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putinwestasia
It’s impossible to understand the resumption of the JCPOA nuclear talks in Vienna without considering the serious inner turbulence of the Biden administration. Everyone and his neighbor are aware of Tehran’s straightforward expectations: all sanctions – no exceptions – must be removed in a verifiable manner. Only then will the Islamic Republic reverse what it... Read More
American hysteria over the “imminent” Russian invasion of Ukraine has exploded every geopolitical Stupid-o-Meter in sight – and that’s quite an accomplishment. What a mess. Sections of the U.S. Deep State are in open revolt against the combo that remote controls Crash Test Dummy, who impersonates POTUS. The neocon-neoliberal axis is itching for a war... Read More
Robert F Kennedy Jr's The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health should be front-page news in all the news media in the US. Instead, it has been met with the proverbial thundering silence. Critics seeking to have Kennedy dismissed as a kook trading on a... Read More
Photo Credit: The Cradle
The usual suspects tried everything against Yemen. First, coercing it into ‘structural reform.’ When that didn’t work, they instrumentalized takfiri mercenaries. They infiltrated and manipulated the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS. They used US drones and occasional marines. And then, in 2015, they went Total Warfare: a UN-backed rogue coalition started... Read More
As much as with “brain dead” NATO (copyright Emmanuel Macron) no one ever lost precious assets betting on the incompetence, narrow-mindedness and cowardice of political “leaders” across the Atlanticist EU. There are two main reasons for the latest German legalese gambit of suspending the certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Retaliation, directly against Belarus... Read More
Marx. Lenin. Mao. Deng. Xi. Late last week in Beijing, the sixth plenum of the Chinese Communist Party adopted a historic resolution – only the third in its 100-year history – detailing major accomplishments and laying out a vision for the future. Essentially, the resolution poses three questions. How did we get here? How come... Read More
The Eurasian chessboard is in non-stop motion at dizzying speed. After the Afghanistan shock, we’re all aware of the progressive interconnection of the Belt and Road Initiative, the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and of the preeminent roles played by Russia, China and Iran. These are the pillars of the... Read More
unknown-7-2
Something quite extraordinary happened in early November in Kabul. Taliban interim-Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov got together to discuss a range of political and economic issues. Most importantly, they resurrected the legendary soap opera which in the early 2000s I dubbed Pipelineistan: the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline. Call it... Read More
Afghanistan was the missing link in the complex chessboard of Eurasia integration. Now time is running out. After four long decades of war, getting the nation up and running as soon as possible is a pressing matter for all its neighbors. The three key nodes of Eurasia integration are very much aware of the high... Read More
The plenary session is the traditional highlight of the annual, must-follow Valdai Club discussions – one of Eurasia’s premier intellectual gatherings. Vladimir Putin is a frequent keynote speaker. In Sochi this year, as I related in a previous column, the overarching theme was “global shake-up in the 21st century: the individual, values and the state.”... Read More
russiataliban
An Afghan bombshell in Moscow today: 'the country's reconstruction must be paid for by its military occupiers of 20 years.'
Facing high expectations, a five-man band Taliban finally played in Moscow. Yet the star of the show, predictably, was the Mick Jagger of geopolitics: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Right from the start, Lavrov set the tone for the Moscow format consultations, which boast the merit of “uniting Afghanistan with all neighboring countries.” Without skipping... Read More
The annual Valdai Club meeting has always been positioned as absolutely essential when it comes to understanding the non-stop movement of geopolitical tectonic plates across Eurasia. The ongoing 18th meeting in Sochi, Russia once again lived up to expectations. The overall theme was Global Shake-Up in the 21st Century: The Individual, Values, and the State.... Read More
Forget about the incessant drumming of Cold War 2.0 against China. Forget about think-tank simpletons projecting their wishful thinking on the perpetual “end of China’s rise.” Forget even about a few sound minds in Brussels – yes, they do exist – saying Europe does not want containment of China; it wants engagement, which means business.... Read More
It would be tempting to picture the Iraqi parliamentary elections last Sunday as a geopolitical game-changer. Well, it’s complicated – in more ways than one. Let’s start with the abstention rate. Of the 22 million eligible voters able to choose 329 members of Parliament from 3,227 candidates and 167 parties, only 41% chose to cast... Read More
The last thing the complex, work-in-progress drive towards Eurasian integration needs at this stage is this messy affair between Iran and Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus. Let’s start with the Conquerors of Khaybar – the largest Iranian military exercise in two decades held on its northwestern border with Azerbaijan. Among the deployed Iranian military and... Read More
Fiercely independent, the Pashtun have famously lived for centuries on \"the margins of Great Empires,\" evolving into more sophisticated renditions, but never far from their roots.
Photo Credit: The Cradle
It was bound to happen: the remixed Saigon moment at Kabul airport and the stunning comeback of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, led by Pashtuns, has unleashed across the West a cheap Orientalization avalanche. The whole of Afghanistan is now “threatened” by the return of the “barbarians.” Once again, Afghan women need to be protected,... Read More
Pax Americana was always a minor character in a zombie apocalypse flick. Pax Americana is actually The Eternal Return of the Living Dead. “Pax” was never in order; War Inc. rules. The end of WWII led directly to the Cold War. The unipolar moment was an arc from the First Gulf War to the bombing... Read More
The 20th anniversary summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, enshrined no less than a new geopolitical paradigm. Iran, now a full SCO member, was restored to its traditionally prominent Eurasian role, following the recent $400 billion-worth trade and development deal struck with China. Afghanistan was the main topic – with all... Read More
On the demand for an “all inclusive government” Imagine if the French revolutionaries were asked to retain the elements of the kingdom of Louis XVI while forming the new republic to keep it all ‘inclusive’. Imagine that the American revolutionaries were asked to keep the British loyalists as a part of the new American republic... Read More
With Iran\
As a rudderless West watched on, the 20th anniversary meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was laser-focused...
The two defining moments of the historic 20th anniversary Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan had to come from the keynote speeches of – who else – the leaders of the Russia-China strategic partnership. Xi Jinping: “Today we will launch procedures to admit Iran as a full member of the SCO.” Vladimir Putin:... Read More
Massoud leaving Bazarak in the Panjshir after our interview in August 2001, roughly three weeks before his assassination. Photo: Pepe Escobar
It’s impossible not to start with the latest tremor in a series of stunning geopolitical earthquakes. Exactly 20 years after 9/11 and the subsequent onset of the Global War on Terror (GWOT), the Taliban will hold a ceremony in Kabul to celebrate their victory in that misguided Forever War. Four key exponents of Eurasia integration... Read More
The announcement by Taliban spokesman Zahibullah Mujahid in Kabul of the acting cabinet ministers in the new caretaker government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan already produced a big bang: it managed to enrage both woke NATOstan and the US Deep State. This is an all-male, overwhelmingly Pashtun (there’s one Uzbek and one Tajik) cabinet... Read More
It looked like everything was set for the Taliban to announce the new government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan after this Friday’s afternoon prayers. But then internal dissent prevailed. That was compounded by the adverse optics of a ragtag “resistance” in the Panjshir Valley that is still not subdued. The “resistance” is de facto... Read More
Fatima, Maliha and Nouria
Dear reader: this is very special, a trip down memory lane like no other: back to prehistoric times - the pre-9/11, pre-YouTube, pre-social network world. Welcome to Taliban Afghanistan – Talibanistan – in the Year 2000. This is when photographer Jason Florio and myself slowly crossed it overland from east to west, from the Pakistani... Read More
It was 20 years ago today. Asia Times published Get Osama! Now! Or Else...The rest is history. Retrospectively, this sounds like news from another galaxy. Before Planet 9/11. Before GWOT (Global War on Terror). Before the Forever Wars. Before the social network era. Before the Russia-China strategic partnership. Before the Dronification of State Violence. Before... Read More
shadowarmype
So we have the CIA Director William Burns deploying in haste to Kabul to solicit an audience with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar, the new potential ruler of a former satrapy. And he literally begs him to extend a deadline on the evacuation of US assets. The answer is a resounding “no.” After all, the... Read More
The horrific Kabul suicide bombing introduces an extra vector in an already incandescent situation: It aims to prove, to Afghans and to the outside world, that the nascent Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is incapable of securing the capital. As it stands, at least 103 people – 90 Afghans (including at least 28 Taliban) and 13... Read More
After 20 years and a staggering US$2.23 trillion spent in a “forever war” persistently spun as promoting democracy and benefiting the “Afghan people,” it’s legitimate to ask what the Empire of Chaos has to show for it. The numbers are dire. Afghanistan remains the world’s 7th poorest nation: 47% of the population lives below the... Read More
The Taliban delegation with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Tianjin on July 28th
The first Taliban press conference after this weekend’s Saigon moment geopolitical earthquake, conducted by spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, was in itself a game-changer. The contrast could not be starker with those rambling pressers at the Taliban embassy in Islamabad after 9/11 and before the start of the American bombing – proving this is an entirely new... Read More
In the end, the Saigon moment happened faster than any Western intel “expert” expected. This is one for the annals: four frantic days that wrapped up the most astonishing guerrilla blitzkrieg of recent times. Afghan-style: lots of persuasion, lots of tribal deals, zero columns of tanks, minimal loss of blood. August 12 set the scene,... Read More
August 12, 2021. History will register it as the day the Taliban, nearly 20 years after 9/11 and the subsequent toppling of their 1996-2001 reign by American bombing, struck the decisive blow against the central government in Kabul. In a coordinated blitzkrieg, the Taliban all but captured three crucial hubs: Ghazni and Kandahar in the... Read More
The ever-elusive Afghan “peace” process negotiations re-start this Wednesday in Doha via the extended troika – the US, Russia, China and Pakistan. The contrast with the accumulated facts on the ground could not be starker. In a coordinated blitzkrieg, the Taliban have subdued no less than six Afghan provincial capitals in only four days. The... Read More
Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi was sworn in as the 8th president of Iran this Thursday at the Majlis (Parliament), two days after being formally endorsed by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei. Representatives of the UN secretary-general; OPEC; the EU; the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU); the Inter-Islamic Union; and quite a few heads of state... Read More
You don’t argue with the Tatmadaw – the Myanmar Armed Forces. It’s always their way, or the highway. Since the mid-20th century, the Chinese have come to understand it quite well. How Beijing approaches the Myanmar maze is conditioned by four variables: natural gas; water; the drug trade; and the fractious clashes between the Tatmadaw... Read More
China and Russia will be key to solving an ancient geopolitical riddle: how to pacify the 'graveyard of empires'
So this is the way the Forever War in Afghanistan ends – if one could call it an ending. Rather, it’s an American repositioning. Regardless, after two decades of death and destruction and untold trillions of dollars, we’re faced not with a bang – and not with a whimper, either – but rather with a... Read More
pepe28-930x520
Assaulted by cognitive dissonance across the spectrum, the Empire of Chaos now behaves as a manic depressive inmate, rotten to the core - a fate more filled with dread than having to face a revolt of the satrapies. Only brain dead zombies now believe in its self-billed universal mission as the new Rome and the... Read More
Over a week ago the excruciatingly slow Doha peace talks between the Kabul government and the Taliban resumed, and then they dragged on for two days observed by envoys from the EU, US and UN. Nothing happened. They could not even agree on a ceasefire during Eid al-Adha. Worse, there’s no road map for how... Read More
While the dogs of demonization bark, Russia's newfangled armaments are flat out beating the competition
The annual MAKS aerospace show kicked off its 2021 installment at Zhukovsky Airport outside Moscow – not with a bang, but with multiple bangs. MAKS – whose name is an acronym for the Russian mouthful Mezhdunarodnyj aviatsionno-kosmiches, literally international aviation and space show – is famous for showing off the latest hits in aerospace and... Read More
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting of Foreign Ministers on Wednesday in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital, may have been an under-the-radar affair, but it did reveal the contours of the big picture ahead when it comes to Afghanistan. So let’s see what Russia and China – the SCO’s heavyweights – have been up to. Chinese Foreign... Read More
The Great Game: This lithograph by British Lieutenant James Rattray shows Shah Shuja in 1839 after his enthronement as Emir of Afghanistan in the Bala Hissar (fort) of Kabul. Rattray wrote: \
Russia-China-Iran alliance is taking Afghanistan's bull by the horns
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is on a Central Asian loop all through the week. He’s visiting Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The last two are full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, founded 20 years ago. The SCO heavyweights are of course China and Russia. They are joined by four Central Asian “stans” (all but... Read More
Deploying diplomatic skills refined from Doha to Moscow, the Taliban in 2021 has little to do with its 2001 incarnation
A very important meeting took place in Moscow last week, virtually hush-hush. Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, received Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s national security adviser. There were no substantial leaks. A bland statement pointed to the obvious: They “focused on the security situation in Afghanistan during the pullout of Western military contingencies and... Read More
The US is on the verge of its own second Vietnam repeated as farce in a haphazard retreat from Afghanistan
Let’s start with some stunning facts on the Afghan ground. The Taliban are on a roll. Earlier this week their PR arm was claiming they hold 218 Afghan districts out of 421 – capturing new ones every day. Tens of districts are contested. Entire Afghan provinces are basically lost to the government in Kabul, which... Read More
The West’s ‘rules-based order’ invokes rulers’ authority; Russia-China say it’s time to return to law-based order
We do live in extraordinary times. On the day of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), President Xi Jinping, in Tiananmen square, amid all the pomp and circumstance, delivered a stark geopolitical message: I have offered a concise version of the modern Chinese miracle – which has nothing to do with divine... Read More
show-commemorating-the-100th-anniversary-of-the-founding-of-the-communist-party-of-china-in-beijing
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) centennial takes place this week at the heart of an incandescent geopolitical equation. China, the emerging superpower, is back to the global prominence it enjoyed throughout centuries of recorded history, while the declining Hegemon is paralyzed by the “existential challenge” posed to its fleeting, unilateral dominance. A mindset of full... Read More
Welcome to the latest NATO show: Sea Breeze starts today and goes all the way to July 23. The co-hosts are the US Sixth Fleet and the Ukrainian Navy. The main protagonist is Standing NATO Maritime Group 2. The show, in NATOspeak, is just an innocent display of “strenghtening deterrence and defense”. NATO spin tells... Read More
Iran's president-elect will 'Look East' while seeking to exit 'strategic patience' when dealing with the US
In his first press conference as President-Elect with 62% of the votes, Ebrahim Raesi, facing a forest of microphones, came out swinging and leaving nothing to the imagination. On the JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal, the dossier that completely obsesses the West, Raeisi was clear: the US must immediately return to the JCPOA that Washington... Read More
It requires major suspension of disbelief to consider the G7, the self-described democracy’s most exclusive club, as relevant to the Raging Twenties. Real life dictates that even accounting for the inbuilt structural inequality of the current world system the G7’s economic output barely registers as 30% of the global total. Cornwall was at best an... Read More
The upcoming G7 in Cornwall at first might be seen as the quirky encounter of “America is Back” with “Global Britain”. The Big Picture though is way more sensitive. Three Summits in a Row – G7, NATO and US-EU – will be paving the way for a much expected cliffhanger: the Putin-Biden summit in Geneva... Read More
It’s impossible to understand the finer points of what’s happening on the ground in Russia and across Eurasia, business-wise, without following the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). So let’s cut to the chase, and offer a few choice examples of what is discussed on top panels. The Russian Far East - Here’s a... Read More
When Iran’s Interior Ministry released on Tuesday the final list of candidates approved by the 12-member Guardian Council to run for President in the upcoming June 18 election, all hell was breaking loose in Tehran for at least 24 hours. An "unofficial" list of the 7 candidates for the presidential election was already circulating and... Read More
PastClassics
Becker update V1.3.2
The Surprising Elements of Talmudic Judaism
The Shaping Event of Our Modern World
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.