Iran.ru, Sept. 10, 2014
The New American Plot Against Russia and Iran
By Vladimir Alekseev, special for Iran. Ru
The United States is setting out a new strategy with regard to Russia and Iran. The aim is to weaken and then destroy the current political/governmental structure of both countries, as well as to gain control of the giant oil and gas resources of the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran, turning them into an obedient tool preserving American dominance both in Europe and in Asia. But Moscow and Tehran have the ability to disrupt Washington’s new "old" ideas, as well as the plans declared by NATO in Wales. After all, NATO basically is the United States.
Measures taken today by the Obama administration with regard to Russia and Iran are in many ways a repeat of Reagan’s strategy, adopted in 1982 in a small, top-secret meeting of senior officials in the US administration, to which even Vice-President George Bush Sr. was not invited (the implementation of this plan was not in his own interests, as he represents the interests of the oil sector in the United States). Working together with Saudi Arabia, which has dramatically increased its oil deliveries to the world market, Washington has brought down the price of Soviet oil, so that its export price was no more than the cost of production.
The “Afghan campaign" played its own role in bringing down the country, but the backbone of the powerful state was broken by the destructive course of "perestroika" undertaken in the names of Gorbachev, Shevardnadze and Yakovlev. As a result, the Soviet Union, one of the great empires of the twentieth century, after several years of economic crisis and political turmoil has disappeared from the world map.
Will a top-secret meeting of a small circle of senior figures in the United States be enough to bring success again this time? In the first months after Vladimir Putin’s second accession to the presidency in May 2012, it became obvious that Washington was replacing the "reset" by developing a new strategy toward Russia. And after the failure of NATO’s aggressive policy in Ukraine and in the Middle East, which once again indicates the beginning of the decline of the American empire, the ruling group in the United States began urgently looking for a new course. It’s no coincidence that, as in 1982, this time on the eve of the recent NATO summit in Wales, and the Minsk meeting of representatives of Ukraine and New Russia to conclude an armistice, a meeting was held (again held under the deepest secrecy) for a small number of senior American leaders selected from a very narrow line-up, with the participation of heads of intelligence agencies, the Pentagon and foreign policy strategists. The purpose was to substantially correct the course of the campaign to dramatically weaken and further disintegrate Russia by dismembering it, and at the same time to take urgent measures to restore its position in the Middle East. This had become an “idée fixe” for the United States back in 2012, as soon as it became clear that Russia was gaining strength and had taken her own positions, independent of Washington's, on a number of issues: Syria, Iran, limiting the activities of pro-Western liberal forces within the Russian Federation, and then the Crimea and the situation in Ukraine.
And, already quite beyond what would be seen as "permissible" from Washington's perspective - the creation this summer of alternative international institutions within the BRICS, and the SCO. Washington is especially frightened by the possibility that an axis will be formed uniting Russia, China and Iran, with a possible connection in the future with India. In the United States, it is believed that such an alliance would mean not only the loss of America's global role, to which she stubbornly clings, but also the loss of control over the main sources of hydrocarbons on which the future economic prosperity of the West depends. After all, Moscow and the Persian Gulf - or rather, the Russian Federation, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Qatar – are the main suppliers of oil and gas to Europe and to Asian markets. The further development and growing power of China and India, too, depends on what is happening in Russia and the Persian Gulf.
Having lost in Ukraine, Washington is desperately searching for different ways to strike against Russia. The declared intent to strengthen NATO’s presence in Eastern Europe, on Russia’s western borders, by stationing 5,000 rapid reaction troops in Poland, Romania and the Baltic states, is, to put it mildly, ridiculous. Thus the United States has decided to go for an offensive from the south, where it was already bogged down in 2013 by the West’s inability to topple Bashar al-Assad’s regime (which Russia and Iran stood firmly together to defend). Thus, the US and of course NATO (since the North Atlantic Alliance and America are one and the same thing) again transferred their emphasis to the Middle East, this time with a particular focus on Iran and Iraq. After all, Iran - after the sanctions are removed, and Iraq - after the situation there is stabilized, will be major global oil and gas suppliers. By 2018-2020 it is estimated to the two countries alone will be able to export oil to the tune of 20 million barrels per day, significantly undermining the role of the pro-Western Saudi Arabia, whose ability to export oil does not exceed 10-11 million barrels per day. And then there's the growing regional role of Iran (in political terms), Tehran’s continued course independent of the West, the development of a peaceful nuclear program in Iran, and its desire to enter the BRICS and the SCO.
The US today is almost literally repeating whole paragraphs from Reagan’s strategy to destroy the USSR, but in an updated version – the complete destabilization of Ukraine, economic sanctions, opposition to pipeline construction. But this has not achieved the goal, since Kiev has been unable to overcome the Novorossiya resistance by military means, and many EU member states are unwilling to go all-in under Washington’s leadership – they don’t wish to lose the Russian market or to be left without Russian gas, either; and because of the fact that without Iran, Iraq and Syria, is impossible to create a viable alternative to the "South Stream" project. And the LNG available from the pro-US dwarf emirate Qatar is not enough to even dent the price of Russian gas to the EU. And another thing - Iranian gas is about to pour into Europe, with its largest field, "South Pars," and gas exports will be starting from Iraq as well, which is scheduled for 2016.
Only now, with Iran and Iraq, the United States itself has painted itself into a corner by imposing economic and financial sanctions on Iran because of its nuclear program and by destroying the foundations of the Iraqi state after occupying that country in 2003. And then with the help of the United States, NATO, Turkey and the Saudi Wahhabi regimes, a monster was created, namely the ISIL (now called simply the IS - Islamic State), intended to overthrow Bashar al-Assad in Syria. In June this year it turned on Iraq and nearly captured Baghdad, at the same time proclaiming the establishment of an Islamic caliphate. Only the quick and effective assistance of Iran and Russia saved the regime of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki from total collapse. And now at a top-secret meeting held recently in Washington, it was decided to use Middle Eastern Islamists to incite extremist and separatist sentiment in the Northern Caucasus, including possibly sending in IS militants from Iraq and Syria, especially terrorists of "Russian origin", as well as to foment instability in other Russian Muslim regions (the Volga region, metropolitan areas) to create a new force within the overall "fifth column" in Russia, and at the same time, in parallel, to take all necessary steps to peel off Iran from Russia and reduce Baghdad's cooperation with Russia, including in the energy sector (oil projects where Gazprom Neft and Lukoil are participating).
Washington Is Placing Its Bets
The main focus is now on Iran or, more precisely, the rapid change of the ruling class from “Iranian national Islamists” into “pro-Western liberals”. Washington is betting on the gap between President Hassan Rouhani and the politicians and businessmen who support him, on one side, and the religious leaders of the country, headed by spiritual leader Ali Khamenei, as well as the command of the IRGC, on the other. Thus, the White House has rejected the idea of overthrowing the current Iranian regime in favor of a plan to weaken it from within by a pro-Western "shift" of the political, economic and cultural elite of the of Iran, by promoting domestic opposition to weaken the power of the current leadership, and by inciting ethnic tensions between the Persians on the one hand and Azerbaijanis Kurds, Bellugi, etc. on the other. In this way, the United States, using NATO as a kind of international cover, has decided and is already working to oust Iran from Iraq, transforming the current Iraqi authorities (after the departure of Nuri al-Maliki as prime minister) from the focus on Iran and the developing relations with the Russian Federation to a pro-Western course instead, with normalization of relations with Saudi Arabia and the Sunni monarchies of the GCC.
All this, according to the Washington strategists, along with armed action under the guise of fighting terrorism in the guise of the IG [IS?], will significantly strengthen the military presence of the Americans and some of their allies (the British, Australians, Poles, etc.) in Iraq. And later, not only with the Air Force but with land–based actors will allow for the subsequent deployment of a military operation against Syria on its territory, but only from the east, and again under the pretext of fighting terrorism.
Washington is ready to begin the bombing of the SAR in places where IG units are deployed, as well as to resume military aid to the [semi-luminous?] opposition in the guise of the Syrian Free Army (SSA). The afore-mentioned closed meeting in Washington finally came to the conclusion that it cannot block the laying of the "South Stream" pipeline with the help of Iran by establishing western financial investments in Iran’s LNG capacity (it is expensive and takes a lot of time), but by constructing a major gas pipeline from Iran and injecting into it both Qatari gas from the South Pars field and from the North Field, then adding Iraqi gas and then - through Syria to the Mediterranean coast and from there to the ATS Southern Europe, or else from Syria to Turkey and the Balkans.
This project could be quickly implemented and not too expensive. But still there is one "but" – first, it would be necessary to convert the regimes in Iran, Iraq and Syria to a pro-American stance. And without the use of force, sabotage, subversive activities, and the financial resources of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, this will be impossible. Therefore, we must prepare for new wars and "revolutions" in the Middle East, only not pro-Islamist ones but "colored", pro-Western liberal ones.
And here Iran is the main target. Without changing the regime in Tehran, from the inside or from outside, the United States cannot implement this new strategic plan, which is built on the basis of the old ideas of the Reagan years. That is, there’s nothing new here.
US plans are still the same
Washington’s strategy at that time was to attack the weaknesses of the Soviet political and economic system. Economic and financial measures were gauged to dramatically reduce the USSR’s hard currency revenues. This reduction hampered the Soviet Union in domestic and foreign policy initiatives. The point of this part of the plan was the following:
1. To prevent the construction of a second gas pipeline from Siberia to Western Europe. (The start of the first line of the pipeline was delayed by Washington’s efforts by 2.5 years). Each branch produced 12-15 billion dollars in revenue a year. Deliveries via the second branch would double gas sales and, consequently, the Soviets’ foreign exchange earnings. The US imposed on its European allies a "lid" of 30% on the consumption of Soviet gas; imposed sanctions on five European companies (licensees of American companies and American subsidiaries abroad; three of them went bankrupt) that supplied equipment for the Soviet gas transmission system; banned the use of drilling technologies for permafrost; Oslo was obliged to develop the Norwegian Troll gas field, despite the higher production cost of Norwegian gas (the "surcharge for security" to Europe); and banned commercial banks from lending money for the construction of gas pipelines in the USSR.
2. To sharply reduce oil prices. The Saudis were very tractable at the time, in terms of increasing production. For every dollar lost in the price of a barrel of oil cost Moscow from five million to a billion dollars. William Casey, the CIA director, was personally responsible for negotiations with Saudi Arabia on the issue. He was engaged in that part of the equation considering natural gas. Saudi Arabia, in exchange for its tractability, acquired the right to purchase aircraft systems and AWACS radio-detection guidance for protection against the "Iranian threat".
3. To stop lending to the Soviet Union and to force it to repay early the interest on loans. The leadership of the commercial banks was summoned to the White House and it was spelled out to them very clearly: in addition to extracting profits there were the interests of national security, which they had no right to ignore.
4. To prohibit the sale of technologies. The ban on technology transfer was implemented through the Coordinating Committee on Export Controls.
5 Subversive and sabotage activities in the countries allied with the USSR. A decision was made to organize subversive activities in Poland through the Catholic Church and the "Solidarity" trade union movement, giving them secret financial, intelligence and political support. It was also decided to extend military support to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Under Reagan, Washington significantly increased the volume of arms deliveries, and added the types of weapons that could inflict maximum damage to the Soviet side, particularly "Stinger" MANPADS; they supplied information from satellites, and promoted the mujahideen in other countries - from China to Sweden. The aim was to use the Mujahideen to spread war to the Soviet Union. It was an example of comprehensive, multi-dimensional and elaborate psychological warfare in order to sow fear and uncertainty among the Soviet leadership.
The Reagan administration's plan was developed and implemented in an atmosphere of secrecy. Only about 12 people knew about it. Even Vice President George Bush did not know about the plan: Reagan's closest associates considered that his family clan’s oil interests could stand in the way of the planned reduction in oil prices. One of the most important points of the Reagan strategy was to force the Europeans to follow the plan. According to Washington, Western Europe was making too much money through trade with the Soviet Union instead of "taking care of their own security." The Reagan administration demanded that the Europeans abandon construction of the pipeline, which would have created tens of thousands of jobs in Europe in the years when the unemployment rate was the highest, to abandon a guaranteed supply of inexpensive Soviet gas and instead invest heavily in the development of Norwegian fields, and then buy expensive Norwegian gas.
So after thirty years the Obama administration has developed a similar plan – this time with regard to both Russia and Iran. Let's match up his program with the earlier one, point by point.
Economic and financial measures: Three rounds of economic sanctions have already been implemented: opposition to construction of the "South Stream" gas pipeline being the most salient; supplying equipment for underground mining, drilling on the Arctic shelf and in shale deposits has been banned - similar to the ban on supplying permafrost drilling technologies; maximum pressure has been placed on European countries at the expense of their own interests, and they have followed American sanctions; pressure has also been put on other countries, particularly in Latin America, that can substitute for European exports to Russia after it was hit by retaliatory sanctions. And instead of Norway as a source of gas for Europe, Iran and Iraq have been chosen. And now a new set of 'high impact' measures have been launched against Russia.
If Washington attacked the USSR in 1982 through Poland and Afghanistan, then in 2013 it made its entry in Europe through Ukraine, and in the Middle East - from Syria. The line of attack this time is much closer to the borders of Russia, and the attack itself is military this time. And all this we observe only in the public space. In fact, the Obama administration's strategy is no less secretive than Reagan's strategy, which became known only years later, after it had produced its results.
Of course, the question arises: who today is developing and implementing a strategy against Russia and Iran? One of them is the current director of the CIA, John Brennan. He was previously head of the [?] residency management in Saudi Arabia and, of course, he possesses all the necessary contacts and tools to work with the Saudis. Accordingly, he knows Iran well as the principal rival of Riyadh in the region. His trip to the Ukraine also highlights him as one member of the current group of Washington strategists. But there are others. And almost none of them is seen among the public figures who are constantly flashed on television screens.
The main thing for Russia and Iran is to immediately deploy countermeasures against Washington's plans aimed at regime change in both countries; to help the governments in Syria and Iraq survive; and at the same time to create their own effective energy axis, capable of keeping global and regional oil and gas markets in their interests. Moscow and Tehran must understand that the United States and NATO are now using every means of ideological and economic leverage to separate Russia and Iran, and to "overcome" them individually. Strength is only in unity. And there is no time left to think it over. There is no time for anything but decisive joint action.