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Mozambique’s The Newest Front In The US’ So-Called Global War On Terror

30 MARCH 2021

Mozambique

Many observers missed the US’ designation in early March of Mozambique’s “Al Shabaab” as an ISIS-affiliated global terrorist organization and its subsequent dispatch of roughly a dozen Green Berets to the country to aid the national military in its counter-terrorist operations, but this development signals that the Southern African state has importantly become the newest front in America’s “Global War On Terror”.

The US’ newest front in its “Global War On Terror” has officially opened in the Southern African state of Mozambique following the State Department’s designation in early March of the country’s “Al Shabaab” as an ISIS-affiliated global terrorist organization and the subsequent dispatch of roughly a dozen Green Berets there to aid the national military in its counter-terrorist operations. Many observers missed these developments, perhaps because they were too busy paying attention to the latest twists and turns of what I describe as World War C, or the world’s uncoordinated attempt to contain COVID-19 which catalyzed full-spectrum paradigm-changing processes across every sphere of life. I warned last September that “Mozambique Might Require Foreign Military Assistance To Clean Up Its Hybrid War Mess” after it became clear that the country couldn’t tackle this pressing task on its own, nor were its previously reported private military contractor (PMC) partners able to sufficiently assist it to this end. That prediction ultimately came to pass in March.

American interests in Southern Africa are varied, but they share the common objective of pushing back against regional multipolar trends, particularly China’s rising influence there. In the Mozambican case, the country stands the chance of becoming one of the world’s top LNG exporters in the future should its vast northern offshore gas deposits that are uncoincidentally in close proximity to the current terrorist-afflicted zone be fully tapped. There had hitherto been some serious concerns on the US’ part that Chinese influence in Mozambique could indirectly shape the global energy industry, as well as facilitate Beijing’s efforts to more closely connect the landlocked countries beyond to its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) through trans-Mozambican commercial corridors. These fears are now somewhat more manageable as the US expands its own influence in the country through its close military cooperation with its partner’s armed forces for the purpose of jointly defeating this newly designated ISIS affiliate.

History attests, however, that the US’ motives aren’t ever truly benign and that it always takes advantage of anti-terrorist pretexts in order to pursue ulterior objectives. The evolving anti-terrorist situation in Mozambique is no exception since it deserves mention that the earlier cited State Department designation also imposed the same label on the anti-Ugandan “Allied Democratic Forces” (ADF) that have been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for a few decades already. That group is responsible for carrying out large-scale killings and other acts of terrorism, and its pairing with Mozambique’s “Al Shabaab” as part of ISIS’ larger “Central African Province” proxy network creates the pretext for the US to turn the entire Central-Eastern-Southern African theater into the latest front of its more comprehensive anti-terrorist operations should the Pentagon have the political will to exploit the situation to this end. Once again, the true objective would be to roll back China’s rising influence in this strategic space.

To be absolutely clear, genuine terrorist groups – especially those connected to ISIS – must be thwarted at all costs lest they continue carrying out greater acts of carnage and thus catalyze an uncontrollable chain reaction of destabilization that ultimately risks turning this transregional space into a black hole of chaos similar in a sense to what previously happened in parts of the West Asia (especially along the Syrian-Iraqi border) and is currently unfolding in West Africa. That said, while anti-terrorist cooperation with the US might achieve short-term military goals for America’s partners such as Mozambique, it might eventually be against their long-term strategic interests if the US exploits its “military diplomacy” over these increasingly desperate governments to impose political strings to continued security cooperation upon which those states might soon become dependent. In a perfect world, no such fears would credibly exist, but as previously mentioned, history proves that these concerns are completely founded by established precedent.

With this in mind, the ideal solution would be if terrorist-afflicted states didn’t have to rely on the US for anti-terrorist assistance, but the reality is that they seem to have little choice. China doesn’t partake in anti-terrorist operations abroad though it does train some of its BRI partners’ military forces, presumably also sharing its own domestic anti-terrorist experiences in the process. As for Russia, it’s developing bespoke “Democratic Security” solutions (counter-Hybrid Warfare tactics and strategies) for Global South states such as the Central African Republic, the Congo Republic, and most recently Togo, but its model is still far from perfect and thus requires plenty of improvements before such services are exported more broadly. This difficult state of strategic affairs compelled Mozambique to eventually request the US’ anti-terrorist assistance as its Hybrid War mess in Cabo Delgado Province spiraled out of control over the past few years, though it remains to be seen exactly what political strings America will attach to its continued security support in this respect.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Mozambique, ISIS, Terrorism, Hybrid War, US, China.


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Secretary Of State Blinken Won’t Succeed In Breaking Chinese-EU Bonds

29 MARCH 2021

Secretary Of State Blinken Won

The continual improvement of Chinese-EU relations is irreversible since it embodies the driving force of history, particularly as it relates to the inevitable integration of the Eurasian supercontinent as an outcome of the emerging Multipolar World Order.

China and the EU are economically complementary partners and equally rich civilizations that are unprecedentedly expanding their cooperation through last December’s Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI). This deal enables them to more closely connect their economies and pursue mutually beneficial outcomes through their shared win-win philosophy. Nevertheless, America has attempted to aggressively break their bilateral bonds out of hegemonic jealousy, furious at the scenario of its transatlantic partners evolving from patron states to independent players in International Relations.

This is evidenced by US Secretary of State Blinken’s trip to the bloc last week where he sought to turn its 27 member states against the People’s Republic. The relaunching of their previously frozen dialogue under the former Trump Administration isn’t intended to advance anything other than America’s efforts to divide the EU from China. It was preceded by the Brussels imposing its first sanctions against Beijing in over 30 years as a result of Washington’s pressure upon it to tow the propaganda line on debunked allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

The People’s Republic swiftly responded in a symmetrical manner that’s fully in line with its rights under international law, thereby dealing a principled tit-for-tat intended to show that no provocations will ever remain unanswered but that Beijing also harbors no intention to escalate matters with Brussels. Both moves are mostly symbolic for the most part but they still worryingly show that Washington is trying to regain its hegemonic influence over the EU. The bloc’s 27 members must therefore be extremely wary of their historic transatlantic partner since it doesn’t have their best interests in mind.

The continual improvement of Chinese-EU relations is irreversible since it embodies the driving force of history, particularly as it relates to the inevitable integration of the Eurasian supercontinent as an outcome of the emerging Multipolar World Order. International Relations are changing from their hitherto zero-sum outlook to the new perspective of win-win engagement, which is led by China’s active efforts to popularize this philosophy across the world. A lot of progress has already been achieved, and although external meddling might lead to a few road bumps along the way, the path ahead is still clear and desired by both parties.

The next step to strengthen Chinese-EU ties in the face of US resistance is to expand their existing cooperation into other strategic spheres such as jointly containing the COVID-19 pandemic, combating climate change, and collaborating on 5G technological solutions for facilitating the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Some EU member states are under heavy American pressure to choose between their their traditional transatlantic partner and their newfound East Asian one in these fields, but such a zero-sum choice is a false one that’s only being forced upon them for hegemonic reasons. In reality, they can and should cooperate with both countries.

Unlike the US, China doesn’t pressure its partners, whether it comes to any aspect of their bilateral ties or especially not in terms of their relations with any third party. All that Beijing asks is that their pragmatic cooperation remain free from any external influences and focused solely on pursuing win-win outcomes. This speaks to how sincerely China treasures the principles of multipolarity as articulated in the UN Charter, which contrasts with the American approach of exploiting strategic elements of its relations with certain states for the purpose of advancing zero-sum outcomes vis-a-vis its perceived rivals such as China.

The world is in the midst of full-spectrum paradigm-changing processes which will unleash an exciting future for all. Everyone stands to benefit as International Relations continue becoming more multipolar, which will open up new opportunities for development that will in turn improve people’s living standards. The EU must resist American pressure to revert back to the discredited model of zero-sum thinking and instead proudly embrace the win-win philosophy that defines the new model of International Relations. That is the only means through which the EU can enhance its strategic independence and truly remain a meaningful player in global affairs.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: China, EU, US, Multipolarity, Eurasian Century.


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Can Russia’s S-400 Sale To India Trigger The Quad’s Collapse?

26 MARCH 2021

Can Russia

The US-led anti-Chinese Quad alliance of itself, Australia, India, and Japan might be on the brink of collapse according to influential BJP ideologue Subramanian Swamy, who warned that Washington might expel New Delhi from this bloc if it goes through with its planned purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense systems.

One of the most geopolitically consequential blocs of the 21st century is unquestionably the Quad, a US-led anti-Chinese alliance that also includes Australia, India, and Japan. It presents one of the greatest strategic challenges to the emerging Multipolar World Order because of the potential that it has to offset China’s historic rise and therefore the new model of International Relations that it’s bringing to the forefront of global affairs. Many analysts have wondered what could possibly be done to stop the Quad, but most of them have since thrown up their hands in despair and seemingly accepted it as a fait accompli that they’re powerless to prevent. That strategic fatalism might have been a bit too premature, however, after influential BJP ideologue Subramanian Swamy’s public warning on Twitter on Thursday.

Russian publicly financed international media outlet Sputnik reported on his tweet, which read that “I notice none of my facts on Twitter have been proved wrong: 1. China has crossed LAC and occupied our territory. 2. Govt says disengagement has led to PLA withdrawal from Indian side of LAC is false 3. India buying S400 from Russia will lead to US expelling India from QUAD.” The reader should also be reminded that Swamy published a hateful anti-Russian article last October that elicited a very strong condemnation from the Russian Embassy in India at the time. India has the right to conduct its foreign affairs however it so chooses in line with what it describes as its “multi-alignment” strategy, but there should be little question in light of his recent statements that Swamy is seemingly pro-American with his outlook and at the very least unfriendly towards Russia.

This influential figure’s statements are at variance with what the Russian and Indian governments officially regard as their special and privileged strategic partnership that’s recently been experiencing a renaissance over the past few years, especially after Prime Minister Modi attended the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September 2019 as President Putin’s guest of honor. Despite some bumps in the road in the year and a half since, ties are back on the positive track following Foreign Secretary Shringla’s visit to Moscow last month. Quite clearly, Russian-Indian relations remain strong, which provides a much-needed element of certainty in the midst of what can be described as World War C, or the full-spectrum paradigm-changing processes catalyzed by the international community’s uncoordinated attempt to contain COVID-19.

The US’ repeated threats to sanction India for its planned S-400 purchase from Russia run the risk of complicating American-Indian relations, particularly when it comes to their hitherto close military cooperation in attempting to “contain” China through the Quad. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Modi remains determined to go through with the deal, which speaks of how highly he regards Russia’s role in India’s “multi-alignment” “balancing” act no matter how imperfectly he’s thus far executed it. Swamy’s warning can therefore be interpreted as pressure upon the premier from within his own government, which shows that some influential forces don’t agree with Prime Minister Modi’s strategic direction. They’d do well to reconsider their views though since it’s arguably in all of Eurasia’s interests that India concludes the S-400 deal with Russia.

Swamy might actually be right for once, though much to the detriment of the American-aligned grand strategic vision that he seemingly sympathizes with. The US might not literally expel India from the Quad if it receives Russia’s S-400 air defense systems, but their anti-Chinese military coordination would certainly be adversely affected, especially if America imposes sanctions like it’s repeatedly threatened to do. That, however, would by default strengthen India’s ties with Russia and China, thus providing a much-needed impetus for reviving their trilateral cooperation through through RIC and thereby strengthening both BRICS and the SCO as well. This could in turn accelerate the rise of the Eurasian Century, especially as it was recently articulated by Pakistani officials during last week’s inaugural Islamabad Security Dialogue.

In connection with that, it also deserve mention that ties between India and Pakistan are gradually thawing as a result of recent developments between the two, particularly last month’s surprise ceasefire that continues to hold at the time of this analysis’ publication and earlier reports that the UAE is secretly trying to broker a more comprehensive solution to the UNSC-recognized disputed territory of Kashmir. The resultant reduction of American influence in India in the aftermath of Washington likely going through with its sanctions threats against New Delhi could potentially remove the greatest threat to peace in the region since the US wouldn’t be as powerful as before to divide and rule South Asia by exploiting this unresolved conflict.

In other words, India’s purchase of Russia’s S-400s would be in both of those countries’ interests as well as China’s and Pakistan’s when one considers the larger Eurasian strategic picture. The Quad probably won’t collapse, nor is it to be expected that the US would expel India from this alliance, but the group’s anti-Chinese military capabilities might take a strong hit as New Delhi would be less prone to closely cooperate with Washington in this respect if it becomes victimized by American sanctions for its sovereign decision to go through with its Russian air defense deal. With these interconnected dynamics in mind, observers can therefore rightly describe the S-400 deal as potentially being a grand strategic game-changer provided that India retains the political will to go through with it despite Swamy’s and other influential forces’ efforts to stop it.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, India, US, Sanctions, S-400s, Quad, China, Pakistan, Eurasian Century, Balancing.


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The Rise Of The Eurasian Century

25 MARCH 2021

The Rise Of The Eurasian Century

China, India, Pakistan, and Russia all share the same goal of improving connectivity between them and their many partners, with their visions increasingly converging in light of the latest events.

Fast-moving recent developments inspire hope that the Eurasian Century is rising a lot quicker than even the most optimistic observers could have expected. The relevant events are last month’s Chinese-Indian synchronized disengagement and the Indian-Pakistani ceasefire, the US’ threats to sanction India for its planned purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense systems, the scandals that America provoked last week with China and Russia, last week’s inaugural Islamabad Security Dialogue, and the latest progress in resolving the Afghan War. The importance of all five will now be briefly discussed prior to putting them into the larger strategic context.

The China-India-Pakistan triangle over the UNSC-recognized disputed territory of Kashmir always had a high conflict potential, which the world was reminded of during the Indian-Pakistani air battle of February 2019 and last summer’s Chinese-Indian clashes in the Galwan River Valley. All sides to their credit realized that their interests are best served by stabilizing the tense situation there through last month’s earlier mentioned synchronized disengagement and ceasefire. This de-escalates everything and creates a conductive environment for peacefully resolving their disagreements.

The US’ repeated threats to sanction India for its planned purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense systems will also improve the security situation in Eurasia, as strange as it may sound. India must by now realize that the US isn’t as reliable of an ally as some in the country had previously thought. America is attaching unacceptable political, economic, and strategic strings to military cooperation with India through the Quad that many suspect is tacitly aimed at containing China. Should Washington go through with its threats, then New Delhi might in turn take a step back from the Quad, which would by default further improve Chinese-Indian relations.

Last week’s Anchorage meeting between Chinese and American diplomats ended with the latter patronizingly talking down to the former and thus preventing a lot of meaningful progress from being made. In addition, US President Joe Biden’s agreement with an interviewer who asked him whether he thought that Russian President Vladimir Putin was a “killer” prompted Moscow to recall its ambassador for the first time since 1998. Coincidentally, Russia’s Foreign Minister visited Beijing this week to discuss strengthening bilateral ties, which aren’t aimed against any third party such as the US but are only intended to improve the situation in Eurasia.

The inaugural Islamabad Security Dialogue was also held last week and saw Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Chief Of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa jointly present Pakistan’s new multipolar grand strategy. Importantly, Islamabad encouraged New Delhi to take the first step towards resolving their dispute over Kashmir in order for Pakistan to then facilitate Indian connectivity with Afghanistan, the Central Asian Republics, and beyond (perhaps as far as Russia and the EU too). This very friendly outreach could revolutionize Eurasia’s economic connectivity capabilities if India positively responds to Pakistan.

Finally, the recent progress that’s been made on peacefully resolving the Afghan War could unlock the potential for Central Asian-South Asian connectivity. This is especially so when considering last month’s agreement between Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan to construct a railway between them. Keeping in mind the Pakistani political, diplomatic, and military leaderships’ unprecedented joint outreach to India last week, then the plausible possibility exists of finally pioneering a Central Asian-South Asian connectivity corridor upon the eventual end of the Afghan War. This would unquestionably be to all of the Eurasian supercontinent’s benefit.

Altogether, the fast-moving developments of recent weeks strongly point to the rise of the Eurasian Century. China, India, Pakistan, and Russia all share the same goal of improving connectivity between them and their many partners, with their visions increasingly converging in light of the latest events. The best-case scenario is that the Chinese-Indian synchronized disengagement and Indian-Pakistani ceasefire hold in parallel with meaningful progress being made on resolving the Afghan War and the Kashmir dispute. That outcome would enable all players to more easily resist the US’ divide-and-rule schemes and thus ensure a win-win future for all.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Eurasia, Eurasian Century, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kashmir, US, Multipolarity.


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China And Russia Are Jointly Leading A Real-Life Justice League

24 MARCH 2021

China And Russia Are Jointly Leading A Real-Life Justice League

Before the world’s eyes, a real-life Justice League is quickly emerging, jointly led by China and Russia.

America loves its superhero films, but fiction is fast transforming into fact as China and Russia aspire to lead a real-life Justice League. The comic book series and film of the same name refers to a collection of superheroes who save the world from evil, which is essentially what those countries are trying to do. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday during the latter’s two-day visit to the People’s Republic that “We should act as guarantors of justice in international affairs.”

He also added that “China is ready to promote the international system established by the United Nations, protect the world order based on international law, and abide by universal values such as peace, development, justice, democracy, equality and freedom.” This was preceded by Mr. Lavrov’s support the day earlier for their shared Venezuelan partner’s earlier proposal to assemble a worldwide anti-sanctions coalition. He said that “We must form a maximally wide coalition of countries that would combat this illegal practice.”

Russia’s top diplomat also declared on Monday that “We must deviate from the use of the West-controlled international payment systems. We must lower risks of sanctions by means of enhancing our own technical self-dependence, transition to payments in national currencies and international currencies, which are alternative to the [US] dollar.” The two Foreign Ministers then released a joint statement calling for a UN Security Council (UNSC) summit “to resolve humankind’s common problems in the interests of maintaining global stability.”

Before the world’s eyes, a real-life Justice League is quickly emerging, jointly led by China and Russia. These two rising powers are multipolar and strictly ascribe to the principles of the UN Charter. They stand in firm opposition to America’s hegemonic bullying and its doomed philosophy of zero-sum gains. By embracing its foil of win-win cooperation, they hope to inspire the rest of the international community to follow their lead in charting a new era of International Relations with their excellent bilateral ties serving as the perfect example.

It deserves mention that this year also marks the 20th year anniversary of their historic Treaty of Good- Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, which stands in hindsight as a defining moment in International Relations whereby two large and powerful countries proved that it’s possible to put aside their past differences in cooperating to build a better future for all. The resilience and lasting relevance of this pact serves as proof that pragmatic relations are always mutually beneficial and stabilize the international system.

The US should seriously consider China and Russia’s joint call for convening an urgent UNSC summit at the earliest availability. America’s aggression has destabilized the world, made all the worse by the fact that everyone is still struggling to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of continuing to provoke those two countries, Washington should pragmatically cooperate with them on matters of shared interest such as nuclear non-proliferation, climate change, epidemiological security, cyber security, and reviving the global economy.

In the event that America declines their peaceful proposal, then it’ll finally expose its true intentions once and for all before the eyes of the world. The real-life Justice League jointly led by China and Russia will continue to peacefully promote their new model of International Relations inspired by the shining example of their comprehensive and strategic partnership with the aim of restoring true equality to the global system. The first order of business clearly rests in enhancing victimized nations’ capabilities to resist unilateral sanctions.

America’s policy of economic coercion was long considered to be the ace up its sleeve that it could pull out in lieu of costly military pressure to more easily impose its will onto others, yet that trick is increasingly losing its luster as China and Russia take meaningful steps to neutralize its effectiveness. Their real-life Justice League will inevitably succeed in fulfilling Mr. Wang’s vision of “act[ing] as guarantors of justice in international relations” by restoring the primacy of international law and genuine equality between all nations with time.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, China, Putin, Xi, Justice League, US, UN, Multipolarity, Sanctions.


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The Saudis’ Renewed Peace Push In Yemen Is Welcome, But Incomplete

23 MARCH 2021

The Saudis

The world must urgently act to relieve the Yemeni people’s years-long suffering in the midst of what the UN previously described as the planet’s worst humanitarian crisis, but this will require difficult compromises on the side of each warring party and their international supporters (both military and political ones alike), though all stakeholders can hopefully learn from the recent progress in peacefully resolving the Afghan War to bravely pioneer a new diplomatic track for bringing this about.

An Incomplete Peace Push

The Yemeni people continue to suffer in the midst of what the UN previously described as the planet’s worst humanitarian crisis, which shows no signs of improving anytime soon considering recent back-and-forth strikes by the Ansarullah rebels and Saudi Arabia against one another. Difficult compromises are required on the side of each warring party and their international supporters (both military and political ones alike), particularly the need for them to acknowledge the impossibility of achieving their envisaged maximalist outcomes. The Ansarullah will never control the entirety of Yemen, nor will the Saudi-led coalition succeed in militarily restoring the writ of internationally recognized President Hadi’s government over the northern reaches of the country. Against this backdrop, the Saudis’ renewed peace push in Yemen is certainly welcome, but it’s nevertheless incomplete. What’s crucially required is for all stakeholders to learn from the recent progress in peacefully resolving the Afghan War so as to bravely pioneer a new diplomatic track towards lasting peace.

The Afghan Antecedent

The past week saw Moscow host another round of peace talks that resulted in a promising joint statement which indicated each party’s willingness to continue negotiations towards the end result of an inclusive government. Russia’s diplomatic efforts complement Qatar’s as well as the upcoming US-proposed talks that are slated to be hosted in Istanbul next month. What these tracks have in common is that neutral parties are facilitating meaningful dialogue between the warring sides and other stakeholders in the conflict. In the Yemeni context, this excludes the GCC, the US, and Iran from hosting such talks considering that the first-mentioned is an active participant in the war, the second supporters the former, and the latter politically backs the Ansarullah rebels. As such, other states with positive relations with all parties must step up to the plate to propose hosting peace talks between the warring sides and stakeholders, with the most viable among them arguably being Russia and Pakistan.

A Russian-Pakistani Peace Push?

I wrote back in October 2019 that “Pakistan & Russia Might Hold The Keys To Iranian-Saudi Peace” after each of their leaders embarked on trips to the region around the same time as tensions were spiking between the two Gulf powers. No progress was achieved, whether individually or jointly, though Pakistan and Russia’s relations with Iran and Saudi Arabia continued to improve in the year and a half since. Moreover, intensified Pakistani-Russian diplomatic coordination in peacefully resolving the Afghan War has resulted in a newfound surge of trust between these two Old Cold War-era rivals which has served to accelerate their ongoing rapprochement. It would therefore be a natural extension of their evolving relationship, particularly in light of the progress that they’ve achieved in Afghanistan thus far, to consider the possibility of jointly proposing to host Yemeni peace talks in their respective capitals. This could solidify their rising diplomatic roles in becoming indispensable solutions to some of the world’s most seemingly intractable conflicts like Afghanistan.

Incipient Progress

Moscow already seems to be considering something of the sort with respect to Yemen after hosting the Southern Transitional Council (STC) last month while Islamabad’s offer of mediating between Riyadh and Tehran remains open, the latter of which can be indirectly accomplished by hosting Yemeni talks. Even if those two don’t get involved in the proposed peace process, it’s still important for a neutral state to host such negotiations, though it should preferably one with extensive experience in this field. Any random country wouldn’t suffice, and while the Europeans might be interested in playing this role, it’s unlikely that the Ansarullah and their Iranian political supporters would trust them. Observers should also remember that the Iranian nuclear deal hangs over the heads of every Western diplomat, and Tehran might suspect that this issue could be exploited throughout the course of Yemeni peace talks in a way that could put further pressure upon the Islamic Republic. By contrast, the Ansarullah and Iran don’t have the same concerns with Russia or Pakistan.

Pressing Issues

In any case, the proposed diplomatic track should first focus on immediately lifting the Saudi blockade of Yemen irrespective of whichever country or countries host this new process. It’s the continued imposition of that crippling blockade that provokes the Ansarullah into asymmetrically responding to Saudi Arabia through drone strikes, which in turn prompt reprisal attacks against them, the latter of which target economic and humanitarian infrastructure like grain silos as part of what many have compellingly claimed is the Kingdom’s genocidal war against its southern neighbor. On the topic of back-and-forth strikes, a ceasefire must also be negotiated in parallel with lifting the blockade in order to put an end to this destabilizing tit-for-tat and thus relieve the Yemeni people’s suffering. The other pressing issues that would eventually have to be addressed are the fate of the internationally recognized Hadi government and the final political status of South Yemen, which aspires to regain its independence.

A Federal Compromise

Once again, difficult compromises are required. Concerning the first of these two associated issues crucial to the long-term viability of any political solution to the conflict, the only pragmatic outcome might be the interim federalization of the country between its warring sides along the line of control as it exists at the moment of the ceasefire. The Ansarullah-controlled north would largely remain de facto independent while the south would remain de facto controlled by the STC but nominally under Hadi’s sway. The finer details of this arrangement – such as defense, taxes, parliamentary composition, travel between the two de facto internally partitioned halves, and so on – could be worked out later. What’s most important right now is to freeze the state of military-political affairs as it currently exists considering the near-impossibility of altering it by force and how unacceptable the humanitarian consequences of such a move would be for the average Yemeni who’s already been suffering worse than anyone else in the world for over six years already.

The Democratic Restoration Of South Yemen

As for the second of these associated issues, the only fair solution rests in allowing the South Yemenis to exercise their UN-enshrined right to democratic self-determination under a free and fair referendum, the timeline of which could be determined throughout the final stages of the peace process. On that topic, the key question is whether a majority vote throughout the lands of the former Democratic Republic of South Yemen should suffice for granting the entirety of that territory independence or if its peripheral regions that might not agree with this outcome should reserve the right to remain within the proposed Federal Yemen while the democratic secessionists regain part of their historic state. Of course, the internationally recognized Hadi government will probably oppose this pragmatic proposal since it almost certainly stands to lose its power, at least insofar as its nominal control of Aden goes, but his Saudi patrons must do their utmost to convince him that his purpose should be to serve as an interim leader in the run-up to this referendum.

Southern Scenario Forecast

Prognosticating that the outcome will see at least some geographic part of the former Democratic Republic of South Yemen opt for independence (most likely Aden and its immediate surroundings), the Hadi government would then have to relocate to whatever “loyalist” regions might remain, though provided of course that the pertinent peace agreement allows for regions that don’t vote for independence to stay within the proposed Federal Yemen and not automatically join the restored South Yemen. With this likely scenario in mind, it’s therefore advisable to include such a clause in any prospective peace agreement in order to avoid stoking the fire for a secondary conflict within a newly independent South Yemen between Aden and the peripheral regions that might have voted against joining the revived state. This option could also give the Hadi government a political future, though of course only if those people who would nominally remain under its writ accept its authority. In all likelihood, however, Hadi and his ilk might realize that it’s better to retire from political life if that happens and let the remnants of Federal Yemen democratically choose another leader.

Concluding Thoughts

The path to peace in Yemen is long, hard, and full of difficult compromises, but it can still be charted so long as the warring sides and their international supporters (both military and political) have the will to do what’s needed for the sake of the suffering Yemeni masses. Maximalist outcomes are impossible to attain at this point, and any continued push in that direction by either party is fraught with unacceptable humanitarian consequences. What’s required at this moment is for the involved stakeholders to learn from the recent progress in peacefully resolving the Afghan War and seriously consider the diplomatic involvement of neutral third parties like Pakistan and Russia to jump-start this process through the use of their mediation services between all direct and indirect parties to the conflict. The most immediate objective is to simultaneously lift the blockade and agree to a new ceasefire, after which plenty of thought must be put into the South Yemeni dimension of any political solution in order for it to be truly sustainable.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Ansarullah, Houthis, STC, South Yemen, Iran, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Balancing.


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What is Pakistan’s multipolar grand strategy?

ARTICLE FROM:

tribune.com.pk

March 22, 2021

Imran Khan looks on during a Trade and Investments conference in Colombo on February 24, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

What is Pakistan’s multipolar grand strategy?

Pakistan’s geostrategic location imbues it with the potential to function as the “zipper” for connecting Eurasia

Last week’s inaugural Islamabad Security Dialogue (ISD) was a monumental event in Pakistani history since the country’s top political, diplomatic, and military leaders unveiled their multipolar grand strategy to the world. Prime Minister Imran KhanForeign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Chief Of Army Staff (COAS) General Bajwa all gave keynote speeches which shared the same themes of people-driven transcontinental connectivity.

They spoke about the need for India to take the first step towards resolving the Kashmir issue in order to unlock access to Central Asia through Pakistan and advance the common cause of regional integration in parallel with peace in Afghanistan. Those three officials also preached the need to focus on non-traditional security aspects such as climate security, food security, and economic prosperity for the quarter of the world’s population that lives in South Asia. Their vision is multipolar, pragmatic, and fully in line with 21st century trends.

I’ve written a lot over the years about many of the ideas that they touched upon in their speeches and am citing my most relevant works below in the hopes of encouraging interested readers to review them at their leisure:

* 15 September 2015: “Pakistan Is The ‘Zipper’ Of Pan-Eurasian Integration

* 19 January 2017: “CPEC And The 21st-Century Convergence Of Civilisations

* 18 April 2017: “Applicability Of Hybrid War To Pakistan: Challenges And Possible Responses

* 18 April 2017: “Pakistan In The 21st Century: Perception Management

* 24 April 2017: “What’s CPEC, And How Does The Future Of The Multipolar World Order Depend On It?

* 14 February 2019: “Pakistan: The Global Pivot State

* 27 April 2019: “CPEC+ Is The Key To Achieving Regional Integration Goals

* 14 May 2019: “CPEC Is Crucial To The Convergence Of Civilisations

* 3 June 2020: “Pakistan’s Role In Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership

* 8 March 2021: “Why This Summer’s Central Asia-South Asia Connectivity Conference Will Be Crucial

These ten articles will hopefully help familiarise the reader with the most important strategic concepts advanced by last week’s ISD and the country’s New Comprehensive Security Framework.

To concisely summarise everything for the reader’s convenience, Pakistan’s geostrategic location imbues it with the potential to function as the “zipper” for connecting Eurasia’s disparate regional integration blocs such as the Eurasian Economic Union (EAU) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). This in turn will provide the basis for expanding CPEC along all cardinal directions in order to bring together the supercontinent’s many civilisations through a new transcontinental trade network, with the first such related project being the PAKAFUZ railway through Afghanistan which could form the basis for a larger Central Eurasian Corridor (CEC). It’s of particular importance to point out that this grand strategic goal perfectly dovetails with Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership (GEP) and China’s complementary vision to connect all of its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) partners more closely together. These exciting potentials make Pakistan the global pivot state.

In order to take maximum advantage of these opportunities, however, Pakistan must thwart all emerging Hybrid War threats as well as rehabilitate its international image so as to generate more support for its noble multipolar transcontinental connectivity objective. The first is already being taken care of by the country’s intelligence services while the latter is being actively promoted by its diplomats. That said, Pakistan also needs to resolve its domestic economic problems, but this will understandably take some time to accomplish considering how systemic they are and thus requires patience on the population’s part. Speaking of which, every Pakistani should also proudly consider themselves as ambassadors of their country whenever they interact with foreigners in person or online in order to help improve the world’s perception of their homeland. Should they succeed in doing so, then Pakistan’s international image will be rapidly repaired sooner than later.

Altogether, Pakistan is on the cusp of profound changes that will make life better for everyone, both its citizens and their international partners alike. Last week’s unveiling of the country’s multipolar grand strategy was an historic moment since it showed that the global pivot state is finally confident enough to articulate its place in 21st-century Afro-Eurasia. Full credit goes to its political, diplomatic, and military leaders for their visionary approach in this respect, but it’s now incumbent on all Pakistanis to truly embrace what they learned by actively doing their utmost to put it all into practice. At the very least, this means doing their best to improve their country’s international reputation during all of their interactions with foreigners. This will help the world quickly realise how friendly and welcoming Pakistan’s cosmopolitan people are, which will in turn facilitate more intercultural exchanges such as tourism, study abroad opportunities, and investments.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

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Lavrov Authoritatively Debunked The Fake News About Russian-‘Israeli’ Relations

19 MARCH 2021

Lavrov Authoritatively Debunked The Fake News About Russian-

Wednesday’s press conference in Moscow between the Russian and “Israeli” Foreign Ministers authoritatively debunked the rampant fake news that’s been virally spreading throughout the Alt-Media Community for years about the true nature of their bilateral relations, which remain excellent despite consistent efforts from some influential forces to misportray them as rivals for reasons that only such individuals can account for if publicly but politely challenged by their audience to do so.

Debunking The Latest Lie About Russian-”Israeli” Relations

Every member of the Alt-Media Community is familiar by now with the rampant fake news narrative that’s been virally spreading throughout their sphere of the information space for years already alleging that Russia and “Israel” are supposedly heated rivals with one another, so much so that President Putin might even be secretly plotting an all-out war against the self-professed “Jewish State”. The latest disinformation attack in that direction came late last month after it was falsely reported that Russian Special Envoy to Syria Alexander Lavrentiev threatened to shoot down “Israeli” jets over international airspace the next time that they bomb Syria. I responded to this ridiculous claim that even the most casual objective observer should have immediately known was unrealistic earlier this week in an analysis for The Alt World asking “Should Iran Be Worried About Russia’s Coordination With ‘Israel’ & The US In Syria?” That piece cites recent diplomatic developments and my prior work from late last month about the S-300s, the latter of which provides a list of my 15 most relevant analyses over the years for the reader to review at their leisure.

Relying On Lavrov’s Diplomatic Authority To Set The Record Straight

Despite my detailed analyses being based on objectively existing and easily verifiable facts that are always hyperlinked to their original source (which is usually an official one whenever possible), the most indoctrinated members of the Alt-Media Community still angrily claim that they’re “anti-Russian”, “divisive”, and/or “Zionist” “propaganda”, so powerful is the false narrative that they’ve been brainwashed into believing. That’s why it’s so important to review the highlights of Wednesday’s press conference between the Russian and “Israeli” Foreign Ministers as reported by the official website of the Russian Foreign Ministry, which can’t credibly be accused of being “anti-Russian”, “divisive”, and/or “Zionist” “propaganda”. The purpose in doing so is to hopefully enlighten the “moderate” members of the Alt-Media Community who might be willing to finally listen to the truth about Russian-”Israeli” relations so long as it comes from none other than Foreign Minister Lavrov, the most authoritative source on Russian foreign policy by virtue of his position as its top diplomat. What follows is a list of bullet points summarizing the gist of his key statements, followed by the specific quotes themselves:

A Collection Of Key Quotes

* Russian-”Israeli” Relations Are Guided By Putin & Netanyahu’s Shared Vision:

We believe that Russian-Israeli bilateral ties are making progress in accordance with the agreements reached between President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

* Russia & “Israel” Are Comprehensively Strengthening Their Relations, Including In The Defense Sphere:

We reiterated our commitment to promote interaction across all areas, including the economy, culture, science and education. Steady contacts have been established between the defence ministries.”

* Neither Supports The Dangerous Rehabilitation Of Nazism In Europe:

Russia and Israel have consistently opposed the increasingly frequent attempts to rewrite the history of WWII, to glorify Nazi war criminals and to revive neo-Nazism. We emphasised the importance of our acting jointly with the overwhelming majority of other countries in adopting the related annual resolution by the UN General Assembly.”

* Russia Supports The Arab-”Israeli” Normalization Process:

Moscow welcomes the normalisation of Israel’s relations with a number of Arab states and believes this should help advance a comprehensive settlement in the region, including the long-standing Palestinian problem.”

* Russia & “Israel” Are On The Same Page As Regards A Peaceful Resolution To The Syrian Conflict:

With regard to Syria, we have an overlapping position on the need for a political settlement based on the principles laid down in UN Security Council Resolution 2254. We declared our principled support for Syria’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, and the Syrians’ legitimate right to decide on their own future without outside interference.”

* Russia Briefed “Israel” On Sensitive Aspects Of The Syrian Peace Process, Including Constitutional Reform

We updated our Israeli friends on Russia’s activities as part of the Astana format and other channels in order to help overcome various aspects of the Syria crisis. We focused particularly on stepping up the Constitutional Committee’s activities and shared our steps designed to make the upcoming 6th meeting of the Constitutional Committee’s drafting committee productive.”

* Russia Hinted That “Israel” Might Be Interested In Providing Humanitarian Support To Syria:

We also spoke about the need to help overcome the humanitarian crisis in Syria, where the infrastructure has been destroyed and the people are suffering badly in the wake of crippling sanctions imposed by the United States and other countries.”

* Russia Also Hinted That “Israel” Might Join Moscow’s Proposed Gulf Collective Security System:

We mentioned Russia’s initiative to form a collective security system in the Gulf region with the potential to include neighbouring countries.”

* Russia Sincerely Trusts “Israel” And Vice-Versa:

I believe we had productive talks. We appreciate mutual trust in our contacts with our Israeli colleagues on all matters on the bilateral and multilateral agendas.”

* Russia Is Against The ICC’s Investigation Into “Israeli” War Crimes In Palestine, Believing It’s Politically Biased:

We have a negative impression of this body. This is our principled and consistent position. When the ICC was created, we hoped it would be an independent and professional judicial body with the potential to eventually become a universal body. In reality, it turned out to be the other way round.

The ICC has not lived up to our expectations. It has repeatedly demonstrated a political bias, a lack of professionalism or understanding of certain rules of international law, made mistakes in using them and, contrary to the Rome Statute provisions, unjustifiably tried to expand its competence by invading spheres that are beyond its terms of reference.”

Russia has refused to participate in this and has revoked its signature under statute. Israel did so even earlier. China, India and many other states are not part of the ICC. Even the countries that are parties to the Rome Statute recognise the systemic problems plaguing ICC functions. Unfortunately, the ICC has discredited itself and the mission that was entrusted to it. Any action taken in The Hague must be viewed through this lens and in light of the court’s tarnished reputation.”

Analytical Wrap-Up

As evidenced from the above, there’s no doubt that Russia and “Israel” are much more akin to allies than rivals nowadays. They sincerely trust one another and Moscow supports Tel Aviv on practically every issue of significance, including its opposition to the ICC’s investigation into the self-professed “Jewish State’s” war crimes in Palestine. The Eurasian Great Power hopes to see its de facto regional ally eventually incorporated into the proposed Gulf collective security system, and it also seemingly appreciates the insight that it provides about the Syrian peace process as well during their close consultations on this matter of mutual interest, especially as relates to the Arab Republic’s ongoing constitutional reform. Unlike what many in the Alt-Media Community have been falsely led to believe for years and even as most recently as last month, there exist no serious military disagreements between Russia and “Israel”, as confirmed by Lavrov himself when talking about the “steady contacts” that have been established between their Defense Ministries. This key quote crucially debunks the fake news about Russia allegedly threatening to shoot down “Israeli” jets.

Holding The Alt-Media Community To Account

Nevertheless, it’s all but certain that some of the Alt-Media Community’s key influencers – particularly those whose claim to fame is their coverage of the Syrian conflict – will either suspiciously ignore the objectively existing and easily verifiable policy facts presented in Wednesday’s joint Russian-”Israeli” Foreign Ministers press conference or concoct some crazed theory to protect their precious disinformation narrative about their ties. At all costs, the most responsible truth-seeking members of the Alt-Media Community must hold those said influencers (who in some cases might arguably be deliberate deceivers) to account by publicly but very politely challenging them about their response to this latest diplomatic development. They must be presented with the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official readout of Wednesday’s joint press conference that’s accessible here and asked to share their opinion about Lavrov’s official policy pronouncements. It’s time to find out who’s lying to themselves due to their own wishful thinking delusions as influenced by Alt-Media disinformation and who’s deliberately lying to others about this sensitive issue, including through suspicious omission of the facts.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, Israel, Lavrov, Fake News, Infowars, Alt-Media, Syria, Balancing, ICC, Palestine, Putin, Netanyahu.


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Russian-American relations have reached a dangerous nadir

19 MAR 2021

A view of the Russian embassy in Washington D.C., United States, March 17, 2021. /Getty

Editor’s note: Andrew Korybko is a Moscow-based American political analyst. The article reflects the author’s opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Russian-American relations have reached a dangerous nadir after Moscow summoned its ambassador to the U.S. for consultations following U.S. President Joe Biden’s agreement in a recent interview that his Russian counterpart is a “killer.”

This comes on the heels of the U.S. intelligence community’s report that Moscow allegedly waged an influence operation during last year’s elections. Earlier this week, leading Russian Senator Alexei Pushkov claimed that the U.S. aims to impose “a prolonged siege of ‘Putin’s Russia'” through “sanctions from hell,” provoking hostilities in eastern Ukraine and NATO’s buildup along his country’s borders. Last month, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov also warned that Russia would pursue America’s “active containment.”

There’s no doubt that this dangerous escalation is the result of America’s reckless hybrid war aggression against Russia. Biden’s latest comments were the last straw and Moscow had no choice but to summon its ambassador back to the Russian capital per standard diplomatic protocol during such scandals. 

Nevertheless, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reaffirmed that her country is “interested in avoiding the irreversible degradation” of its ties with America, though of course the onus for this falls squarely on America’s lap seeing as it’s irresponsible for what’s happened. After all, the U.S. political class has been irresponsibly provoking Russia since the 2016 presidential election campaign through a series of wild conspiracy theories.

The U.S.-led Western sanctions against Russia have expanded in recent years to encompass practically the entirety of bilateral relations. This was done in parallel with NATO’s gradual buildup along Russia’s western borders. Washington also blamed Moscow for attempting to assassinate former spy Sergey Skripal and opposition leader Alexei Navalny, charges that the Kremlin vehemently denied. 

Russia is accused by America of carrying out war crimes in Syria too, which it also denies, as well as supposedly “invading” eastern Ukraine. It’s little wonder that Russian-American ties have reached this new low.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a meeting on Afghan peace with the participation of China, the U.S., Pakistan, Afghan parties and Qatar as an honorary guest in Moscow, Russia, March 18, 2021. /Getty

The consequences of intensified rivalry between Russia and the U.S. would be destabilizing for the entire world. The former will always proudly defend its interests against the latter’s unprovoked aggression in line with its rights under international law, but the countries caught between them such as those in Europe might indirectly suffer as a result. 

It’s therefore in everyone’s interests that ties soon stabilize before sincere efforts are undertaken by both sides to rebuild them by focusing on areas of shared interest such as containing the COVID-19 pandemic, combating climate change, and facilitating a peaceful solution to the Afghan and Syrian conflicts. About those latter two, some interesting developments have occurred as of late.

Regarding the first-mentioned, U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad attended another round of peace talks in Moscow on Thursday for the first time ever, thereby tacitly signaling his country’s support for Russia’s peace efforts. 

On the topic of the second conflict, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu revealed in an interview published by a Kazakhstani news agency on Wednesday that his country actually has “very close contacts” with the U.S. in Syria “in the administration of the airspace, the implementation of measures in the air to combat terrorism.” Although the fruits of such incipient coordination in Afghanistan and Syria have yet to be borne, they raise hopes that pragmatic heads on both sides will reach geopolitical compromises really soon.

Russia and the U.S. previously agreed to extend the New START nuclear pact at the very last minute early last month so it shows that the political will exists to cooperate whenever there’s a shared interest in doing so. That’s precisely what’s needed more than ever before in order to prevent the further deterioration of ties beyond their already dangerous nadir.

Afghanistan, Syria, COVID-19 and climate change are the best possible starting points for this to happen. Bilateral trust must be slowly but surely rebuilt in order to preclude any further problems between them that could destabilize the world even more than their rivalry already has. It’s up to America to reciprocate Russia’s pragmatic outreaches and start repairing their relations.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

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Should Iran Be Worried About Russia’s Coordination With “Israel” & The US In Syria?

ARTICLE FROM:

thealtworld.com

WEDNESDAY 17 MAR 21

Exclusive- Recent events very strongly suggest that Russia might be coordinating with “Israel” and the US in Syria in order to “passively facilitate” Iran’s forced withdrawal from the Arab Republic.

Russian-Iranian ties are excellent on the bilateral level but arguably marred by suspicion in Syria due to their differing visions of their shared ally’s post-war future. I provocatively wondered aloud late last month “Why Isn’t Alt-Media Asking About The S-300s After Biden’s Latest Syria Strike?”, during which time I shared a collection of my fifteen most relevant analyses over the past few years in order to back up my claim that Russia might be coordinating with “Israel” and the US in Syria in order to “passively facilitate” Iran’s forced withdrawal from the Arab Republic. That article and all of the cited pieces within it should be reviewed by the reader if they aren’t already familiar with them so that they can better understand my line of thought towards this very sensitive topic. I then published a follow-up piece titled “Top Indian News Site Exposed For Fake News About Russia, Syria, And ‘Israel’”, which debunked a viral disinformation narrative that wildly circulated earlier that month falsely claiming that the Russian Special Envoy to Syria threatened to shoot down “Israeli” jets even in international airspace the next time that the self-professed “Jewish State” bombs Syria.

Regrettably, an RT contributor didn’t come across my fact-checking piece in time otherwise they probably wouldn’t have published their factually inaccurate article about how “Continued Israeli Airstrikes On Syria Are Testing Moscow’s Patience, Jerusalem Would Do Well Not To Poke The Russian Bear”. The contributor in question fell for the earlier debunked viral disinformation narrative and even hyperlinked to another site that partially republished the original fake news report when citing what they wrongly believed was Russia’s “official statement” in the matter warning that it’ll shoot down “Israeli” jets. In the interests of professional integrity, I published a response to this on my Facebook wall in order to inform my audience that RT’s article was influenced by fake news, as surprising as that may sound consider the outlet’s otherwise stellar reputation. I concluded by writing that “I also sincerely hope that everyone in the Alt-Media Community uses this scandal as an opportunity to learn more about the reality of Russian-‘Israeli’ relations so that they don’t fall for obviously inaccurate misinterpretations such as this one the next time that they come across them.”

Lo and behold, my analysis was vindicated as expected by the latest “Israeli” bombing of Syria on Tuesday night. Russia once again didn’t allow Syria to use the S-300s to shoot down the attacking jets, nor did the Eurasian Great Power itself directly intervene to down them either contrary to the false expectations that many in the Alt-Media Community had as a result of last month’s viral fake news about this topic and RT’s associated article that was regrettably influenced by the former. Interestingly, this attack happened shortly after Hezbollah representatives met with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in Moscow just a day before the “Israeli” Foreign Minister visited the same city to hold similar talks with the same diplomat. Russia’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported earlier that day that “experts believe that it was crucial for the party’s members to find out whether Moscow’s position regarding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had changed.” Regardless of whatever Russia told those Resistance representatives, it sent what can likely be interpreted as a not-so-subtle signal by once again standing back and not reacting when “Israel” bombed Syria later that same night after their meeting.

The day after on Wednesday (which is also when the “Israeli” Foreign Minister visited Moscow), Al-Masdar News reported on an interview that Russian Defense Minister Shoigu gave to the Kazakhstani agency Tengrinews which was released on the same day. According to them, he said that “I will not hide to you that today in Syria, at the operational and tactical level, we have very close contacts with American colleagues. This may be a secret, and I reveal it: There are many contacts, many times a day, in the administration of the airspace, the implementation of measures in the air to combat terrorism.” The public disclosure of this self-professed “secret” (which really wasn’t so “secret” at all to those who closely follow Russia’s activities in Syria) at such a time very strongly suggests that Russia wants to send the signal that it might be coordinating with “Israel” and the US to “passively facilitate” Iran’s forcible withdrawal from the Arab Republic. After all, the Eurasian Great Power never does anything to stop their strikes against the IRGC and its allies there, nor does it ever allow Syria to use the S-300s to defend them either.

Quite tellingly, “Israel” bombed Syria just hours before the interview was published and shortly after Hezbollah’s representatives concluded their meeting with Lavrov that Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported was partially driven by their desire to assess Russia’s true stance towards President Assad (which also indirectly concerns their and their Iranian allies’ post-war future in the Arab Republic). It’s unclear exactly what Moscow’s position towards the Syrian leader’s political future is, but it’s worthwhile to point out that a program on publicly financed RT Arabic scandalously claimed that secret talks are ongoing between Damascus and Tel Aviv over a potential peace treaty. The show also claimed that an “Israeli” rabbi might soon be invited to Syria, too. Publicly financed Syrian international media outlet SANA cited “a media source” condemning those reports as “no more than media and political fabrications” in a rare sign of public disagreement between Damascus and Moscow. Earlier, the influential head of the Aleppo Chamber of Industry Fares Shehabi tweeted late last month after “Israel’s” prior attack on his country how disappointed he is that Russia doesn’t ever stop such strikes.

Altogether, Iran certainly has legitimate reasons to be worried about Russia’s coordination with “Israel” and the US in Syria. The Eurasian Great Power seems to at the very least be “passively facilitating” their efforts to force Iran and its Hezbollah allies into withdrawing from the Arab Republic. Of additional relevance is the surprise scandal that erupted between Damascus and Moscow just a month or so before Syria’s upcoming presidential elections (the date of which has yet to be announced but will fall sometime between mid-April and mid-May) after an RT Arabic program claimed that Syria is in secret talks with “Israel”. SANA condemned those reports as fake news, yet observers are left wondering why RT – which is usually very reliable and trustworthy – would share such false information about its state patron’s regional ally, especially during such a sensitive time as the run-up to its next elections. One can only speculate about what might really be going on behind the scenes, but it surely doesn’t concern Russia playing “5D chess” against “Israel” and the US like some mistakenly believed. Rather, Iran arguably seems to be Russia’s true “5D chess opponent” in Syria, and perhaps always has been.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

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