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'US desperate to isolate Russia on all fronts'

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.

Published time: March 28, 2014 13:36
A G7 summit at the official residence of the Dutch prime minister in The Hague on March 24, 2014 on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). (AFP Photo / Jerry Lampen)

The Obama administration is taking no prisoners trying to “isolate” Russia on all possible fronts – with negligible results so far.

Here I outlined some reasons why Asia won’t isolate Russia. And here some reasons why the EU cannot afford to isolate Russia. Yet the Obama administration is relentless, and bound to keep attacking on three major fronts – the G20, Iran and Syria.

First, the G20. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop threw a balloon, speculating that Russia and President Vladimir Putin could be barred from the G20 summit in Brisbane in November.

The reaction of the other four BRICS member-nations was swift: “The custodianship of the G20 belongs to all member-states equally and no one member-state can unilaterally determine its nature and character.”

US-subservient Australia had to shut up. For now.

The BRICS, not by accident, are the key developing world alliance inside the G20, which actually discusses what matters in international relations. The G7 – which ‘expelled’ Russia from its upcoming meeting in Sochi, transferred to Brussels - is just a self-important talk shop.

Sanction to sanction

Then there’s Iran. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov made it very clear that if the US and selected European minions would slap economic sanctions over the Crimea referendum, “we will take retaliatory measures as well.” And he meant it in relation to the P5+1 negotiations over the Iranian nuclear dossier.

Here’s a fairly accurate depiction of the US establishment’s view on the Russian role in the negotiations.

It’s true that the 2009 revelation of a secret, underground Iranian uranium enrichment facility did not sit well with Moscow – which in response cancelled the sale of the S-300 air defense system to Tehran.

But more crucial is the fact Moscow wants the Iranian nuclear dossier to be kept under UN Security Council umbrella – where it can exercise a veto; any solution must be multilateral, and not concocted by psychotic neo-cons.

Conflicting political factions in Iran may harbor doubts about Moscow’s commitment to a just solution – considering Moscow has not done much to alleviate the harsh sanctions package. And yes, both Russia and Iran are in competition as energy exporters – and sanctions do punish Iran and reward Russia (50 percent less Iranian oil exports since 2011, and not even qualifying as a major exporter of natural gas).

But if the American sanction obsession engulfs Russia as well, expect fireworks; as in Moscow accelerating a swap of up to 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian crude in exchange for Russia building another nuclear power plant; extra Russian moves busting the Western sanctions wall; and even Moscow deciding to sell not only the S-300 but the S-400 or the ultra-sophisticated, upcoming S-500 air defense system to Tehran.

It’s false flag time

Finally there’s Syria. Once again, the BRICS are at the forefront. Russian Ambassador-at-Large Vadim Lukov nailed it when he stressed, “Frankly speaking, without the BRICS position, Syria would have long ago turned into Libya.”

The BRICS learned their lesson for Syria when they let their abstentions at a UN vote open the way for NATO’s humanitarian bombing of Libya into a failed state. Subsequently, Russian diplomacy intervened to save the Obama administration from bombing Syria over a senseless, self-inflicted ‘red line’ – with potentially cataclysmic consequences.

Now the plot is thickening again. UN and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has spun that the resumption of the Geneva II peace talks is “out of the question” for the moment. In a briefing to the UN Security Council in early March, he blamed the Syrian government for this.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (C) opens the so-called Geneva II peace talks next to UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (L) on January 22, 2014 in Montreux. (AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini)

That’s absurd. The myriad, bickering, opportunistic opposition factions never wanted a negotiation in the first place; only regime change. Not to mention the jihadi nebulae – whic until recently has been imposing facts on the ground fully weaponized by Gulf petrodollar funds.

Now rumors abound of the Obama administration getting ready to ‘isolate’ Russia – and by extension the BRICS - on Syria.

The Obama administration, via proverbial unnamed ‘officials’, has been positioning disinformation ‘reports’ about jihadists attacking Western interests, based out of north and northeast Syria. That could be the prelude for a perfect false flag, then used to justify a Western intervention – obviously bypassing the UN. Those warmongering dreamers of a no-fly zone over Syria have never stopped dreaming.

This scenario also neatly dovetails with the current Erdogan administration scandal in Turkey – as what was unveiled on YouTube is exactly a national security conversation on how a NATO member, Turkey, could set up a false flag and blame Syria.

The bottom line is that NATO has far from given up on regime change in Syria. There are enticing symmetries at play. A putsch in Ukraine. A false flag in Syria. A NATO push in Syria? A Russian push in eastern Ukraine. It may not sound as far-fetched as it seems. And then, all bets are off.

The whole New Great Game in Eurasia is getting so warped that now we have constitutional law expert Obama legitimizing the invasion and occupation of Iraq (“America sought to work within the international system, we did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory”) and wacko warmongers in Think Tankland preaching an oil embargo against Russia, Iran-style, with Washington using their minions Saudi Arabia to make up for the shortfall.

After lecturing Europeans in The Hague and Brussels over ‘evil’ Russian designs, and parading in Rome like a New Caesar, Obama finishes his triumphal tour exactly at his Saudi satrapy. We should all get ready for a nasty box of chocolates ahead.

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

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