Category: John Wight
The Coming War with Iran
worker | May 2, 2018 | 8:15 pm | Iran, Israel, John Wight | Comments closed

Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations in New York (September 27, 2012).

The Coming War With Iran

© AFP 2018 / Don Emmert

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John Wight

Benjamin Netanyahu’s animus towards Iran has long been a driving obsession, occupying his mind before his goes to bed at night and when he wakes up in the morning.

During what can only be described as a bizarre example of coup de théâtre in Tel Aviv on April 30th — billed officially at a press conference — the Israeli Prime Minister left no stone unturned in impugning the Iran nuclear deal, signed during Obama’s tenure in the Oval Office, claiming that “Iran did not come clean about its nuclear program.”

Netanyahu’s case against the Iran nuclear deal, which he claims is now irrefutable based on a large cache of classified documents stolen from the Iranians by Mossad, is — it should be stressed — yet to gain the support of most of its signatories, specifically Russia, France, the UK, Germany and China. It is supported by the Trump administration, however, with the President coming out in support of Netanyahu’s claims during his own press conference outside the White House soon afterwards, right on cue.

Among his own remarks on Netanyahu’s claims, Trump repeated what has been one of the few consistent positions of his presidency, asserting that the Iran deal is a “horrible agreement for the United States.”

READ MORE: ‘Either a Liar or an Idiot’: Netanyahu’s Iran Claims Insult Integrity of IAEA

What we have here evinces all the hallmarks of a ruse on the part of Netanyahu and Trump, two leaders currently engaged in a bromance that would scare the pants off your average ghost, what with their shared caprice and reckless disregard for international law. It is a ruse designed to up the ante when it comes to isolating and demonizing Iran, which combined with a recent bout of Israeli airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria, describes at this point seemingly inexorable march towards a full blown regional conflict.Making these gathering storm clouds even more concerning is that currently in Riyadh sits a leader, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, whose bellicosity towards Tehran is reflected in the hell Saudi Arabia has and continues to unleash upon men, women, and children in Yemen — a proxy war whose savagery has gone almost completely unremarked in the mainstream Western media. This is despite the fact that it could well be a prelude to the much more savage and destructive conflict that will ensue between Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah on one side, and Israel and Saudi Arabia, backed by a neocon-dominated Trump administration in Washington, on the other, should it come to pass.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia ‘May Hope Israel Will Do the Job for Them and Fight Iran’ – Analyst

Iran, a country with no extra-territorial ambitions, which has not started a war with any of its neighbours in generations, is now firmly in the crosshairs of Washington and its regional allies. Despite Tehran’s considerable role in fighting and defeating Salafi-jihadi terrorism in Iraq and in Syria, Trump alleges that Iran is a major sponsor of terrorism. The President here is, of course, referring to Tehran’s close ties to Hezbollah, the Lebanese resistance and social movement born in the ashes of Israel’s invasion and occupation of southern Lebanon in the early 1980s.

One man’s terrorist, they say, is another man’s freedom fighter — and with the IDF’s penchant for shooting dead unarmed Palestinian civilians without compunction, legal or moral, where Israel and Hezbollah are concerned many will find it impossible to make the case for Israel.Significantly, the momentous and truly historic peace summit the world witnessed on the Korean Peninsula between North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in, will likely not be replicated anytime soon in the Middle East. Not when the key regional actors include Benjamin Netanyahu, Mohammad Bin Salman and Donald Trump, men for whom war and conflict would seem more desirable and feasible than diplomacy when it comes to resolving their issues with Iran and its allies.

This being said, a sober and serious analysis of the region leaves little doubt that the regional conflict between the aforementioned blocs is already underway, and has been for some time. As far back as the Obama administration, in the years leading up to the Iran Deal in 2015, Washington was doing its utmost to neuter Iran’s nuclear research program by nefarious means. US author and historian, Perry Anderson, reveals how the Obama administration “launched a massive joint US-Israeli assault on Iranian computer networks to cripple the development of its nuclear program. A blatant violation of what passes for international law, the projection of the Stuxnet virus was personally supervised by Obama.”

It is also a fact that Israel’s notorious intelligence agency, Mossad, has in the past assassinated Iranian scientists involved in the country’s nuclear program — a program that the Iranian government has always maintained is solely concerned with meeting the country’s domestic energy needs, thus freeing up more of its oil for export.

The uptick in aggressive rhetoric against Iran that we have seen, set alongside the celebratory scenes on the Korean Peninsula as peace and denuclearization beckons after many-many decades, it is entirely conceivable that if not before the Iranians now will be minded to actively embark on the pursuit of a nuclear deterrent, one that the Israelis already have in their arsenal.

Making a quick detour, the question of why certain countries are allowed their own nuclear deterrent and others not is one in whose answer we arrive at the reality of power politics as the arbiter of international affairs, rather than the UN Charter or international law.

The point is that the Iranians will be more than justified in arriving at the conclusion that the only reason peace has broken out between North and South Korea is because the DPRK managed to acquire its own nuclear missile capability.

Harsh logic maybe, but hard to refute all the same.

READ MORE: Israel Doesn’t Seek War With Iran — Netanyahu

What is abundantly clear is that something somewhere has to give. Iran is being backed into a corner for no other reason than it refuses to bow to US hegemony, along with the fact that it acts as the main bulwark of opposition to Israeli and Saudi regional ambitions.

In his bestselling book, ‘The Silk Roads’, Peter Frankopan writes, “The world is changing around us. As we move into an era where the political, military and economic dominance of the west is coming under pressure, the sense of uncertainty is unsettling.”

That’s one way of putting it. Another way of putting it is that the old unipolar world is dying while the new multipolar world struggles to be born.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

50 years on from Martin Luther King’s murder, hypocrisy reigns in America

50 years on from Martin Luther King’s murder, hypocrisy reigns in America

John Wight
John Wight has written for newspapers and websites across the world, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT and BBC Radio. John is currently working on a book exploring the role of the West in the Arab Spring. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1
50 years on from Martin Luther King's murder, hypocrisy reigns in America
On the 50th anniversary of his assassination, it is hard to think of anyone whose legacy has been so misrepresented as that of Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King (MLK) dedicated his life to the pursuit of truth regardless of the consequences, personal or political. Thus, at the time of his murder at the hands of a white supremacist on April 4, 1968 in the city of Memphis, where he had arrived to lead a march of the city’s sanitation workers over pay and conditions, King found himself an isolated figure.

Indeed, in an uncanny example of a death foretold, on the eve of his assassination, at the end of both the last and one of the most famous speeches he ever gave, the black civil rights leader proclaimed, “I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And so I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

King, by now, had alienated many of his white liberal champions and supporters in Washington, and also many of his friends and followers within the black civil rights movement, over his vocal opposition to the war in Vietnam. Meanwhile, his refusal to budge from the principal of non-violence when it came to the struggle for racial justice and equality had shed him support within the wider black civil rights movement among a young generation of activists whose anger and frustration at the lack of progress when it came to achieving justice for black people was at the breaking point.

King biographer James H. Cone writes that King’s “sermons [opposing Vietnam] were delivered against the advice of many of his friends and followers… who told him to keep silent about the war because he was alienating President Johnson and [the movement’s] financial supporters.” No matter, Cone elaborates, because King “could not overlook [America’s] great contradictions of racism, poverty, and militarism.”

In the five decades that have elapsed since Martin Luther King’s assassination, those same contradictions have, rather than lessen or move an inch towards being overcome, sharpened to the point where America has been pitched into seemingly terminal decline – at war with itself at home and struggling to deal with a world it is no longer able to dominate, and which is no longer willing to be dominated. “It [America] can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over,” King declared in one of his most famous speeches, ‘Beyond Vietnam,’ which was delivered in 1967 – a year to the day in advance of his assassination.

Surveying the world today, who could possibly refute that the “deepest hopes of men” across the planet have indeed been destroyed by dint of the juggernaut that is US imperialism? Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya – destroyed; justice for a Palestinian people suffering under the iron heel of apartheid and occupation – blocked; the Global South locked inside an inescapable prison of under-development, courtesy of free market fanaticism dressed up as freedom and democracy. These are the fruits of US hegemony, an empire sustained by an insatiable appetite for human suffering and despair.
It is why the chorus of US establishment voices that never miss an opportunity to spout insincere platitudes whenever Martin Luther King’s name is raised or his legacy commemorated, are swimming in hypocrisy.

Chief among them are liberals who wear the cause of racial equality in America like a badge, while in practice ensuring it remains the dream that King embraced from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on that hot August day in 1963 in his famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. Here, for example, speaketh former US President Bill Clinton: “We should all thank God for Dr. King and John Lewis and all those who gave us a dream to guide us, a dream they paid for, like our founders, with their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor.”

Powerful words, dripping in cliché, which ring hollow from a man who in 1994 introduced into law via the US Congress the country’s infamous omnibus crime bill. This he did with the fulsome support of his wife, Hillary, to usher in mass incarceration, which in the years since has had a devastating and disproportionate impact on black communities across America. Of Clinton’s presidency and on the legacy of the crime bill he brought into law, journalist and author Thomas Frank writes, “The former president made sure low-level drug users felt the full weight of state power at the same moment bankers saw the shackles that bound them removed.”

Oh, by the way, speaking of Hillary, here she is in 2008, revealing her reaction to the news of King’s assassination, when she was a young college student: “I walked into my room, and hurled my bag across the room like everything had been destroyed.” Theatrics aside, a rather better reaction, I’m sure you will agree, than the one she displayed at the news of the foul murder of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, when the then-secretary of state clapped her hands with glee and intoned, “We came, we saw, he died.”

Though the Clintons may constitute a particularly noxious example of the opportunism and hypocrisy that is the beating heart of the liberal political tradition in the land of the free, a still more egregious example comes in the personage of Barack Obama. Here, I must give way to Cornel West: “We see the richest prophetic tradition in America desecrated in the name of a neoliberal worldview, a worldview King would be in direct opposition to. Martin [Luther King] would be against Obama because of his neglect of the poor and the working class and because of the drones, because he is a war president, because he draws up kill lists. And Martin [Luther] King would have nothing to do with that.”

On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of a man whose struggle for racial equality had by the time he was killed evolved into a struggle for social and economic justice for poor sanitation workers in cities like Memphis, and an end to the slaughter of poor people overseas, Martin Luther King’s legacy will be fawned over by champions and beneficiaries of a Washington establishment that he had come to realize was the obstacle to justice in America rather than its enabler.

In 2018, the constituency King spent his adult life fighting for – America’s poor, racially oppressed, and dispossessed – is not to be found in the palatial homes and state rooms of the rich and powerful, people adept at extrapolating selective quotes from King’s speeches and inserting them in theirs. The constituency Martin Luther King represented and identified with is, in 2018, languishing within the country’s vast prison network, home to over 2.2 million predominately young men of color. Consider for a moment the thoughts of US playwright August Wilson: “The most valuable blacks are those in prisons, those who have the warrior spirit, who had a sense of being African… The greatest spirit of resistance among blacks [is] found among those in prison.” 

The reality, one inescapable, is that five decades after an assassin’s bullet ended his life on a hotel balcony in Memphis, Martin Luther King’s dream of racial equality in America died with him. And when it comes to an accurate rendering of his legacy, we are obligated to ponder a hypothetical – namely that if alive today, King would be outside protesting the crimes of the politicians and former presidents at the fancy dinners and commemoration events being held in his honor.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Military Conflict Between East and West Has Never Been Closer
worker | February 14, 2018 | 8:07 pm | Analysis, Israel, John Wight, Middle East, Russia, Syria, Turkey, USSR | Comments closed
Israeli soldiers stand guard near the Israeli Syrian border next to the town of Majdal Shams in the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights

Military Conflict Between East and West Has Never Been Closer


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John Wight

Recent events in Syria serve to illustrate the dire consequences of a unipolar world. They also provide further confirmation that international law now belongs to the realm of fiction when it comes to Washington and its allies, for whom exceptionalism is the natural order of things.

There is compelling evidence to speculate that what is now being attempted by the US in Syria, with its occupation of a large swathe of territory in the north west of the country, is a re-run of the Balkanisation of Yugoslavia in the 1990s — a sovereign state broken up and dismembered after the collapse of the Soviet Union in service to the unipolar world that had just come into being as a result.

The break-up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a state born out of the carnage of the Second World War, was stark evidence that for hawks within the US political and military establishment the Cold War had not ended it had been won – won by dint of America’s divinely chosen position as the “indispensable nation”, a credo first articulated by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during an NBC interview in 1998.

READ MORE: Syria of Discord: Iran, US Clash Over Military Presence on Ground

Thus triumphalism abounded within the corridors of power in the land of the free, which cheered on by its willing vassals — such as Tony Blair’s UK government, and various eastern European satellites harbouring unresolved anti-Russian animus — produced an intoxication with overwhelming military power and strength, encapsulated in the eastward expansion of NATO.

The unending wars and military interventions that have been embarked by the US and its allies since the 1990s, rather than push the frontiers of democracy, have produced nothing but human misery, chaos, and instability. And on a scale hitherto absent.Syria is only the latest country and society to experience the tender mercies of Washington’s self-ordained role as the world’s policeman. It does so not with the objective of maintaining the world as a safe place or democracy or human rights, as tirelessly claimed, but so that global corporations are able to function and prosper and exploit the world’s human and natural resources unimpeded. They call it free market economics. A much more accurate name is’ disruptive unfettered capitalism’, an economic model which is no respecter of borders or cultures, no respecter of even the concept of the nation state.

The presence of US military forces in Syria is illegal. This is a fact that no amount of obfuscation or dissembling can elide. It poses a threat to the security and stability not only of Syria but the entire region. The idea that the presence of US military forces in the country, or anywhere else in the Middle East for that matter, is necessary to bolster security and stability, this is an exercise in peddling fiction. Just ask the people of Iraq or Libya, two countries laid waste by Washington and its allies, if you do not believe me.

READ MORE: Drone Captures Syrian Kurdish Militants Hit by Airstrike in Afrin (VIDEO)

Adding to the pot of instability and US-inspired mayhem in the Middle East is the news that the gargantuan US military budget for 2019 is to include $300 million for the training and equipping of the SDF, Washington’s proxy ground force in Syria, in addition to $250 million to fund the ‘border security force’ in the country that’s been mooted. By way of a reminder, as with the SDF the planned border security force will largely comprise Syrian Kurds attached to the YPG. All this, it’s worth recalling, is being undertaken in clear violation of Syria’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is the very epitome of might is right, redolent of that which sustained the Roman Empire.

The seeming willingness of the Trump administration to rupture its alliance and relationship with fellow NATO member, Turkey, with its commitment to arming and training the Kurds across Ankara’s southern border is remarkable, not to mention inexplicable. President Erdogan’s government has made no bones about the fact it considers it a threat to Turkey’s security, and has pledged to act accordingly. Indeed with its Operation Olive Branch military campaign against the YPG in Afrin, northern Syria, currently underway, involving ground forces deploying across the border in the process, the Erdogan government is making good on this pledge.

The fact is that along with Israel, Turkey is now exploiting the crisis and conflict in Syria to violate its sovereignty with wilful abandon.

It requires neither an abiding love or Russia nor a burning hatred of America to understand the necessity of a world in which no one nation is able or inclined to arrogate to itself the right to exercise global hegemony. Empires are doomed by virtue of the very premise upon which they exist, which is that nations and peoples can be dominated and subjugated by other nations. They cannot. Or at least they cannot over a sustained period.

If history teaches us anything it is that those who seek to dominate only succeed in sowing dragon’s teeth, inviting blowback and backlash. The monster that is Salafi-jihadism and the ensuing spate of terrorist attacks across the world in recent years leaves no doubt of it.

The need to check the untrammelled power of Washington is self-evident. Since the Soviet Union was consigned to history in the early 1990s, the US has rampaged across the world like an out of control juggernaut of death and destruction. It has done so regardless of the administration or president occupying the White House.In Donald Trump, a man for whom subtlety is an alien concept, we have ourselves a US president who cannot seem to make up his mind whether he is a recurring character in the Sopranos or the elected leader of the world largest economy and nuclear power.

With his presidency, the sheer reckless, aggressive and capricious character of it, the time has come to pose the question: Who will save us from America?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

The Guardian’s Attempt to Save the White Helmets
worker | December 20, 2017 | 8:11 pm | Analysis, John Wight, Syria | Comments closed

Members of the Syrian Civil Defence, known as the White Helmets, take a selfie with their certificates after taking part in a training session in the rebel-held eastern Ghouta area, east of the capital Damascus, on November 22, 2016

The Guardian’s Attempt to Save the White Helmets



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John Wight

Joseph Goebbels, whose name is synonymous with the ‘art’ of propaganda, once opined, “It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle.”

Propaganda – the spreading of false or misleading information in order to further a political or ideological cause – is by definition only effective to the extent that its recipients are willing to suspend disbelief. The challenge for those engaged in disseminating propaganda is not to make the mistake of crossing the line between the plausible and implausible, the possible and impossible. Do so and like a vampire being exposed to daylight, the façade of verisimilitude required to provide the message you are trying to impart with enough credence to pass muster is stripped away to reveal its half-truths, untruths, and willful distortions.

A recent article carried by UK’s liberal newspaper of record, the Guardian, titled ‘How Syria’s White Helmets became victims of an online propaganda machine’, purports to expose three prominent dissenting voices of the West’s official narrative of the conflict in Syria, lampooning their criticisms of the White Helmets, a western-funded and supported civil defence organization, impugning said journalists’ motives and credentials.

The White Helmets are an organization elevated to near-mythical status by Western journalists and politicians in recent years. When you consider that it is difficult to be seen to be lending support to people and groups with a penchant for hacking off people’s heads for the crime of daring to pray in a certain way, throwing others off tall buildings for daring to be gay, or raping women because they can, this makes sense. In other words, embracing the White Helmets as a surrogate for a Syrian opposition dominated by Islamists and Salafi-jihadis allows the group’s supporters in the West a moral safety valve when it comes to sustaining their position of regime change at all cost.

Olivia Solon kicks off her Guardian article thus: “The Syrian volunteer rescue workers known as the White Helmets have become the target of an extraordinary disinformation campaign that positions them as an al-Qaida linked terrorist organisation.”

READ MORE: White Helmets Volunteer Caught With Rebels Dumping Beheaded Bodies

Though I certainly would not describe the White Helmets as a ‘terrorist organisation’, it is undeniable the group operates in those parts of Syria controlled by the al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front (renamed Jabhat Fateh al-Sham in 2016) and other Salafi-jihadi groups, and has done since established in 2013 by retired British army officer James Le Mesurier. Are we expected to believe that such groups allow the White Helmets to operate freely and independently?

In a wide-ranging 2016 article, former US marine and UN weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, described Le Mesurier as a man who “had experience in the murky world of private security companies and the shadowy confluence between national security and intelligence operations and international organizations.” Meanwhile, of the White Helmets themselves, Ritter writes: “There is a symbiotic, hand-in-glove relationship between the anti-Assad rhetoric of the ostensibly “neutral and impartial” White Helmets and the policy objectives of their funders, a relationship that embodies the notion of a quid pro quo relationship between the two. With their training, equipment and logistical sustainment underwritten exclusively by donations from Western governments (primarily the U.S. and U.K.), the White Helmets serve as a virtual echo chamber for American and British politicians and officials.”

In her Guardian article, Ms Solon contradicts her own claim, mentioned earlier, that an “extraordinary disinformation campaign” is being waged against the White Helmets, when she reveals that “one former White Helmet was fired after he was filmed assisting armed militants in disposing of the mutilated corpses of pro-Assad fighters, and others have been photographed with guns despite marketing themselves as unarmed. There is also footage of White Helmets taking a body away from an execution carried out by rebel militants, which critics claim shows they are “assisting” executions.”

Ms Solon seasons her piece with a liberal sprinkling of accusations of Russian propaganda, attacking RT and Sputnik News in the accustomed manner. But what no one can deny is that neither she nor any other Western journalist would dare set foot in any part of Syria that is still under the control of so-called rebel groups to watch the White Helmets at work for themselves. They know that as soon as they did they would likely be abducted, tortured, and brutally murdered.The clincher in the article is provided by one of Ms Solon’s sources, Sam Woolley, whom we are informed: “studies computational propaganda at the University of Oxford.” Mr Woolley argues, “It’s all part of an effort to delegitimise western efforts to stabilise (my emphasis) Syria.” One can only surmise that Mr Woolley was mistaken or temporarily confused and meant to say, “western efforts to destabilise Syria.”

But then one person’s idea of destabilization is another person’s idea of stabilization. Indeed there are those who believe that “destroying the village in order to save it” is an entirely rational concept, justifying thereby the destruction of Iraq and Libya in recent years. After all, such people do actually exist. The vast network of neocon think tanks operating in Washington and across the West is stuffed full of them.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.  

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