neocolonialist assholes

Help À La Française: Macron Pushes Neo-Expansionism
South Front, Aug 9 2020

The current geopolitical position of France is shaped by a variety of factors. As one of the key actors in the Mediterranean region, Paris is now primarily a European leader in countering Turkey’s expansionist policy. Relations between the two countries are complicated by the necessity to reckon with the activation of significant global processes, the destruction of the system of international law, the diminishing role of the Faschingstein establishment in particular in the Mediterranean region and to a greater extent in the Middle East, while the influence of Turkey and Russia increases in the region. The changing balance of power in the entire Mediterranean region encourages regional players to actively integrate into the current geopolitical agenda. So Macron, in his turn, decided to gain the moment and go on a geostrategic offensive. First of all, such a turn towards an active independent foreign policy, largely aimed at deterring Turkey, is observed in the framework of the Libyan conflict, where Paris tends to support the Tobruk government in the framework of an international coalition that includes Egypt and the UAE. Moreover, France has a security cooperation agreement with Cyprus, which entered into force on Aug 1. Egypt and Greece also signed an agreement in Cairo on Thursday to demarcate their maritime borders and establish an exclusive economic zone. Given the close cooperation between members of the emerging Egypt-Greece-France trilateral Mediterranean partnership, it can be assumed that Turkey risks remaining isolated in the next few years. It follows that Ankara will strengthen the opposition and will make a major effort to destabilize a potential alliance. The new second vector of French foreign policy in the region is largely determined by Macron’s opportunistic policy and represents an unprecedented increase in influence in Lebanon.

Lebanon has historically had close ties with France. After WW1 and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the League of Nations approved in 1923 the French mandate in Syria and Lebanon. Despite the fact that the mandate was valid only until 1943, the French military left the territory of Syria and Lebanon only in 1946. Of course, France retains a great influence in Lebanon, which in turn alarms regional actors such as Egypt. The large explosions that took place in the port of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on Aug 4, led to horrific consequences in the country, including further deterioration of the economic situation, which was already significantly weakened, inter alia by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before the outbreak of the pandemic and the explosions in Beirut, about 50% of the country’s population lived below the poverty line, and the unemployment rate reached 35%. The terrible accident was a kind of trigger that marked not only the need to change the political course, but also a new round of geopolitical confrontation between regional actors. On Aug 7, Macron flew to visit Beirut, which was destroyed by the explosion. After a demonstrative visit to the most affected areas, the French President met with Lebanese President Michel Aoun. In his statement, Macron not only expressed his condolences to the entire population of Lebanon, specifying that at least 50 French citizens were also injured by the explosion, but also announced the humanitarian assistance provided to Lebanon. Prime Minister Jean Castex said:

As always, France will be here to help as we have the relationships of solidarity and friendship that we have maintained with the Lebanese people for decades. This tragedy of exceptional magnitude touches a friendly country, a country that is also in difficulty.

French aid is delivered by three military aircraft cantaining food and medical aid to the Lebanese capital. These aircraft carry a civil security detachment (55 people, 15 tons of equipment) and a mobile health post including 6 tons of equipment and allowing the care of 500 wounded, accortding to the Elysée. In addition, France apparently plans to take patronage over the delivery of international humanitarian aid to the affected areas. According to the French head of State, “an international conference of support” will soon be organized to mobilize international funding for Lebanon. The French leader said:

France will also be there to organize international aid alongside the EU, the UN and with the support of the World Bank. In the next few days we will organize, and the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs has already begun to make the first contacts and mobilize his teams-an international conference of support to Beirut and the Lebanese population.

However, heading to Beirut, Macron was carrying not only humanitarian aid, but also a “new political pact.” French President said he would pitch a “new political deal” to the Lebanon leadership. He said:

Strong initiatives are needed to fight corruption against the opacity of the banking system.

He also called for “the initiation of an IMF program” and the continuation of “the CEDRE plan.” The economic conference for the development of Lebanon through reforms and with companies (CEDRE), which took place on Apr 6 2018 in Paris, aimed to support the development and strengthening of the Lebanese economy, through a comprehensive plan of reforms and infrastructure investments prepared by the Lebanese authorities. The conference had been used to raise funds. But very quickly, donors, whose pledges had reached $11.6b, had expressed doubts about the credibility of the programe, which implementation had been delayed by political instability. Macron claimed:

I spoke frankly and transparently with the president regarding the need to fight corruption, implement reforms, conduct a transparent investigation into what is happening in the banking system, and continue dialogue with the IMF.

Continuing to leave the diplomatic framework, which already brings him some accusations of interference, he returned to this “political, moral, economic and financial crisis in which the political class bears a historical responsibility,” wishing “investigations that can take place in a transparent framework.” Macron said he would demand accountability from the authorities and that he would return on Sep 1 and if the proposed “political Pact” was not implemented, he would be forced to take measures. Of course, Macron faced a great support from the local population. The Lebanese surrounding the president’s procession, accompanied it with songs, cries, slogans, as ”Revolution!”, assistance alternated with the denunciation of Michel Aoun. “Michel Aoun, terrorist!” “You freed us from the Ottomans. Free us from the current authorities.” Disillusioned Lebanese citizens created an online petition demanding to place Lebanon under French mandate for the next 10 years. In less than 6 hours it has already reached more than 20k signatures.

Due to the fact that the meeting itself and the “frank conversation” between Macron and the Lebanese leadership was private, various rumors have emerged. For example, that Macron’s representative voiced the following imperatives to Michel Aoun:

  1. Declaration of Beirut as a demilitarized zone
  2. Full disarmament of Hizbollah’s offices in and around the capital, as well as elimination of all Hizbollah’s rocket forces and installations in the South of the country, and submitting of its command posts to UNIFIL
  3. Submitting of Beirut international airport to a joint international contingent led by Germany
  4. Dissolution of Parliament and the government and holding of snap elections followed by the election of a new President.

These statements, allegedly made by the French side, are clearly pro-Israeli in nature and are primarily directed against Hizbollah. The reliability of this information, which has passed through various information channels, is highly questionable. It is likely that such information injection is carried out by one of the parties of the regional conflict. Analyzing the theses allegedly proposed by Macron’s representative to the President of Lebanon, it is difficult to believe in their authenticity. Macron is a fully mature politician and it is unlikely that he and his team have taken such openly provocative steps. Therefore, the demands for immediate early elections and the disarmament of the Hizbollah movement are most likely fake. However, Macron’s actions and the pressure that he exerts on the leadership of Lebanon, which is in a difficult situation, can be described by the French word “chantage.”

We hit a cell and now we hit the dispatchers
Xymphora, Aug 9 2020

“Who Profits from the Beirut Tragedy” (Escobar, below – RB). Attention to the details of the supposed conflagration leads away from ‘accident.’ Who gets to rebuild is a good test: if China rebuilds as part of the New Silk Road, a horror show for Khazars, as it would be a terminal to Europe for a communications-trade line from Iran through Iraq and Syria, reform will be working in Lebanon. If the IMF and the usual corrupt companies and banks are brought in, the same old corrupt group in Lebanon will have prevailed, and life will continue to deteriorate. Note the reference to Bibi’s obscure tweet. If this is a reference to the virus, why does he specifically refer to Hezbollah? Escobar wonders if Bibi wasn’t setting up a gloating tweet to celebrate the bombing of the port, but had to back off with the enormity of the destruction. Of course, it is the enormity of the destruction which would lead to the big profits for the corrupt, plus the complete economic destruction of the whole country. There is considerable discussion at Unz (copy of Escobar – RB) on the strange abandonment of the ship, and the theory that it was abandoned as part of a larger plan to get its contents into a warehouse in the port (see here).

Who Profits from the Beirut Blast?
Pepe Escobar, Asia Times, Aug 7 2020

The narrative that the Beirut explosion was an exclusive consequence of negligence and corruption by the current Lebanese government is now set in stone, at least in the Atlanticist sphere. And yet, digging deeper, we find that negligence and corruption may have been fully exploited, via sabotage, to engineer it. Lebanon is prime John Le Carré territory. A multinational den of spies of all shades: Toad agents, Zionist operatives, “moderate rebel” weaponizers, Hezbollah intellectuals, debauched Arab “royalty,” self-glorified smugglers, in a context of full spectrum economic disaster afflicting a member of the Axis of Resistance, a perennial target of Israel alongside Syria and Iran. As if this were not volcanic enough, into the tragedy stepped President Trump to muddy the already contaminated Eastern Mediterranean waters. Briefed by “our great generals,” Trump on Tuesday said: “According to them, they would know better than I would, but they seem to think it was an attack.” Trump added, “it was a bomb of some kind.” Was this incandescent remark letting the cat out of the bag by revealing classified information? Or was the President launching another non sequitur? Trump eventually walked his comments back after the Pentagon declined to confirm his claim about what the “generals” had said and his defense secretary, Mark Esper, supported the accident explanation for the blast. It’s yet another graphic illustration of the war engulfing the Beltway. Trump: attack. Pentagon: accident. “I don’t think anybody can say right now,” Trump said on Wednesday. “I’ve heard it both ways.”

Still, it’s worth noting a report by Iran’s Mehr News Agency that four Pindo navy reconnaissance planes were spotted near Beirut at the time of the blasts. Is Pindo intel aware of what really happened all along the spectrum of possibilities? Security at Beirut’s port, the nation’s prime economic hub, would have to be considered a top priority. But to adapt a line from Roman Polanski’s Chinatown: “Forget it, Jake. It’s Beirut.” Those by now iconic 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate arrived in Beirut in September 2013 on board the Rhosus, a ship under Moldovan flag sailing from Batumi in Georgia to Mozambique. Rhosus ended up being impounded by Beirut’s Port State Control. Subsequently the ship was de facto abandoned by its owner, shady businessman Igor Grechushkin, born in Russia and a resident of Cyprus, who suspiciously “lost interest” in his relatively precious cargo, not even trying to sell it, dumping style, to pay off his debts. Grechushkin never paid his crew, who barely survived for several months before being repatriated on humanitarian grounds. The Cypriot government confirmed there was no request to Interpol from Lebanon to arrest him. The whole op feels like a cover, with the real recipients of the ammonium nitrate possibly being “moderate rebels” in Syria who use it to make IEDs and equip suicide trucks, such as the one that demolished the Al Kindi hospital in Aleppo. The 2,750 tons, packed in 1-ton bags labeled “Nitroprill HD,” were transferred to the Hangar 12 warehouse by the quayside. What followed was an astonishing case of serial negligence. From 2014 to 2017 letters from customs officials, a series of them, as well as proposed options to get rid of the dangerous cargo, exporting it or otherwise selling it, were simply ignored. Every time they tried to get a legal decision to dispose of the cargo, they got no answer from the Lebanese judiciary.

When Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab now proclaims, “Those responsible will pay the price,” context is absolutely essential. Neither the prime minister nor the president nor any of the cabinet ministers knew that the ammonium nitrate was stored in Hangar 12, former Iranian diplomat Amir Mousavi, the director of the Center for Strategic Studies and International Relations in Tehran, confirms. We’re talking about a massive IED, placed mid-city.

The bureaucracy at Beirut’s port and the mafias who are actually in charge are closely linked to, among others, the al-Mostaqbal faction, which is led by former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, himself fully backed by the House of Saud.

The immensely corrupt Hariri was removed from power in October 2019 amid serious protests. His cronies “disappeared” at least $20b from Lebanon’s treasury, which seriously aggravated the nation’s currency crisis. No wonder the current government – where we have Prime Minister Diab backed by Hezbollah, had not been informed about the ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate is quite stable, making it one of the safest explosives used in mining. Fire normally won’t set it off. It becomes highly explosive only if contaminated, for instance by oil, or heated to a point where it undergoes chemical changes that produce a sort of impermeable cocoon around it in which oxygen can build up to a dangerous level where an ignition can cause an explosion. Why, after sleeping in Hangar 12 for seven years, did this pile suddenly feel an itch to explode? So far, the prime straight to the point explanation, by Middle East expert Elijah Magnier, points to the tragedy being literally “sparked” by a clueless blacksmith with a blowtorch operating quite close to the unsecured ammonium nitrate. Unsecured due, once again, to negligence and corruption, or as part of an intentional “mistake” anticipating the possibility of a future blast. This scenario, though, does not explain the initial “fireworks” explosion. And certainly does not explain what no-one, at least in the West, is talking about: the deliberate fires set to an Iranian market in Ajam in the UAE, and also to a series of food/agricultural warehouses in Najaf, Iraq, immediately after the Beirut tragedy.

Boasting assets and real estate worth trillions of dollars, Lebanon is a juicy peach for global finance vultures. To grab these assets at rock bottom prices, in the middle of the New Great Depression, is simply irresistible. In parallel, the IMF vulture would embark on full shakedown mode and finally “forgive” some of Beirut’s debts as long as a harsh variation of “structural adjustment” is imposed. Who profits, in this case, are the geopolitical and geoeconomic interests of Pindostan, the Toads and France. It’s no accident that President Macron, a dutiful Rothschild servant, arrived in Beirut Thursday to pledge Paris neocolonial “support” and all but impose, like a Viceroy, a comprehensive set of “reforms.” A Monty Python-infused dialogue, complete with heavy French accent, might have followed along these lines:

We want to buy your port.
It’s not for sale.
Oh, what a pity! An accident just happened!

Already a month ago the IMF was “warning” that “implosion” in Lebanon was “accelerating.” Prime Minister Diab had to accept the proverbial “offer you can’t refuse” and thus “unlock billions of dollars in donor funds.” Or else. The non-stop run on the Lebanese currency, for over a year now, was just a relatively polite warning. This is happening amid a massive global asset grab characterized in the larger context by Pindo GDP down by almost 40%, arrays of bankruptcies, a handful of billionaires amassing unbelievable profits and too-big-to-fail megabanks duly bailed out with a tsunami of free money. Dag Detter, a Swedish financier, and Nasser Saidi, a former Lebanese minister and central bank vice governor, suggest that the nation’s assets be placed in a national wealth fund. Juicy assets include Electricité du Liban (EDL), water utilities, airports, the MEA airline, telecom company OGERO, the Casino du Liban. EDL, for instance, is responsible for 30% of Beirut’s budget deficit. That’s not nearly enough for the IMF and Western mega banks. They want to gobble up the whole thing, plus a lot of real estate. Detter and Saidi say:

The economic value of public real estate can be worth at least as much as GDP and often several times the value of the operational part of any portfolio.

Once again, Israel is the proverbial elephant in a room now widely depicted by Western corporate media as “Lebanon’s Chernobyl.” A scenario like the Beirut catastrophe has been linked to Israeli plans since Feb 2016. Israel did admit that Hangar 12 was not a Hezbollah weapons storage unit. Yet, crucially, on the same day of the Beirut blast, and following a series of suspicious explosions in Iran and high tension in the Syria-Israeli border, Netanyahu tweeted in the present tense:

We hit a cell and now we hit the dispatchers. We will do what is necessary in order to defend ourselves. I suggest to all of them, including Hezbollah, to consider this.

That ties in with the intent, openly proclaimed late last week, to bomb Lebanese infrastructure if Hezbollah harms IOF soldiers or Israeli civilians. A headline, “Beirut Blast Shockwaves Will Be Felt by Hezbollah for a Long Time,” confirms that the only thing that matters for Tel Aviv is to profit from the tragedy to demonize Hezbollah, and by association, Iran. That ties in with the Pindo Congress “Countering Hezbollah in Lebanon’s Military Act of 2019” {S.1886}, which all but orders Beirut to expel Hezbollah from Lebanon. And yet Israel has been strangely subdued.

(I think the next paragraph is absolute drivel – RB)

Muddying the waters even more, Toad intel, which has access to Mossad, and demonizes Hezbollah way more than Israel, steps in. All the intel ops I talked to refuse to go on the record, considering the extreme sensitivity of the subject. Still, it must be stressed that a Toad intel source whose stock in trade is frequent information exchanges with the Mossad, asserts that the original target was Hezbollah missiles stored in Beirut’s port. His story is that Netanyahu was about to take credit for the strike, following up on his tweet. But then the Mossad realized the op had turned horribly wrong and metastasized into a major catastrophe. The problem starts with the fact this was not a Hezbollah weapons depot, as even Israel admitted. When weapons depots are blown up, there’s a primary explosion followed by several smaller explosions, something that could last for days. That’s not what happened in Beirut. The initial explosion was followed by a massive second blast, almost certainly a major chemical explosion, and then there was silence. Thierry Meyssan, very close to Syrian intel, advances the possibility that the “attack” was carried out with an unknown weapon, a missile, and not a nuclear bomb, tested in Syria in Jan 2020. (The test is shown in an attached video.) Neither Syria nor Iran ever made a reference to this unknown weapon, and I got no confirmation about its existence. Assuming Beirut port was hit by an “unknown weapon,” Trump may have told the truth: It was an “attack.” And that would explain why Netanyahu, contemplating the devastation in Beirut, decided that Israel would need to maintain a very low profile.

The Beirut explosion at first sight might be seen as a deadly blow against the Belt and Road Initiative, considering that China regards the connectivity between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon as the cornerstone of the Southwest Asia Belt and Road corridor. Yet that may backfire, badly. China and Iran are already positioning themselves as the go-to investors post-blast, in sharp contrast with the IMF hit men, and as advised by Hezbollah Secretary-General Nasrallah only a few weeks ago. Syria and Iran are in the forefront of providing aid to Lebanon. Tehran is sending an emergency hospital, food packages, medicine and medical equipment. Syria opened its borders with Lebanon, dispatched medical teams and is receiving patients from Beirut’s hospitals. It’s always important to keep in mind that the “attack” (Trump) on Beirut’s port destroyed Lebanon’s main grain silo, apart from engineering the total destruction of the port, the nation’s key trade lifeline. That would fit into a strategy of starving Lebanon. On the same day Lebanon became to a great extent dependent on Syria for food, as it now carries only a month’s supply of wheat, Pindostan attacked silos in Syria. Syria is a huge exporter of organic wheat. And that’s why Pindostan routinely targets Syrian silos and burns its crops, attempting also to starve Syria and force Damascus, already under harsh sanctions, to spend badly needed funds to buy food.

In stark contrast to the interests of the Pindo/France/Saudi axis, Plan A for Lebanon would be to progressively drop out of the Pindo-France stranglehold and head straight into Belt and Road as well as the SCO. Go East, the Eurasian way. The port and even a great deal of the devastated city, in the medium term, can be quickly and professionally rebuilt by Chinese investment. The Chinese are specialists in port construction and management. This avowedly optimistic scenario would imply a purge of the hyper-wealthy, corrupt weapons/drugs/real estate scoundrels of Lebanon’s plutocracy, which in any case scurry away to their tony Paris apartments at the first sign of trouble. Couple that with Hezbollah’s very successful social welfare system, which I saw for myself at work last year, having a shot at winning the confidence of the impoverished middle classes and thus becoming the core of the reconstruction. It will be a Sisyphean struggle. But compare this situation with the Empire of Chaos, which needs chaos everywhere, especially across Eurasia, to cover for the coming, Mad Max chaos inside Pindostan. General Wesley Clark’s notorious 7 countries in 5 years once again come to mind, and Lebanon remains one of those 7 countries. The Lebanese lira may have collapsed; most Lebanese may be completely broke; and now Beirut is semi-devastated. That may be the straw breaking the camel’s back, releasing the camel to the freedom of finally retracing its steps back to Asia along the New Silk Roads.

2 Comments

  1. traducteur
    Posted August 9, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    “Chantage” is blackmail, in case there is anyone who is not familiar with the term.

  2. niqnaq
    Posted August 9, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Thanks

    😉

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