UN endorses Iran nuclear deal unanimously, paving way for sanctions relief

CrossTalk: Tehran Pivot? (Ft. Pepe Escobar & Gareth Porter)

‘Certain states helped create Islamist extremism’ – Iran’s Rouhani to UN Gen Assembly

China, Iran and Russia: Restructuring the global order


Powerful countries are alarmed by the threats against Russia as they see themselves as potential future targets.

Last updated: 20 May 2014 10:56
Seyed Mohammad Marandi
Seyed Mohammad Marandi is professor of North American Studies and dean of the Faculty of World Studies at the University of Tehran.

Countries with major oil and gas reserves such as Russia, Iran and Iraq are already turning eastward, writes Marandi [Getty Image]
At the Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) that opens May 20 in Shanghai, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will meet with both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Among other things, the summit will underscore how rising non-Western powers are playing ever more prominent roles on the global stage. However, Western elites remain stuck in a time warp, wherein the United States and its European partners are the imperial masters of all they survey.In this regard, it is an interesting coincidence how mainstream Western media outlets consistently produce narratives that are almost indistinguishable from official government statements regarding countries and leaders with dissimilar worldviews from their Western counterparts. For instance, we repeatedly hear about the democratically elected “dictators” in Venezuela, yet we are assured that friendly dictators are “moderate reformers”.Another fascinating coincidence is that Western human rights organisations pursue initiatives and policies closely aligned with those of their own governments. When the US accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons against its own people – notwithstanding noteworthy evidence to the contrary and despite the fact that it was fine as far as Washington was concerned when former Iraqi president Saddam Hossein attacked Iran with chemical weapons – some human rights advocates stood shoulder to shoulder with President Barack Obama in advocating “shock and awe” in Damascus for humanitarian purposes.

Contrary to what Saudi Princess Basmah Bint Saud states, Amnesty International’s soft spot for Saudi Arabia may be linked to more than just oil – for this renowned organisation is a true believer in promoting human rights through liberal imperialism. Until recently, Amnesty USA was led by a former senior US government official who is a leading “humanitarian interventionist“.

On the side-lines of the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago, Amnesty International campaigned for NATO’s continued occupation of Afghanistan under the rubric, “keep the progress going”; Amnesty’s shadow summit for Afghan women was graced with the presence of none other than former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright known for commenting that over half million dead Iraqi children as a result of sanctions “was worth it”.

Generous doses of hypocrisy

It is refreshing to see such consensus at all levels of public discourse in the “Free World”. It seems that there is general agreement among European and North American elites that Western objectives are well-intentioned, even if highly generous doses of hypocrisy are administered on the way. Hence, the British foreign secretary, speaking on behalf of the so called Friends of Syria, just days ago welcomed “the fact that preparations for the presidential elections on May 25 are proceeding well” in violence-stricken Ukraine where roughly half the country rejects the Kiev-based coup regime.

Then, literally a minute later (and with a straight face), he condemned the “Assad regime’s unilateral plan to hold illegitimate presidential elections on June 3. We say in our communique that this mocks the innocent lives lost in the conflict”. Apparently there has been no significant loss of innocent life as a result of illegal cross border support for extremists and al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria over the last three years.

It is also remarkable that any perceived rival to Western power can almost immediately be compared to Adolf Hitler without raising many eyebrows. Benjamin Netanyahu and other Zionist advocates can repeatedly threaten the Iranian people with military strikes, yet simultaneously promote the false logic that the Islamic Republic wishes to create a holocaust by allegedly denying the Holocaust (whatever that means).

In recent weeks, we have once again returned to 1939 as the bizarre Hitler analogy is now being used to describe Putin. The irony here is that the right wing neo-Nazi groups within the pro-Western Kiev regime consider themselves as the Russian president’s greatest foes. Indeed, for some, al-Nusra Front, Islamic Front in Syria or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant analogy would be somewhat more appropriate to describe the Ukrainian political party, Right Sector.

Former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser was another one of many Hitlers in Western political discourse. When in 1956, he nationalised the Suez Canal, then British Prime Minister Anthony Eden viewed his actions as an insult to the British Empire. However, the “Suez moment” was a classic case of overreach for a rapidly declining empire that politicians in the US today should ponder.

Winner-take-all worldview

Their winner-take-all worldview, which has already resulted in widespread inequality and relative economic decline in the US, has also, since 2001, conditioned a series of “moments” whereby Washington’s arrogant zero-sum mentality has produced one strategic failure after another.

Obama’s pivot to Asia is viewed with scepticism, as the US already has more than it can handle in Ukraine, west Asia and North Africa. The real Asia pivot is driven by rapidly rising economies, especially China, as countries with major oil and gas reserves such as Russia, Iran and Iraq are already turning eastward.


The US government is caught in a web of self-deception if it believes that its declining global influence has gone unnoticed among the world’s rising powers. Obama’s pivot to Asia is viewed with scepticism, as the US already has more than it can handle in Ukraine, west Asia and North Africa. The real Asia pivot is driven by rapidly rising economies, especially China, as countries with major oil and gas reserves such as Russia, Iran and Iraq are already turning eastward.

In a 2012 report that some consider to be too conservative in its prognostications, the US multinational investment banking firm Goldman Sachs projects that by 2050 the US will be the only Western power among the top five global economies, with an economy much smaller than China’s. In addition, the World Bank predicts that the US dollar will lose its current global dominance in roughly a decade.

Ironically, instead of attempting to build new bridges and forging new partnerships to stall their declining global status as the balance of power shifts away from Europe and North America, Western governments unwisely antagonise key powers. Spying on the Brazilian president does not help, denying a visa to the next Indian prime minister can spell trouble ahead, giving strong warnings to China can raise tensions – but threatening Russia with economic warfare may prove to be a game changer.

Of course, the US and its allies have already engaged in inhuman economic warfare against ordinary citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The US has targeted the Iranian banking sector as well as the central bank and has threatened Iran’s trading partners with punitive sanctions if they do not abide by US laws.

Many countries have protested against these US imperial dictates, but have so far largely abided by US demands in order to avoid its aggressive behaviour. However, with threats now being made against the Russian Federation, alarm bells have begun ringing, as powerful countries see themselves as potential future targets. Economic warfare against another major power will force emerging economic powerhouses to seriously think about the future of global financial and communications systems as well as the immediate need to enhance cooperation and to restructure the global political and economic order.

During the CICA Summit in Shanghai, Presidents Xi Jinping, Rouhani and Putin definitely have a lot to talk about.

Seyed Mohammad Marandi is professor of North American Studies and dean of the Faculty of World Studies at the University of Tehran.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Fonte: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/05/china-iran-russia-restructuring-201451964119463320.html?fb_action_ids=10152431601726678&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_ref=s%3DshowShareBarUI%3Ap%3Dfacebook-like&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582

Foreign Policy: “Forget China: Iran hackers are America’s newest cyber threats


In March 2012, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, publicly announced the creation a new Supreme Council of Cyberspace to oversee the defense of the Islamic republic’s computer networks and develop news ways of infiltrating or attacking the computer networks of its enemies. Less than two years later, security experts and U.S. intelligence officials are alarmed by how quickly Iran has managed to develop its cyber warfare capabilities — and by how much it’s willing to use them.

For several years, Iran was believed to possess the ambition to launch disruptive attacks on Western, Israeli or Arab computer networks, but not necessarily the technological capability of actually doing so. Those doubts have largely evaporated. In late 2012, U.S. intelligence officials believe hackers in Iran launched a series of debilitating assaults on the Web sites of major U.S. banks. The hackers used a well-honed technique called a denial of service attack, in which massive amounts of traffic are directed at a site’s servers until they crash. But the traffic flow in the bank attack was orders of magnitude greater than anything U.S. security officials had seen up to that point, indicating a remarkable degree of technical sophistication.

Last year, U.S. officials say that Iranian hackers infiltrated a large unclassified computer network used by the Navy and Marine Corps. Officials now say it took the Navy four months to fully clear its systems and recover from the breach, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

“Iran should be considered a first-tier cyber power,” Gabi Siboni, a cyber security expert with Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, said during a speech in Washington last December.

Western analysts see Iran’s embrace of cyber attacks as a strategic attempt to counter the conventional military forces of the United States and Iran’s regional rivals, particularly Saudi Arabia. Some analysts have blamed Iran for an attack on the computers of Saudi Aramco, the national energy company that supplies about 10 percent of the world’s oil. The attack erased data from 30,000 computers, but it didn’t affect oil and gas production and distribution facilities.

Analysts debate whether Iran should yet be included in the same league as the United States, Israel, or China, which each possess extensive capabilities to launch attacks on computer networks and the critical infrastructure connected to them, including electrical power facilities. But U.S. intelligence agencies now judge that Iran is well on the path to becoming a formidable cyber force. James Clapper, the U.S. director of national intelligence, recently warned that Iran’s “development of cyber espionage or attack capabilities might be used in an attempt to either provoke or destabilize the United States or its partners.

The heart of Iran’s national cyber efforts is the cyberspace council set up in 2012. It’s chaired by the Iranian president, Hasan Rouhani and its members include senior government officials, including the head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, which controls military units believed to conduct offensive cyber operations and electronic warfare, such as jamming communications systems. Iran was motivated to ramp up its cyber security efforts, particularly the defense of its internal networks and vital infrastructure facilities, after a cyber attack on an Iraniannuclear facility by the United States and Israel that disabled 1,000 centrifuges used to enrich uranium, a key component of a nuclear weapon. Iran’s defensive capabilities today are devoted to preventing another such attack, as well as monitoring and suppressing domestic political opponents who threaten the regime, Siboni wrote in a recentanalysis of Iran’s capabilities.

The Revolutionary Guard now owns and controls the biggest communications company in Iran, Siboni said. The government restricts access to the public Internet and monitors computers in Internet cafes. A domestic police force, known as FETA is charged with monitoring online activity and speech, as well as combating fraud and theft.

But it’s the offensive side of the ledger that worries U.S. officials the most. In the past week, Iranian leaders have threatened to use cyber warfare against Tehran’s enemies. “One of the options on the table of the U.S. and its allies is a cyber war against Iran. But we are fully prepared to fightcyber warfare,” said Gen. Mohammad Aqakishi, the commander of the information technology and communication department of the armed forces’ general staff, according to Iran’s Tasnim news agency.

“[Aqakishi] said the U.S. has been making ‘empty threats’ against Iran for several years, noting that Washington itself is mindful of the Islamic Republic’s military might in the arena of information technology and communication,” Tasnim reported.

Last week, Khameini, Iran’s supreme leader, reportedly exhorted Iranian students, whom he called “cyber war agents,” to prepare to fight Iran’s enemies in cyberspace. “Get yourselves ready for such war wholeheartedly,” Khameini said.

“If any war is launched against Iran, we won’t give any ground to the enemy and they themselves know this very well,” Iran’s military chief of staff, Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, said last week, declaring that Iran was prepared for a “decisive battle” with the United States and Israel.

Such provocations haven’t gone unnoticed. And U.S. military officials have acknowledged that if the United States uses cyber weapons against Iran, Americans should expect some retaliation. “That’s a valid assumption,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview in January 2013. “There are reports that destructive cyber tools have been used against Iran. I’m not-I’m neither confirming nor denying any-any part in that. What that should tell you is that that capability exists. And if it exists…whoever’s using those can’t assume that they’re the only smart people in the world.”

A few days before Dempsey’s remarks, Gen. William Shelton, the commander of Air Force Space Command, warned that Iran was a growing offensive threat in cyberspace. “They’re going to be a force to be reckoned with, with the potential capabilities that they’ll develop over the years and the potential threat that they’ll represent to the United States,” Shelton said. In other words, Chinese hackers aren’t the only ones Washington needs to worry about.

Fonte: Foreign Policy

2013: o que mudou de fato no mundo?

O mais importante foi a mudança de clima no cenário mundial. Desde o triunfo na guerra fria, os EUA militarizavam os conflitos. Não foi assim com Síria e Irã.

Por Emir Sader

Como sempre, se acumulam uma quantidade de fatos – entre mortes, eleições, sublevações, etc. – que se destacam jornalisticamente no mundo, mas dificultam a compreensão das alterações nas relações de poder, as que efetivamente contam na evolução da situação internacional.

No emaranhado de acontecimentos, o mais importante foi a mudança de clima no cenário internacional. Desde que triunfou na guerra fria, os EUA tem tido como postura diante dos conflitos internacionais, sua militarização. Transferir para o campo em que sua superioridade é manifesta, tem sido a característica principal da ação imperial dos EUA. Foi assim no Afeganistão, no Iraque, por forças intermedias na Líbia. E se encaminhava para ser assim nos casos da Síria e do Irã.

De repente, pegando ao Secretario de Estado norteamericano, John Kerry, pela palavra, o governo russo propôs ao da Síria um acordo, que desconcertou o governo norteamericano, até que não pôde deixar de aceitar. Isto foi possível porque Obama não conseguiu criar as condições políticas para mais uma ofensiva militar dos EUA. Primeiro o Parlamento britânico negou o apoio a Washington.
Depois, foi ficando claro que nem a opinião publica, nem o Congresso norteamericano, nem os militares dos EUA, estavam a favor da ofensiva anunciada ou do tipo de ofensiva proposta.

O certo é que os EUA foram levados a aceitar a proposta russa, o que abriu as portas para outros desdobramentos, entre eles, combinado com as eleições no Irã, para a abertura de negociações políticas também com esse país por parte dos EUA. No seu conjunto, se desativava o foco mais perigoso de novos conflitos armados.

Como consequência, Israel, a Arábia Saudita, o Kuwait, ficaram isolados nas suas posições favoráveis a ações militares contra a Síria e até contra o Irã. Foi se instalando um clima de negociações, convocando-se de novo uma Conferência na segunda quinzena de janeiro, em Genebra, para discutir um acordo de paz. Uma conferência que não coloca como condição a questão da saída do governo de Assad, como se fazia anteriormente.

A oposição teve que aceitar participar, mesmo nessas condições. E ainda teve a surpresa que os EUA e a Grã Bretanha suspenderam o fornecimento de apoio militar aos setores opositores considerados moderados, que foram totalmente superados pelos fundamentalistas, apoiados pela Arabia Saudita e pelo Kuwait.

Como dois pontos determinam um plano, as negociações sobre a Síria abriram campo para as negociações dos EUA com o Irã, aproveitando-se da eleição do novo presidente iraniano. Desenhou-se, em poucas semanas, um quadro totalmente diverso daquele que tinha imperado ao longo de quase todo o ano. Os EUA passaram da ofensiva à defensiva, a Rússia, de ator marginal, a agente central nas negociações de paz, a ponto que a Forbes, pela primeira vez, elegeu Vladimir Puttin como o homem mais forte do mundo, na frente de Obama. Isso se deve não ao poderio militar ou econômico da Russia, mas ao poder de iniciativa política e de negociação que o país passou a ter.

Fonte: CartaMaior

Robert Fisk: O verdadeiro alvo do Ocidente é o Irã, e não a Síria

O Irã está profundamente envolvido na proteção ao governo sírio. Além disso, uma vitória de Bashar representa uma vitória do Irã. E vitórias do Irã não podem ser toleradas pelo Ocidente. 

Antes que comece a guerra ocidental mais idiota na história do mundo moderno – eu me refiro, é claro, ao ataque à Síria que todos nós vamos ter que engolir – podemos dizer que os mísseis que esperamos ver cruzando os céus de uma das cidades mais antigas das humanidade não têm nada a ver com a Síria.

Eles têm como objetivo atacar o Irã. Eles pretendem atacar a república islâmica agora que ela tem um presidente novo e vibrante – diferente do bizarro Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – e bem quando ele pode estar um pouco mais estável.

O Irã é inimigo de Israel. Então o Irã é, naturalmente, inimigo dos EUA. Então dispare os mísseis no único aliado árabe do Irã.

Não há nada de agradável no regime de Damasco. Nem esses comentários livram a cara do regime quando se trata de uso de armas químicas em massa. Mas eu tenho idade suficiente para me lembrar de que quando o Iraque – então aliado dos EUA – usou armas químicas contra os curdos em Hallabjah em 1988, nós não invadimos Bagdá. De fato, esse ataque esperou até 2003, quando Saddam não tinha mais armas químicas ou qualquer outra arma com as quais tínhamos pesadelos.

E eu também me lembro de que, em 1988, a CIA disse que o Irã foi o responsável pelo uso de armas químicas em Hallabjah, uma mentira deslavada, que mirava no nosso inimigo, contra quem Saddam estava lutando em nosso nome. E milhares – não centenas – morreram em Hallabjah. Mas aí está. Jeitos diferentes, padrões diferentes.

E eu acho que vale a pena notar que quando Israel matou 17 mil homens, mulheres e crianças no Líbano em 1982, numa invasão supostamente provocada pela tentativa de homicídio pela OLP do embaixador israelense em Londres – foi o amigo de Saddam, Abu Nidal, quem organizou o atentado, não a OLP, mas isso não importa agora – os EUA pediram aos dois lados que tentassem “se conter”. E quando, poucos meses antes dessa invasão, Hafez Al-Assad – pai de Bashar – mandou seu irmão para Hama para exterminar milhares de rebeldes da Irmandade Muçulmana, ninguém soltou um murmúrio que fosse condenatório. “Regras de Hama” foi como meu velho amigo Tom Friedman cinicamente classificou esse banho de sangue.

De qualquer forma, há uma Irmandade diferente por aí esses dias – e Obama nem se dignou a dar uma vaiadinha quando seu presidente eleito foi deposto.

Mas espere um pouco. O Iraque – quando era aliado “nosso” contra o Irã – também usou armas químicas contra o exército iraniano? Usou. Eu vi os resultados desse ataque horroroso feito por Saddam – oficiais dos EUA, devo dizer, fizeram um tour pelo campo de batalha depois, e se reportaram de volta para Washington – e nós não demos a mínima bola para isso. Milhares de soldados iranianos foram envenenados até a morte por essa arma terrível na guerra entre 1980 e 1988.

Eu viajei de volta para Teerã em um trem noturno com soldados feridos e cheguei a sentir o cheiro da coisa, abrindo as janelas dos corredores para diminuir o cheiro. Esses jovens tinham feridas dentro de feridas, literalmente. Eles tinham dores que surgiam dentro das dores, algo próximo do indescritível. Ainda assim, quando os soldados foram enviados para hospitais ocidentais para serem tratados, nós, jornalistas, chamamos esses feridos – depois de evidências das Nações Unidas muito mais convincentes do que as que podemos encontrar hoje em Damasco – de “supostas” vítimas de armas químicas.

Então o que diabos estamos fazendo? Depois de incontáveis milhares de mortes na terrível tragédia síria, de repente – agora, depois de meses e anos de prevaricação – estamos indignados com algumas centenas de mortes. Terrível. Inconcebível. Sim, é verdade. Mas nós deveríamos ter ficado traumatizados por essa guerra em 2011. E em 2012. Mas por que agora?

Suspeito que eu saiba o motivo. Suspeito que Bashar Al-Assad esteja ganhando a guerra contra os rebeldes que temos armado secretamente. Com a ajuda do Hezbollah libanês – aliado do Irã no Líbano – o regime de Damasco quebrou os rebeldes em Qusayr e podem estar no processo de quebra-los ao norte de Homs. O Irã está cada vez mais envolvido na proteção ao governo sírio. Portanto, uma vitória de Bashar é uma vitória do Irã. E vitórias iranianas não podem ser toleradas pelo Ocidente.

E enquanto estamos falando de guerra, o que aconteceu com aquelas ótimas negociações entre palestinos e israelenses de que John Kerry andava se gabando? Enquanto expressamos nossa tremenda angústia com o terrível uso de armar químicas na Síria, a terra palestina continua sendo destruída. A política do Likud de Israel – de negociar a paz até não haver mais Palestina – continua a toda, e é por isso que o pesadelo do Rei Abdullah, da Jordânia, (muito mais potente que as “armas de destruição em massa” que imaginávamos em 2003) só aumenta: que a “Palestina” fique na Jordânia, não na Palestina.

*Robert Fisk é correspondente no Oriente Médio do ‘The Independent’. É autor de vários livros sobre a região.

Fonte: CartaMaior