by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author)
Iran’s top trading partner is China, while Tehran and Moscow have been improving ties as the three countries move closer to cementing a solid alliance
Two summits – the cross-border handshake that shook the world between Kim and Moon in Panmunjom and Xi and Modi’s cordial walk by the lake in Wuhan – may have provided the impression Eurasia integration is entering a smoother path.
Not really. It’s all back to confrontation: predictably the actual, working Iran nuclear deal, known by the ungainly acronym JCPOA, is at the heart of it.
And faithful to the slowly evolving Eurasia integration roadmap, Russia and China are at the forefront of supporting Iran.
China is Iran’s top trading partner – especially because of its energy imports. Iran for its part is a major food importer. Russia aims to cover this front.
Chinese companies are developing massive oil fields in Yadavaran and North Azadegan. China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) took a significant 30% stake in a project to develop South Pars – the largest natural gas field in the world. A $3 billion deal is upgrading Iran’s oil refineries, including a contract between Sinopec and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to expand the decades-old Abadan oil refinery.
In a notorious trip to Iran right after the signing of the JCPOA in 2015, President Xi Jinping backed up an ambitious plan to increase bilateral trade by over tenfold to US$600 billion in the next decade.
For Beijing, Iran is an absolutely key hub of the New Silk Roads, or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). A key BRI project is the $2.5 billion, 926 kilometer high-speed railway from Tehran to Mashhad; for that China came up with a $1.6 billion loan – the first foreign-backed project in Iran after the signing of the JCPOA.
There’s wild chatter in Brussels concerning the impossibility of European banks financing deals in Iran – due to the ferocious, wildly oscillating Washington sanctions obsession. That opened the way for China’s CITIC to come up with up to $15 billion in credit lines.
The Export-Import Bank of China so far has financed 26 projects in Iran – everything from highway building and mining to steel producing – totaling roughly $8.5 billion in loans. China Export and Credit Insurance Corp – Sinosure – signed a memorandum of understanding to help Chinese companies invest in Iranian projects.
China’s National Machinery Industry Corp signed an $845 million contract to build a 410km railway in western Iran connecting Tehran, Hamedan and Sanandaj. And insistent rumors persist that China in the long run may even replace cash-strapped India in developing the strategic port of Chabahar on the Arabian Sea – the proposed starting point of India’s mini-Silk Road to Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.
So amid the business blitz, Beijing is not exactly thrilled with the US Department of Justice setting its sights on Huawei, essentially because of hefty sales of value-for-money smart phones in the Iranian market.
Have Sukhoi will travel
Russia mirrors, and more than matches, the Chinese business offensive in Iran.
With snail pace progress when it comes to buying American or European passenger jets, Aseman Airlines decided to buy 20 Sukhoi SuperJet 100s while Iran Air Tours – a subsidiary of Iran Air – has also ordered another 20. The deals, worth more than $2 billion, were clinched at the 2018 Eurasia Airshow at Antalya International Airport in Turkey last week, supervised by Russia’s deputy minister of industry and trade Oleg Bocharov.
Both Iran and Russia are fighting US sanctions. Despite historical frictions, Iran and Russia are getting closer and closer. Tehran provides crucial strategic depth to Moscow’s Southwest Asia presence. And Moscow unequivocally supports the JCPOA. Moscow-Tehran is heading the same way of the strategic partnership in all but name between Moscow and Beijing.
According to Russian energy minister Alexander Novak, the 2014 Moscow-Tehran oil-for-goods deal, bypassing the US dollar, is finally in effect, with Russia initially buying 100,000 barrels of Iranian crude a day.
Russia and Iran are closely coordinating their energy policy. They have signed six agreements to collaborate on strategic energy deals worth up to $30 billion. According to President Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov, Russian investment in developing Iran’s oil and gas fields could reach more than $50 billion.
Iran will become a formal member of the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) before the end of the year. And with solid Russian backing, Iran will be accepted as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) by 2019.
Iran is guilty because we say so
Now compare it with the Trump administration’s Iran policy.
Barely certified as the new US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s first foreign trip – to Saudi Arabia and Israel – amounts in practice to briefing both allies on the imminent Trump withdrawal of the JCPOA on May 12. Subsequently, this will imply a heavy new batch of US sanctions.
Riyadh – via Beltway darling Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, (MBS) – will be all in on the anti-Iran front. In parallel, the Trump administration may demand it, but MBS won’t relinquish the failed blockade of Qatar or the humanitarian disaster that is the war on Yemen.
What’s certain is there won’t be a concerted Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) front against Iran. Qatar, Oman and Kuwait see it as counterproductive. That leaves only Saudi Arabia and the Emirates plus irrelevant, barely disguised Saudi vassal Bahrain.
On the European front, French president Emmanuel Macron has stepped up as a sort of unofficial King of Europe, leveraging himself to Trump as the likely enforcer of restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program, as well as dictating Iran to stay out of Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
Macron has made a direct – and patently absurd – connection between Tehran abandoning its nuclear enrichment program, including the destruction of uranium stockpiles enriched to less that 20%, and being the guilty party helping Baghdad and Damascus to defeat Daesh and other Salafi-jihadi outfits.
No wonder Tehran – as well as Moscow and Beijing – is connecting recent, massive US weapons deals with Riyadh as well as MBS’s hefty investments in the West to the Washington-Paris attempt to renegotiate the JCPOA.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has been adamant; the JCPOA was the product of a strenuous seven-country negotiation over many years: “The question is, will it be possible to repeat such successful work in the current situation?”
Thus the suspicion widely floated in Moscow, Beijing and even Brussels that the JCPOA irks Trump because it’s essentially a multilateral, no “America First” deal directly involving the Obama administration.
The Obama administration’s pivot to Asia – which depended on settling the Iranian nuclear dossier – ended up setting off a formidable, unintended chain of geopolitical events.
Neocon factions in Washington would never admit to normalized Iranian relations with the West; and yet Iran not only is doing business with Europe but got closer to its Eurasian partners.
Artificially inflating the North Korea crisis to try to trap Beijing has led to the Kim-Moon summit defusing the “bomb the DPRK” crowd.
Not to mention that the DPRK, ahead of the Kim-Trump summit, is carefully monitoring what happens to the JCPOA.
The bottom line is that the Russia-China partnership won’t allow for a JCPOA renegotiation, for a number of serious reasons.
On the ballistic missile front, Moscow’s priority will be to sell S-300 and S-400 missile systems to Tehran, sanctions-free.
Russia-China might eventually agree with the JCPOA 10-year sunset provisions to be extended, although they won’t force Tehran to accept it.
On the Syrian front, Damascus is regarded as an indispensable ally of both Moscow and Beijing. China will invest in the reconstruction of Syria and its revamping as a key Southwest Asia node of the BRI. “Assad must go” is a non-starter; Russia-China see Damascus as essential in the fight against Salafi-jihadis of all stripes who may be tempted to return and wreak havoc in Chechnya and Xinjiang.
A week ago, at an SCO ministerial meeting, Russia-China issued a joint communiqué supporting the JCPOA. The Trump administration is picking yet another fight against the very pillars of Eurasia integration.
Sounds like good news to me: Iran sells gas to China, uses the moneyo buy food, aircraft an defense heavies from Russia; neatly sidestepping Uncle $cam’$ paper U$D.
The Kim and Moon Show.
I guess that was a short-term ‘peace’ buzz handshake and happy long-weekend meal deal.
Now back to business reality: The Yanks stay & The Nukes stay.
“South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Wednesday that US troops will remain on the peninsula even if a peace agreement with the North is reached, saying their presence has “nothing to do with signing peace treaties.”
“US troops stationed in South Korea are an issue regarding the alliance between South Korea and the United States. It has nothing to do with signing peace treaties,” Moon’s spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom said at a press conference.
The statement came in response to a Foreign Affairs magazine article written by presidential adviser, Moon Cung-in, in which he stated that it would be “difficult to justify [US forces] continuing presence in South Korea,” if peace is concluded with the North. The spokesperson warned the adviser “not to cause any more confusion” with such comments.”
Yes,Pompeo says the US is thinking of the Libyan example for NK to follow. I wonder just how stupid he must be to utter a comparison with Libya to the NK’s. Has he no clue how that would seem to them. At least one anti-war US reporter knows how that will be seen by them,”The Libya model: North Korea denuclearizes, Kim gets bayonetted in the street by right-wing mercenaries operating under Western air cover, the state collapses, a calamitous refugee crisis ensues and Washington calls it a day”. I doubt the NK’s will fall for that idea.
I am quite sure that the example of Libya and what happened there after they foolishly disarmed has long been discussed in North Korea. Just like the example of Iran and how the negotiations that they had gone through over the propaganda of their mythical nuclear program were quickly thrown aside by the Americans. And that must bear an erie resemblence to how the North Koreans negotiated with the Clintons over their nuclear program only to also see that agreement thrown aside by the Americans.
The only thing that surprised me was that Pompei The Exploding Disaster foolishly brought that example up.
” The only thing that surprised me was that Pompei The Exploding Disaster foolishly brought that example up.”
I laugh and agree with you.
Pompei The Exploding Disaster = Pompeo Vesuvius
libyan exemple for NK to follow?Bolton (national security advisor) & Pompeo (secretary of state) announcing such a boo-boo gives you sort of a mesure to determine the “statemanship” of these two zionist puppets.I feel sorry for the people of U.S.A.
I happened to watch the meeting of North And South at the Korean border.
It was somehow weird to look at. At first I could not put the finger on the matter. But then I realized, what made it so “different”.
There were no (((advisors))). You know what I mean. No warmongering netanyahus, no warmongering boltons. No, there were no warmongers. It was weird. How different !
In the West it would have been an endless number of commenters recommending immediate “send the missiles” etc. etc. No peace talk, war talk. That is all the West can nowadays.
That is why it was refreshing to see genuine talking. No matter, where it leads, because western “peace talks” always end with missiles. No exceptions.
and there will be an end to that (last sentence), just soft or hard not sure
Yes, Trump, Washington and Wall Street are doing their very best to prevent Eurasia assuming a pivotal economic position in the world. They will fail, short of a wider war, which Washington is certainly thinking of, especially when Iran is in question, as Iran has de facto joined the Eurasian Economic Union, with others to follow. However, attacking Iran will not be an easy matter, not only because of it’s powerful military, but also due to the fact that Europe has investments is the country. Macron backed Trump in his aggression against Syria, yet at the same time does not wish to see the nuclear deal terminated. The overall impression is that the elites in the West do not have a clear plan in preventing the rise of Eurasia, applying more of the same old tactics, which are not working, while at the same time inflicting on themselves tremendous amounts of damage, with even their own domestic populations questioning these same policies.
It’s war and over Taiwan. Trump keeps crossing China’s red lines on Taiwan and encouraging the Taiwan separatists to do the same. There is a good chance that Tsai Ing Wen, the leader in Taiwan, may miscalculate and declare formal independence.
They are all either misreading China’s restraint or deliberately provoking China into a war. Trump seems to think that China is easier to bully and get results. Likely he thinks that’s because the US will easily win a military confrontation with China with little cost like during the Opium Wars.
But more likely a war with China as soon as possible is a desperate attempt to stop China’s technological revolution which threatens to relegate the US to at least second place.
I can see that too. The US hopes to parley the Korean results into greater power in East Asia. And encouraging Taiwan to deny China works for that. So then we will see the results of that policy. Does China reclaim Taiwan,with the risk of war with the US,or not. I think they will. Then we will see whether the US is willing to risk war with China,and if so,what will be Russia’s response to that.
It seems that today’s Western leaders have forgotten Field Marshal Montgomery’s wise advise on the 3 rules of war,”never march on Moscow,never fight a land-war in East Asia,and never march on Moscow”. As the saying goes,”those that forget history,are doomed to repeat it”.
But the US is not going to fight a land war in East Asia. They learnt that in Korea.
The US is going to follow the Opium Wars strategy. They are going to fight stand-off with warships, warplanes and missiles.
They think they would win hands down like in 1996. And also the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999. That was the US brutal millennial warning to China that the gloves are off and the iron fist is out!
China would likely try to postpone the fight. And the US is likely to force one as soon as possible.
When the world seemed on the brink of war over Syria a few weeks back ….
1) The Chinese general who is their defense minister took a trip to Moscow, and very publicly stated that China stood with Moscow. There were Chinese editorials that clearly said that they understood that if Moscow went to war and if China did not back them, then that would just leave China alone against the west facing the same pressures and tactics.
2) The Chinese fleet was at sea and conducting ‘live fire exercises’ in both the South China Sea and in the Taiwan Strait at the time when Trump attacked Syria and Russia was threatening to strike back if any Russians were harmed. A very clear message that if a war between Russia and NATO began that weekend in Syria, then China would back up their Defense Minister’s words by immediately closing western traffic through the South China Sea and would likely quickly attack Taiwan.
…then China would back up their Defense Minister’s words by immediately closing western traffic through the South China Sea and would likely quickly attack Taiwan.
And how does that help Russia? China has no stomach for war. She wants to avoid being dragged into the RF-US conflict as much as possible. She has her plate full. Right now it feels besieged by the US and her allies, and India. Nearer to Taiwan, don’t forget Japan’s military and navy are quite formidable despite being a “Self Defence Force.” Sure, China can try to intimidate Taiwan and push around the little states surrounding the South China Sea but Japan is a different matter. It is a heavyweight and short of using nuclear weapons, it is arguable if China can prevail in a Sino-Japanese clash. China also has to worry about India, BRICS and SCO notwithstanding. China will get quite a bloody nose if she tries it.
China is getting close to Russia, true, but her getting closer to Russia is the result of her being pushed into it by the US; she traipsed to the RF side of the fence, she didn’t run.
China is not interested in confronting the major powers. She’ll be more than happy if the US would let her — and that’s the key phrase, if the US would let her — be the hegemon in East Asia and barbarian Asian potentates start sending tributes to the Son of Heaven like the old days.
Basil, China had always been misread. The US did that during the Korean War. The US read China well during the Vietnam War. That’s why it did not invade North Vietnam.
Now the US is a misreading China again.
That’s why China’s missiles are now in the South China Sea. The US cannot take on China now without unacceptable losses.
Look at how China is hardening her stance in the current trade war. The US is now in Beijing supplicating.
China can manage the world situation well. Praise God.
Yes, the US really hasn’t gotten over their defeat in China after they tried to take over after the Japanese were expelled. While the attempted take over of Zhongguo, aka China, by the US forces was occurring Chiang Kai-shek and his underlings were plundering the ancient Chinese treasures which he took to Tapei. This is what all “the Taiwan Straights sabre rattling” is all about. Nothing else. What you don’t know is that most Taiwanese are Fujianese. Fujian being a very rich and old province directly opposite Taiwan. In effect Beijing sees Taiwan as an extension of Fujian, and the Taiwanese act likewise. The Taiwanese language is a Fujian dialect, but all Taiwanese, as do all Mainland Chinese. learn the exact same language from kindergarten through high school and university. Taiwanese can freely travel to and fro China as they please on business which is basically what they all do all the time anyway.
Because of the ancient treasures of Zhongguo, aka China, have infinite value in the hearts and minds of all Chinese, including Fujianese/Taiwanese who are Chinese too. As Taiwan, formerly called Formosa, was a Chinese province, then Taiwan has it all over Beijing and indeed the whole country by virtue of possession of the treasures. Very few Laowai (foreigners0 understand that. It’s purely that they are in Taipei, not in the Forbidden City where they were plundered from that is the moot point for Beijing.
It is highly unlikely that Beijing would ever invade the province of Taiwan as it is very much a part of China as China has the same prominence in the hearts of most Taiwanese, which is why they freely travel to and fro the mainland. Interestingly, it was only revealed when Hu Jintao became President that Beijing and Dong Bei (North East) residents had been freely traveling to Taiwan since the ’60s, during the time of the long Marshall Law in Taiwan. The Taiwanese have had much greater freedom of travel to the mainland or Da Lu in Taiwanese, on business, since the very beginnings of their occupation of Taiwan. In fact many people believe it’s all smoke and mirrors as Taiwan is as dependent on the mainland as it is upon Taiwan.
If we saw Taiwan as a province of China with special self ascribed privileges, like Hong Kong, we’d be getting much closer to full understanding of the goings on. But, in the end, it’s the possession of the Ancient Treasures is what the dispute is all about.
In the very final days of Jiang Zemin’s presidency, under the cover of near nation wide Marshall Law of the SARS epidemic, he declared “One country two systems”! If it weren’t for SARS the country would have gone into mass civil disobedience.
I was there from just before SARS broke out and I copped some of the angst of the peoples’ reaction to Jiang Zemin’s historical declaration. Indeed a small number of foreigners suicided and some went off the rails, as it were, from the treatment they received as Chinese are trained to target the most vulnerable, not the source of their ire. In this instance it was us laowai who had to be treated very specially during the epidemic. In my case I was locked up in my tiny flat in a school. I worked out how to get rescued but some other laowai cracked up from the forced confinement.
Foxconn is the notorious Taiwanese tech corp that makes iPhone. The Chinese workers who became disenchanted with their slave like living and working conditions could, for some years, only get it of their jobs in a body bag. I was working there as an English teacher and a couple of my students did themselves in. I reported the situation to western press which got me fired but it was a further 4 years and many more suicides before it hit the front pages of the international press. Still Foxconn carried on as usual but had give better working conditions to the Chinese.
For some reason, which I could never understand in my 10 years there, was why Taiwanese, Koreans, Hong Kongnese could, literally, get away with murder on the mainland of local mainland workers with impunity. Fortunately that’s ended since Xi became the modern emperor.
Hi Jintao set up Xi. Hu has done more for Chinese people than any other leader or Emperor in the whole history of Zhongguo, most of it under Jiang Zemin’s rule too.
Japan’s military and navy are quite formidable despite being a “Self Defence Force.”
China’s A2/AD isn’t only for the U.S.
Any strategy to get power of veto mechanism removed to disempower countries opposing usa?Hmm…
I wonder if the US military has really given much thought to a war with Iran. Certainly Iran isn’t “Russia or China” powerful. But she isn’t Libya or Iraq either. How would the US conduct a war against Iran.First they would need overwhelming force.Probably hundreds of thousands of troops.Then they would need a platform to conduct that war from.Massing large amounts of troops and ships in the Persian Gulf,could be a bad problem for them.If Iran was able to close the Gulf,they would be sitting ducks in an Iranian lake.And so far we don’t hear of that type of massing of troops starting.
If we look at a map,we see the North should be secure for Iran.And just how many US and stooge troops could attack Iran from Afghanistan.All the Iranians would need to do was start supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan to stop the US from attacking them from there.
Of course there is Turkey,a wild card. Would the Turks aid the US in that attack.Knowing that if they failed the Iranians would start massive support for the Kurds inside Turkey. Since Turkey must know the “ultimate” plan of the US’s is to dismember Turkey (they’ve even shown maps of how it would look).What gain could Turkey get from joining a US attack that would end destroying themselves as well.
Then there is Iraq.A state 60% plus Shia,and friendly to Iran.If anything the US might gain them as an enemy by attacking Iran.So how about Israel? The Israelis aren’t about to send the IDF to attack Iran.Leaving aside the fact,they don’t like to risk casualties in war.If the IDF left Israel,Hezbollah,Syria,and the Palestinians would almost certainly attack Israel.And probably succeed in that attack.So Israel is out for the US.
So that leaves Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.The Iranians have fairly good relations right now with Pakistan.While the US doesn’t. And somewhat similar to Israel,what would happen if Pakistan joined the US. China and Russia would be “very” unhappy with that.And India might see that as an opportunity to take advantage of Pakistan’s trouble.As well as there are millions of Shia Pakistanis to contend with.
We are down to Saudi Arabia and her local stooges.The Gulf states have small armies.And Bahrain is a Shia majority state oppressed by a Sunni minority.Iranian help to them and a mass uprising could take place there. The Saudis do have a lot of military hardware.But they are having a hard time defeating a threadbare guerrilla army in Yemen.As well as, the oil rich Eastern Saudi is the home of the large oppressed Shia minority in Saudi Arabia. Would they resist a call from Shia Iran to rise in revolt against their oppressors? I don’t know,but neither do the Saudis.So using the Saudis to attack Iran has very serious risks for Saudi Arabia.
So what “is” the US plan to attack Iran (if they have one). Its almost certainly an air assault. Similar,but much more massive than in Syria and Iraq. For them to succeed with that, they need total air superiority. So that is why Iran needs as much air defense equipment from Russia as they can get. But of course that is for the short-run. The US seems to believe that they can “bomb,bomb” without consequences. I suspect that the first bombs falling on Iran will cause a counterattack by Iran.And then we’ll see what comes next.
2 additional points in addition to Mr. Escobar’s excellent article.
1) The Iraqi government in Baghdad is going to be an interesting player in all of this. There is talk of a Sunni heartland in western Iraq and eastern Syria. But the Iraqis just put a lot of effort and blood into defeating this.
The history of the Sunnis in western Iraq can be summarized as …. they were Saddam’s base, and post-Saddam they were the heart of the insurgency against the American occupiers. The USA then tried to bring them into a coalition government, but the Shiite government in Baghdad pushed them out. In response, what has been told by the western corporate press as an Sunni ISIS invasion of this Sunni heartland always seemed more like a Sunni revolt against the Baghdad government.
The Shiite government in Baghdad is oftern regarded as an American puppet, but they are also close to Tehran. They won’t like the idea of a Sunni heartland starting to grow again in western Syria. Americans can’t be too popular in Iraq after years of occupation and war and treating the Iraqi government as a hand-puppet.
Thus, I wonder if the Baghdad government might change sides at some point. It might decide to become a closer ally to Iran, with Chinese and Russian investment coming in to help rebuild the country that has been destroyed the ripped off under “reconstruction”.
I grew up in an area of America that had suffered conquest by the Yankees, terrorist acts such as the burning of Atlanta, all followed by Yankee carpetbaggers on a mission of reconstruction. Even a 100 years later, bumper stickers that read “Forget Hell!” were popular amongs the natives.
2) The unspoken part of North Korea negotiating with the South has to be some sort of security gurantees and possibly an alliance with China and Russia. North Korea views their nuclear program as protection against the Americans, and there is no way they’d give that up just based on American promises of peace (which haven’t even been made). There has to be a China+Russian agreement to protect North Korea.
Between these two, there are some moves on this chessboard that its unlikely the Americans are anticipating. The Americans always seem to make plans as if they are the only ones who can make a move, thus I’d expect them to be surprised when Iraq changes sides to join the Russia+Iran+Turkey+Syria coalition and also to be surprised when they try to threaten North Korea only to be faces with an announcement of a firm alliance between Russia+China+North Korea.
massive US weapons deals with Riyadh
It is said: that not less than US$150bln. has wanished somewhere in the labyrinths of FED. And that the 300bln.contract has to cover this number and give something to Saudies for a double price, in fact for 20x higher price, as the usual is 10x higher than the real one.
I remember sometime after the George Dub’ya Bush war on Iraq, his fellow neocons had been quoted as saying, “Real men go to Tehran.” As if they were real men. Chicken hawks all.
I think the great game is pretty clear. Wall Street and corporate America wish to have a war in the Middle East in which they have no skin. They are simply the suppliers of weaponry, and merchants of death, destruction and more money. They will laugh as the Chinese and Russian investments in Iran and Syria are vaporized. And so what if Israel is destroyed, it has served its purpose as the missile platform, and bled the Russians, Chinese and Iranians white.
Wall Street is focused on profit/money/greed. In other words, the short game. I doubt if they have any understanding of the long game that the Chinese/Russian/Persians have. It’s not as if the East has not seen this play before, and more importantly acted on it.
Wall Street is once again counting its eggs before they are hatched. The era of “financial engineering” and “bomb them back to the stone age” has left corporate (fascist) America incapable of diplomacy and wisdom. Their debt has made them incapable of playing the long game.
Iran, Russia, and China have all suffered terribly from the West. Today they are united. One cannot say the same of the West. Simply put, the West are merchants of death. The big three understand this, and I am sure have taken the appropriate precautions.
I think a simple phrase that describes the political reality of the West is “delusions of grandeur.”
After September 11, 2001, attack, China increased the Military Budget Exponentially.
US administration is trumpeting peace with North Korea, in order to free some military resources and put pressure on Iran.
US Government has not been interested in peace for the past 65 years. The North should be skeptical, when it rumpets change, the 66th year after the armistice
“US Government has not been interested in peace…” — yes, but Trump is very interested, it seems, in getting a certain ‘peace prize’ to help avoid mid-term disaster and subsequent impeachment etc. All stagecraft with multiple aims, but the meta-plot is clear.
How nice to see Damascus, of all places, called “indispensable” and “essential”!
Bash’em Bashar! Gryphon of the Levant!
More appropriate the ‘Lion of Damascus’!
Older people of non-Anglo extraction relished the famous book, ‘Il Leone di Damasco’ by Emilio Salgari* and a film of 1942.
*Emilio Salgari (1862-1911) was an Italian writer of action adventure swashbucklers and a pioneer of science fiction.
In Italy, his extensive body of work was more widely read than that of Dante. Today he is still among the 40 most translated Italian authors. Many of his most popular novels have been adapted as comics, animated series and feature films. He is considered the father of Italian adventure fiction and Italian pop culture, and the “grandfather” of the Spaghetti Western”
Thanks Pepe !Facinating.
Like the old saying goes : ‘We all hang together, or we hang separately’.
The future is with China – Russia -Iran nexus.