0:04 [Indian Punchline] (E)
A Taliban delegation led by Abdul Ghani Baradar (centre) visited China recently, according to Beijing. The announcement in Washington on Wednesday regarding Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’ visit to the United States cannot but be noted as a watershed event in regional politics. At its most obvious level, the announcement coincides with the news coming out of Doha that the US and Taliban have resolved their differences over the four issues that were discussed through the seven rounds of talks in the Qatari capital — counterterrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, a ceasefire and intra-Afghan talks.
23:45 [Asia Times] (E)
Erdogan looks set to buy Russian missile defense system in defiance of US and NATO, tying his cart to China and Russia
23:42 [The Unz Review] (E)
Milchan was an active Israeli spy in the U.S., working for the Mossad technology theft division referred to as LEKEM. The Mossad frequently uses so-called sayanim in its espionage, which means diaspora Jews that it recruits on the basis of a shared religion or concern for the security of Israel. The threat coming from Israeli Embassy operatives inside the United States is such that the Department of Defense once warned that Jewish Americans in government would likely be the targets of their intelligence approaches.
22:12 [Club Orlov] (E)
Last week’s G20 gathering in Osaka was a signal event: it signaled how much the world has changed. The centerpieces of the new configuration are China, Russia and India, with the EU and Japan as eager adjuncts, and with Eurasian integration as the overarching priority. The agenda was clearly being set by Xi and Putin. May, Macron and Merkel—the European leaders not quite deserving of that title—were clearly being relegated to the outskirts; two of the three are on their way out while the one keeping his seat (for now) is looking more and more like a toyboy. The Europeans wasted their time haggling over who should head the European Commission, only to face open rebellion over their choice the moment they arrived back home.
23:21 [Indian Punchline] (E)
A series of announcements in Tehran through the past week took the situation around the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (known as the JCPOA) — and the US-Iranian standoff — to an inflection point.
On July 1, it transpired that Iran has exceeded the limit of enriched uranium stockpile under the JCPOA, which is 300 tons.
0:48 [The Unz Review] (E)
If you have ever traveled in Russia outside of Moscow, you certainly have some horrible stories to tell about its atrocious roads, food and lodging or rather lack thereof. Things have changed greatly, and they keep changing. Now there are modern highways, plenty of cafés and restaurants, a lot of small hotels; plumbing has risen to Western standards; the old pearls of architecture have been lavishly restored; people live better than they ever did.
0:19 [New Eastern Outlook] (E)
The United States believes that it is so invincible, exceptional and so frightening that no one would ever dare to protest, let alone defend its people against constant humiliation, economic embargos and military threats. It used to be like this for quite some time. In the past, the West used to bully the world before and after each well-planned assault. Also, well-crafted propaganda used to be applied.
0:15 [Elijah J. Magnier] (E)
As promised, Iran is partially pulling out of the JCPOA nuclear deal. This can be called a “phase one withdrawal” since other phases are expected to follow in the coming months. The basis for this act is not limited to the actions of US President Donald Trump – who shredded the JCPOA deal unilaterally – but also to the failure of the European signatories (i.e. France, the UK and Germany) to offer any incentives for Iran to comply with the deal. This leaves the entire JCPOA agreement in a kind of limbo, now that western leaders have shown themselves untrustworthy to honour any future deals in the wake of Trump’s abdication.
0:17 [The Saker] (E)
This Spring saw a sudden increase in the volume of articles in the so-called “alternative media and blogosphere” about Putin “selling out” Syria or Iran to the Israelis and their US patrons, or both. What was particularly interesting about this campaign is that it was not triggered by any kind of event or statement by Putin or any other senior Russian decision-makers. True, Israeli politicians made numerous trips to Russia, but each time they walked away without anything tangible to show for their efforts. As for their Russian counterparts, they limited themselves to vague and well-intentioned statements. Nonetheless, the “Putin sold out to Netanyahu” campaign did not stop.
0:05 [Asia Times] (E)
Lost in the submarine uproar, the deadline set by Tehran for the EU-3 to support Iranian crude sales expires Sunday
A thick veil of mystery surrounds the fire that broke out in a state of the art Russian submersible in the Barents Sea, leading to the death of 14 crew members poisoned by toxic fumes.
23:52 [Elijah J. Magnier] (E)
For more than 14 months now, Europe has offered no solution to ease the crippling US sanctions on Iran, giving the “Islamic Republic” no valid reason to hold on the JCPOA nuclear deal. The Leader of the Revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei advised Iranian officials to trust neither the US nor Europe. From Iran’s point of view, the US is honest in revealing is animosity to Iran, showing its bad intentions and plans to corner the country. It is playing – in Iran’s view – “the bad cop role”. Europe, on the other hand “is worse, taking upon itself the good cop role, offering nice phrases, a pretence of care and concern, but with no intention of buying Iranian oil”.
8:41 [Global Research] (E)
Yemen’s Customs Department and Consumer Protection has seized over 24,000 tons of infested, rotten, or expired food and medicines sent as “aid” to starving Yemenis since 2015. Yemen currently faces the world’s worst humanitarian disaster in the world due to four years of intense blockade. Since 2015, Yemen’s Customs and Consumer Protection has had to either send back or seize over 24,000 tons of aid determined unfit for consumption sent from the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). Among the “aid” included 15,000 tons of supplementary food for pregnant women and medicine.
8:21 [Strategic Culture Foundation] (E)
As the international financial system is becoming increasingly shaped by the spirit of cooperation and long term development shaped by China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the greater Russia-China alliance, Canada’s adherence to the “old liberal order” has caused the Asian giant to make a tough decision: Remove its Ambassador Extraordinary Plenipotentiary Lu Shaye from the Northern Monarchy until saner heads become a factor in Canadian politics.
0:13 [Indian Punchline] (E)
An expert opinion in the Atlantic details the “unlovely truth” that throughout its history, “America has attacked countries that did not threaten it. To carry out such wars, American leaders have contrived pretexts to justify American aggression. That’s what Donald Trump’s administration—and especially its national security adviser, John Bolton—is doing now with Iran.”
19:10 [Voltairenet] (E)
On 5 June, the media projectors zeroed in on President Trump and the European leaders of NATO, who, for the anniversary of D-Day, auto-celebrated in Portsmouth “peace, freedom and democracy in Europe,” vowing to “defend them at any time, wherever they may be threatened”. The reference to Russia is clear. The major medias have either ignored, or somewhat sarcastically relegated to the second zone, the meeting that took place on the same day in Moscow between the Presidents of Russia and China. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, for their thirtieth meeting in six years, refrained from presenting rhetorical concepts, but noted a series of facts.
18:19 [Indian Punchline] (E)
When India applied for SCO membership or when observers like myself felt elated when India was finally admitted into the grouping in 2017, no one could have foreseen that the grouping held such potential in the very near term itself as a platform for the reset of regional politics — in particular, the India-Pakistan-China triangle.
1:15 [Indian Punchline] (E)
With two days to go for the arrival of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tehran on a peace mission to promote US-Iran talks, a great deal of shadow boxing has been going on. Typically, there is much excitement in the media. Thus, western media in general hyped up the remarks of the commander of the US’ Lincoln strike group, Rear Adm. John F. G. Wade to make them sound belligerent and provocative. However, Tehran has not fallen into that trap. The fact of the matter is that the US and Iranian militaries have deep experience in fathoming each other’s intentions and working out ground rules of co-habitation in the crowded waters of the Persian Gulf.
19:32 [Indian Punchline] (E)
The US project on ‘regime change’ in Venezuela has crash-landed. Far-fetched assumptions that have no basis in the ground realities are withering away. The core assumption was that the existing regime in Caracas is lacking legitimacy. But the failure of the coup attempt in Venezuela on April 30 has put the entire regime change project in jeopardy.
19:19 [Asia Times] (E)
On Wednesday, Xi said at the Kremlin this was his eighth trip to Russia since 2013 – when the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), were announced. And he added he and Putin had met “almost 30 times” since then. Among a raft of agreements signed by Putin and Xi, one stands out: the drive to develop bilateral trade and cross-border payments using the ruble and the yuan, bypassing the US dollar. Or, as Putin diplomatically put it, “Russia and China intend to develop the practice of “settlements in national currencies.”
23:29 [New Eastern Outlook] (E)
Israel plans to construct the world’s longest underwater gas pipeline together with Cyprus and Greece to carry Eastern Mediterranean gas on to Italy and the EU southern states. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has just endorsed the project. It will run smack up against a competing Turkish-Russian gas pipeline, Turk Stream, against a potential Qatari-Iran-Syria pipeline, as well as de facto undercut the Washington attempt to get more US LNG gas to the EU to reduce Russian dependency .
21:10 [Indian Punchline] (E)
The first Chinese commentaries have appeared on the outcome of the general elections in India. The timing is important, since the counting of votes is yet to take place in India. Yet, Chinese commentaries have presumed that the result cannot be contrary to the trend that the exit polls have indicated — that PM Modi is securing a renewed mandate to head another government.
7:43 [youtube/we are change] (E)
Ignoranzia meets curiosity
22:05 [The Vineyard of the Saker] (E)
The demands by the Americans touched the nerve center of CCP power as rulers of PRC. It demanded laws be written (dictated by US in the deal) which would have been the weapons of enforcement triggering penalties for any backsliding by China. These laws would act the way the US dictates to the Yeltsin-Gorbachev administrations acted on the Russian economy and society. Those US advisements crippled the domestic development, led to the wealth rape by oligarchs and set in place the plethora of NGOs that have torn up the educational and scientific sectors of Russia, and they bought time and space for the Liberals to share power and operate as a Fifth Column, largely through the Media that massaged the masses into dreams of European splendor, US freedom and democracy, while drugging with alcohol and hard opiates the nation’s manpower into morbidity and stupor.
17:07 [RT] (E)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US is ready to engage in talks with Tehran without preconditions, yet rolled out the same demand other US adversaries have already heard – it should behave like a “normal nation.”
9:26 [Asia Times] (E)
The rocky partnership between Russia and Iran in the Syrian conflict is entering a turbulent period. The unprecedented US-Russia-Israel security summit due to take place in Jerusalem next month has no other explanation. A tersely worded White House statement on May 29 said that the summit, which will be attended by the national security advisors of the US and Russia – John Bolton and Nikolai Patrushev – will discuss regional security issues. The Israeli media expect that the focus will be on Syria – Iran and “other destabilizing actors.”
8:48 [Elija J. Magnier] (E)
The Iraqi Premier is trying to maintain a balance between his country’s relationship with the US and with Iran, the two enemy countries. This balance is difficult to manage on a territory that hasn’t fully recovered from the effects of years of terrorist domination and a punishing lack of full recovery for its infrastructure. And Abdel Mahdi’s task is even greater: to win over the hearts and minds of a population deeply wounded by the effects of the ‘war on terror’. However, in the middle of all these difficult tasks, Iraq is offering a perfect model for the US to follow and reproduce for its relationships with other “hot” parts of the Middle East, enabling it to return to the arena as a partner and not remain an enemy.
8:27 [youtube/we are change] (E)
This time in Montreux, Switzerland
13:40 [Gold Goats `n Guns] (E)
So, it’s no surprise to me to see it being a direct substitute for Venezuelan crude while the U.S. embargoes it. If the Russians gain the market share lost by Venezuela while, at the same time, providing the financial infrastructure — payment clearing, insurance, etc. — for Venezuela to sell their oil to other markets, like India, what, in the end is the net effect of all this sanctioning and war-mongering? Nothing, of course. But you can’t tell that to insane authoritarians like John Bolton. These are men who can only think in terms of primary effects and overly-discount the market’s ability to overcome obstacles. And so, they get frustrated by secondary effects, like the simple substitution of Russian oil for Venezuelan oil by domestic refiners.
8:45 [Club Orlov] (E)
The way a lot of otherwise intelligent and well-informed commentators are sounding, a war between the US and Iran could break out at any point. Their evidence in favor of this view consists of some US aircraft carriers that are supposedly en route to the Persian Gulf, which Iran threatened to blockade if attacked. To do so, Iran wouldn’t actually have to do anything kinetic; it would suffice for it to threaten to attack some oil tankers for their insurance coverage to be voided, preventing them from loading cargo or setting sail. That would block deliveries of close to two-thirds of all the crude oil that’s shipped by sea and cause a truly staggering amount of economic damage—so staggering that the oil-fired economies of the oil-importing nations (and even some of the oil-exporting ones) may never recover.
8:44 [The Unz Review] (E)
Last week saw what was supposed to be a hyperpower point fingers for its embarrassing defeat not only at Venezuela, which successfully defeated Uncle Shmuel’s coup plans, but also at a list of other countries including Cuba, Russia, China and Iran. It’s is rather pathetic and, frankly, bordering on the comically ridiculous. Uncle Shmuel clearly did not appreciate being the laughingstock of the planet.
21:16 [Asia Times] (E)
As the United States and China volley round after round in an escalating trade war, a second front of conflict is brewing in the contested South China Sea, one that could soon force smaller regional states to take geopolitical sides. This week, a US Navy guided-missile destroyer was deployed near the Scarborough Shoal, a sea feature occupied by China since 2012 but claimed by the Philippines as part of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
11:20 [offGuardian] (E)
Suppressed report removes any “legal justification” for the April 2018 bombing. On May 13th, Tim Hayward of the Working Group on Syria made public on his website an utterly damning document that had been suspiciously excluded from the final investigative report by the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) regarding the U.S.-and-allied allegation that on 7 April 2018 the Syrian Government had sarin-attacked residents in its town of Douma and had killed a large number of non-combatants.
23:35 [The Independent] (E)
In its escalating confrontation with Iran, the US is making the same mistake it has made again and again since the fall of the Shah 40 years ago: it is ignoring the danger of plugging into what is in large part a religious conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims.
15:56 [Middle East Eye] (E)
Any conflict between Iran and the US would inevitably have a huge impact on Iraq. According to the Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce, of $44bn Iranian non-oil exports, around $9bn worth of goods were exported to Iraq in the year to March, a 36 percent year-on-year increase, while as much as 40 percent of Iraqi electricity is thought to come from Iranian gas plants. Despite renewing sanctions on Iran in November, the US has been repeatedly forced to issue waivers to Iraq, knowing full well how reliant the country is on the Islamic Republic.
8:41 [youtube/trnn] (E)
Vijay Prashad says the very dangerous statements, economic sanctions and military aggression unleashed by Washington this week against Iran was countered by cool headed diplomacy by Japan, Russia, EU and China
17:01 [Elija J. Magnier] (E)
Israel prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu claimed he personally convinced the US president Donald Trump to abandon the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA agreement, and wished Iran to “disappear with the help of God”. Israel is much more experienced in dealing with the Middle East than the current US president and his entire team in this administration. Even if Israel itself was not convinced, they evidently managed to convince the Americans that a show of US “superior force with the will to use it” would compel Iran to back off and submit to the US 12 conditions dictated by Secretary Pompeo, as Israel’s former Ambassador to Washington Danny Ayalon said would happen.
16:55 [The Unz Review] (E)
Over the weekend, more than 5,000 delegates from across the world met in Beijing for The Second Belt and Road Forum For International Cooperation. The conference provided an opportunity for public and private investors to learn more about Xi Jinping’s “signature infrastructure project” that is reshaping trade relations across Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. According to journalist Pepe Escobar, “The BRI is now supported by no less than 126 states and territories, plus a host of international organizations” and will involve “six major connectivity corridors spanning Eurasia.”
8:46 [Elija J. Magnier] (E)
When US president Donald Trump says he doesn’t want war with Iran, he expresses a position similar to that of Iranian Leader of the Revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei, who has announced that Iran doesn’t “want to go to war nor to talk” with the US. That brings the bras-de fer between the US and Iran back to square one. The US had been the first to escalate, making much of the deployment of an aircraft carrier to the region and sending a squad of four B-52s as an implicit threat to Iran.
8:44 [Sputnik News] (E)
President Trump is reportedly waiting for the Iranians to get on the phone and start talking business to resolve the dangerous looming military crisis in the Persian Gulf. Step One was for the US to pile on the threats of an “unrelenting” assault on the Islamic Republic. Step Two is for the US president to dangle an overture for dialogue with Tehran in order to avert war.
14:31 [Consortium News] (E)
Berlin, Paris and London assumed Tehran could not afford to leave the JCPOA even if it was not receiving any of the promised economic rewards. Now the EU3 are facing the hour of truth, writes Pepe Escobar.