretend to take a neutral stance. None of them has rallied to the western call to impose sanctions against Russia. The foreign ministers of Qatar and the UAE visited Moscow recently to discuss expansion of bilateral relations. 

The crux of the matter is that the major oil producing countries of the Gulf would have congruence of interests with Russia to preserve OPEC+ not only to maintain their present income level, but also are in anticipation of the lifting of US sanctions against Iran leading to full flow of Iranian crude back into the global oil markets.

The point is, Iran remains a great oil power, with an estimated 157 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves, nearly 10 percent of the world’s total and 13 percent of those held by the OPEC. Its habitation within the OPEC+ is an absolute must for all oil producing countries. Now, Russia has a major role to play to leverage both short-term and longer-term bearish effects of Iran’s entry on global oil prices.

Experts estimate that Iran could see an 80 percent recovery of full oil production within six months and a 100 percent recovery within 12 months, and in the immediate terms, once sanctions are lifted, its overnight impact may already manifest as a 5-10 percent fall in the oil prices. 

Nonetheless, Ukraine conflict aside, the real significance of the Israel-Arab diplomatic summit in the Negev Desert should be sought somewhere else. Prima facie, it is a diplomatic coup for Israel, as its efforts to integrate into the Arab family are making progress. What lends enchantment to the view is that this bucks the overall trend of the US’ regional influence in West Asia.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s accent on diplomacy to win friends and influence neighbours is proving productive and Israel is no longer depending on the US to cut new paths for it to navigate as a regional state. This is a paradigm shift. 

Principally, Israel taps into the angst in the Arab world that Iran is poised to surge as a regional power very shortly and the future trajectory of Iranian policies remain unclear. In fact, this is the leitmotif of the diplomatic event in the Negev Desert. 

In immediate terms, Israel and the Arab states believe that the intensifying drone attacks by the Houthis lately is only possible with the help and even participation by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which provides missiles, rockets, drones, intelligence equipment and training. They apprehend that Iran’s resistance politics are signalling a new cutting edge, as the recent missile strike on alleged Israeli assets in Erbil in northern Iraq showed.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE have been depending on US-made anti-missile defences, mainly the Patriot systems, but their performance so far has been less than satisfactory. Thus, a stunning idea has taken shape lately in the nature of building an architecture of “joint air defences” between Israel, the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. 

After all, Israel has the expertise in developing a multi-layered air defence system devolving upon the famous Iron Dome, David’s Sling systems (which can intercept missiles up to 200km away) and Arrow batteries, which are capable of intercepting and destroying long-range missiles at ranges of up to 2,000km, including ballistic missiles. The three layers of Israeli systems are integrated and assisted by advanced radars and other early warnings equipment. 

Interestingly, coincidence or not, the Israeli air defences are also linked to a powerful American radar, stationed in the Negev Desert which is where the Arab diplomats from Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE have gathered for the 2-day event.

Blinken’s mission at the summit is principally to get the regional allies accustomed to the imminent conclusion of the negotiations at Vienna leading to the removal of US sanctions against Iran. The Biden administration is yet to take the plunge on lifting the designation of the IRGC as a “Foreign Terrorist Organisation”. The US’s regional allies, especially Israel, have opposed such a move tooth and nail. 

But the US has a sense of urgency about Iran’s increased oil output entering the world market. That said, however, Washington’s containment policy against Iran is not going to be mothballed. Rather, it will continue in a newer form. In fact, the lifting of sanctions without any reciprocal assurances from Tehran as regards its regional policies necessitates that the containment strategy will have to remain as the US’ geopolitical tool for the foreseeable future.  

The Arab-Israeli summit with Blinken’s participation underscores that the US-Iran entanglement is being reset. There is no question that the JCPOA is of vital importance to check Iran’s nuclear programme. Israel also tends to go along with that thinking lately. The Abraham Accords is providing the foundation for a new US-backed security architecture in West Asia to counter Iran.

March 28, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

G7 rejects Russian demand to pay for gas in rubles

Samizdat | March 28, 2022

The Group of Seven major economies have collectively agreed to reject Moscow’s demand to pay for energy imports from Russia in rubles, according to German Energy Minister Robert Habeck.

“All G7 ministers agreed completely that this [would be] a one-sided and clear breach of the existing contracts,” Habeck told journalists on Monday.

The minister added that “payment in rubles is not acceptable” and that the nations will urge the companies affected “not to follow” the demand issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.

On Monday, Putin ordered the government, the central bank, and Gazprombank to develop the necessary tools to switch all payments for Russian natural gas from “unfriendly states” to rubles from March 31.

This includes countries that have targeted Russia’s financial system and seized its foreign reserves in response to the crisis in Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia will stop shipping natural gas to countries that reject the demand.

March 28, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

Climate History Began Eight Years Ago

Tony Heller | March 26, 2022

Climate alarm is based on ambulance chasing commonplace events, making up fake statistics about them, and never permitting an honest scientist to weigh in on the discussion.

March 28, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | Leave a comment