On 17 Sep 2021, the procedure was started for Iran to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). This comes as the culmination of what will come to be known as one of the most terrible months in foreign policy for the Anglo West in recent memory. But first, one of my faves from Cream, which will give a hint to the purpose of this post:
To recap and set the scenario for this post, we had the epic fail of the Afghanistan pull-out, Iran sending fuel oil tankers directly to Syria, so far unopposed and undermining the Caesar Act, and then the AUKUS debacle with France, which is giving Western Europe some serious food for thought, or perhaps better said, some bitter medicine to swallow. Iran’s admission to full membership of the SCO is no doubt causing serious angst in the Beltway and London, and we will look at that here. But more than that, the Iranian accession to the SCO means long-term prosperity for all of Asia, not to mention weakening NATO. We will look at that here, too.
But first, a hat tip goes to Pepe Escobar, whose recent post on VK gave me the opening for this post, along with confirming a long-range perspective I have held on the region for a while now. It is not so much that Iran is at the crossroads, though it is. As it stands now, Iran is or will be the crossroads for the Central and South Asian transit hubs, integral parts of the Belt and Road and the North-South Economic Corridor between the Indian Ocean, the Caspian basin, points west to Europe and Russia to the north. It is best illustrated with the picture below:
First, though, we will start with what Iran’s SCO status will mean for the US. The transits for the US on the 17th are telling, as seen below (bigger):
The three standouts for the 17th are the Mars transit over the US Midheaven, the retrograde transit of Saturn on the US South Node and the retrograde transit of Neptune square the US Mars. The Mars transit completes the activation of the Pluto direction to the MC of the US, giving the following: “A great striving for the attainment of power, the urge to dominate other people. – The misfortune to be forced into an uncongenial profession or occupation. – A crisis in one’s career.” The bolded bits apply to the SCO and Iran and will apply into the future. The Iran/SCO move has hit home in the Beltway and will no doubt drive the final nail in the coffin of the JCPOA.
The italicized bits apply to what the US was seeking to achieve with the AUKUS ploy, the latter to be addressed in a separate post. Suffice it to say, for now, it will come to be seen as a major strategic error on the part of both the US and Australia. More on that in a bit.
Returning to Iran, it will no longer need the JCPOA into the future. When its full accession to the SCO is confirmed, it will be militarily secure, as the SCO is a security agreement. Its economic future will likewise be secured, along with Iran’s comprehensive strategic partnership with China. Consider, too, that the Saudis, Qataris and Egyptians are all now new dialog partners with the SCO, meaning as time goes forward relations between Iran and the latter three nations must become normalized and non-antagonistic. The strategic map of the Middle East is being re-drawn.
Saturn’s transit over the south node of the US adds a heavy note to the picture in the US, showing the world’s reaction to the Afghan pullout, the AUKUS deal and US foreign policy in general. The South Node indicates a line of least resistance in one’s relationships, one which is meant to be transcended. With Saturn there it represents the roosting of one’s karmic chickens and a big reminder to move on from the past and set one’s house in order. Saturn on the South Node has been called ‘the master of tragedy’. The great tragedy will be if the policy wonks in the Beltway think-tank-land still manage to set administration policy. We also see the tragedy in the Afghan fail, among other events to many to mention here.
Finally, the retrograde transit of Neptune squaring the US Mars and opposite its natal placement shows the weakness of US military planning and the hollow rhetoric that comes of it. That was in full evidence in the Afghan pullout. It also shows in a lack of vision in the AUKUS deal, mentioned before, as well as a disconnect from reality. There are a few more realistic heads in Washington, as in Generals Hyten and Milley, neither of whom want to see a war with either China or Russia.
Milley is being pilloried by conservatives and Trump supporters (the latter two are not necessarily the same) at the moment for his phone calls behind Trump’s back during the final days of Trump’s term in office. Opinions vary on whether or not Milley acted with good sense or was treasonous. That may seem out of place with our current considerations, but it goes to the following point: It would be a fool’s errand for the US or other Western powers to try to re-enter Afghanistan or to seek a military solution with Iran regarding the JCPOA, and the US military, at least, knows it.
There are two little teasers here that will be addressed in a future post, but which bear watching over the next few years, as in three years. Currently, we see directed Neptune square the Moon, the latter ruling the 8th house of the US (foreign banking, losses, bankruptcy, the outcome of lawsuits), reflecting the uncertainty of the US financial system and the current gaslighting we hear in the media about the supposed strength of the US economy. Further, the SCO member states are looking toward settling their transactions in local currencies, which will bypass any US sanctions on their trade inside the bloc. That direction of Neptune to the US Moon also showed the loss of income (Moon/8th house) from drugs (Neptune) that the loss of Afghanistan entails.
Then, within a couple of years, directed Saturn will come within orb of the conjunction with the US Mars for the first time in US history. This will be quite significant, as it describes the following dynamic: “Instability, feelings of inferiority, misdirected energy. – Unfortunate consequences as a result of a weak will, lasting weakness or illness….” It can also indicate a significant naval loss. The natal Mars/Neptune square in the US chart is the prime indicator of the American reverence for the military and its sense of military supremacy, as well as its sometimes militant idealism. In fact, that direction of Saturn could well indicate a military defeat of any kind, coming as it does in the US 7th house (open enemies). When directed Saturn was conjunct the US Descendant, Russia began its intervention in Syria, thus bringing an abrupt end to the ‘seven countries in five years’ plan.
With the above, we leave the US aside for now and have a look instead at Iran. The chart for Iran on the 17th with directions and transits is below (bigger):
The immediate standout is the directed Saturn/Pluto midpoint to the Meridian axis; “The desire to rise from difficult circumstances through the application of tenacity and endurance, severity, one-sided-ness, self-sacrifice. – An ascetic person, a magician or adept.” The Iranians have certainly embodied the bolded text in the quote.
Then, there is a combination which could easily be read negatively, but in essence represents a great healing for the nation, represented in the direction of Mars to Iran’s Chiron (the ‘wounded healer’) and a retrograde transit of Saturn square to Chiron, what the Magi Society calls a ‘heartbreak transit’). Instead, what we have in the combination is, “Energetic people who are able to overcome the greatest difficulties”, tying in with the Saturn/Pluto midpoint. Iran’s accession to the SCO is hardly heartbreaking for Iran so much as it is for nations like Israel and the US.
Coming back to the JCPOA, though, there is another little wrinkle in the JCPOA story. The member states of the SCO are firm in their policy that the JCPOA should be adhered to, even if the US refuses to re-enter the agreement. This was outlined in point 25 of the Dushanbe Declaration, posted on the 17th. This will no doubt please Washington, to a degree, but there will be no negotiations on Iran’s missile defenses. If the US wants the JCPOA, then it will have to come back in unilaterally, just as it left it. So, even though Iran will more than likely abide by the JCPOA, the US is unlikely to re-enter it, keeping sanctions in place. However, Israel may be a concern there and may push the US to drop the sanctions and re-enter the agreement. Why that may be is as follows:
The Daraa province in Syria – the so-called ‘cradle of the Syrian revolution’ – has for the first time since 2011 (the start of the proxy war there) been returned to the control of the Syrian government. The SAA is now in firm control there. Daraa was pivotal to US energy and resource-theft plans in Syria. Daraa was a key energy and transport hub for Syria into Jordan prior to the war. Daraa borders the Golan Heights and Israel had been staging its air attacks on Syrian territory from southern Lebanese air space throughout the war.
Daraa province was a buffer between the Golan, occupied by Israel, and Syria. The SAA will soon be looking down directly on the border of the Golan. That sector will be closed to Israel when Syrian air defenses enter the area. The Iranians and Hezbollah will probably be asked to stay out of the area by the Syrian government, so as not to escalate tensions unnecessarily as the liberation of Idlib and northeastern Syria proceeds. The return of Daraa to Syrian control is a major setback for Israel, though. The focus of the SAA will now turn to the liberation of Idlib.
All of the above factors are interrelated. We are watching a delicate balance of interests between the greater and regional powers throughout Southwest and Central Asia, accelerated with the coming accession of Iran into full membership in the SCO, along with the added observer states, mentioned previously. As the US and other Anglo nations turn their attention to China, the Southwestern and Central Asian regions will benefit and become the biggest economic bloc in the world, and peaceful at that.
The West has lost Central Asia and is fast losing its grip on energy-rich Southwest Asia. This is the greater message of Iran and the SCO. For Iran, it is now onwards and upwards. Meanwhile the West moves into a period, first of denial and leter of self-examination. But if all goes to plan, Iran will truly become the crossroads of the New Silk Road. Then, the US in particular may well be lamenting the lyric of the song at the start of this post, regarding the Iranian crossroads – “Nobody seemed to know me. Everybody passed me by…And I’m standing at the crossroads, believe I’m sinking down”. It doesn’t have to be that way. The world is not a zero-sum game.
Featured pic of the Azadi Tower