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Category Archives: Europe

How Tehran Fits into Russia-China Strategy

A few days after our Asia Times report, an article based on “senior sources close to the Iranian regime” and crammed with fear-mongering, baseless accusations of corruption and outright ignorance about key military issues claimed that Russia would turn the Iranian ports of Bandar Abbas and Chabahar into forward military bases complete with submarines, Spetsnaz special forces and Su-57 fighter jets, thus applying a “stranglehold” to the Persian Gulf.

For starters, “senior sources close to the Iranian regime” would never reveal such sensitive national-security details, much less to Anglo-American foreign media. In my own case, even though I have made several visits to Iran while consistently reporting on Iran for Asia Times, and even though authorities at myriad levels know where I’m coming from, I have not managed to get answers from Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps generals to 16 detailed questions I sent nearly a month ago. According to my interlocutors, these are deemed “too sensitive” and, yes, a matter of national security.

https://www.opednews.com/articles/1/How-Tehran-Fits-into-Russi-by-Pepe-Escobar-Iran_Oil_Russia-china_Sanctions-190815-153.html

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Posted by on August 19, 2019 in Asia, Europe

 

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The Comeback of a Soviet Dictator

It’s May 9 and around 200 people have gathered in a parking lot in Novosibirsk, the third largest city in Russia. They are here to dedicate a monument, with some waving World War II flags, including the flag of a rifle division that conquered the Reichstag in Berlin in 1945. Veterans with medals covering their breasts sit in the first row.

Next to the monument, a man is waiting, a slip of paper in his jacket pocket on which he has outlined his speech. He has been waiting 20 years for this moment. A recording of Beethoven’s Fifth plays as the man steps forward and, together with the mayor, loosens the red tape to allow the white covering to fall from the monument. The crowd cheers as Stalin is revealed in the glittering sunlight.

Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, who later gave himself the name Stalin, or “Man of Steel,” was the son of a shoemaker and attended church school. And, until his death in March 1953, he was the dictator of the Soviet Union — and one of the biggest criminals of the 20th century.

The man who unveiled the monument to Stalin on this May afternoon in the parking lot of the Communist Party’s regional headquarters is named Alexei Denisyuk. The 41-year-old is a lawyer and the editor-in-chief of a newspaper called Hammer and Sickle — and he is convinced that he will live to see the return of the Soviet Union.

https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/joseph-stalin-making-a-comeback-in-russia-a-1280283.html

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2019 in Europe, Reportages

 

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Attack on Iran would be an attack on Russia

Russia is meticulously advancing Eurasian chessboard moves that should be observed in conjunction, as Moscow proposes to the Global South an approach diametrically opposed to Western sanctions, threats and economic war. Here are three recent examples.

Ten days ago, via a document officially approved by the United Nations, the Russian Foreign Ministry advanced a new concept of collective security for the Persian Gulf.

Moscow stresses that “practical work on launching the process of creating a security system in the Persian Gulf” should start with “bilateral and multilateral consultations between interested parties, including countries both within the region and outside of it,” as well as organizations such as the UN Security Council, League of Arab States, Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Gulf Cooperation Council.

https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/08/article/attack-on-iran-would-be-an-attack-on-russia/

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2019 in Europe, Middle East

 

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Boris Johnson is about to inherit a crisis his EU-bashing helped spawn

It was not just the persistently overcast skies – a weather pattern once dubbed the “Brabant gloom” by Roy Jenkins, a former European commission president – that made working in Brussels for the Daily Telegraph in the early 1990s a joyless experience. It was my role as deputy to Boris Johnson, then “bureau chief” in name but solo performer in practice, that ensured my first job as a foreign correspondent was a trial of endurance.

There were just the two of us in the Telegraph office, and we were working long hard hours reporting on the political and economic convulsions of the Maastricht treaty negotiations. The story itself, of negotiations that played out in meeting rooms of Brussels, was full of political intrigue and drama. And whatever happened was likely to shape Europe for years to come.

How Johnson wrote about it, though, not only alarmed me at the time but helped set in stone a pervasive anti-European narrative that never really encountered serious challenge in the UK. For shamelessly painting the European commission as an insanely grandiose and imperialist body, he was rewarded by flurries of “herograms” from our editor, Max Hastings, including one that read “we all think you’re doing a wonderful job if only you’d learn to be a little more pompous”. Johnson’s trajectory to the gates of Downing Street had begun.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/15/boris-johnson-inherit-crisis-eu-bashing

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2019 in Europe

 

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Lies and buffoonery: How Boris Johnson’s fantasy world casts dark shadows in the Middle East

I’ve worked out that in the past week, I’ve been told to wait “only five minutes” at least four times. In the Arab world, any interview that is delayed will always be accompanied by the assurance that I will only have to wait for five minutes. Or I will be called back on the phone in just five minutes. Only very occasionally is it 10 minutes. Almost never one minute. It’s five – used more in Egypt, less so in Lebanon and Syria. In Arabic, “only five minutes” is – my transliteration – khams daqiya faqat. In 43 years, I calculate I must have heard the phrase almost 9,000 times, probably more.

It’s a 99 per cent lie, of course, a lie every bit as big as the average percentage vote for an Arab dictator at election time. But I always – still – believe it. Even today, I will wait in a secretary’s office in the Middle East or glance at my phone and say to myself, ah well, it’s only three more minutes now and he/she will see me or ring back. He or she doesn’t. I know he/she won’t. But in the willing suspension of disbelief, five minutes must have credibility.

The lie has been uttered so many times that it has become more real than the truth. And I have not yet, dear reader, mentioned Brexit.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/boris-johnson-brexit-middle-east-priti-patel-israel-balfour-robert-fisk-a9030356.html

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Europe, Uncategorized

 

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Perché brucia il circolo polare artico

Di solito il paesaggio della Siberia orientale non somiglia all’inferno. In inverno è coperto da un lenzuolo di neve. D’estate le sue foreste sono rigogliose e i suoi terreni acquitrinosi impregnati d’acqua. Quest’anno, tuttavia, la regione sta andando a fuoco, come accade ad ampie zone del circolo polare artico.

Non è mai stato registrato niente di questa portata da quando, nel 2003, sono cominciati i rilevamenti satellitari ad alta risoluzione nell’estremo nord russo. Uno studio del 2013 suggerisce che anche la quantità d’incendi nelle regioni boreali sia anomala rispetto agli ultimi diecimila anni.

I ricercatori definiscono “senza precedenti” gli eventi di quest’anno. I dati di quest’estate sono “folli”, secondo Guillermo Rein, studioso dell’Imperial college di Londra.

https://www.internazionale.it/notizie/2019/08/05/incendi-circolo-polare-artico

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Europe, Uncategorized

 

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Jeremy Corbyn’s Finest Hour?

Boris Johnson is the first British prime minister in a long time who is free of dilemmas regarding his approach to the European Union. For better or worse, Johnson’s strategy for attaining power has left him with only one viable option: Forget about negotiating with the EU before the October 31 Brexit deadline, call a general election for that day, seek a popular mandate for a no-ifs-no-buts no-deal divorce from Europe, and then sit back and watch his domestic and foreign adversaries sweat it out.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/jeremy-corbyn-alternative-to-boris-johnson-no-deal-brexit-by-yanis-varoufakis-2019-07

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Europe, Uncategorized

 

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Trump is powering the UK’s preparations for war – it is he who needs to be deterred, not Iran

It’s about time we wised up to what is going on in this utterly farcical “crisis” in the Gulf, this charade of lies and pomposity which Trump and his doggies in London are presenting to us.

An American president who is a racist, misogynist, dishonest and psychologically disturbed man – assisted by two vicious and equally dishonourable and delusional advisers – is threatening to go to war with Iran while a kipper-waving and equally serial-lying buffoon, who is probably the future British prime minister, prefers to concentrate on the self-destruction of his country rather than the hijacking of his ships.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iran-tanker-crisis-trump-boris-johnson-hunt-strait-of-hormuz-war-a9015396.html

 

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With an unstable ally in Trump, Britain is making itself a target in the Gulf

Britain is sending a second warship to the Gulf to protect its oil tankers from Iranian gunboats. HMS Duncan, a destroyer currently in the Mediterranean, will join HMS Montrose, a frigate, next week.

Britain is on the edge of becoming involved in a conflict in which it can only deploy limited forces, but it could become the target of Iranian retaliation for any US escalation of the conflict.

In a sense, this may have already happened, if the US was indeed behind the royal marine commandos taking over an Iranian oil tanker allegedly bound for Syria off Gibraltar. It is difficult to take seriously the British claim that they carried out such a provocative act solely because of a request from the Gibraltarian authorities and in order to enforce EU sanctions on Syria.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/uk-iran-gulf-tensions-strait-hormuz-gibraltar-syria-trump-oil-a9002871.html

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Europe

 

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Trump’s hissy-fit over Darroch will blow a chill wind across Britain’s embassies in the Middle East

Just for a moment, let’s forget poor old Kim Darroch. Let’s jump a couple of days in front of this news story. Let me tell you how his utter humiliation and sacrifice at the hands of Trump – and with the connivance of the man who will probably be the next British prime minister – will affect the Middle East.

Let’s go first to Riyadh where, just off Al Khawabi street, stands the British embassy, wherein labours Simon Collis, our man in Saudi Arabia. He’s previously served in Bahrain, Tunis, Amman, Dubai, Qatar, Damascus and Baghdad. In other words, he’s an old Arab hand. He’s also a Muslim convert and the first British ambassador to make the pilgrimage to Mecca.

But right now, Collis is going to be thinking very carefully when he reports back to the Foreign Office about the Kingdom upon which he must report fully, fairly and truthfully for his government. For all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten his reputation if The Leaker gets his hands on the diplomatic bag from Riyadh.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/kim-darroch-donald-trump-boris-saudi-middle-east-embassy-ambassador-a9000456.html

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Europe, Middle East

 

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