Selected articles (January 17, 2020)

PDF-Version: selected 17.01.2020


Selected articles (January 17, 2020)




Short of Time: Julian Assange at the Westminster Magistrates Court

by Binoy Kampmark

January 15, 2020




The World Must End The US’ Illegal Economic War

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

January 14, 2020

„[… ] The indiscriminate, illegal and immoral use of sanctions is an act of war. Unless they are authorized by the United Nations, unilateral coercive measures are illegal. A critical objective of the peace and justice movement in the United States, working with allies around the world, must be to end this terrorist economic warfare. The US economy currently depends on financial hegemony and war. The slow, steady collapse of the dollarized economy means the 2020s will be the decade US domination comes to an end. The US must learn to be a cooperative member of the global community or risk this isolation and retaliation.“




Battle of the Ages to stop Eurasian integration

Coming decade could see the US take on Russia, China and Iran over the New Silk Road connection

By Pepe Escobar

January 16, 2020

„The Raging Twenties started with a bang with the targeted assassination of Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani.

Yet a bigger bang awaits us throughout the decade: the myriad declinations of the New Great Game in Eurasia, which pits the US against Russia, China and Iran, the three major nodes of Eurasia integration.

Every game-changing act in geopolitics and geoeconomics in the coming decade will have to be analyzed in connection to this epic clash.[…]“



The West Is Run by Barbarians

By Peter Koenig

January 13, 2020

„How much longer are we accepting the tyrannical dictate of the American rulers? It gets worse by the day – and it looks like the western world’s “leaders” (sic – so sic!) are caving in ever more to the American killing machine – the European Union – and all its members heads of state, and all the Zion-Anglosaxons and Japan – no one dares standing up and shouting “NO!” – no more of your hegemonic atrocities! – But they all bend over backwards to please a criminal empire, run like the Barbarians.

Imagine, the so-called world leader invites you to a foreign country to help mediate between different factions, you accept, and when you arrive at the airport, he kills you. Then he smiles and boasts in utter satisfaction that he has given the order to kill – kill by remote control, by drone. Much worse than extra-judiciary murder, because there was never any accusation launched against you – except for lies. […]“




Iraq is the next battleground.

By Elijah J. Magnier

January 13, 2020

„Well-informed and established sources at Iraqi Prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi’s office in Baghdad believe “the US is unwilling to listen to reason, to the Iraqi government or the parliament. It has the intention of bringing war upon itself and transforming Iraq into a battlefield, by refusing to respect the law and withdraw its forces. The US will be faced with strong and legitimate popular armed resistance, even if some Iraqis (in Kurdistan) will break the law and will accept the US presence in their region, though without a heavy price.” […]“

„[…] Thus, following the assassination of the generals, there is little doubt 2020 will be a hot year in Iraq and hard on US forces if their President continues to ignore Iraq’s sovereignty and constitutional decisions. The US forces will now be considered a force of occupation, legitimising armed resistance against it. Iraq is back to 2003 when George W. Bush declared the country occupied. This was when the resistance took off. Trump’s last year of his first term will not likely bring any stability to the Middle East, and will certainly be very dangerous for US service personnel deployed in the region.“



Trump Sends a “Death Threat” to Iraq’s Prime Minister.

By Renee Parsons

January 13, 2020



Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq On the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq

Signed in Baghdad on November 17, 2008



The Long Planned U.S. Assassinations In Iraq Will Increase Its Political Chaos

Moon of Alabama

January 13, 2020

„[…] Today the Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has his on militia, and Iraqi PMU leaders met in Qom, Iran, to discuss how the foreign troops can be expelled from Iraq. Gen. Qaani will likely be there to give them advice.

Yesterday Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese Hizbullah, gave another speech. In it he called on the Kurds in Iraq to pay back their debt to Soleimani and Hizbullah, which is owned for their fight against ISIS, and to help to evict the foreign soldiers from Iraq: […]“

„[…] As military leader both Soleimani and Muhandis are certainly replaceable. The militia groups they created and led will continue to function.

But both men also played important political roles in Iraq and it will take some time to find adequate people to replace them in that. That makes it likely that the already simmering political situation in Iraq will soon boil over as the Shia factions will start to fight each other over the selection of a new Prime Minister and government.

The U.S. will welcome that as it will try do install a candidate that will reject the Iraqi parliament decision to remove the foreign forces from Iraqi grounds.“




The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinian Christians that Nobody is Talking About

By Ramzy Baroud

October 31, 2019

„Palestine’s Christian population is dwindling at an alarming rate. The world’s most ancient Christian community is moving elsewhere. And the reason for this is Israel.

Christian leaders from Palestine and South Africa sounded the alarm at a conference in Johannesburg on October 15. Their gathering was titled: “The Holy Land: A Palestinian Christian Perspective”. […]“

„[…] One major issue that highlighted itself at the meetings is the rapidly declining number of Palestinian Christians in Palestine.A study conducted by Dar al-Kalima University in the West Bank town of Beit Jala and published in December 2017, interviewed nearly 1,000 Palestinians, half of them Christian and the other half Muslim. One of the main goals of the research was to understand the reason behind the depleting Christian population in Palestine.

The study concluded that “the pressure of Israeli occupation, ongoing constraints, discriminatory policies, arbitrary arrests, confiscation of lands added to the general sense of hopelessness among Palestinian Christians,” who are finding themselves in “a despairing situation where they can no longer perceive a future for their offspring or for themselves”. […]“




2020: Millennium of Persian Poet Ferdowsi

By Rasoul Shams

January 13, 2020

„Anniversaries are important; they celebrate legacies and signify presence and continuity. This year, 2020, marks the 1000th anniversary of Ferdowsi’s death. This renowned Persian poet died at age 81 in 1020, more than five centuries before Shakespeare was born. Ferdowsi has not only endured for a thousand years but has also defined the very identity and language of his own country – Iran. This is, indeed, a great achievement for a poet or for any person, for that matter. […]“




Under US pressure, social media companies censor critical content and suspend Venezuelan, Iranian, and Syrian accounts

By Bn Norton

January 12, 2020

Under US pressure, social media companies censor critical content and suspend Venezuelan, Iranian, and Syrian accounts

„The Donald Trump administration is ramping up its information war against Venezuela, Iran, and Syria. And it has enlisted social media platforms as weapons in its assault on these top regime-change targets.

In the first two weeks of January, Twitter suspended dozens of accounts run by real, live people — not bots — in Venezuela, Iran, and Syria. Those erased from the website included heads of state, numerous state institutions, media outlets, and many average people who do not work for their governments. […]“




The Human Cost of War on Iran

By Elizabeth Murray

January 5, 2020

Originally published August 23, 2012

„[…] The subject of human suffering is almost taboo among these elites, and is generally raised only when negative media publicity, or the prospect thereof, forces them to take action.

Does the mainstream news media encourage a culture of war that conditions its citizens not to think about the human suffering of foreign citizens? Could it be that our corporate-controlled media do not want Americans to care about the fact that the bodies of men, women and children in Iran will be torn apart by the massive bombings, air attacks, or deteriorate slowly and painfully from radiation-related sicknesses that will accompany exposure to depleted uranium from “bunker buster” bombs?[…]“

„[…] As the stakes rise for U.S. involvement in a reckless and ill-advised Israeli military adventure against Iran, let us not forget that those who advocate such wars are almost always comfortably ensconced in locations and lifestyles that ensure they will never have to see a battlefield, a mangled corpse, or a deformed child in their lifetime.“



Why This Time the Protests in Iran are Different

January 17, 2020

By Shervin Malekzadeh

„The last time it seemed like the Islamic Republic of Iran was tumbling down, and the usual suspects were telling us it was the end of the Iranian regime, was in 2017. Anti-government demonstrations had broken out without warning in Mashhad during the early days of winter and quickly grew to include dozens of communities throughout Iran, generating countless headlines and dispatches filled with speculation about the imminent demise of the IRI. […]“

„[…] Three years before the current crisis, when peaceful progress still seemed possible, civil society activists mounted an impromptu and self-organized push to get out the vote ahead of the 2016 parliamentary elections. They deployed an arsenal of memes, videos, and articles through social media platforms such as Telegram, aimed at holding the line against the worst elements of the regime. Voting, they argued, was neither poison nor treatment, but a palliative, a way to resist through acts of abeyance. “Prevention is better than a cure.” They approached their task with an air of resignation and pragmatism, an unembarrassed lowering of stakes. […]“



Roundtable: Backdrop & Reverberations of Soleimani’s Assassination (Part 1: Iran)

By Maryam Alemzadeh, Eric Lob, and Arshin Adib-Moghaddam

January 14, 2020–Reverberations-of-Soleimani%E2%80%99s-Assassination-Part-1-Iran

„On 3 January 2020, the United States assassinated Major General Qasem Soleimani of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Corps Guard (IRGC). The event was an escalation by the Trump Administration in what many critical analysts consider a decades-long war waged by the United States against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Soleimani himself joined the IRGC shortly after its establishment in the wake of the 1979 revolution. Since then, he has been involved in major battlefield engagements, including fighting in the Iraq-Iran War (1980–88), collaborating with the United States in the initial phase (2001–2002) of the US war in Afghanistan, and (at different times) directing Iranian support for allies in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen.

This is a two-part roundtable convened by Arash Davari, Naveed Mansoori, and Ziad Abu-Rish on the regional backdrop and (admittedly short-term) fallout from the US assassination of Soleimani. Part 1 features scholars of Iran reflecting on the place of Soleimani and the IRGC in the political and institutional dynamics of the Iranian state. They also address the reactions in Iran to the assassination and their intersection with various instances of popular mobilization, including the most recent one against the downing of Flight 752. Part 2 features scholars of regional states reflecting on the specific nature of Iranian policy and reaction to Soleimani’s assassination in those states. […]“



Trump’s “WMD” Scandal? Was the Charge of “Imminent” Soleimani Attack Just Made Up?

By Juan Cole

January 13, 2020

“The Trump administration’s claims that it assassinated Gen. Qasem Soleimani because he posed an imminent threat to American lives and was coming to Baghdad to launch an immediate attack the US embassy there have fallen apart. Commentators are suggesting that the “imminent threat” argument is the equivalent for the Trump administration of the “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD) claim of the Bush administration in the run-up to the Iraq War. […]“



China defends Iran trade as US cranks up pressure

January 14, 2020

„Iran’s oil shipments have continued to reach major customers despite US pledges to bring them down to zero. US officials are working behind the scenes to pressure China into halting all its oil and condensate imports from Iran, oil pricing agency S&P Global Platts reports. […]“

„[…] Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing opposed what it saw as unilateral sanctions and called for Washington to stop punishing Chinese companies through those measures.

„We think that sanctions or threats of sanctions will not solve the issues at hand,” Geng said during a regular press briefing in Beijing.

Geng’s remarks came after US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told Fox News on Sunday that „China is subject to sanctions just like everybody else”.

„We actually sanctioned some of their shipping companies that were involved in the oil, and we will continue to pursue sanctions activities against China and anybody else around the world that continues to do business with them,” Mnuchin said during the interview.

He said roughly 70% of the remaining Iranian oil exports are being sent to China, which remains Iran’s biggest crude buyer. The US, he said, was „working closely with China to make sure that they cease all additional activities with Iran,“ Platts reported.

According to Mnuchin, Treasury and Department of State officials have met with Chinese officials to discuss curtailing imports of Iranian oil.

Elizabeth Rosenberg, director of the energy program at the Center for a New American Security, said these discussions would likely continue until China stops importing Iranian crude or sanctions are announced.

Ellen Wald, an energy industry and policy consultant at Transversal Consulting, said she expected China to continue to import Iranian crude.

She said “the US certainly is presenting the image that the maximum pressure policy means exerting maximum pressure on Iran’s customers to halt all imports“. […]“



‘We don’t have political problems with India’: Iran’s Zarif urges Delhi to defy US sanctions & resume buying Iranian oil

January 17, 2020

„Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called on India to shirk Washington’s “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign and continue sourcing its energy from the Islamic Republic, arguing it’s in the country’s best interest.

While on a four-day visit to India, Zarif insisted Iran could best meet New Delhi’s oil needs, assuring that his country would keep politics out of its business dealings and remain a reliable partner. […]“



Iran’s New Record: First Country to Target US Since WWII

January 8th will be remembered for a record in modern history: Islamic Republic of Iran became the first country to dare targeting US since WWII; and it was significant for so many reasons.

By Bashir Esmaeili and Setareh Sadeqi

January 14, 2020



Joint statement by the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action: 14 January 2020

Press release

„[…] We have therefore been left with no choice, given Iran’s actions, but to register today our concerns that Iran is not meeting its commitments under the JCPoA and to refer this matter to the Joint Commission under the Dispute Resolution Mechanism, as set out in paragraph 36 of the JCPoA.

 We do this in good faith with the overarching objective of preserving the JCPoA and in the sincere hope of finding a way forward to resolve the impasse through constructive diplomatic dialogue, while preserving the agreement and remaining within its framework. In doing so, our three countries are not joining a campaign to implement maximum pressure against Iran. Our hope is to bring Iran back into full compliance with its commitments under the JCPoA. […]“



Trump’s EU Poodles – Germany, Britain And France – Obey His Order To Kill The Nuclear Deal With Iran

Moon of Alabama

January 14, 2020

„[…] As the EU3 now triggered the process 65 days from now Iran is likely to be again under full UN sanctions.

The EU3 will of course mealymouthed explain that they want Iran to pull back its program so that it does not exceed any limit of deal. But why should Iran do that as long as the EU3 follow US sanctions against Iran and implement them against it? The EU3 have no reasonable answer to that questions.

Iran has no real incentive to stick to the JCPOA limits as long as sanctions are held up against it. When the UN sanctions snap back it is likely to leave the JCPOA even if China and Russia continue to trade with it.

The outcome here is 100% predictable. UN sanctions will snap back. Then the Trump administration will relaunch the ’nuclear Iran‘ propaganda campaign and will threaten Iran with war.

The EU countries who failed to hold up the deal will now globally be perceived as the poodles they are. The will, like the U.S., be seen as ‚agreement incapable‘ countries who fail to stick to the deals they make. Their utterly servile behavior towards the U.S. is disastrous for their reputation.“



Zarif rejects UK PM’s proposal for new ‘Trump deal’ to replace JCPOA

January 15, 2020; Last Update: January 16, 2020

“[…] Javad Zarif:

E3 claims it has kept its obligations under JCPOA.

Reality Check:

– Zero imports of Iranian oil

– Embargoing of Iranian banks & SWIFT disconnect

– Non-implementation of Blocking Statute

– Exodus of European firms in Iran

– Failure to even sell „exempted“ food/medicine […]”

“[…] Here’s what E3 HAS been busy w/ since the US left JCPOA:

Reality Check 2:

– Issued empty statements

– Violated its own laws by bowing to US extraterritorial sanctions

– Ignored Iran’s 3 notifications of DRM activation

– Set up INSTEX w/o single transaction […]”



Praise for the Suleimani Strike Isn’t Based in Reality

The ideological architects of one of the United States’ most disastrous foreign-policy decisions—the 2003 invasion of Iraq—are spinning a tale to support Trump’s most dangerous move to date.

By Ned Price and Jeffrey Prescott

January 13, 2020



Reading Sun Tzu in Tehran

By Alastair Crooke

January 15, 2020

„[…] And Israel, after initial self-congratulation (amongst the Netanyahuists) has understood that Iran has ‘stepped-up’, and not ‘stepped back’. Veteran Israeli security corresponded Ben Caspit writes:

“The letter of Gen. William H. Sili, commander of US military operations in Iraq, was leaked and then rapidly disseminated among Israel’s most senior security figures on Jan 6 … The content of the letter — that the Americans were preparing to withdraw from Iraq immediately — turned on all the alarm systems throughout the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv. More so, the publication was about to set in motion an Israeli “nightmare scenario” in which ahead of the upcoming US elections, President Donald Trump would rapidly evacuate all US forces from Iraq and Syria.

“Simultaneously, Iran announced that it is immediately halting its various commitments regarding its nuclear agreement with the superpowers, returning to high-level uranium enrichment of unlimited amounts and renewing its accelerated push for achieving military nuclear abilities. “Under such circumstances,” a senior Israeli defense source told [Caspit], “We truly remain alone at this most critical period. There is no worse scenario than this, for Israel’s national security … It is not clear how this letter was written, it is not clear why it was leaked, it is not clear why it was ever written to begin with. In general, nothing is clear with regard to American conduct in the Middle East. We get up every morning to new uncertainty.”” […]“



Why This Time the Protests in Iran are Different

January 17, 2020

By Shervin Malekzadeh

„[…] Three years before the current crisis, when peaceful progress still seemed possible, civil society activists mounted an impromptu and self-organized push to get out the vote ahead of the 2016 parliamentary elections. They deployed an arsenal of memes, videos, and articles through social media platforms such as Telegram, aimed at holding the line against the worst elements of the regime. Voting, they argued, was neither poison nor treatment, but a palliative, a way to resist through acts of abeyance. “Prevention is better than a cure.” They approached their task with an air of resignation and pragmatism, an unembarrassed lowering of stakes. […]“



Of aircraft, horses and zebras

The Saker

January 12, 2020

„[… ] Frankly, the story as presented by the Iranians makes no sense to me (not because I think that they are lying, but because there are a lot of information holes which need to be plugged).  Why did the Iranian civil and military authorities not close down the Iranian airspace (which the US side, by the way, seemed to have done).  Next, did the Iranian air defenses not get all the flight plans of all the aircraft in Iranian space?  I had the privilege to participate in a few air defense exercises as a young man, and not only did we have full access to all the flight plans of any civilian aircraft over all of Europe, we even had their transponder signals live on our main displays.    Was the Ukrainian transponder on?  I strongly suspect that yes as a PIC cannot take off without this instrument in perfect working order (at least this was the case with European airlines in the 80s and 90s). […]“



How And Why Iran Shot Down Ukrainian Boeing

The Saker

January 13, 2020

„On January 10, SouthFront released a video entitled “What’s Behind Boeing Crash In Iran” on the January 8 airliner crash near Tehran. This video was produced because the Iranian side released new facts and details regarding the incident. […]“

„[…]Regardless the existing gaps in the current official version of the events and the real course of the developments, Iran will and further be forced to claim that the airliner shoot down was a “human error”. Iran can ill-afford to admit the lack of control over key objects of military infrastructure in the heart of the country. […]“



Was The Shootdown Of The Ukrainian Airplane Near Tehran Intended, A Screw-Up Or A ‚Mistake‘?

Moon of Alabama

January 12, 2020

„After the shoot down of the Ukrainian flight PS752 the big question within Iran and within its military and political circles is what went wrong. […]“



Iran Jet Disaster Setup – Who st he Mysterious Videographer?

By Sorya Sepahpour-Ulrich and Finian Cunningham

January 14, 2020

„The 19-second video published by the New York Times last week showing the moment an Iranian missile hit a passenger jet has prompted much social media skepticism.

Questions arise about the improbable timing and circumstances of recording the precise moment when the plane was hit. […]“



According to Russian Experts: The US Bears “Partial Responsibility” for the “Human Error” Which Caused the Ukrainian plane crash

By Corriere PL

January 12, 2020

A Russian military site has addressed the issue of “human error” relating to the crash of Ukraine’s Boeing 737 [departing from Tehran] on January 8, minutes after takeoff, which resulted in the death of 179 passengers and members of the crew. […]“



Defense Secretary Sparks Doubts About Alleged Threat to Embassies as Poll Shows Americans Disapprove of Trump’s Handling of Iran

Mark Esper says he „didn’t see“ evidence supporting President Donald Trump’s claim that Iran was planning to attack four U.S. embassies.

By Jessica Corbett

January 12, 2020

„As a televised interview with Defense Secretary Mark Esper raised fresh doubts about President Donald Trump’s claim that Iran was planning to attack four U.S. embassies, polling released Sunday showed the majority of American adults don’t approve of Trump’s handling of the crisis with Iran and feel less safe because of it. […]“