“I have recently become interested in the movement of cosmologists studied The Grand Solar Minimum, which supposedly occurs every 400 years (lasting 70 years) which caused a Little Ice Age in Europe in the 1600s, which resulted in massive famine,pestilence and death. Apparently failure to take account of this impending Grand Solar Minimum has screwed up all the modeling of the climate scientists – which is why warming is taking place more slowly than they predicted.
I suspect the UN IPCC has some particular agenda for not publicizing more widely the impact the GSM may or may not have – there is some internal debate occurring on this front among climate scientists. Unfortunately the paucity of publicity in this area tends to fuel the climate denial movement.”
This has nothing to do with human impact on climate change, but instead the activity of the sun and how solar cycles impact our climate as well. It’s based on a mathematical model that shows the sun might “quiet” down in the coming years thus impacting our climate as well. This is not a climate change denial article, please read it before commenting.
A few months ago, NASA published a study showing that Antarctica is actually gaining more ice than it is losing. They made the announcement after using satellites to examine the heights of the region’s ice sheet. The findings contradict the prevailing theory that Antarctica has actually been shrinking, however. The paper is titled “Mass gains of the Antarctic ice sheet exceed losses” and was published in the Journal of Glaciology.
The authors of this study are from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and the cause of this ice gain isn’t entirely known, but a number of theories are mentioned in the paper. It is worth mentioning, however that NASA was blasted by dozens of their own scientists regarding their global warming stance, even though a number of the world’s top scientists have questioned just how much an impact greenhouse gases have on climate change. You can read more about that here. (source)
Perhaps there are other factors contributing to climate change?
Just a few years ago, Antarctic ice extent had reached an all-time high. (source)(source)
There are many theories as to why this is so, and one of them includes the effects of supposed global warming, but not everyone agrees. That’s a completely separate topic, however, and you can learn more about it in the articles linked at the end of this article.
When it comes to climate change, a lot of emphasis is put on human activity, and rightfully so, as our ways here need to change. Perhaps in our fervour to discover our own culpability in this shift, however, we missed a few things along the way? What about the natural cycles of climate change Earth experiences, and has experienced? It’s a scientific fact that fluctuations in the solar cycle impact earth’s global temperature, as do other massive bodies flying in and around our solar system.
The most recent research to examine this topic comes from the National Astronomy Meeting in Wales, where Valentina Zharkova, a mathematics professor from Northumbria University (UK), presented a model that can predict what solar cycles will look like far more accurately than was previously possible. She states that the model can predict their influence with an accuracy of 97 percent, and says it is showing that Earth is heading for a “mini ice age” in approximately fifteen years.
According to the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS):
A new model of the Sun’s solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the Sun’s 11-year heartbeat. The model draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone. Predictions from the model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the ‘mini ice age’ that began in 1645. (source)
The US should contribute to international efforts to rebuild Iraq rather than focus on direct aid, considering Washington’s initial responsibility for “breaking” the country, global affairs expert Jonathan Steele told RT.
Earlier this week, the US announced it would double the sum of reconstruction aid to the Iraqi government in 2018 to $150 million, but this is just a fraction of what is needed. Steele, a veteran British journalist and author, said that was not enough and that an international effort would be required to rebuild the Middle Eastern country.
“There is always an argument that if you broke it, you have responsibility to fix it. And clearly the Americans broke Iraq by the initial invasion in 2003. But there is also another course of argument, which is if you broke it and have made a mess of rebuilding it, then get somebody else to do the rebuilding. So it would be better if there was an international consortium that was helping out and the UN took the lead in all the reconstruction programs,” Steele said.
“The UN of course doesn’t have very much money and it too is relying very much on US funding and [US President Donald] Trump has cut back some of the funding because of other issues like the Palestinian question. So we really need more help to the UN from some of the rich countries of the world in addition to the US, like Japan, the Gulf Arab states, China, Russia – they should all be helping put more money behind the UN.”
While the foreign money would help, Baghdad should pull its weight too, both financially and morally, Steele believes.
“It is their own country. It’s also their own fault that [Islamic State/IS, formerly ISIS] came into the country in a big way and destroyed cities like Mosul, took over Tikrit, Fallujah and Ramadi. The Iraqi government does have oil revenues, so they should be putting money in as well, not just the US. But the US should certainly put in more,” he said.
Steele added Baghdad should be careful to prevent a comeback of insurgents capitalizing on problems of alienated groups in Iraq. After all, the Sunni jihadist group saw little resistance from the Sunni population in northern Iraq, which “felt neglected and alienated and even under a sort of occupation by Shia administrators from Baghdad.”
“[IS] has been driven out, but unless those problems are solved, they can make a comeback, so it is important that the Iraqi Army is strong to resist them in a better way than they did three years ago, when ISIS first turned up in Mosul and the Iraqi Army just laid down their weapons and fled,” he said.
“It’s important to strengthen Iraqi Army, but not just by giving them more machinery and weaponry, but by getting more Sunnis into the army so that it isn’t perceived anymore as a Shia force and therefore subjected to all kinds of sectarian suspicions.”
Steele added that a fair distribution of the aid money would be just as crucial to avoid the kind of alienation he was talking about. “It’s really important that the money goes into the Sunni communities and that new political programs are developed to make the Sunnis see Baghdad as their ally and not their enemy,” he explained.
John Wight has written for newspapers and websites across the world, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT and BBC Radio. John is currently working on a book exploring the role of the West in the Arab Spring. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1
Oprah Winfrey is contemplating running for president in 2020 on the back of her speech at the Golden Globes. With this news, the trivialization of politics in the land of the free is complete.
It proves that the US is now a country in which reality has been rejected, and the appearance of reality embraced. Rather than democracy, the appearance of democracy predominates; instead of freedom, its people enjoy the appearance of freedom; rather than justice, the appearance of justice; while instead of concrete solidarity with victims of injustice, lip service is the norm.
I’m sorry, but a group of obscenely rich people agreeing to dress in black (designer black, that is) at a Hollywood awards ceremony in protest at a culture of sexual abuse and exploitation cannot be taken seriously within an industry that is the very embodiment of abuse and exploitation. Neither can the prospect be taken seriously of one billionaire (Oprah Winfrey) challenging another (Donald Trump) for the White House in 2020 and, with it, the keys to the kingdom of despair that is America.
To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, “Anybody can become president of the United States. It merely requires a complete ignorance of politics and a billion dollars.”
Perhaps the most damning element of this regression in US political culture is that the worsening social and economic plight of a growing segment of the population is such that, in seeking an escape, the importance of Hollywood and the celebrity culture it feeds has been inflated to the point where serious politics has been subordinated to it.
In a very real sense, Hollywood distracts the American people while Washington extracts more and more of its wealth and rights in conjunction with Wall Street and the corporations that really call the shots. In other words, as long as the cultural junk food that Hollywood delivers on a perennial basis continues to feed the insatiable appetite for escape from an ever more brutal and grim reality, the rich and the corporations will continue to make like bandits when it comes to garnering more and more of the nation’s wealth.
Viewed from this perspective, the prospect of Oprah Winfrey – the nation’s favorite entertainment mogul – entering the White House marks another signpost on the country’s descent into dystopia. Being popular and rich beyond imagination are not coterminous with the qualities required to lead the most powerful nation on the planet at any time, never mind at a time when the challenges it faces at home and abroad are of such magnitude.
“Every act of submissive worship is an act of alienation and idolatry,” the German philosopher Erich Fromm reminds us, going on to make the point that “the ‘loving’ person in this type of submissive relationship projects all his or her love, strength, thought, into this other person, and experiences the loved person as a superior being, finding satisfaction in complete submission and worship.”
This is not to demonize Oprah Winfrey per se, but the culture of celebrity worship, of which she is herself a victim in that she is forced to live an unnatural life (a veritable exhibit in the zoo that is celebrity) is redolent of Brecht’s admonition, “Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes.”
This obsession with celebrity has not only played a major part in dumbing down the political culture and corroding social cohesion in the United States, it has done so throughout the West. Consider the fanfare that greeted the recent announcement of Britain’s Prince Harry to Hollywood actress Meghan Markle.
With nary a dissenting voice to be found, the mainstream media in the UK proceeded to lose its collective mind in dissecting, analyzing, and reporting on every possible angle of the announcement, whipping up such a media frenzy you could not but marvel at the hypocrisy of attacking the cult of personality when it comes to North Korea, while embracing it in their own country when it comes to their obsequious worship of the monarchy.
Oprah Winfrey, along with a select group of other Hollywood celebrities, is the closest thing to royalty in the US. Is she really the savior that liberals are proclaiming though? Is she any more qualified than the incumbent, Donald Trump, currently under siege by a liberal establishment whose rage at the failure of Hillary Clinton to be elected instead has and continues to be of inordinate intensity?
At a time when Hollywood has never been more exposed as the repository of sexual abuse and exploitation, the pictures that have emerged of Oprah cozying up to disgraced movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein, are not so much evidence of hypocrisy as confirmation that nothing is ever what it seems in Tinsel Town. Of course, Oprah and others may well have been unaware of Weinstein’s propensity for abusing young women desperate to be in his movies, but they cannot claim to be unaware of the dynamic of desperation and submission that is the norm in a society in which extremes of poverty and despair exist side by side with the extremes of wealth and luxury they themselves enjoy.
The findings of a recent UN report on the extent of poverty in the United States makes chilling reading, illustrating the scope of the social crisis the country is facing. Compiled by Philip Alston, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, we learn that in 2017 “more than one in every eight Americans were living in poverty (40 million, equal to 12.7 percent of the population). And almost half of those (18.5 million) were living in deep poverty, with reported family income below one-half of the poverty threshold.”
Mr Alston’s report (and I urge people to take the time to read it in its entirety) is so damning that it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the United States is hurtling at warp speed towards the abyss of complete social breakdown.
In a nation in which so many are suffering so grievously as a consequence of inhumane levels of inequality and greed on the part of the rich, the idea that the solution could ever be a billionaire entertainment mogul, no matter how well intentioned, is so grotesque it is beyond redemption.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
According to Pulitzer prize winner Glenn Greenwald, the Israeli government — in partnership with Facebook — have begun aggressively targeting Palestinian voices on social media for censorship;
“The meetings — called for and presided over by one of the most extremist and authoritarian Israeli officials, pro-settlement Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked — came after Israel threatened Facebook that its failure to voluntarily comply with Israeli deletion orders would result in the enactment of laws requiring Facebook to do so, upon pain of being severely fined or even blocked in the country… Ever since, Facebook has been on a censorship rampage against Palestinian activists…”
This isn’t much of a surprise though, considering the Times of Israel reported in early January of 2016 that the government’s military censor had been trying to control much of what could and could not be posted on Facebook.
Interestingly (or unsurprisingly), the Intercept claims Israeli calls for Palestinian bloodshed remain largely untouched by way of comparison.
Israeli leadership say they’re only targeting social media accounts that inspire “incitement” against their country and people, but critics — including myself — believe this is simply an indirect form of censorship, considering that they have a very well documented history of aggressively targeting and silencing media correspondents.
In fact, journalists frequently engage in self censorship to avoid the Israeli government’s reproach. I don’t blame them for this chosen course of action either, since Israeli forces have (successfully) targeted media personnel for assassination in the past, by simply using the excuse that they were affiliated with terrorists. Human Rights Watch has accused the regime of “war crimes” because of this.
They also recently arrested a woman for simply filming a live recording on Facebook, of an incident between her daughter and the military, claiming she was engaging in “incitement“. Israeli officials are quick to go after anything that even vaguely resembles resistance to their illegal occupations and colonization of Palestine.
It should also be mentioned that Israeli authorities passed a law to censor websites engaged in “promoting criminal or terror activity” — another vague generalization, ambiguous enough to justify shutting down any pro Palestinian website or group that rejects Israeli foreign occupation.
Facebook also recently deleted the Facebook and Instagram accounts of the head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov, simply because the U.S. government decided to place him on a list of people that should be sanctioned.
Now, don’t get me wrong, to the best of my limited knowledge this guy is a very bad person, but just because the U.S. government says someone should be sanctioned does not justify censoring them, for the obvious fact that the U.S. government has a long history of deception and corruption — as well as supporting dictators, drug lords and even terrorists — and thus simply cannot be relied upon to be the arbiter of Truth.
Germany’s government has taken even greater repressive steps towards imposing censorship; On January 1st The German Network Enforcement Law (NetzDG) was passed, which allows the authorities to censor any website they claim is involved in the spread of “hate speech,” or “fake news“. Social media outlets that do not obey the government’s demands, to have content removed within 24 hours (7 days for more “complex cases“), will be fined up to to €50 million (roughly $58 million).
According to the Guardian, far right wing deputy leader Beatrix von Storch had her Facebook account suspended as a result of this law, and is currently facing potential criminal prosecution because of her behavior.
The staunch nationalist politician was quoted as accusing the Cologne police department of appeasing “barbaric, gang-raping Muslim hordes of men” when they tweeted an Arabic Happy News Years message (they did the same in French, German, and English). Twitter temporarily banned her account as well for this.
Do I agree with her opinion or method of expressing it, no I most certainly do not. But this is a slippery slope that leads to irrational censorship, because emotions and feelings are starting to override logic and reason. When someone insults me online I debate with them, and rebuke them logically and intelligently. If they persist and are clearly irrational trolls I simply block them, just as everyone online can do when they are confronted with an unpleasant human being. It’s really not rocket science.
This censorship started long before this law even came into effect though. According to the New York Times, 36 homes were raided by German police for “hateful postings over social media” last year. And according to a posting made by Facebook’s European Vice President for Public Policy back on June 19, 2017, “In the last two months, we’ve deleted an average of 3,500 posts per week, which were reported as hate speech in Germany. This means we delete around 15,000 posts a month for hate speech in Germany.” A few months after this, “tens of thousands of fake profiles” were allegedly deleted by Facebook during the German election. How many of these were actually fake we most likely will never know, since Facebook’s customer service is shockingly awful and people tend not to pursue these things as a result.
French president Emmanuel Macron has just announced similar proposals to allegedly ban fake news. Like the German government, they intend to block any website they find fault with. In response to these overreaching intentions, French Twitter users have been spreading the hashtag #InventeDesFakeNews (or InventYourFakeNews).
Facebook’s willingness to compromise on freedom of speech, and their moral integrity, shouldn’t come as much of a surprise either. Back in 2016, several former employees told Gizmodo that they routinely manipulated people’s newsfeeds, and the world’s most popular social media platform was also caught conducting psychological experiments on their users back in 2014. Relevant to this blog in particular, the company has also made headlines on numerous occasions for engaging in censorship. Likewise, Twitter has also engaged in censorship on a number of occasions, including censoring the hashtags #PodestaEmails and #DNCLeak during the U.S. elections. Strangely, this censorship has hardly been addressed by the establishment media.
THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING Throughout history there has been an information war between the ruling class and the common people. The so called elite know that without us believing in their imaginary authority, they would never be able to rule over us, wage major wars, or turn us into worker ants for their unscrupulous system.
Since the internet’s introduction there has been a change in the world unlike any before. Activists, revolutionaries, and concerned citizens alike, are all now able to communicate in an unprecedented way. You see, the ruling class’s power historically, has firmly been rooted in our ignorance and inability to effectively communicate and organize rebellion. Naturally, as our access to information and social media have accelerated, so too has our ability to intelligently rebel.
The ruling class are well aware of this dangerous unfolding, and although it has taken them rather long to respond to this mass awakening (showing that they underestimate our power in my opinion), they are now taking more assertive steps to control our ability to access important information. Consequently, we can expect this censorship to only get worse, and it will be done under the guise of “preserving democracy,” or some other bullshit excuse that the unwitting and naive will cheer with ignorant fervor.
It should also be mentioned that although I have been highlighting tech giant abuses in this blog, I largely believe that Mark Zuckerberg and other social media bosses have very limited control over what they can and cannot actually do with their own companies, so placing all the blame on them would be wrong. I believe this is due to an antiquated power structure that has been in place for much longer than any of these companies have even been around, as vaguely mentioned by Facebook’s former executive Chamath PaliHapitiya. This system is much bigger than any one man, or one company, and is going to take a collective effort from a significant percentage of the world’s population to overcome.
GOOGLE IS HIRING 10,000 ADDITIONAL HUMAN CENSORS Google announced last month that it will be hiring an additional 10,000 human censors to police “problematic content” online. While this will most certainly be done under the auspices of fighting terrorism, hate speech, and the usual stories — and in many instances I presume they will — I know from first hand experience it will also be used as a tool of indirect censorship.
Amongst the many annoyances I have personally dealt with pertaining to online activism, I’ve also had my YouTube account shut down, and banned, with no proper clarification as to why except a broad set of ambiguous community guidelines which I allegedly violated.
Last year Google claimed it would fight “fake news,” but was caught instead censoring legitimate websites like CounterPunch, World Socialist Website, Democracy Now, American Civil liberties Union, and Wikileaks, amongst others. Certainly not the type of behavior one would expect from an organization with the ironic motto, “Do the right thing” (previously “Don’t be evil”).
Furthermore, as I documented in a previous blog, there are numerous verifiable instances of the establishment media spreading lies, inciting war (large scale terrorism), and deceiving the public, yet they aren’t being held to the same standard as smaller alternative media outlets, who are being censored for doing the same thing on a much smaller scale.
This is shamefully biased and wrong, if we are to earnestly purge deception from news media, it should be done indiscriminately and with objective concern for the Truth.
CENSORSHIP OF THE INTERNET IS ULTIMATELY CENSORSHIP OF KNOWLEDGE & TRUTH The internet does not merely represent technological achievement, it mostly represents the knowledge and ideas of millions and millions — and even billions — of people who dedicated their lives before us to fighting for a better world. And although these great thinkers and minds may no longer be with us, their thoughts, ideas, and teachings live on through the internet.
These teachings are then discovered by other people like us, who are lucky enough to have access to something as remarkable as the world wide web. We then learn from them and then expand upon them. We see the world around us, and try to figure out how we can create a better world by applying many of these teachings, and where possible we expand upon them through social media and other available platforms.
Being able to communicate and share our thoughts and ideas freely, is the key to furthering this great mission and progress, because mankind as is; dominated by war, racism, tribalism, elitism, poverty, inequality, injustice, and corruption, has yet to actually reach a state of authentic civilization — It is a great duty which we all share to help realize a decent world.
But when a group of powerful governments and elitist interests — that have ultimately profited from keeping us ignorant throughout history — start telling us that they are going to censor our thoughts, ideas, and regulate our ability to communicate under the cloak of benevolence, it means they are ultimately going to hide important knowledge from us; because all expression online — even the most irrational and idiotic — represent some form of knowledge, even if it is just the knowledge of what the most extreme elements of society are thinking.
Why should it be up to the ruling class to decide what knowledge is good, and what is bad? Do not all of us possess the ability to think for ourselves? Do not all have us have the ability to block or ban someone that is acting like a fool online? So how can we rely on the very elitist class that has benefited from our ignorance throughout known history to be in charge of the regulation of knowledge and information?? The answer to that last question is very simple, we cannot, and we would be very stupid to think that we can.
At the end (or beginning depending on your perspective) of our journey towards creating a better world, is the realization that we are actually the ones with the power not them. Their only real power resides in controlling our minds and what we believe. Without this, they literally have nothing. They become insane people running around making ridiculous demands and establishing rules using their imaginary authority — a course of action that would generally land someone in a mental institution, which is exactly where the overwhelming majority of them belong.
We must adjust intelligently to the changing of these times, and raise our standards accordingly my friends. Be precise when sharing information, fact check, and where ever possible, provide overwhelming evidence to prove your point. The censors are looking for reasons to take us down, so we must become more intelligent in our delivery.
Our ignorance has always been their power, but our disillusionment, and subsequent awakening — which is happening right now — will ultimately be their demise. I am not calling for a violent revolution, I am calling for a revolution of the mind.
We are many, and they are few. We just have to wake up and their bullshit game is over.
The Russia-obsessed corporate media continues to peddle the narrative that Donald Trump has turned the United States into a client-state of Russia, even while he directly provokes the former Soviet Union by providing Russia’s foe — Urkaine — with the largest lethal assistance to a country on its border.
(MPN) — Despite the mainstream media’s insistence that U.S. President Donald Trump is some sort of compromised Russian lackey, the fact is that at the end of last year, his administration approved the largest U.S. commercial sale of lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine since 2014. This is a move that clearly infuriates and angers Russia, souring relations between the two countries even more so than they already had been under the Obama administration (and in various stages throughout Trump’s first year in office).
According to The Washington Post, administration officials confirmed that in December the State Department had approved a commercial license authorizing the export of Model M107A1 Sniper Systems, ammunition, and other associated parts and accessories to Ukraine — a package valued at $41.5 million.
At first, it was reported there had not yet been approval to export the heavier weaponry the Ukrainian government had been asking for, such as anti-tank missiles. However, by the end of December, reports began surfacing that the Trump administration was in fact going to provide 35 FGM-148 Javelin launchers and 210 anti-tank missiles. The Javelin is allegedly one of the most advanced anti-tank systems on the market. The total package is now valued at $47 million, and it wouldn’t be surprising if this figure continues to rise in the weeks to come.
Even under the 2014 Ukraine Freedom Support Act, the Obama administration never authorized large commercial or government arms sales, thereby making the recent announcement the first time that the U.S. will provide “lethal” weapons to the Ukraine military.
One senior congressional official said that he predicted this would be just the beginning, stating that the U.S. had “crossed the Rubicon; this is lethal weapons and I predict more will be coming,” according to the Post. Foreign Policy’s Michael Carpenter suggested that NATO countries should follow suit and also provide Ukraine with the arms it needs to counter the so-called threat of Russia. Considering that in September 2017 Russia proposed that UN peacekeepers be deployed to Ukraine, it should be clear that the U.S. is more bent on escalating this conflict than on resolving it.
Russia has already responded in kind, with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stating that the U.S. has become an accomplice in the war and that these developments make it impossible for Russia to remain “indifferent,” thereby forcing Russia to consider retaliation measures in response.
The U.S. is the world’s largest arms dealer. The U.S. arms so many countries so much of the time that most of us barely blink. And yet, even taking at face value America’s stated goals of spreading democracy and promoting human rights, the facts on the ground appear to run contrary to those ideals and the U.S. is well aware of these contradictions.
This is a deal-breaker for Washington, which would rather support known neo-Nazis and anti-Semites in order to install a right-wing government capable of opposing Russia as close to the Russian border as one can get.
U.S. Installed a Puppet Government in Ukraine
On February 7, 2014, the BBC published a transcript of a bugged phone conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt. In this phone call, the U.S. officials were openly discussing who should form Ukraine’s government even before the president, Viktor Yanukovych, had been successfully ousted from power. In other words, the U.S. was actively doing to Russia’s neighbour what the corporate media and various elements of the intelligence communities have accused Russia of doing to the U.S. during the 2016 elections. As The Nation explained:
“In the intercepted phone call between U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, the two were, as Russian expert Stephen Cohen put it to Democracy Now, ‘plotting a coup d’état against the elected president of Ukraine.’” [emphasis added]
“Good. I don’t think Klitsch [opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko] should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Nuland said in the call, as transcribed by the BBC.
“Yeah. I guess… in terms of him not going into the government, just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I’m just thinking in terms of sort of the process moving ahead we want to keep the moderate democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok [Oleh Tyahnybok, an opposition leader] and his guys and I’m sure that’s part of what [President Viktor] Yanukovych is calculating on all this.”
“I think Yats [opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk] is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the… what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitsch going in… he’s going to be at that level working for Yatseniuk, it’s just not going to work.”
Oleh Tyahnybok, who had met with Senator John McCain one year prior, is the leader of the right-wing nationalist party Svoboda. When Svoboda was founded in 1995, the party had a swastika-like logo. As Business Insiderexplains, Tyahnybok is also a known anti-Semite:
“Tyahnybok himself was expelled from the Our Ukraine parliamentary faction in 2004 after giving a speech demanding that Ukrainians fight against a ‘Muscovite-Jewish mafia’ (he later clarified this by saying that he actually had Jewish friends and was only against to ‘a group of Jewish oligarchs who control Ukraine and against Jewish-Bolsheviks [in the past]’). In 2005 he wrote open letters demanding Ukraine do more to halt ‘criminal activities’ of ‘organized Jewry,’ and, even now, Svoboda openly calls for Ukrainian citizens to have their ethnicity printed onto their passports.”
When the protests broke out in Ukraine in 2014, the entire movement was hijacked by these racist elements.
“You’d never know from most of the reporting that far-right nationalists and fascists have been at the heart of the protests and attacks on government buildings,” reported Seumas Milne of The Guardian. Just days ago, thousands marched in Kiev to celebrate the anniversary of far-right nationalist Stepan Bandera’s birthday.
It is revealing that, when the U.S. decided to make a choice between a president they viewed as a Russian ally and the various ultra-right nationalist elements of Ukraine, Washington decided to help oust the former for the benefit of the latter.
The State Department Promoting Neo-Nazism in Ukraine
Eventually, it was reported that a man named Petro Poroshenko would be taking up the reins after Yanukovych’s abdication. According to a cable obtained by WikiLeaks, Poroshenko previously worked as a mole for the U.S. State Department. The State Department even referred to Poroshenko as “our Ukrainian insider.”
For those who truly believe the U.S. protects and promotes democracy while challenging tyranny and dictatorships across the globe, the truth about Washington’s support for puppet regimes that fail to garner the support of their own people is even worse than any anti-imperialist commentator could ever have imagined. In March last year, Foreign Affairs reported that Poroshenko had an approval rating as low as 17 percent. In September last year, the Japan Times reported that his approval rating had dropped to a single digit. Some reportssay it was as low as 2 percent. October last year saw his approval rating grow to its highest in recent times, reaching a stratospheric 14 percent.
In other words, the Trump administration is actively propping up a failed administration in Europe, which does not have the support of 15 percent of its people. Even the far-right militias in Ukraine seem to have more support than the current government. Meanwhile, the U.S. has done nothing but its utmost to tear apart the respective democratically elected governments in Syria and Iran, both of which have far greater approval ratings than do Poroshenko and his administration.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Washington’s recent decision to arm Ukraine will only make the conflict more deadly and suggested that Russia could be forced to respond. “[The U.S. is] not a mediator. It’s an accomplice in fueling the war,” Ryabkov said in a statement. Clearly, Russia has a vested interest in not seeing another NATO ally on its borders, capable of pointing American missiles in its face on a daily basis.
As The National Interestlearned at the end of last year from recently declassified material, the U.S. did indeed break a promise at the end of the Cold War that NATO would expand “not one inch eastward.” George Washington University National Security Archives researchers Svetlana Savranskaya and Tom Blanton wrote in the National Security Archives:
“The [recently declassified] documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991. That discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian complaints about being misled about NATO expansion, were founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels.”
The documents appear to confirm Russia’s assertion that Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev accepted the proposal for German reunification (which Gorbachev could have vetoed) only in reliance upon these assurances from its American counterparts that NATO would not expand into Eastern Europe. This history is reminiscent of how Russia was further duped out of using its veto power on a U.N. Security Council Resolution in Libya in 2011, after having received assurances that the coalition would not pursue regime change.
“I believe that your thoughts about the role of NATO in the current situation are the result of misunderstanding,” then-British Prime Minister John Major told Gorbachev, according to British Ambassador Rodric Braithwaite’s diary entry of March 5, 1991:
“We are not talking about strengthening of NATO. We are talking about the coordination of efforts that is already happening in Europe between NATO and the West European Union, which, as it is envisioned, would allow all members of the European Community to contribute to enhance [our] security.”
The documents also show that Russia had received these assurances from a number of other high-level officials. These officials included then-Secretary of State James Baker; President George H.W. Bush; West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher; West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl; former CIA Director Robert Gates; French leader Francois Mitterrand; Margaret Thatcher; British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd; and NATO Secretary-General Manfred Woerner.
Since that time, NATO has clearly expanded into Europe to the detriment of Russia. Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has grown to include the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, Albania and Croatia, and Montenegro.
These developments are crucial because, when one is honest about America’s infamous history since World War II, it is clear that NATO exists as an entity only to counter and contain Russian influence. Its sole purpose is to oppose Russia at every corner and this is no secret even in the corporate media.
According to the Telegraph, NATO was formed in “Washington on 4th April, 1949 after the end of the Second World War, largely to block Soviet expansion into Europe.” This can be seen clearly in the complete rejection of the Soviets’ attempt to join NATO itself after Joseph Stalin’s death.
“…NATO was founded on the premise of preventing an attack by the Soviet Union in Central Europe, where the U.S. would have to come to the aid of Europe … For the first forty years, NATO focused on its greatest risk—the threat that the Soviet Union posed to Western European security.”
At the time the unrest broke out in 2014, then-NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s comment that the proposed IMF-EU package presented to Ukraine would have been “a major boost for Euro-Atlantic security” suggested that NATO had set its sights on bringing Ukraine into the military alliance. In July of this year, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with Poroshenko in Kiev to further discuss this prospect, already pledging support to Ukraine on some level.
Now Ukraine’s bid to join NATO seems almost irrelevant, as the U.S. is formally involving itself deeper in the Ukrainian conflict and providing arms to a regime that has flirted with an approval rating lower than 10 percent, all the while provoking Russia to take further measures in response.
What could possibly go wrong?
Meanwhile, the Russia-obsessed corporate media continues to peddle the narrative that Donald Trump has turned the United States into a client-state of Russia, even while he directly provokes the former Soviet Union by providing lethal assistance to a country on its border. Not only is Trump maintaining an Obama-era policy, he is aggravating and converting Obama’s Ukraine policy into a much more dangerous one — ultimately aimed at provoking an aggressive response from Russia in the weeks or months to come.
(ANTIWAR.COM) — With the US forever investing more into their nuclear arsenal, ensuring they have the world’s biggest collection of city destroying arms, the fact that none have been used in over 70 years is a silver lining to many, but within the administration, it may be a problem that needs correcting.
While some nuclear powers have ruled out ever launching a first strike, the US has long refused to make such a position, with President Obama’s brief consideration of such a pledge quickly panned as making the US “look weak.”
Even without the pledge, the current crop of arms are for all intents and purposes unusable except in an extinction-level nuclear exchange. Such a strike would simply be too big, and too much of a humanitarian disaster to seriously contemplate.
Which is where these smaller nuclear arms come in. Pentagon officials see the introduction of more tactical nuclear arms as a way to build arms that are usable at a much lower threshold, and seem to be shrugging off concerns that this will effectively normalize nuclear warfare.
The San Andreas fault has seemingly come alive in recent days, putting the highly populated Bay Area in California on alert. “The Big One” is coming, and it could be right around the corner.
The earthquake that rattled the Bay Area on Thursday was just one more reminder of the power and danger of the Hayward Fault, which runs below the populous East Bay area. But the San Andreas fault could awaken at any time, causing the Hayward fault to also shift, which would rock the area. The Hayward fault could easily produce a magnitude 7 or greater earthquake and it is directly underneath heavily populated areas.
“So who knows, California!” says Joe Joseph of the Daily Sheeple. “Better buy a boat, build an ark, who know what the heck you’re gonna need. And anybody out there that’s feeling ambitious in the real estate market, why don’t you go and buy up some desert land…who knows! Maybe you’ll have beachfront property soon!”
On its website, the USGS calls the Hayward fault the region’s “tectonic time bomb,” which could “cause hundreds of deaths, leave thousands homeless and devastate the region’s economy.” In 2016, David Schwartz, a USGS geologist, said in an interview that above the Hayward fault are “2 million people who directly live on top of it. It sits geographically in the center of the Bay Area. There’s a tremendous amount of infrastructure built upon it — water systems, gas, electrical, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) crosses it — so a large event on that fault is like hitting the bull’s eye on a target.”
Of course, the San Andreas fault is well overdue for a massive earthquake as well. The last major earthquake on the San Andreas fault happened in 1857 and scientists say they’re due every 100-150 years.
“One thing’s for certain,” says Joseph. “The San Andreas fault is a fault that’s certainly nothing to ignore. And if you live in California, you know how to deal with earthquakes.” Hopefully. Hopefully, those in California are taking these two faults seriously.
I read somewhere: ‘we are born into this world alone and we die alone’. Seen from the ego’s 3-D perspective that statement could make some sense, but on all other levels it is a limited perception of what really goes on with us. There is a huge difference between being alone and feeling alone.
We are born alone? I would say it’s rather clear that our mother is present. We had her heartbeat to listen to for nine months in the uterus, and every sensible midwife would bring that baby, very fast, up to the mother’s chest in order for that baby to pick up the sound of the heartbeat. So we’re quite safe. We might come into this world with a scream… thinking, “Shit, the matrix!” But we are certainly not alone.
We die alone? No we don’t. We die in an abundance of souls who are ready to follow us into the afterlife. Tales of near death experiences have taken us to that information. What’s really interesting about the near death experience is that it is cross cultural; so people in France, people in the US, people in Bali, people in Africa… all have very similar experiences.
When something goes ‘cross culture’ I have to let down my guard and think there is maybe some truth in it. The conditioning is actually very, very different from a culture in Africa to a high school student in the US telling about being met by celestial helpers or relatives long gone.
So, with regard to being alone, I think we need to address what is the perception of the ego and what is the higher perception. If we go down the alone road, we certainly, certainly buy into the matrix of belief that there is nothing in this world to trust – nothing in this world that gives us togetherness.
Within a non-religious perspective, the most holy thing we have is knowing, deep down in our souls, that we are in this together.
It quite amazes me, the ‘alone’ belief system, because it contradicts the concept that we are all one – we are one consciousness – we are united. Those three statements, until they are perceived and lived through by our emotional software, are slogans. If we cling to them as slogans, and not as a perceived reality, but all ‘in theory’ – Well, that’s rather sad.
If the people, the pilgrims in this world heading toward the new dawn, are persuaded that they are alone while being amongst other people, we surely have met the matrix where it wants to meet us. We’ve crumbled up the perception of togetherness, synchronicity… which is the glue that holds the souls together in this 3-D reality we’re living in.
Did you notice how the same ‘ We are all One people’ often writes very degrading of either the ‘un-spiritual’ ( there is no such thing) or ‘Sheeple’. Well, how does the ‘We are all One’ align with that? It would be more honest to state: ‘Some of us are more One that Others’ – but who wants to go there, since it’s a contradiction. It is Elitism, showing its ugly face where it shouldn’t.
Some even write: ‘The reason you are reading this is that you are Awake’- really Bro??? I clicked the link by mistake! Wasn’t my fault. As I have said before – If this is the awakening, put me back to sleep.
Being in the matrix we will often translate intimacy into physical sensuality or sexuality. That’s just one fragment of it, and if we stare at that point we won’t understand the other levels of intimacy – the emotional intimacy, the intellectual intimacy.
Do we lack intimacy? My question would certainly be, do we lack the courage of intimacy and conscious vulnerability?
If we open that room of intimacy and say, “Listen, I’m so alone,” our partner may hear that as an attack, but our partner can also hear that as a cry for help. So it comes down to intimacy… it comes down to ego opinions. Because if people leave us, or if we leave people because we don’t buy into the mainstream fault system, that would spark feelings of being alone.
I’m not pointing towards the idea that we should always surround ourselves with like-minded people, but it certainly helps, like I pointed out in a previous article, we have to be very careful not to become elitist, but on the other hand we need to be cautious, very cautious about what we buy into.
We are starting to understand that there is something called spiritual depression, where we have our 40 days in the desert. But staying in that desert is not advisable. We can change what we acknowledge, so by knowing we’re in a desert we spark the need to change. It’s also a question of evolving – a question of when we leave the matrix behind: our ego will suffer and our soul will rejoice. It is the suffering of the ego in that tale – forty days without attaching to what intimacy you have within the matrix.
Walking on the evolving path certainly says that we are leaving but we are also arriving. I for one would think of it as a huge waste of time if my final goal on this path would be to understand that I’m all alone. I actually set out to understand that I wasn’t.
I don’t fear being alone because it’s an illusion. From a spiritual perspective it’s an illusion. From 4-D, 5-D it’s an illusion. And I would suppose that there are evolving people out here who have actually experienced that reality. There to another reality we go, and we attach, and there will be people there to satisfy our needs for intimacy.
I think we need to flip this coin of being alone together, being alone when we are born, and being alone when we die, and see the other side. As the Yoga Sutra said, every time we throw an emotion in the air there can be joy and we can also see the back side of it… sorrow… because we might lose the joy.
We need to become ever stronger in our states of mind, and we need not to put our perspective down in the matrix 3-D conditioning of ‘emotions are real’: emotions are illusions, they come and go. States of mind stay.
We are tied together by synchronicity and our path in life is determined by that synchronicity.
It can be quite challenging to have the courage to bond in intimacy, not only sensually but also with the mind and the emotional software. There is a huge difference between love and being in love. If I may, I would strongly advise you to fall in love with unity, with the celestial, the feminine spirits of this world, the masculine spirits of this world.
Love the beauty, and in beauty you rest… knowing… Alone: It’s The Last Thing You Are
After fighting the longest war in its history, the US stands at the brink of defeat in Afghanistan. How could this be possible? How could the world’s sole superpower have battled continuously for more than 16 years – deploying more than 100,000 troops at the conflict’s peak, sacrificing the lives of nearly 2,300 soldiers, spending more than $1tn (£740bn) on its military operations, lavishing a record $100bn more on “nation-building”, helping fund and train an army of 350,000 Afghan allies – and still not be able to pacify one of the world’s most impoverished nations? So dismal is the prospect of stability in Afghanistan that, in 2016, the Obama White House cancelled a planned withdrawal of its forces, ordering more than 8,000 troops to remain in the country indefinitely.
In the American failure lies a paradox: Washington’s massive military juggernaut has been stopped in its steel tracks by a small pink flower – the opium poppy. Throughout its three decades in Afghanistan, Washington’s military operations have succeeded only when they fit reasonably comfortably into central Asia’s illicit traffic in opium – and suffered when they failed to complement it.
It was during the cold war that the US first intervened in Afghanistan, backing Muslim militants who were fighting to expel the Soviet Red Army. In December 1979, the Soviets occupied Kabul in order to shore up their failing client regime; Washington, still wounded by the fall of Saigon four years earlier, decided to give Moscow its “own Vietnam” by backing the Islamic resistance. For the next 10 years, the CIA would provide the mujahideen guerrillas with an estimated $3bn in arms. These funds, along with an expanding opium harvest, would sustain the Afghan resistance for the decade it would take to force a Soviet withdrawal. One reason the US strategy succeeded was that the surrogate war launched by the CIA did not disrupt the way its Afghan allies used the country’s swelling drug traffic to sustain their decade-long struggle.
Despite almost continuous combat since the invasion of October 2001, pacification efforts have failed to curtail the Taliban insurgency, largely because the US simply could not control the swelling surplus from the country’s heroin trade. Its opium production surged from around 180 tonnes in 2001 to more than 3,000 tonnes a year after the invasion, and to more than 8,000 by 2007. Every spring, the opium harvest fills the Taliban’s coffers once again, funding wages for a new crop of guerrilla fighters.
At each stage in its tragic, tumultuous history over the past 40 years – the covert war of the 1980s, the civil war of the 90s and its post-2001 occupation – opium has played a central role in shaping the country’s destiny. In one of history’s bitter ironies, Afghanistan’s unique ecology converged with American military technology to transform this remote, landlocked nation into the world’s first true narco-state – a country where illicit drugs dominate the economy, define political choices and determine the fate of foreign interventions.
During the 1980s, the CIA’s secret war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan helped transform the Afghani-Pakistani borderlands into a launchpad for the global heroin trade. “In the tribal area,” the US state department reported in 1986, “there is no police force. There are no courts. There is no taxation. No weapon is illegal … Hashish and opium are often on display.” By then, the process of guerrilla mobilisation to fight the Soviet occupation was long under way. Instead of forming its own coalition of resistance leaders, the CIA had relied on Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) and its Afghan clients, who soon became key players in the burgeoning cross-border opium traffic.
The CIA looked the other way while Afghanistan’s opium production grew from about 100 tonnes annually in the 1970s to 2,000 tonnes by 1991. In 1979 and 1980, just as the CIA effort was beginning to ramp up, a network of heroin laboratories opened along the Afghan-Pakistan frontier. That region soon became the world’s largest heroin producer. By 1984, it supplied a staggering 60% of the US market and 80% of the European. Inside Pakistan, the number of heroin addicts surged from near zero (yes, zero) in 1979 to 5,000 in 1980, and 1.3 million by 1985 – a rate of addiction so high the UN termed it “particularly shocking”.
According to a 1986 state department report, opium “is an ideal crop in a war-torn country since it requires little capital investment, is fast growing and is easily transported and traded”. Moreover, Afghanistan’s climate was well suited to growing poppies. As relentless warfare between CIA and Soviet surrogates took its toll, Afghan farmers began to turn to opium “in desperation”, since it produced “high profits” that could cover rising food prices. At the same time, the state department reported that resistance elements took up opium production and trafficking “to provide staples for [the] population under their control and to fund weapons purchases”.
As the mujahideen guerrillas gained ground against the Soviet occupation and began to create liberated zones inside Afghanistan in the early 1980s, the resistance helped fund its operations by collecting taxes from peasants who grew the lucrative opium poppies, particularly in the fertile Helmand valley. Caravans carrying CIA arms into that region for the resistance often returned to Pakistan loaded down with opium – sometimes, reported the New York Times, “with the assent of Pakistani or American intelligence officers who supported the resistance”.
Charles Cogan, a former director of the CIA’s Afghan operation, later spoke frankly about the agency’s choices. “Our main mission was to do as much damage as possible to the Soviets,” he told an interviewer in 1995. “We didn’t really have the resources or the time to devote to an investigation of the drug trade. I don’t think that we need to apologise for this … There was fallout in term of drugs, yes. But the main objective was accomplished. The Soviets left Afghanistan.”
Over the longer term, the US intervention produced a black hole of geopolitical instability that would never again be sealed or healed. Afghanistan could not readily recover from the unprecedented devastation it suffered in the years of the first American intervention. As the Soviet-Afghan war wound down between 1989 and 1992, the Washington-led alliance essentially abandoned the country, failing either to sponsor a peace settlement or finance reconstruction.
While Washington turned away from Afghanistan to other foreign policy hotspots in Africa and the Persian Gulf, a vicious civil war broke out in a country that had already suffered, between 1979 and 1989, some 1.5 million dead, about 10% of the country’s population. During the years of civil strife among the many well-armed warlords the CIA had left primed to fight for power, Afghan farmers raised the only crop that ensured instant profits: the opium poppy. Having multiplied twentyfold during the covert-war era of the 1980s, the opium harvest would more than double again during the civil war of the 1990s.
In this period of turmoil, opium’s ascent is best understood as a response to severe damage from two decades of destructive warfare. With the return of some three million refugees to a war-ravaged land, the opium fields were an employment godsend, requiring nine times as many labourers to cultivate as wheat, the country’s traditional staple. In addition, only opium merchants were capable of accumulating capital rapidly enough to be able to provide poor poppy farmers with much-needed cash advances, which often provided more than half their annual income. That credit would prove critical to the survival of many impoverished villagers.
In the civil war’s first phase, from 1992 to 1994, ruthless local warlords combined arms and opium in a countrywide struggle for power. Later, Pakistan threw its backing behind a newly arisen Pashtun force, the Taliban. After seizing Kabul in 1996 and taking control of much of the country, the Taliban regime encouraged local opium cultivation, offering government protection to the export trade and collecting much-needed taxes on both the opium harvested and the heroin manufactured. UN opium surveys showed that, during the Taliban’s first three years in power, Afghanistan’s opium crop accounted for 75% of world production.
In July 2000, however, as a devastating drought entered its second year and hunger spread across Afghanistan, the Taliban government suddenly ordered a ban on all opium cultivation, in an apparent appeal for international acceptance. A subsequent UN crop survey of 10,030 villages found that this prohibition had reduced the harvest by 94%.
Three months later, in September 2000, the Taliban sent a delegation to UN headquarters in New York to trade upon the country’s continuing drug prohibition in a bid for diplomatic recognition. Instead, the UN imposed new sanctions on the regime for protecting Osama bin Laden. The US, on the other hand, actually rewarded the Taliban with $43m in humanitarian aid, even as it seconded UN criticism over Bin Laden. Announcing this aid in May 2001, secretary of state Colin Powell praised “the ban on poppy cultivation, a decision by the Taliban that we welcome”, but still urged the regime to end “their support for terrorism; their violation of internationally recognised human rights standards, especially their treatment of women and girls”.
After largely ignoring Afghanistan for a decade, Washington “rediscovered” the country in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In October 2001, the US began bombing the country, and then, with the support of British forces, launched an invasion spearheaded by local warlords. The Taliban regime collapsed with a speed that surprised many government officials. In retrospect, it seems likely that its opium prohibition was a crucial factor.
To an extent not generally appreciated, Afghanistan had, for two full decades, devoted a growing share of its resources – capital, land, water and labour – to the production of opium and heroin. By the time the Taliban banned cultivation, its agriculture had become little more than an opium monocrop. The drug trade accounted for most of its tax revenues, much of its export income, and a significant share of its employment.
The Taliban’s sudden opium eradication proved to be an act of economic suicide that brought an already weakened society to the brink of collapse. A 2001 UN survey found that the ban had “resulted in a severe loss of income for an estimated 3.3 million people”, about 15% of the population. In this context, it became, according to the UN, “easier for western military forces to persuade rural elites and the population to rebel against the regime”.
Another wonderful ‘strategy paper’ from the friendly folks who brought you Iraq, Libya, and Syria — this time via the Brookings Institute.
With the streets of Iran heating up in recent days and the Trump Administration’s threats hanging over the nation, a look back at an analysis paper by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute gives us a strong sense of what is driving Washington and the Deep State’s agenda in the former Persian Empire.
The paper, entitled “Which Path to Persia,” looks at the options available to the United States as it deals with Iran and its supposed threat to Middle East stability, peace and tranquility. The paper looks at two broad types of options; the persuasion approach, the engagement approach and the military approach.
In this posting, I will take a look at what the authors of the study recommend for the military options given that they believe that Iran will be less than willing to co-operate with either the persuasion or engagement options. Obviously, as was the case in both Iraq and Afghanistan, a military invasion is the recommended course of action. Let’s look at the authors’ recommendations for an invasion.The authors suggest that the only way to eliminate all of the problems that Washington has with the current Iranian regime (i.e. support for terrorism, nuclearization, creating instability across the region) is to use the military invasion option. The goal of invasion would be to remove the current government, curse the military and put an end to its nuclear program.
While all of those goals are interesting, as the lessons of both Afghanistan and Iraq have taught Washington, the invasion option has to ensure that a stable and pro-American government assumes power once the U.S. military forces leave the nation. That said, there are some significant differences:
1.) Iran is nearly 4 times the size of Iraq – 1.648 million square kilometers compared to 437.1 thousand square miles
2.) Iran has population that is more than twice the size of Iraq – 80.28 million people compared to 37.2 million people
3.) Iran’s military is far more advanced and well equipped than Iraq’s was at the time of the invasion in 2003. There were roughly 400,000 to 500,000 members of Iraq’s armed forces in 2003 compared to 934,000 in Iran’s armed forces.The authors note that the most compelling reason to invade Iran sooner rather than later is that Iran’s agenda could become much more difficult to deter once it has the capability to develop a nuclear weapon. As well, the nation’s wealth of both oil and natural gas mean that the United States and any partner invasion forces would have to ensure that the country does not slide into post-invasion chaos.
If the invasion option was the option of choice, it would take at least several months to move sufficient forces into the theatre and from one to six months to conduct the invasion. Given Iran’s larger geographic area, larger population and better military preparedness, the United States can pretty much assure itself that the invasion of Iran would be a far larger project than the Iraq invasion of 2003. As well, the American bases throughout the Persian Gulf region in Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar that were key during the Iraq operations may well not be available unless Iran were to provoke hostilities.
To mount an invasion, the authors suggest that an initial invasion force of roughly the same size as the force used to invade Iraq in 2003; four U.S. divisions plus a British division. The Americans added a fifth division later in the invasion for a total of around 200,000 military personnel. An invading force would face two issues:
1.) Insurgent fighters
2.) Mountainous terrainThe initial invasion would require a significant contingent of Marines, requiring the use of two to four regimental combat teams or between 15,000 and 30,000 Marines to seize a beachhead and major port along the Iranian coastline to defeat Iran’s defensive positions. The challenges of terrain would require large numbers of air mobile forces including the brigades of the 101st Air Assault Division, the 82nd Airborne Division and the 173rd Airborne Brigade.
For an attack on Tehran (population 8.8 million and 15 million in the metropolitan area compared to 8.765 million in Baghdad), one to three heavy armored divisions would be required. The biggest difference from the invasion of Iraq in 2003 would be the need for a large naval commitment, particularly to prevent the Iranians from closing the Strait of Hormuz, a key bottleneck to the flow of oil from the Middle East. By way of comparison, Iraq has a coastline of 36 miles on the Persian Gulf compared to Iran’s 1520 miles as shown on this map:
As the United States discovered during the War on Terror, once the invasion phase was over, the hard work begins. The authors note the following:
“As in both Iraq and Afghanistan, post-invasion reconstruction would be the longest (and possibly the bloodiest) part of the whole endeavor. if it were handled very well, applying all of the lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, it might require only a few years of major military and financial commitments, followed by a significant diminution of U.S. presence and aid thereafter.
If the reconstruction were to go badly, either because of American mistakes or forces beyond U.S. control, it could take many more years to produce an acceptable end state.”What would it take to provoke an invasion and would the United States require provocation to justify an invasion of Iran? If the Iranians provoke an attack, it will make it far easier for the Americans to justify invading to the international and domestic communities.
Given the history between the United States and Iran, it is seen to be unlikely that Iran would be responsible for or take credit for an Iranian version of the 9/11 attack. Most European, Asian and Middle Eastern nations and their people are against any American-led military invasion of Iran, save two important American allies in the region; Saudi Arabia and Israel.
While this invasion scenario is mere conjecture, it is interesting to see that one of Washington’s largest and most influential think tanks, the Brookings Institution, has provided the Trump Administration with a roadmap to a military solution to the “Iranian problem” — a solution that must have the military-industrial-intelligence community rubbing their collective hands with glee.
It is also interesting to note that the report that was used as the source material for this posting was generated in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. In case you’ve forgotten, Haim Saban, the founding funder of the Saban Center back in 2002, was also a massive donor to the Hillary Clinton campaign during the 2016 presidential election as shown here:
With his total donations of $13.78 million during the 2016 cycle (all to the liberal side of the political spectrum), he and his wife came in 14th place overall as shown here:
Keeping in mind that the United States is largely responsible for the current situation in Iran given its involvement in removing the democratically elected Prime Minister Mossadegh back in 1953 and the installation of his replacement, the west-leaning Mohammad Reza Shah who ended up being turfed out of Iran by his own countrymen, one might almost be able to draw a straight line between Washington and the current unrest in Iran and the nation’s strong anti-American stance.
In another posting, I will further examine this interesting report from the Brookings Institution which provides us with a glimpse into what may lie ahead for Iran.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone