domingo, 5 de maio de 2013

The Empire's warlike manoeuvres in the Middle East


1 - A decadent Europe shows its decaying teeth
2 - A quick glance on the Pentagon/NATO's last brave interventions

2.1 – Libya
2.2 – Iraq
2.3 – Afghanistan
2.4 – Syria

3 - What is left from tragedies and comedies of the recent past?

4 - Iran, the rich target of the Westerners

4.1 - Recent history of Western's interventions in Iran
4.2 – The Iranian foreign relationships matrix
4.3 - The Iranian nuclear programme
4.4 - The impact of the energy sanctions dictated by EU

The Empire's warlike manoeuvres in the Middle East

The geopolitical approach has an advantage the multidisciplinary integration (geography, history, economics, cultures, demography…) and is the one that allows for a global vision of the world.

Accordingly, although this text focuses in particular in the Middle East and Iran, we will take into account that there are no closed regions from a geopolitics point of view and that the planet is a communicating vessels' system, without denying the regional or local particularities.

1 - A decadent Europe shows its decaying teeth

To the enlightened European leaders, the absence of problems in Europe - where, as is well known, the welfare standards are distinctly increasing - justifies the indefinite postponement of any solution to minor problems such as the banking and state bankruptcies or the economic recovery.

Therefore, they have plenty of time to dictate sanctions against Iran[1] following their usual obedience of Washington's orders where - indeed - there is a strategy for the whole world and in particular for the Middle East. Tuning to the same strategic obtuseness, they reinvented on January 30 a discredited formula to shackle the indebted EU countries to the provision of perennial revenues to the financial system, thus avoiding bankruptcies amongst major European banks. Stupidly, or to benefit major oil corporations, they contribute to the rise in prices, without disclosing that Europe's relevance for the Iranian exports is not that big, as will be seen below.

What are they preparing? Probably, one more summit preceded by the customary meeting of the "Merkosy" mishmash.

2 - A quick glance of the Pentagon/NATO's latest brave interventions

Let us look at a few notes on the most recent amongst all the Western-led well-intentioned military interventions;

2.1 - Libya

News on Libya are coming through on a regular basis and they are not reassuring - military conflicts, torture, dissents within the new power and  people's actions against the transitional government imposed in Libya by NATO through the democratic formula of bombing. After the humanitarian Western intervention, how many of us would expecting the Libyans still have not stopped praying as a token of gratitude for the Western bombings? The real success of the U.S. “nation-building” strategy will be seen in the near future, in addition to the appropriation of the country's energy resources[2].

One less well reported aspect is that, following the end of Kaddafi's age, the Tuareg troops merged into the Libyan army positioned themselves in Mali, demanding the secession of that country's part inhabited by Tuareg tribes. This people are indeed a Stateless nation (they have never had a State) and the borders established by the colonial power are meaningless for them. The MNLA – Mouvement National pour la Libération de l’Azawad (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad) has recently attacked/occupied various locations near the Niger "curve" in Mali.

Given the weakness of the Malian army, it is no surprise that the "counter-terrorist" plan - with which the U.S. have involved Africa's governments in general and Sahel's government in particular within the past few years of AFRICOM's intense activity - be implemented.  

2.2 - Iraq

Late in 2011, the U.S. and their eager faithful left Iraq – leaving behind the customary "consultants" of the local army – a ballast of over 1 M civilian deaths and the massive destruction of the country's infrastructures;  these are the usual collateral issues - as used in NATO's jargon - to pacify the country. However, bombs continue to explode and to create victims[3].
This withdrawal, despite not ending the military presence or reducing the strategic Middle East’s relevance for the U.S., demonstrates, in essence, failures and non achieved objectives.

A number of relevant notes can be drawn from the invasion and later occupation of Iraq by the U.S. and their appendages - all of them anxious to leave the scene from very early – in order to approach the present Western posture against Iran and Syria:

a) Let us remember the choir of the Western leaders and their conductor, the famous George W. Bush, all of them assuring to have incontrovertible evidence of the existence of weapons of massive destruction in Iraq. It has been confirmed that such weapons were non-existent but what actually existed was its role as central argument in a rough propaganda move. The argument against Iran on weapons of massive destruction - or a similar line of argumentation - will certainly not benefit from the same support as in 2003. However, it is always possible to buy or enlist in the U.N. a few faithful such as the Marshall Islands or the dutiful minister Portas* to participate in any circus show.

b) The promise of establishing a democracy - even a market democracy - has failed abysmally. To Saddam's authoritarian and corrupt regime succeeded a more diverse mandarinate – but no less corrupt - which, immediately after the U.S. invasion, knew how to make the best - the worse for Iraqis – of the U.S. funding and aids. The example intended to be shown to regimes and peoples of the Middle East, namely that of the joys of market democracy, with the abandonment of the military or feudal authoritarianism, had no followers; the changes in Tunisia and Egypt were essentially the result of the strenuous fight of the crowd against the dictators and in no case was Iraq the inspiration;

c)  The result of the intervention in Iraq did not, in the end diminished the anti-American and anti-Western antipathy feelings in Muslim countries. Afghanistan is still occupied and Pakistanis despise the regime of the corrupt Zardari and of the military, business men and torturers. The Arab monarchies continue calmly and quietly with their manifestations of authoritarianism, repression and denial of civil and political rights of the population. Palestinians continue to be the subject of plunder of their land and their property at the hands of a racist sect that operates as a Cerebrus guarding Western interests, especially energy interests, in the Middle East;

d) The presence of American military in the Persian Gulf and on Arab lands began in 1991 following the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam.  Once the Iraqis were kicked out of "their" 19th Province, the U.S. allowed the continuation of Saddam, with limited sovereignty, with no-fly zones and sanctions which hit the population hard; it is quite clear that the presence of the U.S. would continue on the argument of supervisioning Iraq, containment of its leader who, even weakened, functioned as a false threat to Kuwait or to Saudi Arabia;

e)  The invasion of Afghanistan (2001) and thereafter, of Iraq (2003) were all forms of perpetuating the American presence in the Middle East which, meanwhile, spread on account of the "terrorist" threat, of Al-Qaeda and for the sake of the containment of Iran. Now, with the withdrawal from Iraq and, from Afghanistan, in the nearest future, new threats need to be designated to justify the presence in oil lands and in oil transit routes to rival countries.  The U.S. is creating a military posture composed of 32 bases in the Persian Gulf region[4] where Seeb, Thumrait and Masirah stand out in Oman, Al-Ubeid in Qatar, the command of the 5th fleet in Bahrain, near Manama and Camp Arifjan or Camp Doha in Kuwait; 

2.3 - Afghanistan

The U.S. have been there since 2001, when they invaded the country on the pretext of capturing Bin Laden and his host, Mullah Omar, the governor of the fundamentalist Taliban, rulers of the country at the time. Obama announced his intention to withdraw from the country in 2014, leaving it to the care of his dependable man, Karzai, linked to CIA and a former employee of an American oil company, Unocal, meanwhile integrated into Chevron.

Karzai's regime is characterized by corruption and electoral fraud to which the American tutelage closed its eyes to favour its ward. It is the U.S. military presence that guarantees that instability does not degenerate into chaos and allows for Chinese and Indian investments.     However, it appears that the three million refugees in Pakistan and Iran do not trust that the Pax Americana will continue.

The mountainous nature of the terrain and the difficulties of movement and travelling make ethnic and political differences more evident in a rural society with strong patriarchal traditions and tribal, linguistic or ethnic links that foster the existence of armed militias and warlords.  The war and the strategic position promoted a flourishing activity of opium cultivation and traffic which has caused serious social damage, but which is used for financing the warlord’s weaponry.
As is clear, the fight against terrorism and the punishment of Bin Laden was a false argument to invade Afghanistan in 2001 but it was enough to further a patriotic and avenging wave in the U.S. as well as to justify the infringement of rights and an anti-Islamic phobia that became an export product. Later on, in 2008, the candidate Obama would refer to the underdeveloped Afghanistan, landlocked in Asia and with no outlets to the sea, as the real threat to U.S. security!        

Several factors explain this obsession for Afghanistan or derive from it: 

a) The presence in Afghanistan is a direct threat to Iran, the largest U.S. military base being  located in Shindand, 100 km from the common border, although the logistics centre of the U.S. military apparatus is in Bagram, to the north of Kabul;

b) On a proactive trend, the U.S. tried to use Afghanistan to carry the immense energy resources from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to the Indian Ocean, thus removing them from traffic routes dependent on Russia and at the same time without passing through Iran. This Project failed completely, as explained further ahead.

c)  Just like the Soviets in the '80s, the Americans did not study the failure of the British in Afghanistan, in the 19th century; and they forgot the cultural proximity of the Pashtun from both sides of the artificial border with Pakistan (itself, another "brilliant" British creation to divide its Indies Empire). Consequently, the political and social instability worsened in Pakistan in a way that is likely to provoke conflicts with India;

d) The poppy cultivation for the production of heroin in Afghanistan (something like 93% of the world production in 2007) occupies more land than the coca plantation in Latin America and generates $ 50000 M per year[5]. The cultivation increased substantially since the defeat of the Taliban and it plays a significant role in the Mafia-like world economy that forwards so much capital to the finance system and the powerful Wall Street; both of them operating to the discontent of the overwhelming majority of humanity. The warlords work as guardians of the plantations, charging money for it under the blessing of the U.S.. This cultivation repeats what the U.S. has done in the 1970s in Laos, in Cambodia and in Burma, where CIA controlled heroin and opium to finance the American war against the Vietnamese guerrillas;

e)  The U.S. has already spent $ 438 000 M and the British £ 18 000 M with the war in Afghanistan and it remains to be seen whether, after their withdrawal, the settling of accounts between the various warlords, the Taliban and Karzai will not bring the latter the faith of his predecessor Najibullah who, in 1989, after the departure of the Soviets, was murdered with barbaric sophistication.

2.4   Syria

The Syria situation – despite all the ambiguity of such designation, is presenting new episodes on a daily basis.

Where there is repression, there is resistance. There is dissent in Syria but apparently it is unable to overthrow the regime and the various social forces that support it: the Orthodox Christians (4%), the Sunni oligarchs and Druses (3%), or the Armenians who tolerate the Alawite power, a Shiite sect that represents 12% of the population and guarantees it stability; and whose opinion will probably change when Bashar will be falling. On the other hand, the predominance of the “Muslim Brothers” in the contestation to Bashar does not attract many of those who prefer the secularism of the Syrian regime to a Sunni based religious regime with the imposition of the Koran’s rule.

a) Contrary to what has happened in Tunisia or in Egypt, where peaceful mass protests were (and still are) witnessed, in Syria and maybe not only through desertions in the army, which were not relevant to break its unity, the opposition has resorted to arms. From a strictly legal point of view, this option justifies the brutal and heavy intervention against the insurgents, moreover only armed with Kalashnikovs;

b) It is true that an armed insurrection, without a strong support of the crowd, is always weak and it is bound to fail.  Guevara paid with his life his romantic vision of revolutions based on vanguards of heroes. Any guerrilla manual reflects Mao's teaching “a revolutionary must be integral to the people as a fish is to the water". In this sense, either the insurgents widen their popular support to the point of isolating and dividing the present supporters of Bashar, or they will be crushed; and it does not appear realistic that a military intervention will take place in Syria as that observed in Libya, led by NATO;  

c)  In the Syrian opposition there are not many adherents of an external military intervention to solve internal problems, since the country has a rich history of humiliations, occupations and aggressions, the most recent of which came from the Israeli entity. The Iraqi and Libya cases have showcased the altruistic aims of the Westerners; thus, the Western commitment against Bashar does not give credibility to the opposition in Syria and neither does the tension of their Turkish neighbours. Let us also remember that the Ottoman Turkey ruled (the Great) Syria until the 1914/18 war; that the French occupiers offered a slice of Syrian territory (the Sandjak of Alexandretta, known today as Iskenderun) in 1939 in order to ensure the Turkish neutrality in the world conflict of 1939/45.    However, Turkey refuses a foreign intervention and even the establishment of no-fly zones over Syria;  

d) There is a clear interest on the part of Russia (and China) to curb Western urges against Syria. Their acceptance of Resolution 1973 against Libya has been taken over and it has been used as stepping stone for NATO's aggression against that country.   Once the war was over, the redistribution of Libyan oil resources was carried out in favour of the Westerners, in particular of the French and the British, to the detriment of the continuity of Russian and Chinese business with Gaddafi. That is why both – Russia and China – used their right of veto in the UN Security Council on the proposal against Syria, on the past February 4; they surely do not want to see repeated in Syria the poor results obtained in Libya.  As far as oil is concerned and in a world thirsty for its consumption, despite the fact that Syria has no impressive reserves when compared to Libya's (2500 million barrels against 46400 million barrels), cannot be ignored;  

e)  On the other hand, Russia has a close relationship with Syria where it owns a naval base in Tartus, its only permanent position in Mediterranean, a remnant of the Soviet greatness.  It is not difficult to imagine that, after Bashar al-Assad's fall, a new power created by the U.S. or thankful for the role played by the U.S. in the crusade for the "democratization" of Syria, will request the Russians to abandon Tartus.

f)    Following this veto, on February 6, the U.S. withdrew its diplomatic staff from Damascus, while Obama said the problem could be solved without military intervention. Interestingly, the Western market democracy regimes, in order to pressure the fall of the dictatorial Syrian regime, use as supporters the Arab League countries, the majority of which are dictatorships when they are not absolute monarchies. In politics, gratitude is low valued; the Emir of Kuwait will have forgotten that the Syria of Hafez al-Assad (Bashar's father) condemned, in 1990, the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam, although this and Hafez were the paramount leaders of two sister parties, the Iraqi and the Syrian Baas;

g) A few years ago, Syria was the major obstacle to a project for the building of pipelines between Turkey (Ceyhan) and Israel for oil, water and electricity transportation to the Zionist territory, since it would necessarily have to pass through Syrian territorial waters.  A change of regime in Damascus could be a project enabler considering that Turkey would ease its friction with Israel which resulted from the Zionist military attack on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara in May 2010;

h)  Also, Israel would be a great beneficiary of political changes in Syria if the new power would accept in fact the occupation of the Golan Heights  in exchange for business with Israel and, above all, if it would make life difficult for Hezbollah in Lebanon or would allow for its isolation by limiting the influence of Teheran in Lebanon;

i)     Finally, and strategically, the democratic concern of the West over the regime in Damascus is essentially about the period of political and military pressure against Iran, given the strong ties between Iran, Syria and the Lebanese government.    

3 - What is left from the tragedies and comedies of the recent past?

Intoxicated by the falling apart of dictatorships and of the state-controlled capitalism in Russia and Eastern Europe, the Westerners believed that their political and social model would be easily transplanted to the Muslim world and beyond. If not through a questionable moral superiority, at least through manu militari which, in between and with less media coverage, would help re-launching the powerful military industry, resentful by the end of the Cold War[6].

The inevitability of the single neoliberal thought and of market democracy propagated by the Westerners presents two appalling denials. On one hand, China's economic growth reveals that a repressive regime is able to conciliate a state-controlled capitalism with the private national or multinational initiative and even to become the main driver of GDP growth or of the world trade, becoming in parallel a financial power. On the other hand, the recessive drift in terms of economy and rights, promoted by the neoliberal mania in the West,     causes the Western model to lose credibility. If this model proves to lead to unemployment and poverty, it cannot encourage the large masses of population of the Islamic countries to make a simple copy of it, since their countries are already suffering too much from those problems.

The memory of the colonial humiliations and the failed or sabotaged attempts to repeat the Western path are lucidly perceived by the peoples as a legacy of the colonial period. Finally, the existing barriers in the Western countries to exports from other countries or to the entry of immigrants – the subject of racist and discriminatory treatment - are not examples of individual or collective solidarity for the resolution of underdevelopment and poverty problems.

The great majority of the regimes existing in Islamic countries associate with Western capital by coupling with the exclusive globalization system, thus being both accomplices in maintaining poverty and the absence of rights as well as in the repression of the peoples' claims all over the world and not only in more or less emerging countries.  Also in 2011, given the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, the Westerners, with Hillary Clinton’s lead, expressed greater concern to ensure an evolution in continuity of the authoritarian model than enthusiasm for the liberating drive of the peoples.

The overwhelming military power of the Pentagon, of NATO and of their allies proved to be, at times, insufficient to strategically win the wars in which they get involved. Thus Israel did not manage to crush Hezbollah in 2006; the U.S. was not able to establish a democratic regime and peace in Iraq, even spending $ 1 trillion; and in Afghanistan the U.S. try to get out of the quagmire in which they are involved,   even if their opponents do not, by any means, have their military, technological or financial power. In the end, when they leave the scene, the Pentagon and NATO always leave behind metastases of conflict, dictatorships, suffering and misery and it cannot be said that the world has become more safe and happy after the military defeat of the successive "rogue states".     

The insistence on wars and invasions over the past twenty years by the U.S. and its allies, including the Israeli branch, does not contribute to the preparation of negotiating formulas for conflict management. The “nation-building” concept is based on racist attitudes of civilisation superiority over the "indigenous", on contempt for their culture, their history, their ethnic or religious diversity, relying only on the power of weapons to crush the enemy and of money to buy mandarins for representing their interests;    

Although the attitudes of the vast majority of Islamic countries' regimes towards Palestine are highly hypocritical and instrumental for the purposes of propaganda, in fact, the crowds in the Middle East countries are very much in favour of the Palestinians and contrary to the Zionists. Now, by systematically having attitudes exonerating the crimes and the Israeli occupation – when not clearly being supporters thereof – the U.S. and its subordinates destroy, a priori, the development of sympathies on the "Arab streets".  Although Turkey is not an Arab country, its government had to support the indignation of its people upon Israel's terrorist action on the Mavi Marmara, with damage to the commercial and political relations between Turkey and the Israeli entity.  In turn, the regime change in Egypt had immediate consequences favourable to the Palestinians, whom the Egyptians declared their support to. In a face-saving exercise and with an assistance logic, the EU makes donations to the Palestinians, in particular to the corrupts in Ramallah;

In Iraqi, the Western energy multinationals are back to the wells that give access to 8.3% of world oil reserves, as everybody would have guessed before the American and British invasion. Exactly the same happened in Libya by using a grim sharing criterion - France took possession of one third of the Libyan oil since it had one third share on the bombings carried through[7];

In Iraqi, from the very beginning of the conquest, the U.S. imposed the transposition into law of such interesting aspects as legal immunity to foreign contractors and to private military and security firms as the notorious Blackwater; the absence of taxes on profits from exported goods; or the obligation to purchase registered seed (GMO) from the major companies Monsanto or Cargill[8];

A semi-independent Iraqi Kurdistan was established that was tolerant towards its Kurdish brothers in Turkey, which sometimes causes heartburn to Erdogan; and in Iraqi it is feared that, if there is a radical power change in Syria, the province of al-Anbar in Syria's border and with a large Sunni majority will be tempted to secession because of being displeased with the Shiite power in Bagdad. The borders resulting from the colonial sharing era are almost all full of artificiality and nonsense;

Perhaps the part that appeals less to the U.S. and its affiliates is the fact that the anti-Iranian antagonism developed by Saddam and ordered by the U.S. gave rise to a strong link between the Iraqis – people and government, mostly Shiite - and Iran. Even during the American occupation, the UN sanctions against Iran, from 2006 onwards, were totally ignored by the Iraqis, thus contributing to the harmlessness of such sanctions. The bloody Iraqi episode – we are looking forward to the next chapters – reminds us that the military always shout "mission accomplished" even when they withdraw strategically defeated.

 4 - Iran, the Westerners' juicy target

Iran is the great enemy to the US and the European party in the so-called "Arc of Instability" that runs from the Mediterranean Sea to the Eastern border of Pakistan. However, today it appears to be too large a bone for the Pentagon's teeth; of course not for strictly military reasons but also, and mainly, for economical and political reasons.   

4.1 - Recent history of Western intervention in Iran

a)    Iran’s Prime Minister Mossadegh, in the 50s of the last century, humiliated England - which exercised suzerainty over the country since 1913 – when he nationalized the oil sector controlled by BP's forerunner;

b)    In 1953, CIA and MI6 overthrew Mossadegh, supporting the Shah in a despotic regime. The Iranians only freed themselves from the Pahlevi dynasty in 1979, after a democratic revolution which was later superseded by the enforcement of the Sharia law imposed by the Shiite clergy around Khomeini, considered by the people as a consequent opponent of the Shah. But in real life there are many tolerance situations towards the rigours of the Islamic law;

c)      Still in 1979, within the scope of that democratic revolution, the people's anti-americanism took to the streets and the students occupied the U.S. Embassy, thereby sequestering dozens of officials for a possible exchange with the Shah who had taken refuge in the U.S.   Dissatisfied, the U.S. tried a military rescue operation but failed disastrously, leaving behind aircraft wrecks in the Iranian desert.   Meanwhile, the Iranian property in the U.S. was frozen, to be released two years later when the Embassy's officials were handed over.

d)    With the overthrow of the Shah, in 1979, CENTO, a military organization dominated by the U.S. and the UK, was dissolved; in it, beyond Iran, were participating Iraq, Pakistan and Turkey as links of the siege of the USSR;

e)    In 1980, Saddam Hussein's Iraq wished to reverse the democratic evolution in Iran by taking advantage of the divisions between Khomeini's supporters and the Iranian left in order to prevent contagion of the Iraqi Shiites and also to obtain territorial advantages in oil areas;

f)       Thus, began the Iran-Iraq war with very unequal international support; the U.S. and Saudi Arabia were financing Saddam, who also had some support from Egypt and USSR; the latter, being a seller of weapons to Saddam, changed sides when the U.S. became dominant in the support for Iraq. The supporters of Iran were only Syria and Libya.     

g)    Amongst the military forces on the ground there was a great inequality as far as men and equipment were concerned. Iraq had a superior military power, although Iran was far more densely populated. However, Saddam has disregarded the political and cultural uniformity of Iran, one of the oldest states on earth which, for example, refused the use of Arabic and got back to Farsi shortly after Islamization – unlike Syria, Mesopotamia and North Africa. And this notwithstanding the linguistic and ethnic diversity;

h)    Such inequality of forces caused a much greater number of Iranian casualties - 500,000/1 million dead - against 300,000 Iraqis who even used chemical weapons and bombed Bushehr nuclear power plant. This time, the use of chemical weapons by Saddam was not condemned because the dictator was on the American side of the war;      

i)        Iran's foreign policy after the war with Iraq has been curbing the animosity of the U.S. and breaking the international siege and isolation proposed by the U.S.. Seen in these terms, Iran does not acknowledge the existence of Israel and has built political bridges with Syria, the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas;

j)        Concerning the U.S. military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan – respectively along its western and eastern borders - Iran has been very cautious, without harming its historical links with the Shiite majority in Iraq   (60% of the total) or with Afghanistan, where there are linguistic or religious affinities with Hasaras, Tajiks, Aimaks and Pashtuns; 

4.2 – The Iranian external relations matrix

Globalisation, for which the multinationals and the financial system have fought so hard, caused a perverse effect in the usual Western power. Instead of seeing all states and peoples of the world lining up in a submissive vassal's attitude towards the United States - as thought or desired after the collapse of the USSR - there was a clear weakening of the economies and of the capacity for political action of Western powers, by contrast with a new power – China – which is increasingly developing and strengthening its influence in the world scene;  along with China, there is a reaffirmation of Russia and the rise of regional powers such as Brazil and India and, on another level, South Africa, Turkey and Iran.

In this context, given the Western economic decline, the main powers in the East - Near East and Middle East - have sought a political and economic realignment, by looking eastward and southward and by increasing the relations between themselves as well.   

a)    Two of these powers – Turkey and Iran – have been cementing strong cooperation links. Turkey, after the collapse of the USSR felt less threatened, established bridges with Turkish-speaking nations of Central Asia and, without dismissing NATO and the American military bases,    has assumed great independence on the international scene. On the other hand, Turkey understood that entering the EU is but an elusive dream about which its population is less and less enthusiastic;

b)    The foreign policy of the AKP of Erdogan is to stand like a bridge between East and West and, as far as Iran is concerned, large-scale investments were made by them there, thus playing recently an active role together with Brazil in intermediating the American pressure on Iran in connection with the latter's nuclear programme (see 4.3 in this document). Within this "bridge" scope between two worlds, Turkey receives gas from Iran through two pipelines coming from Tabriz, as well as, since 2005, being crossed by the BTC (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan), the oil pipeline controlled by BP with the high support of the U.S. in order to prevent oil transit routes through Russia or Iran. In parallel, BTC transports gas from Turkmenistan to Erzurum in Turkey, to be incorporated in the Nabucco project , the viability of which is highly at risk;

c)    To the East and North of Iran are those countries linked to the SCO – the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation formed in 2001 with the Shanghai Five members (Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) created in 1996, which was joined by Uzbekistan. Later on, Iran, India, Mongolia (2006) and Pakistan joined as observers. These countries surround almost entirely an American "enclave" called Afghanistan

d)    The existence of SCO – in spite of the rivalries and animosities between some of its members or observers –does not suit the U.S. To unite the huge populations of China and India, with China's financial power, the energy reserves of Russia, Iran and Kazakhstan and also Russia's and China's military power - in addition to the fact that four of the ten partners have nuclear weapons - is a structuring element in world geopolitics.  Recently, the two major permanent members of SCO vetoed the Western purposes for Syria and do not demonstrate any interest in serious participation in any sanctions against Iran;  

e)    India receives some 15% of its energy requirements from Iran which is its nearest energy source. One supply route is from Chabahar, a Southeast Iranian harbour, outside the Persian Gulf, where India is investing in its development by possibly building an undersea oil pipeline in order to avoid passing on Pakistani soil. Another strategic development would be the construction of a multimodal corridor which would connect Bombay [Mumbai] to St Petersburg, with branches to Europe and Central Asia, passing through the whole Iranian territory and Turkmenistan, which would thus send its gas to India through an exchange system with Iranian gas. This Project does not please the Westerners who would always stay out of it[9];

f)       In March of 2010, Iran and Pakistan signed an agreement for building an oil pipeline connecting both countries, the infra-structure of which has been completed in Iranian soil, on July 2011, after overcoming the several years of U.S. pressure, which preferred to transport electricity from Tajikistan through Afghanistan. The project aims at establishing branches within Pakistan and a passage to India with subsequent branches that may subsequently reach Bangladesh[10];

g)    In January 2010, the transfer of gas from the Dauletabad field in Southern Turkmenistan and  Khangiran in the Northeast of Iran[11] was started, where it integrates the internal network of Iran, thus opening a new outlet for the huge Turcoman reserves, after the opening of another connection on the west, in 1977, next to the border between the two countries, in the Caspian Sea[12];

h)    Apart from oil and gas, Iran is in the world top ten places regarding to the production of zinc, lead, cobalt, aluminium, manganese and copper[13].

4.3 - Iran's nuclear programme

Iran's nuclear programme started in the 1950s with the assistance of the U.S. and it was discontinued after the 1979 revolution. At that time, the German company Kraftwerk Union AG, linked to Siemens and AEG Telefunken, withdrew from the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant due to the U.S. pressure.

In 1995, after recovering from the damage resulting from the war with Iraq, Iran resumed its nuclear programme namely to conclude the Bushehr nuclear power plant, within the Framework of an agreement with Russia, meanwhile stating that such nuclear power plant programme will be developed in Arak and Darkhovin/Ahvaz as well to produce 6000 Mw electricity up to 2010. For that purpose, it has or plans to have research nuclear reactors in Tabriz, Ramsar and Tehran, other facilities in Natanz and Isfahan and to explore uranium mines in the Southeast (Saghand and Jasd).

Since the resumption of the nuclear programme, the U.S., backed by its European allies and the Israeli subsidiary, has been making never substantiated accusations that there is a concealed project for the production of nuclear weapons. Revealing that the dog always barks first and louder than its master, Israel has been showing its appetite for the bombing of Iran's nuclear power plants, as it has done on Osirak, in Iraq, in 1981.  However, its master has a firm hand and is hindering the action, as it prevented Israel's retaliation when Saddam fired Scud missiles on Israel, in 1991; nevertheless, this action remains latent.

The sanctions adopted by the UN started in 2006, in the framework of the customary use of the Institution to cover the interests of the U.S. and the rest of the Western people.  In March 2010, Noam Chomsky clearly expresses that "Iran is perceived as a threat because it never obeyed the orders of the United States. Militarily, such threat is irrelevant”.

The U.S. tension has deteriorated the procurement process of nuclear fuel by Iran, what does not happen with any other country having nuclear power plants. In 2009, Iran requested the assistance from IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) for obtaining fuel for research for the purpose of medical use, followed by a set of diplomatic incidents for the Western control of the material procedures, of the enrichment technology and of the transformation into fuel intended for Iran. Refusing the western requirements, Iran began uranium enrichment at 20% in Natanz (February 2010).

     U.S. and its allies then proposed more sanctions against Iran and in order to ease the tension of the situation, Brazil and Turkey drew up an agreement with Iran (May 2010) on the exchange of uranium at 3.5% with another, enriched at 20%, reaffirming “the right for all countries to research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination"[14]. This agreement, though similar to the proposals of Western countries, did not reverse the U.S. decision of approving new sanctions against Iran within the framework of the UN.

     However, uranium enriched up to 20% has no application in the production of atomic weapons, as in these weapons is used uranium at   80% (or even 90%, as is the case of the bomb dropped by the U.S. on Hiroshima). Although Ahmadinejad has announced both Iran's capacity and disinterest in the enrichment of uranium up to 80%, this should be regarded as being with political aims and even IAEA considers that Iran can only enrich uranium up to 20%.

     Meanwhile (April 2010), Obama stated the new U.S. nuclear doctrine according to which the U.S. would not consider the use of nuclear weapons against countries that do not have them and have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)[15], excluding North Korea and Iran from such guarantee. Such guarantee will of course not count for much considering the precedent in view of Japan in 1945 or the use of depleted uranium ammunitions in Iraq in 1991 or in Serbia in 1999. But it is a political fact to take into consideration, a clear demonstration of hostility.

     Being Iran a signatory of the NPT and having no nuclear weapons, until there is evidence to the contrary, the threat is obvious. Once more, the U.S. claim for themselves more rights than the other States, calling themselves guardians and interpreters of who has or has not the right to possess such weapons and assuming the perpetuity of its nuclear arsenal as well as of those of the other members of the nuclear club.  Yet, it is known that peace and security in the world would have everything to gain from the dismantling of all weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons[16].     

     On the other hand and at the same time, an IAEA consultant stated that the amount of uranium stored by Iran has been stable for a long time and that “the possibility of Iran to continue to produce a nuclear weapon with a hidden uranium stock is utterly false”. The same consultant also stated: “I believe the problem is not the nuclear issue.  Several geopolitical interests are also at stake, since Iran plays a balance role in the Middle East. It is a counterweight to countries as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, local allies of the United States. Iran has also relations with Palestinian groups which destabilize Israel. I believe it is a political rather than a technical problem.”[17]

     There is an overwhelming hypocrisy! India and Pakistan have admittedly nuclear weapons and they have not signed the NPT, just as the Israeli entity which does not assume the possession of nuclear weapons and whose nuclear weapons programme started in 1967 with the collaboration of France[18].

     Following the NPT review in 2010, a conference for the denuclearization of Middle East was planned, for which all States in the region were invited, including the Israeli entity, not a signatory to the Treaty, although it holds a number about 200 nuclear weapons and has the capability of delivering them in its Jericho missiles to targets at flight distance of 11500 km.    

     This Israel's capability of dropping a nuclear bomb, for example on Rio de Janeiro, far away from the region where threats to its security might arise, is not the product of a delirium of its military. This capability attests that Israel is a Western fortress in the Middle East and that it is part of the Western strategic military mechanism, the head of which is Pentagon; it is therefore justified all financial, economic and diplomatic Western support to the Israeli entity.  To this integration at the military level should be added another well-known between CIA and Mossad.

     To finish the set of U.S. accusations against Iran, a former American officer, a senior political scientist of the "commendable" RAND Corporation, Seth Jones, wrote an article in the American "Foreign Affairs" Magazine in which he reveals the presence of thousands of al-Qaida members in Iran, who have taken refuge in there when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. It is not hard to admit that al-Qaida's militants have joined the crowd of Afghan refugees in Iran (one million in 2003) to save their own skin. Especially curious is that this fact becomes known only now, ten years after the event, at a phase in which Western propaganda is particularly fierce in diabolizing Iran. It appears that, even after Bin Laden's death, al-Qaida continues to be a useful political argument to Pentagon[19].

     It is therefore misleading to continue with the tale of Iran's military nuclear programme. It is worse than misleading; it is to accept a discussion under the terms deemed convenient by the U.S. and its Israeli subsidiary which solely aim at isolating Iran and maintaining the American and the Western supremacy in the Middle East as well as the control of its energy sources. This means to the Westerners, especially to the U.S., not only the control of their own energy supply (see 4.4 in this document) but, most of all, to have the power to interfere in the supply of strategic rivals, such as China, India, Japan or South Korea, all of them very dependent on the energy supply from Persian Gulf, thus having the power to determine the development of their economies.

     A new large-scale war is probably not on the agenda of the U.S.. This year (2012), the U.S. will start integration between the Afghan army and the Western troops in order not only to give the former more experience in the fight against the Taliban but also to substantially reduce the direct combat of Western troops with the opponents of their presence. It is a repetition of the vietnamization process of the war, the results of which are known and which were also considered a defeat of the U.S. and its allies; it is also a repeat of the process initiated in Iraq some years ago.  

     These processes are above all soft forms of leaving the ground without achieving a strategic victory by eliminating the threat of the enemy and giving the idea that the military intervention and the "aid" allowed the "locals" to develop their own and autonomous capabilities of success in the future and of virtuous progress towards democracy and civilization. Given that military interventions are very specifically intended to serve the interests of the invader and occupier, the social and political changes are not those necessary or those accepted by the people and hence the fight takes hold again and steps up after the  military withdrawal of the invaders.

     This transfer process of military responsibilities to local soldiers has also several advantages; it is welcome by the American public opinion which sees its soldiers coming back home, since as far as mercenaries are concerned, no one really cares whether they continue on the ground and act without any public scrutiny;   it relieves the coffers of the American state that faces unemployment, poverty and the crucial support to the financial system; it constitutes a disguised form of defeat assumption.

     It seems to be underway a military strategy of no invasion of enemy territory  with the occupation of its land, the management of administrative disorder, refugees, attacks and the responsibility for the reconstruction of infrastructure … even if that might benefit American companies placed in the first line of the award of contracts.

     It should be recalled that in the new NATO Strategic Concept (2010) are defined four stages of "crisis management"  -  preventive protection, proactive crisis management, use of military force and post intervention stabilization  – the latter being known as the most expensive, the most time consuming and the most difficult, involving more human and financial costs for the invaders.

     In order to avoid this latter stage in Libya, the military intervention was based on bombing, on the use of information collection and on logistical support to anti-Gaddafi armed groups.  Once Gaddafi was defeated and the rights over oil resources were reassigned in favour of the Westerners, no one seems to be concerned about the arrangements between the various armed groups that fight each other or, even less so, about the reconstruction of the war-torn areas, primarily after-effects of the Western intervention.

     Also in Bahrain, in face of the popular demonstrations, Saudi and UAE troops intervened to maintain the power of the al-Khalifa family, despite the fact that are located in Bahrain, the headquarters of the command of the U.S. 5th fleet and the number of military present there is around 5000, plus the garrisons of some 30 ships.

     This assumption of strategic weakness becomes clearer faced with the dimension of Iran and the geopolitical aspects of its vicinity. Therefore, economic measures, murder and sabotage will be preferred by relying on the unconditional support of the grim Mossad in the region; or even provocative measures with drones or others, with intervention of special groups eventually created in vassal countries of the Gulf region. In this regard, Saudi Arabia would be the best placed, since its military expenditure corresponded to 11,2% of GDP in 2010 against 2,5% for Iran in 2007.

     In addition to its Israeli fortress, the U.S. in 2012, unlike what happened in 1979, has no Saddam to confront Iran and are forced to be at the forefront of the confrontation, in an unpromising but dangerous bluff game; Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates can function as aids but not to enter, by proxy, into direct confrontation with Iran. But, just like Israel, they would be delighted if the U.S. would crush over Iran and would militarily occupy the region (even more), since this would guarantee the perpetuity of the various royal houses of the Gulf as protectorates of the American, as they have been of the British until decolonization.

     However, any military conflict in the Gulf would impact for an indefinite period the whole world energy distribution system and the energy prices (increased by 30%, according to IMF)[20] which, in the disastrous state of Western economies, would only reinforce their steep decline. The White House and the Pentagon are well aware of that.

     4.4 - The impact of energy sanctions imposed by the EU

In 2010, the proven reserve/production ratios for oil and natural gas, referred to or calculated on the basis of information published in the Statistical Review of World Energy related to 2010, show the huge reserves existing on the shores of the Persian Gulf and, in contrast, China and the U.S. strategic shortages that forces them to ensure abroad their energy supplies.  

Iran, with the third largest reserves in absolute values of oil – after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela - and the second largest ones – after Russia - for natural gas, is the most important country in energy terms, particularly because it holds in its territory huge amounts of the two most versatile fossil fuels. It should be noted that the European gas producers have relatively limited reserves, measured through the above mentioned ratio – Norway with 18.8 years, the Netherlands 17 and England 5.3 years.

                                                                     (production years – 2010 level)
Natural gas
Saudi Arabia
 Saudi Arabia
Un. Arab Emir.

Just like China has been diligently developing an ambitious plan for the construction of hydroelectric dams and nuclear power plants, while simultaneously, investing in renewable energy (therefore its interest in EDP- Eletricidade de Portugal), Iran will seek to ensure a longer duration of its reserves and energy exports by creating a nuclear alternative desired since the time of the last of the Palehvi.

In 2010, as compared to 1995 and according to elements published by UNCTAD, we highlight the following elements on Iran's foreign trade which reveal the enormous relevance of energy products in exports;

   Variation in total exports
 5,5 times
   Variation in oil exports, crude or refined oil
 5.7 times
   Variation in gas exports, natural or non-natural
14.3 times
   Variation in the remaining export
 4.4 times

The spatial distribution of Iranian exports in general and of energy products shows the structural changes in world trade and production that are materialised in the decline of Western domination after some three centuries of dominance. These global changes lead to tensions, conflicts and strategic adjustments which hierarchically restructure the States.        

Balance in energy transactions is normally unstable and there are many factors affecting prices. When the EU bureaucrats decided to cancel oil imports from Iran, from July onwards, to show the U.S. strategic suzerainty what they could do, they should certainly know that no insurmountable difficulties would emerge for Iran there from. Within the proverbial wisdom of the bureaucrats, it is expected that Iran's retaliation to suspend oil exports to France and England, announced on February 19, will not represent another element of sacrifice for the peoples of Europe.  

Most likely there will be a logistics reallocation of the origins and destinations with or without reduction of Iran's overall export level. Among Iran's main customers, China and India, for example, will not be very keen to keep pace with the EU by refusing Iranian oil, especially because the economic dynamism they are experimenting makes them eager for oil and unwilling to cooperate with elements of instability in energy supply; on the other hand, Japan and South Korea only too reluctantly and in the face of Western strong pressure will play the boycott game.

In the past fifteen years there has been a constant drop in the weight of all countries in "developed" Europe relatively to the total exports of crude oil or refined products:  42.8% in 1995 and only 22.5% in 2010. The loss of position of the European countries and, to a lesser extent, of Japan and South Korea is clearly offset by the increasing significance of Chinese and Indian imports; these, taken together, were irrelevant in the context of Iran's exports in 1995 but they show China's growing weight since then and India's as from 2006.  As of 2007, Iranian exports to China and India, as a whole, clearly exceed those to Europe.

                                                                                                                                                                                         Primary source: UNCTAD

Iranian gas export represented, in 2010, only 2.3% of total exports against 79.3% of oil and refined products in the same year. In this context, the relative importance of "developed" Europe represents only 7.8% of the total, although it had greater representativeness in recent years.

                                                            Primary source: UNCTAD

Next, let us evaluate the structure of imports by Europe and by the U.S. to assess the dependence on Middle East suppliers based on data collected from the Statistical Review of World Energy relating to 2010.

The overall crude or refined oil import by Europe and the U.S. has a quantitative value of nearly 12094 thousand barrel per day in the first case and 11689 thousand barrels per day by the U.S., for the 2010 reference year. The share of supplies from the Middle East is greater in Europe than in the U.S. and therefore sanctions may lead to increased dependence on Russia in the first case. Marked differences should also be noted regarding the geographical position but essentially with respect to the degree of concentration in the four main supplying areas of Europe on one hand and of the U.S. on the other hand.

     Former USSR
 Middle East
 S & Cent. America
 North Africa
  Middle East
 West Africa
  West Africa

It is doubtful whether the U.S. want to get involved in a new war of great territorial and temporal extension and its European allies, even less, since the Empire wars are not popular in Europe. Moreover, in the intervention in Libya, the European actors have shown that they had not a suitable facility and they could not even maintain an adequate supply of ammunition to the war front[21].

When speaking about war, upon landing on the Troika's Iberian colony, it is unavoidable to remember that all submarines have doors, the case of Minister Portas being the only one that reminds you of submarines.  

Portas, with his excited preacher manners looks like a Torquemada exhorting to the burning of the Iranian infidels or the protagonist of a popular festival of lies, benefiting from the ignorance or subservience of the Portuguese journalism in geopolitical matters. We, in Portugal, all also remember the manifestation of his catholic fundamentalism against the so-called "love boat" transporting activists in defence of abortion, in 2005, casting him into ridicule as he sent two gunboats against it…  because the famous submarines ordered to German shipyards, had not entered in operation.

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