by Ghassan Kadi
Is the genie finally out of the bottle?
A myriad of seemingly unrelated events and loose ends are converging in a manner that points in the direction of a huge win for Russian diplomacy in the Middle East, and we only need to connect the dots to see this scenario unfolding.
What dots, one might ask?
Henry Kissinger made it law for America to protect Israel. In his shuttle diplomacy trips in the lead up to the Camp David agreement, Kissinger has basically removed the USSR from the position of a superpower and a key partner on the negotiating table between Arabs and the Israelis and reduced its role to zilch. The ensuing dismantling of the USSR and the emergence of the so-called “New World Order” meant that Israel was to maintain its military superiority.
However, with the rise of Axis of Resistance in general and Hezbollah in particular, Israel’s technical military edge proved unable to provide Israel with any real security. As a matter of fact, it seems to have done just the opposite. Israel has never ever been under the kind of existential threat that it faces now, with an estimated hundred thousand Hezbollah missiles, if not more, poised to hit Israeli targets as far as Eilat.
And because America had been such a biased supporter of Israel for so long, it has lost its stature as a non-partisan arbitrator and mediator. In reality therefore, whilst America tried as hard as possible to enable Israel to impose its own peace, under its own terms, in practice, it has not been able to provide Israel with any peace under anyone’s terms.
Off to Syria.
Syria has been deadlocked in a war for more than five years. The Russian intervention that commenced in late September 2015 took the conflict, for the first time, into a direction in which the Syrian Government and its allies gained the clear upper hand.
Then, and in the height of the military operation, and seemingly just a tad before achieving and declaring victory, Russia suddenly declared a major pullout and eventually a ceasefire. Many questions were raised, and even the staunch and extremely savvy ally of Russia, Hezbollah chief Nasrallah himself has questioned publicly in a recent speech the rationale behind the Russian stand and asked: ”Who has benefited from the ceasefire?” Nasrallah was obviously referring to the fact that Al-Nusra Front and other groups have taken advantage of the ceasefire to bolster their positions and even to gain some territory in some regions.
In as much as the Russian intervention in its speed, accuracy and effectiveness has stunned the world, especially NATO, so did the pullback and ceasefire. Why did President Putin suddenly decide to scale down the military offensive, was a question that many analysts asked and tried to make speculations about.
Short-sighted analysts, especially those who love to hate Russia, found in this a golden opportunity to lash at Russia and accuse President Putin of backing off and letting Syria down. But would Putin truly back down after he had put his global political reputation on the line? Was he really expecting the Americans to come clean and work with him on identifying who is who on the ground? Would he back off after Russian lives were lost both in Syria and in the tragic jetliner crash in Sinai, and which was done in retaliation to Russia’s military action in Syria? Would Putin risk being seen in a negative way by his own people after he had risen to the level of a rescuer and hero? Last but not least, would Putin leave Turkey, and Erdogan specifically, “unpunished” after Turkey deliberately downed a Russian plane and killed its pilot?
The collective and individual answer to all of the above questions is a categorical NO. So why did Putin do it then? There seemed to be no clear answer; at least not for a while.
And of course, we cannot mention Turkey without allowing the train of events to stop at the Turkish station for a very thorough analysis.
In my analysis of the failure of “War On Syria”, which effectively began to take shape over the last two years or so, and especially after the emergence of Daesh, I had been reiterating that different elements of the “Anti-Syrian Cocktail” who were bundled together, united only by their hatred for Syria and her President, have realized that they were unable to have their collective dream materialized. They thus resorted to pursuing their own individual dreams and/or to implement some contingency plans. In that context, among other things, Daesh declared mutiny on its former allies and captured oil fields in order to be able to self-finance.
When Erdogan looked at Daesh, he could see a double-edged sword. And irrespective of politics, Erdogan’s fundamentalist ideology is not very different from that of Daesh, and according to this doctrine, putting everything else aside, Daesh members are regarded as brethren. Furthermore, the fact that Daesh and the Kurds were in conflict was something that Erdogan could not ignore. Erdogan’s fear of the Kurdish factor is very high, and the fact that America was helping some Kurdish factions has angered Erdogan to an extreme. America cannot be a friend of Turkey and the Kurds at the same time, Erdogan has said on many occasions, both directly and indirectly.
At the same time, America was growing very frustrated with Erdogan, and in turn, played its own cat and mouse game within the Daesh-Kurdish-Turkish triangle; favouring any side at a time that was convenient and suitable for its agenda.
But for Erdogan, the issue was becoming very critical. Turkey is now under attack with a string of explosions going off here and there; some purportedly perpetrated by Kurds and others by Daesh. Not only has Erdogan’s gamble in Syria failed, but he has brought the conflict home; at least partially, and the economic boom and the “zero problems” policy that crowned his early years of power were all getting eroded by the quagmire that Erdogan found himself in.
To make it worse for Erdogan, after he downed Russia’s Su-24 in November 2015, he was expecting NATO’s support, but NATO’s response was clear and brief. He was told that he needed to sort out his own problems with Russia.
He tried to use the refugees as a trump card, but this could not go far enough. Apart from the few billion dollars he was given by the EU, which is in relative terms a petty bribe, Erdogan was unable to even clinch Turkey’s longtime aspiration of becoming an EU member.
Erdogan found himself cornered, abandoned, under attack, facing severe Russian sanctions and an economic slump. He needed an exit strategy; an exit from trouble and into a totally new era.
In the meantime, Israeli PM Netanyahu made an unprecedented number of trips to Moscow. Why? Many asked.
The dust has not even began to settle yet, but there are markers that indicate that we are about to see a huge shift in Middle Eastern politics, conflicts and alliances.
We are now hearing formal Turkish statements accusing the USA of plotting the recent failed coup attempt. Turkey has even imposed a lockdown on Incirlik airbase, a NATO airbase, in which America stock piles nuclear weapons, and has even cut off power supplies to the base. This is tantamount to declaring mutiny on NATO. When Erdogan said that the coup was a “gift from God” to cleanse the army, he might as well have also said that it was a gift from God for him to show his resentment to the USA.
We also hear of counter-rumours that Erdogan has staged the failed coup in order to cleanse the military from elements that are not loyal to him. Whilst this scenario cannot either be confirmed or discounted, Erdogan is not mincing either his words or his actions with his NATO boss the USA.
It is important to note here that in the last few weeks, Erdogan and Netanyahu made up, and furthermore, the Turkish-Russian relationship was normalized. Erdogan has been seen to be making a turn, and perhaps a U-turn in regard to his policies in Syria, but for what ends?
For anyone to make a decisive win in Syria, the city of Aleppo holds the key. Whoever takes full control of Aleppo will win the war. The Syrian-Russian coalition has the upper hand to win the battle of Aleppo, but at what civilian cost? The other way to win it is to bring Erdogan down to his knees; and this seems to be what has happened. If Erdogan seals Turkey’s borders, the terrorists will be doomed.
If we were to connect the above main dots, ignoring many other minor dots which do not need to be discussed individually, we can only see a Middle Eastern Russian-brokered masterplan coming to fruition.
What puts Russia in the position to be able to muster such a plan is the fact that Russia is highly respected and is on fairly good terms with all major players. After mending relationships with Turkey, Russia is now on very good terms not only with Turkey, but also with Syria, Israel and Iran. The foolhardy foreign American policies in the Middle East have turned America into a force that cannot be trusted even by its own allies.
Putin is adamant on fighting terrorism. Whether he is able to do this or not is another story, but strategically speaking, he knows well that the military fight against terrorism cannot be won, let alone properly conducted, if other players in the region are in a state of conflict.
According to this analysis, we are on the verge of seeing a Russian plan unfolding, a plan that will not only form a foundation for ending the “War On Syria”, but also one that will seek an Arab/Israeli settlement.
The plan will have to be based on a win-win situation for all parties involved. The Saudis (and Qataris) will be the only losers. They will probably be left out in the cold and hung to dry. No one really wants to or needs to appease them any longer. Their clout is shrinking, and so are their resources. If anything, the war on terror, if it takes form under a Russian umbrella, may need to confront Al-Saud’s sponsorship to the spread of religious radicalism.
The avalanche of events has started, and as the USA is being shown the exit door by its closest allies, Russia is coming in as the only power that has the ability of resolving long standing niggling issues and cleaning up America’s mess.
Many years ago, a Russian diplomat was attacked and beat by security at Doha airport if memory serves me correctly. I will never forget that, and I’m certain Putin has not. Then there’s the blackmail attempt by KSA prior to Sochi. Revenge best served cold, perhaps it’s dinner time.
It looks indeed like a masterstroke of the 8th Dan Grand Master!
Excellent anslysis, Ghassan. Thank you. Can you help me understand why the CIA helped facilitate and stage the doomed Turkish coup? Why is it in their interest to aid in Erdogan’s consolidation of power? Is Gulen safe from extradition? What is the US endgame with Turkey?
Thanks Sherry. I can only try to answer your first two questions combined. If Erdogan is indeed determined to go to Camp Russia and dump the USA and NATO, then we can only expect the Americans to know this. It would not then be surprising if they decided to pre-emptively get rid of him before he got rid of them.
Erdogan only turned on America because he knew that they wanted to discard him. Whether this “coup” is real or fake is immaterial. Whether the Americans were behind it or Erdogan himself is irrelevant. What matters is that Erdogan knew that he was in their cross-hairs and decided to act to save himself.
If Turkey is about to cooperate with Syria and Russia its like their changing alliance in the middle east and its a motive for United States to stop this. United States wants to continue support for the syrian rebels and if Turkey seals the borders the terrorist will be doomed like this article is saying. US wants to keep up their good relation to Saudi a country which wants Assad to go and they will have sunnidominated territories all over middle east. For United States a war also will give them better chances to exploit the oil fields in the Golan heights, and other places in the middle east where rebels have control and US later can go in and take it. They can also continue their sales of weapons to terrorists and countries who is at war there. And of course like others have said. They want to stop Russia to improve in trades with countries like Turkey and Israel. They wont allow Russia to gain more economic power in the middle east, and for US human civilian lives are not important to reach that goal.
Thanks for this analysis, Ghassan Kadi. I smiled to see you here, because of course this is part of your grand theme. You introduced many of us to the concept that US was leaving the Middle East, and Russia was taking its place as broker and guarantor.
If there can ever be a status of peace between Israel and Palestine – which I tend to assume is impossible – then Russia could achieve it.
Russia is the peacemaker. We keep wanting it to act in warlike ways because of its fierce warrior capability, and its beautiful weapons. But Russia works to build peace, and this is a less obvious action.
Yes, the dots really could connect the way you suggest. it seems clear that a massive amount of secret discussion has been happening in the last few weeks, between many parties. And there is a sense now of pieces being moved in accordance with deals recently struck.
Thanks Grieved, and thanks for your regular support and positive comments.
As incredible as it may be to consider this is not Russia’s first foray into the Middle East/Israel:
A Wikipedia article says this:
**Russia’s focus on the area began when Napoleon III took over control of France in an 1851 coup d’état and moved to seize control of properties in the Holy Land held by members of the Greek Orthodox Church. The court of the Czar had long held itself to be the main patron and protector of Orthodoxy, especially after most of the membership of the Greek Orthodox Church from 1460 until 1821 fell under the control of the Islamic Ottoman Empire (with its oppressive Devshirmeh and jizya laws).
Through diplomacy and a show of force Napoleon III forced the Ottoman Empire to recognize France as the “sovereign authority” in the Holy Land. This moved control of many Christian holy sites and buildings out of Orthodox hands and under Catholicism. These events were one of the main triggers for the Crimean War of 1856. Despite defeat in the war by 1856, Russia remained concerned about the position and influence of the Ottoman Empire and its European allies. Czar Alexander II continually worked to make sure Russia would have a presence in Palestine. Towards these ends a consulate was created in 1858.…” etc,,,
Interesting analysis, Im definitely excited to see geopolitical movements in Europe, Middle East and South East Asia for the next few months. The suspense on hearing major turn of events for the last 2 years (Ukraine color revolution, Crimea annexation, Russian jet shotdown, South China Sea conflict, UK’s Brexit, Terror attack in France, Turkey’s coup) are getting worthy of front row seat because of one particular reason: The rise of multipolar state against one state empire hegemony in global stage. Before 2014, its just depressing (if not boring) because the one state empire can do whatever she wants unchecked.
But now, the game is playing different kind of ball…
Great article Ghassan..
This is a beautifully written article and I so agree that the failed coup in Turkey being a pivotal point for change in the geopolitical world power. Will Turkey be joining BRICS and will NATO be dissolving into thin air, much like the US dollar?
I think so. USA is so adept at invading countries through creating a coup. Maybe they are so busy with their daily false flag shootings, they are getting sloppy ~ not just in the manufacturing of your basic coup ~ but in all aspects. Political and economic hegemony of the west will soon be a thing of the past. Thank God.
What upsets me so deeply are the lives lost in Turkey. Many of these military did not even realize that they were involved in an attempted coup…..they thought it was a military exercise.
The Turkish people have been suffering for a very long time.
Imagine if Russia could broker a peace between Israel and the Palestinians – THAT would be an immense achievement for Putin.
Peace between “Israel” and “Palestine” will be a minor task once Anglo Capitalists are out of the Middle East. Until their hold over the oil and gas fields is broken, nowhere in the ME will there be peace.
but….. Israel does not want peace. Israel wants LAND ! …. from the Nile to Euphrates, (as promised to them in their Old Testament).
Beautiful and comprehensive analysis. This covers all points including the aftermath of the failed coup in Ankara. Indeed, without the great effort of Russian military intelligence, neither Syria nor Turkey would have been saved from falling into the US/IS trap.
Thanks so much for a great read.
Iraqi Shi’ite Cleric Tells Followers to Target US Troops
Influential Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr instructed his followers today that US ground troops inside Iraq are “a target for us,” the latest indication the US could quickly find itself facing a Shi’ite insurgency on top of the ISIS war in Iraq.
During the American occupation, US troops repeatedly targeted Sadrists.
The timing of the commentscome less than a week after the most recent Pentagon announcement of another large deployment to Iraq,
Perhaps the coup attempt was hastily pushed forward prematurely after Erdogan got wind of the plot. Ever since the NATO map of a NWO of the ME was released years back Turkey knew to keep an eye on their “allies”. I’m sure Erdogan had plans prepared a long time ago for a coup attempt.
I’m still perplexed as to how amateurish USA seems to be since 1991. State press conferences are a joke. Are current events part of the plan? Or is Empire so cocky that they think they can accomplish any hairbrained scheme they want? Perhaps all their political capital is used up and are now overwhelmed by blowback.
In any case NATO has vastly overstepped its mandate and should have been disbanded right after the Warsaw Pact.
America is anything but amatuerish.
It was able to pull off the 9-11 false flag attack and launch its bogus War on Terrorism, which is now the longest war in American history.
Very few if any governments around the world have publically questioned the complete and utter falsehood of this US War on Terrorism, let alone 9-11 itself.
And those ordinary people who question these deceptions are just a drop in an ocean of lies.
That is a testament to how powerful and pervasive American deceit truly is.
Nope, the longest war is the “War on Drugs” that left Mexico in shambles with head-choppers and all…
@the NATO map of a NWO of the ME
This is it! The ‘NATO map’ was nothing else than the old Oded Yinon’s plan for the creation of “Greater Israel” and ‘balkanization’ of all states around Israel updated. A central piece of it was the creation of a ‘Kurdistan’ as a vassal state of Israel from where to control the statelets resulted from the ‘balkanization’ of Iraq and Syria and offering a base for the assault on Iran and further on the ‘soft belly’ of Russia. (Students of ancient Roman history would remember the conversion to Judaism of the Kings of Adiabene same as today Kurdistan who participated in the Judaean War – which was more than a ‘revolt’ against Roman tyranny). Since the proclamation of the ‘independence’ of Israel USA and NATO worked overtime, and in hindsight, with a clear unity of purpose, to implement this plan.
Turkey was, understandably, opposed to the very idea of a Kurdistan. Iran, Iraq, Syria no less. You might be 100% sure that the Turks knew all the time what was in store for them. That Erdogan was prepared is demonstrated by the arrest of 9000 people in just few days. The lists were prepared for long.
Really hope this analysis proves accurate. Peace and progress in the region really depends on an accommodation between Turkey and Iran, under Russian auspices. With such a combination anything is possible. US/Saudi interference out – no good for anyone.
Tehran gets first batch of missiles for S-300 complex
Published time: 18 Jul, 2016 13:35
Edited time: 18 Jul, 2016 13:36
Russia has delivered the first consignment of surface-to-air missiles for S-300 air defense complexes supplied to Iran earlier this year, reports Tasnim News Agency. The initial contract called for delivery of at least five S-300 air defense batteries.
Iran’s Air Defense Commander, Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, said earlier this month that all purchased S-300 systems will be fully functional by the end of the ongoing Iranian year, which ends on March 20, 2017.
Mr. Engdahl, one of the very few true investigative researchers out there.
F. William Engdahl – Behind The CIA Desperate Turkey Coup Attempt
On the evening of July 15, a group of Turkish army officers announced that they had staged a military coup d’etat and had assumed control of the country.
They claimed that Erdogan was in a desperate flight for his life and that they were now in the process of restoring order.
Ghassan Qadi gives a very clear description of the why’s and the who’s of the Turkish Coup that I suggest could be illustrated as 100% correct.The relief to me is that Erdogan no longer seems insane.
Merkel does. Europe will have to sort her out, lay her to rest. Vacationtime.
Well, whaddaya know – Kerry threatens with NATO expulsion:
That escalated quickly! Yet another supporting evidence for American involvement in the coup
Interesting trivia to go with that story of the day gone unnoticed where Bahrain has just banned the opposition party out of existence!
And why would that be?
Al-Saud Backs Al-Khalifa against Bahraini People
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Saudi regime has occupying forces in Bahrain to help the allied Al-Khalifa ruler in suppress dissent. [CARTOON]
read at your own peril!
There’s tens of thousands of spooks, disinfo artistes, hacks & neocon sycophants everywhere who have had all weekend to type up terabytes of lurid fairy tales & sightings of the ethereal bunny’s cotton tail.
Exclusive: all the details about the air ops and aerial battle over Turkey during the military coup to depose Erdogan
“The foolhardy foreign American policies in the Middle East have turned America into a force that cannot be trusted even by its own allies.”
I doubt that anyone anywhere trusts America, whatever cred it may have had has certainly been squandered, esp. since 9/11 and the fear that once held the natives in place is starting to crumble.
Erdogan aside, for me personally as a Macedonian, with my birthplace under the thumb of the US since its independence ’91, I am heartened by the Turks in that they refused to accept someone taking over their country by force, and, though at terrible cost, stood up to the coup.
Current US and EU ambassadors to Macedonia, Bailey and Orav were stationed in Turkey a number of years ago when a number of US instigated coups failed and it must be said in spite of their best efforts the current coloured revolution in Macedonia has failed. The patriotic Macedonian people have played their part perfectly not falling for the trap laid out by the US/EU/NATO and have become the silent defender of the state.
One can only hope that Russia succeeds in becoming an honest broker in the Middle East, and perhaps in time that role can be replayed in the Balkans. For the Balkans, that would be the breath of life, especially if the economic projects envisioned by Russia and China are given a chance to take hold.
The Neoconservatives Are A World Threat
Paul Craig Roberts
July 18, 2016
Last February I filmed a program about the failure of US economic and foreign policy with Andrew Mazzone of the Henry George School of Social Science. Mr. Mazzone took the role of a neoconservative defending the policies, and I took the role of the critic. Production difficulties delayed the editing of the program, which just now has become available. The program remains timely and instructive. Here is the link:
On Sunday, a [Russian-made] Syrian drone penetrated Israeli airspace, evading two Patriot anti-air interceptors and possibly an F-16 air-to-air missile in the process.
A spokesman for the Israeli military claimed that the Israeli Air Force detected the unarmed aerial vehicle (UAV) before it violated airspace over Golan Heights. The Air Force released a statement on July 17 saying that the vehicle was being tracked, but that three attempts to intercept it had failed.
“The aircraft was detected prior to entering the nation’s territory and was fully tracked by the Israel Air Force,” according to the statement. “From the initial investigation, it was found that three intercept attempts took place as per procedure. No hit of the target was identified.
“Syrian drone penetrated Israeli airspace”
Correction? it says below, that Syrian drone was over the Golan. Hence in Syrian airspace, not Israeli surely?
Ghassan Kadi, your article, as always, impresses as a consumate “street smart” analysis. A number of your predictions are clearly coming to fruition much faster than i, at least, expected. The “Russian Plan” you mention in your last couple of paragraphs is demonstrably coming to fruition, and the USA is clearly being shown the Exit Door from the region by the REAL powers which command respect.
Thank you Greg. I am a believer in “street smart” (as you put it) analysis in situations when top notch inside information is not necessarily more pertinent than connecting visible, yet overlooked, dots.
Let’s not forget about the failed assassination attempt on Erdogans life, last year, or the false intelligence that resulted in the downing of a Russian bomber in Syria by Turkish jets. Erdogan saw the writing on the wall.
“Erdogan’s fundamentalist ideology is not very different from that of Daesh,”?
What is this shit? I stopped reading when I saw that!
Military experts say Russia has the upper hand over NATO.
More info: http://www.kotipetripaavola.com/russianato.html
I certainly hope that your beliefs hold true. It would be great to remove the destabilizing influence of the US in the Middle East. As soon as the US has withdrawn or partially so maybe the evil terrorists and their children killing monsters can be mopped up. Without the US to protect and support them, the Russians and Syrians can make short work of them.
Very good analysis. The U.S. is dazed, disoriented and wallowing in corruption and incompetence at the highest level. I believe Russia will absolutely eclipse the U.S. in the middle east, they’ve blown it.
Hooray for the failed coup and it’s many ramifications…, things would have been disastrously different for the ME and the world, had it been successful – Putin Rocks and Erdogan is rising from being a psychotic maniac on the side of evil to a possible Statesman for Peace
Unfortunately Israel is in the picture with it’s fingers still in the Russian/Turkish pie and it will stop at nothing until it brings them down by deception using every dirty trick in Lucifer’s book until they achieve it, just like their US war machine lap dog is renowned for
Good analysis. Yet the Islam factor cannot be ignored in the region’s future. There is a competition for different versions of political Islam. semi-Secularism ( supported by Ataturk and Gulen supporters), Moslem Brotherhood ( supported by Erdogan, Qatar) and Wahhabism ( supported by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Daesh)
Erdogan with his supporters have tried to propagate the MB ideology in the Arab world but they failed because Secularism ( associated with the military) and Extremism were stronger.
Erdogan has been unable to impose his version if Islam and after the failures in Egypt and Tunisia, he has allowed Islamist extremism ( with saudi money) to weaken the Syrian government in order to break it.
For the last 4 years Erdogan has been in bed with Daesh. If he decides to turn his back on them and their friends, his country will be hit hard by terrorist attacks. He knows that he can’t count on the USA or Europe to protect Turkey if he finally takes a decisive move against Daesh and other violent form of Islam.
For that he is now relying on Iran, a Shia country and Russia, a Christian country to help him out of the dangerous path he has put his country in because of his megalomania and greed.
Saudi Arabia will do all it can to prevent this alliance but it is stuck in Yemen and have lost its role as a powerful Sunni country in the region.
Erdogan has eliminated other politically strong Turkish men like Gul, Davutoglu and Hakan. He has emasculated the opposition. In addition the coup has exposed the country’s intelligence and army vulnerability.Therefore he now alone bears the responsibility of the future of Turkey. Whatever he does, he has sufficient enemies who would want to eliminate him physically and neither Iran nor Russia, nor Israel can protect him.
Mostly agree, apart from the last bit.
Qatar has already sought an agreement with Moscow and will adapt to the changes. Not so Saudi-Arabia, yet it cannot be ‘left out in the cold’ for two reasons: If this happens, Riyadh would very probably unleash a jihadist campaign the likes of which we have never seen (if only to keep its unemployed youth busy). And if the kingdom becomes unstable, maybe descends into civil war, this would send the price of oil skyrocketing, much to the dismay of both China and Europe.
Russia and China have to find a way for Riyadh to fit into the new Middle East as a (difficult) partner if they want to become new hegemons and guarantors of stability in the region. For everybody’s good.
Regarding Russia’s sudden withdrawal, Stephen Cohen suggests it might have been an attempt by Putin to offer the US a negotiated way out, which if achieved, might lead the US into constructive negotiations with Russia over Ukraine – and other problems. Which, given Russia’s problems and resources, would be Russia’s preferred template. Putin’s ‘wins’ either way: if there had be a negotiated solution, that suits Russia; the reluctance of US to negotiate constructively over Syria strengthen’s Putin’s hand, as it demonstrates to the world that the US is an un-interested in negotiations and there is no solution but for Russia to ‘go back in’ again, now with Iran & China in tow. Still a ‘hard-sell’ to Western audiences with MSM selling a topsy-turvy story spun out of Washington and EU satraps.