Middle East (NEO) – There’s a good chance that the dreams about peace and prosperity won’t betray the people of the Middle East this year around. It won’t be an exaggeration to state that that’s what the absolute majority of those…
There were several important outcomes of the previous three-day visit made by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Japan (from November 10 to November 12, 2016), but it is the Cooperation Agreement on the development of high-speed railway transport that attracts particular attention.
It, alongside other facts that have emerged over the past few years, has led to Bloomberg publishing a thesis by American Orientalist Jeffrey Kingston on the expansion of the “rail wars” between Japan and China, which is taking on an almost global nature. This time it has manifested itself in the territory of India. The participants of the so-called “war” are resorting to methods that include both political influence on the leadership of the country that announces a tender for the construction of transport infrastructure, as well as the financial and technology attractiveness of the proposed projects.
China and Japan, the two global leaders in the construction of high-speed railways, have used these tools in full in the course of the first such tender announced by Indonesia last summer. A year ago, we briefly described the dramatic development of the Japan-China struggle to win the order to develop and implement the construction project of the 140-km long Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway on the island of Java worth more than 5 billion dollars. The government of Indonesia found itself in a situation that can only be described as “dramatic” as it had to choose the winner out of the two leading Asian powers.
It goes without saying that Afghanistan has a special geopolitical, geo-strategic and geo-economic importance, that is why its territory has become an arena of bitter rivalry between various external and internal forces. This country has gained particular importance in the regional and global game amid the background of its neighbors, namely Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, having largest uranium reserves in the world, while the Gulf and the Caspian Sea, adjacent to Afghan territory, holding an extensive amount of energy reserves within the region.
However, Washington’s think tanks have found themselves in a deadlock as a result of their strategy for Afghanistan and the region. Despite the fact that the US has wasted hundreds of billions of dollars on this region, it has achieved no strategic objectives, the most important of which were the so-called projects of the “Greater Middle East” and of “Great Central Asia”. If no fundamental adjustments are made to US strategy both at the global and regional levels, the situation will only get increasingly complicated. At that point, Washington would be unable to hide the utter and complete failure of its designs in Afghanistan, and in Central Asia as a whole.
It goes without saying that the so-called Syria’s civil war is the most dangerous and destructive crisis on the planet. Hundreds of thousands have already perished in this conflict, while around ten million Syrians have been displaced since early 2011.
To start this conflict and then keep its fires burning the US and its Satellites have spent billions of dollars. It’s curious that the New York Times has recently uncovered the criminal role that the CIA played in the Syrian war, reporting that members of the Obama administration have told them that Saudi Arabia is sponsoring the absolute majority of overseas unannounced overseas wars, to keep the role played in them by Washington a secret. At times the US and Saudi Arabia would share their intelligence, while in some cases Riyadh just hand out large sums of money to CIA operatives, without asking any questions.
Malaysia finds itself weathering yet another foreign-backed color revolution, with the color of choice being the “yellow shirts” of Bersih supporters.
Bersih was created by the United States government and the political alliance of convicted and currently jailed Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim. The front organized its first rally in 2007, and has since then organized four more with the most recent taking place this month.
Over the years, Bersih has morphed, being co-opted both by elements of the very government it is attempting to overthrow, and by legitimate opposition fronts who either are cynically exploiting the movement’s size and foreign funding, or who genuinely are unaware that Bersih’s core leadership is composed of US-funded agitators seeking to divide and destroy both Malaysia and ASEAN, as a means of reasserting US primacy in the region vis-a-vis China.
The developing economic, political and military links binding Iran, China and Russia in what I see as an emerging Golden Triangle in Eurasia, are continuing to deepen insignificant areas. This, while it seems to be US geopolitical strategy in a prospective Trump Administration to distance Washington from both Iran and from China, while dangling the carrot of lessened confrontation between Washington and Moscow–classic Halford Mackinder or Kissinger geopolitics of avoiding a two-front war that was colossally backfiring on Washington by trying to shift the power balance. At present, the dynamic of the past several years of closer cooperation by the three pivotal states of the Eurasian Heartland is gaining strategic momentum. The latest is the visit of China’s Minister of Defense and of Russian senior officials to Teheran.
On November 14-15 in Teheran, during a high-level visit of the Chinese Defense Minister, General Chang Wanquan, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, the two major Eurasian nations signed a deal to enhance military cooperation. The agreement calls for intensification of bilateral military training and closer cooperation on what the Iran sees as regional security issues, with terrorism and Syria at the top of the list. Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, said Iran is ready to share with China its experiences in fighting against the terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria. Dehghan added that the agreement represents an “upgrade in long-term military and defense cooperation with China.”
The election of Rodrigo Duterte the President of the Philippines last May was seen as a landmark event in the tricky and dangerous contest unfolding in the waters of the South China Sea and in the Southeast Asia as a whole. Though this event has not overwritten the initial scenario of the geopolitical game played in the region, it certainly has altered it.
The main contestants, i.e., the US, China and Japan, cannot ignore the changes, as they might be indicative of a potential shift in the foreign policy of the country, the territory of which defines the eastern border of the South China Sea.
The geopolitical location of the Philippines renders its foreign policy trends strategically important. Has there been a shift in the country’s policy, and if so, in what direction?
The fact that one of the principle allies of the “self-proclaimed champions of democracy” is routinely beheading people makes one feel like they’re living in Lewis Carroll’s surreal “Wonderland.” According to Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia violently executed 79 people in 2013, more than 150 in 2015, and at the beginning of this year a total of 47 people were beheaded in just one day in Saudi Arabia. The horrific results of this year are yet to be assessed, but it is now becoming clear that the norms of international law are being blatantly disregarded in this country.
It is also important to note that while the entire Islamic world strictly adheres to the norms of Islam, Riyadh puts itself above the Righteous Caliphs, the Prophet and the word of the Quaran. This is because it has been violently punishing and killing people and seeks for a way to justify it religiously.
August 15 is among the most significant and all-important days both for the politics of Japan and its immediate neighbours that watch, ever more closely each year, everything happening in one of the leading Asian countries. The reasons are clear enough.
Let us recall that on this very day 71 years ago, Emperor Hirohito accepted the terms of surrender that had been outlined by the Allied countries at the Potsdam Conference three weeks earlier. Since then, August 15, 1945 in Japan has been considered the day of the end of war in the Asian-Pacific region, the war that was knowingly launched by so-called Marco Polo Bridge Incident of June 7, 1937 outside Beijing.
Never have the US-Turkey relations been at such a low ebb as today due to the alleged US involvement in the (failed) coup attempt. Despite the fact that Turkey is a member of NATO—a legacy of cold war Western alliance against the former Soviet Union and a modern manifestation of military imperialism—Turkey’s leadership seems “determined” to stick to its guns against the “front” that has been opened against it at a time when most of the Middle East is in the grip of terror. Dissolution of an elected government in Turkey, however bad its policies were, would have sent serious political jolts across the entire Mid-Eastern political landscape and put Turkey on course to social and political fragmentation, the kind of which is currently prevailing in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Yemen and Libya. Who would have benefited the most from it?
Turkey’s leadership tends to believe it would have been the US Hence, widespread anti-US populism in Turkey that may, at some point, lead to some concrete and significant changes in its foreign policy. So far, however, the anti-US populism that Erdogan is fanning seems to be aimed at putting some pressure on the US to refrain from making further attempts at dislodging Erdogan. By keeping the Turks politically charged (read: Several hundred flag-waving protesters staged a peaceful protest march near the Incirlik base on Thursday, chanting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) and “Damn the USA”, the pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper reported. The protesters burned a US flag), Erdogan has developed a sort of insulation against the “Western conspiracy”, as also considerably strengthened his own political base.
Alongside the sanctions against the Kim Jong-un, North Korea have been accused of another crime that sounds plausible to the average citizen of the civilized world. Human trafficking!
The annual Trafficking in Persons Report published by the U.S. Department of State on June 30 places North Korea in the third tier in their rating (based on the extent that it neglects the problem) for the 14th time in a row. This category includes hugely disadvantaged countries that do not even meet the minimum requirements of the U.S. Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act and are therefore subject to sanctions. In addition to North Korea, these countries are Algeria, Myanmar, Gambia, Haiti, Iran, Russia, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Syria, and a number of other countries.
The news that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the assassinated leader of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Muammar Gaddafi, has been released from captivity is one of the most significant developments in Libya in some time. For while the Western corporate media would like people to believe that the Gaddafi name is dead and buried, the fact remains that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, and the surviving members of the Gaddafi family, are seen as heroes by many in Libya. Moreover, Saif’s release has the potential to transform the political situation in the country.
Although details are few and far between, what we do know is that according to his lawyer at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Saif Gaddafi “was given his liberty on April 12, 2016.” Indeed official documents (which remain unverified) seem to support the assertion that Saif has, in fact, been released. Considering the statements from his attorneys that Saif is “well and safe and in Libya,” the political ramifications of this development should not be underestimated. Not only is Saif Gaddafi the second eldest and most prominent of Col. Gaddafi’s sons, he is also the one seen as the inheritor of his father’s legacy of independent peaceful development and the maintenance of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has announced his intentions to reinforce positions within Syria, particularly in Aleppo. Al-Manar in its article, “S. Nasrallah: Hezbollah Will Reinforce Troops in Aleppo to Achieve Major Victory,” would report that:
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah confirmed on Friday that the party will send more troops to Syria’s Aleppo where a major battle goes on in order to defeat the takfiri-terrorist project backed by Saudi and the US.
Nasrallah would add that the US and its regional allies were preparing to flood Syria with thousands of additional terrorist proxies in a bid to seize Aleppo. He also pointed out how the so-called “ceasefire” was used by various US-Saudi backed terrorist groups to retrench and prepare for the next phase of fighting.
US foreign policy in Asia Pacific has centered around the so-called “Pivot to Asia,” initially rolled out as an alleged means for the US to strengthen ties with Asia, but was incrementally revealed as the latest leg in a decades-long attempt to encircle and contain China by overrunning the socioeconomic and political sovereignty of its neighbors, thus maintaining what US policymakers themselves refer to as American “primacy over Asia.”
It is no surprise then that nations across Asia have responded negatively to the “Pivot.” What gains the US has made, have been made through coercion, political subversion, and even terrorism – and this is done in front of an increasingly geopolitically aware Asian population.
Yet despite this, the US appears to still be struggling against both Asia’s overall desire to cooperate among themselves, and their own “pivots” toward alternative centers of power, in Beijing, Moscow, and beyond.
It is not often that world events offer us a true window into the covert world of global politics – by global I mean this secret inner political sanctum, us, common mortals, are never ever allowed to look upon, never mind discuss … And though many have felt the weight of this unseen, and unheard back dealings, acutely aware that it always behind tightly closed doors that deals are really brokered, once in a while we are treated to a glimmer of truth.
Interestingly enough such “glimmer” came by way of utmost arrogance on the part of Saudi Arabia – this new political terror which has stretched and clawed its way out of the box Western powers contained it into. As we look upon the kingdom, we might do well to remember Ancient Greece wisdom. It was Zeus I recall who gave the beautiful and alluring Pandora a box; a box he warned should never be opened … Eaten away by curiosity and yearning for power maybe, Pandora could not resist. And so evil was released onto the world. At the end, lying deep at the bottom of the box, was hope.
If you were to translate Pandora’s tale to our modern day political conundrum, I would personally argue that Zeus (the Western world) made the mistake of entrusting Saudi Arabia (Pandora) with too much power (the box). As Pandora opened her box, all manners of evil were released: al-Qaeda, Daesh, Boko Haram etc …