Vince Dhimos on Quora, sums up his thoughts on Israel vs the Arabs and how the issue can be resolved. If you have time and the inclination to do so, you may read the entire exchange here:
You are right about the population exchange between Turkey and Greece, although this was a lot different from the de-population of the no-man’s land populated mostly by Arabs and now called Israel, because both the Turks and the Greeks agreed to it (though again, this is not central to our discussion).
But we are dancing around the main issue, and that is: the moral legitimacy of uprooting people from their homes. It doesn’t matter whether you live in a land that is not formally recognized as a country. Wales has that distinction, by the way, and by the Israeli Establishment’s reasoning, the British could uproot them and send them to live in refugee camps. It also doesn’t matter whether you adopt the “Christian” Zionist view that your religion teaches you to support this uprooting. Again, without this pseudo-religious American view, there would be precious little support for the secular state of Israel in the US, the only nation wholeheartedly supporting Israel and its immoral policies. (Because, while Evangelicals make up only about 26% of the US population, their pro-Israel ideas have spread to grassroots Catholics -- 22% -- and the non-religious).
What matters is that whole families once lived peacefully in what is now called Israel and these people were violently uprooted to form a nation by people calling themselves Jews*. (BTW, although these Israelis have been trying desperately to enlist genetics to lend them legitimacy to their claim as an ethnicity, so far, there is no definitive study that shows how these people (who also include some black Ethiopians) could be a single ethnicity. I put that in parentheses because it is not part of my main thrust, which is: the morality of uprooting people from their homes to settle other people on what they perceives as their land).
Even if you choose to resort to sophist arguments to defend Israel’s inhuman policies, there is a pragmatic aspect of the issue that is compelling: the Muslim world, while represented in part by US puppets like the Saudi dictatorship, whose pro-Israel (or at least Israel-neutral) policies are roundly rejected by their grassroots (whom the royals fear), is made up mostly of nations that do not approve of the displacement of the Arabs in the “Holy Land”, the bloody Israeli apartheid policies, the bombing of civilians in Palestine, the missile attacks on Syria, the US military support for Israel, the — often late-night — raids on homes, etc.
Let me concede, however, that the Arab countries were absolutely remiss, immoral and foolish in expelling their native Jewish populations, who now make up a large percentage of the Mizrahi Israelis. The problem with both Semitic groups has been the strong eye-for-an-eye tradition among both Jews and Muslims. The absolute refusal of the majorities of these groups to compromise and, particularly, to forgive and understand the other, is the root of the entire problem.
The fact that American so-called “Christians” have so readily accepted this uncompromising stubbornness in human relations is, however, the straw that broke the camel’s back in the Middle East. If US Christians in politics were to adopt the Russian policy of reconciling, forgiving and simply being fair, we would not have this dire situation in our world. I often read comments by US conservatives saying: “kill them all and let Allah (or God) sort it out.” That kind of attitude, generally applied to Muslims, in the most powerful nation on earth, is the main reason we are all losing the struggle for peace.
If Christians, Jews and Arabs studied the life and philosophy of Ghandi and their own religious books, they would see that this kind of attitude is not permissible, and if they changed their way of thinking to adapt to their scriptures and to the Ghandian approach, but also to the more-pragmatic Putinian approach, the world would be generally peaceful.
One example is in Leviticus, where the people are commanded to love God with all their hearts and all their souls and all their minds, but then in an ensuing passage, to love their fellow men (rey’akha – a broad hard-to-translate term with several meanings, including “your friends” or “your companions”) – as if to say that if you love God, you will love people as a corollary.
As a Torah scholar told Jesus 1400 years after this was written, this is the greatest commandment. He was certainly correct.
The Torah taught us an important lesson. Jesus taught the same lesson. Ghandi applied this lesson in government and human relations. The Western world never learned it.
It is my belief that Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is, in his own way, teaching this lesson again in a geopolitical context but this time, with power behind it — the ingredient Ghandi lacked. This time, the Western world – backed into a corner by the economic, military and diplomatic consequences of its own foolishness – may actually learn it. The hard way.
Finally, polls among young Arabs show that, whereas once the Arabs trusted the US more than Russia, this attitude has completely reversed itself and young Arabs now trust Russia and mistrust the US. The main reason for this is that the US unilaterally sides with Israel, ignoring international law and jurisprudence. I therefore firmly believe that if Russia were chosen as the arbiter and guarantor of the peace between the Arabs and the Jews, they would bring peace to the Middle East. It could happen within our lifetime.
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. Isaiah 11:6
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2-4
The founding of Israel was violent and criminal and the crimes go on today unabated, thanks largely to the blind support of "Christian" Zionists who have grossly misread the Bible. (It doesn't say what they sayt it says).
The entire exchange between me and an Israeli lady on Quora is available at the following link. It’s a long read but you may be interested:
Vince on Quora debated against the censorship of non-Zionist Christians and others and the intimidating power of the Jewish lobby in America, which prevents candidates who do not support Israel’s crimes from getting elected to office. I have shown that it is mostly Evangelicals who support these crimes, including the shoot-to-kill policy targeting unarmed protesters, the aerial bombing of residential centres in Palestine, the illegal displacement of residents and the often violent seizing of their homes by Israeli settlers, the unprovoked missile attacks on Syria, the forced drafting of Israeli girls, including Orthodox girls whose faith prohibits their involvement in the military, and many others.
Below is an abbreviated version of my arguments to an Israeli lady who uses the standard arguments to defend her country’s behaviour. For example, she contends that since the Canaanites were Semites related to the Hebrews, the Jews today (whose genetics, however, do not match those of the ancient Canaanites) have every right to go in and evict the Palestinians from homes they had occupied for centuries and to abuse them to such an extent that they will leave and go live in crowded refugee camps in Syria and Jordan.
Their barbarous behaviour contradicts their own Sacred Old Testament, which, in Leviticus, for example, commands them to love God and their fellow men. People calling themselves “Christians” wholeheartedly support this ungodly behaviour and urge their lawmakers to support it with taxpayer funds, giving financial “aid” and deadly weapons to the Israeli government, but believers on both sides who take the scriptures seriously know that this is wrong. It is tragic that so-called “conservatives” support this evil while the few politicians who oppose it are Democrats, whom they accuse of being ungodly. But who is godly any more?
Jesus once asked: when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8.
BEGIN EXCERPT FRPOM QUORA TEXT
As you note, the Canaanite lineage does survive to the present day. But, as you know, today’s Israelis are much less in the Canaanite blood line than the Lebanese. The Lebanese are their direct descendants with an amazingly complete DNA match-up for an ancient and a contemporary people. Now this raises a bit of a dilemma. Since the notion of the ancient Hebrews being culturally-linguistically and almost certainly genetically closely related – if not identical – to the Canaanites is an argument used to establish a claim to the land where the Canaanites/Hebrews once lived, and perhaps even derived their origins (going back about 10,000 yr), the relatively recent finding that the Lebanese – and not so much the Israelis – are genetic Canaanites would, by the Israeli Establishment’s own line of reasoning, be the rightful heirs of what is currently called Israel by most Western countries. (This is not intended as an argument against the famous issue of “Israel’s right to exist,” which is beyond the scope of this exchange).
Here’s how confusing Israeli lineage is as seen from DNA studies:
As far as their haplotype (a DNA aspect) goes, one research team found that at least the Ashkenazi Jews in one population have over 95% European maternal lineage, and only about 3% Middle Eastern maternal lineage.
According to the Wikepedia entry “Archeogenetics of the Middle East”:
Another “research has suggested that, in addition to Israelite male, significant female founder ancestry might also derive from the Middle East-with 40% of Ashkenazim descended from four women who lived about 2000–3000 years ago in the Middle East. In addition, Behar (2006) suggested that the rest of Ashkenazi mtDNA is originated from about 150 women; most of those were probably of Middle Eastern origin. A 2013 genetic study suggested that the four founding maternal lineages of Ashkenazi Jews originate in Europe and that only ~8% of Ashkenazi mtDNA can confidently be assigned a Near Eastern origin, while >80% of Ashkenazi maternal lineages have a likely European origin while the 2014 study carried out by Spanish geneticists suggested ancient Near Eastern origin of four founding maternal lineages of Ashkenazi Jews.”
At any rate, it is clear that nothing is clear about Israeli lineage.
But even so, if the Israeli/Zionist rationale is to be accepted universally, then the Amerindians must be given back their land and the white European descendants in America must leave. But there is no claim anywhere that is remotely analogous to the Israeli claim to essentially long-abandoned land. The main reason this claim could be asserted was the “Christian” Zionists in the US and Britain, whose lame and unconvincing Biblical argument (based, as I said, on a biased misreading of Ezekiel) would never be accepted if brought to bear by any other nation in the world. The US is in fact fighting religious wars.
To clarify, Ezekiel prophesies in verse 24 of Ezekiel 37, his Israel resurrection prophecy, that this Israel will be obedient to God’s decrees. Yet a WIN/Gallup poll shows that 65% of modern Israelis are irreligious. Now my opponent points out that today’s Israelis by and large obey the old laws of the Torah. This may be so, but they are ignoring the ones that are universally accepted such as the prohibition on murder and the commandment to love one’s fellow man. A Torah scholar admitted to Jesus that the greatest of all commandments is the commandment (from Leviticus) to love the Lord your God and to love your fellow men as yourself. Yet, today, like then, these greatest laws are trashed by and large by Israel. The fact that 80% today’s so-called Evangelical “Christians” insist that modern secular Israel is Ezekiel’s Israel proves that these people do not care at all what the Bible actually says but rely 100% on what famous mega-church pastors and their fellow Evangelicals say. This is putting man ahead of God and the consequences are already evident: war throughout the world and a $21 trillion debt that economists agree will never be paid down. It is only a matter of time before the bill for our transgressions comes due.
The other reason the irrational claim was accepted in 1948 is that the Jews could claim victimhood thanks to the extremely powerful Holocaust narrative (the basic tenets of which I do not deny, in case you were wondering).
First the Zionists and then the Israel lobby used both “Christian” Zionism and the Holocaust victim idea to bolster their shaky claim to legitimacy. And it worked well thanks to the unquestioning nature of American “Christian” conservatives, who do not think for themselves but look over their shoulders to see what their fellows are doing, never daring to step out of line – they literally think hell awaits dissidents from the “righteous” narrative of Israel. It is quite plainly sick. But since US Evangelicals are the largest voting bloc, they are your main source of support.
Thus, your country is perched precariously on the edge of a vulnerable narrative that could crumble at any moment should someone present a Christian-based challenge to their ideology based on verse 24 of Ezekiel 37. Of course, they’ve got John Hagee and his mega-church and stentorian voice on their side. For now.
You are perhaps right to say that AIPAC itself doesn’t do all the effective intimidating by accusing its opponents of anti-Semitism. However, the Israel lobby is a many-headed hydra with other branches – which are also PACs of like effect – supporting it. In all, this composite Israel lobby spends about $50 million/yr to influence candidates with the carrot and stick of donations to obedient lapdogs and withholding of donations to candidates who refuse to bow, such as pro-Palestine candidates.
Cunterpunch writes of AIPAC:
“Republican candidate wannabe Senator Ted Cruz, the obnoxious junior senator from Texas, who received $100,354 from various Israeli lobbies between 2009 and 2015, proclaimed, in response to Mr. Trump’s remarks, the amazing statement that the nation of Palestine doesn’t exist, and hasn’t since 1948! Well, aren’t we all enlightened by such a geography lesson from Mr. Cruz? Never mind that Palestine is recognized by at least 193 member states of the United Nations, and the United Nations itself.”
Alaraby.co.uk wrote an article titled:
Legislators rush to please AIPAC
“This year's lineup at AIPAC featured high level administration officials including Vice President Mike Pence, Ambassador Nikki Haley, Ambassador David Friedman, Ambassador Mark Green of USAID, and Brian Hook from US State Department. On the legislative side, at least 35 members of the US Congress flocked in from both sides of the aisle, to show their unwavering support for Israel.” [But it is not just support for Israel any more. It is support for open outright crimes.--Vince]
“Legislators present and speaking at AIPAC did not let facts stand in the way of their political agenda. Prominent Democrats competed with the Trump Administration over support for Israel's far right policies and agenda, perpetuating falsehoods and hawkish rhetoric.”
AIPAC is destroying Israel, not safeguarding it
By Gideon Levy
“The American Israel Public Affairs Committee may be the organization that has caused the greatest damage to Israel. It corrupted Israel, taught it that everything is permissible to it. It made sure America would cover up and restrain itself over everything. That it would never demand anything in exchange.”
According to Opensecrets, Israel lobbies make huge donations to pro-Israel politicians (open the link to see the amounts and the recipients).
According to another report by Opensecrets, a very large percentage of congress people got money from Israel lobby, not just AIPAC (none of them were even remotely supportive of Palestine, of course, which is why US elected officials support genocide). Open the link and check it out. This lobby seeks to control the Congress and Senate, and they have been succeeding.
“A just-released Midterm Elections Scoreboard shows that Israel partisans have dominated Congress over the past 10 years, despite the preference of American voters, who consistently wish even-handed policies and feel the U.S. gives Israel too much money. [Well, it is money earned by ordinary Americans but their elected officials steal it and give it to a foreign power that is sowing chaos in the Middle East!]
The detailed scoreboard on candidates for the Senate and House of Representatives shows that 28 pro-Israel PACs and numerous pro-Israel individuals have given candidates millions of dollars in campaign contributions.”
There is also ADL (Anti-Defamation League), of course, which is not exactly a lobby, but it attacks prominent people or candidates who are less than enthusiastic about Israel and show even the least support for the Palestinian victims of the Israeli regime.
Now, you will recall that I said you had no right to discredit my faith and you responded that Jewish groups do not attack Christianity. Actually, the ADL did attack Mel Gibson mercilessly over his movie The Passion of Christ, even though the film did not deviate significantly from the New Testament narrative of how Christ was murdered.
Thus the ADL was in fact audaciously attacking the right of a Christian to dramatically portray the Easter story as it appears in the New Testament, much as it has been portrayed, for example, since 1634 in the famous Oberammergau Passionspiele (passion play). Thus for 400 years no Jewish group had ever dared to condemn Christians for portraying their Lord’s final days. Until, that is, US “Christians” stepped up and decided to “stand with Israel” instead of with Jesus, who died for his stand against the Pharisees.
The attack on Gibson was an example of US-supported Jewish power bullying not just one Christian, but Christianity itself – with the blessing of Evangelical mega-churches.
The ADL asserted the childish claim that this film could cause people to murder Jews because it shows what the Jews did to Jesus, just as recorded in the NT! Well, gee, maybe we should stop talking about the Holocaust because that could cause people to murder Germans, do ya think?
There is now a rise in so-called anti-Semitism across the West and Jewish groups are concerned about it.
Nota bene: this kind of bullying by the ADL and other groups is not the solution to the rising anti-Semitism throughout the Western world. It is part of the problem.
Finally, let me warn you not to even broach this subject on Twitter or Facebook. Your post will probably be pulled. Right in the land of the Free.
Video source: Russia Insight
Below is our translation of an article in mirnovostey.info on the reaction of ordinary German citizens on social media to a Putin documentary in which he expressed that Russians do not hate Germans despite the fact that the German Nazis took 25 million Russian lives. Comments by Vince Dhimos.
Click here for the documentary including the interview with Andrey Kondrashin mentioned below. The link is to a version subtitled in English.
A short segment from Putin's interview that caused a real flurry of pro-Russian sentiment in Germany
As you know, not so long ago (in early 2018), a two-hour documentary film entitled “Putin” went on the air, in which the Russian president gave an exhaustive interview to director Andrey Kondrashev. During the conversation, Putin answered the question about the relationship between Russia and Germany through the lens of the Second World War, and this answer amazed the German viewers who watched the broadcast on the TV channel RT-Germany.
In particular, the president said:
“I cannot speak for every citizen of our country separately, but on the whole I am sure that our people do not hate modern Germans. As they say, time heals wounds. And it would hardly be right to blame all German generations for what their ancestors did – sprinkling ashes on their heads, and scourging themselves for a terrible past (in a cat they did not even live) indefinitely. And although we must always draw conclusions from the past, remembering it in order to prevent this from happening in the future, is also impossible to introduce the principles of collective responsibility into it. ”
Translation of comments:
“That's exactly why Putin is the most respected person and politician in Germany!” Russia lost more than 25 million dead in World War II! And it is the Russians who have the leading right to hate us for what our ancestors did. But nevertheless, Putin and the Russians have enough nobility to separate us, living today, from those Germans who lived and created all this in those times! What does this mean first of all? I think that true traitors are sitting in our ranks and our positions of power! They deliberately honour our enemies - the United States, and scold real friends - Russia. How long can we put up with all this !? ”
“I know that in principle it is impossible, but my Federal Chancellor is Mr. Putin in his mind and in his heart!”
- “Thanks to Putin for these words !!! ???? And forgive us for the actions of our politicians, unfortunately it’s been a long time since we elected them... ”
“It is very pleasant to see that there is at least one politician in the world with a will for strong decisions and sanity. And thanks to Vladimir Putin for these words, reflecting how many Germans also think. Putin, in my opinion, is the best politician in Europe, and not only because of this position, but simply because he has achieved a lot for his country, and has exposed all those levels of injustice in Europe that we have in abundance! In fact, the entire [Russophobic—Vince] hysteria of the EU stems from the fact that Putin is telling the truth, and this is very unattractive for our authorities. Well, the United States simply cannot accept the fact that “Moscow” is again a superpower, and they are putting pressure on it, with us and the puppet politicians of our authorities as their tools”...
mo mo mo
“Of all those who currently the supreme power in the world in their hands, Putin seems to me to be the most honest and sensible person!”
“We should be grateful to Putin and Russia for extending a helping hand to us for years, and apologizing, for turning away from her every time!” After all, who holds us under occupation with 60 thousand soldiers? Who makes us engage in illegal wars around the world? Who constantly says that it will be better for the Germans if the Russians are lised as enemies? Who imposes neoliberal ideology on us? Who the hell is leading a trade war with us? Is this Russia? No - this is America! And who listens to our government? Who engages in industrial espionage in Germany? Who is to blame for the refugee problem? Who puts pressure on our government and has the most military bases in the world? Russian again? No! They voluntarily and as a gesture of peace, left East Germany, dissolved the Warsaw Pact, and NATO continues to advance to their eastern border! And after that Russia is the "enemy"? People, come to your senses, and finally listen to your inner voice and Putin! ”
Louis Graf Schall-Riaucour
“The Russians have forgiven us, despite the huge sacrifices due to our actions, and again give us a chance to live in a world without nuclear conflict!” (referring to the Putin Message to the Federal Assembly, which ensured strategic parity). They are provoked by the West, are under our pressure, and all the same silently reach out their hand in friendship, and we continue to slap it away! Russians have not forgotten what it means to be a family! They show us (when we see it) what it means to love your Motherland! I am glad that we have more and more Germans who understand all this! After all, this means that our countries have a historical chance to become true friends and allies! Putin is doing everything for this, and now it is the turn of Germany and each of us! ”
The above video is from Kevork Almassian's Syriana Analysis. Bookmark it to keep up with how real Syrians think: https://www.syriana-analysis.com/.
Following is our translation from RIA Novosti with brief commentary by Vince Dhimos. We are now a far cry from “Assad must go.” The West has finally stopped this nonsense, and the Arabs are following suit.
They understand that the real enemy in Syria is Turkey, which wants to carry on where the US left off.
The Middle East has reconciled with Assad. What does this mean for Russia?
MOSCOW, January 16 - RIA Novosti, Ksenia Melnikova. A few years ago, there could be no question of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s diplomatic rehabilitation, but now it is only a matter of time. The countries of the Persian Gulf, considered irreconcilable opponents of the Syrian leader, have decided not only to restore the embassy in Damascus, but also to return Syria to the League of Arab States. What are their motives and what does this means for Russia?
Return to the Arab family
Representatives of the military intelligence services of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Israel held secret negotiations, resulting in the decision to restore diplomatic relations with Bashar al-Assad. The publication Middle East Eye, headquartered in London, reports on this, citing sources. According to journalists, an agreement was reached to restore communication between the Syrian government and the Arab world. Embassies will reopen in Damascus and Syria will be returned to the League of Arab States.
Damascus found itself in diplomatic isolation as soon as the civil war in Syria began in 2011. But if some closed the embassies for security reasons, others clearly made it clear that they were not happy with Bashar al-Assad’s remaining in power.
“This regime has lost its legitimacy -- the only right course of action for Assad is to leave now,” commented Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird on closing the embassy.
Eight years later, Assad was still in power, and the Syrian government, with the support of allies, was able to regain control over a significant part of the country.
The main goal, which the Middle Eastern states are pursuing in the current situation, is to reduce the influence of Iran and prevent Turkey’s military expansion in north-eastern Syria. It is Ankara’s growing ambitions in the region that are of increasing concern, notes the Middle East Eye. In particular, according to the periodical, the head of Mossad, Yossi Cohen, who represented Israel at the talks, stated that "the power of Iran is currently quite fragile; the real threat comes from Turkey."
The package of four measures elaborated at the meeting is mainly aimed at countering Ankara. Representatives of the intelligence services, in particular, agreed to minimize the influence of Turkey in Iraq. These representative are the National Axis Alliance - the largest parliamentary bloc of the Sunni forces of Iraq.
In addition, it was decided to support the Syrian Kurds in the north-east of the warring country. Currently, their fate is rather uncertain because of US President Donald Trump’s plans to withdraw American troops from Syria. Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates fear that in this case Turkey will gain control over the Kurdish territories.
In order to prevent another rival in the region - Iran, the participants in the meeting intend to deprive Tehran of the levers of influence on Assad. One way is to return Syria to the League of Arab States (LAS).
You’re no brother of mine
Relations between Damascus and the League finally deteriorated in 2012, when civil war was already in the country for six months. The members of the Arab League almost unanimously opposed the use of force to resolve the conflict. At present, the process of restoring the membership of Syria has already been launched: on January 9, a special meeting was held in the Egyptian capital Cairo, at which this issue was raised. Probably, further steps will be discussed at the summit in late January.
Signs of warming in relations between Syria and Middle Eastern countries appeared last year: the border with Jordan was opened, and Sudan President Omar al-Bashir in December 2018 became the first Arab League member in eight years to visit Damascus.
In November, the UAE authorities sent their diplomats to the Syrian capital. The Foreign Ministry of the United Arab Emirates explained: "This step emphasizes the desire of the UAE government to restore relations between the two fraternal countries."
Soon the authorities of Bahrain also began the restoration of their diplomatic presence in Syria. This process began at the UN General Assembly in New York last September at a meeting of the foreign ministers of the two countries. And at the end of December, the Bahrain Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that "work continues in his embassy in Syria," despite the fact that there has been no ambassador there since 2011. The Emirates noted that the resumption of the diplomatic mission in Syria is necessary to "strengthen and enhance the role of the Arab countries in order to preserve Syria’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as to prevent the dangers of regional interference in its development and internal affairs."
It is not yet clear whether the large western countries will follow this example. Only the Czech Republic has an embassy in Damascus. This embassy, by the way, represents the interests of the United States, whose diplomats left the Syrian capital in 2012.
However, judging by the recent statements by the French and US foreign ministers, the attitude towards Bashar Assad and his regime is changing in the West. Thus, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian allowed the current Syrian leader to participate in the Syrian electoral process. "If Bashar Assad is a candidate, then he will be a candidate. It is the Syrians who must decide what their future will be," he said. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said something like this: in his opinion, the current Syrian leader "will become part of the country's political future."
Syrian processes for Moscow
Western countries are looking for compromises in order to get at least some dividends in the current situation, says, a senior researcher at the IMEMO RAS, EM Primakova, Associate Professor of the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Vladimir Avatkov. "Assad is the legitimate Syrian ruler; he did not surrender, continued the fight against terrorist groups, formed the political environment and, of course, must be part of the political process," the expert said to RIA Novosti.
But with regard to the position of the Middle Eastern countries in relation to Syria, the situation here looks different. "Definitely, dividends are received by Iran and Turkey. The strengthening of these two players is largely due to the position of Moscow. It should be borne in mind that Ankara is now actively trying to take on much of what the United States did in Syria. It is quite dangerous and can be as productive as it can counter-productive,” said the political scientist.
Restoration of the representation of Syria in LAS depends directly on the position of the leader of the organization, ie, Saudi Arabia. Here, according to Avatkov, two factors play an important role - the position of the Saudi leadership itself and pressure from the United States, which is interested in getting some benefit from the ongoing processes.
"We need to bear in mind that the withdrawal of the Americans from Syria and the attempt to step aside implies that either they are preparing some kind of action plan, perhaps in a completely different direction, or they realize that they cannot receive significant dividends here and are trying to gain at least something “the way they like, by someone else’s efforts, in this case at the expense of their allies,” the expert said.
He added that the current situation could be a "success of the Russian army and Russian diplomacy," since it is important for Moscow to show the entire world community that it is unacceptable to change regimes by force, and only a legitimate transfer of power is possible. In addition, Russia has the opportunity to show itself as the "organizer of the world" based on the example of the Middle and Near East region.
It is interesting to look back at all the people who declared “Assad must go!” Many of them are gone themselves and Assad is still in power, defending his people.
Here are some links:
Assad must go
From 2018! They were still kicking the dead horse of "Assad must go."
There’s a Right Way to End Syria’s War
The New Special Envoy Must Not Allow Russia to Protect Assad
By Janine di Giovanni
Obama to UN: Assad must go, Sept 2015, the month Russia went in
Last Thursday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that “there would be no role” for Bashar al-Assad “to govern the Syrian people,” and that steps are underway to assemble an international coalition to remove him from power.
Five days and one cruise-missile strike later, he remarked in Moscow, “The reign of the Assad family is coming to an end.”
Tillerson is gone!
Aug 2018 (just a few months ago. They were still asleep).
Defense Secretary James Mattis has renewed U.S. calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to be removed from power, while at the same time suggesting it was up to the Syrian people to decide their country's fate.
Mattis is gone!
Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi and Israeli intelligence agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline, military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria to overthrow the uncooperative Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of completing the Qatar/Turkey gas link. In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria. — Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Why the Arabs don’t want us in Syria, Politico
This turn of events is best described by the title of a paper written by CFR president Richard Haass: How a World Order Ends.
The above videos, from Al-Jazeera, teach the history of the Nakba. Ca min 3:27:35, Episode 3: Wakeem Wakkeem, Palestinian NGO:
"..After the Haganah [predecessor of today's Israeli army] entered the village, they took 4 boys and girls aged 14 or 15 from inside the church and killed them. The remainder were expelled."
Theodor Katz, Jewish Israeli historian: "It happened many times that the Israeli soldiers took 10 of the youngsters in the middle of the village, shot them just to kill them so that all the others would see and run away."
Senator Ted Cruz proudly says "I stand with Israel."
Many Westerners and Israelis have the mistaken belief that Jews cannot behave like Nazis because in their myopic view, a Nazi is automatically a non-Jew. But that is not the case. Nazism can be virulent nationalism of any state aimed against any minority, like the Nazi sympathy in US-backed Ukraine that targets the Russians, the Hungarians, the Roma and the Poles – and also the Jews. An unbiased person who studies the history of the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe) can easily see that the tactics used by the first Jewish settlers in the territory that we now call Israel caused enormous pain to the then-inhabitants of that land. These settlers also ignored and trampled the human rights of these Arabs in the steadfast quasi-religious belief that the land belonged exclusively to the Jews. It is important to note that the Nakba is ongoing and never ended. The IDF still has orders to shoot unarmed protesters to kill and Israelis are still settling illegally on Arab land in Palestine. The Palestinians and their millions of sympathizers consider the Nakba a mini-Holocaust.
The belief that land once belonging to a group or country must be reverted to that group or county is called irredentism. A long list of irredentist countries and territories can be found here. A recent addition is Japan, which is trying to recover the Kuril Islands won by Russia in WW II. The notion that today's Israel is exclusively for the Jews is based on an irredentist claim to land that, for about 2000 years, was not occupied exclusively by Jews. In other words, it was a very cold claim. Further, continuous Israeli occupation of the territory was not as long as claimed. Israel first emerged as a major power in the 10th century BC and was first conquered by the Assyrians in 722 BC, giving it a lifespan of no more than 400 years before partial disintegration. However, at various times thereafter, it was restored and then depopulated again when the Hebrews were dispersed, but the duration of unbroken settlement exclusively by Jews is not nearly the several millennia that are claimed by Zionists. The case is unique in that no other territory has ever remained unclaimed by an irredentist minority for such a long duration of non-occupation before a claim emerged. The claim by the Jews would be tantamount to the Native Americans reclaiming their territory from the US or the Celts reclaiming Britain, France and Galicia. The world would never recognize such claims. So how is it that such a blatant exception was made for the Jews?
The two main reasons the world community ceded the rights to this mostly Arab-occupied land to the Jews, at variance with accepted international law and practice, were:
1—Compassion for the Holocaust sufferers and at the same time, a lack of compassion for the Arabs originally residing in that territory, thanks to an almost total ignorance of their plight, and
2—A complete misreading, by European and American Christians, of Ezekiel 37, which prophesies the resurrection of Israel. I say misreading because verse 24 of this chapter says that David would be king of this nation and it would be obedient to God's commandments. A recent WIN/Gallup poll shows that 65% of modern Israel's population self-describe as irreligious, so they obviously do not obey the commands of the God of Abraham. The most likely explanation is that the Israel prophesied by Ezekiel is a spiritual Israel, not really a place. Thus "Christian" Zionism is a gigantic hoax not supported by a single recorded word of Jesus and not supported by the Old Testament, and it is creating a monstrous crisis in the Middle East and elsewhere. In the US, 80% of Evangelicals subscribe to "Christian" Zionism and, tragically, their influence on foreign policy is enormous in a country where the concept of separation of church and state is otherwise sacred -- but Israel is a glaring exception, standing out like a black eye in the body politic.
Neither of these reasons are supported by international law and precedent and the consequent lack of resolution is why the discussion is still ongoing now a century after the British Mandate was established in the area. The US and Israel insist that the issue is settled and have staked their hopes on the whole issue just blowing away, but the Arabs who have lost their homes and their descendants are not happy and neither are the countries to which the thousands of displaced have fled and live frozen in time in refugee camps. Israel and some Jewish groups are stifling, even outlawing, the conversation surrounding the legitimacy of Israel while some witless and vociferous anti-Semites are making it look bad for reasonable people to question it. Both extremes are impeding the debate in their own way.
A bill has been introduced in Congress that would silence criticism of Israel.
QUOTE from article linked above:
“Members of Congress last month introduced the ‘Anti-Semitism Awareness Act.’ The bill purports to address a real problem: According to the FBI, incidents of hate crimes motivated by anti-Jewish bias have significantly increased in recent years. [This bias is simply the recognition that Israel is trampling on the rights of Palestinians. Banning the discussion of it will only forestall the consequences, not prevent them – Vince]
But anti-Semitic harassment is already illegal under federal law. The new bill does not change that fact, but its overbreadth makes it likely that it will instead silence criticism of Israel that is protected by the First Amendment.”
“The bill is part of a disturbing surge of government-led attempts to suppress the speech of people on only one side of the Israel-Palestine debate. The trend manifests on college campuses, in state contracts, and even in bills to change federal criminal law, but the impact is the same: Those who seek to protest, boycott, or otherwise criticize the Israeli government are being silenced.
On college campuses, a growing number of students and teachers have been disciplined or threatened with discipline for engaging in actions in support of Palestinian rights or in opposition to Israeli policies.” [NSS had previously written here on this form of censorship]
While the standard Israeli and “Christian” Zionist dogma is that there can never be a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the argument behind this is that the Arabs are just too pig headed to come to terms with the Jews. But if you understand the history of how Israel became recognized as a state, you can easily understand why the Arabs would find it unacceptable that at least 700,000 of them were violently displaced to settle newcomers in their land who had lived mostly in Europe and Russia all their lives and had never even been to the Middle East before.
The only possible solution to the Arab-Israel conflict would be for the US (once it becomes enlightened) and Russia to encourage and lead the dialogue between the Arabs and the Jews in the Middle East. This would almost certainly eventually solve the problem to the satisfaction of the vast majority, but the Neocons, Neoliberals and Zionists are busy creating the false impression that Russia is an enemy, precisely because they actually fear a possible solution to the conflict. This is one of the main reasons for the Russophobia that pervades the Western political culture.
Thus, the Israeli-Palestinian conferences have traditionally been led by various US presidents for years, always with the bias inherent in “Christian” Zionism. No wonder Israel-Palestine relations are a complete failure.
However, the situation in the Middle East is like a flood that threatens to burst the dam at any moment. The US had blindly supported the Israeli side for decades, regardless of the facts. But when Russia went into Syria and started defeating the “moderate” terrorists that the US was cultivating to overcome Assad, whose government did not recognize Israel, the pressure on Israel started to build. Things have reached a crescendo now, with Israel desperately – and illegally – bombing positions in Syria that it claims are military threats. But Syria may eventually succeed in retaliating with its newly acquired very effective Russian air defence weapons. And if negotiations between Lebanon and Russia proceed further, the Lebanese, with Russian help, may succeed in forcing Israeli fighter jets out of their air space, making it impossible to continue with the dangerous and illegal bombing.
At any rate, the situation is untenable. Something has to give. And as in the case of all stresses, warps and unbalances in nature, the equilibrium will eventually be restored.
Video thanks to DONI News
Yesterday I sent out a reminder of who actually rules the US (call it the Deep State, the Shadow Government, Corporate America, the Establishment, or whatever). I have seen one or two of the listed groups blamed for the mess the US and hence the world is in, but never a complete list. So I compiled one. Did I miss anything? Let me know.
One of the groups on my list was think tanks, and I mentioned the Atlantic Council, the mouthpiece of the unindicted mafia NATO as an example. I was reminded of NATO recently when South Front, the indispensable news source for world conflicts, suggested that the UN had just passed a resolution demanding that Russia leave Crimea and with a little digging, I discovered the possible source of this demand, namely, an Atlantic Council propaganda hit piece by red-eyed Neocon Roman Sohn, making the exact same demand, addressed to Donald Trump. (BTW, I did a search with the search term
get tough on Russia
and found, unsurprisingly, that no one on either side of the proverbial aisle was suggesting an actual shooting war with Russia (they’ve figured out this would put paid to planet earth)).
“In September, the United States should propose a UN resolution demanding the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Russian forces from all of Ukraine’s territory, including Crimea. The obvious obstacle is that as a permanent member, Russia will undoubtedly veto such a resolution in the UN Security Council. But there is a way around this problem.”
“Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine as well as the act of international terrorism by shooting down flight MH17 in 2014 should provide enough cause [there was no proof that Russia was involved and no plausible motive given]. The United States should lead on this issue.
If there is UNGA backing for a tougher position on Russia, a very restrictive global sanctions regime will become just a step away. Once in place, Russia will face truly damaging costs for its aggression that could finally reverse Kremlin’s behaviour, if not by external international pressure, then by internal pressure from within Russia. [my highlighting]
No sooner said than done. The administration of the president who was elected by the people to maintain world peace, was overridden by an unelected think tank that essentially forced him to introduce a provocative UN resolution that was then passed by a majority thanks to US pressure on its partners (“you’re either for us or against us,” as GW Bush famously said. Otherwise, we have arms to use against you including sanctions and regime change tools).
The UN resolution states, among other things, on the official UN web site:
“Resolution A/73/L.47 of 17 December 2018
The General Assembly today adopted a resolution urging the Russian Federation to withdraw its military forces from Crimea and end its temporary occupation of Ukraine’s territory without delay...”
The list of demands includes the text:
2. Demands that Russia unconditionally ceases all forms of aggression, immediately withdraws all of its forces from Ukraine's territory, ends its occupation, and rescinds the annexation of Crimea.
Now before I go on, there may be confused readers who see nothing wrong with any of this heavy-handed approach to a fellow nuclear power, who may see itself cornered and feel the need to threaten a military response.
So let’s analyse this. Normally, before punitive or coercive action is taken against anyone in any court of law, including international arbiters like the UN General Assembly, a hearing is held between the sides to hear all pertinent arguments and, having heard the arguments, the jury (in this case, the UN signatory countries), will deliberate among themselves in debate, raising various arguments pro and con. However, this draught resolution was sprung on the world unexpectedly before Russia and its supporters could prepare a defence in the court of public opinion.
In fact, the draught resolution, almost as proposed verbatim by the fanatical Neocon Roman Sohn of Atlantic Council – the mouthpiece of the infamous criminal organization NATO that killed between 1 and 5 thousand innocent civilians from the air in Serbia in 1999 and perpetrated an illegal bombing of Libya that led to the murder of sovereign head of state Muammar Ghadaffi in 2011, plunging the country into chaos and terror that persists today – was foisted upon a US administration, which in turn pressured other countries politically to introduce and pass it at the UNGA.
Below is our translation from an article in TASS titled “The UN General Assembly approved a resolution on the Crimea, calling Russia an ‘occupying power.’" The first part covers mostly just the story of the UN resolution to force Russia to give up Crimea, as roughly outlined above. The last part is a rebuttal of the claims made by Kiev to promote the resolution. Comments by Vince Dhimos are in [square brackets].
Attempt to divert attention
As stated by the deputy representative of the Russian Federation, the Ukrainian delegation, “by drawing a false picture of the situation in the Russian Crimea,” is trying to “divert attention from numerous systematic violations of human rights at home.”
He pointed out reports of "torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, discrimination, political persecution, violation of freedom of expression," as well as impunity in burning dozens of Odessa residents alive in May 2014. [this refers to known human rights violations by the Kiev regime] As Zagainov noted, these assessments are confirmed in the reports of the UN mission on monitoring the situation in the field of human rights deployed in Ukraine.
[It is interesting that if you do a search for
ukraine violates human rights
almost all of the returned titles refer instead to supposed violations of rights by the Russians, notably in Crimea. Violations by Ukraine are almost all either scrubbed from the web or never made it to the web in the West. It was not until I did the search in Russian that I found the information I was looking for.]
According to him, the resolution approving Kiev’s actions in relation to the Crimea looks “frankly hypocritical,” especially given the blockade of the [Crimean] peninsula.
He called Ukraine’s requirement to provide education in the Crimea in minority languages as “cynical mockery.”
According to Zagainov, schools and classes with the Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian languages of instruction continue to function on the peninsula.
“At the same time, a scandalous law was adopted in Ukraine in September, depriving hundreds of thousands of children of opportunities to receive education in their native language [Russian]. Examples of double standards and outright disinformation that the project abounds, and more examples could be listed,” the diplomat said.
He stressed that the adoption of the resolution sends "a false signal to Kiev that, under the guise of his anti-Russian propaganda, he can continue the policy of discrimination and violations of human rights."
After the coup d'état in Kiev in February 2014, the authorities of Crimea and Sevastopol decided to hold a referendum on reunification with Russia - more than 80% of eligible voters took part in the vote on March 16 of the same year.
96.7% and 95.6% of residents of the Crimea and Sevastopol respectively voted for reunification with the Russian Federation.
On March 18, the Russian president signed an agreement on the accession of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation, and on March 21 the document was ratified by the Federal Assembly. Kiev refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.
One key reason for this trumped up anti-Russia UN resolution is that the entire West is now forced to back Kiev’s false accusations of Russian “human rights violations” because the US, via institutions like USAID, the State Department – with Neocon Victoria Nuland as the official face of State admitting that the US had spent $5 billion promoting the Maidan coup – and a Soros foundation (not to mention various European leaders falsely promising Ukraine membership in the EU) – wholeheartedly backed the illegal and violent coup in Kiev that led to the eventual impoverishment and failure of Ukraine today. (President Poroshenko recently admitted his country is the poorest in Europe. Before the coup it had a significantly higher GDP, thanks to cooperation with Russia).
Let me go a bit beyond the rebuttal by the Russian official. Russia says the referendum in Crimea that led to the peninsula’s accession to the RF was legal, and that is essentially so, although it would be safer to state that it was not illegal.
There are several opinions on how and under what circumstances a people may separate from the political body to which it is attached. The strongest case is a colony, which has the best chances of being legally recognized as separate if it decides to leave the union by referendum. Crimea was not a colony at the time of the referendum and accession to the RF. However, a people that is mistreated also has a chance of legal separation. This is where a case can be made. At the time of the referendum, Ukraine had just introduced a new language law and Crimea, which was essentially a Russophone (Russian speaking) region, had a legitimate concern that its educational and other institutions would be forcefully modified so as to change the culture and language of the region. Another point that favours secession is when the region in question was once independent. In fact, at the time of the separation, Crimea was an autonomous republic and that gave it a higher degree of independence than other provinces. Thus the accession of Crimea to the RF had 3 points in its favour.
(Sources on legal theory of secession are found here, here and here)
As for the mistreatment and discrimination, it was already apparent in the Russophone parts of Ukraine that Russian speakers would be mistreated and subject to discrimination. Russian speakers had been burned alive in a crackdown in Odessa in 2014. The Ukraine military has shelled and still shells, residential areas in the separatist republics in Donbass (see viedo at top of first page). Further, there were, and still are, attempts to deny Russian speakers the use of their language in public. There is also a strong movement to break the ties of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine to Moscow. Some Orthodox churches in Western Ukraine have been vandalized, razed or burned. In Lvov, speaking Russian is a taboo that can, at least unofficially, trigger punishment.
This is a phenomenon best described as Russophobia, a hatred and fear not of a political idea or movement but an irrational sentiment akin to racism – a phenomenon seen in the US as well, where a Russian girl, Maria Butina, now sits in solitary confinement for joining the NRA and advocating for gun rights. She has been accused of being a foreign agent just because she may have received funding from a Russian private company. This is crass hypocrisy because AIPAC, a foreign lobby that illegally refuses to register as such, receives millions from a foreign country, operates freely and in fact meddles openly in US presidential elections and even legislation, having had a major role in the last election and also lobbying for wars that do not concern the US public. There could be no better example of a double standard.
Thus, while one could technically debate whether Crimea is legally a part of the RF, the bottom line is that the West’s refusal to recognize it as Russian is a result not of any sort of rational deliberation but an extension of US Russophobia, which is not a product of American grassroots thinking at all or of a real perception of any threat to the American public but a rigid political attitude foisted on Americans by a small coterie of activists with too much power and no legitimacy to represent the people. This is why I maintained in yesterday's analysis that there is nothing resembling a government of the people, by the people and for the people in the United States of America, and hence no legitimate government at this time. In fact, what most call the “US government” is in fact an occupying power, which does not name itself, though some call it the Deep State, the Shadow Government, Corporate America, the Establishment, the Elites, the Oligarchy, etc. It doesn’t matter what you call it, but you must stop calling it “the government” and stop thinking of it as legitimate. If you are an American, you do not help shape events or make and enforce laws or policies. This coterie of billionaires owns you and, to a great extent, your mind. By extension, virtually every other US-aligned country is also a vassal whose people have no real power of self-determination. The entire West is a captive and a slave.
Finally, why is this UN resolution dangerous? Previously, sanctions on Russia had been unilateral and easy for countries other than the US to ignore. They could blame them on Trump. Now that is no longer the case. They will feel obliged to join the US in its anti-Russian sanctions. If these sanctions become enough of a burden for Russia, there may come a time when the RF begins to seriously ponder a military response. One thing is certain: Russia will not back down and pull out of Crimea. The US, the UN and the fools who voted for the resolution should have known that from the start.
They played Russian roulette but they forgot something: Russia owns the gun.
Relevant, on freedom, why you are not free, why there is no democracy
Freedom is not at the pinnacle, it’s in the climb.
The freedom candy is poison
How you can know the truth in 4 excruciatingly difficult steps
We all need to get along, Folks. Pro-life Westerners may be surprised to know that there are probably more pro-lifers in the Muslim world than in the West. Whatever differences you may have with that world, we all need to get along with each other and the good news is that, with a little effort, we can!
Kyrgyzstan and Turkey are brotherly republics. Kyrgyz is a Turkic language and relations are good.
Press release from Kyrgyzstan:
On 28th of August 2018, in Bishkek. Kyrgyztsan the Public Association "WORLD LEAGUE OF CITIZENS AND CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS" has awarded the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the "Үй-бүлө / Family" badge for his personal contribution to the PROMOTION and DEVELOPMENT AND PROTECTION PRO LIFE AND PRO-FAMILY VALUES.
Bolotbek Batilov Chairman of "WORLD LEAGUE OF CITIZENS AND CITIZENS"
Tilek Usupov, Chairman of the award committee, Chairman of Public Fund "TILEKMAT AKE"
NSS translation of an article from russian.rt.com.
Arabian Business: Russia and the United States switch places in the eyes of Arab youth
Opinion polls conducted in the countries of the Middle East show that Russia has acquired positions previously in the domain of the United States, according to Arabian Business. However, at the moment it is difficult to assess the long-term consequences of this shift.
To the chagrin of the United States, Russia has regained its position as a major international player in the Middle East - with many representatives of Arab youth positively assessing this change.
According to a poll among Arab youth (2018 Arab Youth Survey), the US has for the first time come out of the top five of the biggst allies of the Arab countries, dropping to 11th position.
Russia took the fourth place, becoming the only non-Arab country, included in the five states, which won the greatest approval of Middle Eastern youth. As the survey shows, there was a sharp decline in confidence in the US: most Arab youth now see Washington as an "enemy" - while their attitude toward Russia continues to improve.
When speaking about this sharp shift - in which the two world powers have in fact switched places - it is impossible not to discuss the complex (and constantly changing) context that caused it. Recall that up to the Fourth Arab-Israeli War of 1973 (the "Yom Kippur War"), Russia played an important role in the Middle East, but then the US began to seize key positions in regional diplomacy and made Egypt its ally. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia as a participant in international politics, actually exited the Middle East.
Nevertheless, when the US, began to give up its leading positions in the Middle East under the leadership of Barack Obama, Moscow took advantage of the situation and intervened in regional processes, carrying out a military invasion of Syria in 2015, when Russia, together with Iran and Hezbollah, moved to save the regime of Bashar Assad. Today, with Assad’s victory already visible on the horizon, international observers have begun to talk about the first successful international intervention in the processes occurring in the Arab world since the liberation of Kuwait in 1991.
Despite the fact that many young Arabs dislike the Assad regime, Russia has consolidated the image of a strong and determined power, a reliable ally, and a guarantor of stability and state sovereignty - as well as a country capable of winning. Nothing is more conducive to success in the future than successes in the past.
Russia in the region benefits primarily from how much it stands out against the background of the United States. For both supporters and detractors of America, the return of Moscow to the Middle East as an important regional player paves the way to a number of promising options for the development of events. Even some of the most dedicated US allies in the region are establishing closer ties with Russia as an alternative supplier of weapons.
It is possible that Saudi Arabia's interest in the Russian anti-aircraft missile system S-400 is sincere. Or, likewise, Saudi Arabia could be trying to put pressure on Washington to finally secure the supply of US THAAD missile defence systems. Today, Riyadh needs these installations more than ever, because they will allow the country to shoot down missiles launched by Yemeni rebel Houthis. Whatever the case may be, Russia as an alternative supplier of weapons is beneficial both in itself and as a lever of influence on Washington.
The Decline of America
For more than 20 years, almost nothing was heard about Russia in the Middle East, and now she is reaping the fruits of this oblivion. Whichever group you take: patriots, supporters of the unity of the Arab world or Islamists - in most regional problems, all of them - sometimes fairly, and sometimes undeservedly – are condemning the US. For Russia they recognize the right to start from scratch. Often this warm attitude is based on the principle: "Anyone but the USA!"
And this love by contrast, as well as the impression of a successful player, served as the main reasons why Russia is not condemned too much for the destruction in Syria. They are accusing Washington for everything – for things that America really did, and for things that it did not do - in part because of high expectations. A major role was played by the absence of a peace treaty between Palestine and Israel, especially after decades of virtually monopolistic attempts to untie this knot (with sympathy for Israel). They gave Moscow virtually carte blanche for the actions in Syria - all in the interests of Iran, no less.
The United States is not just frankly tired of the conflict Middle East after the fiasco in Iraq – but apparently, Washington forgot that it is possible to achieve pinpoint targets with limited means, as was the case in Kuwait in 1991. This is the skill that Russia demonstrated in Syria.
Obama once predicted that the operation in Syria would "bleed" Russia, that she "will burst apart." Meanwhile, the impression in the region is that Russia is acting decisively and successfully and therefore appears as a formidable player amid the indecision and floundering of the United States. This stereotype was confirmed after a limited missile strike by the US on objects of the chemical weapons program in April 2018. Washington fastidiously avoided the positions of Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and even key government targets, choosing as targets a small number of chemical enterprises without special strategic significance. All once again were convinced that they really fear Russia, and that it won a decisive victory in Syria, which Washington does not want to or cannot challenge under any circumstances.
The role of personality in politics
The amazing changes in the minds of Arab youth - a more positive attitude toward Russia and a negative attitude toward the US - to a certain extent, of course, are explained by the personalities of the leaders of these countries. In the United States and beyond, Donald Trump is generally considered a fool, as well as a racist and a bully in addition, but not taken seriously. However, Vladimir Putin's image is strength, determination, persistence, steadfastness and self-esteem, which makes a huge impression on Trump himself. Putin acts as the embodiment of a successful, collected and purposeful Russia in contrast to the awkward, indecisive and hapless US.
Trump also managed to significantly strengthen the unfair notion that Islamophobia is raging in the US, while Putin and Russia are not known for anything like this. By contrast, Russia has united with such anti-Islamic Arab states as Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and anti-Islamic forces in Libya, and also speaks at international conferences for "moderate Islam" and "fighting terrorism."
However, the positive halo that now surrounds Moscow can quickly fade. Restoring its position in the Middle East as an independent player, and not just acting as a sudden and long-awaited alternative to Washington, Russia will inevitably face the fact that it will have to answer for its actions, especially for its close partnership with Iran.
Thanks to the overwhelming success in Syria, achieved in a relative power vacuum, the military skills and presence of Russia in the region were greatly exaggerated. Despite the wide coverage and effectiveness of Russian propaganda -- for example, RT Arabic, the facts show that hundreds of Russian mercenaries died in the north of Syria from at the hands of a handful of US special forces. If Washington emerges from the shadows and returns to the role of a leader in the Middle East, which it voluntarily relinquished, Russia's appeal in the Arab world may be short-lived.
Our translation from RIA Novosti, preceded by our commentary.
Quote by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov:
“We … consider it necessary to fully implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). If they want to discuss some other issues concerning Iran; this should be done with its mandatory participation and by consensus, and not by ultimatums.” [NSS highlighting]
The US’ ingrained habit of treating all other countries like school children who need spanked is not a function of the so-called Deep State. It is an integral part the psyche of the US citizen, imparted by peers, msm, higher and public education and government officials and candidates for higher office. Many Americans feel betrayed by officials who compromise with foreign countries to keep the peace and avoid confrontation. Such officials are “weak,” even when their actions are necessary to avoid war.
This habit will not be broken by Americans themselves. Any meaningful change must come from without. The EU, which has been badly stung by US sanctions and interference with its foreign trade, is now one of the challengers.
The end of the alliance: Europe and Russia have come out together against the US for the first time
Ivan Danilov, for RIA Novosti
Earlier this week, an extraordinary event occurred: the ambassador of the European Union in the US criticized the actions of US President Trump, accused the US of compromising principles and promised that the EU would sabotage US attempts to introduce new international sanctions against Iran. A very tough approach by the European diplomat was clearly coordinated with Brussels and Berlin and indicates that transatlantic solidarity on key issues of international politics has already come to an end. Now that Sergei Lavrov has once again expressed opposition to US actions against Iran, a paradoxical situation has emerged: the European Union and Russia are a united front against American policy in a strategically important direction. Whether a major Middle East war begins this year depends on whether Trump is ready to go ahead to satisfy the ambitions and phobias of his sponsors in the United States and the Middle East.
David O'Sullivan, the EU ambassador to the United States, held a special meeting at the Washington office of the Bloomberg agency with representatives of the American media to explain to them why the European Union is sharply against President Donald Trump's desire to disrupt the so-called Iranian nuclear deal and impose international sanctions against Iran. “The Iranian nuclear deal” is a 2015 agreement signed by Iran with the permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France, as well as with Germany and the European Union. In fact, the agreement provides for Iran to abstain from developing a military nuclear program and consent to international monitoring of compliance with this abstinence in exchange for lifting the UN sanctions imposed on the country. The “Iran nuclear deal” was signed by President Obama, despite the protests of many American and Israeli politicians who insisted on continuing pressure on Iran or even on military intervention against Tehran. Donald Trump, during the election campaign, spoke very negatively about the Iranian deal and demanded the return of anti-Iran sanctions, combined with the cancellation of all existing agreements.
The American president’s position proposes a much more rigid version of the Iranian deal, which looks more like the most humiliating capitulation of Tehran than an agreement. The rigidity of the demands of the US administration gives the impression that Washington is not looking for a new compromise, but an excuse to start the economic strangulation of Iran, and then move on to military intervention. The US is being pushed into the power option by a rather influential segment of the American political elite.
The EU ambassador to the United States clearly outlined the dissenting position of Brussels on the reintroduction of anti-Iran sanctions and the cancellation of the nuclear deal: “This, in my opinion, will not work. We lifted the sanctions, and this was part of the agreement, and we cannot in good conscience enter sanctions again without a good reason,” the ambassador said, clearly hinting that the desire of the US military-industrial complex to earn money and Trump's political ambitions are not on the list of “valid reasons.”
In a similar vein, the head of Russian diplomacy Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference following the talks with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Dreen:
“We, like France, consider it necessary to fully implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). If they want to discuss some other issues concerning Iran, this should be done with its mandatory participation and by consensus, and not by ultimatums.”
Now the Trump administration faces an unpleasant choice, which consists of three bad choices. First, he can try very hard to pressure the European Union and demand that Brussels, Berlin and Paris change their position. As an argument, he can try to use a threat to impose sanctions against European companies that work with Iran, as well as the accusation that the EU countries have mercantile interests related to investments in the Iranian economy. This would make Europe betray the ideals of transatlantic unity and turn a deaf ear to the demands of Washington and Tel Aviv, insisting on the need for decisive measures against Iran. The problem of this approach is that the European Union has already demonstrated a categorical rejection of the threats of sanctions influencing its companies and moreover it is prepared to respond with retaliatory accusations against Washington:
“There is a whole mythology in the US, in certain circles, and this mythology is that we are only interested in trade with Iran and are ready to sell our souls for the opportunity to sell a few cars or planes. For example, the way Boeing is doing it,” said O'Sullivan, hinting that the US corporation is trying to sell planes to Iran for $20 billion. "We do not sell principles for a few contracts," the European diplomat stressed.
The second option involves the introduction of sanctions and the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, despite the disapproval of the European Union, Russia and the PRC. This approach seems attractive only at first glance, since unilateral US sanctions do not harm Iran in any way, which can fully meet all its economic and technological needs through cooperation with countries that do not support American sanctions. Attempts by the US to impose sanctions against European companies working with Iran will lead to retaliatory actions on the part of the European Commission, and most likely the White House will abandon them in the same way as they failed to punish European companies investing in Nord Stream-2. The impotence of Washington’s sanctions badly affects the image of the world hegemon, and if the conflict is immediately transferred to the military plane, then there is a serious risk that the European Union will use such arbitrary behaviour as a pretext for reducing the level of military cooperation with the United States. Moreover, the European Union is already creating its own military structure, which British and American experts perceive as a “European alternative to NATO.”
The third option seems to be the most rational - to try to solve the Iranian problem on the diplomatic level. However, this approach is extremely undesirable for Trump's team for several reasons. The abandonment of sanctions and military pressure on Iran will be perceived as a sign of American weakness - and the weak, as we know, get beat. What’s more, the diplomatic restraint of the Trump administration will be perceived as a betrayal of some Middle Eastern allies of the United States, for whom the US military intervention against Iran is the last chance to compete for regional domination. The fate of traitors to such influential interest groups is very unenviable.
Good ways out of the situation into which the Trump team has gotten itself, have not yet been seen, and this is a rather positive situation from the standpoint of Russian interests. Our Washington opposition had a zugzwang - and now it is up to us to derive the maximum benefit from their inevitable mistakes.
The following is NSS’ translation from Russkaya Gazeta preceded by our commentary.
It is important to know some background when reading and discussing conferences like this involving many participants from various parts of the world, especially Middle Eastern countries.
For example, the foreign ministers of both Syria and Egypt are quoted herein and it is important to note that, while Egypt is often seen in the West as a close Saudi ally, it also has very close ties to Russia and leans more toward that country. This is a clue as to Egypt ally Saudi Arabia’s susceptibility to pressure from China to start accepting yuan in payment for its oil – a game changer that threatens the fate of the US dollar and hence the US’ ability to keep buying weapons and threatening global security like there is no tomorrow. If it happens, US military power will follow US prestige down the drain.
Recently, Putin came back from a visit with Egypt’s president Al-Sisi where a signing ceremony was held for an agreement regarding a nuclear facility to be built in that country. The meeting between the two presidents was reported in Arabic-language news site Al-Mustqbal, which mentioned that a Russian industrial park was also to be built along the Suez Canal. While Bloomberg also reported on both the nuclear plant and the industrial park, a seemingly minor detail was embedded in the Al-Mustaqbal report that was not to be found in Western or any English-language reports. During Putin’s remarks with reporters present, he happened to mention that he had just returned from a meeting with Bashar Al-Assad in Syria. He told President Al-Sisi in front of the gathering, that he would share with Al-Susi the details of this meeting with Assad. This is anything but a minor detail. It tells us that Putin has such a high degree of confidence in Al-Sisi that he can share confidential details concerning Syria’s future and Russia’s role therein, and further, that Al-Sisi in no way opposes the Russian-mediated settlement of this all-important issue. In fact, it is probably safe to assume from this that Al-Sisi approves that Russia, and not the US, will mediate the Syrian future and that he, like Putin, would like to see the US leave Syria. This, along with the fact that almost all MENA (Middle East and N. African) countries have recently purchased large amounts of Russian arms (even Saudi Arabia seems to be wrapping up an agreement for shipments of Russian S-400 air defence systems – against the hysterical objections from the US), is a clear indication that the Middle East is not America’s oyster any more.
Anyone who knows how to read between the lines knows that Russia, not the US, will be the arbiter of MENA’s fate in the near future, and there is no stopping this trend.
Valdai Club Members discussed how Russia "plays in all fields"
Russkaya Gazeta, February 19, 2018
by Evgeny Shestakov
The United States wants to "rob" Russia in Syria and to this end is prepared to unleash a war of attrition in the region. The question is what Moscow will undertake in order to avoid a negative scenario for itself and give a positive impetus to the Syrian settlement. Many participants of the Middle East conference of the Valdai International Discussion Club, which opened on Monday, spoke about Washington’s destructive role during the Syrian conflict.
Experts, political scientists and politicians from 34 countries were interested in what Russia intends to do in the future as a key player in Syria and, more broadly, in the Middle East. The role of our country was discussed in the context of the conflicts in Yemen and Libya, and in assessing the prospects of the Palestinian-Israeli settlement and the fate of the Kurdish enclaves. According to the participants of the conference, the status of the state, confirmed by Moscow based on diplomacy and military force, capable of playing on all the fields of the region as an "honest broker," requires that Russia articulate what it is seeking. Therefore, many Valdai guests came to Moscow in search of what the executive chairman of the Beirut Institute Ragid Dergam called “a strategy that was not articulated by Russia.”
In his speech at the forum, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke about the significant risks that, along with the unconditional successes (the creation of de-escalation zones, the holding of the Syrian national dialogue in Sochi), remain on the Syrian track. Foremost of these are the actions of American partners aimed at undermining the territorial integrity of Syria. “I urge colleagues in the United States not to play with fire - this has already led to an aggravation of the situation,” the head of the Russian foreign ministry was quoted as saying by many news agencies. [NSS’ highlighting]
And another quote from Lavrov: “The success of the Syrian settlement depends on what the US will not yet do." The desire of the US administration to manipulate the Syrian map according to its own geopolitical interests has a destructive effect on the peace process and encourages separatist forces. According to the vice-president of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs, Alexander Aksenenka, the West wants to help Syria without helping its president Bashar Assad. The natural outcome of this scenario was the de facto division of the Arab Republic, although de jure no one speaks aloud about it.
Most of the participants at the Valdai forum of experts, from both the Russian side and from the Arab countries, stressed that Moscow is not in a position to singlehandedly cut the Syrian knot and needs allies.
One of them was Iran [we remind the reader, however, that Iran is not an Arab country—NSS], whose Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also took part in the Middle East Valdai conference. Teheran, according to Zarif, is trying to “get away from the paradigm of conflicts.” As the head of the Iranian Foreign Ministry put it, we need to leave behind the old ideas of alliances and blocs - they do not work. Russia and Iran are in favour of forming in the region a comprehensive security network. Rather than individual unstable alliances Zarif outlined measures to build trust between countries of the Middle East - military visits, non-aggression pacts, tourism and joint investment. These steps, from his point of view, “pave the way for a real dialogue.”
For his part, Lavrov recalled that Russia is promoting in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific region an initiative to create an indivisible, comprehensive security system. The same principle can be applied as the basis of the security system for the countries of the Middle East.
According to Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohamed El Badri, despite the often fierce criticism, Moscow is working with all sides in the Middle East region – with those it agrees with and with those it does not agree with.
Using a variety of methods, from military to diplomatic, Russia has gained authority and respect in the Middle East, where many global players were defeated. And the military presence in the region has become an important lever of influence, allowing the Kremlin to pursue a multi-vectorial policy. But this state of affairs imposes a great responsibility on the Russian side, as the Egyptian diplomat did not fail to recall. He listed in particular what is expected of Moscow in the Middle East. The list was impressive - Russia, in El-Badri’s view, must take into account the interests of regional players, support national systems, defend the principle of non-interference on international platforms, not impose their will on other countries and help regional players to form an atmosphere of trust.
However, the very fact of the list of geopolitical wishes addressed to Moscow bespeaks unconditional recognition of our country’s potentials on the Middle East track, where the situation remains explosive, and in a number of “hot spots” tends to deteriorate. Alexander Aksenenok, vice-president of the Russian Council for International Affairs, compared the current stage of the Syrian settlement with the “great slalom,” where for a successful descent down the mountain it is necessary to go around a lot of poles and the athlete’s performance directly depends on his agility as he detours obstacles that suddenly appear in his way.
Unlike most Western states, Russia does not have a colonial past in the Middle East. This gives Moscow a chance to act as an impartial mediator in the settlement of old conflicts and conflicts newly formed in the Arab Spring, whether it be searching for solutions in the stalled Palestinian-Israeli dialogue or in “gathering” into a single state what has become, according to Lavrov, the “black hole” of Libya.