لن ينالوا من بندقية شعبنا ولا إسفين بينها وبين الشعب

مايو 31, 2018

صابرين دياب

ودائماً، كلّ شيء مُسخَّر لاجتثاث المقاومة المسلحة وبعديد الأساليب، بالسلاح، بالثقافة، بالسياسة، بالحرب النفسية، بالاختراق المخابراتي، بالصهاينة العرب، بالتطبيع الفلسطيني، بالأنجزة ، بالمقاومة «السلمية السلبية»، قل ما شئت، اطلب ما تشاء، وما نريده فقط هو… لا مقاومة! هذا هدف الأعداء أو إنْ شئتَ، «الثورة المضادة.»

لن نعود طويلاً ولا تفصيلاً إلى الوراء، يكفي فقط أن نعيد للذاكرة بعض المحطات من جانب العدو:

«مبادرة» بيريس عام 1976 لإقامة كيان سياسي في الضفة وغزة، وقد تمّ رفضه.

بعد خروج قيادة م.ت.ف. من لبنان 1982 باستثناء بعضها، قال «جورج شولتس»، وزير خارجية العدو الأميركي وقتذاك: حان الوقت لـ «تحسين شروط معيشة الفلسطينيين»، أيّ أنّ القضية مجرد مسألة إنسانية، وليست قضية وطنية قومية سياسية، لكن أتت لاحقاً الانتفاضة، لتنسف كلّ هذا اللغو والتشفي.

ما كتبه نائب رئيس بلدية القدس المحتلة «ميرون بنفنستي» قبل اشتعال الانتفاضة الأولى عام 1987 : «إننا في ربع الساعة الأخير من انتهاء المقاومة، وعلى إسرائيل ان تعمل على هذا الأساس تجاه الضفة وغزة»، أيّ الابتلاع، واندلعت الانتفاضة الأولى بعد أيام، إذ قلبت المعادلة تماماً، ولم تكن الانتفاضة نضالاً سلمياً على نهج الأنجزة التي تباركها وتدعمها «السلطة الفلسطينية»، لا سيما في ريف رام الله وبيت لحم، وتصنيع رموز لها، بل النضال الجماهيري الحقيقي لا الشكلاني، الذي حلّ مؤقتاً محلّ نضال النخبة المسلحة، ولعب دور رافعة للكفاح المسلح.

Image result for ‫سلام الشجعان عرفات‬‎

كانت اتفاقات أوسلو تحت تسمية سلام الشجعان! وإنما هي «سلام المستجدّين»، ولكن الشعب ابتكر أساليب كفاحية عدة، سواء العمليات الاستشهادية، أو العمليات المسلحة الفنية الفردية الموجعة، أو الإضرابات المديدة عن الطعام في باستيلات الاحتلال، وجميعها كانت روافع للكفاح المسلح، إنه جدل الموقف الجمعي الشعبي مع نضال المفارز المسلحة، كطليعة.

ثم كانت الانتفاضة الثانية، والتي كُتب الكثير من الإدانة لممارستها الكفاح المسلح! وتمّت تسمية ذلك بـ «عسكرة الانتفاضة»، بغرض تقزيم النضال المسلح من قبل مثقفي الطابور السادس، وتنفير الناس منه وتكفيرهم به، لأنّ المطلوب دوماً، الذراع التي تطلق النار!

هذا إلى أن كان الخروج النسبي الصهيوني من قطاع غزة تحت ضغط المقاومة، او إعادة الانتشار الصهيوني على حواف القطاع، الأمر الذي حوّل غزة إلى بُندُقة يصعب كسر بندقيتها.

وأما التالي، فأطروحات متضادّة… بالضرورة :

منذ اتفاقات اوسلو على الأقلّ، والتي هي بمثابة ضمّ الضفة الغربية بالتدريج، مقابل رشى مالية ريعية، لشريحة من الفلسطينيين، أيّ ريع مالي مقابل مساومات سياسية. وهذا أحد المشروعات التصفوية، ثم تبع ذلك الضخ الإيديولوجي الهائل، في مديح «السلام العادل»! ولم تتورّط في هذا، قيادة م.ت.ف. وحدها، بل الكثير من المثقفين الفلسطينيين او الطابور السادس الثقافي، من ليبراليين وما بعد حداثيين ومتغربنين ومتخارجين، ناهيك عن كثير من المثقفين العرب وكثير من الحكام طبعاً، وتواصل تسويق الفلسطيني «كمؤدّب، ناعم، حضاري إلخ…»، وجرى ضخّ أموال كثيرة في الضفة الغربية، كي تُطفئ الشحنة الوطنية في الجماهير، لدفع المجتمع نحو الشره الاستهلاكي، ولو حتى بالوقوع تحت عبء القروض وفوائدها، وخاصة قروض الرفاه والاستعراض الاستهلاكي، وعامل تقليد الفقير للغني، والعالمثالثي للغربي!

زُرعت في رحم الوطن مئات منظمات الأنجزة، وتمتعت بإمكانيات هائلة، وامتصّت العديد من اليساريين الجذريين ليصبحوا دُعاة سلام! وينضمّوا إلى شريحة تعتمد على الريع الأجنبي كتحويلات من الخارج، لتصبح شريحة العائدات غير منظورة، وجرى تسويق أطروحة الحزب الشيوعي الإسرائيلي والجبهة الديمقراطية للسلام والمساواة المنبثقة عنه، عن «السلام العادل»، وحل الدولتين، واحدة سيدة استعمارية وأخرى مسودة وتابعة، وأطروحات لآخرين مثل «دولة لكلّ مواطنيها» لصاحبها عزمي بشارة وحزبه،

ووصل الأمر إلى طرح مشروع الدولة الواحدة بين المستعمِر والمستعمَر، وهي ليست سوى دولة لكلّ مستوطنيها! وترافق مع كلّ هذا الضخ الإعلامي لصالح ما تسمّى «المقاومة السلمية».

لكن المقاومة السلمية، لها مضمونان:

الاول.. المضمون الاستسلامي، الذي يرفض ويعاقب ويقمع أية مقاومة مسلحة، والذي يمكن تلخيصه في ما كتبه د. صائب عريقات «الحياة مفاوضات»،

Image result for ‫«الحياة مفاوضات»، صائب عريقات‬‎

وردّ عليه أحد العروبيين «الحياة مقاومة»، ولا يُخفى، انّ المفاوضات لم تصل فقط إلى طريق مسدود، بل تمّ انتزاعها من أيدي الفلسطينيين لصالح الأنظمة العربية المعترفة بالكيان الصهيوني، بل بعضها متآمر على القضية. بإيجاز، وقف هذا النهج ضدّ أيّ كفاح مسلح فلسطيني في أيّ مكان كان، والتوجه حتى الآن، إلى أمم العالم للتضامن مع هذا النمط الاستسلامي من المقاومة! في محاولة للتبرّؤ، بل ونفي، الكفاح المسلح ليبدو كما لو كان إرهاباً!!

والثاني.. المضمون المقاوم، الذي يرفض المفاوضات، ويرفد الكفاح المسلح، ويضاد الأنجزة، ويتبادل الأدوار، طبقاً للتكتيك مع الكفاح المسلح، ويعتبر نفسه جزءاً من محور المقاومة، ويعمل على شق مسارات جديدة، سواء في تحشيد الشارع العربي أو التضامن الأممي، لتكريس حقيقة، أنّ التحرير هو الطريق للمقاومتين الرديفتين، الشعبية السلمية والكفاح المسلح.

يمكننا اعتبار معركة خلع البوابات الإلكترونية في القدس، التي هدفت الى أسر المسجد الأقصى، مثالاً على المقاومة الشعبية السلمية، ذات الطابع التضحوي والصدامي. وقد أخذت هذه المقاومة تجلّيها الأوضح والأوسع، في الحراك الشعبي السلمي في قطاع غزة منذ شهر ونصف الشهر، ولم تتوقف الا بتحقيق مطالبه، ولكن، بينما المقاومة الشعبية السلمية تبتكر أنماطاً جديدة لمواجهة العدو، يقوم دُعاة المقاومة السلمية السلبية، بتلغيم هذه المقاومة بشعاراتهم التصفوية مثل «السلام العادل»، و»حلّ الدولة الواحدة»، و»حلّ الدولتين» ويتظاهرون إعلامياً انتصاراً لغزة !!..

وعليه، فإنّ اللحظة الراهنة الساخنة، تشترط الوقوف في وجه تمييع المقاومة الشعبية السلمية الحقيقية والجذرية، ومحاولات امتطائها وتطويعها لصالح الاستسلام، وخاصة حيث أخذت تنجز هذه المقاومة الحقيقية تضامناً في العديد من بلدان العالم على المستوى الشعبي خاصة.

لقد أعاد حراك غزة، مسألة التحرير إلى الأجندة الكفاحية بعد أن تمّ خصي النضال الفلسطيني، في استعادة المحتلّ 1967، وتبني الاستدوال بدل التحرير، وفي تبني شعار العودة فقط تحت راية الكيان الصهيوني، وهي الخديعة التي تورط فيها الكثير منذ عام 1948.

وعود على بدء، فإن إطراء المستوى السلبي من المقاومة السلمية مقصود به، التكفير بالمنظمات المسلحة والتطاول عليها، ونفي اية إيجابية للكفاح المسلح، وإطراء المقاومة الناعمة ضد العدو، وهي جوهرياً، استجدائية إحباطية لا تخرج عن إيديولوجيا استدخال الهزيمة.

ما من شك، في أنّ ثمة شهوة وغاية للمحتلّ، بتشويه صورة الكفاح السلمي الحقيقي الذي يمقته ويبغضه هو وكثير من العرب وبعض الفلسطينيين للأسف، لأنه ظهر الكفاح المسلح القوي، ولعل ما اقترفه الاحتلال بحق سفينة الحرية امس الاول، يؤكد مدى خشيته من مسألة التضامن العالمي مع الشعب الفلسطيني، ومن ناحية أخرى، تجري محاولات لسرقة حراك غزة على أيدي الاستسلاميين والأنجزة، وتوجيه النقد للمنظمات المسلحة المقاومة، بيد أن ما حدث في اليومين الأخيرين، قد أكد أنّ الحراك السلمي في غزة وهو شعبي لا شك، في أنه رديف بل من اشتقاقات الكفاح المسلح، ولا سيما بعد رشقات الصواريخ ضد الجزء الجنوبي المحتل من فلسطين، وصولاً إلى عسقلان.

حتى كتابة هذه المقالة، راجت أخبار عن دور رسمي مصري «لإطفاء النار»! ليس هذا موضوع نقاشنا، ولكن هذا الدور، هو الشرح البليغ للحال الرسمي العربي، وهو ما يجدر أن يحفزنا لاستعادة الشارع العربي، الذي حُرم من التقاط واحتضان الانتفاضة الأولى، حيث تمّ الغدر بها قبل أن تكون بداية ربيع عربي حقيقي، فهل سينجحون في اغتيال حراك غزة؟ يجب أن تُفشِل غزة ذلك.

بقي أن نشير إلى أنّ المقاومة الشعبية السلمية الحقيقية، اللاشكلانية واللاتمييعية للنضال الوطني، هي رافد المقاومة المسلحة، وهما معاً جناحا حرب الشعب، ضمن محور المقاومة، وهكذا، لن يتمكنوا من كسر فوهة البندقية.

مناضلة وكاتبة فلسطينية في الأراضي المحتلة

الأنجزة – ngo مصدر الاشتقاق اللغوي – وهي منظمات مموَّلة من الغرب «أوروبا وأميركا»، باسم خبيث – منظمات غير حكومية – كي تخفي علاقتها بالغرب، وتدّعي التنمية كذباً وتبتلع الثوريين بالمال. وتسميتها الكاملة بالانجليزية:

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Presidential Decree On national objectives and strategic tasks of Russian Federation’s development in the period up to 2024

May 28, 2018

translation by Miles for the Saker Blog

P R E S I D E N T OF R U S S I A N F E D E R A T I O N

DECREE № 204

Signed 07 May 2018

On national objectives and strategic tasks of Russian Federation’s development in the period up to 2024

To facilitate breakthrough scientific, technological and socio-economic development of Russian Federation, increase of population, increase of standard of living, creation of comfortable living environment and to create conditions and opportunities for self-realization and development of talents of every person, I hereby ORDER:

1. Government of Russian Federation to ensure attainment of following national objectives of development of Russian Federation in the period up to 2024:

a) Securing sustained natural growth of population in Russian Federation;

b) increasing life expectancy to 78 years (by 2030 – to 80 years);

c) Securing sustained growth of citizen’s real income, as well as growth of pensions above the level of inflation;

d) halving the poverty rate in Russian Federation;

e) Improving living conditions of no less than 5 million families per year;

f) acceleration of technological development of Russian Federation, increasing in the number of organization implementing technological innovations to no less than 50 percent of the total number of organizations;

g) ensuring accelerated implementation of digital technologies in economy and social sphere;

h) securing the Russian federation’s place amongst the top five world economies, ensuring economic growth at a rate above world average while sustaining macroeconomic stability, which includes keeping inflation rate at a level not higher than 4 percent;

i) creation of high-productive export-oriented subsector in basic sectors of economy, first of all in manufacturing and agriculture industries. Such subsector should be manned by highly-skilled personnel and develop on the basis of modern technologies;

2. Government of the Russian Federation is to:

a) adopt by 1 of October 2018 General Directions of activities of Government of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2024, as well as Projection of socioeconomic development of Russian Federation for the same period, establishing mechanisms and resourcing for attainment of national objectives specified in paragraph 1 of this Decree;

b) develop (amend) according to national objectives specified in paragraph 1 of this Decree, in conjunction with federal and regional public authorities and present for review by Presidential Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects by the 1 October 2018 national projects (programmes) in following areas:

Demography

Healthcare

Education

Housing and urban environment

Ecology

Safe and high-quality roads

Labor productivity and support of employment

Science

Digital economy

Culture

Small and medium-sized business and support of sole proprietorship

International cooperation and export.

3. Government of the Russian Federation while preparing national programme of demographic development must proceed from the necessity to ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Increase of healthy life expectancy to 67 years;

Increase of total fertility rate to 1,7;

Increase of percentage of citizens leading healthy lifestyle, as well as increase the percentage of citizens systematically engaged in physical fitness and sports;

b) Completion of following tasks:

Implementation of mechanism of financial support of families at the childbirth

Creation of conditions for employment of women with children, including 100 percent availability of preschool education facilities for children below age of 3 (by 2024);

Development and implementation of programme for systemic support and increase of quality of life for citizens of senior generations;

Creation of system of motivation for citizens to lead a healthy lifestyle, including healthy diet and rejection of unhealthy habits;

Creation of conditions for all groups and categories of population to engage in physical fitness activities, sports, mass sports, including increase of availability of sport infrastructure, as well as preparation of sports reserve.

4. Government of the Russian Federation while preparing national project for healthcare must proceed from the necessity to ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Lowering mortality rate amongst working-age population (to 350 cases per 100,000 population), mortality rate from circulatory system diseases (to 450 cases per 100,000 population), mortality rate from tumors, including malignant ones (to 185 cases per 100,000 population), infant mortality rate (to 4,5 cases per 1000 births);

Elimination of personnel deficit in primary medical care facilities;

Ensuring annual preventive medical examination coverage for all citizens;

Ensuring optimal availability of primary medical care facilities for population (including residents of settlements situated in remote areas);

Optimization of work of primary medical care facilities, reducing wait time for citizens in said facilities, simplifying procedures for setting up appointment with a doctor;

Increasing volume of exported medical services no less than fourfold compared to 2017 level (to 1 billion USD annually);

b) Completion of following tasks:

Completion of development of primary medical facilities’’ network with use of geospatial information system for the purposes of healthcare, given the need to build out-patient medical facilities and midwife centers in settlements with population between 100 and 2,000 as well as taking into account use of mobile medical complexes in settlements with population below 100;

5. Government of the Russian Federation while preparing national project for education must proceed from the necessity to ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Ensuring global competitiveness of Russian education, securing Russia’s place amongst top ten leading countries for quality of general education;

Raising harmoniously-developed and socially responsible individuals on the foundation of moral and spiritual values of peoples of Russia

b) Completion of following goals:

Implementation of new educational methods and technologies on all levels of basic and secondary general education, which should ensure successful development of basic skills and abilities, increase students’ motivation to learn and level of their involvement in the process of education, as well as updating the content and perfecting methods of education in “Technology” educational domain;

Creation of effective system for identifying, support and development of talents and abilities of children and youth, based on the principles of justice and universality and which objectives should be self-determination and vocational guidance of all students;

Creation of conditions for early development of children below age of three, implementation of a program for psychological, pedagogical, methodological and consultative assistance to parents, whose children receive in-family pre-school education;

Creation of modern and safe digital environment for education, which ensure high quality and accessibility of all types and levels of education;

Implementation of national system for professional growth of teaching staff, encompassing no less than 50 percent of teachers in general-education schools;

Modernization of vocational education, including by implementation of adaptive, practical-oriented and flexible educational programs;

Creation of a system for constant updating of professional knowledge by employed citizens, as well as for learning new professional skills, including obtaining expertise in the area of digital economy by all who willing;

Creation of a system of vocational contests with objectives to provide citizens with opportunities for professional and career growth;

Creation of conditions for development of mentorship, support of civil initiatives and projects, including in the area of volunteering;

Doubling the number of foreign nationals receiving education at Russian high education and science facilities, as well as implementation of set of measures to employ best of them in Russian Federation.

6. Government of the Russian Federation while preparing national project for housing and urban environment must proceed from the necessity to ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Provision of affordable housing for families with average income (including creation of an option to buy (build) housing with use of mortgage with interest rate below 8 percent;

Increase of housing construction volume to no less than 120 million square meters annually;

Radical increase of the comfort level of urban environment, increase of index for quality of urban environment for 30 percent, halving the number of cities with adverse urban environment as calculated in said index;

Creation of mechanism for direct citizen participation in creation of comfortable urban environment, increase of proportion of citizens participating in resolving the matters of urban environment to 30 percent;

Ensuring steady decrease of housing stock that is unsuitable for a living;

b) Completion of the following tasks:

Perfecting mechanisms of financing housing construction, including development of mortgage securities market and gradual shift from attracting funds into participatory construction of apartment buildings and other real estate objects to other forms of financing housing construction, which should ensure citizen rights’ protection and reduction of risks for them;

Modernization of construction industry and increase of quality of industrial construction of housing, including through imposing restrictions on use of obsolete technologies and through promotion of implementation of cutting-edge technologies in design and construction, perfecting of the mechanisms of state support for construction of standard housing;

Decrease of administrative burden on developers, perfecting legal framework and procedures of regulating housing construction activities;

Ensuring efficient use of lands for purpose of mass housing construction under conditions of preservation and development of green funds and territories that contains objects of ecological, historic and cultural, recreational, wellness or other importance;

Creation of mechanisms for development of comfortable urban environment, complex development of cities and pother settlements with taking into account index of quality of urban environment;

Creation of mechanisms of resettlement of citizens from housing that is unsuitable for a living, which should ensure observation of housing rights as stated by laws of Russian Federation;

7. Government of the Russian Federation while preparing national project for ecology must proceed from the necessity to ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Effective managements od industrial and consumer waste, including elimination of all unsanctioned dump sites within cities’ limits, identified as such by 01 January 2018;

Radical decrease of atmospheric air pollution in large industrial centers, including decrease of aggregate amount of air pollution emissions in most polluted cities by no less than 20 percent;

Increase of quality of drinking water, consumed by population, including for residents of settlements that do not have modern systems of centralized water supply;

Ecological rehabilitation of water bodies, including river Volga and preservation of unique water systems, including lakes Baikal and Teletskoe;

Preservation of biological diversity, including via creation of no less than 24 specially protected natural areas;

b) Completion of the following goals:

Creation of comprehensive system of solid household waste management, including elimination of dump sites and recultivation of lands where it was situated, creation of conditions for recycling of all industrial and consumer waste, disposal of which are prohibited;

Creation and efficient operation of a system for civil control, aimed at identification and elimination of unsanctioned dump sites throughout territories of all constituents of Russian Federation;

Creation of modern infrastructure for safe management of waste with first and second hazard classes, and elimination of most hazardous objects of accumulated environmental damage;

Implementation of comprehensive plans for lowering air pollution emissions in big industrial centers, including cities Bratsk, Krasnoyarsk, Lipetsk, Magnitogorsk, Mednogorsk, Nizhniy Tagil, Novokuznetsk, Norilsk, Omsk, Chelyabinsk, Cherepovets and Chita, with taking into account summary calculations for permissible negative environmental impact in each of those cities;

Ensuring use of a system of environmental management based off best available technologies by all object with significant negative environmental impact;

Increasing the quality of drinking water via modernization of water supply system with use of prospective technologies of water preparation, including technologies developed by military-industrial complex;

Environmental rehabilitation of water bodies, including implementation of project, aimed at three-fold decrease of proportion of contaminated wastewater, discharged into river Volga, sustainable operation of water management complex of Lower Volga and preservation of Volga-Akhtuba floodplain’s ecosystem;

Preservation of unique water bodies, including implementation of project for preservation of lake Baikal and measures for litter-cleaning coasts and coastal zones of lakes Baikal, Teletskoe, Ladoga, Onega and of rivers Volga, Don, Ob, Yenisei, Amur, Ural, Pechora;

Preservation of biological diversity, including increasing acreage of specially protected natural areas, by 5 million hectares, reintroduction of rare animal species, creation of infrastructure for environmental tourism in national parks, as well as preservation of forests, including via reforestation of all areas where forests has been cut down or otherwise destroyed;

8. Government of the Russian Federation while preparing national project for creation of safe and high-quality toads must proceed from the necessity to ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Increase of proportion of regional roads meeting statutory requirements in their total length to no less than 50 percent (compared to their length as at 31 December 2017), as well as well as adoption of said requirements by regional public authorities, which should be based on federal-level requirements for road safety;

Decrease of share of overloaded federal and regional roads by no less than 10 percent in their total length as compared to 2017;

Twofold decrease in number of accident concentration sections (accident-prone areas) of road network as compared to 2017;

Decrease of road accidents –related mortality by a factor of 3,5 as compared to 2017 – to a level not exceeding 4 deaths per 100,000 population (zero mortality by 2030);

b) Completion of the following tasks:

Increasing proportion of roads meeting statutory requirements in biggest urban agglomerations to 85 percent of their total length;

Adoption of new mechanisms of development and maintenance of road network, including use of infrastructural mortgage, life-cycle contracting and best technologies and materials;

Increasing disbursement rate to regional budgets for revenues from excise duties on fuel and lubricants to 100 percent;

Implementation of publicly accessible system for control of accumulation and spending of road funds on all levels (in 2019);

Creation of mechanisms of economic stimulation of preservation of regional and municipal roads;

Implementation of new technological requirements and standards for outfitting the roads, including standards based on digital technologies, aimed at elimination of accident concentration sections;

Implementation of technologies for automation and robotization of traffic management and traffic rules compliance oversight;

Increasing penalties for drivers who violate traffic rules, as well as increasing requirements for the level of their professional training;

9. Government of the Russian Federation while executing in tandem with regional public authorities national programme for labor productivity and support of employment must ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Increase of labor productivity on middle and big-sized enterprises of basic non-resource-based sectors of economy by no less than 5 percent annually;

Bringing into participation in aforementioned programme at least 10 regions of Russian Federation annually;

Bringing into participation in aforementioned programme at least 10,000 middle and big-sized enterprises of basic non-resource-based sectors of economy;

b) Completion of the following tasks:

Stimulating implementation of cutting-edge management, organizational and technological solutions for increase in labor productivity and equipment modernization, including via tax preferences;

Reducing statutory and administrative limitations which prevents labor productivity growth, as well as phase out of non-productive and obsolete jobs;

Creation of a system for methodological and organizational support of labor productivity growth at enterprises;

Creation of a system for personnel training aimed at teaching of foundations of labor productivity growth, including via use of digital technologies and platform solutions.

10. Government of the Russian Federation while preparing national project for science must proceed from the necessity to ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Ensuring Russia’s place amongst top five leading countries, conducting scientific research and development in areas, defined by priorities of scientific development;

Ensuring attractiveness of work in Russia for leading Russian and foreign scientists and promising young researchers;

Accelerated growth of domestic spending from all sources for scientific research and development as compared to country’s GDP growth;

b) Completion of the following tasks:

Creation of cutting-edge infrastructure for scientific research and development and innovation activities, including creation and development of network of unique research facilities of Megascience class;

Modernization of no less than 50 percent of instrument base of leading facilities conducting scientific research and development;

Creation of world-class scientific centers, including networks of international mathematics centers and centers for genomic research;

Creation of no less than 15 world-class research and education centers, based on integration of universities and research facilities and their cooperation with organizations of real economy;

Creation of comprehensive system for training and professional growth of scientific and pedagogical personnel, aimed for creation of conditions for conducting scientific research and development by young scientists, creation of research laboratories and competitive science teams;

11. Government of the Russian Federation while executing in tandem with regional public authorities national programme “Digital Economy of Russian Federation” must ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Threefold increase in domestic spending (calculated as proportion of GDP) from all sources for development of digital economy as compared to 2017;

Creation of sustainable and safe information and telecommunication infrastructure for high-speed transfer, processing and storage of big amount of data, accessible by all organizations and households;

Predominant use of domestic-made software by public and municipal authorities and organizations;

b) Completion of the following tasks:

Creation of legal framework for digital economy, based on flexible approach to each sphere, including implementation of civilian circulation in sphere of digital technologies;

Creation of global competitive infrastructure for transfer, processing and storage of data, predominantly on basis of domestic developments;

Ensuring training of high-quality personnel for digital economy;

Ensuring informational security on the basis of domestic developments which ensure protection of interests of individual, organization and state during transfer, processing and storage of data;

Creation of cross-cutting digital technologies, predominantly on the basis of domestic developments;

Implementation of digital technologies and platform solutions in areas of public administration and provision of public services, including for the benefit of population, small and medium sized businesses, including sole proprietors;

Transformation of high-priority sectors of economy and social sphere, including healthcare, education, industry, agriculture, construction, urban environment, transport and energy infrastructure, financial services through implementation of digital technologies and platform solutions;

Creation of comprehensive system for financing project for development and/or implementation of digital technologies and platform solutions, including venture financing and other development institutions;

Development and implementation of national mechanisms for coordinated digital economy development policies implementation between states – members of Eurasian Economic Union;

12. Government of the Russian Federation while preparing national programme for culture must pay special attention to necessity to:

a) Strengthening of Russian civic identity as based on spiritual, moral and cultural values of Russian peoples;

b) Creation (reconstruction of museum complexes and complexes for cultural education, including concert halls, theatrical, musical, choreographical and other creative arts schools, as well as exhibition spaces;

c) Providing children’s schools and colleges for music, artistic and choreographical schools and colleges and creative arts schools with necessary equipment and materials;

d) Supporting youth talented in music, including through creation of National Youth Symphony Orchestra;

e) Creation (reconstruction) of club-type organizations for cultural recreation in rural settlements, development of municipal libraries;

f) Creation of virtual concert hall in no less than 500 cities of Russia;

g) Creation of conditions for screening of national movies in settlements with population below 500,000;

h) Professional training for personnel in field of culture;

i) Modernization of regional and municipal youth theaters and puppet theaters through reconstruction and capital repairs;

j) Support of volunteer movements, including in the field of preservation of cultural heritage;

13. Government of the Russian Federation while executing in tandem with regional public authorities national project for development of small and medium sized businesses and support of sole proprietorship must ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following benchmark figure: increase in number of employed in the area of small and medium sized business, including sole proprietors to 25 million people;

b) Completion of the following tasks:

Improvement of conditions for doing business, including simplification of tax reporting for entrepreneurs, who use cash-register equipment;

Creation of a digital platform for support of production and marketing by small and medium sized businesses, including sole proprietors;

Perfecting of the system of procurement used by biggest contractors to buy from small and medium sized businesses, including sole proprietors;

Simplifying access to concessionary financing, including annual growth in volume of soft loans provided to small and medium sized businesses, including sole proprietors;

Creation of a system for acceleration of small and medium sized businesses, including sole proprietors, which include infrastructure and support services and their accelerated development in the areas of betterment of urban environment, science and technology, social sphere and ecology;

Modernization of the support system for small and medium sized businesses, including sole proprietors, who engage in export trade, increase of proportion of such exporters in total volume of non-resource exports to no less than ten percent;

Creation of a support system for farmers and development of agricultural cooperation;

Creation of favorable conditions for self-employed citizens through creation of a new taxation scheme which should include automated transmission of sales information to tax authorities of the Russian Federation as well as unified payments on proceeds which should include social insurance contributions;

14. Government of the Russian Federation while preparing national programme for development of international cooperation and exports must proceed from the necessity to ensure by 2024:

a) Attainment of the following objectives and benchmark figures:

Creation of global competitive non-resource-based sectors in manufacturing industry, agriculture and service industry, total share of exported goods and services from which must be no less than 20 percent of country’s GDP;

Reaching volume (in monetary terms) of exported non-resource non-energy related goods and services of no less than 250 billion USD annually, including engineering goods – 50 billion USD annually, agriculture products – 45 billion USD annually, as well as exported services – 100 billion USD annually;

Creation of effective system for division of labor and production cooperation inside Eurasian Economic Union for reasons of increasing trade volume between member states of the Union by a factor of 1,5 and increase of volume of cumulative mutual investments by a factor of 1,5;

b) Completion of the following tasks:

Directing industrial, agriculture and trade policies, including mechanisms of state support, towards achievement of international competitiveness of Russian goods and services to ensure their presence on external markets;

Reducing administrative hurdles and procedures in the area of international trade, including cancellation of excessive licensing requirements for exports and in the area of foreign exchange controls, creation (by 2021) of “one stop window” system for interactions between international trade actors and supervisory authorities;

Completing creation of a set of flexible financial instruments for support of exports (by 2021), including extended pre-export, export and equity financing, leasing and long-term support measures;

Elimination of logistical limitations for exporting goods through use of railroads, motor and sea transportation, as well as construction (modernization) of State border crossing points;

Creation of unified system of institutions for export promotion, which should include modernization of Commercial Missions of Russia;

Completion of creation of common markets for goods, services, capital and labor force inside Eurasian Economic Union, including final elimination of barriers and limitations, cancellation of exceptions in economic cooperation, while simultaneously intensifying the use of mechanisms for joint projects activity.

15. Government of the Russian Federation to prepare in accordance with Strategy of spatial development of Russian Federation in collaboration with regional public authorities and by 01 October adopt a comprehensive plan of modernization and expansion of backbone infrastructure, which should ensure by 2024:

a) Development of “West-East” and “North-South” transport corridors for cargo transportation, through, among others:

Construction and modernization of Russian sections of automotive roads related to “Europe – West China” international transportation route;

Increase of capacity of Russian seaports, including ports of Far Eastern, North-Western, Volga-Caspian and Azov-Black sea basins;

Development of Northern Sea Route and increase flow of goods through it to 80 million tons;

Reduction of travel time by railroads for cargo containers, in particular, on route from Far East to western border of Russia to seven days, as well as fourfold increase in the volume of transit container cargo, transported by railroads;

Creation of nodal multimodal cargo transport and logistics centers;

Increase of carrying capacity of Baikal/Amur and Trans Siberian railways by a factor of 1,5 to 180 million tons;

Increase in carrying capacity of railway links to seaports of Azov/Black sea basin;

b) Increase of a level of economic interconnectedness throughout territory of Russian Federation via expansion and modernization of railway, air, road, sea and river infrastructure, including:

Gradual development of transport linkages between regional administrative centers and other cities driving economic growth, including elimination of infrastructural limitations on territories with economic development potential, adjacent to such transport linkages;

Reconstruction of regional airports’ infrastructure and expansion of network of inter-regional regular passenger aviation routes bypassing Moscow to 50 percent of all internal regular air routes

Creation of foundations for development of high-speed and superhigh-speed railway communications between big cities;

Increase of carrying capacity of internal waterways;

c) Guaranteed provision of affordable electricity through, among other means:

Electrification of “East-West” and “North-South” transport corridors, including Baikal/Amur and Trans Siberian railways in conjunction with development of transport infrastructure;

Development of centralized energy systems, including modernization of generating capacities of thermal, nuclear and hydroelectric power plants in accordance with the needs of socioeconomic development;

Sustainable power supply of consumers in the Russia’s regions, first of all, Republic of Crimea, Sevastopol city, Kaliningrad region, as well as regions comprising Far Eastern federal district;

Development of distributed power generation, including on the basis of renewable energy sources, particularly for remote and isolated energy districts;

Implementation of intelligent power grid management systems based on digital technologies;

16. Government of Russian Federation to:

a) Prioritize budget allocations of a federal budget for execution of national projects (programmes) mentioned in subparagraph “b” of paragraph 2 of this Decree while preparing annual draft federal budget for next financial year and planning period;

b) Ensure priority redirection of additional federal budget revenues towards execution of national projects (programmes) mentioned in subparagraph “b” of paragraph 2 of this Decree.

17. This Decree is coming into effect on the day of its official publication.

President of

Russian Federation

V. PUTIN

 

Moscow, Kremlin

07 May 2018

Iran To Bring International Lawsuit Against “ISIS Founder” America Based On Trump Statements

Source

After a US federal judge in New York ordered Iran to pay billions of dollars to the families of victims of the September 11 terror attacks earlier this month in a largely symbolic default judgement, Iran is reportedly prepping to sue Washington for terror attacks carried out against Tehran within the last year.

Iran says the US is responsible for the rise of ISIS, and is therefore indirectly to blame for twin terror attacks that rocked the Iranian parliament building and a popular religious shrine in June 2017, which left 17 civilians dead and 43 wounded, according to Iranian media figures.

“During the presidential campaign, Trump clearly spoke about the performance of his rival, Mrs. Clinton, saying that the US has created the ISIL,” Abolfazl Aboutorabi, a member of parliament’s judicial commission, announced on Tuesday in comments carried by Iranian state media. “The public prosecutor has also filed a lawsuit in this regard,” Aboutorabi added.

Iran hopes the initiative will shine an international spotlight on the Obama administration’s role in facilitating the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria — something President Trump repeatedly affirmed while on the campaign trail.

Trump also famously blamed then Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for the rapid rise of ISIS, especially in relation to policies she oversaw in Libya and Syria as Obama’s Secretary of State.

Trump first told his supporters in January 2016 that “Hillary Clinton created ISIS with Obama.” And in a CBS 60 Minutes interview that aired July 17, 2016, he said again, “Hillary Clinton invented ISIS with her stupid policies.”

Trump: Obama and “crooked Hillary Clinton” are the “founder” and “co-founder” of ISIS:

It’s the first time in history that a candidate who would go on to become president has blamed his predecessor for founding a terrorist group.

A fairly consistent theme of Trump on the campaign trail was that Obama and Hillary’s massive covert aid program to Islamist “rebels” in places like Libya and Syria facilitated the terror group’s rapid growth. He also blamed Obama’s hasty troop pullout from Iraq.

Long before joining the Trump campaign, former Defense Intelligence Chief under Obama Michael Flynn told Al-Jazeera it was a “willful decision” to support jihadists groups in Syria that included ISIS:

 

Indeed one surprisingly frank editorial in Britain’s premier mainstream Guardian newspaper concluded the same a full year before Trump first made the statements. The Guardian article, titled Now the truth emerges: how the US fulled the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq went viral after it was published in June 2015, and analyzed a then newly declassified Pentagon intelligence document which had been released as part of a watchdog group’s FOIA lawsuit connected to the Benghazi diplomatic compound attack.

The Guardian summarized the Pentagon memo as follows:

A revealing light on how we got here has now been shone by a recently declassified secret US intelligence report, written in August 2012, which uncannily predicts – and effectively welcomes – the prospect of a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria and an al-Qaida-controlled Islamic state in Syria and Iraq. In stark contrast to western claims at the time, the Defense Intelligence Agency document identifies al-Qaida in Iraq (which became Isis) and fellow Salafists as the “major forces driving the insurgency in Syria” – and states that “western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey” were supporting the opposition’s efforts to take control of eastern Syria.

Raising the “possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality”, the Pentagon report goes on, “this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)”.

It appears that Trump’s provocative charge of Obama and Clinton being the “co-founders of ISIS” statements made a year after the Pentagon intelligence memo’s initial release — were likely the direct result of his reading the Pentagon memo and accompanying media commentary.

In June of 2016 Trump tweeted a story linking to the Pentagon memo which opened with: “Hillary Clinton received a classified intelligence report stating that the Obama administration was actively supporting Al Qaeda in Iraq, the terrorist group that became the Islamic State.” Trump said of himself concerning his accusations against Obama and Hillary made that summer: “But he’s right”.

 

At the time, multiple Iranian state media outlets also featured the Pentagon document, while also highlighting then candidate Trump’s statements blaming the Obama administration.

It is this past commentary that Iran will utilize to make its case that the US is to blame for the 2017 ISIS terror attacks inside Iran, which it plans to file with the international court, according to FARS News Agency. The 2012 Pentagon memo, which has since 2015 been available to the public, will likely play a central role in Iran’s presentation of the case.

Iran’s parliamentary judicial committee spokesman noted, “there is nothing more reliable than a claim raised by a country’s president.”

In the summer of 2017 Trump announced that he shut down the CIA’s covert program to train and arm anti-Assad militants in Syria after he reportedly saw a video of “CIA vetted rebels” beheading a child in Aleppo.

israel in panic over losing their ‘dear’ ISIS & Al-Nusra terrorists in Syria

Source

#Tamimi Teen Slipped Into Coma Due to Israeli Prison Neglect

Tamimi Teen Slipped Into Coma Due to Israeli Prison Neglect

Tamara Nassar

Imprisoned Palestinian teenager Hassan Abdulkhaleq Mizher Tamimi was subjected to life-threatening medical neglect by Israeli authorities.

Tamimi, 18, has a serious medical condition in his liver and kidneys, which makes him unable to absorb proteins. He requires a strict vegetarian diet, medicines and periodic tests at the hospital.

Israeli authorities provided him with none of that since his arrest two months ago, and his medical condition deteriorated sharply.

As his situation worsened, Israeli authorities refused to transfer Tamimi to a hospital or provide necessary treatment, his relative Muhammad Tamimi told Wattan TV.

Tamimi vomited for four days and slipped into a coma before he was finally transferred from the Ofer prison clinic to Shaare Zedek medical center on 28 May, according to prisoners rights group Addameer.

Tamimi’s family said that the Israeli occupation authorities bore full responsibility for their son’s life.

“My son was supposed to be transferred to a hospital when he started throwing up. The cause of his coma is the fact that he was not provided with any medical service in detention,” his father told Addameer.

The family urged human rights organizations to exert pressure on Israel to treat and release the teenager.

Evading blame

Tamimi’s lawyer Ahmad Safiya visited him in the hospital on Monday.

“When I arrived at the detainee’s room, none of the medical staff were there, despite the apparent severity of his condition, he stated, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club.

“After I called on them, the medical staff immediately placed him on respirators.”

Safiya added that despite a decision by doctors to place Tamimi in intensive care immediately, it took two more hours for the transfer to take place.

Safiya said that Israeli authorities told him they had decided to release Tamimi, having ignored numerous requests to do so earlier.

The prisoners club said occupation authorities appear to have realized the seriousness of Tamimi’s condition and were releasing him only to evade their responsibility for him.

However the prisoners club stated that military authorities held a hearing on Tamimi’s case at Ofer prison on Wednesday and had decided to postpone further consideration of it until 25 July.

Hassan Tamimi is now recovering, his relative Manal Tamimi wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the lawyer Safiya confirmed that Tamimi was out of grave danger and was now stable, but required ongoing intensive medical care.

Tamimi, from the village of Deir Nitham in the occupied West Bank, was arrested on 7 April, approximately one month after he turned 18.

He is part of the extended Tamimi family that is the frequent target of collective punishment, imprisonment and harassment by Israeli occupation forces.

One of its most well-known members, teenager Ahed Tamimi from the village of Nabi Saleh, is currently in Israeli military custody for shoving and slapping a heavily armed occupation soldier.

Another member of the family, Asem Tamimi, was released from Israeli prison after over a year, Manal Tamimi wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

Body as a bargaining chip

Meanwhile, Israel is refusing to return the body of Palestinian prisoner Aziz Awisat, who died after being severely beaten in Israeli prison, Gilad Erdan, Israel’s hardline “public security” minister, announced.

Israeli media reported that Erdan was trying to “pressure Hamas to return the bodies of killed Israeli soldiers in Gaza” through his decision, according to Ma’an News Agency.

Israel’s internal secret police Shin Bet and the Israel Prison Service both reportedly oppose Erdan’s decision in fear of Palestinian protests, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to make the final call.

Israel bears full responsibility for the death of Aziz Awisat, Palestinian human rights and prisoner advocacy groups say.

Awisat, 53, was severely beaten by Israeli officers after allegedly pouring hot water on a guard in Beersheba prison on 2 May.

Awisat’s health deteriorated and he suffered a stroke earlier this month. He passed away in a hospital near Tel Aviv on 20 May.

“The Israel Prison Service has adopted a policy of deliberate medical neglect against prisoners and detainees,” Addameer stated.

Dozens of Palestinian detainees have died due to medical negligence since Israel began its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967.

israeli minister threatens to destroy Gaza “once and for all”

Israeli Minister Threatens to Destroy Gaza ‘Once and for All’

Smoke billows over Gaza City after an Israeli air strike on 29 May.

Ashraf Amra The Electronic Intifada

As Israel bombed it dozens of times in the past day, a senior Israeli minister has incited the total destruction of Gaza.

On Tuesday, Israeli army radio tweeted the comments of energy minister Yuval Steinitz, who stated, “I do not rule out the possibility of conquering Gaza and destroying it once and for all.”

As Israeli journalist Asaf Ronel pointed out, Steinitz’s words as quoted by army radio are unambiguous in their reference to Gaza itself being destroyed:

On Tuesday, Steinitz made similar statements to the publication Ynet: “We may have no choice, we will have to strike in Gaza and conquer it, and put an end once and for all to this terrorist regime.”

In that interview, Steinitz appears to be referring to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two political and military groups that carried out rocket and mortar strikes against Israel on Tuesday after months during which not a single such projectile was fired from Gaza.

But Steinitz’s reference to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Ynet in no way mitigates the genocidal nature of his comments on army radio, since Israel does not distinguish between civilians in Gaza and combatant members of the organizations Israel deems “terrorist.”

Indeed Israel’s justification for the mass slaughter of unarmed civilians during Gaza’s Great March of Return protests is its claim that the rallies are organized by Hamas and thus anyone, even a child, is fair game for snipers.

Israel provokes escalation as Palestinians seek calm

Three Israeli soldiers were injured by shrapnel from mortar fire from Gaza on Tuesday, one moderately.

Ynet also reported that a resident of the Israeli town of Sderot “fell down and suffered contusions while running to a shelter, as three additional civilians suffered panic attacks.”

As the BBC acknowledged – buried near the end of a report – “The upsurge in violence came after Israeli tank fire killed four militants in Gaza in two separate incidents at the start of the week.”

In one of those incidents last Sunday, Israel killed three members of Islamic Jihad, after which the group vowed it would retaliate.

The Palestinian armed response to Israel’s attacks appears to have had the intended effect: it has induced Israel to agree to return to the ceasefire understandings reached after Israel’s 2014 invasion of Gaza.

According to Haaretz, Israel agreed to a Hamas proposal for a ceasefire conveyed via Egypt.

The Israeli military acknowledged on Wednesday that Hamas was now preventing any rocket fire from Gaza, and that several missiles fired overnight had been launched by “rebellious groups.”

Similarly, Islamic Jihad affirmed that its military action was limited and designed to send a message to Israel.

“We are not interested in escalation and are not going to war, but we want to respond to Israel’s attacks,” the group said. “Israel is violating the ceasefire reached after Operation Protective Edge. There should be a Palestinian response to the Israeli escalation that will demonstrate the strength of the resistance.”

Unsurprisingly, the EU and its member governments, which have failed to condemn Israel’s use of snipers to target civilians, were quick to denounce the limited Palestinian armed response to weeks of unchecked Israeli attacks that have killed more than 100 Palestinians and injured thousands more.

The condemnations made much of reports that a mortar shell had landed in the yard of an Israeli kindergarten when no children were present, causing light damage and no injuries.

But none mentioned how shrapnel from an Israeli missile hit a school in Gaza as students were sitting for their exams.

Warm European embrace

In contrast to Steinitz, some Israeli leaders, while still making violent threats against Gaza, are cautioning against overthrowing Hamas, which despite more than a decade of tight Israeli siege continues effectively to govern the interior of the Strip.

Pragmatic reservations by ministers aside, Steinitz’s genocidal language is remarkably common in Israel. Calls for exterminating Palestinians have not disqualified Israeli leaders from the warm embrace of the European Union.

Posting a call for the murder of Palestinian mothers who give birth to “little snakes” has not put a damper on EU cooperation with justice minister Ayelet Shaked:

Education minister Naftali Bennett boasts about killing Arabs, but is still seen as a worthy partner by EU officials:

Last week, the EU criticized Israel for police brutality against Palestinian citizens of Israel, and for its decision to expel Omar Shakir, the head of Human Rights Watch’s Jerusalem office.

But the pose of defending human rights did not last.

On Wednesday, a senior EU official arrived from Brussels for meetings to strengthen ties with Gilad Erdan, the strategic affairs minister behind Shakir’s expulsion.

Erdan is also police minister and has defended the officers who broke the leg of Jafar Farah, director of the human rights group Mossawa, when they attacked a peaceful demonstration by Palestinian citizens of Israel in Haifa.

And earlier this month, the EU embassy in Tel Aviv was effusive with gratitude that Steinitz had attended their Europe Day gala on behalf of the Israeli government.

Just a few days later, Steinitz told the EU it could go to “a thousand thousand hells.”

 

The Attack on Syria by the US, UK and France Was Aggression and Contrary to International Law

The Attack on Syria by the US, UK and France Was Aggression

By David Morrison | American Herald Tribune | May 30, 2018

The prohibition on the use of force by one state against another is one of the most fundamental principles of international law. It is set out in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which states:

“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state … .”

The UN Charter recognises two exceptions to this fundamental prohibition on the use of force. The first is the right of self-defence under Article 51 of the Charter in the face of an armed attack. The other exception is if the use of force has been authorised by the Security Council under Article 42 in Chapter VII of the Charter.

The use of force in any other circumstance constitutes aggression contrary to Article 2.4 of the UN Charter.

On 14 April 2018, the UK engaged in military action against Syria in alliance with the US and France. Together, they fired 105 missiles against targets in Syria. This action was not carried out in self-defence in response to Syrian aggression, nor was it authorised by the Security Council. So, it constitutes aggression against Syria contrary to Article 2.4 of the UN Charter.

Oliver Miles: Is it legal?

Lest there be any doubt about this, here’s what former UK Ambassador Oliver Miles had to say about the action shortly after it took place:

“Before launching an operation of this kind, you have to pass three tests. The first test is: is it legal? The second is: is it effective? And the third test is: what are the political consequences?

“It fails on the first test, because I don’t think it’s legal. I think that the Prime Minister and the Government, and the other Governments concerned, have failed to address [the fact] that the Charter of the United Nations is very clear that military action of this kind can only be undertaken in two circumstances, either in self-defence, which clearly this was not, or with the authority of the Security Council, which they did not have.

“The Government, and the other Governments concerned, have stressed very rightly the importance of strengthening the taboo on use of chemical weapons, but the trouble is that in pursuing that objective they’ve weakened the intermission – the ban – on aggressive war.”

President Putin was not wrong when he described the airstrikes on Syria by the US, UK and France as: “an act of aggression against a sovereign state … without a mandate from the UN Security Council and in violation of the UN Charter and norms and principles of international law”.

This aggression was supported by the EU. Since EU foreign policy decisions require unanimity amongst EU members, this means that all 28 EU states support a fundamental breach of the UN Charter by the US and two of its own members.

May justifies use of force

Prime Minister May justified this use of force on humanitarian grounds in a statement on 14 April. It was taken, she said, in response to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Government in Douma on 7 April 2018, which killed “up to 75” civilians. Its purpose was to “protect innocent people in Syria from the horrific deaths and casualties caused by chemical weapons” and, to that end, it consisted of “targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian Regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter their use” in future.

The Government published a paper Syria action – UK government legal position, which attempted to argue that this use of force was legal under international law. It asserted that:

“The UK is permitted under international law, on an exceptional basis, to take measures in order to alleviate overwhelming humanitarian suffering.”

Understandably, the paper made no mention whatsoever of the UN Charter, since there is no provision in the UN Charter which permits military action on humanitarian grounds without specific authorisation by the Security Council. Without that, military action against another state is aggression in breach of the UN Charter unless it is taken in self-defence.

Russia seeking to undermine “the international rules-based system”?

In recent years, the accusation that Russia is seeking to undermine “the international rules-based system” has become a mantra for the British Government and its supporters. For example, in the wake of the nerve gas attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal, Prime Minister May told the House of Commons on 26 March 2018:

“This act against our country is the latest in a pattern of increasingly aggressive Russian behaviour, attacking the international rules-based system across our continent and beyond.”

The Prime Minister didn’t make clear what she means by “the international rules-based system”, but the UN system, and the rules specified in the UN Charter, must be at the heart of it. It is ironic therefore that a few weeks later Britain should drive a cart and horses through the UN Charter by taking military action without Security Council authorisation against a sovereign state that hasn’t attacked it.

The Russian veto

The Prime Minister inferred that efforts to sanction Syria in any other way for its alleged use of chemical weapons were “repeatedly thwarted” by Russia applying, or threating to apply, its veto in the Security Council.

Like it or like it not, the “international rules-based system” involves Russia having a veto in the Security Council, along with the other four permanent members: China, France, the UK and the US (see Articles 23 and 27 of the UN Charter). Russia’s status as a veto-wielding permanent member is a reflection of its outstanding contribution to the defeat of fascism in Europe in WWII.

What is more, it is impossible to take the veto away from Russia, or any of the other permanent members – because amending the UN Charter requires the support of all five permanent members (see Article 108 of the UN Charter).

So, in practice defending the “international rules-based system” involves accepting that Russia will always have a veto on the Security Council, the body which, according to Article 24 of the UN Charter, has “primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security”.

It is not insignificant that each of the three states which took military action against Syria on 14 April have a veto in the Security Council. They are in a position to engage in aggression against other states, as and when they like, without fear of being sanctioned by the Council for doing so, since they can veto any resolution critical of them proposed in the Council.

Did a chemical weapons attack take place?

But, did a chemical weapons attack actually take place in Douma on 7 April? All the Prime Minister has to say about the alleged attack in her statement of 14 April is that “a significant body of information including intelligence indicates the Syrian Regime is responsible for this latest attack”. This “indication” of the Syrian Government’s responsibility was sufficient for the Prime Minister to authorise the use of force and to put it into effect. For reasons that can only be guessed at, the execution couldn’t be delayed to give the OPCW inspectors (who were already on the ground in Damascus) sufficient time to gather information and make a judgment about what actually happened in Douma.

Did the Syrian Government really mount such a chemical weapons attack against civilians at this time when it is coming close to defeating the armed opposition? Such an attack was absolutely certain to provoke a military response from President Trump, since an alleged attack a year ago at Khan Sheikhoun had done so.

On that occasion, President Trump authorised the firing of 59 cruise missiles at a single target, namely, the Syrian air base from which the attack was said to have been launched. Damage to Syria’s military capabilities was limited. However, another chemical weapons attack was likely to lead to a more extensive US onslaught against Syria’s military infrastructure, which might undermine the Syria Government’s ability to finally defeat the armed opposition.

Why on earth would President Assad risk that outcome by using chemical weapons against civilians in an attack of little or no military value?

Lord West has doubts

As Lord West, former First Sea Lord and Chief of Defence Intelligence, pointed out in a BBC interview on 16 April:

“President Assad is in the process of winning this civil war. And he was about to take over and occupy Douma, all that area. He’d had a long, long, hard slog, slowly capturing that whole area of the city. And then, just before he goes in and takes it all over, apparently he decides to have a chemical attack. It just doesn’t ring true.

“It seems extraordinary, because clearly he would know that there’s likely to be a response from the allies – what benefit is there for his military? Most of the rebel fighters, this disparate group of Islamists, had withdrawn; there were a few women and children left around. What benefit was there militarily in doing what he did? I find that extraordinary. Whereas we know that, in the past, some of the Islamic groups have used chemicals [see here], and of course there would be huge benefit in them labelling an attack as coming from Assad, because they would guess, quite rightly, that there’d be a response from the US, as there was last time, and possibly from the UK and France …”

Little more than a gesture

In fact, the military response from the US, UK and France turned out to be little more than a gesture. This was because the US military accepted that missile strikes against military targets that might lead to Russian casualties had to be avoided, lest the Russians respond by striking the sources of the missiles, as they had warned in advance they might do. As Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov explained afterwards, the US military was informed “where [the Russian] red lines are, including red lines on the ground, geographically” and “the results show that they did not cross these red lines”.

So, instead of striking significant military targets, three sites associated in the past with Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities were chosen – a research centre in Barzeh near Damascus and two weapons storage centres near Homs. On the face of it, this choice was appropriate given that the military action was, in the Prime Minister’s words, “to degrade the Syrian Regime’s chemical weapons capability”. But would these sites have been attacked if it was really thought that significant quantities of chemical weapons were stored there, given the risk to civilians nearby from toxic chemicals?

Syria became a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention on 14 October 2013 and, as required by the Convention formally agreed to destroy its chemical weapons stocks and production facilities. On 4 January 2016, the OPCW announced that all chemical weapons declared to it by Syria had been destroyed.

If Syria did not declare all its stocks to the OPCW (as the US and its allies claim), then it is highly unlikely that the undeclared stocks would be kept in known storage sites and be open to destruction from the air. A few months earlier, on 22 November 2017, the OPCW inspected the Barzeh site and didn’t discover any banned chemicals or “observe any activities inconsistent with obligations under the Convention”. Likely, the US and its co-aggressors didn’t expect to destroy any chemical weapons at these sites – there have been no reports that they did – but it made sense to target these sites in order to put a humanitarian face on the aggression.

Mainstream media turn a blind eye

The mainstream media in Britain have, almost without exception, accepted without question the Government’s narrative that the Syrian Government used chemical weapons against civilians in Douma on 7 April – and they have turned a blind eye to the growing body of evidence which suggests that there wasn’t a chemical weapons attack at all, which the Syrian and Russian Governments have claimed from the outset.

Remarkably few Western journalists have visited Douma to see for themselves. An exception to this was Robert Fisk, who has reported from the Middle East for over forty years (and is an Arabic speaker). Here is an extract from his account published in the Independent on 17 April of his conversation with Dr Assim Rahaibani, a senior doctor in the clinic where victims of the alleged chemical attack were brought for treatment. Dr Rahaibani told Fisk what had happened on that occasion:

“I was with my family in the basement of my home three hundred metres from here on the night but all the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Douma at night – but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss. Then someone at the door, a ‘White Helmet’, shouted “Gas!”, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning.”

Fisk walked freely around Douma talking to people he met but he encountered nobody who knew of a “gas” attack on 7 April. An American journalist, Pearson Sharp, from the One America News Network, had a similar experience: on 16 April he reported:

“Not one of the people that I spoke to in that neighbourhood said that they had seen anything, or heard anything, about a chemical attack on that day… they didn’t see or hear anything out of the ordinary.”

Russia Today has broadcast several interviews with paramedics from the clinic and with an 11-year old boy describing how he was roped into the making of the video by the White Helmets (see Interview with boy in Douma video raises more doubts over ‘chem attack’, 19 April). It has also broadcast the proceedings of a news conference organised at The Hague by the Russian Ambassador to the OPCW, when 17 doctors and paramedics, brought from Syria by Russia, testified to a complete absence of chemical weapons or victims at the clinic (see No attack, no victims, no chem weapons: Douma witnesses speak at OPCW briefing at The Hague, 26 April).

This evidence from Robert Fisk and Pearson Sharp, together with the witness testimony broadcast by Russia Today, is close to definitive proof that there was no chemical weapons attack in Douma on 7 April.

David Morrison is the co-author of “A Dangerous Delusion: Why the West is Wrong about Nuclear Iran” (published by Elliott & Thompson, 2013). He has written many articles on the US-led invasion of Iraq.

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