Whose arms have the Obama Administration been twisting?

In an interview with Vox last month Barack Obama said: ‘We occasionally have to twist the arms of countries that wouldn’t do what we need them to do.’ He elaborated, stating that “if it weren’t for the various economic or diplomatic or, in some cases, military leverage that we had — if we didn’t have that dose of realism, we wouldn’t get anything done, either.”

Thanks to a cache of intelligence cables that were leaked to the Guardian, we now have an example of one such occasion. The leaked documents revealed that Barack Obama once “threatened” Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas. This was in relation to the 2012 bid by the Palestinian Authority to seek ‘non-member observer status’ at the United Nations. The article states:

A South African state security agency report from November 2012 records a Palestinian intelligence officer handing over a memo detailing a phone call made by the US president to the Palestinian leader “where President Obama threatened President Abbas if he goes ahead with the UN bid”.

Abbas pressed ahead with the application to the UN, and a fortnight later the general assembly backed the bid, which smoothed the way for the Palestinians to attempt to bring cases against Israel at the international criminal court.

The nature of Obama’s threat isn’t expanded upon in the cables, however that the administration sought to punish Abbas and the Palestinians for seeking to use the appropriate and legal international bodies as a means of establishing their state says a lot about the White House’s disregard for democracy and human rights – despite the constant invoking of such principles by the administration as a reason for bombing non-compliant nations, or applying sanctions etc.

Surely this proves once and for all that the U.S. is not a neutral mediator between Israel and the Palestinians. If anyone needs to be threatened, Obama should be telling Netanyahu that he will no longer be receiving $3 billion of aid every year until Israel proves itself willing to return to the pre-1967 borders, and commit to a meaningful resolution to the conflict.

* * * * * *

When I first heard Obama actually admitting to twisting arms, I immediately thought of the US’s insistence that the EU impose sanctions on Russia following the downing of MH17 last summer. Despite – almost a year later – no investigation apportioning blame having been published, within hours of the crash Obama had proclaimed Vladimir Putin to be personally responsible. New sanctions were implemented, and the EU soon followed suit. This definitely seemed like a case of arm-twisting; Joe Biden even said that the White House had had to “embarrass” European leaders into imposing the sanctions.

For months now the behaviour of Angela Merkel and others has been so at odds with reality, that blackmail seems like the only credible reason for this. It seems like the NSA certainly picked up some good dirt on Merkel while bugging her phone. When she and Hollande flew to Moscow to meet with Putin in January, the lack of an American or British presence was telling. So was the fact that the three leaders spoke for hours without aides. Then, when Merkel visited the White House the week after, some incriminating photographs of her with a group of skinhead/neo-Nazi types were published only hours before she and Obama met. Anonymous took credit for this, however due to the decentralized nature of the group, it would be possible for anyone with an agenda to have published these photos on behalf of the hacker collective.

* * * * * *

Obviously this is all just speculation, but as Obama has admitted to using coercive means to achieve his objectives – as is evidenced by his threatening of Mahmoud Abbas – it seems likely that he and his administration have issued threats to the EU.

Thus the lofty statements made by the White House, State Department etc alluding to the importance of democratic principles, self-determination, human rights, freedom of speech and so on become rather meaningless when these are not backed up by actions to support them.

Sadly there is another parallel to be drawn from the current situations in Palestine and Ukraine. While Russia receives sanctions for its so-called “annexation” of Crimea – despite the peninsula voting overwhelmingly to rejoin its homeland – Israel receives billions of dollars in aid every year to maintain their occupation of Palestine, when it can be guaranteed that given the choice, no Palestinian would choose to live under Israeli rule.

Oh the irony!

 

References:

CIA attempted to contact Hamas despite official US ban, spy cables reveal
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/23/spy-cables-leak-cia-contact-hamas-us-ban?CMP=share_btn_tw

Obama: ‘We have to twist arms when countries don’t do what we need them to’
http://rt.com/news/231279-obama-foreign-policy-power/

Response from my MP regarding the government’s plan to send military “advisers” to Ukraine

Below is the response I received to the email I sent to my MP – David Hamilton, Labour –  regarding David Cameron’s decision to send 75 military “advisers” to Ukraine, despite a new ceasefire having just been negotiated in the Normandy Four format (ie. between France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine). The text from my email can be found here. I have heard that France has distanced itself from Cameron’s plan, and that Hollande’s administration is still committed to reaching a diplomatic settlement. Yesterday President Putin met with Gérard Larcher – the President of the French Senate – in Moscow, further highlighting the conciliatory tone between the two nations. Read details from their meeting here.

 

Dear Ms Stephenson

Thank you for your email with your concerns on David Cameron’s position on Ukraine.

I am aware that David Cameron announced that UK military trainers are to be deployed to help Ukraine forces stave off further Russian backed incursions into its sovereign territory.

This decision has been under consideration by the UK national security council since late last year and it would be the first deployment of British troops to the country since the near civil war in eastern Ukraine began more than a year ago.

This is part of a training mission providing advice on medical training, logistics, intelligence analysis and infantry training.  I understand that this is an action meant to alert the Russians that Britain does not approve of further large scale occupations of towns in Ukraine

David Cameron has also argued for tougher sanctions against Moscow if Russia backed militias in eastern Ukraine and failed to observe the provisions of a ceasefire agreement.

This is indeed a worrying situation and it may of course fuel Russia’s wrath with the EU and needs to be handled delicately.

I like you, agree it is not as black and white as it seems.  We need to take a more even handed approach to what is happening.  I was extremely disappointed that we were not there along with the Germans and the French at the summit that was held with Russia and the Ukraine.

I am also deeply concerned about the state of the other countries in the region.  However for my part and my Party  I will be keeping a very close eye on the situation.

Thank you for sharing your views.

Regards

DAVID HAMILTON MP
Member of Parliament for Midlothian

 

I was disappointed that Hamilton did not address my concerns regarding the contradiction between sending British soldiers and supporting the Minsk agreement, which requires all foreign troops to leave the country. It is also discouraging to see references to ‘Russian backed incursions’ and ‘Russia’s wrath with the EU’, but no mention of the will of the people of Eastern Ukraine, who have been living under constant shelling for almost a year now. It seems like there is little difference between Hamilton’s view of the situation and that of the PM. However, another member of the Labour Party – I’ve forgotten who – said in an interview to RT this week that there was a great deal of disapproval to Cameron’s maneuver in Parliament. This was due to its inflammatory nature, and because the announcement was made having only been decided by a few members of  Cameron’s Cabinet – rather than following a debate in the House of Commons and with widespread support.

While John Kerry and Joe Biden insist that there’s been no split within the US/EU/NATO countries on how to approach the situation and ‘deal with’ Russia, it seems like this honeymoon phase of the coalition may truly be at an end now. While most of Europe seems to favour a rapprochement with Russia; the US, UK, Canada, Poland and the Baltic states are clamoring for more sanctions and won’t rule out sending weapons. Since Cameron’s announcement, Poland has declared that it will now send 100 trainers, with Canada likely to follow. At this rate Putin doesn’t need to do anything in retaliation, he can merely sit back and watch as the EU caves in on itself once and for all.

Letter to my MP regarding David Cameron’s decision to send “military advisers” to Ukraine:

I am writing to you to express my concern with the Prime Minister’s decision to send military advisers to Ukraine. Mr Cameron seemed to imply this afternoon that he supports the Minsk 2.0 agreement to bring about an end to the war, yet the peace deal explicitly calls for the removal of all foreign troops from the conflict zone. Therefore, deploying British forces runs counter to the protocols laid out at Minsk, whilst also giving the impression that Britain seeks an escalation of the war rather than a peaceful settlement. That the UK and United States were missing from the meetings in Moscow and Minsk made clear that such confrontational posturing is not viewed as helpful by mainland Europe. Thus, my first concern regarding the PM’s decision is that he seems to be unaware that taking such an action breaches the ceasefire deal. By pouring fuel on the fire Mr Cameron may end up encouraging an escalation in the fighting, and so far it is not clear that this is not actually his intention.
Secondly, I would like to make you aware of my dismay that this plan has been decided upon with no debate or vote in parliament. By sending these troops, the UK is involving itself in a civil war – and one in which the other side is supported by a country with nuclear weapons. The conflict itself is not nearly as black and white as Mr Cameron is making it out to be, and myself and many others in this country find what the new Ukrainian government is doing to its citizens in the East to be utterly abhorrent. If action must be taken, let us work alongside both Ukraine and Russia to reach a settlement that takes into consideration all parties involved, rather than pursuing reckless warmongering policies that continue to erode our credibility on the world stage.

Best wishes,
Sophie Stephenson

Armed American Filmed in Mariupol

An armed American in military uniform was caught on camera yesterday by the The Mariupol News Service. It is so far unknown as to whether he is working as a private contractor or is there officially as a member of the U.S. military. It was announced on Thursday that the U.S. will soon deploy soldiers to Western Ukraine in order to train the National Guard, meaning the far-right battalions such as Azov that have been terrorizing the citizens of Eastern Ukraine for the last several months. It is reported that the Obama administration will spend $19 million on this training, and will also finance the production of the Ukrainian-made SRM-1 Kozak Light Armored Vehicle, with a price tag of $189,000 each.

The last couple of weeks has witnessed intense fighting in the East of the country, leaving scores of civilians dead. These moves from Washington suggest that the Kiev regime and its sponsors have little interest in implementing a meaningful ceasefire.

To hear the American caught on camera, skip to 2.30, or click on the above link.

Ukrainian PM’s Historical Revisionism

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I will write thoughts on this later, but for now I just want to post the astonishing remarks that Ukrainian PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk made whilst in Berlin on Thursday for a joint press conference with Angela Merkel. While speaking to Germany’s state broadcaster ARD, Yatsenyuk said:

“All of us still clearly remember the Soviet invasion of Ukraine and Germany, we need to avoid [a repeat of] it.”

“Nobody has the right to rewrite the results of the Second World War,” he also added. “Russia’s President Putin is trying to do exactly this.”

This is obviously an exceedingly tone-deaf statement to make to the German people, who definitely do not view their WWII defeat in a negative light.

I’m unsure if Merkel was present when he said this, but having just read that she is no longer attending the peace talks due to take place on the 15th and that Moscow has asked Berlin for a clarification of Yats’ statement, might it be possible that Kiev’s latest assault on the Donbass is a deliberate attempt to sabotage the negotiations? However, as Merkel has laid the blame for the current breaking of the ceasefire on Russia, it doesn’t seem like she will be ready to see the light anytime soon.

Western Media’s Ukraine Narrative Continuing to Strain Credibility

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It seems that there are no lengths the Western press will not go to in order to wage their propaganda war against Putin’s Russia. The Guardian’s Moscow correspondent, Shaun Walker, is suggesting that Russia’s current economic woes may result in a ‘palace coup’ – as the country’s elites see their fortunes decline. Walker says:

Falling oil prices have combined with western sanctions to create the worst economic crisis of Putin’s 15 years in power. With oil revenues tailing off sharply, on the one hand it will expose how little has been done to diversify the Russian economy during the boom years, while on the other the amount of money to share among the group of billionaires around Putin will shrink dramatically.

Part of the rationale behind western sanctions against people in Putin’s inner circle was to harm them and prompt them to pressure the leader. If the economic situation continues to deteriorate, and the political turmoil continues, one school of thought suggests Putin could be in trouble from within his own inner circle.

Most Russian officials feel the west is to blame for apparently “instigating” the Maidan protests in Kiev, but many are privately uneasy at the way Putin responded. For those in the inner circle, sanctions have in some cases meant losing business, property and travel opportunities in the west. Those affected have been falling over themselves to insist publicly that their personal pain is a small price to pay for the revival of a Great Russia, but what they think in private may be another matter. Even among those ideologically in tandem with Putin, if their vast wealth begins to be threatened their loyalty may waver.

Why the Russian oil crash could threaten Putin with a palace coup

Basically his entire premise is based upon what Russia’s oligarchs *might* be thinking; that while they publicly profess their loyalty to the Kremlin, secretly they may think something completely different. Pretty poor journalism for a Pulitzer Prize winning publication.

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Most shameless however, is the continued insistence that ‘the west’ did not instigate the Maidan protests and subsequent coup. It is quite insane, that these so-called journalists act as though the mere idea that the Kiev colour revolution was planned from the American embassy is something to be ridiculed; that such thoughts can only derive from the minds of paranoid conspiracy theorists. So hard are the media trying to push this narrative, that op-eds are published stating that anyone who dares to say otherwise, has to be receiving payment to do so. This editorial by Nick Cohen is a good example:

Vladimir Putin is the world’s corrupt policeman. He finds the seediness in every country and nurtures it. On some occasions, he exploits cynicism and paranoia at once; on others, he banks it for later use. Often he appears to fan corruption for the hell of it because that is all he knows how to do.

The posters appearing on British advertising hoardings promoting his propaganda channel give a notion of the scale of his effort. His underlings have rebranded his Russia Today station “RT” – in the hope that its dumb viewers will not realise that they are watching a channel whose political line follows the Kremlin line with puppyish eagerness.

While reputable news organisations from the BBC to the New York Times fire news reporters who try, however inadequately, to tell the truth, Russia Today has extended its reach. Putin is about to increase its $300m budget by 40%. Its resources will soon compare with Fox News. But while Fox serves the peculiar tastes of the American right, Russia Today has global ambitions. The channel broadcasts in English, Arabic and Spanish and can reach 600 million people. It claims to have surpassed a billion hits on YouTube, and will add German- and French-language channels. For the supposedly pariah leader of a country whose population is collapsing and mafia economy stagnating, Putin has the best publicity money can buy.

Anyone who writes critically about him soon learns the price of lese majeste. BuzzFeed revealed that state-sponsored Russian trolls maintain a Stakhanovite regime of tweeting and commenting on hostile news pieces as they spread the Kremlin’s message across the web. (Hello down there in the comments, by the way. Hope the sanctions aren’t hurting the pay cheques.)

Russia Today: why western cynics lap up Putin’s TV poison

Such pompous commentary reads like an act of frustration, and insulting your readership in this manner will only turn people away. However this is the absurd level that the British press are sinking to, in a desperate attempt to win the information war over Ukraine. Unfortunately, they are tying themselves in knots in the process, as a piece from ten years ago on Kiev’s Orange Revolution could easily be mistaken for a description of the 2013-14 Maidan.

With their websites and stickers, their pranks and slogans aimed at banishing widespread fear of a corrupt regime, the democracy guerrillas of the Ukrainian Pora youth movement have already notched up a famous victory – whatever the outcome of the dangerous stand-off in Kiev.

Ukraine, traditionally passive in its politics, has been mobilised by the young democracy activists and will never be the same again.

But while the gains of the orange-bedecked “chestnut revolution” are Ukraine’s, the campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes.

Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box.

Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade, played a key role. And by last year, as US ambassador in Tbilisi, he repeated the trick in Georgia, coaching Mikhail Saakashvili in how to bring down Eduard Shevardnadze.

Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the US ambassador in Minsk, Michael Kozak, a veteran of similar operations in central America, notably in Nicaragua, organised a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander Lukashenko.

If the events in Kiev vindicate the US in its strategies for helping other people win elections and take power from anti-democratic regimes, it is certain to try to repeat the exercise elsewhere in the post-Soviet world.

The places to watch are Moldova and the authoritarian countries of central Asia.

US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev *

Incidentally, Moldova’s pro-Russian party was barred from taking part in the election that took place a few weeks ago, on account of receiving money from a foreign country – a bizarre turn of events considering all the above mentioned US-funded parties in Eastern Europe over the last decade. However this outcome was considered a resounding success for the EU. It is also worth mentioning that the US Congress’s Ukraine Freedom bill includes clauses that essentially threaten to impose sanctions if Russia dares to make closer economic ties with countries in central Asia; these nations are likely to be next in line for a dose of Washington’s regime change.

Returning to the Guardian: the difference in approach between 2004 and 2014 leads one to wonder what exactly has changed in this period, and why the huge cover-up? How does Shawn Walker sleep at night, knowing that he’s complicit in the mass-murder of ethnic Russians by neo-nazi battalions?

* Credit to Tony Cartalucci at Land Destroyer for finding the 2004 article. Read his essay ‘The Impending “Russian Maidan”‘  here.

Former MP Exposes Coercive Measures Employed by Ukrainian Government to Stifle Dissent

The following text is an open letter by former Ukrainian MP Elena Bondarenko, detailing her experiences in parliament. Written a few months ago, it’s an insightful reflection of the current political situation in the country. The grim reality is being covered up and glossed over by the Ukrainian press and the establishment media in the US and Europe, therefore it is vital that this information be disseminated widely via alternative sources.
The criminal Kiev junta, hand-picked by Washington neocon Victoria Nuland.
The criminal Kiev junta, hand-picked by Washington neocon Victoria Nuland.

My friends, here is my declaration. I ask that you share it to the extent possible. If you can translate it into other languages, please do!

I, Elena Bondarenko, People’s Deputy from the Party of Regions, finding myself in opposition to the current power in Ukraine, wish to declare that this administration has resorted to direct threats of physical elimination of the opposition in Ukraine; has resorted to suspending the right of freedom of speech, in parliament and out, and is implicated in complicity in crimes not just against politicians, but even against their children. The everyday life of an opposition deputy is this: constant threats, unofficial ban from the airwaves, targeted persecution. Everyone who calls for peace is immediately branded as an enemy of the people, just as in 1930’s Germany, or in McCarthyite US.

A few days ago, Arseniy Avakov, the Minister of the Interior, an ardent adherent of the so-called Party of War of the Ukraine, said the following: “When Elena Bondarenko comes to the podium to speak, my hand automatically reaches for my gun.” This, I emphasize, are the words of a man entrusted with the supreme police power of the country. Further: exactly one week ago, Alexander Turchinov the Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, deprived me of the right to speak from the podium as a member of the opposition Party of Regions, only for this: I declared “Any power that commissions its army to bomb its peaceful cities, is criminal.” After which, he magnanimously gave the radical parliamentarians the option to call for shooting the opposition. Considering that my car was shot at last year, when the extremists were already arming with weapons, [a fact on record with the police, on my complaint] such threats aimed at me must be taken seriously.

Further, I will inform everyone, who does not already know it, that the current leadership is covering up those who dared to raise a hand against the son of another opposition politician, Vladimir Oleinik. Ruslan Oleinik, performing his duties as regional prosecutor, was beaten up at his office, endangering his health, and even his life. Did they investigate the beating of a prosecutor performing his duty? No. Did they investigate the monstrous pressure on the leader of the opposition? No. Instead, this administration fired the prosecutor! Every day, from his colleagues I learn of beatings of their aides, of attacks on their companies, of threats, yes, even attacks, on their lives, their health, their property.

The Ukrainian media is completely sanitized from this information, and the typical Ukrainian has no idea that a criminal struggle is taking place against the opposition, and that the constitutional right of free speech is suppressed in every way. The journalists who overcome their fear and work honestly are subject to attack by nationalist mobs, but the organizers and participants of these pogroms are not punished, even when they are recorded on videos and photographs.

I call upon those international organizations that proclaim their support of democratic principles not just to notice this declaration, but to get involved in this struggle for the preservation and respect for the democratic rights and freedoms of the citizens of Ukraine.

The methods of the junta in their struggle for power, or rather, for the establishment of a Ukrainian dictatorship, have nothing to do with any concept of “democracy.” If the international community does nothing in the face of these egregious acts, it will look like complicity and silent approbation of all these crimes which are being committed in Ukraine. The free world will lose an outpost, Ukraine. All who fight for democracy, rule of law, and the rights of man, together, can achieve a lot. But only together can we stop the junta and the fratricidal war in Ukraine.

With my respect,

People’s Deputy of Ukraine, Elena Bondarenko.

Translated by Thomas Winter

Scrapping the South Stream: A Win for Obama and Merkel?

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This week President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would no longer be building its South Stream natural gas pipeline. The scrapping of the pipeline was hailed as a victory for the EU and America, who have been at odds with Russia over its annexation of Crimea and the Ukrainian civil war since March. The South Stream was planned to bypass Ukraine, instead travelling through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Austria. Following Putin’s cancellation, an alternative route through Turkey is in the process of being devised. The BBC have framed this announcement as positive news for those who are now missing out:

Russia’s critics have long argued that, parallel to nuclear expansion, gas pipelines constitute “the long fingers of the Kremlin”, opening the way for political as well as economic influence. So this decision is a dramatic change of direction.

“It may be a bluff,” said Martin Vladimirov, an energy specialist at the Centre for the Study of Democracy in Sofia, “to pressurise the Bulgarian, Serbian, Hungarian and Austrian governments to unite behind accelerating the project, and make a better case for it to the European Commission”.

However, he favours a second explanation, that South Stream is “simply too big a burden” amid the difficult financial situation facing Russia’s state-owned giant Gazprom.

However, the article then goes on to state that the loss has come as a setback to these nations, particularly Hungary and Serbia, both of whom are among Russia’s strongest allies in Europe.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said that his country would have to find alternative gas supplies, as a result of the Russian decision.

But in Ukraine the response to President Putin’s announcement was one of relief.

“The cancellation of South Stream was made for economic reasons, disguised behind a political explanation,” said Andrii Tiurin of Ukrainian nuclear company Energoatom.

“Why spend so much money creating alternative routes to supply the same gas? At a time of low and falling oil prices, why spend so much on a project which is unnecessary for Europe?”

The project may have been deemed unnecessary by Ukraine and others in Washington’s sphere of influence, but this was certainly not the case with Bulgaria, who was set to benefit from the jobs it would create. Putin has since proposed that Bulgaria request compensation for loss of profit from the European Commission. He also made clear that Russia would refocus its gaze to the East:

The pipeline, along with the North Stream pipeline that carries gas to Germany through the Baltic Sea, was meant to bypass Ukraine. Mikhail Krutikhin, a Russian energy analyst, said: “From the beginning this was a political project, and the goal was to punish Ukraine and cut it off from gas flows. It was never economical to spend so much on this pipeline.”

However, Moscow will boost gas supplies to Turkey and Putin said that instead of South Stream, a new hub could be built on the Turkish-Greek border to supply Europe with gas. He also issued a thinly veiled threat to Europe, hinting that since concluding a massive, long-term gas deal with China earlier this year, the European market was no longer that important for Russia, after a year during which the Kremlin has been targeted by western capitals for its role in Ukraine.

“We will re-concentrate our energy resources on other regions of the world,” said Putin. “We will work with other markets and Europe will not receive this gas, at least not from Russia.

“We think this is against Europe’s economic interests and is causing damage to our cooperation.”

The Guardian claims this maneuver is a “threat”; in reality it is a truthful assessment of the current relations between Russia and Europe. Today the US Congress passed a resolution condemning Russia. In addition to calling for an assessment of the “readiness of US and NATO armed forces”, the resolution:

Calls on Ukraine, the European Union (EU), and other European countries to support energy diversification initiatives to reduce the Russian Federation’s ability to use energy supplies as a means of applying political and economic pressure on other countries.

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With this in mind, Russia’s cancellation of the South Stream is in fact one step ahead of Washington’s aims.

Now we get to the interesting part.

As already mentioned, the gas pipeline will now be diverted through Turkey; this was confirmed during a trip by Putin to meet Erdogan in Ankara on Monday. The two leaders also announced that Russia will build Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, as well as a new goal to increase their two-way volume of trade from £21bn to £64bn by 2020. This strengthening of economic ties follow a string of announcements regarding cooperation between Russia and Asia, such as two large gas deals with China,  plans to build several nuclear power stations for Iran, and the future reconstruction of post-war Syria.

It is here that Washington’s plan to isolate Russia falls apart. Mike Whitney states:

The wars in Ukraine and Syria are not really separate conflicts at all. They’re both part of the same global resource war the US has been prosecuting for the last decade and a half. The US plans to cut off the flow of Russian gas and replace it with gas from Qatar which will flow through Syria and onto the EU market after Assad is toppled.

Here’s what’s going on: Syria’s troubles began shortly after it announced that it was going to be part of an “Islamic pipeline” that would transfer natural gas from the South Pars gas field off the coast of Iran across Iraq and Syria, eventually connecting to Greece and the lucrative EU market. According to author Dmitri Minin:

“A gas pipeline from Iran would be highly profitable for Syria. Europe would gain from it as well, but clearly someone in the West didn’t like it. The West’s gas-supplying allies in the Persian Gulf weren’t happy with it either, nor was would-be no. 1 gas transporter Turkey, as it would then be out of the game.” (The Geopolitics of Gas and the Syrian Crisis: Syrian “Opposition” Armed to Thwart Construction of Iran-Iraq-Syria Gas Pipeline, Dmitri Minin, Global Research)

Two months after Assad signed the deal with Iraq and Iran, the rebellion broke out in Syria. That’s quite a coincidence, don’t you think? Funny how frequently those kinds of things happen when foreign leaders don’t march to Washington’s tune.

With Russia’s announcement to reroute its gas through Turkey, the US has been undermined on two fronts: both on Ukraine/Europe and on Syria. Already hampering Obama’s attempts to topple President Assad, the Turkey deal may provide Putin with some additional leverage. It currently seems that the State Department has no strategy when it comes to either conflicts, but is merely bumbling along, reacting to problems as they emerge. Even if Erdogan continues to insist that ‘Assad must go’, Putin’s visit has certainly schooled Obama in terms of diplomacy – highlighting that heads of state can overcome disagreements and find compromises in other areas. This stands in stark contrast to Obama’s disinterested manner – unwilling to so much as talk to those he can’t see eye to eye with.

What is clear is that rather than isolating Russia, the West’s current posturing has actually strengthened its relations with the East – particularly China. As is already evident, if Europe continues to put Washington’s interests before its own, this will only inflict damage on itself in the long-run.

Was Russia’s South Stream too big a ‘burden’ to bear?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30289412

Putin blames EU as Russia abandons plans for South Stream gas pipeline
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/dec/01/russia-blames-eu-as-it-abandons-plans-for-south-stream-gas-pipeline

H.Res.758 – Strongly condemning the actions of the Russian Federation, under President Vladimir Putin, which has carried out a policy of aggression against neighboring countries aimed at political and economic domination.
https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-resolution/758

Defending Dollar Imperialism
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/01/defending-dollar-imperialism/