Latest Analysis and Commentary

China: The Elephant in that Room in Cornwall

by Amir Taheri  •  June 20, 2021 at 4:00 am

  • While Obama looked the other way, China militarized a string of atolls in seas around it as part of a long-term plan to forge an aggressive profile against its neighbor and the United States.

  • The Chinese challenge can and must be met both in the global arena and inside the People's Republic itself. Any move in that direction would require a realistic assessment of the People's Republic in terms of hard and soft power.

  • China's pursuit of global power and influence is modelled on the Western empire-buildings of the 19th century, which consisted of importing raw material, exporting manufactured goods, and weaving networks of trade with the help of a seemingly endless flow of settlers, gunboats and colonial outposts across the globe. China cannot fully adopt that model for a number of reasons. Its model is based on the assumption that capitalism can forever do without democracy, something that the experience of the Western imperial powers of the past proved to be fallacious.

China's President Xi Jinping's pretension for global leadership is more a sign of doubts about a model of capitalism without democracy. He hopes to replace the deadwood of Communism with the rotten timber of pseudo-nationalism. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

At the G7 summit in Cornwall last weekend, US President Joe Biden warned his fellow-summiteers that unless something was done "China would eat our lunch." Did Biden overegg the pudding with his colorful language or is the world ignoring the invisible chopsticks at work?

In a sense China, as the biggest trading partner of almost all the G7 members, is already eating part of their lunch while it is clear that without Western investment, technology and, of course, markets, China might have remained hungry and stuck between the madness of Maoism and the inertia of Ah-Quism.

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The Biden Administration's Iran Policy: All Carrots, No Stick

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  June 19, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken... stated at his inauguration hearing that he had "deep concern about the designation" of the Houthis as a terrorist organization, in that "at least on its surface it seems to achieve nothing particularly practical in advancing the efforts against the Houthis and to bring them back to the negotiating table...." One wonders if the same thinking would apply to Al Qaeda or Islamic State.

  • In yet an additional form of appeasement, the Biden administration has been strenuously ignoring the Iranian regime's aggression and destabilizing behavior..... now, [Iran] is sending a destroyer... and a support vessel... to Venezuela.

  • "If the boats [seven Iranian high-speed missile-attack craft] are delivered, they may form the core of an asymmetrical warfare force within Venezuela's armed forces. This could be focused on disrupting shipping as a means of countering superior naval forces. Shipping routes to and from the Panama Canal are near the Venezuelan coast." — H I Sutton and Sam LaGrone, USNI News, U.S. Naval Institute, June 1, 2021.

  • Tehran has not only been using Venezuela for military cooperation, but also, it seems, to advance its nuclear program.... Iran's ruling mullahs, in fact, appear to have been using Venezuela as part of a larger agenda for increasing Iran's influence and the presence of its proxies in Latin and North America.

  • Instead of confronting Iran's predatory regime, the Biden administration, has been forging ahead with the failed 2015 "nuclear deal" -- which permits Iran to become a legitimate, full-blown nuclear power in just a few years. The Biden administration is also turning a blind eye to the regime's alarming and increasing human rights violations.

Since the Biden administration assumed office, it has been increasingly appeasing the Iranian regime, which in return, is further emboldening and empowering the mullahs. Pictured US President Joe Biden (right) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (second from right) in Geneva on June 15, 2021. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Since the Biden administration assumed office, it has been increasingly appeasing the Iranian regime, which in return, is further emboldening and empowering the mullahs.

The first appeasement came when the administration changed the previous administration's policy of maximum pressure to a policy of appeasement toward the Iran's proxy militia group, the Houthis. Even as evidence -- including a report by the United Nations -- showed that the Iranian regime is delivering sophisticated weapons to the Houthi militia group in Yemen, the Biden administration suspended some of the sanctions against terrorism that the previous administration imposed on the Houthis. The previous US administration had designated Iran's proxies, the Houthis, a terrorist group.

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'In Spite of Rock and Tempest Roar'

by Lawrence Kadish  •  June 18, 2021 at 5:00 am

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. (Photo by Otto Herschan Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

America! Since our founding we have stood tall against every assault and every enemy. This is not the time to despair. Rather, we need to go beyond simply recognizing today's threats and embrace the spirit of a nation that has weathered the worst our foes have ever thrown against us.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of America's most vigorous patriots, used the power of poetry to rally his fellow citizens and remain true to the steadfast courage of our forefathers when he penned, "The Building of the Ship." The poem compares building a ship to building a nation and within the verses he implores us to defend it!

Their words still ring out: "In spite of Rock or Tempest roar, in spite of false lights on the shore."

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Iran's Fake Presidential Election

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  June 18, 2021 at 4:00 am

  • The genuine power in Iran is made up of unelected, authoritarian, religious and fascist military elites who, for decades, have, frozen in place the revolutionary, theocratic ideology of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The nomination mechanism for presidential candidates is itself part of the fraudulent process.

  • Past elections have either been rigged in favor the hardliners, as in today's election, or so overshadowed by the power of the regime's deep state, that no president is been able to effect any substantive reforms to loosen the chokehold that the mullahs maintain on Iranian citizens.

  • The most likely dark horse is former Central Bank of Iran President Abdolnasser Hemmati, a (relative) moderate.... Hemmati's biggest obstacle is the lack of interest by the majority of Iran's electorate. They seem to have despaired of any real change in the Islamic Republic, at least in the near future. The US negotiating team, seemingly desperate for a deal -- any deal -- with the mullahs, could cause far less global damage if they despaired of it, as well.

(Photo by Ali Najafi/AFP via Getty Images)

Iran's so-called presidential election today, June 18, is a fraud, a ruse for the world to observe and seemingly domestically designed to release some pent-up popular pressure.

Iran's presidency itself is a weak institution of weak political superstructure which also includes the legislative branch (the majles, the sort-of equivalent of a parliament). This highly visible but insubstantial governmental apparatus masks the real power in Iran: the "deep state" of the Islamic Republic.

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Israel's New Government Is Among the Most Diverse in the History of Democracies

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  June 17, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • [B]igots... in the United States and Europe, insist on characterizing Israel as an apartheid state. Nothing could be further from the truth. Israel has real diversity, not the kind of phony diversity that characterizes many American institutions. American diversity is simply a euphemism for more Blacks, and especially more Blacks who hold the same views about political and racial matters.

  • The best evidence of this truism came from Google's appointment of a chief diversity officer who had expressed anti-gay and anti-Jewish views.... He is Black and that is all that diversity means at Google and many other American institutions. It is different in Israel, because Israel is such an inherently diverse nation that takes its diversity seriously.

  • Every Muslim majority nation is officially a Muslim state that bestows considerable benefits on members of that faith. England is an Anglican Christian state with an established religion. Catholicism is the official religion of several European countries. Many national flags and emblems have crosses, crescents or other distinctly religious symbols.

  • So stay tuned to see how the now government manages to survive the challenges of diversity. In the meantime, however, stop singling out Israel for demonization by mislabeling it as apartheid or undemocratic.

Israel stands among the countries of the world most committed to achieving real equality for all its citizens. Pictured: Members of Israel's new cabinet attend their first meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Israel on June 13, 2021. (Photo by Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP via Getty Images)

I challenge anyone to name a parliamentary democracy that has had a more diverse coalition government -- racially, religiously, ethnically, ideologically, politically, national origin -- than the current Israeli government. It includes people of nearly every color from Black Ethiopians to brown Muslims to swarthy Sephardim to pale Russians. It includes a modern Orthodox Jew as Prime Minister, along with fundamentalist Muslims and atheist and agnostics Jews. It has a gay cabinet member, a deaf member of the Knesset and people who trace their roots to Asia, Africa, Europe and America.

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China's Plan to Dominate 'Near-Earth' Space

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  June 17, 2021 at 4:00 am

  • Communist China seems not only to be directly challenging the US lead in space exploration; its space plans also appear to include an ambitious military dimension, much of whose contents look as if they are controlled by the CCP's People's Liberation Army (PLA). These PLA programs include a vast array of counter-space weapons systems designed to degrade or destroy US space assets.

  • Even if there are areas where the US and Chinese space programs could serve universal concerns... sadly, it would seem foolhardy to cooperate on any program with the CCP. It has not made a secret of its intent to unseat the US as the world's leading superpower... within the next 15-30 years. It has already declared war on the US; the US just seems not yet to have read the memo. China seems to be trying to maneuver a surreptitious surrender, by undermining the US from within, accompanied by the threat of a costly, high-powered war. Unfortunately, many in the US seem to be complying.

  • Meanwhile, in America, we appear busy with diversions -- educating our children to hate our country; allowing our government to torpedo our economy by killing growth and launching a ruinous debt; disabling our energy supply while boosting that of our adversaries; exploding our taxes while making us support countless illegal migrants -- that are enabling Communist China to fulfill its dream: enfeebling America to take control not only of "near-Earth" space but everything under it as well.

Communist China's space program is demonstrating that it is on a trajectory possibly to surpass the US in the military and scientific exploration in our solar system. Today, June 17, China launched a three-astronaut crew who will inhabit the command module of its soon-to-be-completed Tianhe Chinese Space Station. Pictured: The astronauts appear at a departure ceremony before launch on June 17, 2021 in Jiuquan, China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Communist China's space program is demonstrating that it is on a trajectory possibly to surpass the US in the military and scientific exploration in our solar system. China is planning a space spectacular to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party on July 23, 1921. Today, June 17, China launched a three-astronaut crew who will inhabit the command module of its soon-to-be-completed Tianhe Chinese Space Station. This planned human launch follows the June 10 multiple satellite deployment from Northern China's Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. One of these satellites is designed to track near-earth asteroids.

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Germany's Failed Hezbollah Ban

by Soeren Kern  •  June 16, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • In retrospect, Germany's much-vaunted Hezbollah ban appears to have been little more than a publicity stunt aimed at silencing critics of the German government's pro-Iran foreign policy.

  • Hezbollah has effectively evaded the ban by transferring many of its activities to charities and cultural centers controlled by Iran.

  • Iran's main base of operation in Germany is the Hamburg-based Shiite Imam Ali Mosque and the associated Islamic Centre of Hamburg (Islamisches Zentrum Hamburg, IZH).

  • "Like all pro-Iranian institutions, IZH is based on the model of the Islamic state of Allah and the ideas of the 1979 revolution with the aim of expanding and Islamizing the entire world. Western values, liberal ideas or the free democratic basic order are in contradiction to this. Due to the history and the animosity between Iran and Israel, the teachings of IZH have a strong anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli attitude." — Annual Report for 2020, Germany's domestic intelligence agency, Hamburg branch.

  • "Although it contains 'democratic' elements, this doctrine does not serve to establish the rule of the people, i.e., democracy, but rather to establish the rule of Allah, whose 'guardians' are Shiite Islamic scholars. Therefore, Hezbollah spreads an extremist Islamist ideology and represents a threat to the constitutional order." — Annual Report for 2020, Germany's domestic intelligence agency, North Rhine-Westphalia branch.

  • "For Hezbollah, Germany represents a space for logistical and financial support services. Although its supporters in Germany are well networked internally, they are not very visible to the outside world because they are careful not to be openly connected with Hezbollah." — Annual Report for 2020, Germany's domestic intelligence agency, Rhineland Palatinate branch.

  • "One gets the impression that no one has really tried to completely shed light on and smash the structures of Hezbollah in Germany." — German MP Benjamin Strasser.

  • The Hezbollah ban was in fact a compromise measure between German lawmakers who wanted to take a harder line against Iran and those who did not. As a result, the ban fell far short of a complete prohibition on Hezbollah and was apparently aimed at providing the German government with political cover that allowed Germany to claim that it had banned the group even if it had not.

One year after Germany banned Hezbollah from operating on its soil, the Iran-backed, Lebanon-based Shiite terrorist group's presence in Germany is stronger than ever. Iran's main base of operation in Germany is the Hamburg-based Shiite Imam Ali Mosque (pictured) and the associated Islamic Centre of Hamburg (Islamisches Zentrum Hamburg, IZH). (Image source: Staro1/Wikimedia Commons)

One year after Germany banned Hezbollah from operating on its soil, the Iran-backed, Lebanon-based Shiite terrorist group's presence in Germany is stronger than ever.

In the twelve months since the ban entered into effect, Hezbollah's propaganda and fundraising activities in Germany have continued apace; the number of its followers in the country has increased; and the Hamburg mosque which serves as Iran's main base of operations in Germany has gained in influence.

In retrospect, Germany's much-vaunted Hezbollah ban appears to have been little more than a publicity stunt aimed at silencing critics of the German government's pro-Iran foreign policy.

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What the West Can Learn from China's War on India

by Judith Bergman  •  June 15, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • China's border actions against India have been described as a "salami tactic". China seems to be seeking to dominate territory through incremental operations too small to attract international attention and not large enough to spark an actual war with India -- but sufficient to accumulate real results over time in the form of gained territory. It is similar to the tactic China has been using in the South China Sea.

  • For this purpose, China uses gray-zone warfare, a maneuver at which the country has become expert, especially against Taiwan. The concept entails actions that fall just short of war -- others have termed it "indirect war" -- but the purpose is the same: to overcome resistance -- or a perceived enemy -- by inducing exhaustion.

  • "Overall, China's increasing ties to the Indian Ocean and beyond have expanded enormously over the past two decades.... Crucially... it appears that China does intend to develop some sort of Indian Ocean force." — Christopher Colley, Wilson Center, Washington D.C., April 2, 2021

  • "If India is weakened militarily and economically... its value as a counterweight to China and the broader U.S. goal of countering China's regional influence would also be undermined." — Daniel S. Markey, Council on Foreign Relations, April 19, 2021.

One year after China ordered an attack on the disputed border between India and China in the Himalayas --which deteriorated into a situation in which 20 Indian soldiers and several Chinese soldiers were killed -- tension along the border remains high. Pictured: An Indian army convoy drives towards Leh, on a highway bordering China, on June 19, 2020 in Gagangir, India. (Photo by Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)

One year after China ordered an attack on the disputed border between India and China in the Himalayas -- which deteriorated into a situation in which 20 Indian soldiers and several Chinese soldiers were killed -- tension along the border remains high.

"China's occupation since May 2020 of contested border areas is the most serious escalation in decades and led to the first lethal border clash between the two countries since 1975," according to the "2021 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community," published on April 9, 2021 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Military tensions between China and India go back nearly six decades to the 1962 Sino-Indian war, when China began attacking India. Although relations subsequently improved, the shadow of the war remains partly in the form of disagreement between the two countries about where the exact border -- or the Line of Actual Control (LAC), as it is called -- is located.

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Palestinians: The Battle to Steal Reconstruction Funds

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  June 14, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • The Palestinian Authority says that it should be the only party in charge of the reconstruction and that all funds must be channeled through its government. Hamas, on the other hand, insists that the funds from the international community be sent directly to its coffers.

  • "The Palestinians must remove this Iranian occupation in Palestine so that they can live in peace." — Nora Shanar, Saudi author, Elaph, May 10, 2021.

  • The message the Arabs and Muslims are sending to the Biden administration and other Western donors: Stop showering money on corrupt and failed Palestinian leaders whose stock-in-trade is purloining international funds. The Palestinians do not need money as much as they need new leaders whose commitment to the welfare of their people outweighs their interest in their own pockets.

Egypt has gone out of its way to help the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip after the recent round of fighting between Israel and Hamas. But the leaders of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas only care about one thing: filling their own coffers with funds earmarked for suffering Palestinians. Pictured: An aid convoy of construction equipment and material provided by Egypt arrives in the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing on June 4, 2021. (Photo by Said Khatib/AFP via Getty Images)

Last month, Egypt succeeded in its effort to achieve a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Since then, however, Egypt has been unable to secure an agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority over the reconstruction of buildings and homes that were destroyed during the 11-day Israel-Hamas conflict.

Egypt has gone out of its way to help the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip after the recent round of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

First, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi pledged $500 million to contribute to the reconstruction effort. (Qatar has promised a similar sum to help rebuild the Gaza Strip).

Second, Egypt dispatched the head of its General Intelligence Service, Abbas Kamel, to the Gaza Strip and West Bank for talks with leaders of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority about the reconstruction plan.

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Biden Administration Outsources U.S. Asylum Process to UN and Foreign NGOs in Mexico

by Chris Farrell  •  June 14, 2021 at 4:00 am

  • American taxpayer money is being filtered through the UN to foreign non-profits assisting migrants trying to enter the U.S. Turning over any portion of our immigration process to the UN is a disaster waiting to happen.

  • Americans always have recourse to elections to replace ineffective and/or corrupt politicians. What recourse for accountability exists for UN officials and their NGO surrogates?

  • How does the Biden administration ensure the UN will respect U.S. sovereign national security interests related to persons entering our country?

  • Americans should know that UNHCR operations have not been without scandal and controversy. In April 2019, NBC News ran a three-part series called "Asylum for Sale," detailing a seven-month long investigation across five countries which uncovered claims against UN officials.

  • The Biden administration is ignoring immigration law. The UN and non-profits are actively working to subvert and reverse U.S. immigration law.

  • The UN is squandering U.S. taxpayer money on organizations and processes that undermine our national security.

According to sources within Mexican law enforcement, in refugee centers like Tapachula and Matamoros, UN officials pressure Mexican immigration caseworkers to move migrants north to the United States as quickly as possible, regardless of status or process. Pictured: A staffer from the UN International Organization for Migration congratulates immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border as a group of at least 25 asylum seekers were allowed to travel from a migrant camp in Mexico into the U.S. on February 25, 2021 in Matamoros, Mexico. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Most Americans are not even aware that the United Nations is hard at work implementing the Biden administration's open borders policies for the U.S.-Mexican border. But UN agencies in Mexico play an important role in assisting migrants with U.S. asylum applications and quickly moving them north into the U.S. -- currently at an unprecedented level.

The Biden administration has requested that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) channel U.S. funds to non-profit groups in Mexico for identifying and referring the "neediest" asylum seekers to U.S. officials. Reuters reporting on the question of "neediest" includes persons with medical conditions, those who have experienced long periods of displacement, sexual minorities and victims of crime, trafficking and sexual violence. Details are sparse concerning whether the UNHCR realizes a fee or percentage for their channeling efforts.

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China and Iran: Join Up the Dots
The whole is much more than the sum of the parts

by Gwythian Prins  •  June 13, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • Sheikh Jarrah, the ostensible cause of the latest conflict in the Middle East, is not so complicated. It is a private rent dispute, caused by squatters and by Palestinian tenants who acquired protected tenancies (not ownership) during the period of Jordanian occupation 1948-1967 when Jordan illegally sequestrated the property rights of Jewish landowners. The Palestinian tenants and squatters are refusing to pay their Israeli landlords rent for properties that have been in undisputed Jewish ownership since the middle of the 19th century....

  • The Ayatollahs have, since Iran's Revolution of 1979, like their proxies, vowed the total destruction of Israel... This goal is also inscribed in the charters of Hamas, Hezbollah and the current Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas....

  • This agreement between China and Iran strengthened the hands of both countries to test the resolve of a Biden administration filled with Obama era appointees committed to two of his signature foreign policy errors, the Iran Nuclear Deal, and a dogmatic prioritisation of the so-called "Two State Solution" that is now dead and buried. With people such as Hady Amr, now the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for "Israel-Palestine," who implausibly Biden sent to "mediate" what cannot be mediated, hope dies. Amr is parti pris: someone who once said that he was "inspired by the Palestinian intifada." He has in the past wrongly accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and apartheid....

  • Obama's third signature error in foreign policy forms a bridge to the other set of dots to be joined up. Fifteen years ago the many small islands and reefs in the South China Sea which are now PLA bases with runways and ports, were uninhabited, many of them tidally submerged and marked with metal poles (which confer no territorial rights under UNCLOS - the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea). It was mainly on Obama's watch that this militarisation proceeded, unchallenged, when it could and should have been nipped in the bud... If the militarisation of the South China Sea is left intact, Communist China's navy -- The Peoples' Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) -- will soon have a second and secure southern approach to Taiwan for the invasion which it has threatened for so long....

  • Declaratory PLAN doctrine states that in the event of war it holds at risk US assets from Guam to the far side of Hokkaido: hence US bases in Japan. The PLA has also threatened missile attacks on Australia, where key Five Eyes intelligence assets are situated. PLA planners must be aware that these are red lines as much as an attempt to invade Taiwan. Any such actions would trigger US escalation, as recent speeches by senior USN officers have confirmed. It appears that the Communist Chinese are throwing down a gauntlet to test our resolve....

  • But Communist China is not ten feet tall. As the recent failure of the PRC space station suggests, we should not automatically assume technological omnipotence. In any event, equipment does not equal capability. We should also remember, as Sun Tzu's Art of War and the Thirty Six Stratagems of the Warring States/Three Kingdoms period both observe, that perception of power has a power of its own and that the most elegant defeat is the one incurred by the moral disarmament of the enemy....

  • Over recent months, the US Dept. of Defence has been engaged in a series of technical moves of significance...They have not been much remarked... but all can be found in the professional military literature, as they should be if they are to compose a credible deterrent to make Xi Jinping think again and stay his hand....

  • Iran...needs little encouragement to attack Israel, especially via its proxies where it can claim "plausible deniability". The current bout of violence and its sequel suit Xi Jinping's command group well as a "Dead Cat" tactic: a misdirection so that eyes are off the prime area of interest for the PRC. That area is....the recent illegal occupation of the South China Sea by this untraditional maritime power [and] the "continentalisation" of this sea-space.....

  • In short Xi Jinping's command group must be aware that many windows are closing for it and that time is not on their side unless they can persuade the Free World to self-harm sufficiently that we disarm morally. For this, there is evidence of intent and, unfortunately, of current success....

  • Therefore the Free World must not fall for the Dead Cat gambit. We must firmly support Israel, the window of the West in the Middle East, and we must maintain the Abraham Accords as the best road to normalisation in that region. If we ensure that we are all awake but not woke, we thereby can resist cultural subversion and moral disarmament through the PRC Ministry of State Security... 'make friends for China' strategy within our body politic. In these ways, the threat posed to us by the most patient, intelligent, malign and formidable enemy that we have faced, can be defeated....

  • By preference, a united front of firm deterrence and ostracism may cause the Mandate of Heaven to move from Xi Jinping's communist dictatorship, as it has from over-reaching Chinese leaders many times before.... We have a duty to the betrayed democrats of Hong Kong and by extension to all decent Chinese people to help them to liberate themselves. But for twenty years we have averted our eyes and so the hour in now late. Many in the Western establishments who were defeatist or complicit have much to answer for. Therefore, to prevail the Free World may have to use force if needs be; and if force must be used, then sooner is safer than later.

The Free World seems finally to be waking up to the fact that for at least a decade we have been in 'grey war' with the new alliance of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea (CRINK) without openly realising it. Pictured: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the signing ceremony for Iran and China's "25-year strategic cooperation pact," on March 27, 2021 in Tehran. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)

The Free World seems finally to be waking up to the fact that for at least a decade we have been in 'grey war' with the new alliance of China, Russia, Iran and N. Korea (CRINK) without openly realising it. Within high circles in the Western Intelligence Community (which is awake, not woke, thankfully) there is a name for it: ghost attack.

Ghost attack is described thus in two stages: Stage One: "Commit non-attributable, or feasibly deniable, acts of war that advance your own national power and physically harm your adversaries, but do not fit traditional legal standards to mobilize them to a formal response." Stage Two: "Then foment chaos, advance the narrative of your innocence, and underline your adversary's incompetence through information warfare."

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Biden and Putin in G7 and a Half

by Amir Taheri  •  June 13, 2021 at 4:00 am

  • [Putin] wants a return to the good or bad old days, when the USSR and the United States were regarded as arbiters of world affairs on an equal footing.

  • Today, thanks to the Obama era, that vast region [Central Asia] is morphing into a race course between China and Russia, with the US as a distant observer.

  • The summit with Biden would be an opportunity for Putin to impose a number of "events" as faits-accomplis, notably the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

  • Putin has exploited Obama's numerous mistakes in the Middle East. He has built bridgeheads to a number of countries that were once in the Soviet orbit, notably Egypt and Iraq, while casting itself as the arbiter of Syria's fate. Using the Islamic Republic in Iran as his Trojan horse, Putin is also gaining a foothold in Lebanon.

  • What Putin wants from Biden with regard to Iran is the lifting of sanctions against Iran.... With sanctions lifted, Russia could gain control of Iran's immense energy resources. That would enable Russia to control Iran's market share, thus heightening its own profile as the key source of supply for Europe and, in time, for China. In exchange, Iran would be helped to secure enough money to keep the regime in place....

  • Putin also hopes that Iran will quickly ratify the so-called Caspian Convention, which would turn the world's largest lake into a Russia pond and shut Western powers out.

  • By excluding itself from Afghanistan, the US leaves the field open for new players in the latest version of the "Great Game". China, using Pakistan as its local "fixer", is already courting the Taliban as Islamabad's surrogate to rule Afghanistan.

  • For its part, Russia is developing an axis with India and Iran to counter the Beijing-Islamabad duo. Here, too, the US will be distant spectator.

  • Putin will cast several skillfully baited hooks for Biden. He would talk of stabilizing Europe, containing China, keeping the North Koreans within the red lines, not allowing the mad mullahs of Tehran to go beyond certain limits in their pretended "Jihad" against Israel, and preventing the Taliban from seizing control of Afghanistan and undoing all that has been done with blood and money from the US and its Afghan and Western allies.

  • The question that Biden needs to ponder is this: Is Putin turning Russia into a mere competitor for power and prestige for the US or is he, as some of his barely concealed misdeeds indicate, an enemy of the democratic world, formerly known as "The Free World"?

(Photo by Angela Weiss and Alexey Druzhinin/AFP via Getty Images)

By holding a tete-a-tete with Vladimir Putin just after the G7 summit in Cornwall, US President Joe Biden may signal a move towards a G7 and a half arrangement in which Russia, once a full member of the club, secures a side chair in its ante-chamber. The arrangement suits Putin just fine. For his strategy has always aimed at taking the Western democracies one by one and not as a bloc such as NATO, the European Union or the G7.

But what does Putin want?

In one sense he wants a return to the good or bad old days, when the USSR and the United States were regarded as arbiters of world affairs on an equal footing.

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To Biden Administration: Record of Iran's Top "Moderate" Mullah

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  June 12, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • During Rouhani's tenure, thousands of people were executed, including women and children. In its 2019 global review of the death penalty, Amnesty International stated: "Iran retained its place as the world's second-most prolific executioner after China."

  • In total, according to official estimates of the Iranian regime, more than 4,000 people were executed in Rouahni's two-term presidency: an average of 10 executions a week for eight years.

  • Rouhani's two terms as President taught many Iranians that the idea of moderates in the Iranian regime is laughable and a myth. Many chants became popular in Iran for the first time, such as "Reformist, hardliner, the game is now over", "Death to Rouhani," "Shame on you Khamenei, step down from power," and "Death to the Islamic Republic."

  • The Biden administration must not lift sanctions against the Iranian regime and should immediately halt all negotiations with Rouhani's administration. It has presided over unspeakable human rights violations; record-setting executions of men, women and children; suppression of Christians and other minorities, and a brutal crackdown on its population. If a country does not treat its own people well, why would it treat its neighbors any better?

During Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's tenure, thousands of people were executed, including women and children. Pictured: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (Photo by Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has long been labeled in the West a "moderate" or "diplomatic sheikh" who will change the Iranian regime for the better. The Obama administration reached a deal with the Rouhani's administration and lifted sanctions against the Iranian regime; and now the Biden administration is forging ahead to revive former President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Rouhani before he leaves office.

Here, for perusal, are the eight-years of records of the so-called moderate President of Iran.

In his first term of presidency, beginning in 2015, Rouhani sealed the nuclear deal -- which, incidentally, Iran never signed -- with the Obama administration. As a result of the deal, both the United Nations' four rounds of sanctions and US sanctions against the Iran's regime were swiftly lifted and the ruling mullahs joined the global financial system. Billions of dollars flew into the regime's treasury.

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The Effect of Communist China on America's Clean Energy Plan

by Judith Bergman  •  June 11, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • "[I]t is as if the Middle East not only sat on most of the world's oil but also, almost exclusively, refined it and then made products out of it," wrote The Economist in 2019.

  • It is not that rare earth materials do not exist outside of China, although it sits on the largest quantity: approximately 30-40% of all known rare earth deposits. Rather, extracting the materials is a difficult and highly polluting process that China was willing to take on.... "making it practically impossible for competing companies outside China to get a foothold," according to the Danish Institute for International Studies.

  • China's de facto monopoly forms an acute problem: international reliance on them could hamper vital industries and national security at a time of maximum competition between China and the US.

  • In February, the Financial Times reported that China was looking into export curbs on rare earth materials that are key to the US defense industry, such as the F-35. "The government wants to know if the US may have trouble making F-35 fighter jets if China imposes an export ban." — Chinese government adviser to the Financial Times.

  • On April 16, however, after elections that were de facto a referendum on the Chinese plans to mine not just for rare earth materials, but also for uranium, a new Greenland government came to power, which vowed that it "will do everything we can to stop the Kvanefjeld project." Greenland's new government may impact not only China's hopes for mining there, but also those of other countries hoping to break free of the rare earth dependency on China.

  • The London-based Polar Research and Policy Initiative, recommended in March that the "Five Eyes" alliance, an intelligence-sharing group comprised of Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, set its sights on Greenland's rare earths.

  • Wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles all rely on rare earth materials and China has a head start that can be measured in decades, when it comes to producing the various products of which they form a crucial part: More than 60% of the world's solar panels... are made in China....

  • There is also a human rights aspect to the issue: Polysilicon is produced in Xinjiang, where China is accused of using forced labor in the production chains, because -- ironically -- heat above 1,000 degrees Celsius is required to make the material, and Xinjiang has an abundance of cheap coal power.

  • "It will cost us more than the Chinese to produce solar cells," said Tom Duesterberg, former Commerce Department assistant secretary under President George H.W. Bush. "We could agree to pay that price, but it will be more expensive and take a long time. If tensions get bad with China, they've proven in the past that they are willing to cut off supplies."

  • China is also the world's largest producer of electric vehicles. "China is projected to produce around 13 million battery electric vehicles... by 2023, more than any other nation in the world. China's estimated production level is also anticipated to exceed the combined output of other large markets, including the United States.... Biden's plan could therefore end up boosting China's green energy industry even more.

China's de facto monopoly on rare earth materials forms an acute problem: international reliance on them could hamper vital industries and national security at a time of maximum competition between China and the US. In February, the Financial Times reported that China was looking into export curbs on rare earth materials that are key to the US defense industry, such as the F-35. Pictured: Mined ore containing rare earth materials on display in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China. (Image source: Brücke-Osteuropa/Wikimedia Commons)

"The Middle East has oil, China has rare earths", Deng Xiaoping said in 1992. Nearly three decades later, the world is almost completely dependent on China for rare earth materials. They constitute key elements in large swaths of modern technology from consumer electronics to military equipment and green technology: Mobile phones, computers, fighter jets, guided missiles, solar panels, wind turbines and electric vehicles, among others. While demand is soaring, China is virtually their worldwide exclusive producer. "To extend Mr Deng's comparison, it is as if the Middle East not only sat on most of the world's oil but also, almost exclusively, refined it and then made products out of it," wrote The Economist in 2019.

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Is the Biden Administration Helping Iran to Achieve Its Nuclear Dream?

by Con Coughlin  •  June 10, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • The improvement in Iran's technical ability to develop nuclear weapons is the result of a number of steps Tehran has taken during the past year to increase its nuclear activity, all of which constitute clear violations of the terms Tehran agreed under the JCPOA.

  • Consequently, if the predictions are correct and Raisi emerges triumphant in the presidential elections [June 18], the prospects of the hardliners making any tangible concessions over the country's nuclear programme will be negligible.... [Raisi] made his name during as a prominent member of Iran's notorious Death Commissions, when opposition activists were either executed or sent to clear minefields during the Iran-Iraq war.

  • As a result, the only achievement of Mr Obama's deeply-flawed nuclear deal with Iran will have been to enable the ayatollahs to achieve their dream of acquiring nuclear weapons, with all the implications that will have for the future security of the globe.

The improvement in Iran's technical ability to develop nuclear weapons is the result of a number of steps Tehran has taken during the past year to increase its nuclear activity, all of which constitute clear violations of the terms Tehran agreed under the JCPOA. (Image source: iStock)

The most likely outcome of US President Joe Biden's ill-considered attempt to revive the nuclear deal with Iran is that it will lead to a dramatic reduction in the time frame Tehran requires to build an atomic warhead.

One of the central goals of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) struck with Iran by former US President Barack Obama was to delay Tehran's ability to develop nuclear weapons for more than a decade.

At the time the deal was agreed in 2015, intelligence experts predicted it would take it Iran about one year to develop the technological know-how to develop a nuclear warhead if Iran was allowed to continue with its nuclear activities.

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