US Sanctions Are Still Strangling Venezuela – Global Research

us-sanctions-are-still-strangling-venezuela-–-global-research

29-07-19 03:40:00,

As tensions in the Persian Gulf are taking up most of the headlines, the Trump administration is still seeking regime change in Venezuela. Since coming into office President Trump has had an aggressive policy towards Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro. The Center for Economic Policy and Research determined in April that US sanctions were responsible for 40,000 deaths in Venezuela since 2017.

Well, those sanctions are still in full affect. A report released last month by Torino Economics concluded, “There is no logical reason why Chavez’s irresponsibility, Maduro’s incompetence and U.S. economic sanctions cannot all have contributed to worsening the plight of Venezuelans.” Francisco Rodriguez, the economist who prepared the report, is no fan of Maduro. He served as an advisor to Henri Falcon, one of Maduro’s opponents in the 2018 election. Yet Rodriguez still recognizes the damage US sanctions are inflicting.

The report focused on the effect sanctions have had on Venezuela’s oil production. It makes the point that oil production had been slowly declining, but it decreased drastically once the August 2017 sanctions were imposed by the US and when more sanctions were added in January 2019.

In an interview with Journalist Aaron Mate, Rodriguez warned US sanctions could lead to a famine in Venezuela. Rodriguez said,

“The most reasonable conclusion based on the data is that a famine is going to occur in Venezuela over the course of the next twelve months.”

Since declaring himself President in January, opposition leader Juan Guaido has failed to actually take power from Maduro. In April, he called for the military to rise up and take out Maduro. But the coup was short lived. The military has overwhelmingly stood by Maduro, and there are over a million militia members willing to fight for him.

Even though there is plenty of opposition to Maduro in Venezuela, Guaido is seen as a US puppet. Just last week, the Trump Administration announced they would be diverting over $40 million worth of aid from Honduras and Guatemala to Guaido and his crew. This comes after members of Guaido’s opposition party were accused of embezzling money that was for “humanitarian aid.”

The idea of cutting aid to Honduras and Guatemala is to make the governments of those countries increase efforts to curb migration.

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Sanctions on Khamenei? Ending the myth of the ‘Millionaire Mullah’ | The Vineyard of the Saker

sanctions-on-khamenei?-ending-the-myth-of-the-‘millionaire-mullah’-|-the-vineyard-of-the-saker

28-07-19 09:07:00,

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog (cross-posted with PressTV)

There are many pieces of nonsense about Iran which are fervently believed in the West but which have zero credibility inside Iran. “Millionaire Mullahs” is a concept which has captivated the Western imagination, even though it has no basis in reality.

The idea of “Millionaire Mullahs” was conceived in 2003 by the uber-capitalist magazine Forbes. What’s worse, it was created by their longtime Russia editor… Russia during the age of Yeltsin, when neoliberal capitalism was shamelessly gutting all the nations of the former Soviet Union and transferring the longtime assets of the people/state to Western high finance.

The idea “sounds right” to Western ears for three likely reasons: they are often ardently secular and suspicious of all religious authority, they assume all Muslim religious authorities are as rabidly capitalist as the Roman Catholic Church has often been, and also because they know nothing about the revolutionary (unique) and inherently anti-capitalist post-1979 changes to the Iranian economy.

Let’s stop with the nonsense: being a mullah in Iran usually places one in the lower middle class. Iranian Shia clergy do not have extravagant lifestyles, and they have certainly chosen the wrong calling if that was their aim. Furthermore, the Iranian press – which casts an open and intensely critical eye on the government, contrary to Western perceptions – would absolutely have a field day were there any mullahs living the lavish lives of millionaires. The entire idea is absurd and – rather crucially – unproven.

The subject has come up again, due to the incredibly foolish sanctions by the US against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Khamenei, like his predecessor in the Leader post, Ruhollah Khomeini, and his family are known by all Iranians for living simple lifestyles and for possessing absolutely common levels of personal wealth. How does all of Iran know this? Well, doesn’t everyone in the US know the general financial background of Trump?

But first, a bit of background for non-Iranians: Khamenei is from clerical families on both sides of his parents. They were not rich clerics, but lower-middle class, like the majority of Iranian clergy. The 1979 Revolution was decidedly class-based – it was called “the revolution of the barefooted” – and this extended to the clerical class as well,

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How sanctions destroy Syrian life; a meeting with Heike Weber in Damascus

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10-07-19 02:06:00,

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At Heike Weber’s home, Bab Touma, Damascus
Photo; Claudius Lucassen

During my visit to Syria, I met Heike Weber, a German lady from Berlin, who lives nearly for forthy years in Syria. She lives in a very beautiful “Syrian style” house in the Christian area of Damascus – called Bab Touma.

She had a thriving business, together with her children, in Damascus, a fashion designer workshop, with approximately forthy, mainly women (syrian), working for her. The majority of the women came from rural area’s, just outside Damascus, like Jobar, Ghouta or Harasta.

House of Heike Weber, Bab Touma, Damascus, Syria

When the conflict started, a lot of women stopped working, either being killed, or fled to Europe. The main reason behind that is what I persume, the men of the women collaborated with the foreign terrorist, partly, or because of, the fighting, lost their homes and after the call of Frau Merkel and the rest of the EU countries, in need of cheap labour, went on the migration journey to Europe!

Heike showed me pictures of her business, before 2011, she owned a big shop, a workshop and regurarly held fashions shows. All her designs (which she designed by herself) were handmade. Among her customers were Queen Noor of Jordan, Queen Sophia of Greece, the wife of the Presidents of Tunesia and Algeria, also Egypt and many more celebrities, of which most of them are gone, ousted or hated by the West.

She even had TV shows on the Syrian TV, Lebanese and many more. She knew famous icons like https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoed_Darwiesj, but then the west and the US, in cooperation with the KSA and Qatar, decided to execute the plan of George J.W. Bush Jr. (just the frontman of the Illuminati or shadow government) and waged a war on Syria. Syria is one of the 7 countries on the list of the Axes of Evil plan/speech (George Bush Jr. 2002) and destroyed Syria, by sending foreign jihadist, first deployed in Libya and then to Syria.

In 2011, the EU, together with the US imposed sanctions on Syria, they say on the government, but that’s rubbish,

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Syria & Iran To Defy Sanctions By Building Railway From Tehran To Mediterranean

syria-&-iran-to-defy-sanctions-by-building-railway-from-tehran-to-mediterranean

05-07-19 08:39:00,

Via AlMasdarNews.com

Iran is preparing to begin construction on a large railway that links their capital city of Tehran to the Syrian coastal city of Latakia, the Director of Syrian Railways Najib Al-Fares said on Wednesday.

According to Fares, the new railway will promote regional trade between Syria, Iraq, and Iran. The new project is expected to be funded by the Iranian government, with support from both Syria and Iraq.

Illustrative file image of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways, slated to undertake construction work in Iraq on a railway line to link Iran with Syria.

The Director of the Iraqi Railway Company, Jawad Kazim, said that Iraq had previously signed contracts to implement projects with Iranian companies, but most were delayed.

For Syria, the new railway system is expected to help ease their economic issues that have derived from the U.S.-led sanctions on the Levantine nation.

During the signing of the minutes, [Iranian Deputy Minister and Chairman of Roads Maintenance and Transport Organization] Shahram Adamnejad said that the tripartite meeting resulted in positive outcomes among the three sides, affirming that the goal of the negotiations is to activate the Iranian-Iraqi-Syria load and transport corridor as a part of a wider plan for reviving the Silk Road as the three countries have an old experience in the international trade. — Syria’s SANA

While this should be beneficial for all parties, this new railway system will face heavy criticism and possibly military attack from the U.S. and its allies, most notably Israel.

Tripartite meeting of Iran, Iraq, Syria on railways coop. https://t.co/LAzXqnLOzJ

— Mehr News Agency (@MehrnewsCom) July 1, 2019

Israel has paid close attention to the Iranian developments in Syria and has often acted when they suspect weapons are being transported across borders.

Map via Syrianews.cc: Iran will bypass the Strait of Hormuz, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea and Suez Canal to reach the Mediterranean.

The U.S. is likely currently opposing the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) control over the border city of Albukamal in Deir Ezzor because it allows Iran to build a land bridge along the international highway.

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Starvation Sanctions Are Worse Than Overt Warfare

starvation-sanctions-are-worse-than-overt-warfare

23-06-19 07:27:00,

“We are putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday,” President Trump tweeted today. “I look forward to the day that Sanctions come off Iran, and they become a productive and prosperous nation again – The sooner the better!”

Iran’s economy is already floundering due to the steadily mounting sanctions that the Trump administration has been heaping upon it since its withdrawal from the JCPOA last year. Crucial goods are four times the price they used to be, sick Iranians are having difficulty obtaining life-saving medicine, and life in general has been getting much more difficult for the poorest and frailest Iranian civilians.

For this reason, it is a very safe bet that there have been Iranians who have died because of the sanctions. Being unable to obtain enough life-saving medicine will inevitably increase mortality rates, as will inadequate nutrition and care for those whose health is at risk. There’s not really any way around that, and it’s only going to get worse.

And that’s exactly what was supposed to happen. As far as their intended purpose is concerned, the sanctions are working. They’re doing exactly what they were intended to do: hurt Iranian civilians.

How do I know this? Well for one thing America’s Secretary of State has said it openly. The New York Times reports the following:

Last week, Mr. Pompeo acknowledged to Michael J. Morrell, a former acting director of the C.I.A., that the administration’s strategy would not persuade Iranian leaders to change their behavior.

“I think what can change is the people can change the government,” he said on a podcast hosted by Mr. Morrell, in what appeared to be an endorsement of regime change.

The Trump administration isn’t leveling these sanctions because it believes they’ll cause Tehran to capitulate to Washington’s impossible list of demands; they know full well that that will never happen. What they claim, based on no evidence or historical precedent whatsoever, is that by making life so painful for the hungry and malnourished Iranian people they’ll be forced to rise up against their government to effect regime change themselves.

Can you think of anything more sociopathic than this?

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How the US Regime Uses Sanctions to Soften a Country Up for Invasion

how-the-us-regime-uses-sanctions-to-soften-a-country-up-for-invasion

21-05-19 10:04:00,

On May 13th, Reuters headlined “Iran insists on ramping up oil sales to stay in nuclear pact” and reported that “EU officials … estimate Iran needs to sell 1.5 million bpd to keep its economy afloat. A drop below 1 million bpd could bring hardship and economic crisis.”

Prior to US President Donald Trump’s cancellation of the nuclear deal with Iran and re-imposition of economic sanctions against Iran and against any companies that trade with Iran, Iran had been selling around 2 million bpd (barrels per day).

Furthermore:

Once Europe’s biggest supplier, Iran has seen its exports gradually cut off from European buyers.

China – Iran’s largest oil customer with imports of 475,000 bpd in the first quarter of this year – has also stopped buying from Iran after Washington chose not to renew sanctions waivers.

Therefore, companies both in Europe and in China are terminating trade with Iran. The likelihood is consequently that Iran will be forced back into its nuclear program, and that things will be like what they had been before Obama had struck his deal with Iran. Here’s what that was like:

On 22 April 2010, the Congressional Research Service reported to Congress that:

Iran’s economy is highly dependent on the production and export of crude oil to finance government spending, and consequently is vulnerable to fluctuations in international oil prices. Although Iran has vast petroleum reserves, the country lacks adequate refining capacity and imports gasoline to meet domestic energy needs. Iran is seeking foreign investment to develop its petroleum sector. While some deals have been finalized, reputational and financial risks may have limited other foreign companies’ willingness to finalize deals.

Trump seems likely to exceed the hostility toward Iran that had been in effect during Obama’s and Bush’s Presidencies. If Trump is trying to force Iran to retaliate, then the goal is to use such retaliation from Iran as an excuse for the US military to move in — to invade.

The Reuters article says “One year after Washington quit the deal, Iran announced on Wednesday steps to relax some restrictions on its nuclear program.”

So: that is already restarting.

OilPrice dot com bannered on 22 April 2019,

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Threats and Sanctions Everywhere – A Chronicle of Disorganized Chaos Foretold | New Eastern Outlook

threats-and-sanctions-everywhere-–-a-chronicle-of-disorganized-chaos-foretold-|-new-eastern-outlook

15-05-19 07:50:00,

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As of May 10, Mr. Trump has arbitrarily increased tariffs on Chinese goods imported into the US, worth about 200 billion dollars, from 10 % to 25%. It is an action without any foundation. An action that makes no sense at all, as China can and will retaliate – and retaliate much stronger than what the impact of the US’s new “sanctions” bear – because these arbitrary tariffs are nothing else but sanctions. Illegality of such foreign interference aside, there is hardly any serious economist in this world, who would favor tariffs in international trade among “adults” anywhere and for any reason, and, of course, least as a punishment for a nation. All that such sanctions do is pushing a partner away. In this case it’s not just any partner; China is a key trading partner of the United States.

The new tariffs will hardly harm the American consumer. There are huge profit margins by US middlemen and importers of Chinese goods. They are competing with each other within the US – and the consumer may not even notice a thing. However, the US economy will likely suffer, especially from Chinese retaliatory actions.

A spoiled child, what Trump is, doesn’t get his way – and goes into a tantrum, not quite knowing what he is doing, and knowing even less what he may expect in return. Mr. Trump himself, has not only reached a level of incompetence and ignorance which is scary – but he has also surrounded himself with inept, preposterous people, like, Pence, Bolton, Pompeo – who, it appears, have no other means left than running around the world amok, dishing out threats left and right – and spending billions on moving aircraft carriers around the globe to make sure people are afraid of the great-great the United States of America.

***

Back to trading with China. China has a million ways (almost) to retaliate. China can devalue her currency vis-à-vis the dollar, or China can dump some of their almost 3 trillion dollars-worth of reserves on the money market – just take a wild guess about what that would do to the hegemony of the dollar which is already in dire straits – with ever more countries departing from the use of dollars for international trade.

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Economic Sanctions: Washington’s Best Tool to Control the World

economic-sanctions-washington8217s-best-tool-to-control-the-world

14-03-19 08:28:00,

For decades, Washington’s favourite means of punishing nations that do not subscribe to its narrative has been through the imposition of economic sanctions.  This has become particularly apparent with the ongoing and increasing sanctions against Iran, Russia and North Korea.  While sanctions against these governments have garnered headlines for the past few years, in fact, there are far more sanctions that we rarely hear about.

In 1950, the Office of Foreign Assets Control was formed as part of the United States Department of the Treasury.  OFAC administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions that are based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals.  Sanctions have been imposed for the following reasons:

1.) terrorism

2.) international narcotics trade

3.) proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

4.) threats to national security, foreign policy and/or economy of the United States

Economic sanctions, in their most basic form, are defined as the withdrawal of trade and financial relations with a targeted nation for foreign and security policy purposes.  Economic sanctions  can take many forms including freezing of assets, arms embargoes, trade restrictions and bans, capital restraints, foreign aid reductions and travel bans.  According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the United States uses economic and financial sanctions more than any other nation.

In the United States, sanctions can originate in either the Executive or Legislative branches of government.  Presidents begin the process by issuing an Executive Order or EO which affords the president social powers to regulate commerce with a given entity.  Under the EO, the president declares that there is a national emergency in response to “unusual and extraordinary” foreign threats, for instance, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States.  In addition to Executive actions, Congress can also pass legislation to both modify and impose sanctions.  Most sanctions programs are administered by the previously mentioned OFAC, however, other government departments may be involved including Homeland Security, Justice, State and Commerce.  

On the OFAC website  interested parties can search for information on federally mandated sanctions programs.  Under each sanctions program there is an exhaustive listing of changes to the programs, guidelines that must be followed under penalty of law.  

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Sanctions of Mass Destruction: America’s War on Venezuela – Global Research

sanctions-of-mass-destruction-america8217s-war-on-venezuela-8211-global-research

30-01-19 01:18:00,

American economic sanctions have been the worst crime against humanity since World War Two. America’s economic sanctions have killed more innocent people than all of the nuclear, biological and chemical weapons ever used in the history of mankind.

The fact that for America the issue in Venezuela is oil, not democracy, will surprise only those who watch the news and ignore history. Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves on the planet.

America seeks control of Venezuela because it sits atop the strategic intersection of the Caribbean, South and Central American worlds. Control of the nation, has always been a remarkably effective way to project power into these three regions and beyond.

From the first moment Hugo Chavez took office, the United States has been trying to overthrow Venezuela’s socialist movement by using sanctions, coup attempts, and funding the opposition parties. After all, there is nothing more undemocratic than a coup d’état.

Potsdam1 Bildarchiv Alfred de Zayas.JPG

United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur, Alfred de Zayas, recommended, just a few days ago, that the International Criminal Court investigate economic sanctions against Venezuela as a possible crime against humanity perpetrated by America.

Over the past five years, American sanctions have cut Venezuela off from most financial markets, which have caused local oil production to plummet. Consequently, Venezuela has experienced the largest decline in living standards of any country in recorded Latin American history.

Prior to American sanctions, socialism in Venezuela had reduced inequality and poverty whilst pensions expanded. During the same time period in America, it has been the absolute reverse. President Chavez funnelled Venezuela’s oil revenues into social spending such as free+6 healthcare, education, subsidized food networks, and housing construction.

In order to fully understand why America is waging economic war on the people of Venezuela one must analyse the historical relationship between the petrodollar system and Sanctions of Mass Destruction: Prior to the 20th century, the value of money was tied to gold. When banks lent money they were constrained by the size of their gold reserves. But in 1971, U.S. President Richard Nixon took the country off the gold standard. Nixon and Saudi Arabia came to an Oil For Dollars agreement that would change the course of history and become the root cause of countless wars for oil.

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Escobar: What Sanctions On Russia And China Really Mean

Escobar: What Sanctions On Russia And China Really Mean

20-10-18 07:52:00,

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

The Pentagon may not be advocating total war against both Russia and China – as it has been interpreted in some quarters …

A crucial Pentagon report on the US defense industrial base and “supply chain resiliency” bluntly accuses China of “military expansion” and “a strategy of economic aggression,” mostly because Beijing is the only source for “a number of chemical products used in munitions and missiles.”

Russia is mentioned only once, but in a crucial paragraph: as a – what else – “threat,” alongside China, for the US defense industry.

The Pentagon, in this report, may not be advocating total war against both Russia and China – as it was interpreted in some quarters. What it does is configure the trade war against China as even more incandescent, while laying bare the true motivations behind the sanctioning of Russia.

The US Department of Commerce has imposed restrictions on 12 Russian corporations that are deemed to be acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the US.” In practice, this means that American corporations cannot export dual-use products to any of the sanctioned Russian companies.

There are very clear reasons behind these sanctions – and they are not related to national security. It’s all about “free market” competition.

At the heart of the storm is the Irkut MC-21 narrow-body passenger jet – the first in the world with a capacity of more than 130 passengers to have composite-based wings.

AeroComposit is responsible for the development of these composite wings. The estimated share of composites in the overall design is 40%.

The MC-21’s PD-14 engine – which is unable to power combat jets – will be manufactured by Aviadvigatel. Until now MC-21s had Pratt & Whitney engines. The PD-14 is the first new engine 100% made in Russia since the break up of the USSR.

Aviation experts are sure that an MC-21 equipped with a PD-14 easily beats the competition; the Airbus A320 and the Boeing-737.

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Washington’s Sanctions Machine – Global Research

Washington’s Sanctions Machine – Global Research

27-09-18 02:46:00,

Perhaps it is Donald Trump’s business background that leads him to believe that if you inflict enough economic pain on someone they will ultimately surrender and agree to do whatever you want. Though that approach might well work in New York real estate, it is not a certain path to success in international relations since countries are not as vulnerable to pressure as are individual investors or developers.

Washington’s latest foray into the world of sanctions, directed against China, is astonishing even when considering the low bar that has been set by previous presidents going back to Bill Clinton. Beijing has already been pushing back over US sanctions imposed last week on its government-run Equipment Development Department of the Chinese Central Military Commission and its director Li Shangfu for “engaging in significant transactions” with a Russian weapons manufacturer that is on a list of US sanctioned companies. The transactions included purchases of Russian Su-35 combat aircraft as well as equipment related to the advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile system. The sanctions include a ban on the director entering the United States and blocks all of his property or bank accounts within the US as well as freezing all local assets of the Equipment Development Department.

More important, the sanctions also forbid conducting any transactions that go through the US financial system. It is the most powerful weapon Washington has at its disposal, but it is being challenged as numerous countries are working to find ways around it. Currently however, as most international transactions are conducted in dollars and pass through American banks that means that it will be impossible for the Chinese government to make weapons purchases from many foreign sources. If foreign banks attempt to collaborate with China to evade the restrictions, they too will be sanctioned.

So in summary, Beijing bought weapons from Moscow and is being sanctioned by the United States for doing so because Washington does not approve of the Russian government. The sanctions on China are referred to as secondary sanctions in that they are derivative from the primary sanction on the foreign company or individual that is actually being punished. Secondary sanctions can be extended ad infinitum as transgressors linked sequentially to the initial transaction multiply the number of potential targets.

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Sanctions Backfire: US Is Being Left Behind | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

Sanctions Backfire: US Is Being Left Behind | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

27-08-18 10:12:00,

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above  

The United States has a long history of dominating international economic institutions and has been able to use that power in the past to control other governments and enrich its industries. At present, the United States is waging an economic World War targeting much of the world economy, including allies who refuse to comply with US mandates.

Among the nations included in the US economic war are China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Venezuela, Nicaragua and North Korea. The European Union is being threatened with economic sanctions if it does not obey US demands to blockade the Iranian economy.

The US’ power and influence are waning. Measured by the real economy, i.e. people’s ability to purchase goods, the CIA’s World Factbook ranks China as the largest economy in the world, $4 trillion larger than the United States, which ranks third after the EU. Also in the top 20 are Russia, Turkey, and Iran.

US tools of economic domination are failing and are causing the country to be isolated as the rest of the world moves in a multi-polar direction. Countries are cutting the US out of their markets and building independence from US-dollar domination.

This is a time for the US to change its strategy, but the power elites and Pentagon do not seem to know any other way. Military spending continues to rise, now consuming 61% of federal discretionary spending. The social safety net is unraveling, leaving people in the US vulnerable to the impacts of a world economy that increasingly leaves the US out. It is up to us, the people, to organize and mobilize for a modern foreign policy and economy that takes the new global dynamics into account.

Fundamental Flaws In The US Economy Worsen

The global economic war the US has begun is already undermining the US economy. Rather than address decades of failed policies, the US is looking for a quick fix by taxing foreign goods and isn’t investing in building a sound economy. The US economy is not on firm ground.

Much of the real economy of the United States, producing goods, has gone overseas. Combined with new technology, this has resulted in the US losing 5 million jobs since 2000,

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US Sanctions are Pushing Russia to War

US Sanctions are Pushing Russia to War

13-08-18 03:18:00,

Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation…

The new round of sanctions this week unleashed by the United States on Russia has only one meaning: the US rulers want to crush Russia’s economy. By any definition, Washington is, in effect, declaring war on Russia.

The implemented economic measures may have a seemingly abstract or sterile quality about them: banning electronic exports to Russia, rattling financial markets, stock prices falling. But the material consequence is that American officials are intending to inflict physical damage on Russian society and Russian people.

It’s economic warfare on a sliding scale to military warfare, as the Prussian General Karl von Clausewitz would no doubt appreciate.

It seems all the more significant that this week also saw US internet services launching a major clampdown on anti-war websites, suggesting that the powers-that-be want to shut down any criticism or public awareness of their reckless warmongering.

What’s more, the latest round of US sanctions – there have been several previous rounds since the contrived Ukrainian conflict in 2014 – is based on nothing but wild, ridiculous speculation. That only adds insult upon injury.

Washington said the new proposed sanctions are due to its “determination” that the Russian state was responsible for an alleged chemical-weapon attack on a former double agent in England earlier this year.

The so-called Skripal affair involving Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia allegedly being poisoned by Russian agents using a deadly nerve agent is as yet an unproven conundrum. Some might even say “farce”.

No evidence has ever been presented by the British government to substantiate its sensational allegations against Moscow. Its claims that Russia was responsible for poisoning the Skripals rests entirely on dubious assertion and innuendo.

Now Washington is proposing sanctions based on a wholly unverified “determination” by the British – sanctions that are intended to crush the Russian economy. The proposed punitive measures go way beyond the usual freezing of assets pertaining to individuals. What Washington is moving to do is attack the core financial operation of the Russian economy.

No wonder that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev issued a grave response to the latest American sanctions. He said they were comparable to “economic warfare”.

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Trump’s Sanctions Admit the End of US Military Dominance

Trump’s Sanctions Admit the End of US Military Dominance

09-08-18 03:29:00,

Authored by Eric Zuesse via the Strategic Culture Foundation.

Such important reality as is shown in this picture is virtually unpublishable in mainstream US ‘news’media, because US ‘news’media need to deceive their public about the most important international realities — such as that the US imposed upon Ukraine a nazi regime against Russia, and the US now lies to accuse Russia for doing what Russia must do in order to protect itself from the US nazi regime next-door.

This picture is among many which were originally published in the excellent 4 July 2018 article by Asa Winstanley at The Electronic Intifada. His article was headlined “Israel is arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine”. That article focuses upon Israel’s strong support for the racist-fascist (or ideologically nazi) Government of Ukraine. (Click onto it to see the documentation — it’s Israeli nazis, against Russians, not against Jews, though they’re allied with ones that are against both, which is why the US did this — aiming to conquer ultimately Russia.)

Israel does this as part of the US-led coalition in support of the current racist-fascist Government of Ukraine, which Government was installed in a bloody coup that US President Barack Obama started planning by no later than 2011 and started operationalizing on 1 March 2013 and carried out in February 2014 under the cover of US State Department and CIA-generated anti-corruption mass demonstrations on Kiev’s Maidan square, but some of whose US-funded snipers have already gone public (though not in US ‘news’media) describing how they were hired to do it, and how they did it.

How, then, can anybody believe the US ‘news’media, which hide these clear realities, instead of ever having reported them to the duped American public?

The US Government’s anti-Russian sanctions, and its NATO exercises with US missiles and tanks on and near Russia’s borders, are based upon the US government’s lies, not upon the truths that this photo represents and which will here be explained.

In US ‘news’media, the overthrow and replacement of Ukraine’s democratically elected government was ‘the Maidan Revolution’, or ‘the 2014 Ukrainian revolution’, not Obama’s coup in Ukraine.

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How The Iran Sanctions Drama Intersects With OPEC-Plus

How The Iran Sanctions Drama Intersects With OPEC-Plus

02-07-18 05:47:00,

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

Major states buying oil from Iran are unlikely to heed the US call to drop imports; key allies want a waiver to avoid sanctions; OPEC, meanwhile, will have trouble boosting output in the short-term; the puzzle is not solved, but there are dark clouds…

History may have registered stranger geoeconomic bedfellows. But in the current OPEC-plus world, the rules of the game are now de facto controlled by OPEC powerhouse Saudi Arabia in concert with non-OPEC Russia.

Russia may even join OPEC as an associate member. There’s a key clause in the bilateral Riyadh-Moscow agreement stipulating that joint interventions to raise or lower oil production now are the new norm.

Some major OPEC members are not exactly pleased. At the recent meeting in Vienna, three member states – Iran, Iraq and Venezuela – tried, but did not manage to veto the drive for increased production. Venezuela’s production is actually declining. Iran, facing a tacit US declaration of economic war, is hard-pressed to increase production. And Iraq’s will need time to boost output.

Goldman Sachs insists: “The oil market remains in deficit… requiring higher core OPEC and Russia production to avoid a stock-out by year-end.” Goldman Sachs expects production by OPEC and Russia to rise by 1.3 million barrels a day by the end of 2019. Persian Gulf traders have told Asia Times that’s unrealistic: “Goldman Sachs does not have the figures to assert the capability of Russia and Saudi Arabia to produce so much oil. At most, that would be a million barrels a day. And it is doubtful Russia will seek to damage Iran even if they had the capacity.”

In theory, Russia and Iran, both under US sanctions, coordinate their energy policy. Both are interested in countering the US shale industry. Top energy analysts consider that only with oil at $100 a barrel will fracking become highly profitable. And oil and gas generated via fracked in the US is a short-term thing; it will largely be exhausted in 15 years. Moreover, the real story may be that shale oil is, in the end, nothing but a Ponzi scheme.

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Iran Sanctions: A Reminder Of How America Militarized The Financial System

Iran Sanctions: A Reminder Of How America Militarized The Financial System

15-05-18 07:17:00,

Authored by Tho Bishop via The Mises Institute,

Only CNN was surprised by Donald Trump’s recent announcement that he was pulling the United States out of the Iran Deal negotiated by his predecessor. Following the same failed approach of the last Republican administration, the President opted for confrontation with the Iranian regime rather than uplifting more moderate factions within the country through trade. The decision has already increased tensions in the volatile region, with Iran and Israel exchanging fire in Syria.

Meanwhile European leaders are meeting Iranian officials to try to design a way to bypass new American sanctions. Others have vocally attacked Trump’s actions and attacked the US playing the role of “economic policeman.”

As French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said after the decision:

Do we want to be vassals who obey decisions taken by the United States while clinging to the hem of their trousers? Or do we want to say we have our economic interests, we consider we will continue to do trade with Iran?

According to reports, European officials are looking at a few different options to help salvage their economic relationship with Iran.

One is by reviving “blocking statues” such as the ones the EU threatened in response to sanctions on Cuba, Libya, and Iran in the 1990s. The mechanism works similar to the anti-commandeering doctrine, ordering European officials to refuse to comply with US sanctions. As Reuters notes, blocking statues have “never been used and is seen by European governments more as a political weapon.” They were successful in the past because the Clinton Administration simply backed down, something that seems unlikely with President Trump.

The other is to establish new financial institutions with no connection to the US financial system. Iran has already made the euro the official reporting currency for foreign exchange, so on the surface this seems like a viable alternative.

The problem European decision makers face, however, is that the US has gone to great lengths to militarize the banking industry in recent years.

As Richard Goldberg noted at Foreign Policy:

[In 2010] Congress passed a new law leveraging America’s greatest strength against the fulcrum of global commerce with Iran: financial transactions.  » Lees verder

Can US Russian Sanctions Start A Financial Crisis? | Armstrong Economics

Can US Russian Sanctions Start A Financial Crisis? | Armstrong Economics

08-05-18 08:04:00,

The US sanctions against Russia are pointless and are placing the West at risk the politicians are too stupid to even comprehend. Already, some Russian companies have asked the government for liquidity injections of up to $2 billion. Even the world’s second-largest aluminum producer Rusal has asked for help. Nevertheless, the impact of sanctions goes beyond the internal borders of Russia for they also impact the international financial markets.

For example, Rusal had previously made clear that the US sanctions are threatening their ability to even meet debt obligations. They carry $7.7 billion of debt in US dollars of which about $1 billion in debt is maturing within five years. In terms of US dollars, Rusal cannot even pay the debts because it would have to do so through US banks. That means, under the sanctions, they would have to default on their bonds. Now let’s turn to Polyus, which is Russia’s largest gold producer. Here they have also $5 billion in US debt. Those US dollar bonds maturing in 2024.  doubles as sanctions become known.

The same story applies to many Russian companies for they still have to conduct business in US dollars regardless of the sanctions. For example, let’s look closer at Rusal. Here the company conducts over 60% of all its business in US dollars. The US sanctions prohibit Americans from doing business with the affected Russian companies or individuals. This is really crazy. Any Russian state-controlled bank cannot step in as an intermediate because they could then become the target of sanctions itself.

Western investors are actually the ones who will be punished by the US sanctions if the Russian companies cannot pay their debts under the law. They cannot even go to an intermediary in Europe for they too could then be targeted by the US for violating the sanctions. The US sanctions would actually justify Russian defaults on all their debt. Will the US then bail out the Western bondholders?

This may end up simply as a 1931 event where one default starts a panic and the entire house of cards comes crashing down.

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Sanctions, Subversion, and Color Revolutions: US Meddling in Cambodian Elections | New Eastern Outlook

Sanctions, Subversion, and Color Revolutions: US Meddling in Cambodian Elections | New Eastern Outlook

15-01-18 07:38:00,

After a nearly year-long marathon of daily, acrimonious accusations against Moscow for alleged, yet-to-be proven interference in the 2016 US presidential elections, Washington finds itself increasingly mired in its own hypocrisy – openly and eagerly pursing the very sort of interference abroad in multiple nations regarding elections and internal political affairs it has accused Russia of.

A particularly acute example of this is Cambodia where recently, the government has begun uprooting and expelling US State Department-funded fronts and media organizations as well as arresting members of the US-backed opposition party while disbanding the party itself – for interfering in preparations for upcoming elections.

The New York Times in its August article, “Cambodia Orders Expulsion of Foreign Staff Members With American Nonprofit,” would claim:

Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday ordered foreign staff members of an American nonprofit that gets support from the United States government to leave the country within a week, part of an apparent attempt to silence opposition voices before national elections next year.

The NYT would elaborate, reporting:

The nonprofit, the National Democratic Institute [a subsidiary of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)], is loosely affiliated with the Democratic Party in the United States, and has provided training to various Cambodian political parties, including those from the opposition. Local news media organizations with ties to Mr. Hun Sen’s party have accused the nonprofit of conspiring against him.

Unsurprisingly, the NYT attempts to portray Cambodia’s uprooting of US government-funded fronts, media, and opposition directly and openly manipulating its political affairs as undemocratic. Such a narrative concurrently takes shape in the NYT’s pages side-by-side an entire section titled, “Russian Hacking and Influence in the U.S. Election.”

While Western media like the NYT claims foreign interference in America’s affairs constitutes the destruction of American democracy, it simultaneously proposes that extensive US meddling in elections abroad – including in Cambodia – constitutes the promotion of democracy.

Unfortunately for many, the hypocrisy this glaring double standard represents goes unnoticed – due in part to the notion of American – and to a larger extend – Western exceptionalism.

Washington’s Khmer Marionettes 

The move by Phnom Penh is the culmination of years of US meddling in Cambodia’s internal political affairs and political processes including its elections.

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