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The geopolitics of sanctions against Russia – Giancarlo Elia Valori

The US and EU sanctions currently operating against the Russian Federation were imposed following the Russian support for the “separatists” of the Eastern areas of Donetsk and Lugansk, Ukraine, namely ethnically Russian areas, which wanted to separate – or more likely to become autonomous – from the rest of the country.

 It is hard to say whether the Ukrainian conflict was started   at first by the Euromaidan‘s pro-Western militants or if either one or the former used violent ways and means  because, as usual, the issue of sanctions is mainly political: to force – with mandatory commercial limitations extra omnes or, in any case, for the countries adhering to the primary international organizations – to reduce the political, economic, financial and hence military potential of a target country.

 With four executive orders, the United States has imposed a sequence of sanctions against Russia, while it is still unclear whether the sanction regime always fully hits the target country or if it manages to direct its negative repercussions only to the geopolitical sector to be targeted. Continue reading “The geopolitics of sanctions against Russia – Giancarlo Elia Valori”

The Russian strategy in the Middle East – Giancarlo Elia Valori

The Russian Federation has already won the war in Syria and is therefore the hegemonic power throughout the Middle East.

 Despite tensions at the beginning of the Syrian conflicts, Russia has maintained excellent relations with Turkey, the Second Armed Force of NATO and the strategic key to the link between the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

 Last September Turkey agreed to buy the Russian S-400 missile systems, an important break in the Western military and technological monopoly. Russia has also created a climate of cooperation between Turkey and Iran, another geopolitical novelty which means only one thing: NATO has been fragmented and defused throughout the current Middle East.

 It should also be recalled that Russia’s Rosatom, a State-owned nuclear infrastructure company, is starting to build a nuclear power plant at Akkuyu, Southern Turkey, for an estimated cost of  20 billion US dollars.

 The nuclear power station should be operational by the end of 2023. Continue reading “The Russian strategy in the Middle East – Giancarlo Elia Valori”

China, USA and North Korea – Giancarlo Elia Valori

On October 21 last, the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China began their joint exercises in the Sea of Okhotsk, the most suitable maritime area to hit the US bases in the Pacific.

 It may seem strange – but it is not so for those who look to the issue carefully- that in the same days there was a Sino-Russian joint naval-air-land action in the North Sea.

 It is by no mere coincidence.

 The Sino-Soviet joint operation in Asia took place after checking President Trump’s statements at the United Nations on September 19 last, when he had claimed he could “completely destroy” North Korea and its nuclear stations.

 The more Trump is in military contrast with North Korea, as well as with China and Russia, two  of the major military fleets after the United States – although this assessment is no longer fully true – the more Putin and Xi Jinping take joint action to indirectly defend North Korea, the terrestrial axis of their security against the possible US penetration from the Korean peninsula and the nearby areas. Continue reading “China, USA and North Korea – Giancarlo Elia Valori”

The Lebanese crisis – Giancarlo Elia Valori

On November 4 last, during the great “purge” within the Saudi elite, the Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad Hariri,  resigned claiming that his life was in danger.

 He was paying a visit to Riyadh and the interview released made us implicitly understand that some change was possible.

 Saad Hariri, son of Rafik, the politician and businessman linked to Saudi Arabia – who had been assassinated with a high-potential bomb on February 14, 2005, along with 21 other people – rose to power last year in the framework of an agreement envisaging Michel Aoun, a Christian liked by Hezbollah and Syria, as President of the Republic.

 Just on November 4, in his abovementioned interview with the Saudi television, Hariri had harshly criticized Iran and President Aoun had called him by phone to “ask for his resignation”.

 However, Michel Aoun, a Maronite Christian, had been elected with the consent of Saudi Arabia.

 It should be noted that on the same day, the Houthi – namely the  Yemen’s Shiite rebels – launched a long-range missile targeted to Riyadh. Continue reading “The Lebanese crisis – Giancarlo Elia Valori”

The power struggle within Saudi Arabia – Giancarlo Elia Valori

In the current vision of the Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the Saudi national anti-corruption Commission “Nazaha” has worked very well.

The anti-corruption Nazaha is a complex organization, with a large set of international and local rules, always explicitly referring to the UN – and anyway international – best practice.

It will not be so easy to define Mohammed bin Salman’s fight against corruption as an “ideological operation” or, even worse, “primitive”.

The issue of corruption has been at the core of the Saudi political debate for years.

As early as 2013, the Riyadh Economic Forum had placed the issue of public and private corruption at the centre of Saudi government actions, while the Commission was established officially with King Abdullah’s Executive Order No. A/65 of March 2011.

A wide mandate having strong political impact, designed since its inception – even before the current Crown  Prince – to be the main tool for the King’s control over his vast and chaotic ruling class, regardless of their being blue-blooded or not. Continue reading “The power struggle within Saudi Arabia – Giancarlo Elia Valori”

The Saudi Arabian issue – Giancarlo Elia Valori

The 32-year old Prince Muhammad bin Salman, who  is the heir to Saudi Arabia’s throne, wants at first “to eradicate the roots of Islamic extremism” as soon as possible. This means that from now on the confrontation between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia will be downplayed from infra-Islamic clash of civilization to a normal and natural standard of regional warfare.

 The openings made by Muhammad bin Salman – designated as Crown Prince by his father after many years – such as allowing women to drive are very clear signs that the al-Saud Kingdom does no longer want to be a fundamentalist island in the Middle East nor a silent partner of the United States or of other countries.

 This implies the end of Sunni-Shiite clash of civilizations and the fact that Saudi Arabia agrees to set aside its traditional role as leader of an all-out struggle with the “Ali Sect” led by Iran.

 Let us not be misled by the first reactions to the Saudi official statements. Continue reading “The Saudi Arabian issue – Giancarlo Elia Valori”

The 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China – Giancarlo Elia Valori

When, in 1972, Nixon pointed out to Mao Zedong that “the Chinese President changed the world”, Mao just answered “no, only something on the outskirts of Beijing.”

 In the mind of the Chinese President, a Taoist poet, that was the sense of the natural centrality of the “Middle Empire” compared to the First World (the United States and the USSR, namely “the barbarians of the North”), to the Second World (namely the  servants of either power) and to the Third World, the region that was bound to be represented and dominated by China.

 Currently, after the Long March of the “Four Modernizations” launched by Deng Xiaoping, China is the world’s first economy and is becoming one of the first powers – and, in the future, it  will be the hegemonic military power at least in the Asian world.

 In the 1950s, however, an old map of the CPC’s Central Committee considered Japan, the Philippines, all the South Pacific islands, South and North Koreas and Vietnam as areas of Chinese hegemony.

  This project will not be implemented – if ever – with weapons, but with the economy and with strategic and cultural dominance, which will be protected by weapons. Continue reading “The 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China – Giancarlo Elia Valori”

The situation in Ukraine – Giancarlo Elia Valori

The conflict between the Russian Federation and the Ukrainian government is the point of greatest tension, but also of EU weakness  towards its East, as well as the point of greatest tension between Russia and Europe still today.

  The European Union cannot solve this problem, just because it currently has the same armies that ironically Stalin asked the Pope to have – hence it will be closed to its East.

 Unlike Jason and his Argonauts – owing to the clash going on in Ukraine –  Europe will not be able to find the “Golden Fleece”.

 And the “Golden Fleece” is the beginning of the Greek myth: Jason who travelled to Colchis to look for gold – an initiation theme – and married the sorceress Medea. Now Europe is depriving itself of the new way of communication with the land of Colchis to accept the orders of a power that is obviously doing its utmost to harm the EU, the Euro, the EU  exports, etc.

 Currently none of the two main parties, namely Russia and Ukraine, has any intention to implement or at least to formally comply with the Minsk II agreements of February 2015.

 In what did those agreements consist? It will be worth recalling the  origins and the development of the conflict.

 After the various “Orange Revolutions” of February 2014 – which were US operations – when the long wave of protests called the Euromaidan movement culminated in the removal of the regularly elected President Viktor Yanukovych, violent riots broke out in the Eastern part of the country – traditionally the region most linked to the Russian-speaking world and the Russian culture. Continue reading “The situation in Ukraine – Giancarlo Elia Valori”

Additional considerations on the North Korean strategy – Giancarlo Elia Valori

According to the best-informed US analysts, the response to North Korea’s  further military escalation should consist in Japan’s and South Korea’s nuclear rearmament.

 It would be the response, but also the explicit justification, for North Korea’s rearmament.

  According to the US military decision-makers, however, the preventive  conventional confrontation could be divided into four alternatives:

1) the launch of Tomahawk missiles from the land and sea borders, but certainly North Korea would respond immediately, by also using the approximately sixty tunnels in the territory of the South Republic and its underground military airports in the North.

2) Bombings on North Korea by Stealth aircraft which – as North Korea knows all too well –  can carry nuclear warheads. Also in this case, however, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea could react by hitting the US bombers directly or by launching limited missile attacks against US installations in South Korea.

3) The US aircraft launch of some Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOPs), the new “bunker buster” bombs penetrating and destroying  tunnels,  hardened targets or targets buried deep underground – an action coupled with that of the “electromagnetic railguns” that could be fired by some US ships. A Hollywood action movie scenario having two limits: the low reliability of the two new weapons and the fact that North Korea has not only hidden, but also visible bases.

 Moreover, the visible bases can react to the US operations from the South or from the sea in a very short time, shorter than the duration of the US  attack itself. Continue reading “Additional considerations on the North Korean strategy – Giancarlo Elia Valori”

The new prospects of the Communist Party of China – Giancarlo Elia Valori

The Communist Party of China (CPC) – in the phase in which it is governed by Xi Jinping and by Prime Minister Li Kekiang – is changing rapidly.

 This is a geopolitical and strategic factor of great importance also for Europe and the United States.

 Just a few years before its centennial, the Party founded in Shanghai in 1921 is still a “hircocervus”, both for the Communist tradition resulting from the Third International and for the evolution and, sometimes, the disappearance of the Communist Parties in power in the Soviet Union, in its Eastern European satellite countries and in many Asian countries.

 Indeed, the CPC is both a large mass Party and a political organization that, following the Third International’s tradition, presides over the State and defines its political direction.

 Lenin thought of a small Party of militants and officials who developed the policy line and, through the State, imposed it on society.

 In fact, in the Soviet Union, the CPSU destroyed itself by entering civil society. Conversely, in China, the CPC grows stronger by acquiring and selecting the best elements of society and representing the great masses inside and above the State.

 We can here recall the sarcastic smiles and the biting jokes that the CPC leaders –  and, at the time, the Deng Xiaoping of the “Four Modernizations” was already in power – reserved for Gorbachev paying an official visit to China while the “Tien An Mien” rebellion of the students who wanted “democracy” was underway. Continue reading “The new prospects of the Communist Party of China – Giancarlo Elia Valori”

The strategic significance of the Syrian conflict – Giancarlo Elia Valori

Considering the quantity and virulence of the groups taking part in the Syrian war, which has been going on uninterruptedly for six years, in principle there are two possible scenarios.

 An unstable peace that will disrupt the Syrian political and territorial system – as is currently happening in the Lebanon – or a long war of attrition, as in the Balkans of the 1990s or currently in Ukraine or the Horn of Africa.

 A “long war” hiding the strategic and geopolitical void of those who have organized it.

 Initially the aim of the conflict was to prevent Syria from being open to the Iranian power projection onto the Mediterranean region but, in the event of a long war, no one will gain and no country will ever be in a position to obtain a geopolitical surplus from the current conflict in Syria.

 The cultural and military rifts are well-known: the division between Sunnis and Shiites – often craftily manipulated by both religious groups – the divide between religious and “secular” power – insofar as this distinction can be drawn in the Middle East – the division between the two emerging powers in the region, namely Turkey and Iran, and finally the division among the 68 old Western powers of the Coalition led by the United States and the Russian Federation.

  Hence the size and shape of the new Middle East will result from the analysis of the Syrian war.

  The West, which no longer has a true theory of war, interpret the clashes only through the headlines of its newspapers and the psychotic and irrational obsessions of its voters. Continue reading “The strategic significance of the Syrian conflict – Giancarlo Elia Valori”

The significance of Iran’s presence in Syria – Giancarlo Elia Valori

At least since 2014 the presence of Iranian forces in the Syrian war has certainly ensured both political stability and military success on the ground for Assad’s regime.

 Some Syrian sources maintain that since December 2013 Iran’s engagement in the Syrian conflict has cost at least 6 billion US dollars a year, while other Western sources think the financial support provided has been twice as much.

  With at least 3,200 soldiers and officers from the Revolutionary Guards and other Shiite semi-official organizations, composed mainly of Afghan and Pakistani militants, Iran is second only to the Russian Federation in terms of engagement in the Syrian war to support Assad.

 Moreover, Hezbollah – the Lebanese militant Shiite faction – is present in Syria with at least 4,500 soldiers and officers, but there are other Shiite groups, such as the People’s Mobilization Units (PMU), the former “popular defence brigades”, operating in the Syrian region.

 In all likelihood, it was Iran to persuade Russia to intervene in support of  Assad, but the logic of Russia’s presence in the Syrian war is much more complex than it may appear at first glance.

 In fact, the Russian Federation has placed the war against Daesh-Isis at the centre of its presence in the Syrian region, thus creating a new network of relations with the whole Arab world, including the one previously connected to the United States. Continue reading “The significance of Iran’s presence in Syria – Giancarlo Elia Valori”

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