Latest Analysis and Commentary

Russia Expanding Its Influence in Latin America

by Judith Bergman  •  September 30, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • Of particular concern is that Russia has not only been strengthening its relations with old Latin American partners -- such as Cuba and Nicaragua, hailing back to the Cold War, and with Venezuela -- but that it is now forging new and stronger relationships with countries that were traditionally oriented towards the US, such as Brazil and Argentina.

  • "Recent demonstrations of Russia's hostile intent toward the U.S. and our partners in the Western Hemisphere include Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov's January 2022 suggestion that Russia might deploy military forces to Venezuela or Cuba... and Nicaragua's June 2022 re-authorization for limited numbers of Russian troops and equipment to enter the country for training missions and other forms of support." — Dr. Evan Ellis, research professor of Latin American studies at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute and senior associate at the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, July 20, 2022.

  • Russia's actions in Latin America have been significantly deteriorating the security situation there, as well as enabling China to gain influence.

  • In June, Putin and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro confirmed their intention to strengthen their strategic partnership.

  • "In 2020, Russia Today (RT)'s Spanish-language media outlets more than doubled their social media followers from 7 million to over 18 million. These disinformation campaigns are just one part of Russia's broader efforts to influence national elections throughout the region this year. Russia's relationship with its key regional partners— Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua—allow Moscow to expand its air and sea access to project military power throughout the region." — General Laura Richardson, Commander of U.S. Southern Command, testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, March 8, 2022.

  • "Agreements with Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Brazil allow Russian warships to make port calls on short notice. Russia doubled its naval deployments in this region, increasing from five (2008-2014), to 11 (2015- 2020). Russia seeks inroads in the hemisphere by providing security training through $2.3 billion in weapons and military equipment sales in the last 10 years, to include direct sales to Venezuela." — Gen. Laura Richardson, testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, March 8, 2022.

  • While 21 Latin American and Caribbean countries have signed onto China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Biden's Build Back Better World, launched in June 2021 to counter China, has not even taken off yet. Unlike the BRI, financed by the People's Republic of China, Build Back Better has to rely on private investors' willingness to take risks.

  • So far, Biden has nothing to show... while Russia and China continue to consolidate their gains.

"Recent demonstrations of Russia's hostile intent toward the U.S. and our partners in the Western Hemisphere include Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov's January 2022 suggestion that Russia might deploy military forces to Venezuela or Cuba..." — Dr. Evan Ellis, research professor of Latin American studies at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute. Pictured: Venezuelan and Russian military personnel at a ceremony for the arrival of two Russian Air Force Tu-160 strategic bombers in Venezuela, on December 10, 2018. (Image source: RT video screenshot)

Russia has been seeking to expand its influence in Latin America, especially since Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine and Russia's subsequent international isolation.

Russia's way of enlarging its influence in Latin America is comparable to its tactics in Africa, where it has primarily sought influence through arms deals, the use of its mercenaries, election interference, and disinformation.

As early as March 2015, General John Kelly, U.S. Marine Corps Commander, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee, saying:

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John Podesta: Biden's New Green Investment Czar

by Peter Schweizer  •  September 29, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • In the Biden administration's uncanny ability to put the wrong people in the wrong jobs, naming John Podesta to be the new "climate czar" might be its masterstroke.

  • With so much money at stake, you might have expected the administration to choose someone with a strong background in energy technologies or perhaps someone possessing deep experience in the energy business who can spot the good (and bad) uses for all that money.

  • Although Podesta is listed on the corporate records, he failed to disclose his membership on the board of Stichting Joule Global Foundation (the holding company) in his federal financial disclosure forms when he officially joined the Obama White House as a senior advisor in 2013.

  • What is concerning here is the pattern Podesta has established of being involved on both sides of the table, and transiting Washington's revolving door. When the Biden administration chooses a "power broker" to be its decider over $370 billion worth of federal "investment" money that is intended to make green energy affordable, cost-effective or competitive with fossil fuels, we should not be surprised if large portions of that money will eventually be traced back to connections those companies have with that aforementioned power broker.

  • This is why you do not want the federal government to have individuals who are not experts -- who are operators and lobbyists -- making important decisions like that. They will pass out cash to people who have made them money in the past, and who will make them money in the future, or who have employed their family members. It is corrupt and it is cronyism. When you give people the opportunity to hand out other people's money, they are going to give it to families and friends. With Podesta, there is certainly a history of doing just that.

In the Biden administration's uncanny ability to put the wrong people in the wrong jobs, naming John Podesta to be the new "climate czar" might be its masterstroke. With so much money at stake, you might have expected the administration to choose someone with a strong background in energy technologies or deep experience in the energy business. Pictured: Podesta, then Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign chairman, at the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on September 26, 2016 in Hempstead, New York. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In the Biden administration's uncanny ability to put the wrong people in the wrong jobs, naming John Podesta to be the new "climate czar" might be its masterstroke.

The White House announced recently that John Podesta will oversee $370 billion in clean energy investments included in the Inflation Reduction Act. This makes him the decision-maker for handing out money to make green energy a viable, cost-effective replacement for fossil fuels. Green energy subsidies and other government giveaways have been tried before, and failed, but not at this scale. With so much money at stake, you might have expected the administration to choose someone with a strong background in energy technologies or perhaps someone possessing deep experience in the energy business who can spot the good (and bad) uses for all that money.

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Erdogan Threatens Greece

by Uzay Bulut  •  September 29, 2022 at 4:00 am

  • "We have only one sentence for Greece: Do not forget Izmir [the city of Smyrna]. Your occupying the [Aegean] islands will not stop us; we will do what is necessary when the time comes. You know what we say: 'Unexpectedly one night we shall come to [conquer] you." — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sondakika.com, September 4, 2022.

  • "The final years of the Ottoman Empire were catastrophic for its non-Turkish, non-Muslim minorities. From 1913 to 1923, its rulers deported, killed, or otherwise persecuted staggering numbers of men, women and children in an attempt to preserve 'Turkey for the Turks,' setting a modern precedent for how a regime can commit genocide against its own citizens in pursuit of political ends, while largely escaping accountability." — George N. Shirinian, Genocide in the Ottoman Empire: Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks, 1913-1923.

  • The Turkish attacks against the Greeks and Armenians of Smyrna began [in 1922] with looting, rapes and massacres, and ended with a fire that destroyed the Christian districts of the city.

  • "In September 1922, the richest city of the Mediterranean was burned, and countless numbers of Christian refugees killed. The city was Smyrna, and the event was the final episode of the 20th Century's first genocide — the slaughter of three million Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians by the Ottoman Empire. The slaughter at Smyrna occurred as warships of the great powers stood by — the United States, Great Britain, France and Italy." — Lou Ureneck, Smyrna, September 1922.

  • The Republic of Turkey actually boasts of its genocide.

  • Since the founding of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, no factual information has been taught to Turkish schoolchildren about the extreme brutality, massacres, rapes, pillaging and other atrocities that indigenous Greeks and Armenians of Smyrna were subjected to at the hands of the Turks. The truth about the identity of the arsonists is categorically denied. For the past 100 years, Turkey has blamed the victims of the genocide for their own extermination.

  • September 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of the genocide in Smyrna. Although the Turkish government still takes pride in its slaughter, everyone else would do well to remember and honor the memories of the victims and prevent further Turkish aggression. One way for Western governments to do this is officially to recognize the 1913-23 genocide, but above all, stop Erdogan's continued threats against Greece.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is escalating his threats to invade Greece. Referring to Turkey's genocidal attack against Greeks and Armenians of the city of Smyrna in September 1922, he warned exactly 100 years later this month: "We have only one sentence for Greece: Do not forget Izmir [Smyrna]... we will do what is necessary when the time comes." Pictured: Thousands of local Greeks, fleeing the genocidal Turkish army of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, attempt to escape by ship at the port of Smyrna in September 1922. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

The president of a NATO member country, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is escalating his threats to invade Greece, another NATO member. On September 27, he said:

"The weapons stockpiled [by Greece] in Western Thrace and the islands make no sense to us because our power is far beyond them, but we remind you that this means a covert occupation [of Turkey by Greece]...

"We would like to remind Greece: Come to your senses. Do you think the support [for Greece] from the US and Europe will save you? It will not. You simply spin your wheels; it does nothing else."

Erdogan has been making similar hostile statements for months. On September 4, he again targeted Greece in a public speech:

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Biden Has Opened Door to Russian Nuke Strikes

by Gordon G. Chang  •  September 28, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • Russia's nuclear doctrine is called "escalate to deescalate" or, more appropriately, "escalate to win," which means threatening or using nukes early in a conventional conflict.

  • Even if Putin is now bluffing — most analysts think he is — he is getting what he wants with threats. Biden, for instance, has been cautious and even timid in providing military assistance to a beleaguered Ukraine. Putin has obviously noticed, which is the reason he has been making more such threats.

  • Why, then, doesn't the United States have what it needs at this crucial moment: nuclear-tipped cruise missiles like Putin's? The arms-control community, arguing that such low-yield weapons would make nuclear war more likely, persuaded American presidents not to build them. President Trump authorized their development, but Biden cancelled the program.

  • Unfortunately, arms-control advocates got it backwards. As evident from today's developments, America lacking low-yield nuclear warheads on cruise missiles is making nuclear war more likely, not less.

  • "The United States will need to reduce its nuclear arsenal to encourage Russia to do the same," wrote Tom Collina and Angela Kellett on the 21st of this month on the Defense One site.

  • Entice Russia into disarmament? Been there. Tried that. Failed miserably.

  • Is it possible to work with Putin at this time?

  • Even if we can put aside the morality of talking to a genocidal mass murderer — we cannot — it is reckless to believe Putin might actually honor arms-control agreements when he has continually violated them with impunity.

  • Moreover, it is bad enough to argue for disarmament in peacetime, but it is the height of folly to do so during war — and when China and North Korea are making first-strike nuclear threats of their own.

  • America's arms-control advocates have always been naïve. Now, they are delusional.

The use of nuclear weapons is fast becoming likely. Russian President Vladimir Putin's threat to use nukes — presumably against Ukraine but perhaps others as well — was made at the time he announced a military mobilization, Russia's first since World War II. Pictured: Mobile intercontinental ballistic missile launchers on parade in Moscow, Russia, on June 24, 2020. (Photo by Sergey Pyatakov - Host Photo Agency via Getty Images )

"If Russia crosses this line, there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia," National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told NBC's "Meet the Press" on the 25th of this month, referring to threats to use nuclear weapons. "The United States will respond decisively."

Sullivan was responding to, among other things, a warning Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered in a televised address on September 21. "I want like to remind those who make such statements regarding Russia that our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have," the Russian leader said. "In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us."

"This is not a bluff," he added.

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China: The 'Massive' Threat

by Judith Bergman  •  September 27, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • "The most game-changing challenge we face comes from the Chinese Communist Party." – Ken McCullum, MI5 Director General, Joint Address by the heads MI5 and FBI, July 6, 2022.

  • Both directors emphasized that one of the greatest challenges to Western economies is China's theft of Western technology through a variety of means....

  • China's Ministry of State Security (MSS) uses its regional bureaus to "key in specifically on the innovation of certain Western companies it wants to ransack.... companies everywhere from big cities to small towns -- from Fortune 100s to start-ups.... We've even caught people affiliated with Chinese companies out in the U.S. heartland, sneaking into fields to dig up proprietary, genetically modified seeds, which would have cost them nearly a decade and billions in research to develop themselves." — Christopher Wray, FBI Director, address to London business leaders on National Security Threats Posed by the People's Republic of China, MI5 HQ, July 6, 2022.

  • Wray emphasized that effectively all Chinese companies are in the pockets of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)... those [companies] that aren't owned outright are effectively beholden to the government all the same, as Chinese companies of any size are required to host a Communist Party cell to keep them in line.... almost like silent partners."

  • Wray unconditionally warned businesses against partnering with Chinese companies. "Maintaining a technological edge may do more to increase a company's value than would partnering with a Chinese company to sell into that huge Chinese market, only to find the Chinese government, and your 'partner,' stealing and copying your innovation, setting up a Chinese competitor, backed by its government, that is soon undercutting you -- not just in China, but everywhere." — Christopher Wray, July 6, 2022.

  • The deal [to purchase farmland near a military base in North Dakota] has caused concerns that the purchased land could be used to spy on the base, as China most likely has done on other bases.

  • Additionally, there is widespread Chinese theft and spying in academia.... European scientists have been empowering China's military by sharing "militarily sensitive knowledge with the Chinese army on a large scale." Out of an astounding 353,000 scientific collaborations between Europe and China around 3,000 had taken place with the Chinese military, defined as "studies where scientists from Western European universities collaborated with Chinese colleagues directly linked to an institute that is part of the Chinese army."

  • Despite the massive threat that China poses, the Biden administration nevertheless ended the Department of Justice's "China Initiative" in February 2022. That same month, the head of the FBI said in an interview that Chinese spying had become so prevalent in the US that on average, the FBI was opening on average two counterintelligence investigations a day, with more than 2,000 such cases already underway.

  • Instead of the China Initiative, "the administration would be using a "broader approach one that looks across all of these threats [from China, Russia, and Iran; ed.] and uses all of our authorities to combat them." — Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew Olsen, Politico, February 23, 2022.

  • All right. Where is it? No need to shut down the China Initiative; just increase investigations of other threats, which the US should presumably be doing anyway.

  • The unmistakable signal that the Biden administration sent to China by closing down the China Initiative was one of weakness -- again -- this time, underscoring that the US does not consider countering China a priority at a time when China, according to two international prominent intelligence directors -- is unquestionably the greatest threat to US interests.

  • Could there be a signal to an intransigent adversary more dangerous than that?

In an unprecedented move, the head of the FBI, Christopher Wray, and the head of Britain's domestic intelligence agency, the MI5, Ken McCallum, came together in July to warn against the "massive" threat that both intelligence services consider China presents. Both men emphasized that one of the greatest challenges to Western economies is China's theft of Western technology. (Image source: iStock)

In an unprecedented move, the head of the FBI, Christopher Wray, and the head of Britain's domestic intelligence agency, the MI5, Ken McCallum, came together in July to warn against the "massive" threat that both intelligence services consider China presents.

"We consistently see that it's the Chinese government that poses the biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security, and by 'our', I mean both of our nations, along with our allies in Europe and elsewhere," Wray said in a joint address by the two directors at the London headquarters of MI5.

"Today is the first time the heads of the FBI and MI5 have shared a public platform," McCallum said. "We're doing so to send the clearest signal we can on a massive shared challenge: China."

"The most game-changing challenge we face comes from the Chinese Communist Party," McCallum said. "It's covertly applying pressure across the globe."

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Israel's 'Peace Partner' Is Slaughtering Israelis

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  September 26, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • These two bodies [Palestinian Authority (PA) and its ruling faction, Fatah] are headed by one man: Mahmoud Abbas, who has zero compunction about his loyalists murdering and wounding Israelis. On the contrary, he encourages it and pays generously for it -- with money from Europe and the United States.

  • Despite [an extremely long list of terrorist attacks against Israel], Fatah is also often mystifyingly referred to by some Israelis and Westerners as a "moderate" Palestinian faction as opposed to the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

  • Fatah, however, has proved over the years that its actions and rhetoric are actually no different from those of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the terror groups that openly call for the elimination of Israel.

  • In 1993, Yasser Arafat, then leader of Fatah and the PLO, committed "to a peaceful resolution of the conflict" with Israel and claimed that the PLO "renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence." His loyalists, however, continued to murder and wound Israelis even after making these commitments, signing the Oslo Accords and supposedly beginning an Israeli-Palestinian "peace process."

  • The groups are so proud of their terrorism that they have started filming their gunmen preparing and carrying out the attacks. They are, in addition, calling on Palestinians to escalate the fight against Israel, while enthusiastically and warmly endorsing the terrorists.

  • The growing involvement of Fatah and PA members in terrorism is one of the direct results of the Palestinian leadership's extreme incitement against Israel. Abbas and his aides continue to level the worst charges and libels against Israel. It is this kind of rhetoric, as well as generous payments, that encourage Palestinians to carry out attacks against Israelis. The fact that Abbas and his entourage do not even bother to rein in or denounce the terrorists is apparently seen by many Palestinians as a green light to continue the attacks.

  • The international community, for its part, is so preoccupied with bashing Israel that no one is calling out these putative Palestinian "peace partners" over their role in terrorism. This silence is also encouraging these Palestinian "peace partners" to continue their attacks.

  • That is why the Fatah-affiliated Lions' Den group has felt confident enough to publish a new threat: "O Jews, The Countdown For Your Demise Has Begun; Stabbings, Car-Rammings, Clashes."

  • This is the "peace partner" that the Biden administration is hoping to assist in establishing a Palestinian state next to Israel. With a partner like this, it is easy to imagine what the situation in the Middle East will look like -- more violence, terrorism and bloodshed. Israel's "peace partners" are doing everything in their power to confirm the fears of Israelis about the presence of a Palestinian state just a handful of kilometers from their homes.

The Palestinian Authority and its ruling Fatah faction are headed by one man: Mahmoud Abbas, who has zero compunction about his loyalists murdering and wounding Israelis. On the contrary, he encourages it and pays generously for it -- with money from Europe and the United States. Pictured: Abbas addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 23, 2022. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images)

In the past few months, there has been a rise in the number of terrorist attacks against Israelis carried out by gunmen belonging to, or associated with, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its ruling faction, Fatah. These two bodies are headed by one man: Mahmoud Abbas, who has zero compunction about his loyalists murdering and wounding Israelis. On the contrary, he encourages it and pays generously for it -- with money from Europe and the United States.

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How Civilizations Will Be Decided

by Giulio Meotti  •  September 25, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • Fewer babies will be born in all of Europe than in Nigeria alone.

  • More than half the increase of the global population projected by 2050 will be concentrated in just eight countries, mostly in Africa, according to The Economist: Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines and Tanzania. Nigeria will have more inhabitants than Europe and the United States.

  • This crisis is not a projection, it is happening right now. By 2050, 60% of Italians will have no brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles or aunts. The Italian family, with the father who pours the wine and the mother who serves the pasta to a table of grandparents, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, will be gone, as extinct as dinosaurs.

  • Yemen, on the other hand, a failed country in the middle of a terrible civil war, will show a population increase that is double Italy's.

  • "In 1887 there was only one Muslim registered in Melilla, he was originally from Casablanca and worked as a servant; today Muslims exceed 40 percent of the population and are approaching the majority", reported the newspaper El Pais.... Ceuta and Melilla are what most of Europe's cities will look like in 20-30 years. Melilla is now the first Spanish city that has surpassed a 50% Muslim population due to immigration, family reunification and a high birth rate.

  • The Western world has provided more wealth and convenience to more citizens than any other civilization in history. We are practically inundated with resources, but we are running out of people, the only truly indispensable resource.

  • "Islam to become Russia's predominant religion by 2050?" — Pravda, July 21, 2008.

  • In addition, Islam will have overtaken Christianity as the largest religion in the world. The Islamic population of the European Union, depending on the migratory flows, could reach 75 million within a generation -- like an entire Muslim Germany or, if one prefers, like Denmark, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Belgium, Holland, Portugal and Sweden combined. Does that sound better?

  • "They have not managed to change us. It is we who will change them. Look at the development of the population in Europe, where the number of Muslims increases like mosquitoes. Each Western woman in the E.U. produces, on average, 1.4 children. Each Muslim woman in these same countries produces 3.5 children. By 2050, 30% of the European population will be Muslim... Our way of thinking in Islam stands in opposition to the Western way of thinking. Today it is our way of thinking that comes in and shows itself stronger than theirs...." — "Mullah Krekar", Norwegian imam, Dagbladet, March 13, 2006.

  • The population of Birmingham will soon be half Muslim.... [The Birmingham Mail reveals that] the number of Muslim children in the city has surpassed the number of Christian children. "In addition to Birmingham, Islam is now the dominant religion among children in Leicester, Bradford, Luton, Slough and the London boroughs of Newham, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets." — Quote from business-live.co.uk, September 21, 2014.

  • Do we fantasize that immigration at this rate will be able to integrate happily into host societies and that the migrants will become like us? Do we hope that before long, Europeans will return to having more children? What if we are wrong and these projections become reality? Are we resigned to the disappearance of our civilization?

  • "Great demographics, great power", Nicholas Eberstadt, the American political economist summed up in Foreign Affairs. Crumbling demographics, crumbling powers ...

More than half the increase of the global population projected by 2050 will be concentrated in just eight countries, mostly in Africa, according to The Economist: Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines and Tanzania. Nigeria will have more inhabitants than Europe and the United States. Pictured: Spanish soldiers and Guardia Civil members patrol the border fence of the Spanish exclave of Ceuta, on May 18, 2021, while hundreds of African migrants seeking to breech the border stand on the other side, in Morocco. (Photo by Antonio Sempere/AFP via Getty Images)

Fewer babies will be born in all of Europe than in Nigeria alone.

In Europe, "at the rate at which things are going, the population will have halved before 2070, with the continent at risk of losing 400 million inhabitants by 2100," noted James Pomeroy, an economist at China's HSBC bank.

The growth of the world population has already reached its lowest rate since 1950 and Europe's population will continue to contract until the end of the century, noted the Financial Times, citing the United Nations World Population Prospects report.

A collateral question is: where?

In the next four minutes 1,000 children will be born: 172 in India, 103 in China, 57 in Nigeria, 47 in Pakistan -- but in all of Europe, only 52.

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The Golden Road to Samarkand

by Amir Taheri  •  September 25, 2022 at 4:00 am

  • The Russian media, echoing President Vladimir Putin's speech at the summit, say the SCO is designed to end "the unipolar world "by creating a "multipolar system".

  • The Chinese media offer a different version. The SCO is meant to offer a new political system for the whole world as an alternative to the Western democratic model.

  • To the Islamic media in Tehran, celebrating the Islamic Republic's admission to the club after 11 years of supplication, the SCO is an extension of the "Resistance Front" created to contain and defeat the American "Great Satan."

  • The SCO's identity as a club of queer fellows has been further emphasized by the admission of a host of new members all of whom have territorial disputes with each other.

  • Some Western commentators have dubbed the SCO "a new power bloc". That may be jumping the gun a bit. SCO members are more dependent on trade with the European Union, the US, Canada, Japan, South Korea and Australia than with each other.

  • The Samarkand club represents some 40 percent of the world's population and over 20 percent of the global GDP, not to mention four of the 9 nations with nuclear arsenals. Yet, it seems unlikely to become an anchor of stability in Eurasia; its members are more interested in petty schemes than grand ideas of peace and cooperation.

The Russian media, echoing President Vladimir Putin's speech at the summit, say the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is designed to end "the unipolar world "by creating a "multipolar system". Pictured: Putin attends the SCO summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 16, 2022. (Photo by Sergei Bobylyov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

But what is it for? This is the question that the media in Russia, China, Iran and half a dozen countries were posing all last week in the wake of a summit in Samarkand that brought their leaders together as members or aspiring members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

The Russian media, echoing President Vladimir Putin's speech at the summit, say the SCO is designed to end "the unipolar world "by creating a "multipolar system".

The Chinese media offer a different version. The SCO is meant to offer a new political system for the whole world as an alternative to the Western democratic model.

To the Islamic media in Tehran, celebrating the Islamic Republic's admission to the club after 11 years of supplication, the SCO is an extension of the "Resistance Front" created to contain and defeat the American "Great Satan."

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Biden Administration Standing Idly By While Iran's Mullahs Advance to Nuclear Bomb

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  September 24, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • [M]ore than a year and half of negotiations seems to have benefited no one except the ruling and Islamist mullahs of Iran. The endless negotiations seem simply to have bought time for the mullahs, so that they could comfortably advance their nuclear program to their highest level ever. Not only has the Biden administration seen no urgency to change its disastrous path, it is actually redoubling efforts to for Iran talks, presumably after America's mid-term election on November 8.

  • The Biden administration has even been ignoring a joint statement issued by the UK, France and Germany admitting that Tehran "has no credible civilian need for uranium metal R&D and production, which are a key step in the development of a nuclear weapon."

  • The Biden administration needs to make it plain to Iran's ruling mullahs that if Tehran advances its nuclear program further, severe military, political, diplomatic and economic options against Iran are on the table.

  • Economic sanctions, which will cut the flow of funds to the Iranian regime and the terrorist Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, must be imposed as well. The Biden administration also needs to stand firm against countries such as China, which are violating US sanctions by buying oil or trading with the Iranian regime.

  • It must be made unmistakably clear to the Iranian regime that the United States will not allow Iran's current regime, a designated state sponsor of terrorism, to arm itself with nuclear weapons and emerge as yet another global nuclear threat, in the Middle East, in Europe and throughout South America.

It must be made unmistakably clear to the Iranian regime that the U.S. will not allow Iran's current regime, a designated state sponsor of terrorism, to arm itself with nuclear weapons and emerge as yet another global nuclear threat, in the Middle East, in Europe and throughout South America. (Image source: iStock)

The Biden administration implemented its agenda to revive the Obama nuclear deal after US President Joe Biden assumed office in January 2021. Now, more than a year and half of negotiations seems to have benefited no one except the ruling and Islamist mullahs of Iran. The endless negotiations seem simply to have bought time for the mullahs, so that they could comfortably advance their nuclear program to their highest level ever. Not only has the Biden administration seen no urgency to change its disastrous path, it is actually redoubling efforts to for Iran talks, presumably after America's mid-term election on November 8.

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'Europe Should Be Grateful to Erdoğan'

by Burak Bekdil  •  September 23, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • Erdoğan is bringing NATO member Turkey more and more into Russia's orbit.

  • Turkey is once again blackmailing the U.S. that "it would further deepen its defense cooperation with Russia if Congress blocks its request to buy 40 F-16 Block 70 fighter jets from the U.S."

Turkey's Islamist strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is bringing NATO member Turkey more and more into Russia's orbit. Pictured: Erdoğan meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 16, 2022. (Photo by Alexandr Demyanchuk/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

"Europe Should Be Grateful to Erdoğan": The quote is the praise Russian dictator Vladimir Putin bestowed upon Turkey's Islamist strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Translated into realpolitik, what Putin is saying is: "Russia is grateful to Erdoğan's anti-Western ideology." He is right. Erdoğan is bringing NATO member Turkey more and more into Russia's orbit.

Erdoğan is overtly challenging the alliance of which his country is a member. Here is a brief account of how Erdoğan steered Turkey further away from Western interests, in favor of his Eurasian adventurism, in just a couple of months:

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How the US Squandered Its Strategic Minerals

by Judith Bergman  •  September 22, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • While China has been relentlessly pursuing self-reliance when it comes to raw materials -- especially strategic ones such as titanium, tungsten and cobalt, which are used in the defense industry -- the US for the past several decades has been selling off huge chunks of the strategic minerals stockpile to the extent that the National Defense Stockpile is reportedly reaching insolvency.

  • By comparison, China, as of 2020, was the world's third-largest exporter of titanium, while the US was the number one destination for the Chinese titanium exports.

  • It is China's growing influence in Africa, especially through its Belt and Road Initiative, the global infrastructure and economic development project that the Chinese Communist Party launched in 2013, that has helped China achieve such near monopolies when it comes to precious resources and raw materials.

  • The rare earths dependency on China stems in part from the fact that extracting rare earth minerals is an extremely polluting process that China has been willing to undertake, while most other countries have not, including the US, which ironically prides itself on having extremely strict environmental regulations in place.

  • The US, according to Reuters, has only one rare earths mine and no capability to process rare earth minerals. If China were to stop exporting them to the US, the country would fast run out of the basic building blocks required to produce the military hardware that the US needs, not to mention all the other items where rare earth minerals are needed.

  • At present, 40 out of Africa's 54 countries participate in China's Belt and Road Initiative.

  • "Beijing has increased its control of African commodities through strategic direct investment in oil fields, mines, and production facilities, as well as through resource-backed loans that call for in-kind payments of commodities. This control threatens the ability of U.S. companies to access key supplies." — U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, 2020 Report to Congress.

While China has been relentlessly pursuing self-reliance when it comes to raw materials -- especially strategic ones that are used in the defense industry -- the US for decades has been selling off huge chunks of its strategic minerals stockpile. Pictured: A front-loader shifts soil containing rare earth minerals, to be loaded on ships at a port in Lianyungang, China, on September 5, 2010. (Photo credit should read STR/AFP via Getty Images)

"The PRC's [Communist China's] long-term goal," the Pentagon wrote in 2020, "is to create an entirely self-reliant defense-industrial sector—fused with a strong civilian industrial and technology sector—that can meet the PLA's needs for modern military capabilities."

While China has been relentlessly pursuing self-reliance when it comes to raw materials -- especially strategic ones such as titanium, tungsten and cobalt, which are used in the defense industry -- the US for the past several decades has been selling off huge chunks of the strategic minerals stockpile to the extent that the National Defense Stockpile is reportedly reaching insolvency.

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Iran Acquires 2.5 Million Acres of Venezuela

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  September 21, 2022 at 5:30 am

  • The land grant will ostensibly be used to grow staple crops... allowing water-starved Iran to better feed its population... Iran's current use of Venezuela, however... combined with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), raise the possibility that Iran and its surrogate terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, might be using the vast acreage for military and terrorist operations.

  • The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hezbollah's long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hezbollah activities on Venezuela's Margarita Island [a tourist area northeast of the country's mainland].

  • Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela's military against the US, for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

  • Iran's alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target US interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States.

  • China, Russia and Iran were reported to be running military drills in Latin America last month. According to the Center for a Secure Free Society, this is a "strategic move that seeks to preposition forward deployed military assets in Latin America and the Caribbean."

  • Iran, along with Venezuela, seems to be using its influence with other Latin American governments to develop an anti-US coalition in America's backyard. In addition, Iran sent a destroyer, the Sahand, and a support vessel -- the intelligence-gathering Makran -- to Venezuela in the spring of 2021. The Makran set sail on the mission "with seven high-speed missile-attack craft strapped to its deck."

  • Iran's massive interference in Venezuela's affairs should raise concerns about the hemisphere's democracies and whether Caracas is still sovereign.

  • Iran and Venezuela also appear to have established an air bridge between Tehran and Caracas. The flights are manned by Iranian crews and enable both regimes to maintain secrecy in the possible global transport of weapons and terrorist operatives.

  • Tehran's cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic's support for Hezbollah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America.

  • Occasionally Iranians have been apprehended by US border guards illegally crossing America's long, porous border with Mexico. These illegal aliens could be fulfilling passive missions such as manning Iran's Hezbollah cells in the US, while others could be commissioned to execute intelligence or terrorist-support operations.

  • Latin America's Iranian Hezbollah network appears poised to strike democratic interests throughout the hemisphere.

Pictured: Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei meets with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Tehran on June 11, 2022. (Image source: khamenei.ir)

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro this June during a visit to Iran signed a multidimensional, 20-year cooperation treaty. The pact includes agreements on science and technology as well as deals on agriculture, communications, culture and tourism. The Maduro regime's startling provision of one million hectares (roughly 2.5 million acres; nearly 4,000 square miles) of farmland to Iran was kept under wraps until Iranian agrarian economist Ali Revanizadeh disclosed it to the Venezuelan media.

The land grant will ostensibly be used to grow staple crops, such as corn and soy beans, allowing water-starved Iran to better feed its population. Iran's current use of Venezuela, however (here, here and here ), combined with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), raise the possibility that Iran and its surrogate terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah and Hamas , might be using the vast acreage for military and terrorist operations.

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Turkey and Israel: Dating with Hate

by Burak Bekdil  •  September 21, 2022 at 4:30 am

  • Israel is normalizing diplomatic relations with a country whose unchallenged leader for the past two decades once described Zionism as a crime against humanity. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's political formation was based on a militant expanse of anti-Zionism as a raison d'être. Erdoğan is just as anti-Israeli today as he was 40, 30, 20 and 10 years ago.

  • There is too much evidence unmasking Erdoğan's fake peace with the Jewish state.

  • Erdoğan's peace with Israel is not peace. It is a tactical move to flash to Washington: I am being a good boy, give me the F-16s, do not sanction me as further sanctions may terminate my rule at the ballot box next year. Turkey's official annual inflation rate running at 80%.... Erdoğan's chances for re-election in June 2023 are getting slimmer every day.

  • Ankara and Jerusalem have not yet announced (as of August 30) who their new ambassadors will be. Whoever they will be, they should keep a bag packed for a fast departure.

Israel is normalizing diplomatic relations with a country whose unchallenged leader for the past two decades once described Zionism as a crime against humanity. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's peace with Israel is not peace. It is a tactical move to flash to Washington: I am being a good boy, give me the F-16s, do not sanction me further... Pictured: The flags of Turkey and Israel fly at the Armored Corps Museum in Latrun, Israel, on August 18, 2022. (Photo by Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP via Getty Images)

Blessed are the peacemakers: it sounds so nice that Turkey and Israel have decided to be friends again. After a four-year hostile chill in relations has thawed gradually in recent months, the former allies have agreed to restore full diplomatic relations, exchanging ambassadors. Nice? Very nice! Champagne to celebrate the peace? Sloooow down.

It has been more than a decade since Turkey and Israel, once strategic partners, broke up badly, with an angry Ankara vowing to isolate Israel internationally. It has also been more than five years since the two countries decided to "give peace a chance" once more and appointed ambassadors. The envoys had to pack up and leave after 17 months of trying to put things back together again.

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Palestinians Cuddle up with Arabs Who Kill Palestinians

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  September 20, 2022 at 5:00 am

  • A report published on September 18 revealed that 638 Palestinians have been tortured to death by Syrian intelligence officers in the past few years. The victims include 37 women.

  • "What is happening inside the Syrian detention centers against the Palestinians is a war crime by all standards." — Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS), September 18, 2022.

  • AGPS also revealed that 4,121 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since the beginning of the civil war there.

  • The fate of 1,797 Palestinian detainees, including 110 women, remains unknown despite repeated appeals to the Syrian authorities.

  • By rushing to embrace the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Hamas, whose leaders control the Gaza Strip from their luxurious villas, hotel suites and spas in Qatar and Turkey, has again shown its contempt for the Palestinians and other Arabs who have fallen victim to the atrocities committed by the Syrian authorities, especially over the past decade.

  • Iran's mullahs want to make sure that their terrorist proxies and the Assad regime remain on good terms. The mullahs are hoping that the renewal of ties between Hamas and Syria will strengthen the Iranian-led "axis of resistance" in the Middle East. The "axis of resistance" refers to an anti-Western/anti-Israeli/anti-Saudi political and military alliance between Iran, the Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Syrian regime and Hezbollah.

  • Hamas... apparently has no problem embracing an Arab regime that has so much Palestinian blood on its hands.

  • The Hamas embrace of the Assad regime is yet another example of how Palestinian leaders care nothing about their own people, let alone the lives of other Arabs.

  • The leaders of Hamas, who are living the good life in Qatar and Turkey, are much more interested in stuffing their coffers with money from the mullahs in Iran than in seeing the suffering of their people in the Gaza Strip or in any Arab country, including Syria.

  • The leaders of the Palestinian Authority are not much different. They too are preoccupied with looking after their personal interests and making sure that they remain in power forever.

  • Shortly, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will head to the United Nations General Assembly to spew yet more venom against Israel. The plight of his people in Syria and other Arab countries will be at the very bottom of his list of priorities, if at all. Like Hamas, Abbas too does not seem to care if his people are being slaughtered by an Arab dictatorship.

A report published on September 18 revealed that 638 Palestinians have been tortured to death by Syrian intelligence officers in the past few years. The victims include 37 women. The Action Group for Palestinians of Syria also revealed that 4,121 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since the beginning of the civil war there. The fate of 1,797 Palestinian detainees, including 110 women, remains unknown. Pictured: The Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp, near Damascus, on May 22, 2018, days after Assad regime forces regained control over the camp. (Photo by Louai Beshara/AFP via Getty Images)

A report published on September 18 revealed that 638 Palestinians have been tortured to death by Syrian intelligence officers in the past few years. The victims include 37 women, according to the report by the Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS), a human rights watchdog that monitors the situation of Palestinian refugees in war-torn Syria.

The group called on the Syrian authorities to disclose the status of hundreds of Palestinians who are being held in Syrian prisons and whose fate remains unknown. "What is happening inside the Syrian detention centers against the Palestinians is a war crime by all standards," it said.

AGPS also revealed that 4,121 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since the beginning of the civil war there.

"AGPS data indicates that 79% of the Palestinians of Syria killed since the outbreak of the conflict are civilians.

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The Secret Schumer-Manchin Backroom Deal

by Lawrence Kadish  •  September 19, 2022 at 4:30 pm

Pictured: Senator Joe Manchin (L) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at the signing of the so-called "Inflation Reduction Act" in Washington, DC on August 16, 2022. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Washington is a city that thrives on secrets. That is a good thing over at the CIA but it is a very bad thing when Congressional politics are practiced in the dark, far from public scrutiny and for purposes that could unravel our nation's democracy.

No surprise then that published reports reveal seething lawmaker anger over the closed door deal cut between Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Senator Joseph Manchin that will allow the White House to acquire and dispense some $700 billion dollars as it sees fit through the so-called "Inflation Reduction Act of 2022."

"We don't know what [the substance of their deal]... is. They haven't released the text, they don't give us the detailed explanation," Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) was quoted in the Washington insider publication, The Hill.

The Senator continued, "So, I don't know how you could ask people to vote for something they don't know what it is."

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