Saturday, March 24, 2018

U.S. Threatens To Quit UN Human Rights Council Over Resolutions Condemning Israel

US steps up threat to quit UN rights body as 5 new anti-Israel resolutions pass

The United States warned Friday that it was losing patience and again threatened to quit the UN Human Rights Council after the Geneva-based body adopted five resolutions condemning Israel.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a statement that the council was “grossly biased against Israel,” noting that it had adopted only three resolutions separately targeting North Korea, Iran and Syria.

“When the Human Rights Council treats Israel worse than North Korea, Iran and Syria, it is the council itself that is foolish and unworthy of its name,” said Haley.
“Our patience is not unlimited. Today’s actions make clear that the organization lacks the credibility needed to be a true advocate for human rights,” she said.
Haley has over the past year repeatedly warned that the United States was ready to walk away from the 47-member body established in 2006 to promote and protect human rights worldwide.
The five resolutions were presented by the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation under the council’s “Item 7” which requires a report on Israeli actions in the West Bank each time the panel convenes.
Israel is the only country that has a dedicated agenda item at the council, a mechanism that the United States and some European countries have criticized.
In February, Haley criticized a report by the UN’s high commissioner for human rights on 206 companies with ties to Israeli settlement. Israeli officials have described the report as a “blacklist” and said it is part of an effort to boycott the Jewish state.
“This whole issue is outside the bounds of the High Commissioner for Human Rights office’s mandate and is a waste of time and resources,” Haley said in a statement at the time.
The report was in response to a resolution adopted in 2016 by the UN Human Rights Council that called for the creation of a database of all companies doing business with the Israeli settlements, which the United Nations considers illegal under international law.
The latest threat to quit the council came after US President Donald Trump appointed UN-skeptic John Bolton as his national security adviser.
Since Trump took over at the White House, the United States has quit the UN cultural agency UNESCO, cut UN funding and announced plans to quit the UN-backed Paris climate agreement.

China Is Days Away From Killing The Petrodollar

China Is Days Away From Killing the Petrodollar

 Trump’s new steel and aluminum tariffs are part of a larger, escalating battle between the US and China.
China is rapidly displacing the US as the dominant global power. This shift is inevitable. China’s economy will be twice as large as the US economy by 2030.
This leaves the US with limited options…
  1. It could kick back and let China displace it as the most powerful country in the world.
  2. It could start a military war with China.
  3. And it could push the current trade battle into an all-out economic war against China.
I think a full-blown economic war is the most likely. Under President Trump, it’s all but certain.
That said, the Trump administration seems to underestimate China’s position—in both the short and long term.

For decades, the US has been able to exclude virtually any country it wants from international trade. Right now, if one country wants to trade with another, it basically needs US permission first.
That’s because (for a short while longer) the US dollar is the world’s most important currency. The US Navy also dominates the world’s oceans, controlling most major shipping lanes.
But China is building a new international system. Eventually, it will let China and its trading partners totally bypass the US.
And, as I’ll explain shortly, a key piece is set to fall into place on March 26…
The New Silk Road is the centerpiece of China’s new plan.
In the coming months and years, it will include high-speed rail lines, modern highways, fiber optic cables, energy pipelines, seaports, and airports. It will link the Atlantic shores of Europe to the Pacific shores of Asia.
China expects to have its New Silk Road fully up and running by 2025.
This is history’s biggest infrastructure project. The whole point is to completely re-draw the world economic map. If it’s successful—and it most likely will be—China will dominate Eurasia.
President Xi announced the $1.4 trillion plan in late 2013. When it’s done, a train leaving Beijing will be able to reach London in only two days.
Keep in mind, the Chinese are careful long-term planners. When they make a strategic decision of this magnitude, they totally commit.
Take their road system, for example. Between 1996 and 2016 China built 2.6 million miles of road, including 70,000 miles of highway. In just 20 years, it built far more highway than the US has in its entire existence.
In other words, the Chinese get things done. They have the political might—along with the financial, technological, and physical resources—to make the New Silk Road happen. With iron-willed President Xi at the helm, I have no doubt they’ll pull it off.
Not long from now, the New Silk Road will help China unseat the US as the world’s dominant global power and totally upend the geopolitical paradigm.
But before that happens—within the next couple of weeks, actually—China is introducing a way for anyone who buys or sells oil to opt out of the US-dominated global monetary system.
Most investors know that oil is the largest and most strategic commodity market in the world. As you can see in the chart below, it dwarfs all other major commodity markets combined.

Every country needs oil. And, for a short while longer, they need US dollars to buy it. That’s a very compelling reason to hold large dollar reserves.
This is the essence of the petrodollar system, which has underpinned the US dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency since the early 1970s.
Right now, if Italy wants to buy oil from Kuwait, it has to purchase US dollars on the foreign exchange market to pay for the oil first.
This creates a huge artificial market for US dollars.
In part, this is what separates the US dollar from a purely local currency, like the Mexican peso.
The dollar is just a middleman. But it’s used in countless transactions amounting to trillions of dollars that have nothing to do with US products or services.
Since the oil market is so enormous, it acts as a benchmark for international trade. If foreign countries are already using dollars for oil, it’s just easier to use dollars for other international trade, too.
In addition to nearly all oil sales, the US dollar is used for about 80% of all international transactions.
This gives the US unmatched geopolitical leverage. The US can sanction or exclude virtually any country from the US dollar-based financial system at the flip of a switch. By extension, it can also cut off any country from the vast majority of international trade.
The petrodollar system is why people and businesses everywhere in the world take US dollars. Other countries have had little choice about it, until now…

China’s “Golden Alternative”

China does not want to depend on its main adversary like this. It’s the world’s largest oil importer. And it doesn’t want to buy all that oil with US dollars.
That’s why China is introducing a new way to buy oil. For the first time, it will allow for the large-scale exchange of oil for gold.
I’m calling this new mechanism China’s “Golden Alternative” to the petrodollar. It goes live on March 26.
Ultimately, I think people will look back and see the Golden Alternative as the catalyst that killed the petrodollar.
Here’s how it will work…

The Shanghai International Energy Exchange is introducing a crude oil futures contract denominated in Chinese yuan. It will allow oil producers to sell their oil for yuan.
China knows most oil producers don’t want a large reserve of yuan. So producers will be able to efficiently convert it into physical gold through gold exchanges in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
As of March 26, countries around the world will have a genuine, viable way to opt out of the petrodollar system. Now is the time to position yourself to profit.

With China’s Golden Alternative, a lot of oil money will flow into yuan and gold instead of dollars and Treasuries.
I think the price of gold is going to soar.
China imports an average of around 8.5 million barrels of oil per day. This figure is expected to grow at least 10% per year.
Right now, oil is hovering around $60 per barrel. That means China is spending around $510 million per day to import oil.
Gold is currently priced around $1,300 an ounce. That means every day China is importing oil worth over 390,000 ounces of gold.
If we assume that just half of Chinese oil imports will be purchased in gold soon, it translates into increased demand of well over 60 million ounces per year—or more than 55% of gold’s annual production.
Of course, China won’t be the only country using the Golden Alternative. Anyone will be able to.
The increased demand for gold is going to shock the market. That’s why I think the price of gold will soar.
As the petrodollar dies, gold will be remonetized… and China will be another step closer to displacing the US.

Rumors Of War: Possibility Of Preemptive Aerial Strike Against Iranian Forces Inside Syria By U.S./Israel

In the Middle East, developments in May could determine future of the region: ANALYSIS

Around dinner tables and cafes in Beirut these days, discussions are increasingly turning to one topic: the likelihood of another war with Israel.
It has been an ongoing debate for several years now, gaining renewed vigor each time Israeli and Hezbollah leaders publicly promise to inflict more harm on each other than ever before if, indeed, the countries went to war.
However, Iran’s blatant and growing military presence on Israel’s doorstep, and Tehran’s rapidly deteriorating relationship with the United States, is introducing a greater likelihood of conflict.
Fresh from a March 5 meeting at the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told his cabinet he believes President Trump will pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement before the next sanctions waiver deadline on May 12.
Although President Trump has given no public indication what he will decide, his repeated threats, tweets and vocal dissatisfaction with Iran –- and specifically with the Iran nuclear agreement -– are reigniting fears that Washington is paving the way for a new Middle East clash.
Along with Israel, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is also a very strong opponent of growing Iranian strength and influence in the region. This week, he is being greeted with open arms and with great affection at the White House, with the question of what to do about Iran no doubt being one of the main points of discussion.
The latest rumor swirling around the Arab world speculates on the possibility of a preemptive aerial strike –- by the U.S. or Israel, or a combined show of force – against Iranian forces and militias building up inside Syria.

In addition to his speculation about Mr. Trump’s intentions toward the Iran nuclear agreement, Netanyahu also returned from Washington declaring that he had secured historic contributions toward Israel’s “national security.” The educated guess is that he received some kind of promise from Trump on not only withdrawing from the agreement, but perhaps even a tacit approval on military action.

Israel most certainly faces a dilemma over Iran’s increasing reach. Eventually, Netanyahu -– or his successor -- will have to decide to either carry out a military strike to push Iran back from southern Syria or to simply accept the new reality of a permanent Iranian threat just across the border.
In any event, there is greater satisfaction in Jerusalem lately over America’s shift against Iran, thanks to the Trump administration. Instead of Obama-led policy leaning toward more diplomatic engagement with Iran and nudging the country into the international sphere on social responsibility, America has reverted to classifying Iran as a clear threat to its principles and interests.
So far, the threatening arsenal of rockets owned by Hezbollah, Iran’s staunch ally in the region, and the overwhelming retaliatory response promised by Israel, has served as a worthy deterrent to conflict in Lebanon.
But how long can this last?
Taking into account Iran’s close relationship with Hezbollah, any attack on Iranian targets inside Syria, or any attack on Hezbollah targets inside Lebanon, would likely, and very quickly, escalate into a greater region-wide war involving many more nations.
Both Russia and the United States have large numbers of troops in the region.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is building military bases across Syria and commanders have taken leading roles in battles against Syria’s enemies. In addition to its relationship with Hezbollah, Iran continues to back powerful militias inside Syria. Iranian drones now regularly cruise the skies above the Israeli-Syrian border to spy on enemies and to possibly even launch air attacks.

There is no doubt another Israeli-Lebanese war would be far more damaging, and far more costly to life and property, than the last one in 2006. Israeli military leaders have repeatedly accused Hezbollah of hiding weapons inside civilian buildings, leading many to believe Israel is preparing a case for far more liberal targeting strategies this time around; i.e., many more civilians will likely be killed and the Lebanese civilian infrastructure destroyed.
For Israel, the greatest risk would be from waves of missiles raining down, indiscriminately, on cities and towns across Israel. Add to this mix a potent Iranian presence across the northeastern border in Syria —- with a possible invasion attempt across the Golan Heights —- and it shapes up to be an extremely tough challenge for Israel.
Notwithstanding all of these threats, Netanyahu may consider the timing for a preemptive Israeli strike to be better now, politically, than it has been in many years –- and most likely better than it would be again if Trump were to somehow lose a reelection bid to someone less staunchly conservative.
One thing potentially holding Netanyahu back are criminal investigations that will probably end his own stint in power before he could jump into a war. Either way, Netanyahu is aware that his era will soon be coming to an end. The question will be, does he choose to end his public career quietly, or amid a maelstrom of warfare?

Rumors Of War: 'Beijing Should Prepare For War In The Taiwan Straits'

Chinese Newspaper: Beijing Should Prepare For War In The Taiwan Straits

On Thursday, a leading Chinese state-run newspaper announced the unthinkable: Beijing must prepare for “a direct military clash” over self-ruled Taiwan after a mid-level U.S. official arrived in Taipei on Tuesday, angering senior officials in Beijing.

The atmosphere in Beijing started to get heated when Alex Wong, US deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, arrived in Taipei on Tuesday. Wong became the first senior State Department official of the Trump administration to visit Taiwan since Washington approved the Taiwan Travel Act, which has already roiled ties and brought new pressures to Sino-US relations (refers to international relations between the U.S and China).
Interesting enough, with trade war tensions escalating between Beijing and Washington, the pivot by the Trump administration over Taiwan has made the situation much worse.
Local media reports cited Wong as stating the United States’ commitment to Taiwan has never been stronger, and that Washington will get international organizations to strengthen ties with Taipei.

“Taiwan can no longer be excluded unjustly from international fora. Taiwan has much to share with the world,” Wong said at a reception attended by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, a member of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.
“I can assure you, the United States government and the United States private sector will do their part to ensure Taiwan’s stellar international example shines brightly,” he added.

In response, the senior editor of the Global Times declared China had to “strike back” against “Washington’s implementation of the Taiwan Travel Act.”

“We must strike back against Washington’s implementation of the Taiwan Travel Act. First, Beijing should not invite senior officials of the US Department of State and Defense who visit Taiwan, to the mainland during their terms. For instance, Wong should not be invited to the mainland until he no longer occupies the post. Senior Taiwan officials who visit the US and meet publicly with high-level US officials should be treated alike. This won’t make the mainland suffer diplomatically. After all, Beijing and Washington have various channels to communicate.” 

At the end of the piece, the editor dropped the mother of all bombshells, “Mainland [China] must prepare itself for a direct military clash in the Taiwan Straits.”
The mainland must also prepare itself for a direct military clash in the Taiwan Straits. It needs to make clear that escalation of US-Taiwan official exchanges will bring serious consequences to Taiwan. This newspaper has suggested that the mainland can send military planes and warships across the Taiwan Straits middle line. This can be implemented gradually depending on the cross-Straits situation.
Preventing the Taiwan independence movement and promoting unification through peaceful ways can be costly, perhaps costing more than the short-term loss brought about by forceful unification. It’s a misunderstanding to think that peaceful unification will be a harmonious and happy process. The Taiwan authority will only turn around when left with no choice. Sticks matter more than flowers on the path to peaceful reunification.

China Uncensored provides us with the knowledge that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has already made the preparations to invade Taiwan by 2020.

Earlier this week, the New Straits Times reported that China sailed its aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait, in response to Wong’s Taipei trip.

While the Global Times says China should prepare for military action against Taiwan, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the Trump administration coupled with military–industrial complex is preparing for the next great war in the East. This time around, perhaps, we have gained an important clue that war with China starts with Taiwan.

Rumors Of War: Risk Of Direct Confrontation Between NATO and Russia In Syria - False Flag Chemical 'Attack' Appears Imminent

US Planning a Terrorist False Flag Chemical Attack to Justify Bombing Syria: Russia Says It Will Respond

An alarming warning by Sergei Lavrov and Chief of the Russian General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, was announced via the RT broadcaster and several Russian media. 

The content is explosive and deserving of the widest possible dissemination. 

Gerasimov claimed that Moscow had "reliable information that fighters are preparing to stage the use by government troops of chemical weapons against the civilian population." 

He alleged that the US intends to accuse Assad's troops of using chemical weapons against civilians, and then "carry out a bombing attack" on Damascus. 

Gerasimov warned that Russia would "take retaliatory measures" if the US targeted areas where its military are located in the Syrian capital. "Russian military advisers, representatives of the Center for Reconciliation and members of military police" are currently in the Syrian capital, Gerasimov said, adding that in the event that the lives of Russian military personnel are placed in danger, the Russian Armed Forces will respond with certain measure to both “missiles” and their “launchers”. 

A few hours earlier, Lavrov responded, "criticizing the remarks by the US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, about Washington’s readiness to “bomb Damascus and even the presidential palace of Bashar Assad, regardless [of the] presence of the Russian representatives there.” “It is an absolutely irresponsible statement,” the Russian top diplomat added.

The words of Gerasimov are even more dire, since he explains how the United States and its allies are preparing the ground to justify an attack on Syria. According to reports, terrorists stationed in Al-Tanf (an illegal US military base in Syria) received 20 tons of chlorine gas and detonators, disguised as cigarette packs, in order to attack in an area under the control of the terrorists that is densely inhabited by civilians.

What would then happen is already obvious, with the White Helmets (AKA Al-Qaeda) and mainstream media ready to broadcast the images of the victims of the attack, tugging at the heartstrings of Western viewers otherwise unaware of the conspiracy being played out. 

Efforts to frame Russia have already reached the highest alert levels, with the false-flag poisoning of the Russian spy in the United Kingdom. It seems that there is a significant effort by the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany to provoke a military confrontation with Moscow.

 How else are we able to interpret threats from Macron to strike Damascus, together with his ominous advice to foreign journalists not to go to Damascus in the coming days and, for those already there, to leave the capital immediately? 

There has even been chatter within diplomatic circles that suggest that UN personnel are leaving Damascus. This could be psychological warfare, or it could be a prelude to war. With the stakes so high, we cannot afford to ignore any detail, even if it may be disinformation. The American attack seems imminent, with mounting signs of movements of American and Russian warships in the Mediterranean in attack formation.

Russian military representatives have reiterated that in the event of an attack, they will respond by hitting both the missiles launched as well as the ships from which the missiles were launched. 

Things are getting pretty dicey, and the risk of a direct confrontation between the United States and the Russian Federation are rising with every passing hour. The transfer of numerous US aircraft from Incirlik, Turkey, to Al-Azrak, Jordan, is another indication of preparations for an attack, since the forces moved to Jordan are close to the Al-Tanf base. The proposed strategy could involve an assault on the city of Daraa, for the purposes of securing the borders between Syria and Jordan and Syria and Israel.

The warnings raised by Lavrov and Gerasimov appear unprecedented, given that they detail a plan already set in course, evidently approved at the highest levels and aimed at provoking and justifying an attack on Syria; and attack that would encompass the Russian forces in Syria.

Tensions continue to grow, following Russia’s shooting down of a drone by two surface-to-air missiles launched from its Hmeimim Air Base. Moscow has even deployed to the Mediterranean the Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate Admiral Essen and the Krivak II-class anti-submarine frigate Pytivyy. 

Both are prepared for anti-ship and anti-submarine operations. Sources claim that this deployment was planned some time ago and is part of a routine deployment of the Russian navy. But during such a delicate moment, it pays to focus on every detail. Without resorting to excessive alarmism, if Lavrov said that “the movements of the warships of the United States and its allies in the Mediterranean seem compatible with the strategy of using this chemical attack to justify an attack on the Syrian Arab army and government installations”, then it is reasonable to speculate on whether the Russian ships are moving in to the area to counter any provocations.

There are two fundamental flaws in the reasoning of US policy-makers and the US military establishment. They are convinced that an American demonstration of strength (involving a large number of cruise missile launched against Syria through a significant involvement of aircraft carriers as well as bombers) would stun Russia into passivity.

Furthermore, US military generals are convinced that Syria and Russia do not have the ability to defend themselves for an extended period of time. They seem to be fooling themselves with their own propaganda. As their Israeli colleagues have already learned, such an assumption is mistaken. While the idea that a high level of firepower would meet with some kind of success, the possibility of a response from Syrian and Russian forces remains. And this possibility seems not to have been given sufficient weight by the US and her allies.

How would the American military and the Trump presidency react to a US warship being sunk by anti-ship missiles? It would only serve to demonstrate how vulnerable American naval forces are when confronted with such advanced weapons. It would represent a tremendous shock for the US military, possibly the biggest shock since the end of WWII. What would Trump and the generals in charge do? They would respond with further bombardment of Russian forces, leaving themselves open to a devastating Russian response. The conflict could escalate within the space of a few minutes, leading to a situation where there could be no possible winners.

In Syria, the approach of Washington and its diplomatic and military emissaries seems more reckless and less tied to a chain of command where the buck stops at the American president. It seems that the US deep state in Syria has a greater and more hidden control over American forces, sabotaging every agreement made between Moscow and Washington. We saw this during the Obama presidency, where the US Air Force bombed government troops in Deir ez-Zor only a few hours after a ceasefire had been reached between Lavrov and Secretary of State Kerry.
The grave circumstance about which we write seem to be without precedent, seeming as they do to lead towards a direct confrontation between nuclear-armed powers. Alas, in such circumstances, we can only hope for the best but prepare for the worst; we can only wait to read on the mainstream media notifications of the latest chemical attack in Syria. We can only hope that there is someone in Washington retaining enough sense to factor in the devastating consequences of an attack on Damascus and the Russian forces in the region.
Never before has the region been on the verge of such an explosion as in the next few hours -- as a result of the typically reckless actions of the United States.