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Iranian Oil Tankers Make It To Iran: Iran and Venezuela Blow A Hole In U.S. Sanctions: Transcript of Radio Interview, Part Two

June 4, 2020

Dutch photographer Hugh Van Es’ photo of a group of people scaling a ladder to a CIA helicopter on the rooftop of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. Something like this will be the U.S. fate in Syria as well

KGNU – Hemispheres – Middle East Dialogues – April 28, 2020 – Transcript Part 2 (Edited)

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What the United States is pursuing now are endless wars, wars that don’t end even if they are over and even when the United States has admitted – perhaps not the government but some its more significant personalities – that for example,

– that the United States has failed to overthrow Assad in Syria and is not going to be able to do so. Washington is not going to be able to partition the country

– with Iran, everything the different American governments have tried has failed in terms of overthrowing the government there as well

So the question is posed: Why do they continue in these efforts of “regime change?” Why do they continue to dig the hole they have gotten themselves into that much deeper, so to speak?

Rob Prince

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(In this segment we continue our discussion, some points made about the “No War Against Iran Act” which passed Congress and then was vetoed by Trump and reflections on U.S. policy in Syria, among other things)

Link to Part One

1.

Ibrahim Kazerooni: Rob, recently the head of the Iranian navy gave an interview. He showed a power point which revealed a number of things for people who follow these events closely. They can read into it a lot of things.

Iran is now on the verge of creating a global navy, no longer a local or regional one anymore. The number of ships that they have ordered, ships that they are building, the sizable military hardware that they are organizing clearly indicates that Iran is planning to build a global navy which means that from now on, Iranian ships – tankers or other kinds of ships – will be supported by the Iranian navy as they travel around the world.

If the United States attacks them, it risks its regional bases in the Middle East being attacked.

Rob Prince: I want to come back to the sanctions Ibrahim. One of the articles I was reading was that prior to asking the Iranians to provide oil, the Venezuelans approached the Russians to help break the sanctions that Washington was imposing.

The interesting thing – at least according to what I read – is that Putin backed off. He didn’t want to challenge the United States in Venezuela. But Iran didn’t (back off). I found that quite interesting and bold on the part of the Iranians.

Is there some validity to this from what you know?

Ibrahim Kazerooni: Well I haven’t heard anything as far as Venezuela approaching Russia but certainly that would be a rational conclusion.

Remember their relationship with Cuba many decades ago (the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962) that they (the US) asked the Russians to support. But I think that the Venezuelan government has a much closer relationship with the Iranian government.

This was especially true during the time when the previous (Venezuelan) president, Hugo Chavez was in power. He and Ahmadinejad were especially close. At that time there was a very tight knit ties. Chavez went to Iran and met Ayatollah Kamenei on a number of occasions. Iran sent Venezuela economic and military aid.

A few days ago, the Venezuelan army tested a cruise missile. Six years ago, this same missile was tested in Iran. So the military technology involved has been transferred and passed to the Venezuelans.

Not only is it the case the Venezuelan military is becoming gradually more self-sufficient and no longer needs to import such weaponry. Iran has offered them technology transfers as well as petroleum products.

So all of this means that there is a new dynamic in the region.

And all this is because as it concerns the mind set of the U.S. Administration; they do not think ahead because they don’t know how to. They only plan day by day, improvising as they go. The only thing they know, the only tool in their tool kit is the hammer – the military hammer but it doesn’t work.

The time of gun-boat diplomacy is over.

Rob, do you want to add anything to this?

2.

Rob Prince: Yes, a couple of quick general points adding to what you said in terms of the overall situation.

What the United States is pursuing now are endless wars, wars that don’t end even if they are over and even when the United States has admitted – perhaps not the government but some its more significant personalities – that for example,

– that the United States has failed to overthrow Assad in Syria and is not going to be able to do so. Washington is not going to be able to partition the country

– with Iran, everything the different American governments have tried has failed in terms of overthrowing the government there as well

So the question is posed: Why do they continue in these efforts of “regime change?” Why do they continue to dig the hole they have gotten themselves into that much deeper, so to speak?

A number of answers emerge.

The first is a rather nasty answer but we find it as a thread throughout U.S. post war military interventions, in American foreign policy history all over the place: they want to make the price of victory too high to pay. Think of the price the people of Algeria, Vietnam, Nicaragua had to pay.

The second point is that the United States is still trying to hide the fact that, so-called great nation that the U.S. is, that it has lost wars in Third World countries, and in the Middle East, continue to lose them. To the degree possible the authorities are trying to hide it.

In the case of Vietnam, since the war ended some 45 years ago in 1975, from the media, from film, you would think that the United States won the war the way they paint it upside down.
So there is that.

Concerning Venezuela, and the Iranian oil shipment to that country, there are also a couple of additional points to consider here as well.

I was listening to the news program – International News Review – that you both – Ibrahim and Jim (Nelson) did last week in which my colleague and friend Doug Vaughan gave his analysis of the Venezuelan situation, including the failed coup attempt last month, now the threat of war over the Iranian oil shipments.

Basically what Washington is up to is that they are testing the waters, looking for an angle to overthrow the Madero government. That’s pretty clear

The connection that I see with Iran here is that the United States is pulling away – from actually trying to achieve regime change in Iran. The situation of the Iranians is too strong.

Ibrahim Kazerooni: Rob, at the moment their plan (Washington’s) is not regime change. At the moment they do not want to confront Iran.

3.

Rob Prince: Yes, they don’t want to confront Iran.. And related to this, there was an interesting development here in the United States.

There was a bill that passed; it passed both houses of Congress, the “No War With Iran Act.” I forget the exact title of the bill that would require President Trump or any other president to go to Congress before going to war against Iran. Iran is specifically mentioned in the bill.

Still it resonated.

What is interesting about the bill is that it passed both houses at this moment in time, ie, some Republicans voted for it as well as Democrats.

Now why would a bill like this be passed? It goes back to the Suleimani assassination, the consequences of which created shock waves in Washington. The fact that Congress was not give any prior knowledge of it, was not involved in the strike in anyway created a situation in which Congress as a whole was nervous enough to send a message to the president that he had (once again) overstepped his bounds.

Despite the veto, still, it reflected something about public opinion here in the United States and that was public opinion in the United States does not support the Trump Administration either going to war or increasing with Iran.

We know that Trump vetoed the bill and that afterwards it failed to get the two-thirds majority necessary to override the veto.

Ibrahim Kazerooni: But although he vetoed it, he got the message. That is the main point of this. It might have been because he “got the message” that he decided not to confront Iran in South America because that would have led to war in the Middle East in which he didn’t want to get involved.

Rob Prince: One last point on this theme before moving on to events in Syria, and that is that the lobbying that was done to get this “No War With Iran Act” bill before the Congress – was done by a number of organizations in coalition. But the one that spearheaded the effort was the Quakers, the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

I just want to point out to people that steady, hard concentrated work for peace, even in this environment of endless war, militarization and all that, still can produce results.

Ibrahim, we have discussed the situation with Iran and Venezuela, what about U.S. policy in Syria? In terms of what is happening in Syria now, can we say that it’s also a case study of this overarching theme – of the United States not having any clear policy in the Middle East?

Ibrahim Kazerooni: Sure.

The Syrian crisis – the Syrian case – is a classic example of this failure.

If you go back over the period from 2011 up until now and count the number of flip-flops in U.S. policy towards Syria in Washington’s effort to undermine, destroy the [Syrian] central government, to turn Syria into small enclaves (partition the country) that could be controlled – the point is made.

Every single plan Washington has conjured up has failed.

Now, compared to two years ago, it is quite clear that the [Syrian} central government has extended its rule over its land by consolidating its control over an additional 30 to 40% of Syrian territory.

This is something that the United States did not want to happen in Syria; that by itself represents a failure for Washington.

The other aspects of U.S. Syria policy – whether it is their scorched earth policy of burning Syrian wheat crops, destroying Syrian oil pumps or stealing Syrian oil – whatever – these are all a part of what we refer to as “the wounded beast syndrome.” You referred to it as “making the price too heavy to pay” for the price of [Syrian] victory.

Keep in mind that Syria is prepared to pay any price to extend its authority over all of its territory and Russia takes the same position towards the Syrian crisis.

Within the last few years, the United States, the Europeans, constantly supported, gave money, training to these mercenary elements. But through it all the Axis of Resistance has remained solid.

The Syrians know – it’s a matter of time – that no matter what the United States does – that Syria will regain all of its territory.

Rob, you referred to Vietnam, the terrible price the Vietnamese paid for victory (4 million dead in the war against the U.S), You certainly know about the atrocities that the United States committed in Vietnam, Cambodia and other places, using chemical weapons, napalm and the like.

At the end of the day, what was the result? The Vietnamese persisted and defeated the United States. I can never forget the image at the end of that war, the image of American personnel, running for dear life, escaping from the roof of their Saigon embassy by helicopter.

End Part Two…

Reported in the Chinese press – U.S. military used incendiary weapons to set fire to 500 acres (200 hectares) of Syrian wheat on May 17, 2020

 

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