First used in the Fifteen Century the word “Levant” has evolved over the centuries. It was originally used to refer to land east of Italy but today it has several different definitions but often refers to the countries of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and part of southern Turkey. It has been used as a surname, and as a reference to particular countries. Its popularity has been enhanced by the immense publicity given to the tiny state of Israel which in spite of its diminutive size dominates the region and has tentacles throughout the world. See a map of the ancient Levant here.
Islamic jihadist forces have now conquered vast parts of Iraq and are calling the territory ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). It appears to be a victory for the forces the United States was attempting to destroy but consolidating power could be a victory cloaked in defeat. Consolidation decreases the blocks that must controlled and makes total control easier, it could be a victory for world government. Centralized power creates tyranny; dispersed power contributes to freedom.
From antiquity war and murder have been major problems for humanity. In a jealous rage Cain murdered his brother Abel. War has been the plight of mankind throughout history.
Though the intent was lasting peace, war was the vehicle that allowed God’s Chosen People to conquer the Promised Land. Disobedience caused wars to continue and finally wrested the land from its conquerors scattering those who refused the mercy of the New Covenant. The Temple was destroyed and the Jews of the First Covenant were scattered – by war.
The battle between obedience and disobedience (righteousness and sin) is an everlasting battle that will continue until Jesus comes again.
Sound theology is scarce in America. Arminianism and antinomianism have created a useless pietism that has resulted in the rise of a totalitarian government making the United States an enemy to the world and to its own people. Instead of confronted evil with personal rebukes we have evaded our responsibility transferring it to an increasingly totalitarian government.
Man was not created to govern himself. The anarchy of human opinion always ends in evil humanistic tyranny. We were created to obey God’s Law and when obedience is common conflict is minimized.
The emotional resistance to governmental tyranny that is evident throughout the world is worthless against the obdurate pressure from greedy power centers that consistently win the battle for hegemony. Democracy; government of the people, by the people, and for the people, has not and will not result in lasting freedom for the proletariat.
Manipulation by a controlled press and media keeps the people stuck in a dead end two party system. We have been successfully duped into centering our hope in politics (democracy, republic, monarchy, autocracy, autarky, etc.) believing that we can elect a leader who will bring us righteous government. This, of course, never happens because the leaders are pre-selected to obey the powerful hidden cabal.
Comic Stephen Colbert has coined a new word,” truthiness – truth that comes from the gut, and not from books”. A Washington Post article by cognitive psychologist Eryn Newman reports on the various ways people can “believe things are true when they are not”. Color and contrast affect our beliefs. Photographs bolster our certainties. Newman writes that “people are often unaware of their biases and how biased information influences their judgments”. The article infers that we should seek truth from books and not from the gut. While correct that the gut is often wrong, books are equally erroneous – truth is a product of God’s Word.
In my early Christian walk I was certain that the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” was the ultimate goal of Christianity. I was adamant against any question concerning its manifestations. In spite of Charismania’s serious heresies, I defended it enthusiastically. .
Human beings are often wrong while adamant about being right. It is a fault common to the brilliant and the mundane; both need the immutable righteousness of God’s Law to exist in equanimity. We were not created to govern ourselves and when leaders bring error to bear on an entire population the results are disastrous.
Though I am an opponent of Christian Libertarianism, Christianity does have a common interest; both seek maximum freedom and minimum government. The Christian model is dependent on a population that is obedient to God’s perfect legal system while the Libertarian model is utopian and humanistic, equally as dangerous as any of the other human systems.
We have a serious problem with any attempt to rectify our current plunge into chaos. Most of our population, Christians included, act as if human beings control the world. The world was created by the God of the Bible and He controls it. What is happening in the United States is a result of the behavior of its citizens and what is required to stop it is a change in behavior.
“Scripture is very clear that the oppression of man follows apostasy from God. It is impossible to read scripture and come to any other conclusion: certainly, Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 are emphatic on this point. The Lord therefore regards it as further evidence of apostasy if we resist evil for personal reasons while continuing in apostasy. The root to eliminating the wicked ones who rule over us begins with ordering our lives, churches, families, communities, and civil governments in terms of God’s word. When the people are apostate or disobedient they will suffer as God declared through Samuel. Oppression will come upon them. They will cry out against their oppressors, and they will pray to God, but ‘the Lord will not hear you in that day’ (1Sam. 8:10-18). They were crying out against their oppressors, not against their sins and themselves. They were manifesting both sin and blindness.” R. J. Rushdoony, “The Sermon on the Mount”, Pg. 64
Neo-Israel and the Zionists are in the process of gaining control over the Levant. The United States of America is their weapon of choice. It is American soldiers that die supporting the neo-con agenda but it is Israel and the Zionist quest for power that benefits. As Iraq erupts in war and ISIS takes control rumor has it that the CIA controls ISIS. If ISIS can be controlled Iraq will be conquered.
As neo-Israel again bombards and invades Gaza, M. J. Rosenberg writes, “In short, America is a pathetic helpless giant in the Israeli-Palestinian arena. The donors have shut us down. They own our policy.” We are a conquered nation and the church of Jesus Christ and the people that claim the Name of Christ are substantially responsible.
When the Syrian war jumped its borders into Iraq, surrounding nations had a perfect chance to peacefully cooperate. They’ve thus far refused. The war in Syria now seems to be shifting to Iraq, and the big actors in the regional drama are recklessly pushing events toward more conflict that could transform a regional proxy war into a direct multi-nation battle.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) now controls giant swaths of two nations, which are surrounded by countries that either fear ISIS or previously supported it. Old alliances are being tested as Syria and Iran come to the defense of the Iraqi government against ISIS, while the opposing alliance of U.S., Israel and the Gulf State monarchies are finding their unofficial union strained under the pressure of swelling paradoxes.
For example, the U.S. is supposedly fighting a war on terrorism, but has been in an unofficial military alliance with ISIS and other al-Qaeda groups in Syria, since all of them were actively waging war on the Syrian government.
When ISIS invaded Iraq the governments of Syria and Iran immediately offered assistance, while Obama stalled. Then, strangely, Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry “warned” Syria against air attacks targeting ISIS in Iraq, a move that was welcomed by the Iraqi government. Kerry’s warning was also meant for Iran, which is finding itself sucked deeper into the two-nation war that now threatens Iran’s border.
As Iraq, Syria and Iran are busy fighting ISIS, what are the U.S. and Israel doing? They are continuing their war against Syria, the war that gave ISIS a new lease on life.
Iraq begged Obama to deliver promised fighter jets to fight ISIS, Obama chose instead to give extra aid to the U.S. backed Syrian rebels, to the tune of $500 million. The Syrian rebels have been completely dominated by Islamic extremists for at least two years.
Israel, for its part, also ignored ISIS and instead bombed nine Syrian military targets. Israel has bombed Syria several times in the last year, rather than bombing ISIS or the other al-Qaeda groups attacking Syria. In reality, an emerging regional war already exists, but is being minimized or ignored by the media.
Because the U.S. would rather fund Islamic extremists in Syria, the Iraqi government requested and received fighter jets from Russia, which will inevitably create more strain between the Iraqi and U.S. governments, since giving and receiving military aid is a crucial way that countries cement alliances and exert influence.
When nations that receive military aid are disobedient, the big war toys are held back as a way to exert leverage. The Iraqi President, Nouri al-Maliki, let his political naivety blind him to this reality,and recently admitted that Iraq was “delusional” to rely completely on U.S. military aid, since Obama is using the ISIS threat and the withholding of aid to pressure Iraqi politicians to ditch al-Maliki, essentially a “legal” form of regime change that will act more in accord with U.S. interests against Iran and Syria. Obama has wanted to replace al-Maliki ever since the Iraqi president refused to join Obama’s war against Syria.
As the Syria-Iraq war expands, the greater the gravitational pull it will exert on surrounding nations, who can’t resist the big profits associated with mass killing. Others will participate indirectly to protect their borders, until they too are drawn in by the centripetal forces of war.
After participating in the Syrian war through proxies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the Obama administration finds itself neck deep in the Syrian-Iraqi blood bath, finding it difficult not to join the other sharks in the feeding frenzy.
Obama’s “hands off” approach to Iraq is temporary and strategic, and is in reality “hands on” behind the scenes. As the war spreads across borders Obama will find it less possible to abstain, since Iran, Syria and Russia will gain wider regional influence at his expense, which is happening by the minute.
The Syria-Iraq war is testing the resilience of decades-long alliances, even the future of the modern nation state, which lies at the foundation of post-WWII international law. This legal sanctity of the nation-state was emphasized by the Nuremberg trials after WWII, which established that the Nazis biggest war crime was not genocide or the holocaust, but the military invasion of sovereign nations, which created the conditions for regional and world war. The only legal war under international law is a defensive one.
But now regional wars are becoming commonplace, and borders are ignored as big powers pay and arm proxy militias to attack governments. More importantly, the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya have essentially eviscerated global international law, since the UN has been powerless in protecting sovereign nations against the aggression of the world’s only superpower. The U.S. invasions have created a climate where the nation-state has lost its revered status, increasing the likelihood of more war, since the old rules no longer apply.
Obama’s recent actions prove he has no intention of leaving the Middle East. As the Syrian war was spilling into Iraq, Obama requested $5 billion more for Middle East war, as if the gargantuan military budget wasn’t already enough. According to The New York Times:
“The White House is asking for $4 billion to go to the Pentagon and $1 billion to the State Department for other counterterrorism operations, including training and equipping partner countries (Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc.). Some of the money, administration officials said, would cover increased costs of Special Operations Forces that have deployed around the world, while $1.5 billion would go toward counterterrorism efforts in the neighborhood around Syria: Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.”
This $5 billion represents yet more blood money that will inevitably exacerbate the Middle East inferno. Years of ongoing U.S. military intervention — direct or indirect — has led to the unnecessary death or suffering of millions of people across the Middle East and to the large-scale destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and now Iraq again.
It is possible, as some are predicting, that Obama will complete a major diplomatic deal that includes Iran and the Kurdish section of Iraq. This, if successful, may create a temporary reprieve from the violence, while creating new ethnic-religious tensions that will inevitably explode again. Any temporary deal will not eliminate the deeper causes of the war, which lie in the waning influence of the U.S. and its allies, and the rising influence of China and Russia.
All these developments emphasize the need to revive the antiwar movement here in the U.S. Those who oppose U.S. government military adventures around the world should unite and demand that no troops be sent to Iraq, that the U.S. advisors in Iraq should be brought home, and that money should be spent on jobs, education and strengthening the safety net here at home, not on war.
Did Obama Know that ISIS Planned to Invade Iraq?
“I think we have to understand first how we got here. We have been arming ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) in Syria. ISIS, an al Qaeda offshoot, has been collaborating with the Syrian rebels whom the Obama administration has been arming in their efforts to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.” – Senator Rand Paul, Interview CNN
Today’s head-scratcher: How could a two-mile long column of jihadi-filled white Toyota Land rovers barrel across the Syrian border into Iraq–sending plumes of dust up into the atmosphere –without US spy satellites detecting their whereabouts when those same satellites can read a damn license plate from outer space? And why has the media failed to inquire about this massive Intelligence failure?
Barack Obama is a big proponent of “inclusive democracy” which is why he wants Iraqi prime minister Nouri al Maliki to either include more Sunnis in the government or resign as PM. In an interview with CNN, Obama said, “We gave Iraq the chance to have an inclusive democracy, to work across sectarian lines to provide a better future for their children and unfortunately what we’ve seen is a breakdown of trust…There’s no doubt that there has been a suspicion for quite some time now amongst Sunnis that they have no access to using the political process to deal with their grievances, and that is in part the reason why a better-armed and larger number of Iraqi security forces melted away when an extremist group, Isis, started rolling through the western portions of Iraq.
“Part of the task now is to see whether Iraqi leaders are prepared to rise above sectarian motivations, come together, and compromise. If they can’t there’s not going to be a military solution to this problem … There’s no amount of American firepower that’s going to be able to hold the country together and I’ve made that very clear to Mr Maliki and all the other leadership inside of Iraq (that) they don’t have a lot of time.” (New York Times)
Anyone who thinks Obama gives a rip about sectarian problems in Iraq needs his head examined. That’s the lamest excuse for a policy position since the Bush administration announced they were sending troops to Afghanistan to “liberate” women from having to wear headscarves. If Obama was serious about “inclusive democracy” as he calls it, then he’d withhold the $1.3 billion from his new dictator buddy, Generalissimo al Sisi of Egypt who toppled the democratically-elected government in Cairo, installed himself as top-dog in conspicuously rigged elections, and is now planning to execute 200-plus Egyptians for being members of a party that was legal just a few months ago. Do you think Obama is pestering al-Sisi to be “more inclusive”? No way. He doesn’t care how many people are executed in Egypt, anymore than he cares whether al Maliki blocks Sunnis from a spot in the government. What matters to Obama and his deep-state puppetmasters is regime change, that is, getting rid of a nuisance who hasn’t followed Washington’s directives. That’s what this is all about. Obama and Co. want to give al Maliki the old heave-ho because he refused to let US troops stay in Iraq past the 2012 deadline and because he’s too close to Tehran. Two strikes and you’re out, at least that’s how Washington plays the game.
So Maliki has got to go, and all the hoopla over sectarian issues is just pabulum for the News Hour. It means nothing. The real goal is regime change. That, and the partitioning of Iraq. In fact, the de facto partitioning of Iraq has already taken place. The Sunnis have basically seized the part of the country where they plan to live. The Kurds have nailed down their own territory, and the Shia will get Baghdad and the rest, including Basra. So, the division of Iraq has already a done deal, just as long as al Maliki doesn’t gum up the works by deploying his army to retake the parts of the country that are now occupied by ISIS. But the Obama team probably won’t allow that to happen, mainly because the bigshots in Washington like things the way they are now. They want an Iraq that is broken into smaller chunks and ruled by tribal leaders and warlords. That’s what this is all about, splitting up the country along the lines that were laid out in an Israeli plan authored by Oded Yinon 30 years ago. That plan has already been implemented which means Iraq, as we traditionally think of it, no longer exists. It’s kaput. Obama and Co. made sure of that. They weren’t satisfied with just killing a million Iraqis, polluting the environment, poisoning the water, destroying the schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, and leaving them to scrape by on meager rations, foul water and a tattered electrical grid. They had to come back and annihilate the state itself, erase the lines on the map, and remove any trace of a nation that was once a prosperous Middle East hub. Now the country is gone, vanished overnight. Poof. Now you see it, now you don’t.
Of course, al Maliki could try to reverse the situation, but he’s got his own problems to deal with. It’s going to be hard enough for him just to hold onto power, let alone launch a sustained attack on a disparate band of cutthroats who are bent on wreaking havoc on oil wells, critical infrastructure, pipelines, reservoirs, etc as well as killing as many infidels as humanly possible. No matter how you cut it, al Maliki is going to have his hands full. Obama has already made it plain, that he’s gunning for him and won’t rest until he’s gone. In fact, Secretary of State John Kerry is in the Middle East right now trying to drum up support for the “Dump Maliki” campaign. His first stopover was Cairo. Here’s a wrap-up form the Sunday Times:
“Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cairo on Sunday morning on the first leg of a trip that is intended to hasten the formation of a cross-sectarian government in Iraq. In his swing through Middle East capitals, Mr. Kerry plans to send two messages on Iraq. One is that Arab states should use their influence with Iraqi politicians and prod them to quickly form an inclusive government. Another is that they should crack down on funding to the Sunni militants in the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The group is largely self-sustaining because of success in extortion and its plundering of banks in Mosul, Iraq. But some funding “has flowed into Iraq from its neighbors,” said a senior official on Mr. Kerry’s plane.” (Kerry Arrives in Cairo on Trip to Push for New Iraqi Government, New York Times)
How’s that for priorities? First we get rid of al Maliki, says Kerry, then we move on to less important matters, like that horde of jihadi desperados who are descending on Baghdad like a swarm of locusts. Doesn’t that seem a little backasswards to you, dear reader?
And why isn’t Obama worried about a jihadi attack on Baghdad? Think of it: If they did attack Baghdad and the capital fell into jihadi hands, then what? Well, then the Dems would take the blame, they’d get their butts whooped in the upcoming midterms, and Madame Hillary would have to take up needlepoint because her chances of winning the 2014 presidential balloting would drop to zero. So, the fallout would be quite grave. Still, Obama’s not sweating it, in fact, he’s not the least bit worried. Why?
Could it be that he knows something that we don’t know? Could it be that US Intel agents have already made contact with these yahoos and gotten a commitment that they won’t attack Baghdad if they are allowed to remain in the predominantly Sunni areas which they already occupy? Is that it? Did Obama offer the Baathists and Takfiris a quid pro quo which they graciously accepted?
It’s very likely, mainly because it achieves Obama’s strategic objective of establishing a de facto partition that will remain in effect unless al Maliki can whip up an army to retake lost ground which looks doubtful at this point.
But, here’s the glitch; al Maliki is not a quitter, and he’s not going anywhere. In fact he’s digging in his heels. He’s not going to be blackmailed by the likes of Obama. He’s going to this fight tooth and nail. And he’s going to have help too, because young Shia males are flocking to the recruiting offices to join the army and the militias. And then there’s Russia; in a surprise announcement Russian president Vladimir Putin offered to assist al Maliki in the fight against the terrorists, a move that is bound to enrage Washington. Here’s a clip from the Daily Star:
“Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday offered Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki Moscow’s total backing for the fight against jihadist fighters who have swept across the Middle East country.
“Putin confirmed Russia’s complete support for the efforts of the Iraqi government to speedily liberate the territory of the republic from terrorists,” the Kremlin said in a statement following a phone call between the two leaders…
Russia is one of the staunchest allies of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad and has helped prop up his regime during three years of fighting against a hotchpotch of rebel groups, including the ISIL.” ( Putin offers Iraq’s Maliki ‘complete support’ against jihadists, Daily Star)
That makes a third front in which Russia and the US will be on opposite sides. It’s just like the good old days, right? Putin seems to be resigned to the idea that Moscow and Washington are going to be at loggerheads in the future. He’s not only opposed to a “unitary world order”, he’s doing something about it, putting himself and his country’s future at risk in order to stop the empire’s relentless expansion and vicious wars of aggression. Needless to say, proxy wars like this can lead to rapid escalation which is always a concern when both parties have nuclear weapons at their disposal. Now check this out from the Oil Price website:
“Here’s why the threat goes beyond Iraq and Syria…Modern Syria is bordered by Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan and Israel to the south and Lebanon to the west.
‘Greater Syria’ incorporates most of the territories of each.
This is what ‘Syria’ means in the mind of Middle Easterners, says Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, and author of the respected blog SyriaComment.com
‘If we can teach people that so many Arabs still think of Syria as Greater Syria, they will begin to understand the extent to which Sykes-Picot remains challenged in the region,’ said Landis.
Sykes-Picot, of course refers to the secret agreement drawn up by two British and French diplomats — Sir Mark Sykes and Francois George-Picot — at the end of Word War I dividing the spoils of the Ottoman Empires between Britain and France by drawing straight lines in the sand.
To this day, many Arabs refuse to accept that division and think of ‘Syria’ as ‘Greater Syria.’ Some go so far as to include the Arab countries of North Africa – which from the Nile to the Euphrates forms ‘the Fertile Crescent,’ the symbol of many Muslim countries from Tunisia to Turkey. And some even go as far as including the island of Cyprus, saying it represents the star next to the crescent.
Given that, anyone who thinks ISIS will stop with Iraq is delusional.” (Insiders reveal real US aims in redrawing map of ME: Greater Syria, oil price)
Interesting, eh? So, if Mr. Landis is right, then the fracas in Iraq and Syria might just be the tip of the iceberg. It could be that Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh –who we think are the driving force behind this current wave of violence–have a much more ambitious plan in mind for the future. If this new method of effecting regime change succeeds, then the sky’s the limit. Maybe they’ll try the same stunt in other countries too, like Turkey, Tunisia, Cyprus, and all the way to North Africa. Why not? If the game plan is to Balkanize Arab countries wholesale and transform them into powerless fiefdoms overseen by US proconsuls and local warlords, why not go on a regime change spree?
By the way, according to the Telegraph, Obama and friends knew what ISIS was up to, and knew that the terrorist group was going to launch attacks on cities in the Sunni territories, just as they have. Get a load of this:
“Five months ago, a Kurdish intelligence “asset” walked into a base and said he had information to hand over. The capture by jihadists the month before of two Sunni cities in western Iraq was just the beginning, he said.
There would soon be a major onslaught on Sunni territories.
The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Isis), a renegade offshoot of al-Qaeda, was about to take its well-known cooperation with leftovers of the regime of Saddam Hussein, and his former deputy Izzat al-Douri, to a new level.
His handlers knew their source of old, and he had always proved reliable, officials told The Telegraph. So they listened carefully as he said a formal alliance was about to be signed that would lead to the takeover of Mosul, the biggest city north of Baghdad, home to two million people. …
‘We had this information then, and we passed it on to your (British) government and the US government,’ Rooz Bahjat, a senior lieutenant to Lahur Talabani, head of Kurdish intelligence, said. ‘We used our official liaisons.’
‘We knew exactly what strategy they were going to use, we knew the military planners. It fell on deaf ears.’ (How US and Britain were warned of Isis advance in Iraq but ‘turned a deaf ear, Telegraph)
I’m not buying it. I think the intelligence went straight to the top, where Obama and his neocon colleagues came up with the plan that is unfolding as we speak. They figured, if they just look the other way and let these homicidal madhatters seize a few cities and raise a little Hell, they’d be able to kill two birds with one stone, that is, get rid of al Mailiki and partition the country at the same time. But, it’s not going to work out like Obama expects, mainly because this is just about the dumbest plan ever conjured up. I would give it an 80 percent chance blowing up in Obama’s face in less than a month’s time. This turkey has failure written all over it.
As for the sectarian issue, well, Iraq was never a sectarian society until the war. The problems arose due to a deliberate policy to pit one sect against the other in order to change the narrative of what was really going on the ground. And what was really going on was a very successful guerilla war was being waged by opponents of the US occupation who were launching in excess of 100 attacks per day on US soldiers. To change the storyline–which was causing all kinds of problems at home where support for the war was rapidly eroding–US counterinsurgency masterminds concocted a goofy plan to blow up the Golden Dome Mosque, blame it on the Sunnis, and then unleash the most savage, genocidal counterinsurgency operation of all-time. The western media were instructed to characterize developments in Iraq as part of a bloody civil war between Shia and Sunnis. But it was all a lie. The bloodletting was inevitable result of US policy which the Guardian effectively chronicled in a shocking, but indispensable hour-long video which can be seen here. James Steele: America’s mystery man in Iraq – video
The US made every effort to fuel sectarian animosities to divert attention from the attacks on US soldiers. And due to a savage and deceptive counterinsurgency plan that employed death squads, torture, assassinations, and massive ethnic cleansing, they succeeded in confusing Iraqis as to who was really behind the daily atrocities, the human rights violations and the mountain of carnage.
You’d have to be a fool to blame al-Maliki for any of this. As brutal as he may be, he’s not responsible for the divisions in Iraqi society. That’s all Washington’s doing. Just as Washington is entirely responsible for the current condition of the country and for the million or so people who were killed in the war.
Not What the Neocons Planned…
One need not be prescient to understand the unfolding “Jihadi Spring” is fueling the plans and perhaps destiny of ascendant Islamists in this region with the increasing help of in-country nationalists, including remnants of the Iraqi Baath Party. This, according to more than a dozen ardent supporters of The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), known locally as DAASH whose representatives allowed this observer over the past six months to interview some of its supporters to discuss what they found inaccurate in a piece I wrote about DAASH actions in Raqqa, Syria. In that article I claimed that DAASH was selling Syria’s archeological treasures, just as they are selling Syria’s oil and in some instances, food warehouse contents, to the highest foreign bidder. There is no paucity of the latter.
The final “S” in the acronym “ISIS” relates to the Arabic word “al-Sham” which itself is variously used to refer to the Levant, Syria or even Damascus. But DAASH (ISIS) means the Levant or Eastern Mediterranean including Cyprus, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, and southern Turkey. ISIS has just announced that Raqqa, the only one of 14 Governorates its controls in Syria, is now the “Capital” of their emerging “Caliphate” which so far is a swathe of territory encompassing much of eastern and northern Syria and western and northern Iraq. The Emir is to be their military strategist and leader and successor of Abu Mus‘ab Zarqawi, Dr. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Those interviewed at length include sympathizers, students of politics and of the Islamist ‘spring’ in Syria and Iraq, as well as a few shadowy claimed jihadist recruiters, some working with a claimed new specialized DAASH unit organized at the beginning of 2013 and which focuses exclusively on destroying the Zionist regime occupying Palestine. DAASH’s “Al Quds Unit” (AQU) is currently working to broaden its influence in more than 60 Palestinian camps and gatherings from Gaza, across Occupied Palestine, to Jordan, and Lebanon up to the north of Syria seeking to enlist support as it prepares to liberate Palestine.
DAASH believes, according to one of its claimed academic advisers, that the ummat al-Islamiyah (Islamic community), as a US Foreign Relations staffer, on 6/18/14 advised this observer, that the White House estimates that approximately six million Iraqi Sunni have recently become supportive of the armed action by DAASH. The support excludes its strict, indeed anti-social societal mores and abhorrence of current harsh realities of life in DAASH territory. The Islamist organization believes it currently has massive regional support for it rapidly expanding “revolution of the oppressed.” Large numbers in this region do appear to appreciate its recent successes, despite its history of calculated brutality for political purposes. DAASH urges the public to study its remarkable history that reaches back to 2003 when Abu Mus‘ab Zarqawi got out of prison in Jordan and headed to Afghanistan, gained valuable experience from if the trust of Osama Bin Laden, and then crossed over to Iraq to wage jihad against America. DAASH appears to be using sectarian appeals in Iraq and Syria much the same way Zawqawi did when he confronted the ascendant Shia militia following the US invasion and occupation.
DAASH supporters claim that it has been joined by more than a dozen Sunni groups such as one called Men of the Army of the Naqshbandia Order.” JRTN as it is known locally, was established in 2007 following the execution of Saadam Hussein and is made up of former Hussein regime loyalists, including intelligence officers and soldiers from his Republican Guards. If its alliance with DAASH holds, JRTN can contribute thousands of fighters with strong social roots in the community. One JRTN interlocutor explained to this observer, “As Sunni Muslims, DAASH can resolve differences between its views of Islam and those of the Ummah. First we need victory and to achieve that we need each other and if our Baathist partners decide to position themselves to be secular guardians of Sunni Arab nationalism that can be discussed later. The official website of the Naqshbandi Army includes a 1/1/2014 announcement: “To all our brothers and families of the tribes and factions we tell you, you are not alone in this battlefield.”
DAASH insists that it has become less active in killing anyone who works for the government of Syria or Iraq including rubbish collectors, a barbaric practice that alienated the Sunni population and that their support is growing as they increasingly provide the essential social services in the forming proto-Caliphate. “Zionists call us masked, sociopathic murderers but we are much more complicated and representative of those seeking justice than they portray us. Are we more barbaric than the Zionist terrorists who massacred at Dier Yassin, Shatila twice at Qana, and committed dozens of other massacres? History will judge us after we free Palestine.” A few years ago the CIA and others estimated that the Zionist occupation of Palestine will collapse in less than a decade. DAASH claims it can do the job in 72 months.
With respect to events surrounding its takeover of Mosel and other social media broadcast exhibitions of mass brutality, ISIS claims it was done for a purpose, the same purpose that other state and non-state actors have used over the past two decade and that is for 90% of the world 1.5 billion Muslims (Sunni) to free themselves from the oppression of the 10% (Shia).
Several reasons were given as to why Palestinians should hold out hope for ISIS succeeding in their cause when all other Arab, Muslim, and Western claimed Resistance supporters have been abject failures and invariably end up benefiting the Zionist occupation regime terrorizing Palestine. “All countries in this region are playing the sectarian card just as they have long played the Palestinian card but the difference with ISIS is that we are serious about Palestine and they are not. Tel Aviv will fall as fast as Mosul when the time is right”, a DAASH ally explained. Another gentleman insisted, “DAASH will fight where no one else is willing.”
ISIS appears uniformly contemptuous of the Zionist regime and its army and also appears eager to fight them in the near future despite expectation that the regime will use nuclear weapons. “Do you think that we do not have access to nuclear devises? The Zionists know that we do and if we ever believe they are about to use theirs we will not hesitate. After the Zionists are gone, Palestine will have to be decontaminated and rebuilt just like areas where there has been radiation released.”
DAASH supporters claim that it reaches out to local notables and tribal leaders and discuss their differences and seek their tribal counsel. DAASH claims that the Roman Catholic Vatican supports its own claims that when they captured Mosul last week they did not harm Christian residents or desecrate churches. In this they are supported by Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, the Apostolic Nuncio (Pope’s envoy) in Iraq who this week told the media: “The guerrillas who are in control of Mosul have to date not committed any violent act or damaged the churches there.”
It is becoming clear that DAASH has set up well organized local administrations in areas it controls, including an Islamic court system and a local non-hostile police force which support public safety with measures such as closing shops for selling poor products in the souks and supermarkets and on the street, destroying cigarettes and whipping some individuals for disrespecting and insulting their neighbors, confiscating counterfeit medicines in addition to some death sentences for apostasy.
DAASH supporters claim that as soon as they ‘liberate” an area they invest in public works such as the new souk in Raqqa, installs new power lines and conducts training sessions on how citizens can do-it-yourself for more self-reliance with fixing infrastructure problems. In addition DAASH claims that it quickly fixes potholes, runs a low fare bus system, has established a ‘green’ program to build parks and plant trees and flowers, helps farmers with harvests and runs a zakat (alms-giving) organization. Moreover, ISIS has established a number of religious schools for children, including ones for girls where they can memorize the Koran and receive awards if successful, while also holding ‘fun days’ for kids including all the ice cream they can eat and inflatable slides. For their older counterparts, ISIS has established training sessions for new imams and preachers. Schedules for prayers and Koran lessons are posted at mosques. In a more worrisome development, ISIS runs training camps for “cub scouts” and houses these recruits for ‘instruction’. Several social media reports and a few eyewitness accounts appear to confirm that DAASH has developed health and welfare programs, operates bread factories and distributes free fruits and vegetables to needy families, passing the goods out personally as well as setting up a free food kitchen in Raqqa and an adoption agency to place orphans with families in their areas. Unlike the Taliban and some other regimes which exhibit paranoia about vaccination campaigns, DAASH claims to be more ‘modern” and actively promotes polio-vaccination in its areas to try stop its spread.
The social services that DAASH provides obviously do not ameliorate the deadly violence it carries out, but does suggest it is well-organized and has caught the interest of the Sunni Muslims who feel besieged by Shia. According to an al-Bagdadi relative, nearly the half a billion dollars that was snatched from Mosul’s central bank this month will help to win hearts and minds and correct some of its “bad press”. DAASH appears to ascribe to the cliché that half of any war is a rumor. It condemns the project of many satellite channels and claims that they do not objectively report the news but mainly spread rumors with sectarian instigation as the goal. On this point who can refute them?
DAASH supporters deny any interest in training and directing foreign fighters to attack Europe and other places, claiming that their goals are to establish an al-Sham Caliphate and liberate Palestine. With respect to exactly how DAASH intends to liberate Palestine, the Iraqi’s and now the Obama administration ar3 in possession of an encyclopedia of information about detailed DAASH plans, and tactics it will confront the Zionist occupiers with, according to a congressional staffer via email with this observer. Reportedly the employment of large numbers of militarily untrained foreign volunteers as suicide bombers, moving on foot wearing suicide vests, or driving vehicles packed with explosives is just the tip of a deep iceberg of what DAASH is planning.
The trove reportedly came from Iraqi intelligence sources that came upon it less than 48 hours before Mosul fell. Apparently a fellow known as “Abu Hajjar” a captured trusted DAASH messenger broke under Iraqi torture and turned over more than 160 computer flash sticks which contained the most detailed information to date about DAASH. The US intelligence community are still decrypting and analyzing the flash sticks.
Predictably, no sooner that this information reached the US Congress, than Congresswoman and Israeli agent, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen former Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and her partners at AIPAC went to work trying to get ahold copies of the flash sticks and share them with the Israeli Embassy and no doubt the Mossad. The current sense on Capitol Hill is reported to be that the Obama administration in not in the mood to share anything with Israel these days and certainly not with the Netanyahu regime which it loathes.
Time will reveal if DAASH achieves one or both of its objectives. Many believe if they eject the Zionist regime from Palestine, the expanding Islamist group will set in motion historic currents that in all likelihood will be rather different from the Ehud Omert-Condeleeza Rice fantasy of “a New Middle East.”
In any event, it is unlikely that Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon, among other countries in this region, are going to look much like what George Bush and Dick Cheney and their still active neocon advisers had in mind when they were beating the drums for a U.S. invasion of Iraq, Libya, and now Syria and Iran.
There’s something that doesn’t ring-true about the coverage of crisis in Iraq. Maybe it’s the way the media reiterates the same, tedious storyline over and over again with only the slightest changes in the narrative. For example, I was reading an article in the Financial Times by Council on Foreign Relations president, Richard Haass, where he says that Maliki’s military forces in Mosul “melted away”. Interestingly, the Haass op-ed was followed by a piece by David Gardener who used almost the very same language. He said the “army melts away.” So, I decided to thumb through the news a bit and see how many other journalists were stung by the “melted away” bug. And, as it happens, there were quite a few, including Politico, NBC News, News Sentinel, Global Post, the National Interest, ABC News etc. Now, the only way an unusual expression like that would pop up with such frequency would be if the authors were getting their talking points from a central authority. (which they probably do.) But the effect, of course, is the exact opposite than what the authors intend, that is, these cookie cutter stories leave readers scratching their heads and feeling like something fishy is going on.
And something fishy IS going on. The whole fable about 1,500 jihadis scaring the pants off 30,000 Iraqi security guards to the point where they threw away their rifles, changed their clothes and headed for the hills, is just not believable. I don’t know what happened in Mosul, but, I’ll tell you one thing, it wasn’t that. That story just doesn’t pass the smell test.
And what happened in Mosul matters too, because nearly every journalist and pundit in the MSM is using the story to discredit Maliki and suggest that maybe Iraq would be better off without him. Haass says that it shows that the army’s “allegiance to the government is paper thin”. Gardener says its a sign of “a fast failing state.” Other op-ed writers like Nicolas Kristof attack Maliki for other reasons, like being too sectarian. Here’s Kristof:
“The debacle in Iraq isn’t President Obama’s fault. It’s not the Republicans’ fault. Both bear some responsibility, but, overwhelmingly, it’s the fault of the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri Kamal al-Maliki.”
Of course, Kristof is no match for the imperial mouthpiece, Tom Friedman. When it comes to pure boneheaded bluster, Friedman is still numero uno. Here’s how the jowly pundit summed it up in an article in the Sunday Times titled “Five Principles for Iraq”:
“Iraq’s Shiite prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, has proved himself not to be a friend of a democratic, pluralistic Iraq either. From Day 1, he has used his office to install Shiites in key security posts, drive out Sunni politicians and generals and direct money to Shiite communities. In a word, Maliki has been a total jerk. Besides being prime minister, he made himself acting minister of defense, minister of the interior and national security adviser, and his cronies also control the Central Bank and the Finance Ministry.
Maliki had a choice — to rule in a sectarian way or in an inclusive way — and he chose sectarianism. We owe him nothing.” (Five Principles for Iraq, Tom Freidman, New York Times)
Leave it to Friedman, eh? In other words, the reason Iraq is such a mess, has nothing to do with the invasion, the occupation, the death squads, Abu Ghraib, the Salvador Option, the decimated infrastructure, the polluted environment, or the vicious sectarian war the US ignited with its demented counterinsurgency program. Oh, no. The reason Iraq is a basketcase is because Maliki is a jerk. Maliki is sectarian. Bad Maliki.
Sound familiar? Putin last week. Maliki this week. Who’s next?
In any event, there is a rational explanation for what happened in Mosul although I cannot verify its authenticity. Check out this post at Syria Perspectives blog:
“…the Iraqi Ba’ath Party’s primary theoretician and Saddam’s right-hand man, ‘Izzaat Ibraaheem Al-Douri, himself a native of Mosul…was searching out allies in a very hostile post-Saddam Iraq … Still on the run and wanted for execution by the Al-Maliki government, Al-Douri still controlled a vast network of Iraqi Sunni Ba’athists who operated in a manner similar to the old Odessa organization that helped escaped Nazis after WWII … he did not have the support structure needed to oust Al-Maliki, so, he found an odd alliance in ISIS through the offices of Erdoghan and Bandar. Our readers should note that the taking of Mosul was accomplished by former Iraqi Ba’athist officers suspiciously abandoning their posts and leaving a 52,000 man military force without any leadership thereby forcing a complete collapse of the city’s defenses. The planning and collaboration cannot be coincidental.” (THE INNER CORE OF ISIS – THE INVASIVE SPECIES, Ziad Fadel, Syrian Perspectives)
I’ve read variations of this same explanation on other blogs, but I have no way of knowing whether they’re true or not. But what I do know, is that it’s a heckuva a lot more believable than the other explanation mainly because it provides enough background and detail to make the scenario seem plausible. The official version–the “melts away” version– doesn’t do that at all. It just lays out this big bogus story expecting people to believe it on faith alone. Why? Because it appeared in all the papers?
That seems like a particularly bad reason for believing anything.
And the “army melting away” story is just one of many inconsistencies in the official media version of events. Another puzzler is why Obama allowed the jihadis to rampage across Iraq without lifting a finger to help. Does that strike anyone else as a bit odd?
When was the last time an acting president failed to respond immediately and forcefully to a similar act of aggression?
Never. The US always responds. And the pattern is always the same. “Stop what you are doing now or we’re going to bomb you to smithereens.” Isn’t that the typical response?
Sure it is. But Obama delivered no such threat this time. Instead, he’s qualified his support for al-Maliki saying that the beleaguered president must “begin accommodating Sunni participation in his government” before the US will lend a hand. What kind of lame response is that? Check out this blurb from MNI News:
“President Barack Obama Friday warned Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that the United States wants him to begin accommodating Sunni participation in his government, or see the United States withhold the help he needs, short of U.S. troops on the ground, to ward off an attack on Baghdad.
Obama added the emphasis of an appearance before TV cameras to his midday message, that while he will be considering options for some military intervention in the days ahead, the next move is up to Maliki.”
(Obama Warns Iraq’s Maliki,Looking for Sunni-Shia Accommodation, MNI)
Have you ever read such nonsense in your life? Imagine if , let’s say, the jihadi hordes had gathered just 50 miles outside of London and were threatening to invade at any minute. Do you think Obama would deliver the same message to UK Prime Minister David Cameron?
“Gee, Dave, we’d really like to help out, but you need to put a couple of these guys in your government first. Would that be okay, Dave? Just think of it as affirmative action for terrorists.”
It might sound crazy, but that’s what Obama wants Maliki to do. So, what’s going on here? Why is Obama delivering ultimatums when he should be helping out? Could it be that Obama has a different agenda than Maliki’s and that the present situation actually works to his benefit?
It sure looks that way. Just take a look at what Friedman says further on in the same article. It helps to clarify the point. He says:
“Maybe Iran, and its wily Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander, Gen. Qassem Suleimani, aren’t so smart after all. It was Iran that armed its Iraqi Shiite allies with the specially shaped bombs that killed and wounded many American soldiers. Iran wanted us out. It was Iran that pressured Maliki into not signing an agreement with the U.S. to give our troops legal cover to stay in Iraq. Iran wanted to be the regional hegemon. Well, Suleimani: “This Bud’s for you.” Now your forces are overextended in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, and ours are back home. Have a nice day.” (5 Principles for Iraq, Tom Friedman, New York Times)
Interesting, eh? Friedman basically admits that this whole fiasco is about Iran who turned out to be the biggest winner in the Iraq War sweepstakes. Naturally, that pisses off people in Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh to no end, so they’ve cooked up this goofy plan to either remove Maliki altogether or significantly trim his wings. Isn’t that what’s going on? And that’s why Obama is holding a gun to Maliki’s head and telling him what hoops he has to jump through in order to get US help. Because he’s determined to weaken Iran’s hegemonic grip on Baghdad.
Friedman also notes the Status of Forces agreement which would have allowed U.S. troops to stay in Iraq. Al Maliki rejected the deal which enraged Washington setting the stage for this latest terrorist farce. Obama intends to reverse that decision by hook or crook. This is just the way Washington does business, by twisting arms and breaking legs. Everybody knows this.
To understand what’s going on today in Iraq, we need to know a little history. In 2002, The Bush administration commissioned the Rand Corporation “to develop a Shaping Strategy for pacifying Muslim populations where the US has commercial or strategic interests.” The plan they came up with–which was called “US Strategy in the Muslim World after 9-11”– recommended that the US, “Align its policy with Shiite groups who aspire to have more participation in government and greater freedoms of political and religious expression. If this alignment can be brought about, it could erect a barrier against radical Islamic movements and may create a foundation for a stable U.S. position in the Middle East.”
The Bushies decided to follow this wacky plan which proved to be a huge tactical error. By throwing their weight behind the Shia, they triggered a massive Sunni rebellion that initiated as many as 100 attacks per day on US soldiers. That, in turn, led to a savage US counterinsurgency that wound up killing tens of thousands of Sunnis while reducing much of the country to ruins. Petraeus’ vicious onslaught was concealed behind the misleading PR smokescreen of sectarian civil war. It was actually a genocidal war against the people who Obama now tacitly supports in Mosul and Tikrit.
So there’s been a huge change of policy, right? And the fact that the US has taken a hands-off approach to Isis suggests that the Obama administration has abandoned the Rand strategy altogether and is looking for ways to support Sunni-led groups in their effort to topple the Al Assad regime in Damascus, weaken Hezbollah, and curtail Iran’s power in the region. While the strategy is ruthless and despicable, at least it makes sense in the perverted logic of imperial expansion, which the Rand plan never did.
What is happening in Iraq today was anticipated in a 2007 Seymour Hersh article titled “The Redirection.” Author Tony Cartalucci gives a great summary of the piece in his own article. He says:
“The Redirection,” documents…US, Saudi, and Israeli intentions to create and deploy sectarian extremists region-wide to confront Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hersh would note that these “sectarian extremists” were either tied to Al Qaeda, or Al Qaeda itself. The ISIS army moving toward Baghdad is the final manifestation of this conspiracy, a standing army operating with impunity, threatening to topple the Syrian government, purge pro-Iranian forces in Iraq, and even threatening Iran itself by building a bridge from Al Qaeda’s NATO safe havens in Turkey, across northern Iraq, and up to Iran’s borders directly…
It is a defacto re-invasion of Iraq by Western interests – but this time without Western forces directly participating – rather a proxy force the West is desperately attempting to disavow any knowledge of or any connection to.” (America’s Covert Re-Invasion of Iraq, Tony Cartalucci, Information Clearinghouse)
So, now we’re getting to the crux of the matter, right? Now we should be able to identify the policy that is guiding events. What we know for sure is that the US wants to break Iran’s grip on Iraq. But how do they plan to achieve that; that’s the question?
Well, they could use their old friends the Baathists who they’ve been in touch with since 2007. That might work. But then they’d have to add a few jihadis to the mix to make it look believable.
Okay. But does that mean that Obama is actively supporting Isis?
No, not necessarily. Isis is already connected to other Intel agencies and might not need direct support from the US. (Note: Many analysts have stated that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) receives generous donations from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both of whom are staunch US allies. According to London’s Daily Express: “through allies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the West (has) supported militant rebel groups which have since mutated into ISIS and other al‑Qaeda connected militias. ( Daily Telegraph, June 12, 2014)
What’s important as far as Obama is concerned, is that the strategic objectives of Isis and those of the United States coincide. Both entities seek greater political representation for Sunnis, both want to minimize Iranian influence in Iraq, and both support a soft partition plan that former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Leslie H. Gelb, called “The only viable strategy to correct (Iraq ‘s) historical defect and move in stages toward a three-state solution: Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south.” This is why Obama hasn’t attacked the militia even though it has marched to within 50 miles of Baghdad. It’s because the US benefits from these developments.
Does the US Government “support” or “not support” terrorism depending on the situation?
Have foreign Intel agencies supplied terrorist organizations in Syria with weapons and logistical support?
Has the CIA?
Has the Obama administration signaled that they would like to get rid of al Maliki or greatly reduce his power?
Is this because they think the present arrangement strengthens Iran’s regional influence?
Will Isis invade Baghdad?
No. (This is just a guess, but I expect that something has been already worked out between the Obama team and the Baathist leaders. If Baghdad was really in danger, Obama would probably be acting with greater earnestness.)
Will Syria and Iraq be partitioned?
Is Isis a CIA creation?
No. According to Ziad Fadel, “ISIS is the creation of the one man who played Alqaeda like a yo-yo. Bandar bin Sultan.”
Does Isis take orders from Washington or the CIA?
Probably not, although their actions appear to coincide with US strategic objectives. (which is the point!)
Is Obama’s reluctance to launch an attack on Isis indicate that he wants to diminish Iran’s power in Iraq, redraw the map of the Middle East, and create politically powerless regions run by warlords and tribal leaders?
Yes, yes and yes.
Last Tuesday’s sudden capture of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city (population 1.8 million), by a coalition of Sunni forces led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was swiftly followed by the fall of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s home town. By Thursday morning the insurgents were reported to have advanced to the city of Samarra, only 80 miles north of Baghdad. Their lightning success has thrown the U.S. policy in the region into disarray. It creates a new global flashpoint at a time when the Obama administration has its hands full trying to manage regional emergencies, mostly of its own making, in Ukraine and in the Far East.
The most remarkable feature of the ongoing rebel offensive is that the Iraqi army and police units, although superior to the attackers in numbers and equipment, are melting away without a fight. The collapse of their morale, and especially the apparent inability of the government in Baghdad to maintain any semblance of command and control, is without precedent in an even semi-functional modern state. (Mali comes to mind, but sub-Saharan Africa is in a dysfunctional league of its own.) In Mosul, the insurgents captured a vast treasure-trove of U.S.-supplied arms abandoned by the Iraqi army soldiers as they fled. Last January’s fall of Falluja and Ramadi – for which hundreds of U.S. Marines gave their lives in the first decade of this century – now appears to have been a mere dress rehearsal for Mosul. After hundreds of taxpayer billions and thousands of American lives wasted on the war in Iraq before the withdrawal, it is now evident that the additional $14 billion that the United States has spent on arming, training and equipping the Iraqi security forces since December 2011 were also wasted. Even before the latest rebel advance the Iraqi army was ineffective and plagued by mass desertions, especially among its Sunni soldiers. Now that army can be seen for what it is: a sectarian Shi’ite militia, very well armed and equipped but atrociously trained and even worse led. Its top brass is uninterested in defending Sunni-majority areas in the northwest of the country, and its rank-and-file is deeply divided along sectarian lines. Unable and unwilling to develop any sense of loyalty or common purpose among its non-Shia recruits, NCOs and officers, the Iraqi army effectively does not exist.
It is equally noteworthy that Islamic militants have now joined forces with the Baathist leaders and military commanders from Saddam’s era (“Former Regime Elements,” FREs). Most prominently they include former vice-president Izzat al-Douri, who has evaded capture by the “Coalition” and by the Iraqi government for over a decade. Prior to 2003, people like al-Douri – a Baathist secularist – and various hard-core jihadist movements trying to undermine Saddam’s regime were mortal enemies. Their present ability to join forces is entirely due to their shared disdain for the sectarian Shia government in Baghdad. Of course they will not be able to offer a joint “vision” for a Sunni state carved out of what remains of Iraq, but they are eminently able to ensure that one-third of this once-prosperous Arab state will no longer be controlled from the center. The majority-Shia regions – approximately one-half of the territory and two-thirds of the population – will become even more closely linked to Iran, thus making a mockery of Geroge W. Bush’s post-WMD rationale for starting the war.
Particularly ironic is the fact that ISIS is the main fighting force battling Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The ISIS-affiliated jihadists in Aleppo and Raqqa (under whatever temporary label) are to this day aided and abetted by the U.S. government. The arms and equipment shipped via Turkey and Jordan and meant for the elusive Syrian “moderates” invariably end up in extremist hands. Across the border, in Iraq, these same people are the enemy of America and her chosen regime in Baghdad. All along, the group’s ideology and objectives are the same. They are openly proclaimed: there is nothing secretive about the ISIS goal of establishing an Islamic caliphate in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and southeastern Turkey.
There is no coherent U.S. strategy in Iraq, or by inevitable association, in Syria. Both have been pushed to the back-burner in recent months, and both have been based either on wishful thinking or on pig-headed mendacity. The current chaos in Iraq reminds us of the extent to which U.S. interventions abroad are bad in principle if no vital American security and economic interests are involved. Malaki has asked for American air strikes, and even the return of boots on the ground, but this must not happen. No American interest is at stake in the ongoing Iraqi mess, and therefore no U.S. involvement is justified. It never was. Foreign intervention becomes inexcusable if its likely outcome is worse than the status quo. In Iraq the U.S. should not become an active ally of the sectarian Shia regime that cannot and will not either co-opt or corrupt its Sunni co-nationals. In Syria, it is clear that the only likely alternative to Bashar is a nosedive into terrorist jihadist mayhem. Both outcomes would be far worse from the vantage point of U.S. interests, geopolitically as well as morally, than letting things be as they are. The Bush administration, the U.S. government was a problem in creating the bloody Iraqi mess in 2003 and managing it thereafter. Washington’s evil and insane “foreign policy community” cannot be a solution to Iraq’s problems now, and never will be.
Turkey seems fond of so-called ‘false flag’ operations. In 1955, for example, the Turkish government covertly bombed its own consulate in Thessaloniki, Greece and blamed it on Greeks. The following day, Turkey stage-managed massive anti-Greek riots in Istanbul that killed over a dozen Christians and caused hundreds of millions in damage.
Fast forward to March 2014. A leaked audiotape caught Turkish officials plotting to stage ‘false flag’ military attacks on their own territory and blame them on Syrians. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, General Yaşar Gürel, and Intelligence chief Hakan Fidan planned to use the attacks as an excuse to invade Syria. The title of this article could easily apply to that plot.
To close observers of the Caucasus, however, it could also describe a failed covert Turkish plan to attack Armenia two decades ago and turn the geopolitics of the region upside down.
In October 1993, two years after the USSR had splintered, an ethnic Chechen Muslim named Ruslan Khasbulatov – the Speaker, believe it or not, of the Russian Parliament – led a coup against beleaguered Russian President Boris Yeltsin. According to American, French, and Greek officials, Khasbulatov and Muslim Turkey had a secret agreement.
If his coup succeeded, Khasbulatov would order Russian troops to withdraw from Armenia, where they helped guard the latter’s border with Turkey. That would pave the way for Turkey to invade the landlocked Christian nation of just three million inhabitants.
History tells us that Turkey has always wanted to overrun Armenia. Doing so would create a path to Turkic-speaking Muslim Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea, and, eventually, Central Asia. It’s called pan-Turkism.
In 1993, of course, Azerbaijan was losing its war with Armenians over the ancient, majority-Armenian province of Karabagh. Azerbaijan was, therefore, eager for Turkey to attack Armenia, and Turkey was ready to help Azerbaijan turn the tide.
The Plot Fails
Harkening back to the Armenian genocide, Turkish President Turgut Özal had threatened to teach Armenia “the lessons of 1915.” Tansu Çiller, Turkey’s prime minister, warned Armenia that she wouldn’t “sit back and do nothing.” Turkey was massing forces on Armenia’s western border and supplying Azerbaijan with weapons, military advisors, and paramilitary forces. Chechen militants and Afghan Mujahideen were already fighting alongside Azeris.
A successful Turkish attack on Armenia – Russia’s only military partner in the Caucasus – would have all but destroyed Russian influence in the region. That, in turn, would have increased the likelihood that Chechnya, and much of the Muslim North Caucasus, would eventually escape the Russian Bear’s grip. For a native-born Chechen like Khasbulatov, it would all be a dream-come-true.
But bombarded by Russian tanks, Speaker Khasbulatov, V.P. Alexander Rutskoi, and hundreds of rebel parliamentarians and supporters surrendered the Parliament building on October 4, 1993. The coup and the plot to invade Armenia had failed.
The Secret Pact
The Khasbulatov-Turkish pact was first revealed by Leonidas T. Chrysanthopoulos in his book Caucasus Chronicles (London: Gomidas, 2002). He was Greece’s ambassador to Armenia from July 1993 to February 1994. Chrysanthopoulos, now 68, has served as ambassador to Canada and Poland, and was recently Secretary General of the 12-country, Istanbul-based Black Sea Economic Cooperation organization.
France’s ambassador to Armenia, Mme. France de Harthing, told him that “French intelligence sources” confirmed that “the Turkish incursion into Armenia would take place immediately after Khasbulatov would have withdrawn the Russian troops from Armenia.” “This information,” wrote Chrysanthopoulos, “was later confirmed to me by my United States colleague,” Ambassador Harry J. Gilmore.
As a “pretext,” Turkey would claim to be targeting Kurdish PKK militant bases, which in fact have never existed, in Armenia. Such a “pretext” is similar, though not identical, to a ‘false flag.’
The Turkish strike would be “incursions of a limited nature,” though it’s unclear what “limited” meant. More likely, as Turkey wouldn’t find any PKK, the aim was to forge a permanent corridor across Armenia, link up with Azeri forces, and cleanse Karabagh of Armenians.
The U.S. and France have never, as far as is known, publicly denied the existence of the Khasbulatov-Turkish plot. Moreover, Chrysanthopoulos gives no indication that any country tried to talk Turkey out of its deal with Khasbulatov.
Is any of this relevant today?
Yes, because current Turkish, American, and NATO policies in the Caucasus strongly echo the 1993 Khasbulatov-Turkish plot. For two decades, the West has been trying to penetrate and dominate the Caucasus – Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia –and eventually cross the Caspian Sea into energy-rich Central Asia.
One piece of the plan has already been partially implemented: constructing oil and gas pipelines from Azerbaijan through Georgia and Turkey.
NATO’s remaining goal: absorb the entire Caucasus. NATO would thereby threaten Russia from the south, just as it now pressures Russia from the west with its absorption of much of Eastern Europe (and, NATO hopes, Ukraine).
Georgia and Azerbaijan are inclined to eventually join NATO. Armenia, however, is not, though it has excellent relations with NATO and the West. Armenia has little choice but to ally itself with Russia because the former faces an ongoing existential threat from NATO member Turkey, the 1993 plot being one example.
Armenia is the Caucasus’s linchpin. Had the Khasbulatov – Turkish quasi-‘false flag’ operation against Armenia succeeded, Russia would probably have lost, and NATO would have gained, the entire Caucasus. New provocations, including ‘false flags,’ by Turkey and NATO cannot, therefore, be ruled out.
Turkish, American, and NATO leaders must also be interrogated as to whether their policies in the Caucasus are leading to peace or war.
I’m here in Syria right now, and one of the big questions that journalists are asking both here and in America seems to be, “Is President Bashar Assad a good guy or a bad guy?”
Hard to tell.
Some people love him and some people hate him. As for me? I have mixed feelings about Assad.
I’m over in Damascus this week to serve as an observer for Syria’s presidential election. And I have discovered a few things so far:
First, under Assad’s government, anyone can get free medical care, free cancer medicine and a free eduction up through college — and with no usurious student loans attached either. To paraphrase the famous Pussycat Dolls, “Dontcha wish America’s government was hot like that!”
Second, after American and NATO militarists spent billions of dollars on sponsoring Al Qaeda and various other Islamic inquisitionalist/terrorist groups and those responsible for 9-11, and then encouraging these creepy guys to terrorize, brutalize and butcher Syrian civilians, bomb 300 Syrian schools and seize Syrian oil fields, then guess what the logical result might be? “Now Syrians really really really do not like the American powers that be.” Got it in one.
And so yet another country that used to be friendly to the USA now bites the dust. Yet another country now joins a really really really long list of other countries all over the world who already hate hate hate the American military-industrial complex. Wall Street and War Street.
Assad used to go along to get along with Wall Street and War Street. But those days are now long gone.
Now Assad and the Syrian people are fighting for their lives against a well-armed and well-trained group of brutal and fanatical butchers who are (literally in some cases) cannibalizing Syria.
If you were a Syrian citizen, who would you vote for in this election? What would you do if it was your home, your family and your city being attacked? I think that the answer is obvious. http://www.presstv.com/detail/2014/06/03/365384/bombs-and-ballots-in-damascus/
So. Here I am in Damascus, being an official election observer — as compared to those other unofficial foreign-fighter/terrorist/fanatic election observers from 87 countries who are here as guests of the U.S., Britain, Turkey, France and Saudi Arabia. And these brutal unofficial election observers’ instructions are simple. “Off with their heads!”
But hopefully mine will still remain attached.
PS: I am so honored to be here now in this joyful time of the Syrian elections — but I don’t really have the time or technology to write about all the amazing things that I have seen and heard here. But after I have digested all the intake I’ve absorbed recently in this amazing country, I do plan to write about it in more depth — and after I can get access to a larger keyboard of course.
President Barack Obama’s commencement address at West Point on May 28 managed to displease pretty much everyone in the nation’s commentariat. Before making an overall assessment of its significance, it is necessary to examine the validity and implications of Obama’s individual statements.
“[B]y most measures America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world. Those who argue otherwise – who suggest that America is in decline or has seen its global leadership slip away – are either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics.”
This key assertion, made at the beginning of the President’s address, does not stand to empirical scrutiny. In economic terms, America was far stronger vis-à-vis the rest of the world in 1945 than she is today. In more recent times, U.S. share of world GDP peaked in 1985 with just under 33 percent of global GDP (nominal). Between 2004 and 2014, United States’ share of global gross domestic product (GDP) adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP) has fallen from 22.5 percent to 18.5 percent, and it is expected to continue falling. By the end of this year China will overtake the United States in gross domestic product, which had originally been projected to happen by the end of this decade. Analysts concede will gradually shift the ability to confer advantages or disadvantages on other countries – in other words, power – in China’s favor.
In military terms, while America enjoyed the nuclear monopoly in 1945-49, her period of undisputed unipolar dominance was between 1991 (the collapse of the USSR) and 2008 (Russia’s counterattack in South Ossetia). Although the Pentagon budget will drop from $600 billion this year to $500 billion in 2015, it will continue to account for over a third of the global total. The unsatisfactory outcomes in Iraq and Afghanistan and dented America’s image of military invincibility. As the Economist commented on May 3, “The yawning gap between Uncle Sam and his potential foes seems bound to shrink.” The prevailing view among most critical analysts is that over the past decade the U.S. has suffered military reverses, and now faces severe global competition.
As for the “global leadership,” it is unclear what exactly Obama had in mind. Russia and China are creating a powerful Eurasian counterweight to what they rightly perceive as Washington’s continuing bid for the global hegemony. India’s new prime minister is a potential partner at best, and certainly loath to acknowledge America’s “leadership.” In the Islamic world, Obama’s attempts at appeasement – which started with the Cairo speech in 2009 – have not worked: The U.S. is now even more unpopular in the Muslim world than it was under George W. Bush. America is heartily disliked even in Turkey and Jordan, presumably our allies, not least because of the continuing drone strikes. American influence in Latin America is weaker now than at any time since Theodore Roosevelt, as manifested in the unanimous rejection of Washington’s efforts to effect a regime change in Venezuela. Members of the American elite class are hard pressed to name a single country with which the U.S. has better relations today than five years ago. The NSA global spying network has infuriated even some otherwise reliable American friends in Western Europe. Most “Old Europeans” are remarkably resistant to U.S. pressure to agree to serious sanctions against Russia.
On balance it appears that Barack Obama is the one misreading history and engaging in partisan politics.
“Meanwhile, our economy remains the most dynamic on Earth, our businesses the most innovative.”
In reality, by most value-neutral parameters the American economy is chronically weak and insolvent:
- Far from growing, the economy contracted in the first three months of this year at the annualized rate of one per cent, and it is unclear where future growth would come from. Gross domestic income is also falling sharply, for the first time in years.
- There are fewer workers, they are less efficient than a decade ago, and new employment is mostly in low-paying part-time jobs. Labor force participation (the percentage of Americans at work) is low, at levels not seen since the stagnant economy of the 1970s. One-fifth of 80 million American families do not have a single employed member.
- Government dependence has reached epidemic levels: the number of Americans getting money or benefits from the federal government exceeds the number of full-time workers in the private sector by more than 60 million. Welfare spending and entitlement payments account for 69 percent of the federal budget.
- One-third of all American households are living hand-to-mouth, one paycheck from poverty. The median annual income is 7.5 percent lower than in January 2008.
- The inflation-adjusted S&P500 is back to where it was in 2007. The single biggest buyer of stocks are the companies of the S&P500 itself. At $4 trillion, stock buybacks account for one-fifth of the total stock market value. The biggest buyback in market history added zero productive value to the companies concerned.
- The mountain of debt is nearing $17.5 trillion. The drivers of growing deficits and debt in the future are unfunded entitlement programs that are designed to transfer resources from working people to retirees. When the government pension and health care commitments which are missing from official budget figures are accounted for, the total national debt is nearly $95 trillion, more than seven times the published figure.
- The dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency is almost over. Russia and China have joined forces in “de-dollarization” of their mutual transactions and are looking for a more productive and safe use for their monetary reserves. Their recent gas deal is the beginning of the end for the petrodollar. Eventually Washington will have to choose between an outright default and hyperinflation, and the rest of the world is waking up to that fact.
Some “dynamism,” some “innovation”…
“America continues to attract striving immigrants.”
Obama’s statement is correct. It does not illustrate America’s alleged strength as was his intent, however; it underscores this country’s major weakness. Illegal immigration is spiraling out of control, the Border Patrol is overwhelmed. If the influx continues at current high levels, the U.S. population will increase to almost half a billion in 2060 – more than a 50 percent increase. New immigrants – mostly from the Third World, unskilled, uneducated, and a net drain on American resources – and their descendants will account for over one hundred million of that increase. On current form, English-speaking Americans of European origin will become a minority in their own country four decades from now. They will inhabit an increasingly overpopulated, polluted, lumpenproleterized, permanently impoverished country. America unfortunately does continue “to attract striving immigrants,” mostly illegal ones and of poor quality. This is far greater threat to the survival of the United States in a historically or culturally recognizable form than terrorism or any conceivable alliance of foreign powers. Barack Obama does not understand this, or does not care, or – just as likely – cherishes the prospect.
“The values of our founding inspire leaders in parliaments and new movements in public squares around the globe.”
By “public squares” Obama was probably alluding to Kiev’s Maidan. Indeed, it has propelled some “new movements” to global prominence, such as the Svoboda party and the Right Sector. The Founding Fathers would be horrified to learn that, in the opinion of the President of the United States, their values have inspired Messrs. Tyahnybok, Yarosh, and other blood-soaked heirs to Stepan Bandera. This is on par with Senator Joseph Lieberman saying, “The United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same values and principles. Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values.”
“And when a typhoon hits the Philippines, or schoolgirls are kidnapped in Nigeria, or masked men occupy a building in Ukraine, it is America that the world looks to for help.”
Obama is mixing apples (natural disasters) and pears (man-made ones). The problem of Islamic terrorism in Nigeria was exacerbated by the refusal of the Department of State under Hillary Clinton to place Boko Haram (“Secular Education is Sinful”) on the list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2011, despite the urging of the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and over a dozen Senators and Congressmen. The de facto protection thus given to Boko Haram has enabled it to morph into a state-within-the-state with an estimated 300,000 followers.
It would be ironic if “the world” were to look to America for help in Ukraine (which in any event it does not), since the course of crisis there has been, overwhelmingly, of Washington’s own making, as manifested in Victoria Nuland’s famous phone call to Ambassador Pyatt. The new Drang nach Ostenmakes sense from the point of view of the liberal globalist-neoconservative duopoly: there is no better way to ensure U.S. dominance along the European rimland in perpetuity than drawing Europe back into NATO (i.e. U.S.) security orbit in general and subverting the Russo-German rapprochement in particular. The “masked men” in buildings are a direct consequence of American meddling.
“So the United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century past, and it will be true for the century to come.”
It has never been true, it is not true now, and it never will be true. Madeleine Albright’s famous dictum was an arrogant statement by an immigrant ignorant of American history and a sign of her well-attested instability. It was reiterated in Bill Clinton’s 1996 speech, where he explained why he intervened, disastrously, in Bosnia: “The fact is America remains the indispensable nation. There are times when America, and only America, can make a difference between war and peace, between freedom and repression, between hope and fear.” That Obama has chosen to recycle such rubbish is a sign of intellectual and moral bankruptcy. “Indispensable” to whom, exactly? It is unimaginable for the leader of any other country in the world – Vladimir Putin, say, or Xi Jinping – to advance such a claim. It is tasteless at best and psychotically grandomaniac at worst, a latter day “Manifest Destiny” on steroids. The problem is that such hubristic delusions easily translate into non-negotiable foreign policy objectives. Resisting the will of the “indispensable nation” is ipso facto evil: Susan Rice’s condemnation of Chinese and Russian vetoes of the U.S.-supported UN Security Council resolution on Syria as “disgusting,” “shameful” and “unforgivable” comes to mind.
“Russia’s aggression towards former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors.”
Quite apart from the genesis of the crisis in Ukraine, to which “Russia’s aggression” hardly applies, Obama’s use of the term “former Soviet states,” plural, implies that in his opinion Ukraine is not the only “victim of Russia’s aggression.” Presumably he means Georgia, the only “former Soviet state” with which Russia has had a conflict since the collapse of the Soviet Union. If so, and there is no other explanation for his turn of his phrase, Obama has a dangerously flawed understanding of the August 2008 Georgian crisis.
Georgian then-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s order to attack South Ossetia’s capital, Tskhinvali, was a breathtakingly audacious challenge to Russia, to which she was bound to react forcefully. That response was promptly exploited, for the first time since Gorbachev, by the American mainstream media machine and the foreign-policy community in Washington to paint Russia as a rogue power that is not only dangerous but intrinsically malignant. The vehemence of that rhetoric exceeded anything ever said or written about jihad, before or after September 11. To be fair, Saakashvili was led to believe that he was tacitly authorized to act as he did. President George W. Bush had treated Georgia as a “strategic partner” ever since the Western-engineered “Rose Revolution” five years earlier, and in early 2008 he strongly advocated NATO membership for Georgia. Washington had repeatedly supported Georgia’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity,” which implied the right to use force to bring South Ossetia and Abkhazia to heel, just as it is supporting “resolute action” in Donetsk and Lugansk today. Saakashvili may be forgiven for imagining that the United States would have bailed him out if things went badly. It is noteworthy that he was not disabused of such notions. The calculus in Washington appears to have been based on a win-win scenario, not dissimilar to the current Ukrainian strategy. Had Georgian troops occupied South Ossetia in a blitzkrieg operation modeled after Croatia’s “Operation Storm,” while the Russians remained hesitant or ineffective, Moscow would have suffered a major strategic and (more importantly) psychological defeat after almost four years of sustained strategic recovery. If Russia intervened, however, she would be duly demonized and the U.S. would push for NATO consolidation with new vigor. “Old” Europeans – the Germans especially – would be pressed to abandon their détente with Moscow. A resentful Georgia would become chronically anti-Russian, thus ensuring a long-term American presence in the region.
In the event, like the Ukrainian army today, the Georgian army performed so poorly that a military fait accompli was out of its reach. Excesses against Ossetian civilians – just like the shelling of schools in Slavyansk today – made the “victim of aggression” narrative hard to sell, Obama’s “aggression” rhetoric notwithstanding.
“The question we face… is not whether America will lead but how we will lead, not just to secure our peace and prosperity but also extend peace and prosperity around the globe.”
It is unclear how, if at all, America will secure her own “peace and prosperity” in the years and decades to come, let alone how she can extend it “around the globe.” If this is a statement of Obama’s grand strategy, it is flawed in principle and unfeasible in detail. In this statement there is not a hint of an overall blueprint for action that matches our country’s resources to her vital interests. A sound grand strategy enables a state to deploy its political, military, economic, and moral resources in a balanced and proportionate manner, in order to protect and enhance its security and promote its well-being, never mind “the globe.” In Obama’s universe, however, there are no brains behind “indispensable,” heavy-handed diplomacy and military power. Obama creates a false dilemma (“the question we face”) unsupported by facts. China, India, Russia, the Muslim world and Latin America do not want to be “led,” quite the contrary. Old Europe is reluctant at best. Subsaharan Africa is an irrelevant mess. The question we face is not global leadership, but national survival.
“Regional aggression that goes unchecked, whether in southern Ukraine or the South China Sea or anywhere else in the world, will ultimately impact our allies, and could draw in our military. We can’t ignore what happens beyond our boundaries.”
This simultaneous dig at Russia and China reflects a hubristic world view that is unmatched by conflict-management resources. A sane American relationship with Moscow demands acceptance that Russia has legitimate interests in her “near-abroad.” Obama’ four-nation tour of East Asia last Aprilescalated existing U.S. military commitments to the region, created some new ones, deeply irritated China, and emboldened American allies and clients to play hardball with Beijing. Obama does not understand that it is extremely dangerous for a great power to alienate two of its nearest rivals simultaneously. The crisis in Ukraine is going on, but the situation in Asia is potentially more volatile. Dealing with both theaters from the position of presumed strength and trying to dictate the outcomes is perilous, as many would-be hegemons (Philip II, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm, Hitler), blinded by arrogance, have learned to their peril. Obama has continued the hegemonist habit of instigating crises at different spots around the world, even though the resources are scarce and the strategy is fundamentally faulty. An overtly anti-U.S. alliance between Russia and China is now in the making. U.S. overreach led to the emergence of a de facto alliance in the Eurasian Heartland, embodied in the gas deal signed in Shanghai. Russia and China are not natural allies and they may have divergent long-term interests, especially in Central Asia, but they are on the same page when it comes to resisting U.S. hegemony, pardon, “leadership.” In the early 1970’s Dr. Henry Kissinger wisely understood the benefits of an opening to Beijing as a means of pressuring Moscow on the Cold War’s central front. Back then the USSR was far more powerful than the People’s Republic. Today, by contrast, China is much more economically and demographically powerful than Russia, and for the United States the optimal strategy would dictate being on good terms with the weaker party in the triangle. America does not have a policymaker of Kissinger’s stature today, who would understand the potential of a long-term understanding with Moscow as a tool of curtailing Chinese ambitions along the Pacific Rim.
“America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is, and always will be, the backbone of that leadership.”
The notion that “the world stage” demands a “leader” is flawed. It is at fundamental odds with the balance-of-power paradigm, which has historically secured the longest periods of peace and unprecedented prosperity to the civilized world. Today’s world is being multipolarized, whether Obama the Exceptionalist likes that or not. The very idea of the self-awarded “world leadership” would appear absurd in the days of Bismarck or Metternich. Washington has neither the resources nor the minds for such a role, even if it were called for.
“The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it — when our people are threatened; when our livelihoods are at stake; when the security of our allies is in danger.”
None of the above applied in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya… but enough of Obama. There was more rhetoric at West Point, including an ode to American exceptionalism and further references to America’s global leadership, but it just as tedious, vacuous and intellectually wanting as the first ten minutes of his address.
Overall, it is evident that the United States in Barack Obama’s final term has not given up the hegemonist habit of instigating crises at different spots around the world, even though the management resources are scarce and the strategy is fundamentally faulty. An overtly anti-U.S. alliance between Russia and China is now in the making. It will be a belated equivalent of the Franco-Russian alliance of 1893 – the predictable result of an earlier great power, Wilhelm’s Kaiserreich, basing its strategy on hubristic overestimation of its capabilities. U.S. overreach has led to the emergence of a de facto alliance in the Eurasian Heartland, embodied in last month’s energy agreement signed in Shanghai. Russia and China are not natural allies and they may have divergent long-term interests, especially in Central Asia, but they are on the same page when it comes to resisting U.S. hegemony.
In the early 1970’s Dr. Henry Kissinger wisely understood the benefits of an opening to Beijing as a means of pressuring Moscow on the Cold War’s central front. Back then the USSR was far more powerful than the People’s Republic. Today, by contrast, China is much more economically and demographically powerful than Russia, and for the United States the optimal strategy would dictate being on good terms with the weaker party in the triangle. It is unfortunate that America does not have a policymaker of Kissinger’s stature today, who would understand the potential of a long-term understanding with Moscow as a tool of curtailing Chinese ambitions along the Pacific Rim.
Judging by the West Point address, for the remaining two and a half years of Obama’s term U.S.-initiated global confrontations will continue as before. Instead of de-escalating the bloody mess to which she has made a hefty contribution, Victoria Nuland will continue encouraging her blood-soaked protégés in Kiev to seek a military end-game in the East. Instead of calming the South China Sea, Washington will continue encouraging its clients to be impertinent. And Putin and Xi will draw their conclusions: that they do have a powerful common enemy, a rogue regime not amenable to reason or rational calculus.
It cannot be otherwise, considering the Obama Administration’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, which is but a rehash of the strategic assumptions of the Bush era. In Obama’s words from two years ago, our “enduring national interest” is to maintain the unparalleled U.S. military superiority, “ready for the full range of contingencies and threats” amid “a complex and growing array of security challenges across the globe.” The Guidance itself asserts that the task of the United States is to “confront and defeat aggression anywhere in the world.” This is not a grand strategy but a blueprint for disaster—especially when combined with the interventionists’ urge to “confront and defeat” not only aggression as such but also “aggression” resulting from internal conflicts irrelevant to the American interest (Syria, Ukraine) and putative threats to regional stability (Iran).
Obama is a more reluctant interventionist than McCain or Romney would have been, but he, too, does not recognize the limits of American power and does not correlate that power with this country’s security and prosperity. He fails to balance military and nonmilitary, short and long-term capabilities. He rejects the fact that the world is becoming multipolar again, while the relative power of the United States is in steady decline. Obama’s absence of a viable grand strategy produces policies that are disjointed, nonsensical, and self-defeating. He is prone, no less than his predecessor, to equate any stated political objective in some faraway land with America’s vital interests, without ever offering a coherent definition of those “vital” interests.
On both sides of the duopoly, the ideology of American exceptionalism and the doctrine of global dominance reign supreme. At a time of domestic economic weakness and cultural decline, foreign policy based on the American interest requires prudence, restraint, and a rational link between ends and means. Abroad, it demands disengagement from distant countries of which we know little; at home, a sane immigration policy.
It will not happen.
Few would expect a survivor of the Holocaust to be the face of genocide denial. Imagine the surprise of Suffolk Law School’s student body when its administration’s chosen commencement speaker turned out to be just that.
Abraham Foxman, the long-time director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization dedicated to eradicating anti-Semitism and bigotry and protecting civil rights, seems a figure beyond reproach. Yet Foxman has invited controversy to Suffolk University for his unwillingness to recognize the 1915 Armenian Genocide – an event which saw an estimated 1.5 million Armenians massacred by the Turks – and his campaign to defeat Congressional acknowledgement of said genocide.
Criticism of Foxman has centered on this disconnect, that a man who lived through the attempted extermination of an entire race now denies that truth of another. Many at Suffolk are unwilling to participate in that hypocrisy.
Suffolk’s Students Speak Out
Shortly after Foxman was announced as their 2014 speaker, Suffolk Law students rejected the decision. Amy Willis, President of the university’s National Lawyers Guild chapter, told the Boston Globe that “Suffolk claims to embody diversity and be a place for all people, but this clearly is a speaker who does not embody those values.”
This stance was reflected in a petition to remove Foxman as the keynote speaker, as well as to deny him the honorary Juris doctorate he is slated to receive. The petition states that Foxman’s presence “not only insults students and their families, but also insults the very foundation of Suffolk Law as a safe place of diversity and acceptance.” As arguments for his removal, the petition enumerates Foxman’s refusal to explicitly label the Armenian Genocide as a genocide as well as his support for racial profiling of Muslim-Americans in the interest of “national security.”
What Is Genocide?
Raphael Lemkin coined the term “genocide” in 1944 to describe the magnitude of premeditated racial extermination, citing what happened to the Armenians as the prime example. After the war, the United Nations approved the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, establishing genocide as an international crime.
In the Convention, genocide is defined as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,” which includes “killing members of the group” and “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”
The mention of “intent” is significant in this definition. Foxman’s 2007 statement (described below) would go out of its way to avoid labeling the Turkish pogrom as intentional, admitting only that its “consequences” were “tantamount” to genocide. To the casual observer, it is perhaps a negligible distinction. From a legal standpoint, it is strategically evasive.
What Is the Armenian Genocide?
This definition applies to the systematic slaughter of Armenians by the Turkish government that began in 1915. To understand how this genocide came to be, a brief summary of the two nations’ history is required.
Existing in various forms for approximately 3,000 years of recorded history, Armenia was the first nation to declare Christianity its national religion. It remained Christian under the several empires that conquered it, including the Muslim caliphate of the Ottoman Turks. From the 15th century onward, Armenians and their fellow “infidels” were allowed to continue their religious practices, though subjected to higher taxes, fewer rights and ethnic discrimination. For the Armenians, this culminated in the Hamidian Massacres of 1894-1897. This state-sponsored pogrom was instituted by Sultan Abdul Hamid II in retaliation for Armenians’ attempts to win civil rights.
By the start of World War I, political tensions between Armenians and a new Turkish government were even more strained. Armenia itself had been divided by warring empires, with Russia claiming the east and Turkey claiming the west. Duty-bound, both sides fought for their respective empires.
This dichotomy of loyalty enabled the Turks to concoct a pretext that veiled their ultimate goal of an ethnically and religiously uniform empire. A purge would enable them to “liquidate” the “Christian element” and seize the wealth and property of suspected insurgents. On April 24, 1915, the Turkish government authorized the arrest and execution of several hundred Armenian intellectuals. From that point, the executions would continue for eight years, shrouded under the fog of the Great War.
Turkish soldiers and mercenaries acting under the general outfit of “Special Operations” murdered hundreds of thousands of Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks, marching them through the Anatolian and Syrian deserts without food, water or clothing. “Infidels” not sentenced to hard labor camps were drowned in rivers, thrown off cliffs, crucified and burned alive. Property was seized, women were raped and dispatched to Turkish harems, and many children were kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam.
The number of survivors is a matter of debate, but of a population of 2 million indigenous Armenians, it is estimated that upwards of 1.5 million were slaughtered in Turkey between 1915 and 1923. Even today, almost a century later, the Euphrates River is filled with the bones of dead Armenians, as author Peter Balakian, writing for the New York Times magazine, can attest.
Stark, horrific images exist to document the savagery of the Armenian massacre. Yet still Turkey denies its own legacy.
Turkey and Foxman’s Denials
Article 301 of the Turkish penal code makes it illegal to insult Turkey, the Turkish nation or the Turkish government. To acknowledge an “Armenian Genocide” is the most egregious insult possible.
Because Turkey was the first nation in the Middle East to establish diplomatic relations with Israel and remains an instrumental ally of the West, the United States is unwilling to rock that political boat. Even when a resolution was proposed by the 110th Congress to recognize the Armenian Genocide, then President George W. Bush publicly opposed the measure. He was not the first, and current President Barack Obama’s silence on the issue suggests he will not be the last.
And this has been Abraham Foxman’s dilemma. His public opposition to Armenian recognition has been out of loyalty to Israel. “Our focus is Israel,” he has said. “If helping Turkey helps Israel, then that’s what we’re in the business of doing.” It seems absurd to the point of tragedy that a man who lived under Nazi oppression can answer the question of Armenian genocide with, “It was wartime. Things get messy.”
But in 2007, Foxman tried to pacify his critics. Speaking for himself and the ADL, he stated that, “We have never negated but have always described the painful events of 1915-1918 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians as massacres and atrocities,” ending with decision that “the consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide.”
But “tantamount to genocide” without intent is not genocide. This calculated elision of “intent,” its palpable absence, is an insult to the Armenian community. The ADL’s defenders decry this as splitting hairs, but they overlook the importance of legacy and how powerfully a single word can affect it. It was important enough to prompt a dozen Massachusetts cities to pull out of the ADL’s “No Place for Hate” anti-bias program. It was important enough that when Andrew H. Tarsy, a regional director for the ADL, acknowledged the genocide as true genocide, he was promptly fired from the organization.
Unfortunately for Suffolk Law School, and all those who expect the ADL to uphold its own morality, Abraham Foxman represents a willful blindness – to look the other way on a hundred-year-old crime – for the sake of political expediency.
It is the opinion of Suffolk University President James McCarthy that Foxman, despite students’ protests, “is well deserving of recognition.” Moreover, it is the University’s hope that Foxman’s “life of public service will inspire our graduates as they embark on their professional careers.”
This does beg the question of what recognition the Syrian desert’s uncounted dead deserve, or what their lives may have inspired, but the answers are unlikely to be found in Foxman’s commencement speech.
After two fair and lengthy hearings, the eight elected members of the Massachusetts Governor’s Council, in a 4-4 tie vote on March 5, refused to confirm attorney Joseph Berman to be a Superior Court judge. It was a defeat for Governor Deval Patrick, who had nominated Mr. Berman. But the Council took its responsibilities seriously and rendered a well-considered judgment.
Councilors voiced many concerns about the nominee. Foremost was a lack of truthfulness.
Berman, under oath, was asked three times whether he had requested anyone to lobby the Council to advance his nomination. Each time, he replied no.
Later, after some stumbling, he admitted to another Councilor that he had phoned State Senator – now Congresswoman – Katherine Clark to lobby Councilors.
Mr. Berman’s meager criminal trial experience also troubled Councilors. Another concern was Berman’s scant knowledge of drug abuse. And some worried that Berman, politically active and a national leader in the heavily political Anti-Defamation League (ADL), would promote those viewpoints as a judge.
Several Councilors questioned Berman’s $100,000 in campaign contributions, including to Governor Patrick, since being turned down for a judgeship in 2004. They saw this as a possible attempt to advance his judicial ambitions.
At his second hearing, Mr. Berman tried to deflect these criticisms. He claimed, for example, to have misunderstood the Councilors’ questions about lobbying them. He also said he had been studying up on drug addiction and criminal law.
Berman’s being a 19-year member, and since 2006 a National Commissioner, of the ADL also caught the attention of some Councilors and media.
Recall the ADL scandal that broke out in mid-2007. It exposed that organization’s decades-old hypocrisy in denying the Armenian genocide and colluding directly with Turkey, a major human rights violator, to defeat U.S. Congressional resolutions on that genocide.
Shocked at the ADL’s stance, the Massachusetts Municipal Association, which represents every city and town, then dropped its sponsorship of the ADL’s so-called “No Place for Hate” anti-bias program. So did Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Lexington, Medford, Needham, Newburyport, Newton, Northampton, Peabody, Somerville, Watertown, and Westwood. The ADL scandal quickly became national and international news.
Naturally, the Governor’s Council quizzed Berman about his ADL leadership role. He claimed that after the scandal erupted in 2007 he and some New England ADL members tried to convince the National ADL to change its position on the Armenian genocide. But there is no hard proof of that. And surely Berman knew long before 2007 of the ADL’s anti-Armenian stance. Yet he never spoke out publicly or resigned. Even after 2007, Mr. Berman remained publicly silent about the ADL’s indefensible assault on Armenian Americans.
Alongside the Council’s other concerns, Berman’s ADL record raised doubts about his worthiness to be a judge.
On August 21, 2007, the National ADL tried to squirm out of the scandal with a press release that used deceptive and legalistic wording about the Armenian genocide. It implied that the Armenian genocide was a mere “consequence” of wartime events, which meant it wouldn’t qualify as genocide under the United Nation’s official definition. The dishonest ADL declaration was widely rejected.
Nearly 20 countries, such as Canada, France, and Argentina, the European Union Parliament, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, and the Polish Jewish lawyer who coined the word “genocide” in the 1940s, Raphael Lemkin, have recognized the Armenian genocide of 1915 -23 committed by Turkey.
Many American human rights, ethnic, and church organizations have supported the Armenian genocide resolution. These include the American Jewish World Service and the Jewish War Veterans of the USA.
But not the ADL nor, reports the Jewish media, the American Jewish Committee, AIPAC, and B’nai B’rith. They adhere to a long-standing arrangement among themselves, Turkey, and Israel to deny the Armenian genocide. See “History of Lobbying” at NoPlaceForDenial.com.
The ADL professes to defend the human rights of all ethnic groups, not just Jews. It insists that the American people acknowledge and pass legislation on the Holocaust. Yet the ADL tries to prevent recognition of a Christian genocide. The hypocrisy is astonishing.
Meanwhile, a significant precedent has been created: Members of the ADL, or similar organizations, who aspire to a higher post, particularly in government, may now be asked what they knew of their organization’s genocide hypocrisy, when they knew it, and what they did about it. Such are the bitter fruits of deceit.
“From the moment the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the United States has relentlessly pursued a strategy of encircling Russia, just as it has with other perceived enemies like China and Iran. It has brought 12 countries in central Europe, all of them formerly allied with Moscow, into the NATO alliance. US military power is now directly on Russia’s borders…This crisis is in part the result of a zero-sum calculation that has shaped US policy toward Moscow since the Cold War: Any loss for Russia is an American victory, and anything positive that happens to, for, or in Russia is bad for the United States. This is an approach that intensifies confrontation, rather than soothing it.”
– Stephen Kinzer, “US a full partner in Ukraine debacle”, Boston Globe
“We have removed all of our heavy weapons from the European part of Russia and put them behind the Urals” and “reduced our Armed Forces by 300,000. We have taken several other steps required by the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces Treaty in Europe (ACAF). But what have we seen in response? Eastern Europe is receiving new weapons, two new military bases are being set up in Romania and in Bulgaria, and there are two new missile launch areas — a radar in Czech republic and missile systems in Poland. And we are asking ourselves the question: what is going on? Russia is disarming unilaterally. But if we disarm unilaterally then we would like to see our partners be willing to do the same thing in Europe. On the contrary, Europe is being pumped full of new weapons systems. And of course we cannot help but be concerned.”
– Russian President Vladimir Putin, Munich Conference on Security Policy, February 2007
The Obama administration’s rationale for supporting the fascist-led coup in Ukraine collapsed on Wednesday when a “hacked” phone call between EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet revealed that the snipers who fired on protestors in Maidan Square in Kiev were not aligned with President Viktor Yanukovych, but with the protest leaders themselves. The significance of the discovery cannot be overstated since the Obama team has used the killing of protestors to justify its support for the new imposter government. Now it appears that members of the new government may be implicated in the killing of innocent civilians. This new information could force Obama to withdraw his support for the coup plotters in Kiev, which would derail the administration’s plan to remove Russia from the Crimea and expand NATO into Ukraine. Here’s a short recap of the details from an article in Russia Today:
“Estonian foreign ministry has confirmed the recording of his conversation with EU foreign policy chief is authentic. Urmas Paet said that snipers who shot at protesters and police in Kiev were hired by Maidan leaders.
During the conversation, Paet stressed that “there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition.”….
The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a statement on its website, saying that the recording of the leaked telephone conversation between Paet and Ashton is “authentic.” (“Estonian Foreign Ministry confirms authenticity of leaked call on Kiev snipers“, Russia Today)
To its credit, the UK Guardian published an article reporting the basic facts, but there’s been no coverage by the New York Times, the Washington Post or any of the major TV News networks. America’s elite media are engaged in a coordinated news blackout to keep people from seeing that the Obama administration and their EU collaborators are supporting a group of far-right extremists who were directly involved in the killing of civilians in order to topple a democratically-elected government. Here’s more from the same article:
“…there is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovych, it was somebody from the new coalition,” Paet says…the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened.” (“Ukraine crisis: bugged call reveals conspiracy theory about Kiev snipers“, Guardian)
There won’t be an investigation because an investigation would reveal the truth, and the truth would undermine Obama’s plan to install a puppet regime in Kiev. The new government has already shown that it is more than willing to do Washington’s bidding, that is, to impose austerity measures on the working people of Ukraine, to pay off fatcat bondholders in Berlin and Brussels via more extortionist IMF loans, to extend NATO to Russia’s border in contravention of agreements made with Bush the Elder following the fall of the Berlin Wall, and to pursue the crackpot dreams of global hegemony laid out in “The Grand Chessboard” by New World Order fantasist Zbigniew Brzezinski. These are the primary objectives of the present policy which could be upended by the allegations of foul play.
The smoking gun revelations of the hacked phone call came just hours before US officials indicated they were planning to increase their military footprint in Eastern Europe. According to the World Socialist Web Site:
“Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the Pentagon will boost joint training of NATO forces in Poland and step up NATO air patrols in the Baltics…US military officials said they were deploying six F-15 fighter jets and KC-135 transport planes. ….One guided-missile frigate, the USS Taylor, is still in a Black Sea port in Turkey after patrolling the region during the Sochi Olympics…
Turkish officials confirmed that they had given a US Navy warship permission to pass through the Bosphorus straits into the Black Sea, which borders Ukraine.” (“Amid Ukraine crisis, US launches military escalation in Eastern Europe”, World Socialist Web Site)
Also Russia Today reports that: “The guided missile destroyer, the USS Truxton, is heading to the Black Sea, for what the US military said is a “routine” deployment…The ship has a crew of about 300 and is part of an aircraft carrier strike group that left the US in mid-February.” (“US navy confirms missile destroyer USS Truxton approaching the Black Sea”, RT)
“Routine deployment”? So provoking a war with Russia is “routine”? Talk about understatement.
The military escalation occurs in an atmosphere of heightened tension between the two nuclear-armed powers and will certainly add to their mutual distrust. Hagel’s deployment is consistent with a plan for antagonizing Moscow that was proposed just days earlier in the Washington Post by the Obama administration’s ideological godfather, Zbigniew Brzezinski. Here’s a bit of what Brzezinski had to say in the article titled “What is to be done? Putin’s aggression in Ukraine needs a response”:
“…the West should promptly recognize the current government of Ukraine as legitimate. Uncertainty regarding its legal status could tempt Putin to repeat his Crimean charade…
“…the West should convey.. that the Ukrainian army can count on immediate and direct Western aid so as to enhance its defensive capabilities. There should be no doubt left in Putin’s mind that an attack on Ukraine would precipitate a prolonged and costly engagement, and Ukrainians should not fear that they would be left in the lurch.
Meanwhile, NATO forces, consistent with the organization’s contingency planning, should be put on alert. High readiness for some immediate airlift to Europe of U.S. airborne units would be politically and militarily meaningful. If the West wants to avoid a conflict, there should be no ambiguity in the Kremlin as to what might be precipitated by further adventurist use of force in the middle of Europe.” (“What is to be done? Putin’s aggression in Ukraine needs a response”, Washington Post)
“Adventurist”? Dr. Strangelove is calling the Kremlin adventurist when his recommendations would put NATO, the US and Moscow on hairtrigger alert increasing the chances of an error in judgment that could lead to thermonuclear war. Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?
But listen to the tone of Brzezinski’s op-ed. In just a few short paragraphs, the author–who many respect as a restrained and brilliant global strategist–refers to Putin as a thug, a Mafia gangster, Mussolini, and Hitler. I imagine if he had another paragraph to work with, he would have added Beelzebub Satan to the list.
This isn’t politics; it’s hysterics. It’s incendiary, jingoistic mumbo-jumbo intended to rouse the public and fan the flames of nationalism. It’s the same kind of self-righteous raving that precipitated the invasion of Iraq.
And what is Brzezinski saying?
Is he saying that events in the Crimea are a threat to US national security? Is he saying that the US should now feel free to apply the Monroe Doctrine everywhere across the planet, sticking our big nose wherever the president sees fit?
The trouble in the Crimea has nothing to do with the United States. We have no dog in this fight. This is about military expansion into Eurasia, this is about pipeline corridors and oil fields, this is about dismantling the Russian Federation and positioning multinational corporations and Wall Street investment banks in Asia for the new century. And, finally, this is an ego-driven crusade by an old man who wants to see his looneybin NWO global hegemony vision enacted before they cart him off on a marble slab. That’s what this is really about; the glorious new world disorder, the dystopian wetdream of thinktank patricians everywhere whose only purpose in life is to initiate wars that other-peoples-sons will have to fight.
Entering Ukraine into the corporate-western alliance is a critical part of Brzezinski’s masterplan. The basic strategy has been underway since the fall of the Berlin Wall when neoliberal carpetbaggers from the US assisted in the looting of the former Soviet state leaving Russia politically broken and economically destitute. Since then, US policy towards Russia has been overtly hostile, making every effort to encircle the oil-rich nation while positioning nuclear missile installations on its perimeter. Now Washington is using its fascist-backed coup in Ukraine to force Moscow to relinquish its grip on a region that is vital to its national security.
Here’s a brief excerpt from an interview with Stephen Cohen, professor of Russian studies and history emeritus at New York University on Monday on PBS Newshour. Cohen helps to clarify what is really going on viv a vis the US and Russia:
“What we’re watching today is the worst kind of history being made, the descent of a new Cold War divide between West and East in Europe, this time not in faraway Berlin, but right on Russia’s borders through Ukraine. That will be instability and the prospect of war for decades to come for our kids and our grandchildren. The official version is that Putin is to blame; he did this. But it simply isn’t true. This began 20 years ago when Clinton began the movement of NATO toward Russia, a movement that’s continued.
…the fundamental issue here is that, three or four years ago, Putin made absolutely clear he had two red lines…One was in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. (Putin would not allow NATO in Georgia) The other was in Ukraine. We crossed both. You got a war in Georgia in 2008, and you have got today in Ukraine because we, the United States and Europe, crossed Putin’s red line.” (PBS News Hour)
There’s no doubt who is to blame for the present conflict in Cohen’s mind. It’s Washington.
So, here we are, between a rock and a hard place: Putin cannot back down on an issue that’s crucial to national security, and Washington is more determined than ever to pull Ukraine into –what Henry Kissinger calls–”a cooperative international system.” (aka–global capitalist rule) That means there’s going to be a war.
On Thursday, Crimea MPs voted unanimously to hold a referendum on whether the region should become a part of Russia or not. The balloting will take place in 10 days although Obama has already said that he will not honor the results. Apparently, other countries need to get the green-light from Washington before they conduct their elections now. This is how ridiculous things have gotten.
In 2008, Brzezinski revealed the real motives behind US aggression in Central Asia in an article that appeared in the Huffington Post that dealt primarily with the dust up in Georgia. (where Putin deployed Russian troops to defend Russian speaking civilians in South Ossetia.) Here’s what Brzezinski had to say:
“The question the international community now confronts is how to respond to a Russia that engages in the blatant use of force with larger imperial designs in mind: to reintegrate the former Soviet space under the Kremlin’s control and to cut Western access to the Caspian Sea and Central Asia by gaining control over the Baku/Ceyhan pipeline that runs through Georgia.
In brief, the stakes are very significant. At stake is access to oil as that resource grows ever more scarce and expensive and how a major power conducts itself in our newly interdependent world, conduct that should be based on accommodation and consensus, not on brute force.
If Georgia is subverted, not only will the West be cut off from the Caspian Sea and Central Asia. We can logically anticipate that Putin, if not resisted, will use the same tactics toward the Ukraine. Putin has already made public threats against Ukraine.” (“Brzezinski: Russia’s invasion of Georgia is Reminiscent of Stalin’s attack on Finland”; Huffington Post)
Huh? It sounds a lot like Brzezinski thinks that oil should be his. Or maybe he thinks it belongs to the western oil giants; is that it?
So we’re not dealing with national security, sovereignty or spheres of influence here. What we’re really talking about is “access to oil.” Not only that, but Brzezinski is being quite blunt in his assertion that “the West” –as he calls it–has a legitimate claim to the resources on other people’s land. Where’d he come up with that one?
In another interview on Kavkacenter.com, in 2008, Brzezinski sounded the same alarm with a slightly different twist. Here’s an excerpt from the article titled ”Russia tends to destabilize Georgia”:
“Brzezinski said the United States witnessed “cases of possible threats by Russia… motivated not by some territorial disputes….but caused by intention to take control over the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline”.
“If Georgia government is destabilized, western access to Baku, Caspian Sea and further will be limited”, said Brzezinski …. he stated that Russia will try to consolidate its monopoly on these markets and will use all existing political and economic levers, including “politically motivated cessation of energy supplies” in Europe and Baltic states.
“Russia actively tends to isolate the Central Asian region from direct access to world economy, especially to energy supplies”, considers the political scientist.” (“Zbigniew Brzezinski: ”Russia tends to destabilize Georgia” kavkacenter.com)
Putin is not isolating anyone and he’s certainly not taking over anyone’s damned pipeline. He’s the president of Russia. He sells oil and makes money, that’s how the system works. It’s called capitalism. But the oil is theirs. The natural gas is theirs. The pipelines are theirs. Not ours. Get over it!
Don’t kid yourself, it’s all about oil. Oil and power. The United States imperial ambitions are thoroughly marinated in oil, access to oil, and control of oil. Without oil, there’s no empire, no dollar hegemony, no overbloated, bullyboy military throwing weaker countries against the wall and extorting tribute. Oil is the coin of the realm, the path to global domination.
Putin has audacity to think that the oil beneath Russian soil belongs to Russia. Washington wants to change his mind about that. And that’s why the situation in Ukraine is so dangerous, because the voracious thirst for oil is pushing us all towards another world war.
The desperation of the Anglo-American leadership, guided by the steady corrupt banker hands, has never been more acutely high, nor obvious in full view. The entire Ukraine situation is a travesty. It includes Langley agents killing police and street demonstrators from rooftops, the confirmation coming from the Estonian Embassy (translation of scripts). It includes thefts of official Ukrainian Govt funds, again sent to the Swiss hill sanctuary. It includes sanctions delivered by a US Paper Tiger, sure to cause horrific backlash. It involves the last gasp attempt to obstruct the Gazprom energy pipelines, which will inevitably corner the European market in monopoly. It involves subterfuge with the NATO card (aka Narcotics And Treachery Outlaws) with missiles placed on the Russian borders. Look for NATO members to find a back door to exit the spurious treaty. It involves playing with nitro-glycerine in the Petro-Dollar room. It involves putting tremendous risk for much more clear isolation of the United States. The more the USGovt pushes, the more the US will be isolated. Remember that Nazis steal from their enemy states, de-fraud from their allied states, and force themselves into an isolated state. In Ukraine, the United States has over-played its weak hand. Already, a secret document was leaked in London that the UKGovt would not support the US-led sanctions against Russia.
History repeats itself from the Kremlin phone calls made during the Syrian conflict just a few months ago, when the UKGovt withdrew its support and left the US isolated, looking very weak. Already, Putin has threatened to dump USTreasury Bonds. Putin aptly calls the Anglo-Americans as Mutants. Imagine the lunacy of trying to cut off the only Russian warm water military naval port in the Crimea. Just as stupid as the Trans Pacific Partnership faux pas, trying to cut off China from its Asian neighbors and partners in trade. The intelligence level of the USGovt has never been more stupid, destructive, and in full view. The lost ground for the United States is obvious and glaring in the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Caucasus region.
IMMEDIATE PETRO-DOLLAR RISK
If the Kremlin demands Gold bullion (or even Russian Rubles) for oil payments, then the interventions to subvert the Ruble currency by the London and Wall Street houses will backfire and blow up in the bankster faces. Expect any surplus Rubles would be converted quickly to Gold bullion. If the Chinese demand that they are permitted to pay for oil shipments in Yuan currency, then the entire Petro-Dollar platform will be subjected to sledge hammers and wrecking balls. The new Petro-Yuan defacto standard will have been launched from the Shanghai outpost. If the Saudis curry favor to the Russians and Chinese by accepting non-USDollar payments for oil shipments, then the Petro-Dollar is dead and buried. The rise of the Nat Gas Coop run by Gazprom is in progress, its gas pipelines to strangle the OPEC and its bastard Petro-Dollar child. The entire USDollar foundation with the USTreasury Bond bank reserve structure is at risk is collapsing, as consequence to the desperate adventure and criminal activity conducted in Ukraine.Just like with Syria, a hidden giant energy deposit is concealed under the table. Off the Lebanese and Syrian coast, a massive off-shore energy deposit was recently discovered. The US & UK & Israeli oligarchs wish to take it all. Confusion is their game. In the western plains of Ukraine, a massive gas deposit was recently discovered. The US & European oligarchs wish to take it all. Confusion is their game.
The danger level has never been higher. No resolution to the Global Monetary War can come, which we have been seeking, without a climax. It is hardly just a financial crisis amidst a stubborn economic recovery. The nature of the currencies and their underlying sovereign bond foundation is highly toxic, which requires a strong replacement as solution, using an alternative to the USDollar alongside its reserve ledger item the USTreasury Bond. A return to the Gold Standard is coming, but the birth will have loud pangs and possibly broad damage suffered. The Global Currency Reset is better named the Return to the Gold Standard. The United States and London will not give up their control of the Weimar Printing Press easily, used for elite self-dole of extreme wealth. It has served well as the Elite credit card. They will not go quietly, and assume their place in the backwater without taking the world to the brink. No climax can occur without enormous risk and loss. The Global Paradigm Shift is in full gear, with attendant risk huge here and now. My Jackass firm belief is that the US/UK fascist team face a Waterloo event in Ukraine, the victim to be the Imperial Dollar. This bulletin will not be a comprehensive note, as the situation is too vast. The information in the Hat Trick Letter is used to interweave a story of the impending removal of the USDollar from its corrupt throne.
UNITED STATES TRAPPED AND CORNERED
The Anglo Americans have fallen into a carefully designed trap by the Russians and Chinese in a clever designed sequence. More Sun Tzu tactics have been put into practice, which utilize the momentum from the enemy to be thrust back on them. Planning for final steps must have taken place during high level Putin meetings with Xi from the elite Sochi viewing box. The unfolding of events has been more carefully engineered and orchestrated than what appears. The US/UK team has been caught in a vise for months, as the rejection of the USDollar as global reserve currency is in high gear, the refusal of the USTBond a recognized trend in diversifications. The death process is slow and grueling. Much of the American Hemisphere is surrounded and controlled by Russia & China, whether the canal, the port facilities, the oil supply, the mineral deposits, even Yuan Swap facilities. Africa has largely gone under Chinese control, with Russia playing a hidden role as well.
The Persian Gulf is in transition, with the critical protectorate role shifting to China. The Qatar royals have just ordered a dismissal of USGovt ambassadors from their nation. Note that Qatar is the site of a giant USNaval base. To be sure, the Sochi Olympic Games are over, a successful event. The gloves have thus come off. The risks have reached acute levels. The US leadership seems cavalier to the risks that over half the USGovt debt is in foreign hands, over 30% of it in Russian & Chinese hands. A severe backlash cometh. The most vulnerable player in the room is the most aggressive, arrogant, vile, and obnoxious. The instability of the situation is far beyond acute. The victim will be the USDollar and its sidekick the USTreasury Bond. The USTBonds will be kicked out of the global banking system. The Third World awaits the United States, for its domestic betrayals, its financial failures, its criminal deeds, and its war aggression.
THE RUSSIAN BACKLASH TO BE SUDDEN
Russian President Vladimir Putin will slam the West, and very soon. The initial salvo might be a natural gas cutoff by Gazprom, the Russian giant which has fast moved into the global monopoly position. Eventually, Putin might demand gold payment for the natgas in the captured pipelines, that being the plan according to The Voice. Russia supplies one quarter of Western European gas needs. It will be the opening salvo for Gold Trade Settlement, for which the Iran workarounds to the sanctions provided the critical prototype. Combined with a formal announcement of USTreasury Bond sales in volume by Russia & China, the impact would be tremendous, even devastating. The reverberation will be soon seen as the pending demise of the defacto Petro-Dollar Standard, dictated by crude oil sales in USD terms. It will also be soon seen as the end of the USTBond as the global reserve standard in banking systems. Notice for over two years, the primary buyer of USGovt debt (and its refunded rollover) has been the US Federal Reserve via bond monetization, an absolute heresy to central banking. Hyper monetary inflation cannot stand as fixed policy. The world has responded by constructing an alternative to trade settlement. The forum has been the BRICS conferences and the G-20 Meetings of finance ministers. The US & UK will gradually be excluded from both forums, a process well along. Even traditional allies like Japan are buying gold in high volume, with suppressed lowball data so far. This is game over for the USDollar, the direct victim of Ukraine backlash. The war against Russia has been veiled, but the Jackass has exposed it.
VEILED ATTACKS AGAINST RUSSIAN GAZPROM
First was the attack against Russian Gazprom in Cyprus. It was a hidden attack made to look like a bank confiscation event. Notice no bank account confiscations outside the small but important island nation. The entire Russian banking clearance system had been done through Cyprus. Also, Russia was making significant transactions to purchase Gold bullion using Cyprus as clearing house for the purchases. Second was the attack against Russian Gazprom in Syria, another complicated event. The US had used the Libyan Embassy as a weapons running facility (major diplomatic violation), after which the US lost Egypt as a transfer station on the weapons running. The false flag attack in Syria was made to look like a chemical weapons event. However, the Saudis were the guilty party. The motive by the US was to block the advance of Russian Gazprom pipelines, which are to connect to the vast Iran supply centers. Iran has far more oil & gas than Iraq. In fact, Iran is the linchpin nation, which will throw its support toward Russia. Iran will push the Nat Gas Coop certain to eclipse Saudi Arabia and the loud gaggle of OPEC members. With the Russian Gazprom, together Iran and the Nat Gas Coop will usher in the Petro-Yuan Standard and bury the Petro-Dollar, the price set by Russia, the contracts set in Shanghai. Thus the Saudis will be expendable, and their Gold in London to be totally stolen.
Move to the present. Third was the attack against Russia Gazprom in Ukraine, done by the CIA and its partner security agents from the small ally nation on the SouthEast Med corner. The old game of destabilization, popular uprising, bank thefts, and now data files stolen has been put into action. The theft of significant funds in Ukraine has only started, funds gone to Swiss banks. The full betrayal will be seen soon. The US & UK have a lunatic plan to corral the Ukraine pipelines and possibly the vast farmlands of Ukraine. The wrong-footed plan will backfire, when Putin cuts off the natgas supply to Europe, when Putin demands a new type of energy supply payment structure, and when Putin engineers certain other steps. They might execute a Nat Gas Coop double in price, much like the OPEC event in 1973. Witness the upcoming Birth of the Eurasian Trade Zone, the birth pangs heard in Ukraine. The United States and Great Britain will not be included. The Eurasian Trade Zone will span 14 time zones and will settle in gold.
IRAN WORKAROUND AS KEY PROTOTYPE SOLUTION
The Anglo Americans have disrupted a key nation with longstanding historical and religious ties to Russia. The land of Ukraine also contains Russia’s only warm water naval port in the Crimea, the site of a recent suspicious earthquake. The response will be swift and firm. The Eastern nations (led by China & Russia) have been making detailed preparations in the last couple years to launch the alternative trade system founded in Gold Settlement. Its launch lacks a potential open door trigger, possibly offered by the Ukraine situation. The Gold Standard could return in a baptism by fire. The open door trigger appears to be the Western interventions into Ukraine, since the Western banking structures will not be permitted to collapse, the ugly reality. The abuse of the central bank monetary expansion and fraudulent bond redemption has gone totally out of control, forcing an endless cycle of alternative preparations and motivated reactions, including the Iran workaround with Turkey as intermediary in gold provision. Other attacks have taken place in the last few months against the Russian Ruble by Wall Street firms. The reaction will possibly be the launch of what could eventually be understood to be a gold-backed Ruble currency, combined with natgas cutoffs to Europe and USTBond dumps. At first it could be perceived as the oil-backed Ruble, but its quick hidden conversion to Gold bullion could be revealed later on. The USDollar will be discarded as obsolete, even toxic. The USDollar debt basis might be widely accepted to be the cause of the global financial crisis, and the USFed Quantitative Easing be widely understood to be the cause of the global financial collapse.
EUROPE AS KEY REGION TO TIP EASTWARD
Events inside Western Europe could unfold rapidly. Behind the scenes, much is happening. The important German-French Axis is breaking down, weakened by each passing month and bailout exercise. The motive for much of the German support of bailouts and rescue plans, as faulty as they have been, is the oversized German ownership of both French Govt debt and big French banks. They will fail, both the French sovereign debt and the big French banks. Germany must undergo a split, with a restructure from the devastating damage due to Southern European sovereign debt and related big bank losses. At the same time, Germany is on the verge of turning East to Russia. Already Russia is a large energy and mineral supplier to Germany, the heavy railway facilities in place. The core of Nordic Europe is firm. Austria and Finland are aligned with the pragmatic forces in Germany and the Netherlands. Italy is being transformed, but Spain might be lost to chaos. Turkey is also undergoing change during chaotic reform. The entire NATO Alliance has never been weaker. The military action in Ukraine is framed as a supposed NATO exercise to honor a treaty. Watch the loose end like Turkey fall off the NATO wagon, while Finland falls off the Euro currency wagon. The Jackass is eager to see the Snowden NSA files reveal key data on the illicit usage of NATO bases for narcotics distribution, the origin being Afghanistan. What a bombshell it would be if Turkey announced that their government would no longer permit heroin shipments from USMilitary aircraft on their Incirlik Airbase.
A key player in the mix is Israel. They have a Tamar floating platform, whose natgas has been pledged under contract to Russian Gazprom. The tiny nation is possibly changing its alliances out of pragmatism, seeing its drained weakened host that has duly served its purpose. The next big step is for Western Ukraine to suffer the drain of remaining resources (financial and agricultural) to the West, using all the diplomatic tools the Euro Elite can muster. The people in the East will realize that they have been betrayed once more by the Western powers. This is the critical final step. Several swing nations will consequently align with Germany, if only to make being integrated by Russia less painful. During all the transitions, China will take care of Asia in this game. The remaining overriding question is whether the US & Britain will go quietly in the night of faded empires, or else to wreck the world with nukes and viruses. The main exports out of the United States and its royal handlers have been fraudulent bonds, military hardware, genetically modified food, fast food with diabetes, pharmaceuticals, surveillance software, computer viruses, and jamming software technology. Such is the nature of the fascist transformation.
RUSSIA CANNOT BE ISOLATED
The West is in for a gigantic surprise in the sequence of events to unfold. They have placed criminal oligarchs into top government positions in Ukraine. Doing so might suit the West but not the Ukrainian people. The political brain trust in Berlin shows extremely errant strategy, still kowtowing to the USGovt and London Elite in an incomprehensible manner. The West cannot isolate Russia, which is the latest absurd bone-headed strategy. They need Russia in vital ways that will become apparent when the West faces energy supply cutoff or forced Gold payments during an open global USDollar rejection. The US will quickly feel the lost Petro-Dollar gear mechanisms. China has already aligned itself beside Russia, which makes isolation impossible. Consider the Russian commodity supply and Chinese industrial power, the new axis to the Eurasian Trade Zone.
The West cannot continue to bully Russia & China. Poking a stick in the bear’s face will not work for long. Disrespecting the Chinese creditor is deep folly. The risk that coincides is for the two Asian superpowers to threaten or actually execute a dumping initiative of USTreasury Bonds, and force the United States to use its last card in a grotesque display of hugely amplified monetary expansion. The US would collapse by falling on its own sword, the event occurring in the Weimar chamber. A super high volume bond monetization machine to cover globally dumped USTBonds is a strong likelihood as climax event, with a broken derivative mechanism that is revealed during its fracture. The London banker murders (another Jackass correct forecast, made in mid-2011) indicate a motive to keep covered up the extreme $100 billion JPMorgan derivative losses at the hands of the London Whale Bruno Iksil, first sighted in May 2012. The accelerated hyper monetary inflation in response to Russian & Chinese joint retaliation would finally kill the USDollar. The echo event, born from failure, would be for the USGovt to launch the new split Scheiss Dollar. Then the USGovt could have its domestic currency finally, and then wreck it with an assured painful sequence of devaluations. The fundamentals for the US domestic only currency are truly horrible, typical of a Third World nation. Ukraine is about the last gasp of the USDollar. It has no viable defense.
UKRAINE AS WATERLOO FOR THE US DOLLAR
Ukraine is the Waterloo event for Team Obama and the Wall Street handlers, the true controllers of the White House puppet. Ukraine will lead to wreckage to the USDollar and its USTBond partner in crime. Witness the death of the USDollar and the Birth of both the Gold Trade Standard, on the new Eurasian Trade Zone landscape. Neither Russia nor China will cooperate on the IMF super sovereign reformed currency basket at this point, not during extreme hostility and conflict. Hope and pray for cooler heads to prevail, since already many serious military attacks have occurred with advanced weapons off the Syrian coast. The Western Press prefers to frame the Ukraine situation as one more curious Orange Revolution event staged in Eastern Europe, akin to the other deceptive Arab Spring events. The old Soviet Union was trapped years ago, forced to use hyper monetary inflation in defense, as the nation imploded financially. The United States is now trapped in an ironic parallel manner, and will be exposed for its heretic inflationary response that ramps up to obscene volumes, followed by financial implosion. In fact, the events from here onward are the final hurrah for the USDollar regime and the criminal cabal.
Now has never been a better time to own a big stack of gold & silver coins & bars, stored in a secure place outside the United States, outside England, outside Switzerland, even outside Canada. The people must defend against a climax of systemic failure, led by arrogance, stupidity, desperation, and delusion, even armed aggression. It remains to be seen whether the Kremlin has some secret allies who might emerge in time, from other worlds. But that is an entire other story to be told someday maybe. We earthlings will all find out soon enough. Times are changing fast, and better to be alert than to get hurt. The Global Currency Reset lies directly ahead, complete with its doubled Gold price and doubled Silver price. The Russians & Chinese are motivated to respond to a military prod, poke, and nudge by delivering a financial response. The rejection of the USDollar is near. The rapid diversification away from the USTreasury Bond is near. The arrival of the new Global Gold Standard is imminent.
Seyeda Zeinab, Syria – During a meeting at the Dama Rose hotel in Damascus the other morning, this observer was briefed by ‘Abu Modar,” a reputedly battle-honed field commander of the “Death Brigade,” a unit based in the northern Syria Eskanderoun region, north of Latakia. Abu Modar explained that he personally had chosen the rather peculiar name for his outfit to symbolize the willingness of its members to die for their cause—protecting Syria.
“Before each battle or each mission I ask my God to let me die defending Syria”, he explained. “If we are involved with a joint operation with Hezbollah, who are much admired because of their honesty and trustworthiness, I lead my men to the front line and ahead of Hezbollah troops out of respect for them and because we Syrians believe that as their grateful hosts we have this duty.”
The gentleman began explaining the history of his militia, one of thousands (both pro-and anti-government) operating in Syria these troubled days. It is a history that included some of his predecessors fighting with the PLO in Beirut during the summer of 1982, but as he was relating all this, his phone rang. The conversation was not long. The caller, he informed this observer upon ringing off, was his “contact,” advising him that certain intelligence sources had received information overnight that an individual had been observed in the vicinity of Zeinab’s shrine placing a parcel of explosives into a vehicle, presumably with the intention to detonate it near her resting place. This riveted my attention, in part because this observer was scheduled by chance to join an army escort the next day and visit the historic site, located about 40 minutes south of Damascus. Nearly two months ago the government regained control of the area, but there are still some snipers around, I had been apprised by friends. Abu Modar’s specific mission was to take some of his commandos and kick in the door of the suspect’s house sometime during the night, arrest him, and turn him over to someone for interrogation. His mission struck me as simple enough and he was matter of fact in outlining his plan.
“We do this sort of mission often. This is part of our expertise, and we do it whenever we are asked by Resistance friends and Syrian authorities. It spares the army for their normal work on battlefields, and our unit is specialized, and from long experience we have acquired certain useful skills.”
I demurred when he invited me to join him, explaining I was a bit out of shape and did not want to get in the way of his men’s work or potentially hamper their operation. But he insisted, saying that I could stay in his jeep and just observe, and he doubted that I would be in any serious danger. I was tempted to accept his invitation, and agreed to his proposal to meet after lunch to finalize our plans for that night’s outing. At this point, however, I called a trusted and knowledgeable Syrian friend, who knows a lot about these matters, and she seemed exasperated I would even consider tagging along with the Death Brigade.
“Absolutely not Franklin! Khalas! (finish!) You are visiting Seyeda Zeinab bokra with the army and you are not going with anyone else!”
Frankly, I was a bit relieved by my friend’s unequivocal counsel, and my new pal from the “Death” militia (who is acquainted with her) sportively understood. An interesting anecdote was at this point related by my interpreter: that Abu Modor had laughed and claimed a badge of honor upon recently being shown YouTube videos regarding his macho, George-Patton-style exploits in Qusayr, and in villages around Qalamoun, and rebel claims that he and his brigade were “the number one pro-regime murderers in Syria.” I might also mention that the “Death” unit is part of the not-well-known-in-the-West Popular Front for the Liberation of Iskanderun (PFLI), currently fighting rebels north of Latakia, in the mountains bordering Turkey, and whose forces have also periodically spent time guarding the resting place of Zeinab.
The geographical place name “Seyeda Zeinab” can be confusing for an untutored foreigner, the reason being that it may refer to a group of five small cities in the governorate of Damascus—Al Zeyabeya, Hujayr, Husseiniya, Akraba and Babila—or, alternately, to the sacred burial place and shrine for Zeinab bint Ali, the daughter of Ali, the first Shia Imam, and his first wife Fatima. Zeinab was also the granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the sister of Husayn and Hassan. Her shrine and pilgrimage destination are located in the small town of Seyeda (Lady) Zeinab, but given its fame, the name also refers to a wider area. As a holy shrine and place of prayer and scholarship, one imagines this place to be in the category of perhaps Qoms in Iran, and Najaf in Iraq. All three attract thousands of pilgrims and tourists, and since the area surrounding Seyeda Zeinab was liberated and essentially pacified by the Syrian Army recently, visitors are again arriving daily from countries including Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan and Lebanon, among others.
The Mayor of Seyeda Zeinab, this observer’s gracious host, is Mohammad Barakat, a Sunni engineer from Homs, roughly in his early 50’s. His staff is of mixed religious backgrounds, and, as with most Syrian citizens I have met over the past three years, was essentially blind to and uninterested in sectarian differences in existence before the current crisis. All the mayor’s staff members are working long hours these days, responding to numerous requests for post-liberation help, appeals which they try their best to accommodate with their limited available resources. My three-hour discussion with Mayor Barakat was interrupted perhaps as many as a couple of dozen times by the appearance of an aid often seeking his signature or mayoral stamp on citizen petitions covering anything from requests for food stuffs, problems with housing, or attempts to find employment with a municipal project now getting started.
In his bee hive of an office, the mayor used a pointer to highlight locations on a large wall map hanging next to his desk, the map illustrating areas where repair and construction projects are being readied. Mr. Barakat enthusiastically proclaimed, “2014 is the year we intend to start and finish area restoration work, and we take pride in the prospect that what we achieve here in Seyeda Zeinab can be a model for restoration work all over Syria that hopefully can begin soon.”
The Mayor of Seyeda Zeinab and staff members in front of the wall may illustrating plans to complete reconstruction of the area by the end of 2014 Photo: 2/25/14)
Barakat and three of his staff members accompanied this observer on an informative and inspiring tour of the Mosque and Shrine of Saeyda Zeinab. The shrine, our hosts informed us, is an example of Shia architecture, and the dome is made of pure gold. The grave of Zeinab is enclosed within a raised, crypt-like structure centered directly beneath the massive golden dome. The doors of the shrine are apparently also made of pure gold, with mirror works on the roof and walls. The minarets and the entrance gate of the holy shrine are covered with Iranian moarrahg tile designed by the famous Iranian architect and tile artist Ali Panjehpour. My colleague from the mayor’s office allowed me to finger one and explained that each 4 x 4 inch tile, of which there were hundreds of thousands in the complex, cost more than $100 USD. There is also a large mosque adjoining the shrine which this observer was advised can accommodate more than 1,300 people and a further 150 in the attached courtyards. The two tall minarets, one of which was damaged by a rebel mortar, dominate the architecture of the mosque as well as a large souk on the other side of a newly-built security wall.
In the cavernous nave of the Seyeda Zeinab, just next to the beautifully inlaid, elevated crypt holding her remains, approximately 50 men were performing mid-day Salat al Duhr prayers. Some were in camouflage uniforms and appeared to be on military leave or from the security units guarding the inside and perimeter of Zeinab’s Shrine.
This observer did not want to awkwardly press his hosts for details regarding the identities of the armed men guarding Seyeda Zeinab or where they are from. Some Western media sources have speculated that Shia fighters from Iraq and Lebanon came to Syria to protect Seyeda Zeinab following the desecration in Iraq of the tomb of Hajar Bin Aday. Several sites on the Internet published reports claiming that a takfiri group exhumed the tomb of Bin Aday, who was one of the most prominent Muslim leaders at the time of the Prophet Muhammad and who was loyal to Imam Ali bin Abi Talib. Bin Aday’s remains were reportedly taken to an unknown location. This observer infers that Hezbollah is currently a prominent presence guarding Seyeda Zeinab, and my Syrian companion noted Lebanese accents in the guard station at the entrance.
At the entrance to the women’s area, several women were praying and others appeared to be part of the shrine’s Women’s Auxiliary, or Guild, as they directed visitors while graciously assisting and providing female visitors with black chadors upon entering the sanctuary. One charming middle age woman, who appeared to be Iranian, smiled knowingly at me, and with a twinkle in her eyes jokingly offered this visiting American a chador as “a gift and souvenir from our Holy Shrine and from our community—to take back to your country, in appreciation of you not bombing us…yet!” And she laughed at her own joke, as did all who heard it, including the mayor, some nearby soldiers, and teen-aged visiting students.
Photo 2/25/14 shows the Gold Dome and the column that was damaged by a mortar round and the new security wall in the background.
Update on the capture of the bad person sought by Abu Modar
Well, did Abu Modar and his “Death Brigade” get their man?
They did indeed, and it was the night before this observer’s arrival at Seyeda Zeinab. Abu Modar detailed to this observer and a few of his militia guys the evening’s events as we made plans to leave the next morning for the Iskandroun region and an interview the PFLI President, Ali Kyali. The capture, it seems, came about not by kicking in the alleged bad guy’s door, American SWAT team-style. Rather, the suspect was stealthily followed and, during the early morning of 2/25/14, apprehended at one of the Syrian army checkpoints that surround the village of Seyeda Zeinab.
Such incidents make it clear that Seyeda Zeinab is still a target of some jihadist types given its great importance to Syria, the region, and among Muslims globally. Yet across sectarian divides here there are growing signs of the great majority of the exhausted populations being ready, to a degree, to forgive and forget at least some of the events of the past nearly 36 months.
Visiting Seyeda Zeinab is a wonderful, solemn, exhilarating and inspiring ecumenical experience—one highly recommended to all tourists planning to come to the Syrian Arab Republic as improving security conditions begin to allow for the return of international visitors.
May the Sainted Martyr, Zeinab bint Ali, whose life was devoted to charity and to nursing others, and who is a model for all humanity of resistance and defiance against oppression and all forms of injustice, forever rest in peace.
The big currency reset. It’s not a case of ‘if’ – it’s a case ofwhen.
Don’t expect your provincial Secretary of Treasury or Chancellor Exchequer to warn you about what is coming around the corner, because they are either too stupid to know, or too busy covering their own backsides.
To understand where we are, it’s very important to understand how we got here (another point which bureaucrats and backers do not want the general populace to know).
A quick history lesson then…
The Opposite of Emerging is Submerging
Lulled and distracted by the antics of developed country central banks and emerging economy central banks – to constantly “pump-up the jam” and flood the economy with paper casino chips from either Fort Knox or Mount Gox, the real tectonic shift of the global economy since 2008 has been more or less ignored by financial gurus and sages. It is taken as “normal” that deflation, ordisinflation is operating in the developed economies, but now we can see that rip-roaring inflation operating in the emerging economies.
Supposedly, this is ‘Muddle Through’, but since 2008 the North-South paradigm has all but dissolved – the developed OECD economies are locked in a death embrace with the Emerging economies. The developed economies are now locked into chronic globalization – exporting monetary inflation while importing cheap industrial goods, services and resources.
Since 2008 the always-promised ‘world shift’ of the economy from west to east, and from north to south has happened, but the net result is a shock. Pretending “we didn’t know” is comforting, but ultimately stupid.
This is an unstable equilibrium, or an interregnum – even a sideshow, because the current global economic context and process is the exact opposite of sustainable. Harm to both North and South is now the main impact of the post-2008 process of overreach and intense fiat paper shuffling. Listing the consequences and causes of this overreach is not easy and always open to argument, but possibly the best summary is to suggest that since 2008, ‘Ricardo’s comparative advantage‘ paradigm has been inverted. Economic and above all monetary globalization is now the path to ruin and poverty. From win-win to lose-lose. The worse it gets, expect the architects of ruin – establishment politicians, central bankers and financial pundits, to retreat into even deeper denial.
The Production Bubble That Triggers the Collapse
Another simple way to argue the global economy has overreached is that industrial and economic production capacity in the Emerging economies (EMs), starting with the BRICs, is now massively over-sized. This means the EMs can and will saturate the post-industrial, deflating North with industrial supply at every stage and opportunity as technology, design and product development throw up a new market openings everywhere. Examples like the car and cellphone, fashion wear and off-shore call center industries are relatively “classic”. All of these are already saturated with capacity – but the EMs are still adding more. Previous historical “classic examples” of this process for example included the ship building industry, but the scale paradigm has been woefully ignored.
BRAZILIAN SKILLZ: Production of top-line automobiles in Brazil has surpassed many of its ‘developed’ counterparts.
Since 2008, the process has intensified, creating an increasingly certain outlook for a forced and fiat end to the willingness of the EMs to accept the fiat currency endlessly printed to finance the deflating, de-industrializing DMs (developed economies).
This will not necessarily be a politicized process, of the type hinted at by India’s central bank governor (see http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/tag/raghuram-rajan/), due to the rapidity and scale of the crisis, but instead trigger the collapse of the current global fiat monetary orderdictated by national economic self-defence and survival in the EMs.
The economic jump start of the Ricardo model, which has run riot for the last quarter-century, and went into over-drived from 2008 – will be abandoned.
Deflation/Inflation: Two Sides of the Same Bitcoin
Ricardo’s original model held sunny Portugual as a producer of cork and sherry, while rainy England could produce wine casks from its oak forests and wool from its sheep flocks. The money used in a basically resource-based exchange using then-rapidly growing maritime transport capabilities was held to be stable and gold-linked (or based). Later on, low-cost labor resources were built into Ricardo’s paradigm called “comparative advantage”. The EMs since the 1980s have played the role of resource providers while the DMs were the solvent market suppliers.
While there was a clear limit on cork, wine, oak casks and woolens supply and demand, this does not really apply to modern global fiat money and modern industrial technology. These are high gain positive feedback processes which only stop when they hit a brick wall.
The Ricardo comparative advantage model does not apply to post-1980′s globalization and super economies – like those of China and India, where industrial technology has raced ahead of infrastructure development. This is simply a bomb waiting to explode, alongside the industrial capacity growth, the EMs engaged massive growth of credit, mushroom growth urbanization, neglect of the agriculture and food sector, and turning a blind eye to rampant or even “structural” corruption. Inflation was the sure and certain result.
The results do not stop there. While inflation took off inside the EMs, with their economies producing more than they can consume, and exporting to the DMs which consume more than they produce, the EMs are also exported deflation to the developed market economies. At the same time, the emerging market economies mined out their capital bases to maintain their breakneck growth of industrial capacity.
On an almost daily basis now, the EMs are all shifting to current account deficit with the inevitable consequences of national currency devaluation, further inflation, and of course – higher interest rates.
Win-Win to Lose-Lose: Global Fiat Currency Crisis
The post-1980′s economic globalization paradigm can be called an initial ‘Win-Win’ model which eventually morphed to Lose-Lose.
The industrial nations of the DMs, which formerly benefited from the resource nations of the EMs under the previous ‘Ricardo-type’ model, are now mired in debt and de-industrialization, making it impossible for them to “grow their way out of crisis”. The EMs on their present industrial expansion path can only grow themselves into rapidly-deepening crisis.
The “money-in-the-middle” especially concerns the US dollar and its subsidiary partner, theeuro, both of which are vastly overvalued fiat currencies – but against what? Almost inevitably, this will feature a big rebound for gold, playing the starring role of in this latest episode of “Canary in the Monetary Coal Mine”. From a personal standpoint, or national (for those who have any), physical gold and silver could end up providing solid protection against the exposure of a monetary reset.
Conversely, commodities are unlikely to profit on an enduring sustained basis, due to economic restructuring, re-centering and contraction being almost certain.
Commenting on the IMF’s latest report on global capital flows since 1980, Reuters on 30 January said that while the IMF estimates net capital inflows to emerging economies as $7 trillion or more only since 2005, this was a “legacy trend” hinged on the EMs running a much higher GDP growth differential above the DMs than present. The IMF report noted that for 2014, economic growth in the BRICs will go on declining, and for Russia and Brazil, they will be less even than the GDP growth of the US and Britain. While the IMF’s economists do not allow themselves to project break-of-series change to the global economy, the process of what Gordon T. Long calls “Global collateral impairment” can easily default as the net result of apparently ‘unrelated and complex’ runaway processes.
This collateral impairment will inevitably trigger multi-national currency protection measures, a situation already clear in countries like Turkey, India, Argentina and other EMs.
For DMs in the North, plans are likely already underway. Will the reset feature a brand new reserve currency, or the introduction a fledgling single global, or virtual currency? If so, what will it be backed by (or maybe it won’t). It’s hard to know right now, but a shift of that magnitude could provide for the introduction of something new in the mix.
It’s a case of problem, reaction, solution, and one can assume that this Hegelian equation has already been mapped out on the back of a napkin in an executive dining floor of the one of the world leading central banks, possibly written using Christine Lagarde’s lip stick.
As a result, sacrificing GDP growth to protect the national money in the EMs will be inevitable. In turn, this will send a severe shock wave North to the DMs ,which have surfed on the latter-day version of the Ricardo paradigm for the last 30 years, and are now left unable to adapt.
The basic conclusion is that a global monetary reset is now overdue.
There will be shock waves, and haircuts too.
Brace yourself for impact, because it’s coming.
Syrian Regime Solidifies Recent Gains…
Damascus – Since around Valentine Day and aided by truly magnificent warm weather for this time of year, the dozens of parks in Damascus have been receiving unusually large numbers of visitors, not least of whom are Syrian soldiers on leave, enjoying the green space with girlfriends, families and friends. At the large garden with dozen of benches and sculptures, called Al-Manshia (Presidents Bridge) public park, and located between two five-star hotels, the Dama Rose and the 4-Seasons, some soldiers, presumably from out of town and with many appearing utterly exhausted, can be seen simply laying on the grass fast asleep under the warm healing sunshine.
Soldiers joke, laugh and seem pleased when citizens approach them to offer their thanks for the army’s service to the Syrian Arab Republic and to inquire about how things are going personally and if there is some help the citizen might offer the soldier. Such is the nature of Syrian nationalism and connection with Mother Syria that this observer has remarked about before and is strikingly rare from his experience. I love my country but frankly do not feel the pride and deep connection that Syrians appear to exhibit about their country’s 10,000 year history as the cradle of civilization. I would defend my country and fight for it if there were to be a legitimate war which frankly has not been the case in my lifetime.
Over the past 30 months of frequent visits to Damascus, the city has never appeared more ‘normal’ Last night this observers was up all night reading and there was not one bombing run or mortar or artillery fire to he heard, a first for more than two years. For many months, I used to avoid the historic Al-Hamidiyah Souk, the largest and the central souk in Syria located inside the old walled city of Damascus next to the Umayyad Mosque, despite its hundreds of interesting shops. The reason I tended to stay away was because I was one of very few people meandering among the warren of stalls and felt self-conscious when shopkeepers would plead with me to buy something-anything to help feed their families many of whom lived near the labyrinth.
Today, Al-Hamidiyah Souk, if not frequented with the numbers of shoppers and visitors as it was before March 2011, it is nonetheless very crowded such that foreigners can pass unnoticed…well, sometimes for at least the first hundred yards or so. In Damascene neighborhoods, no longer do citizens quickly disappear into their homes at the first sign of dusk but the streets and many cafes are crowded well past 9 p.m.
“Quo Vadis Syrie”, (‘where is Syria heading’) one Damascus University classics major, turned international law student, asked this visitor as we both sat on the steps of the Law Faculty while enjoying a bit of sun yesterday afternoon. “Is our crisis nearly over so we can start re-building Mother Syria or do our enemies have other plans to destroy us? I worry that today’s calm will soon disappear with an arriving hurricane.” His comment was perhaps triggered by a certain sense here and more widely elsewhere that a forming “coalition of the willing” appears to be pressing for a ‘humanitarian’ No Fly Zone. Some American allies envisage and are making plans to implement, a NFZ stretching up to 25 miles into Syria which would be enforced using aircraft flown from Jordanian bases and flying inside the kingdom, according to Congressional sources.
Any NFZ would be very different from what is currently being promoted and advertised by certain war-mongers in Washington, Tel Aviv and several European capitals as well as among elements of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the League of Arab States. Post Round Two of Geneva II, the White House and the usual “bomb the bastards” coterie in Congress and among the US Zionist lobby, are said to be re-thinking the idea of a No Fly Zone (NFZ) for Syria. It would be planned and executed with US and a yet to be specified, “Coalition of the willing” using aircraft now at the ready in Jordan and Turkey to begin with.
Ranking with the fake “non-lethal aid” concept, in terms of cynical deception (virtually all “non-lethal” aid is indeed lethal for its facilitates certain forces killing others including night goggles, telecommunication equipment, GPS equipment, salaries, fake IDs and much else), a limited, ‘humanitarian’ NFZ would almost certainly became a bomb anything/person that moves ‘turkey shoot’ as was the case in Libya in 2011 as was studied and witnessed first-hand by this an many other observers. What we observed in the then, but no more, Al Jamahiriya (state of the masses), was that the misnomer ‘limited humanitarian Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P) promoted by Obama Administration UN Ambassador Susan Rice for Libya and now by her predecessor Samatha Power for Syria, was that a NFZ means essentially an all-out war for regime change at all costs in terms of expendable lives and treasury.
The Libya experience, conceding many differences between the two countries and their governments and quality of each country’s military, may be prologue for Syria. Backed by a U.N. Security Council mandate, NATO charged into Libya citing its urgent “responsibility to protect” civilians threatened by claimed bloody rampages occurring across the country. Within days, we witnessed the ‘limited carefully vetted’ targets bank turn from a promoted ‘several dozen purely military targets” into more than 10,000 bomb runs using over 7,700 ‘precision guided bombs” and from the ground and what we learned during weeks in Libya by victims and eye-witnesses it seemed at times that the targets were basically anything that moved or looked like it might have a conceivable military purpose of some sort.
Human Rights Watch documented nearly 100 cases of civilians being bombed and killed as part of the R2P campaign. Other estimates are several times the HRW published figures. To this day Libyan civilians and demanding to know from NATO, “Why did you destroy my home and kill my family?” No answer has to date been provided to the Libyan victims’ families despite investigations that showed NATO pilots frequently disregarded instructions and “we essentially bombed at if we were playing video games” according to post-conflict contrite British airman.
Susan Rice, now Obama’s national security adviser, met with Saudi officials last week to discuss a NFZ and related strategy despite White House claims that it is still skeptical. Rice told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee late last month that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are working together again on Syria policy after a year of occasional bitter disagreement.
Among those currently petitioning the Obama Administration for a NFZ, which would quickly devolve into thousands of bomb runs across Syria that would likely decimate its air force and tank corps are the so-called ‘rebels.’ They tend to agree with France that problems lay ahead for them given April’s fast approaching Presidential election, in which the incumbent President, Bashar Assad, is likely to seek and win re-election.
In addition, Israel, according to a Congressional source, has offered to help ‘behind the scenes” with airbases if needed and certain activities along the southern Syrian border with occupied Palestine. A majority of Arab League countries, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) plus Turkey, France, the UK and some members of the EU also support the NFZ idea. Saudi Arabia has already approved large quantities of Chinese man-portable air defense systems or Manpads as well as antitank guided missiles from Russia and more cash to help rebels oust the Assad regime, according to an Arab diplomat. Meanwhile, the US has upped its contribution to pay the salaries of preferred rebel fighters.
Ominously, the U.S. has already positioned Patriot air defense batteries and F-16 fighter aircraft in Jordan, which would be integral to any no-fly zone. The U.S. planes have air-to-air missiles that could destroy Syrian planes from long ranges. But officials have advised Congress that aircraft may be required to enter deep into Syrian air space if threatened by advancing Syrian planes. This could easily lead to all-out war with Syria and if Russia decides to provide advanced, long-range S-300 air defense weapons to Syria, it would make such a limited no-fly zone far more risky for U.S. pilots and it’s anyone’s guess what would happen next.
President Obama so far is keeping his own counsel as his Secretaries of Defense and State, current and former, and many other officials and politicians offer their advice for the White House ordering a NFZ. Hilary Clinton and General David Petraeus reportedly both favor a NFZ to ‘end this mess” in the words of the retired CIA Director.
To his great credit, Barack Obama appears so far to many on Capitol Hill to be reluctant to give formal approval to another NFZ as he was last summer when he resisted calls to launch a war against Syria as well as Congressional war-monger demands to go to war with Iran on behalf of the Netanyahu government. This week Mr. Obama acknowledged that diplomatic efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict are far from achieving their goals. “But the situation is fluid and we are continuing to explore every possible avenue including diplomacy.”
If President Obama extends his record of putting American interests first to three key decisions over the past six months, and if he sticks with diplomacy rather than launch all-out war with Syria, and potentially the allies of Damascus, via a NFZ, he just may be on his way to earning his prematurely awarded Nobel Prize.