Syria on the verge of a massacre: the world must intervene

 

 PDF VERSION: SYRIA ON THE VERGE OF CIVIL WAR-AHMAD HASHEMI

Syria on the verge of a massacre: the world must intervene

 

مقاله ای دارم به زبان انگلیسی تحت عنوان معمای سوریه که در این مقاله در مورد دلایل و ضرورت مداخله بشردوستانه بین المللی و پایان دادن به بی تفاوتی جامعه بین المللی  به منظور جلوگیری از بروز فاجعه انسانی  و کشتار گسترده احتمالی مردم و غیرنظامیان سوریه توسط نیروهای بشار اسد با همکاری سپاه قدس و استفاده احتمالی از سلاحهای کشتار جمعی و بویژه تسلیحات شیمیایی پرداخته ام

 

Syria on the verge of a massacre: the world must intervene

Published in: A Time to BetrayIran Briefing, and The Times of Israel    

Ahmad Hashemi

 

Inspired by the democratic movements all across the Greater Middle East region, known as the “Arab Spring,” the Syrians, though cautiously at the beginning, took to the streets demanding further political and social reforms and greater freedoms. Launched in March 2011, the Syrian uprising was a first major sign of popular resentment against the authoritarian Ba’ath party rule since the bloody clampdown on a revolt back in 1982 in Hama.

 

With the escalation of the civil casualties turning into a human tragedy of the uprising, few countries and organizations, including Russia, Iran and its proxy Hezbollah, could afford to remain indifferent in what was happening inside Syria. Even Tehran’s mercenaries such as Hamas sided with the Syrian opposition. Having nothing to lose itself, Iran burned the credit of its ally Hezbollah – gained after Israeli forces retreated from southern Lebanon and strengthened by the 33-day war with Israel in 2006 – and severely damaged the reputation and popularity of the so-called resistance front.

 

Tehran put Assad as well as his comrades from the Alawite sect at great risk because after the inevitable demise of the Baath party dictatorship, this minority will suffer the most and will be forced to leave the post-Assad Syria or at least to flee retaliation by the Sunni majority and take shelter in the Alawite stronghold of the coastal mountainous areas along the Mediterranean shore, with its major provincial towns of Lattakia and Tartus. There, they will need to accept the reality of – and find a way to live within – the eventual framework of a most-likely secular, democratic and Sunni-dominated political system.

 

As a politician who inherited power from his father, Bashar Assad was smart enough to understand the consequences of the critical situation he was facing in order to act properly. If not for Iran’s temptation, influence, persuasion as well as its all-out support, the regime in Damascus would most probably have compromised on a mutually agreeable solution with the opposition to bring about more liberties and to expedite reforms to stifle the public anger, instead of defying and insisting on further bloodshed.

 

Iran seems unwilling to allow Assad to even think of a possibility of any concession whatsoever. Therefore, if no quick and effective step is taken by the world community, the worst is still ahead and the regime in Tehran, through providing both chemical weapons and its death technologies to Syrian regime, will try to keep the leader of the protégé state in power. Iran has the capability and motivation to deliver its lethal materials to the embattled ally to use as the last resort. Iran is also very skillful and experienced when it comes to buying time for the Syrian regime: Tehran has escaped major international punishments and a strong response to its proliferation activities by misusing the so-called diplomacy and negotiation table. It knows very well how to buy time in order to delay any would-be concession, so to realize its nuclear ambitions.

 

Although there are serious limitations on the effectiveness of any military solution for bringing an end to a brutal dictatorship and replacing it with a democracy, in the case of Syria, a military intervention for humanitarian purposes is increasingly becoming a necessity. Similar to what happened in the case of Libya, the Syrian people now need to see firm support by the international community, i.e. a concrete step: a buffer zone implemented by NATO or a no-fly-zone carried out by US air forces over Free Syrian Army-controlled areas. The world needs to stop watching this massacre and step in to act before it is too late, in order to prevent the realization of the worst case scenario, a scenario engineered by Russia on the diplomatic front and Iran with its military and logistic support in sending chemical and biological weapons and IRGC Quds fighters to the Syrian battlefield. Otherwise, we will witness another massacre like the one Saddam Hussein perpetrated against the Kurds in Halabja, but this time in the major Sunni-dominated towns of Syria.

According to confidential information I personally gained in my four years of working as the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s interpreter, including attending various activities of the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons, Iran has every reason and all the know-how to mass produce the WMD’s for both domestic purposes as well as providing them for its allies. And when needed, Iran will not hesitate to supply the Assad regime with chemical and biological as well as other types of weapons of mass destruction. Assad has put everything at stake by placing all his eggs in the basket of Iran’s IRGC-Quds Force in the hope that when the worst case happens, it will rescue and grant him a safe haven in Tehran.

 

The Syria of tomorrow

Bashar has the same brutality and willingness to succeed at doing what his fellow despot, Libya’s Kaddafi, failed to do. And he has everything he needs to achieve the mission: firm and unwavering support from Tehran and Moscow, together with a considerable amount of chemical and other unconventional weapons. He is no less dangerous and savage than Kaddafi and if Kaddafi was unable to carry out his plans for mass slaughter, it was only because of the timely international engagement that foiled his evil plans. It is believed that Syria has already acquired enough chemical weapons from Iran and North Korea and, if needed, Tehran can hand over the latest of its weaponries, including its missiles technology and more WMD’s through different routes including but not limited to, Iraq of Nuri Al-Maliki, Eritrean Red Sea port, Sudan, terrorist groups like Salafi radicals active in north Africa particularly in post-Kaddafi Libya, Hamas and Hezbollah and by utilizing methods such as shipment under flag of other companies.

 

The fall of the current regime in Syria will greatly pave the way for democratization of the Levant region and severely weaken the position of Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad and to some degree Hamas as the mercenaries and front entities of the Islamic Republic. This will in turn, expose the “Mullah Thugocracy” as being more vulnerable to internal thirst for regime change and external pressures. What matters the most at this juncture is putting an end to inaction and offering a crushing response by the world community.

The time has come for the international community, led by the UN, NATO, USA and the European Union to engage and intervene on humanitarian grounds. Whether it will remains to be seen.

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/syria-on-the-verge-of-massacre-the-world-must-intervene

Ahmad Hashemi is a former Iranian foreign ministry employee, translator / interpreter. He is currently seeking political asylum in Turkey and works as a freelance journalist.

 

 

 

 

 

Extremists and conquerors of Syria’s war?

PDF Version:  Extremists and conquerors of Syria_s war

مقاله ام در رابطه با ضرورت مداخله موثر و غیر مستقیم خارجی در سوریه. استدلال این نوشتار بر این محور متمرکز  است که تعلل در مداخله بشردوستانه هوشمندانه می تواند تنها یک برنده داشته باشد: بنیادگرایان

Extremists and conquerors of Syria’s war?

Extremists and conquerors of Syria’s war?

By: Ahmad Hashemi

After 11 months of conflict and despite recent progress made by the rebels, most parts of Syria are still under Assad’s rule. It is true that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is gaining increasing recognition, and military and diplomatic strength, promising that a regime collapse is nearing, yet, for a plenty of reasons, neither party is able to radically change the current equation on the ground.

Although the rebels have been closing in on the outskirts of Aleppo and Damascus, the real battle for the capital city has barely begun, and the hard inner circle of the regime’s power has yet to be fully engaged. To win the war, the rebels have to conquer the capital and remove Assad from power, and the battle for Damascus could take months of fierce street-to-street fighting before the rebels reach their final goal.

The European Union has almost recognized Syria’s National Coalition, consisting of major opposition groups, as the “legitimate representative” of the Syrian people, and the US, excluding extremists such as al-Nusra Front, has done the same. Even Russia doesn’t rule out the possibility of the rebels toppling Assad anymore. But all this doesn’t necessarily mean the demise of Bashar Assad is imminent, smooth and easy.

As pressure on Assad mounts, the possibility of dramatic surprises can also clearly not be excluded. Pushed into a corner, Assad and his loyal army, mostly from the Alawite sect, could be convinced that, for the sake of their community, it is time to use their last option and resort to the use of WMDs, and this is why international intervention matters.

The world needs to financially and militarily support the moderate factions within the opposition, and the current lack of resolute determination to take action is horrendous because what is going on in the battlefield is simply a futile war of attrition, and if no foreign concrete assistance comes in favor of the opposition, it can’t win the war.

Exploiting this stalemate, religious extremists would emerge as the sole winners of prolonged fighting, which has the potential to turn into an all-out civil war. Recent indications of al-Qaida linked al- Nusra extremists making progress and winning hearts and minds should be taken seriously by the region and the world.

DESPITE HAVING made some significant advances, the rebels lack the heavy weaponry required to launch an effective assault, and the current impasse fuels the growth of extremist factions and jihadi groups within the FSA, which are detrimental to regional stability and hostile to freedom and democracy. Therefore, while a direct ground invasion needs to be strictly avoided, a quick international intervention, coordinated with the FSA, consisting of an effective and massive air strike to destroy government infrastructure and disable Syria’s war machine, is imperative.

Such and intervention will serve several purposes:

  1. To deter Assad’s air force from using its partially ready WMDs against rebels and even civilians. Only an effective and crushing air strike targeting the Syrian air force can cripple its ability to act. According to several sources, the Syrian air force is one of the largest in the Middle East, composed of aircraft provided by Russia and missiles acquired from Iran and North Korea. The Syrian military – believed to having one of the largest arsenals of chemical weapons in the world – has loaded chemical weapons into bombs and is preparing for orders from President Bashar Assad to use them.
  2. To thwart the ambitions of religious extremists such as al-Qaida affiliate al-Nusra to take advantage of the chaos created after the uprising to gain the upper hand by showing themselves to be the real warriors on the ground.
  3. To reduce anti-Western pessimism, rife among the Syrian people and in the region as a whole, which escalated following the indifference displayed by the US and EU vis-àvis the massacre of Syrian civilians.
  4. To set up a role model for other democracy-thirsty nations in the Middle East, with Iran in the lead. This support will, in particular, encourage Iranians to take to the streets and boost their morale to defy despotism and tyranny and claim their democratic and civil rights, dealing a blow to the ayatollah’s regime and its nuclear ambitions.

Encouraged by North Korea’s defiance of international warnings, the Islamic Republic is adamant about producing its Islamic nuclear bomb – a term borrowed from Mohsen Rezaee, Iran’s former Revolutionary Guards Corps commander, who coined the phrase in a private meeting back in 2005 – in violation of its so-called IAEA obligations, as its negotiating team buys time in reaching out to the world.

  1. Prevent al-Qaida-linked foreign extremists, mostly Sunni Arabs from Iraq, the Persian Gulf region and North Africa from taking part at the war. A recent report by the United Nations Human Rights Council clearly admits this influx has the potential to create a full-fledged sectarian conflict in Syria. Iraqi Shi’ite militias and Hezbollah of Lebanon, in coordination with their big brother, Iran, are increasingly engaging on behalf of Assad. According to various sources, Lebanese and Iraqi Shi’ites and Sunnis are already fighting a proxy war in Syria.

UNDOUBTEDLY, SYRIA’s fate, and that of Bashar Assad should be decided through ballots, not bullets. Yet, fighting a 42-year-old dictatorship, the mainstream, moderate factions of the FSA need support, in the form of sophisticated anti-aircraft and anti-armor weaponry, to win the war. Otherwise, feeling abandoned by the world, the FSA will be forced to choose the only available alternative.

Although the Syrian people tend to practice a moderate form of Islam, living in peaceful coexistence within a framework of tolerance and relative freedom compared to other Arab nations in the region, there is no guarantee that they would not embrace radical Islam, if they have to, as a last resort. The extremists know very well how to exploit complicated and turbulent situations and display their lethal and inhumane ideology as a savior, as they did 34 years ago in Iran.
TO REDUCE the pro-Assad forces’ resistance, hearts and minds must be won. Besides Syria’s Christian minority, Alawites are the most educated and indeed, the most needed sector for reshaping and restructuring post-Assad Syria, and this sect needs to be ensured autonomy and guaranteed internationally-backed security, free from persecution and likely reprisals.
The world community should try to help Syria not to go from bad to worse by falling into hand of extremists, but rather, become a country like Libya – that is trying to observe democratic values – creating friendly ties with the West and Israel and practicing democracy.
Syria shouldn’t become a failed country like Somalia or another fundamentalist state sponsor of terrorism such as the clerical thugocracy of Iran, both of which would be a nightmare for the region and a hotbed for further violence, extremism, instability and terrorism in the already violence-stricken Middle East.
WHILE THE wealthy, oil-rich Arab states have the capacity and willingness to assume the costs of this regime change, they should be warned to render only their military and financial support, not their destructive Salafi and Wahabi ideology.
Israel needs to remain completely neutral, as its engagement, in whatever form, would be controversial and do more harm than good, giving the Syrian regime a pretext to turn the battle into an Arab-Israeli issue with Bashar as the Arab champion.
The world community has to put more pressure on Iraq, and tightly control and monitor the eastern Mediterranean region. Also, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki needs to adopt a more collaborative approach in preventing the influx of weapons and jihadis into Syria. He needs to understand the importance of preventing Iran from using Iraqi territory as a transit route for Iranian weapons and IRGC members.
Turkey should be given a pivotal role, logistically and militarily, since its conservative leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan wishes to appear as another Caliph of the Muslim world in pursuit of his Neo-Ottoman policies by having a major role in removing his fierce enemy.
In addition, the Turkey-Syria border is the only practical route for any humanitarian intervention at least, because 1) Erdogan is ready to do whatever it takes to see a once-close ally, Bashar Assad, toppled and replaced with a likeminded Sunni-dominated conservative political structure, 2) northern Syria is mostly controlled by the FSA and 3) those areas are dominated by a Sunni population eager to establish a political structure laid upon ideals of the Muslim Brotherhood, 4) the An- Nusayriyah Mountains form a natural barrier running parellel to the coast between areas largely populated by Alawites who are ready to fight for their survival on the side of the regime, and the rest of Syria.
Therefore, the time has come to take appropriate action. Because with the continuation of the current settings, as the world watches this embarrassing tragedy, the radical jihadi groups are gradually outnumbering moderates among the rebels, suggesting a protracted and bloody struggle could well lie ahead, the final winner of which would be radicalism.
The influx of foreigners raises the risk of fighting spilling into neighboring countries riven by similar communal fault lines.
Only effective assistance to the moderate factions of the FSA rebels can reverse this gloomy process,

The writer is a former Iranian foreign ministry employee, translator/ interpreter. He is currently seeking political asylum in Turkey and works as a freelance journalist.

Source: The Jerusalem Post 

 

 

My take on Persian racism (Persianism/Aryanism) and its effects on silencing non-Persian ethnicities/nationalities in Iran and even abroad, in an interview with VOA (Azerbaijani Service):

My take on Persian racism (Persianism/Aryanism) and its effects on silencing non-Persian ethnicities/nationalities in Iran and even abroad, in an interview with VOA (Azerbaijani Service):
Here, I explain how my rejection of mainstream narrative of Iranian nationalism and defiance to dominant Persianist discourse can evoke extreme reactions from among the Iranian diaspora and restrict freedom of speech even if activists live abroad.
For instance, a couple days ago, I shared a photo with the son of the former Shah of Iran at the centennial of the Republic of Azerbaijan, wishing freedom and salvation for South Azerbaijan (Iranian Azerbaijan) from discrimination and tyranny. This simple event cost me animosity, insults, threats, and isolation.

  نقطه نظراتم در خصوص نژادپرستی ایرانی (پارس گری/آریایی گری) و تاثیرات آن بر ساکت/خفه/خاموش کردن صدای قومیت ها/ملیت های غیرپارس در ایران و حتی خارج از کشور در مصاحبه با صدای آمریکا (بخش آذربایجانی):
در این مصاحبه توضیح می دهم چگونه رد کردن روایت غالب ناسیونالیسم ایرانی و سرکشی در مقابل دیسکورس پارس گری می تواند حتی در جامعه استبداد زده ایرانی خارج از کشور، واکنش های تند و شدیدی به همراه داشته و آزادی بیان کنشگران را محدود کند. بطورمثال، عکس انداختن با پسر شاه پیشین ایران در صدمین سالگرد استقلال جمهوری آذربایجان و آرزوی حضور ایشان در جشن آزادی آذربایجان جنوبی از شر تبعیض و استبداد برایم طوفانی از هجمه ها، خصومت، تهدید و توهین های مجازی و حقیقی به همراه داشت.

 

LISTEN AUDIO FILE HERE.

https://www.amerikaninsesi.org/a/%C9%99hm%C9%99d-ha%C5%9Fimi-xaricd%C9%99ki-iran-icmalar%C4%B1nda-d%C3%BC%C5%9F%C3%BCnc%C9%99-azadl%C4%B1%C4%9F%C4%B1-yoxdur-audio-m%C3%BCsahib%C9%99-/4443334.html

 

 

Əhməd Haşimi: Xaricdəki İran icmalarında düşüncə azadlığı yoxdur [Audio-Müsahibə]


Əhməd Haşimi
Əhməd Haşimi

Əhməd Haşiminin sözlərinə görə, xaricdəki İran icmaları ilə ünsiyyətdə olan insanlar bəzi məhdudiyyətlər və qırmızı cizgilər üzündən öz düşüncələrini dilə gətirməkdən qorxurlar.

İran Xarici İşlər Nazirliyinin sabiq əməkdaşı keçən günlərdə öz Facebook səhifəsində Azərbaycan Xalq Cümhuriyyətinin 100 illik yubileyi münasibətilə Vaşinqtonda keçirilən tədbirdə çəkilən bir fotoşəkili paylaşdıqdan sonra ciddi hücumlara məruz qaldığını deyir.

Əhməd Haşimi və Rza Pəhləvi
Əhməd Haşimi və Rza Pəhləvi

Əhməd Haşimi baş verənləri Amerikanın Səsinə müsahibədə açıqlayıb.

O, həmin tədbirdə iştirak edən İranın son şahı Məhəmmədrza Pəhləvinin oğlu Rza Pəhləvi ilə birlikdə çəkdiyi fotoşəkili Facebook səhifəsində bir açıqlama ilə bərabər paylaşmışdı.

Bu təhdidlər təbii ki təsir edir. İnsanların yazmaqda və danışmaqda əlini-qolunu bağlayır. Yəni, təhdid olanda, insan ikinci dəfə bir iş görməyi düşünəndə bəzi şeyləri yenidən gözdən keçirməli olur.

Açıqlamada, Əhməd Haşimi Rza Pəhləvinin bir gün “Güney Azərbaycanın ayrı-seçkilikdən azad olunması münasibətilə” keçiriləcək olan tədbirə də qatılacacağını arzu etdiyini ifadə edib.

“Bu, İran milliyyətçilərinin xoşuna getmədi və başladılar hücuma. Özüm və ailəmə qarşı yazılı və sözlü təhdidlər aldım. Sonunda müvəqqəti olaraq Facebook səhifəmi qapatmağa qərar verdim,” Haşimi söyləyir.

Onun dediklərinə görə, bu növ təhdidlər və qırmızı cizgilər ABŞ-da yaşayan İran icması ilə əlaqədə olan insanları özlərini senzura etməyə məcbur edir.

Haşiminin sözlərinə görə, “İranda düşüncə azadlığının inkişaf etməməsi xaricdəki müxalif qruplara da təsir edir. Onların bir çox qırmızı cizgisi var. Bir çox insan haqları mövzusunda da olur bu qırmızı cizgilər. Bu da məhdud edir insanları. Danışmaq rahat deyil.”

O deyir ki, “bu təhdidlər təbii ki, təsir edir. İnsanların yazmaqda və danışmaqda əlini-qolunu bağlayır. Yəni, təhdid olanda, insan ikinci dəfə bir iş görməyi düşünəndə bəzi şeyləri yenidən gözdən keçirməli olur… Buradakı İran icması çox da böyük deyil. Bir təhər insanlarla üz-göz olursan.”

 

 

https://www.amerikaninsesi.org/a/%C9%99hm%C9%99d-ha%C5%9Fimi-xaricd%C9%99ki-iran-icmalar%C4%B1nda-d%C3%BC%C5%9F%C3%BCnc%C9%99-azadl%C4%B1%C4%9F%C4%B1-yoxdur-audio-m%C3%BCsahib%C9%99-/4443334.html

LISTEN THE AUDIO HERE.

 

 

What to expect from the SCO summit in Qingdao

 

PDF VERSION: What to expect from the SCO summit in Qingdao- AHMAD HASHEMI

My take on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit titled: “What to expect from the SCO summit in Qingdao” published on China Radio International website:

مقاله ام در خصوص نشست سران سازمان همکاری شانگهای تحت عنوان “از نشست جینداو (چین) چه می توان انتظار داشت” که در وبسایت رادیو بین المللی چین منتشر شده است:

What to expect from the SCO summit in Qingdao

Ahmad Hashemi China Plus Published: 2018-06-07 09:00:57

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By Ahmad Hashemi

The 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Qingdao, to be chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping, is an important event for Eurasia. It will be the first meeting since India and Pakistan were admitted into the grouping last year, and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to attend. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is taking part at a critical moment after the United States walked away from the Iran nuclear deal. And the summit will serve as an opportunity to further the Belt and Road Initiative, which is still at the crucial early stage of its implementation.

Photo taken on June 2, 2018 shows Wusi Square in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province. The 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit is scheduled for June 9 to 10 in Qingdao. [Photo: Xinhua]

Photo taken on June 2, 2018 shows Wusi Square in Qingdao, east China’s Shandong Province. The 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit is scheduled for June 9 to 10 in Qingdao. [Photo: Xinhua]

There has been speculation about the subjects that will be raised by the SCO member states at the summit, as they each have different priorities. But they do share some common objectives that will likely be topics for discussion.

Fighting the “Three Evils”

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was primarily established as a security arrangement to counter threats posed to Eurasian countries, the “Three Evils” of terrorism, separatism, and extremism. As at previous summits, the SCO member states will likely discuss these threats as they remain a huge problem for China, Russia, India, and other central Asian countries alongside issues such as drug smuggling and cross-border organized crime.

From security to economic cooperation

As a security bloc led by Beijing and Moscow, the SCO started with a primary focus on security cooperation. But with China’s rapid economic growth and India’s accession to the bloc last year, the SCO nations now make up about half of the world’s population and a quarter of the global economy, and so cooperation has been expanding in the economic arena.

China plays a substantial role in economic cooperation, trade, and investment among the SCO member states. Amid rising trade tension between China and the United States, the upcoming summit will also likely focus on regional economic cooperation. This regional cooperation is heavily influenced by the Belt and Road Initiative, which promises an economic boom and a geopolitical transformation to the region, especially now that India and China are managing their territorial disputes and Pakistan has a more prominent role in the initiative.

Diversification of international relations

The Eurasian world order – led mainly by China and Russia, and with the recent participation of India and Pakistan – is in line with a concept of multilateralism favored by nations who oppose the unilateralism of the United States in international affairs and global politics. These nations are not satisfied with the current balance of power, which favors Euro-American interests. The SCO nations have, on different occasions, shown their dissatisfaction with the status quo maintained by the North Atlantic powers. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov emphasized the role played by the SCO in supporting multilateralism in 2005 when he invited SCO member states to take part in the formation of a “fundamentally new model of geopolitical integration”.

One of the ways that the diversity of the SCO is demonstrated is in the use of Chinese and Russian as the official languages, rather than English. And in another revisionist approach towards the Western dominated order, the SCO members have previously underscored their own ability to safeguard the security of the region and repeatedly urged Western countries to leave Central Asia.

India and Pakistan are present for the first time

The SCO, as a Eurasian political, economic, and security organization, gained further significance and more potential for cooperation after India and Pakistan both joined last year. This summit will be the first meeting after the accession of India and Pakistan as full members of the organization on June 9, 2017. As the second most populous nation on earth, India’s presence is crucial in furthering the SCO’s influence. And as a country with territorial disputes with its neighbors, India has been one of the challengers of the Belt and Road Initiative. However, deepening economic cooperation and the benefits of regional trade have been great incentives for New Delhi to move past its differences with its neighbors. And as part of both the Belt and Road Initiative and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Pakistan’s attendance at the summit for the first time as a full member is an important event.

Iran is present for the first time after new U.S. sanctions

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s attendance will be one of the highlights of the Qingdao summit. Iran is only an observer to the SCO, but has long pushed for full membership. China has invited Iran to participate in the upcoming meeting in its capacity as an observer state. Iran is very keen to attend because the invitation to Hassan Rouhani comes at a crucial moment after the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as the Iran nuclear deal. Iran has been reluctant to match the American move and pull out of the agreement. But the country needs Russia and China as well as European countries to help keep the deal alive and to get around the new American sanctions. Iran has high hopes, as it sees SCO member states, especially China, Russia, and India as major emerging powers and Tehran’s close economic partners and political allies. Iran expects them to join the Islamic Republic in defying the unilateral withdrawal by the United States.

The Qingdao summit has the potential to become a new landmark in the development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. But it’s important not to underestimate the serious challenges it must address. Uncompromising strategic and economic competition is going on in the Eurasia region that poses colossal challenges to the SCO constituents, including hostilities between India and Pakistan, great power rivalries between Russia and China, a suspicious United States, and a wary Japan, just to name a few.

(Ahmad Hashemi is an Iranian freelance journalist. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at Missouri State University’s Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, located in Washington D.C. On Twitter: @MrAhmadHashemi )

 

http://chinaplus.cri.cn/opinion/opedblog/23/20180607/141487.html

Experts urge western countries to understand “Shanghai Spirit”

FOR AUDIO VERSION CLICK HERE.

My comments quoted on China Radio International website titled: “Experts urge western countries to understand Shanghai Spirit: 
Ahmad Hashemi, a senior American researcher of Middle East studies, says the SCO may change the dominant status of voices from developed countries: “As we see some people now are talking about [the SCO] another model of EU, European Union in the east, another model of NATO, another model of G7. So again, what we can see is the diversification of trade and commerce and interactions and different voices. So, for the last couple centuries, the world was Eurocentric, Euro-American, but now we are witnessing that another voices are being heard, another countries are becoming great again,” says Hashemi.

نقل قول دیدگاه بنده در خصوص “روح شانگهای” توسط رادیوی بین المللی چین در مطلبی تحت عنوان: “کارشناسان از کشورهای غربی می خواهند تا “روح شانگهای” را درک کنند:
احمد هاشمی، کارشناس ارشد مطالعات خاورمیانه می گوید سازمان همکاری شانگهای می تواند جایگاه برتر قدرت های جهانی را تغییر دهد: “امروزه شاهد هستیم که برخی سخن از الگوی دیگری از اتحادیه اروپا،(سازمان همکاری شانگهای)، ناتویی دیگر، گروه هفت دیگری در شرق بر زبان می رانند. بنابراین، آنچه شاهد آن هستیم متنوع شدن تجارت و بازرگانی و تعامل بوده و صداهای مختلفی شنیده می شود. پس از چند قرن اروپا محوری و محوریت اروپایی-آمریکایی در جهان، امروزه شاهد هستیم که صداهای دیگری هم شنیده می شود و عظمت در حال بازگشت به کشورهای دیگر می باشد.”

 

Experts urge western countries to understand “Shanghai Spirit”

China Plus/CGTN Published: 2018-06-11 20:39:09

 

Various observers are suggesting the rest of the world could be taking a lesson from the concept that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has been formed under the “Shanghai Spirit.”

Serving as the SCO’s principle for internal affairs, the “Shanghai Spirit” features “mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual consultations, respect for cultural diversity and pursuit of common development.”

In his speech at the now-concluded SCO Summit in Qingdao on Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the continuation of the “Shanghai Spirit” to surmount difficulties, defuse risks and meet challenges.

Sourabh Gupta, a senior researcher with the Institute for China-America Studies, a U.S.-based think tank, says that “Shanghai Spirit” is the fundamental basis behind the SCO’s success.

“This organization is built on the same principle as the United Nations, sovereign equality of countries, countries cooperating with each other. And the agenda is not set by the big powers only. It’s a grouping of major middle and small countries. And each of them shares equally in the burdens and its benefits. This is essential, and vital and very, very important,” says Gupta.

Stephen Perry, chairman of Britain’s 48 Group Club – a UK advocacy group for trade with China – suggests other countries should be learning from the concepts of the “Shanghai Spirit.”

“What is happening in Asia particularly inspired by China is the concept of economic development on a sustainable basis, working collectively with other nations and sharing the wealth. The emphasis is more on sharing in Asia than in the west. So as we go forward, I think the ‘Shanghai Spirit’ is a very important issue for the west to look at and understand. I think the ‘Shanghai Spirit’ will give a great opportunity for SCO to be successful as an organization that adjusts itself according to how even the small countries feel,” says Perry.

Ahmad Hashemi, a senior American researcher of Middle East studies, says the SCO may change the dominant status of voices from developed countries.

“As we see some people now are talking about [the SCO] another model of EU, European Union in the east, another model of NATO, another model of G7. So again what we can see is the diversification of trade and commerce and interactions and different voices. So for the last couple centuries, the world was Eurocentric, Euro-American, but now we are witnessing that another voices are being heard, another countries are becoming great again,” says Hashemi.

The SCO Qingdao Summit is the first meeting for the group since its expansion.

It was established in Shanghai in 2001, with China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as its founding members.

India and Pakistan joined the organization during the Astana Summit a year ago.

 

On YouTube: 

AUDIO FILE:

https://ahmadhashemi.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/experts-urge-western-countries-to-understand-shanghai-spirit.mp3

 

 

AHMAD HASHEMI’S interview with the Times of Israel

PDF VERSION: Defected translator sheds new light on Iran_s global reach

 

 Ex-Tehran official,interviewed from Turkey, says he still fears for his life

Defected translator sheds new light on Iran’s global reach

Defected translator sheds new light on Iran’s global reach

Tehran challenging US presence in East Africa and bypassing sanctions in the Indian subcontinent, says Ahmad Hashemi

A meeting between former Iranian Vice President Mohammed Reza Rahimi and a minister from Zimbabwe, June 25, 2011 (photo credit: Iranian presidential website)

A meeting between former Iranian Vice President Mohammed Reza Rahimi and a minister from Zimbabwe, June 25, 2011 (photo credit: Iranian presidential website)

Iran has attempted to increase its military presence in the Horn of Africa and tried to initiate an “Islamic arms industry” as part of its bid to challenge Western hegemony, a defecting government translator told The Times of Israel in an interview.

Ahmad Hashemi, who worked as an English and Turkish translator at Iran’s foreign ministry until his defection in June 2012, wrote in a Times of Israel blog post that Iran continues to insist on developing nuclear weapons capabilities, using deceptive tactics to mislead the world regarding the true nature of its nuclear program.

But over the past five years Hashemi also attended numerous meetings pertaining to Iran’s international military involvement, the details of which he shared with The Times of Israel on Monday in a phone interview from Turkey, where he fled as a political asylum seeker. The details he divulged could not be independently corroborated, but they did correspond with recent reports regarding Iran’s oversees activities.

Iran proposed an Islamic military alliance

Iranian defense minister Ahmad Vahidi on Saturday proposed the formation of a “NATO-like military organization” by Islamic states, tasked with defending Muslims across the world. According to London-based news daily Al-Hayat, Vahidi said the primary goal of the new alliance would be “to defend Palestine.”

Some two years ago, Hashemi was privy to a closed meeting in which Vahidi raised a similar idea.

Hashemi translates at a meeting between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and a cleric from Azerbaijan (photo credit: Iranian presidential website)

The meeting took place in late 2010 between Vahidi and Bambang Brodjounegoro, director general of the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), a financial research center based in Saudi Arabia and owned by the Islamic Development Bank. In it, Vahidi raised the idea of creating an “advanced Islamic arms industry.” The idea, reported Hashemi, was dismissed by Brodjounegoro, an Indonesian national.

Vahidi is among the five Iranian and Lebanese nationals wanted by Argentina for his suspected involvement in the 1994 terrorist attack against the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires which left 85 people dead. On Sunday, Iran and Argentina signed an agreement to cooperate on a “truth commission” investigating Iran’s involvement in the bombing.

Iran’s involvement in Africa

On May 20, 2008, Hashemi attended a highly confidential closed-door meeting between Qassem Soleimani, head of the Quds Force, a branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) tasked with overseas operations, and the president of Eritrea, Isaias Afwereki. The meeting was also attended by Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

At the meeting, the Iranians offered Eritrea assistance in developing its military capabilities and combating neighboring Ethiopia. The officials also discussed the need to curb the US presence in the Horn of Africa and take control of the Bab Al-Mandeb Strait, located between Eritrea and Yemen at the mouth of the Red Sea. Iran offered to deploy a Quds Force logistics and financial support team, tasked with creating an ammunition factory and training the East African country’s army.

report published last month by Conflict Armament Research, a London-based center, traced Iranian ammunition in nine African countries from 2006 to 2009, including Sudan and Kenya in the east and Cote D’Ivoire and Nigeria in the west. Most of the ammunition was detected in the hands of non-state forces. The report found only one case of direct illicit supply of arms from Iran to Nigeria, in 2010, contravening a UN ban on Iranian arms export.

Bypassing the UN sanctions regime

Hashemi attended a number of meetings in which Iran discussed ways of exporting its goods to the Indian subcontinent.

In early 2012, he attended a meeting between Iranian and Indian officials who discussed the exchange of Iranian oil in return for Indian commodities.

On the Iranian side, the meeting was attended by Ali Bagheri, deputy head of Iran’s National Security Council, deputy president Hamid Baghai and deputy foreign minister Hussein Sobhaninia.

According to Hashemi, the Indians wanted their goods to be transported from Iran’s Chabahar port to the Afghani city of Herat and then onward to markets in Central Asia. The Indians insisted the trade be done in rupees, while Iran preferred a more bold violation of international banking sanctions, demanding direct transaction through the countries’ financial institutions.

Also in early 2012, the governor of Sri Lanka’s central bank, Ajith Nirath Cavraal, visited Iran and discussed ways of bypassing the international sanctions imposed on Iran with minister of industry and commerce Mehdi Ghazanfari and central bank governor Mahmoud Bahmani. According to Hashemi, who was present at the meeting, Cavraal offered to put Sri Lanka’s central bank at Iran’s disposal to acquire products banned by international sanctions.

Leaving Iran

Hashemi began working as an interpreter for Iran’s foreign ministry in January 2008, but joined the opposition’s Green Movement surrounding the elections of June 2009, he said.

Ahmad Hashemi (photo credit: courtesy)

In early 2012, Hashemi decided to run for parliament, but his candidacy was disqualified under the pretext of an election bylaw which demands adherence to “the Islamic system” and allegiance to the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khaminei – E.M). When Hashemi appealed the decision, he was fired from the foreign ministry and his entry to the building was banned. Throughout his service, Hashemi said, he was questioned numerous times by the ministry’s security department, known as Herasatwhich ordered him to cease his opposition activity.

In May 2012 Hashemi began writing political articles for reformist dailies Shargh and Etemaad. At that point, he said, he started receiving anonymous death threats in late-night phone calls. One call, which explicitly threatened to behead him and toss his body in a nearby forest, particularly scared him.

Hashemi booked a return ticket to Istanbul, Turkey, in June and although he was stopped for questioning and a full physical search at Tehran airport by the Revolutionary Guard, he was eventually allowed to board the airplane, never to return to Iran. He told The Times of Israel that he continues to fear for his life, even in the relative safety of Turkey.

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