The Houthis on Sanaa’s doorstep

Ansaru Allah (“helpers of God”), the Yemeni Zaydi organization (a branch of Shia Islam) continues to gain ground. It took the city Amrane, about fifty miles from Sanaa, the capital of Yemen.

The “Houthis” (taken from the name of their leaders) are thereby expanding their administrative area while the peace agreement provides for the creation of a federal state of six regions.

The President of the Republic, Field Marshal Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, has called for the departure of foreign fighters from Amrane and for the turn-in of the 310th Army Brigade weapons that were seized by the Houthis.

The Ansaru Allah (pro-Iranian) offensive may come in retaliation for the move by the Islamic Emirate (pro-Saudi) in Iraq.

Source : “The Houthis on Sanaa’s doorstep”, Voltaire Network, 11 July 2014,

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Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Yemen: USA are fighting against democracy, not against Al-Qaeda

An interview by Michel Collon, Grégoire Lalieu of Mohammed Hassan



Grégoire Lalieu and Michel Collon: Since the failed attack on the Amsterdam-Detroit flight, Yemen has hit the headlines. It’s there that the young Nigerian terrorist is supposed to have trained. How could this country, an ally of the US, become of refuge for al-Qaeda?

Mohammed Hassan: First of all we must note this phenomenon which is repeating itself: every time that a regime backed by Washington is threatened, then terrorists appear on the scene. In the case of Muslim countries, it’s al-Qaeda that gets the blame. This phantom terrorist group always pops up where nationalist or anti-imperialist movements give trouble to puppets supported by the US. That’s what’s happening now in Yemen. This country is ruled by a corrupt regime that is allied to Washington. But it is threatened by resistance movements.

And lo and behold there appears a young Nigerian who boards a plane destined for Detroit bearing explosives. This presumed terrorist had been placed on surveillance lists from the time his father had warned the US authorities. In addition, the US has at its disposal all the latest military technology. With its satellites it can tell whether you are eating a tuna or chicken sandwich! This terrorism tale is a hodge podge that shows that the situation in Yemen is getting out of hand as far as the US is concerned and that its interests are in danger.

GL & MC: Why has Yemen become so important for Washington?

MH: Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has been in power for 20 years. His regime is corrupt, but aligned politically with the United States. A resistance group in the north of the country and separatists in the south are threatening the stability of the government. If a revolutionary movement overthrows Saleh, that could have an impact over the whole region and give encouragement to the resistance fighting in other pro-imperialist states in the region. In particular, to those fighting the feudal regime of Saudi Arabia.

Moreover, when the fight with the northern resistance broke out in Yemen, the Arab League, under Egyptian leadership, immediately condemned the rebels and gave its support to the Yemeni government. We are still waiting for that League to condemn Israeli aggression against Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. The Gulf Cooperation Council, an organization devoted to western interests, made up of certain oil-producing countries, has also condemned the Yemeni resistance. For the US, which is at the height of recession, their Saudi colony must not be threatened by resistance movements. Saudi Arabia in fact provides a significant proportion of Washington’s oil and constitutes a precious ally in the Gulf. If the region becomes unstable, that will have serious economic consequences for the US.

GL & MC: Who are the northern resistance fighters? What are their demands?

MH: In the north of the country, the government has been facing for several years the armed resistance of the Houthis who get their name from the founder of their movement, Hussein Al-Houti. He himself died in battle four years ago and his brother has taken his place. Like the majority of Yemenis in the north, the Houthis are Zaydis. Islam is divided into several trends such as Sunni or Shia. These trends are divided in turn into different branches, Zaydiism being a branch of Shi’ism.

President Saleh is himself a Zaydi, but the Houthis don’t recognise his authority. The fact is that Yemen is a very poor country. Its economy depends essentially on an agriculture which is in decline, some oil income, a bit of fishing, as well as international aid and money sent home by expatriates. On top of that, it is only a handful of people in the president’s entourage who gets any benefit from the country’s riches, while the general population is becoming poorer and poorer. The majority of Yemenis are aged under 30 but they have no hope for the future. Unemployment stood at 40% in 2009. The Houthis have questioned the government to as to the reason for the underdevelopment of the region, the lack of water and for problems of infrastructure. But President Saleh did not respond to their appeals.

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That is the basis on which the Houthis took up their armed struggle. Their headquarters is the town of Saada. This is most symbolic: it was in that town that more than 10 centuries ago the founder of Yemeni Zaydi’ism was based.

GL & MC: The fighting close to Sa’ada is raging. It has caused several thousand people to become refugees, and the government is accusing Iran of supporting the rebels…

MH: This accusation is false. Iran has a Shia majority, but Yemeni Zaydis, because of the way they pray and for other reasons, are in fact closer to the Sunnis. If the Houthi resistance has enough arms to carry on fighting for the next ten years, it is because it gets help from a part of the Yemeni army. In fact, many soldiers and officers are themselves also Zaydi. The struggles in the region have caused more than 150,000 people to become refugees and Zaydi soldiers can see how their brothers are suffering. Some of them are even joining the resistance.

President Saleh must therefore mobilise opportunist Sunnis in the army in order to combat the northern resistance. This cannot be done with impunity. This Zaydi president, who has already used his religious convictions to mobilize the population and the army, is today calling on Sunnis to defeat other Zaydis. Saleh is set to lose whatever support he had left in the north of the country.

GL & MC: And the south is demanding to secede! The Yemeni president really seems to be in a bad position.

MH: It is essential to understand Yemeni history in order to understand what is happening today. In its present form the country came about as a result of the fusion in 1990 of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, in the south, with the Yemeni Arab Republic in the north. These two states had different histories.

The birth of the north dates back over 10 centuries to the time when Zaydis first arrived in Saada. But in 1962 a revolution broke out aimed at overthrowing the feudal regime and installing a republic. Nasser, the Egyptian president and defender of Arab independence, supported the revolutionary movement. For their part, the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia and the Shah of Iran sent mercenaries to rescue the reactionary elements of the old feudal regime and to weaken Nasser. The conflict resulted in a terrible war in which more than 10,000 Egyptian soldiers lost their lives. Finally, the Republican government was not overthrown, but it was weakened by the conflict. It did not have the means to unleash a cultural revolution or completely to democratize the country, nor to industrialise it. Even though the Imam-king who led the country escaped to Saudi Arabia, a large part of North Yemen remains at the feudal stage.

GL & MC: What about the south?

MH: South Yemen’s history is quite different. It was colonized by the British in order to block expansion on the part of the French who had taken over Djibouti and on the part of the Russians who had spread up to central Asia. But it was also a question of the British maintaining their domination of the Persian Gulf and the strategic Straits of Hormuz. It is Great Britain that built the port of Aden in South Yemen. This town became very important for the British empire. One could say it was the Hong Kong or the Macao of the epoch. Many foreigners were sent to the region.

This is what the social pyramid looked like in this colonial society: at the top, the British colonials lorded it, followed by the Somali and Indian communities who acted as a sort of buffer against the lowest category, the Yemenis. It was a classic strategy from the British colonists: using one group of person against another one in order to protect themselves. By the way, all the people that Great-Britain used to see as dangerous for its Indian colony – such as nationalists or communists – were sent in exile in Aden.

GL & MC: 
As we have seen in Somalia, did these political prisoners influence developments in the region?

MH: Certainly. Independence movements forced out the British colonists in 1967 and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen was born the following year. It was governed by the Yemeni Socialist Party, which was a coalition of different progressive elements, inheritors in part of Aden’s prisoners. You could find there communists, nationalists, liberals, and Ba’athists from Syria or Iraq. All these elements were united under the banner of the Socialist Party.

South Yemen thus became the most progressive Arab state in the region and knew its most flourishing years, with agrarian reform, equality of the sexes, etc. Nevertheless, the socialist party remained a mixture of several elements with diverse origins. The communists were the backbone of the party and gave it a certain amount of cohesion, but every time there was a need to face any major difficulty, the contradictions burst out into the open. Because of a lack of any industrial basis and the petty bourgeois character of the coalition, these contradictions ended up giving rise to assassinations. Members literally killed each other! As a result of this the party underwent three bloody internal revolts. The last one proved fatal. Most of the ideological leaders of the party were assassinated and the liberal wing took charge of the movement. It was therefore a very weak socialist party which was governing Yemen up to the time that the two Yemen were reunified in 1990. Even though both sides had had relatively different histories, the parties of both north and sourth had always supported unfiication of the country in their respective schedule.

GL & MC: Why was it necessary to wait until 1990 before the north and south united?

MH: In the north the state had been very weak after the war. It was led by liberals who lacked any really revolutionary activities and were controlled by the Gulf states, Saudi Arabia in particular. The Saudi neighbour provided arms and money to the feudal class with a view to weakening the central government. For Saudi Arabia a tribal North Yemen was easier to control. The south became, on the contrary, a bastion of progressive ideas. At the height of the Cold War it was considered as an enemy of the region which had to be put in quarantine.

But in the early nineties things had change

d. First of all, the Soviet Union had collapsed and the Cold War had ended. On top of that, the Yemeni Socialist Party was no longer much of a threat. Its ideological leaders had been wiped on in the third internal party revolt. For the countries of the region as well as for the strategic interests of the west, the unification of Yemen no longer represented a danger. Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had been president of the Yemeni Arab Republic since 1978, took the leadership of the country. He is still in power today.

GL & MC: 
In 1990, Yemen was the only country, apart from Cuba, to oppose the Iraq war. 20 years later, while Castro is still holding out against the ’Yankees’, Saleh has for his part lined up alongside the US in their war on terror. How can you explain this change?

MH: The opposition to the war in Iraq was not the result of Saleh’s policies, but of those of members of the former Yemeni socialist party who occupied various key positions in the new government. Nevertheless, even though the socialist party had always wanted unification of Yemen on a progressive basis, it had been too weakened by its internal revolt to be able to get its policies accepted in their entirety. On top of that, Saudi Arabia, a faithful ally of the US, made Yemen pay dearly for its position against the Iraq war. The Saudi regime expelled a million Yemeni workers who had enjoyed a special status entitling them to work on the other side of the frontier. This caused a severe economic crisis in Yemen, while at the same time sending a strong message to President Saleh. The latter revised his policy, becoming gradually the puppet of US imperialism that we know today.

GL & MC: 
And the southern progressives let him do?

MH: Reunification was a big letdown for the southern leaders. They launched themselves into the process without a proper strategy. And, as we have seen, the Socialist Party was very weak. The centre of power gravitated in the north around President Saleh. The regime was corrupt, the expulsion of the Yemenis working in Saudi Arabia had created a major crisis and the economic situation was deteriorating.

All these factors led to the south demanding to secede in 1994. The separatists were supported by Saudi Arabia, which preferred its neighbour to be weak and divided, for various reasons. Firstly, because of the contradictions it had with its neighbour as to the course of the Saudi-Yemeni border: Yemen was in fact claiming certain areas situated in Saudi Arabia. Secondly, because a united Yemen with good leadership could cause problems for the feudal classes in Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia.

These tensions between north and south finally led to war. The Zaydi president mobilized the people of the north and the greater party of the army on the basis of their religious beliefs to fight against the Sunni-majority south. The separatists were beaten, which weakened still further the former members of the Socialist Party within the Yemeni government. This war finally offered the north, and Saleh, an opportunity to remove their dominant influence over military and political questions.

GL & MC: 
Fifteen years later, the south is again demanding separation. Do you think that president Saleh will be able to get away with it again?

MH: Obviously, no. Saleh is facing problems at every turn. The south is demanding again a fair share of power after the corrupt government to all intents and purposes has restored the feudal order. For the southern Yemenis, who have a progressive history, this situation is unacceptable. And it isn’t acceptable either for the Houthis in the north. In this case, President Saleh is unable to mobilise most of the population and army on the basis of their religioius beliefs. The Houthis are Zaydis too! The Houthi resistance has exposed the real policies of this government in a way no other strategy could have achieved in so short a time. The population is discovering what is really happening and discontent is growing stronger and stronger.

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Anti-government protesters carry a flag of former South Yemen during a rally in al-Malah on 7 December 2009. It was organized by the Southern Movement, a group calling for the secession of South Yemen from the North.

GL & MC: What are the reasons for the anger of the Yemeni people?

MH: First and foremost, the social and economic situation. The regime has wealth while the people get poorer and poorer. There is also the fact that Yemen has become a bastion of US imperialism and Saleh had lined up alongside Washington in the war on terror. The Yemenis can see what is happening in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. For them it is a war against Muslims. Barack Hussein Obama may have a Muslim name and make all the speeches he likes, there are no other words to define this war.

On top of that, the Yemeni government is not even able to protect its citizens. After the September 11 attacks, some of them have been kidnapped and removed for no reason. This happened to an eminent Yemeni religious leader. When he was in the US visiting his son, he was arrested and sent to Guantánamo for no valid reason. After 6 years in detention, he was finally released. But he died three weeks later, because he became sick as a result of his imprisonment. This war on terror is really not accepted by the Yemeni people.

Finally, Saleh recognised the disputed frontier claimed by Saudi Arabia. He also authorised Saudi bombers to raid the region where the Houthi rebels are established. For the Yemenis this situation is unacceptable. Saleh is on an ejection seat. That is why he needs the support of the US which is raising the spectre of al Qaeda to be able to do what it likes in the country.

GL & MC: After Afghanistan and Iraq, is Yemen going to be the US’s third front?

MH: I think it already is. The US army has already sent missiles and special troops. It equally supplies a great deal of materiel to Yemen, but a good proportion of this goes over to the hands of the resistance because of the links the Zaydis have with the Yemeni army. It is six months since Saleh launched a major offensive against the Houthis. He has called for reinforcements from the Saudi Arabian and US armies. It wouldn’t surprise me if Israel were soon to join the party. But in spite of everything, they are unable to overcome the Houthi resistance. The latter operates from a mountainous region, as do the Taliban. We know how difficult it is to combat rebels in such a terrain. Moreover, the Houthis have the arms to carry on fighting for a long time to come.

GL & MC: Is the US facing another defeat?

History does seem to repeat itself as far as the US is concerned. For all that this country is today led by a former Muslim, its policies have not changed. Obama’s speeches are a lot like George Bush’s: he promises to hunt down terrorists wherever they might be. Washington raises the spectre of al-Qaeda to fight rebels ensconced in Yemen’s mountains? Bush did the same thing more than 8 years ago with regard to Afghanistan, and that war is still not over.

The thing is to know how long this is going to carry on. The historian Paul Kennedy has shown that the gap between the economic basis and military expansion was one of the principal factors in the decline of great empires. If the economy of a big power is running out of steam but its military expenses are increasing, this great power is condemned to fade and become very weak. That is the situation with the US today.

Source : “Yemen: USA are fighting against democracy, not against Al-Qaeda ”, by Michel Collon, Grégoire Lalieu, Voltaire Network, 9 February 2010,

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Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Politica


IDF’s Gaza Assault is to Control Palestinian Gas, Avert Israeli Energy Crisis

By Nafeez Ahmed

July 11, 2014 “ICH” – “The Guardian” – - Yesterday, Israeli defence minister and former Israeli Defence Force (IDF) chief of staff Moshe Ya’alonannounced that Operation Protective Edge marks the beginning of a protracted assault on Hamas. The operation “won’t end in just a few days,” he said, adding that “we are preparing to expand the operation by all means standing at our disposal so as to continue striking Hamas.”

This morning, he said:

“We continue with strikes that draw a very heavy price from Hamas. We are destroying weapons, terror infrastructures, command and control systems, Hamas institutions, regime buildings, the houses of terrorists, and killing terrorists of various ranks of command… The campaign against Hamas will expand in the coming days, and the price the organization will pay will be very heavy.”

But in 2007, a year before Operation Cast Lead, Ya’alon’s concerns focused on the 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas discovered in 2000 off the Gaza coast, valued at $4 billion. Ya’alon dismissed the notion that “Gaza gas can be a key driver of an economically more viable Palestinian state” as “misguided.” The problem, he said, is that:

“Proceeds of a Palestinian gas sale to Israel would likely not trickle down to help an impoverished Palestinian public. Rather, based on Israel’s past experience, the proceeds will likely serve to fund further terror attacks against Israel…

A gas transaction with the Palestinian Authority [PA] will, by definition, involve Hamas. Hamas will either benefit from the royalties or it will sabotage the project and launch attacks against Fatah, the gas installations, Israel – or all three… It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement.”

Operation Cast Lead did not succeed in uprooting Hamas, but the conflict did take the lives of 1,387 Palestinians (773 of whom were civilians) and 9 Israelis (3 of whom were civilians).

Since the discovery of oil and gas in the Occupied Territories, resource competition has increasingly been at the heart of the conflict, motivated largely by Israel’s increasing domestic energy woes.

Mark Turner, founder of the Research Journalism Initiative, reported that the siege of Gaza and ensuing military pressure was designed to “eliminate” Hamas as “a viable political entity in Gaza” to generate a “political climate” conducive to a gas deal. This involved rehabilitating the defeated Fatah as the dominant political player in the West Bank, and “leveraging political tensions between the two parties, arming forces loyal to Abbas and the selective resumption of financial aid.”

Ya’alon’s comments in 2007 illustrate that the Israeli cabinet is not just concerned about Hamas – but concerned that if Palestinians develop their own gas resources, the resulting economic transformation could in turn fundamentally increase Palestinian clout.

Meanwhile, Israel has made successive major discoveries in recent years – such as the Leviathan field estimated to hold 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas – which could transform the country from energy importer into aspiring energy exporter with ambitions to supply Europe, Jordan and Egypt. A potential obstacle is that much of the 122 trillion cubic feet of gas and 1.6 billion barrels of oil in the Levant Basin Province lies in territorial waters where borders are hotly disputed between Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Cyprus.

Amidst this regional jockeying for gas, though, Israel faces its own little-understood energy challenges. It could, for instance, take until 2020 for much of these domestic resources to be properly mobilised.

But this is the tip of the iceberg. A 2012 letter by two Israeli government chief scientists – which the Israeli government chose not to disclose – warned the government that Israel still had insufficient gas resources to sustain exports despite all the stupendous discoveries. The letter, according to Ha’aretz, stated that Israel’s domestic resources were 50% less than needed to support meaningful exports, and could be depleted in decades:

“We believe Israel should increase its [domestic] use of natural gas by 2020 and should not export gas. The Natural Gas Authority’s estimates are lacking. There’s a gap of 100 to 150 billion cubic meters between the demand projections that were presented to the committee and the most recent projections. The gas reserves are likely to last even less than 40 years!”

As Dr Gary Luft – an advisor to the US Energy Security Council – wrote in theJournal of Energy Security, “with the depletion of Israel’s domestic gas supplies accelerating, and without an imminent rise in Egyptian gas imports, Israel could face a power crisis in the next few years… If Israel is to continue to pursue its natural gas plans it must diversify its supply sources.”

Israel’s new domestic discoveries do not, as yet, offer an immediate solution aselectricity prices reach record levels, heightening the imperative to diversify supply. This appears to be behind Prime Minister Netanyahu’s announcement in February 2011 that it was now time to seal the Gaza gas deal. But even after a new round of negotiations was kick-started between the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority and Israel in September 2012, Hamas was excluded from these talks, and thus rejected the legitimacy of any deal.

Earlier this year, Hamas condemned a PA deal to purchase $1.2 billion worth of gas from Israel Leviathan field over a 20 year period once the field starts producing. Simultaneously, the PA has held several meetings with the British Gas Group to develop the Gaza gas field, albeit with a view to exclude Hamas – and thus Gazans – from access to the proceeds. That plan had been the brainchild of Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair.

But the PA was also courting Russia’s Gazprom to develop the Gaza marine gas field, and talks have been going on between Russia, Israel and Cyprus, though so far it is unclear what the outcome of these have been. Also missing was any clarification on how the PA would exert control over Gaza, which is governed by Hamas.

According to Anais Antreasyan in the University of California’s Journal of Palestine Studies, the most respected English language journal devoted to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Israel’s stranglehold over Gaza has been designed to make “Palestinian access to the Marine-1 and Marine-2 gas wells impossible.” Israel’s long-term goal “besides preventing the Palestinians from exploiting their own resources, is to integrate the gas fields off Gaza into the adjacent Israeli offshore installations.” This is part of a wider strategy of:

“…. separating the Palestinians from their land and natural resources in order to exploit them, and, as a consequence, blocking Palestinian economic development. Despite all formal agreements to the contrary, Israel continues to manage all the natural resources nominally under the jurisdiction of the PA, from land and water to maritime and hydrocarbon resources.”

For the Israeli government, Hamas continues to be the main obstacle to the finalisation of the gas deal. In the incumbent defence minister’s words: “Israel’s experience during the Oslo years indicates Palestinian gas profits would likely end up funding terrorism against Israel. The threat is not limited to Hamas… It is impossible to prevent at least some of the gas proceeds from reaching Palestinian terror groups.”

The only option, therefore, is yet another “military operation to uproot Hamas.”

Unfortunately, for the IDF uprooting Hamas means destroying the group’s perceived civilian support base – which is why Palestinian civilian casualties massively outweigh that of Israelis. Both are obviously reprehensible, but Israel’s capacity to inflict destruction is simply far greater.

In the wake of Operation Cast Lead, the Jerusalem-based Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (Pcati) found that the IDF had adopted a more aggressive combat doctrine based on two principles – “zero casualties” for IDF soldiers at the cost of deploying increasingly indiscriminate firepower in densely populated areas, and the “dahiya doctrine” promoting targeting of civilian infrastructure to create widespread suffering amongst the population with a view to foment opposition to Israel’s opponents.

This was confirmed in practice by the UN fact-finding mission in Gaza which concluded that the IDF had pursued a “deliberate policy of disproportionate force,” aimed at the “supporting infrastructure” of the enemy – “this appears to have meant the civilian population,” said the UN report.

The Israel-Palestine conflict is clearly not all about resources. But in an age of expensive energy, competition to dominate regional fossil fuels are increasingly influencing the critical decisions that can inflame war.

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Posted by on July 24, 2014 in Politica


Extension of the Gas War to the Levant

by Thierry Meyssan

Every war being undertaken by a coalition naturally has multiple objectives in order to meet the specific interests of each member of the coalition.

From this point of view, the fights now raging in Palestine, Syria and Iraq have in common that they are led by a bloc formed by the United States against the peoples who resist them, to continue the remodeling of the “Greater Middle East” and change the global energy market.

About this last point, two things can change: the layout of the pipelines and the exploitation of new deposits. [1]

The War to Control Pipelines in Iraq

Since the beginning of the war against Syria, NATO has been trying to cut the [East-West] Tehran-Damascus (NIORDC, INPC) nexus to the advantage of an alternative [South-North] corridor allowing the transfer of both Qatari gas (Exxon-Mobil ) and that of Saudi Arabia (Aramco) via the Syrian coast [2].

A decisive step was taken with the Islamic Emirate offensive in Iraq that has split the country longitudinally and separated Iran on the one hand and on the other hand, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. [3]

This visible goal determines who will sell their gas to Europe, and therefore the volume of supply and the selling price. That explains that the three major gas exporters (Russia, Qatar, and Iran) are involved in this war.

The War of Conquest Over Syrian Gas

NATO has added a second goal: the control of gas reserves in the Levant and their exploitation. Though everyone knows that for decades the Southern Mediterranean contains large gas fields in the territorial waters of Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Cyprus, only “Westerners” have known, since 2003, how these fields were laid out and how they extended under the continent.

As revealed by Professor Imad Fawzi Shueibi [4], at the time, a Norwegian company, Ansis, lawfully conducted in Syria a survey of the country, in cooperation with the national oil company. Ansis also worked with another Norwegian company, Sagex. Both, having corrupted an intelligence official, secretly conducted research in three dimensions and discovered the incredible extent of Syrian reserves. These are larger than those of Qatar.

Thereafter, Ansis was acquired by Veritas SSGT, a Franco-American company based in London. The data were immediately revealed to the French, US, British and Israeli governments who soon concluded their alliance to destroy Syria and steal its gas.

After the United States had, in 2010, entrusted to France and the UK the care of recolonising Syria, they formed a coalition called “Friends of Syria”. It convened a “Working Group on Economic Reconstruction and Development” held in May 2012 in the United Arab Emirates, under German Presidency. [5] Sixty countries then divided the cake they had not yet conquered. Of course, most participants were unaware of the Ansis discoveries and Sagex. The Syrian National Council was represented in the working group by Osama al-Kadi, former head of British Gas for the application of military strategies in the energy market.

It was not until the summer of 2013 that the Syrian government was informed of the findings of Ansis and Sogex, understanding then how Washington had managed to form the coalition trying to destroy the country. Since then, President Bashar al-Assad has signed contracts with Russian companies for their future exploitation.

Gas in Israel, Palestine and Lebanon

For its part, British Gas was exploring Palestinian reserves, but Israel opposed their use, fearing that the royalties be used to buy weapons.

In July 2007, the new special envoy of the Quartet (UN, EU, Russia, USA), Tony Blair, negotiated an agreement between Palestinians and Israelis to exploit the Marine-1 and Marine-2 fields in Gaza. The Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad, agreed that British Gas would pay royalties due to the Palestinian Authority to a bank account controlled by London and Washington so as to garantee that this money would be used for economic development.

At the time, the former Chief of Staff of the Israeli army, General Moshe Ya’alon, published a sensational forum on the website of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs in which he observed that this agreement did not solve the problem because ultimately Hamas would receive a portion of the money as long as it was in power in Gaza. He concluded that the only way to ensure that the manna would not fund the Resistance was to launch a “comprehensive military operation to uproot Hamas in Gaza” [6].

In October 2010, things got complicated again with the discovery of a mega gas field offshore by Noble Energy Inc., The Leviathan, in Israeli and Lebanese territorial waters, in addition to that discovered by British Gas in 2001, Tamar. [7]

Lebanon, at the instigation of Hezbollah, immediately notified the UN and asserted its rights to exploitation. However, Israel started extracting gas from these common pockets without taking Lebanese objections into account.

The war for Palestinian gas

The current Israeli offensive against Gaza has several objectives. First, the Mossad organized the announcement of the kidnapping and death of three young Israelis to prevent the Knesset from passing a law prohibiting the release of “terrorists”. [8] Then, the current Minister of Defence, General Moshe Ya’alon, used this as a pretext to launch an offensive against Hamas, applying his 2007 analysis [9].

The new Egyptian president, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, hired Tony Blair to advise him, without the latter resigning for as much from his position as representative of the Quartet [10]. Pursuing his advocacy for British Gas, he then suggested a “peace initiative” perfectly unacceptable to the Palestinians, who refused while Israel accepted it. This manoeuvre was clearly intended to provide an opportunity for the IDF to continue its offensive to “uproot Hamas from Gaza.” It is not irrelevant that Tony Blair is not remunerated for this work by Egypt, but by the United Arab Emirates.

As usual, Iran and Syria supported the Palestinian Resistance (Hamas and Islamic Jihad). In this way, they also showed Tel Aviv they have the ability to hurt it as much in Palestine as it did in Iraq through the Islamic Emirate and the Barzanis.

Only by reading events from an energy point of view can they be understood. For it is not politically in the interest of Israel to destroy Hamas, which it helped create to relativize Fatah. Nor is it in the interest of Syria to help it resist since it allied itself with NATO and sent jihadists to fight against the country. Gone is the period of the “Arab Spring”, which was supposed to bring to power the Muslim Brotherhood (of which Hamas is the Palestinian branch) in all of the Arab countries. Ultimately Anglo-Saxon imperialism is ever driven by economic ambitions, which it imposes to the detriment of local political dynamics. The cleavage, which sustains structures in the Arab world, is not between religious and secular parties, but between resistors to and collaborators with imperialism.

Roger Lagassé

Al-Watan (Syria)

[1] « La guerre en Syrie : une guerre pour l’énergie ?», by Alexandre Latsa,RIA Novosti/Réseau Voltaire, 18 September 2013.

[2] “Jihadism and the Petroleum Industry”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Roger Lagassé, Al-Watan/Voltaire Network, 23 June 2014.

[3] Nothing new, see : “Syria: NATO sets its sights on gas pipeline”, by Manlio Dinucci, Il Manifesto/Voltaire Network, 13 October 2012 ; « Syrie : la course à l’or noir », by Manlio Dinucci, Il Manifesto/Réseau Voltaire, 2 April 2013.

[4] Syrie : 10 ans de résistance (Syria: 10 years of Resistance), six parts program by Thierry Meyssan, Syrian national TV, June 2014. See also : “Struggle over the Middle East: Gas Ranks First”, by Imad Fawzi Shueibi,Voltaire Network, 17 April 2012.

[5] “The “Friends of Syria” divvy up Syrian economy before conquest”, by German Foreign Policy, Voltaire Network, 30 June 2012.

[6] « Does the Prospective Purchase of British Gas from Gaza Threaten Israel’s National Security ? », by Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 19 October 2007. « Ya’alon : British Gas natural gas deal in Gaza will finance terror », by Avi Bar-Eli, Haaretz.

[7] “Israel’s Levant Basin—a new geopolitical curse?”, by F. William Engdahl,Voltaire Network, 20 February 2012.

[8] « Le chef du Mossad avait prédit l’enlèvement de trois jeunes Israéliens », by Gerhard Wisnewski, Réseau Voltaire, 8 July 2014.

[9] « IDF’s Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis», by Nafeez Ahmad, The Guardian, 9 July 2014. « Gaza : le gaz dans le viseur», by Manlio Dinucci, Il Manifesto/Réseau Voltaire, 17 July 2014.

[10] “President al-Sisi chooses Tony Blair as economic advisor”, Voltaire Network, 4 July 2014.

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Posted by on July 24, 2014 in Politica


PermaCulture is Revolution Disguised as Gardening


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Posted by on July 24, 2014 in Uncategorized


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And the economy of death flies on!

by Manlio Dinucci

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More than 50 million people, including 17 million children, are “food insecure“, that is to say, without adequate food “for a lack of money or other resources.” The data does not refer to a poor sub-Saharan African country, but to the country with the largest economy in the world: the United States of America, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (September 2012).

During the Bush administration (2001-2008), American citizens without proper food, who have to depend on food stamps and charitable organizations for their survival, rose from 33 to 49 million. During the Obama administration, their number has increased to more than 50 million, equivalent to 16.4% of the population, compared to 12.2% in 2001. Of these, about 17 million are in a state of “very low food security,” in other words hunger.

They nevertheless have the satisfaction of living in a country whose “security” is guaranteed by a military spending which – according to the SIPRI – doubled during the Bush administration, and rose under Obama from 621 billion dollars in 2008 to over 711 in 2011. At a constant 2010 dollar value (i.e. net of inflation), military spending increased by 80% from 2001 to 2011. The real military expenditure of the United States, equivalent to 41% of global military spending, is actually even higher: when factoring in other items of a military nature (including 125 billion per year for retired military pay) it climbs to almost half of global spending. In this way, as stated in the 2012 Budget, the Pentagon can maintain “military forces ready to be deployed either in the current wars or potential future conflicts.” And, at the same time, it can “invest in long-term scientific and technological innovation to ensure that the Nation has access to the best available defense systems in the world.”

To this end, an expected 100 billion in savings are “reinvested in areas of high priority,” starting with drones: a gliding unmanned aerial vehicle which fires its missiles against targes by remote control from over 10,000 km away.

Here, reality exceeds Hollywood science fiction. Lockheed Martin is developing a new drone for the special forces: to increase its autonomy, it will be fed while in flight by a ground laser beam. As for Northrop Grumman it has undertaken an even more audacious project: the drones, powered by nuclear energy, remain in uninterrupted flight, not for days but for months. Always at Northrop Grumman, they are developing a robotic glider aircraft carrier, the X-47B, which thanks to its programmed memory is able to take off, land and carry out its mission autonomously.

Given the enormous costs of these programs, the Pentagon has already drawn up a list of faithful allies to whom it can sell the new drones designed for robotic warfare. Undoubtedly Italy will be first in line, having already purchased from the U.S. firm General Atomics their latest UAV model, the MQ-9A Predator B. In future, Italy will also purchase the nuclear drone, which after taking off over the heads of the 50 million U.S. citizens in “food insecurity” conditions, will fly over the unemployed Italians (Translator’s note: plus the millions of other unemployed Europeans) who are occupying the factories slated to be shut down. Household Food Security in the United States in 2011 (US Department of Agriculture, 5 September 2012)

Household Food Security in the United States in 2011 (US Department of Agriculture, 5 September 2012)

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Posted by on July 24, 2014 in Uncategorized


Fact Sheet: G-8 Action on Food Security and Nutrition

At the Camp David Summit, G-8 and African leaders will commit to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, the next phase of our shared commitment to achieving global food security. In partnership with Africa’s people and leaders, our goals are to increase responsible domestic and foreign private investments in African agriculture, take innovations that can enhance agricultural productivity to scale, and reduce the risk borne by vulnerable economies and communities. We recognize and will act upon the critical role played by smallholder farmers, especially women, in transforming agriculture and building thriving economies.

The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is a shared commitment to achieve sustained and inclusive agricultural growth and raise 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years by aligning the commitments of Africa’s leadership to drive effective country plans and policies for food security; the commitments of private sector partners to increase investments where the conditions are right; and the commitments of the G-8 to expand Africa’s potential for rapid and sustainable agricultural growth.

We welcome the support of the World Bank and African Development Bank, and of the United Nations’ World Food Program, International Fund for Agricultural Development, and Food and Agriculture Organization for the New Alliance. We also welcome the successful conclusion of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of National Food Security and support the broad-based consultation process and pilot use of the Principles of Responsible Agricultural Investment.

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The New Alliance Will Build on and Help Realize the Promise of L’Aquila

Since the L’Aquila Summit, where we committed to “act with the scale and urgency needed to achieve sustainable global food security,” we have increased our bilateral and multilateral investments in food security and changed the way we do business, consistent with core principles of aid effectiveness. Based on the findings of the 2012 G-8 Accountability Report and consistent with the Rome Principles on Sustainable Global Food Security, the G-8 will agree to:

* Promptly fulfill outstanding L’Aquila financial pledges and seek to maintain strong support to address current and future global food security challenges, including through bilateral and multilateral assistance;

* Ensure that our assistance is directly aligned behind country plans;

* Strengthen the coordination of G-8 strategies, assistance and programs in-country and with partner countries to increase efficiencies, reduce transaction burdens, and eliminate redundancies and gaps.

The New Alliance will be rooted in partnership

To accelerate national progress in African partner countries, the G-8 will launch New Alliance Cooperation Frameworks that align with priority activities within each partner’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) national investment plan and include predictable funding commitments, specific policy actions, and statements of intent from the private sector.

The G-8 will partner with the African Union, New Partnership for Africa’s Development and CAADP to implement the New Alliance, and leverage in particular the Grow Africa Partnership, in order to ensure our efforts build on African ownership, yield significant outcomes, and can be replicated across Africa. The G-8 will work together to advance the objectives of the New Alliance and G-8 members will support its individual elements on a complementary basis.

To mobilize private capital for food security, the New Alliance will:

* Support the preparation and financing of bankable agricultural infrastructure projects, through multilateral initiatives including the development of a new Fast Track Facility for Agriculture Infrastructure.

* Support the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), with the goal of securing commitments of $1.2 billion over three years from existing and new donors, scaling up and strengthening the operations of its public and private sector windows and support other mechanisms that improve country ownership and align behind CAADP national investment plans.

* Report on the progress of G-8 development finance institutions in catalyzing additional private investment in African agriculture and increasing the range of financing options and innovative risk mitigation tools available to smallholder farmers and medium-sized agribusinesses.

* Call on the World Bank, in collaboration with other relevant partners, to develop options for generating a Doing Business in Agriculture Index.

* Announce the signing of Letters of Intent from over 45 local and multinational companies to invest over $3 billion across the agricultural value chain in Grow Africa countries, and the signing by over 60 companies of the Private Sector Declaration of Support for African Agricultural Development outlining their commitment to support African agriculture and public-private partnerships in a responsible manner.

To take innovation to scale, the New Alliance will:

* Determine 10-year targets in partner countries for sustainable agricultural yield improvements, adoption of improved production technologies, including improved seed varieties, as well as post-harvest management practices as part of a value-chain approach, and measures to ensure ecological sustainability and safeguard agro-biodiversity.

* Launch a Technology Platform with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa and other partners in consultation with the Tropical Agriculture Platform and the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) initiative that will assess the availability of improved technologies for food commodities critical to achieve sustainable yield, resilience, and nutrition impacts, identify current constraints to adoption, and create a roadmap to accelerate adoption of technologies.

* Launch the Scaling Seeds and Other Technologies Partnership, housed at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa to strengthen the seed sector and promote the commercialization, distribution and adoption of key technologies improved seed varieties, and other technologies prioritized by the Technology Platform to meet established goals in partner countries.

* Share relevant agricultural data available from G-8 countries with African partners and convene an international conference on Open Data for Agriculture, to develop options for the establishment of a global platform to make reliable agricultural and related information available to African farmers, researchers and policymakers, taking into account existing agricultural data systems.

* Launch an information and communications technology innovation challenge on extension services at the African Union Summit in July 2012.

* Explore opportunities for applying the non-profit model licensing approach that could expand African access to food and nutritional technologies developed by national research institutions.

To reduce and manage risk, the New Alliance will:

* Support the Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM) to complete national agricultural risk assessment strategies, to be conducted by the World Bank and other international institutions in close partnership with New Alliance countries, with the mandate of identifying key risks to food and nutrition security and agricultural development and recommending options for managing these risks.

* Create a global action network to accelerate the availability and adoption of agricultural index insurance, in order to mitigate risks to farmers, especially smallholder and women farmers, and increase income and nutritional security. This network will pool data and findings; identify constraints; support regional training and capacity-building; and accelerate the development of instruments appropriate for smallholders and pastoralists.

* Recognize the need for Africa-based sovereign risk management instruments, recognizing the progress by the African Union and its member governments toward creating the African Risk Capacity, a regional risk-pooling facility for drought management.

To improve nutritional outcomes and reduce child stunting, the G-8 will:

* Actively support the Scaling Up Nutrition movement and welcome the commitment of African partners to improve the nutritional well-being of their populations, especially during the critical 1,000 days window from pregnancy to a child’s second birthday. We pledge that the G-8 members will maintain robust programs to further reduce child stunting.

* Commit to improve tracking and disbursements for nutrition across sectors and ensure coordination of nutrition activities across sectors.

* Support the accelerated release, adoption and consumption of bio-fortified crop varieties, crop diversification, and related technologies to improve the nutritional quality of food in Africa.

* Develop a nutrition policy research agenda and support the efforts of African institutions, civil society and private sector partners to establish regional nutritional learning centers.

To ensure accountability for results, the New Alliance will:

* Convene a Leadership Council to drive and track implementation, which will report to the G-8 and African Union on progress towards achieving the commitments under the New Alliance, including commitments made by the private sector.

* Report to the 2013 G-8 Summit on the implementation of the New Alliance, including the actions of the private sector, in collaboration with the African Union.

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Posted by on July 24, 2014 in Uncategorized


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