War Is a Racket: The US Spreads Terror, Then Pretends To ‘Fights’ It

After aiding ISIS in Syria, israel now thinks It can legally steal the Golan

Israel Makes It Official: The Destruction of Syria Will Legitimize Israeli Land Grabs

Israel argues that there is no Syria to ‘negotiate with’ — which means the occupation of the Golan is now ‘legitimate’

Israel’s deputy minister for diplomacy Michael Oren has announced that ‘there is no Syria to negotiate with’, which means that Israel’s illegal occupation of the Golan should be recognized by the international community. 

Capitalizing on the chaos and destruction of a six-year war to push for international recognition of occupied land? That’s not very neighborly.

According to Oren, “Without Israel there [in the Golan], the region would be jeopardized. ISIS would be on the Kinneret.”

Perhaps this is the reason why Israel has repeatedly targeted the Syrian Army and its allies fighting Islamic State in Syria, instead of bombing ISIS?

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As Al Masdar News reported on Sunday, the Israeli Air Force carried out its second attack against Syrian forces this month, targeting forces stationed in the Golan:

Why the Israeli military chooses to target the only force in southern Syria that is fighting both Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIL) is often debated by all parties in this six year long conflict.

However, to the Syrian government, Israel’s actions are clear; they are providing air support to the groups fighting the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their allies, such as Hezbollah and Harakat Nujaba (Iraqi paramilitary).

The cynicism at play here is truly spectacular.

Recall that earlier this month Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued that Israel needs buffer zones on Syrian territory to protect the Israeli-occupied Golan.

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In other words: Israel wants the international community to recognize the occupation, and ‘protect’ it.

The plan, from the very beginning, was to chop up Syria. The Turks and Americans are now squabbling over Northern Syria, while Israel is making moves to ‘legitimize’ its occupation — and create new occupied zones

Hezbollah obliterates ISIL’s HQ near Syrian border: video

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:10 P.M.) – Hezbollah carried out a powerful attack against the Islamic State (ISIL) militants embedded in the Ras Ba’albak region of the Beqa’a Governorate of Lebanon on Monday.

The Lebanese group would score a direct hit on an Islamic State command center in Ras Ba’albak on Monday, killing and wounding several terrorists in the process of their attack.

Hezbollah turned the tables on the Islamic State this week after the latter launched a powerful offensive in Ras Ba’albak over the weekend.

The Islamic State has occupied several parts of Ras Ba’albak in eastern Lebanon for nearly two years now; they continue to operate in this region, despite ongoing attacks from Hezbollah and Lebanese Army.

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U.S ignoring humanitarian concerns in Raqqa, Syria. U.S dropping bombs, Russia dropping aid

UN ‘deeply concerned’ over safety of 400,000 civilians fleeing US-led coalition airstrikes in Raqqa

The safety of over 400,000 people in Raqqa, Syria, where US-backed Syrian opposition forces are bombing ISIS, is of “deep concern” to the UN. The offensive has resulted in “an escalating number of civilian deaths” as well as damage to vital civilian infrastructure, the organization added.

In past weeks, civilians have been exposed to daily fighting and airstrikes which resulted in an escalating number of civilian deaths and injuries as well as damage to civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, markets and water infrastructure,” a Monday statement from a spokesman for UN Secretary General read.

There are worries” about how the US-backed operation will affect civilians, Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the UN Secretary-General told RT.

We have set up camps in the area that are receiving people and we are trying to make sure that all the people displaced by the fighting can be placed in camps for their safety. But we want to make sure that whatever operations are conducted, they will bear in mind that there is a huge number of civilians who are trying to flee to safety,” the UN official said.

We need to make sure that all parties abide by the basic humanitarian norms, so civilians can be spared the consequences both of the actions by Daesh [IS] and by the air strikes,” he added.

On Sunday, at least eight people, including five children were reportedly killed in airstrikes on Atabaqa city, the UN said, adding that two schools were destroyed in the attack.

Last week, “dozens of people were reportedly killed and injured in airstrikes on an IDP [Internally Displaced People] camp near Albardah village, 20 kilometers west of Raqqa,” the statement added.

READ MORE: ‘Optimism far from reality’: Moscow dismisses West’s ‘rosy forecasts’ on Raqqa offensive

In other makeshift camps in Raqqa province, which host thousands of people fleeing IS violence, “four out of five people are staying in the open air without appropriate shelter.” Several children reportedly died in the camps due to lack of medical care, the organization said.

Reaching those camps is described as an “ordeal” by locals who say they are fleeing the shelling by the US-led coalition in Syria.

All the people who come have been through the same ordeal. With me and my family, I paid about 80,000. It cost us so much. There was so much suffering and there were disabled people and sick people. It was an indescribable ordeal,” a civilian at the UN-funded Karamah camp in the outskirts of the embattled city of Raqqa told Ruptly.

No humanitarian support for civilians from US – SDF

On Sunday, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reported major advances in their offensive to liberate Raqqa from the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group. “All strategic ways” through which IS have been supplying their Syrian stronghold of Raqqa have now been cut, the SDF press service said, as quoted by Kurdish news agencies.

But while the US-led coalition participates militarily, there is no humanitarian support for the civilians fleeing from terrorists, the multi-ethnic but predominantly Kurdish alliance of forces say.

With support from Washington, including air strikes, the SDF launched the offensive known as Operation Euphrates Rage six months ago. At the moment, the mission to retake Raqqa from Islamic terrorists is in its fourth stage.

While the military operation is in full force, SDF fighters have been transferring civilians through secured corridors from IS occupied areas to safe zones under their control, the Kurdish news agency Hawar (ANHA) reported.

Some 70,000 refugees have reached safer areas in northern Syria, following the battles for Raqqa and Tabqa, the agency reported, saying that the displaced civilians are settled in two camps.

The camps in the town of Kerama and Ayn Issa host some 30,000 people each according to ANHA. But as the battle in the area intensifies, the number of civilians fleeing their homes increases sharply, with more than 10,000 people having been displaced in just three days late last week.

VIDEO: Rare footage of captured airbase near ISIS stronghold Raqqa

The Syrian Democratic Council (MSD) has said it tried to warn the international community, “specifically” Washington, of the consequences of the battle for Raqqa, having asked for assistance amid a rapidly worsening humanitarian situation.

As the Raqqa operation was nearing, we had earlier discussed this issue with many sides, specifically with the US in order to build camps and host [civilians]. We expected tens of thousands of civilians who would be escaping Raqqa. Though there were discussions and planning, to the moment there have been no practical actions,” MSD co-chair Ilham Ehmed charged, as quoted by ANHA.

None of the over a hundred humanitarian and civil organizations operating within the region secured by SDF have contributed to the Raqqa operation either, Ehmed added.

Drinking water is hard to find, the health situation in these camps is critical. There are not enough tents or blankets,” the MSD representative added, saying that “it is critical to support these people, who are liberated from terrorism with great joy.”

Otherwise, some of the people who have been living under IS for months, might even “go back to the other side, to seek hostilities” and “may join terrorist groups.”

Washington’s assistance to Syrian anti-government forces, who are fighting Islamic terrorists in the country, has been a constant source of controversy especially during the Raqqa offensive. Damascus sees any US presence in the country illegitimate, unless coordinated with the government.

READ MORE: Western sanctions against Syria block humanitarian relief

Earlier this week, Raqqa’s civil council also released a statement, calling on humanitarian organizations and the UN to help people fleeing violence in Raqqa.

Despite our people and the world’s happiness for the overwhelming victories Syrian Democratic Forces achieved, and the progress made in liberating towns and villages in Raqqa governorate from the clutches of IS gangs, they are still turning a blind eye to the repercussions of these operations where a big number of these people are forced to displace to safe regions escaping the IS terror,” the statement said.

 

الأسد يتّهم الأردن بتسهيل الغزو الأميركي في الجنوب … وعقود النفط والغاز مع روسيا في «خطواتها الأخيرة»

الأسد يتّهم الأردن بتسهيل الغزو الأميركي في الجنوب … وعقود النفط والغاز مع روسيا في «خطواتها الأخيرة»

أطفال من بلدتَي كفريا والفوعة وصلوا أمس إلى مدينة حلب (أ ف ب)

قد تشير التصريحات الحادة اللهجة، الصادرة من دمشق تجاه الأردن، إلى أن الجنوب السوري سيشهد تصعيداً واسعاً، من الممكن أن تنخرط فيه عمّان بدفع أميركي باتجاه موقع مشابه للأتراك في الشمال، بحجة حماية الحدود من «الإرهاب». الهجوم السوري تجاه الجارة الجنوبية جاء على لسان الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد، الذي أكد أن الدور الأردني لم يخرج عن الأجندة الأميركية من بداية الحرب

ي ضوء التصعيد المتواصل لهجمات المجموعات المسلحة في مدينة درعا، بالتوازي مع المعلومات التي تحدثت عن مشاريع أميركية ــ أردنية مشتركة على طول الحدود السورية الجنوبية، أكد الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد علم دمشق بتلك المعلومات من مصادر مختلفة، مهاجماً الدور الأردني خلال الحرب السورية، الذي كان «جزءاً من المخطط الأميركي منذ بداية الحرب».

التأكيد الرسمي من دمشق قد يشير إلى أن الجنوب السوري سيكون بدوره كما الشمال مسرحاً لعمليات عسكرية مدعومة أميركياً، سوف تحاول ضمنه واشنطن بمشاركة حلفائها الإقليميين، وعلى رأسهم الأردن وإسرائيل، إضعاف نفوذ دمشق وحلفائها، وإبعاد «خطرهم» عن إسرائيل. وهو ما انعكس في تصريحات وزير الدفاع الأميركي جايمس ماتيس، من إسرائيل، التي قال فيها إن «تحالفنا مع إسرائيل هو الحجر الأساس لتعاون أمني أوسع يشمل التعاون مع مصر والأردن والسعودية وشركائنا في دول الخليج». وأكد أن سوريا «لا تزال تحتفظ ببعض أسلحتها الكيميائية»، محذراً الرئيس الأسد من استخدامها.

واعتبر الرئيس الأسد في مقابلة مع وكالتي «ريا نوفوستي» و«سبوتنيك» الروسيتين، أن «الأردن ليس بلداً مستقلاً، وكل ما يريده الأميركيون سوف يحدث، فإذا أرادوا استخدام الجزء الشمالي من الأردن ضد سوريا، فإنهم سيستخدمونه». وفي المقابل، استفز كلام الرئيس السوري الحكومة الأردنية. فبعد ساعات على نشر المقابلة، أعرب المتحدث باسم الحكومة محمد المومني، عن «أسفه لحديث الأسد عن موقف الأردن وهو لا يسيطر على غالبية أراضي سوريا». ورأى أن «حديث الأسد منسلخ تماماً عن الواقع».

هجوم الأسد ضد الدور الأردني لم يأتِ وحيداً، إذ أكد أنه «عندما تتحدث عن الغزو التركي، وعندما نتحدث عن القوات الأميركية التي نعتبرها غزواً، وعندما تتحدث عن الإرهابيين على الأرض، فكلهم كيان واحد… وعندما تهزم الإرهابيين، عندها تستطيع أن تذهب وتحارب الآخرين الذين يحتلون الأرض»، معتبراً أن «الأميركيين كالأتراك، كأي محتل آخر عليهم الخروج بإرادتهم أو بالقوة».
وأشار إلى أن التصدي للهجمات الصاروخية الأميركية «بحاجة إلى نظام مكثف يغطي كل زاوية كي يتمكن من إسقاط الصواريخ»، مشيراً إلى أن «الإرهابيين لجأوا منذ بداية الهجمات إلى تدمير الدفاعات الجوية التي لا علاقة لها بما كانوا يسمونه حينذاك المظاهرات السلمية». ولفت إلى أن القوات السورية «فقدت أكثر من خمسين في المئة» من قوات دفاعها الجوي خلال سنوات الحرب، مضيفاً أن «الروس من خلال دعمهم عوّضوا جزءاً من تلك الخسارة بأسلحة وأنظمة دفاع جوي نوعية».

وجدد التأكيد على أن حادث خان شيخون «مفبرك»، وعلى أن الغرب والولايات المتحدة منعوا أي وفد من القدوم للتحقيق لأنه لو أتى «سيجد أن كل رواياتهم كانت فبركة وكذباً». وحول التفجير الذي استهدف الحافلات في منطقة الراشدين السبت الماضي، قال الأسد: «نحن نتحدث عن فصائل مختلفة وجميعها مرتبط بالقاعدة أو (جبهة النصرة)، قام أحد تلك الفصائل بمهاجمة الحافلات التي كانت مخصصة لنقل نفس المدنيين».

وعن تحرك القوات السورية باتجاه الرقة، أشار إلى أنه «قبل شهر فقط كان جيشنا يتقدم من حلب نحو الشرق، باتجاه الرقة، ولم يكن بعيداً عن الوصول إلى هناك، عندها شن الإرهابيون هجومهم على وسط سوريا… وتم إبطاء تقدمنا لأننا غيّرنا أولويتنا».

في سياق آخر، رأى الأسد أن «معظم الفصائل التي انضمت ظاهرياً إلى المفاوضات في أستانا وبعض تلك التي شاركت في جنيف، لا تقبل بدولة علمانية. إنهم يريدون دولة دينية إسلامية، وهو الجزء الأكثر أهمية في الخلاف المتعلق بالدستور».

على صعيد آخر، أعلن الرئيس السوري أن «السوق المحلي مفتوح الآن للشركات الروسية كي تأتي وتنضم إلينا وتلعب دوراً مهماً في إعادة بناء سوريا والاستثمار فيها»، مضيفاً أنّ «الجزء الأكثر أهمية بالنسبة إلينا، وأعتقد بالنسبة إليهم أيضاً، هو مجال النفط والغاز، وقد انضمت أخيراً بعض الشركات الروسية إلى القطاع خلال الأشهر القليلة الماضية، وتجرى الآن الخطوات الأخيرة في عملية توقيع العقود».
وبالتوازي مع التصعيد الدبلوماسي الأخير، استهدفت القوات الإسرائيلية أمس مواقع للجيش السوري في القنيطرة. وأوضح مصدر عسكري أن «طيران العدو الإسرائيلي عمد الى إطلاق صاروخين من داخل الأراضي المحتلة على أحد مواقعنا العسكرية في محيط بلدة خان أرنبة، ما أدى إلى وقوع خسائر مادية».

وفي موازاة الاتهامات الأميركية لدمشق، رأى وزير الخارجية الروسي سيرغي لافروف، أن رفض الدول الغربية مقترح إجراء تحقيق حول خان شيخون «أمر غير مقبول». وقال إن «المعلومات الكاذبة حول استخدام السلاح الكيميائي تستغل للتراجع عن القرار الدولي (2254) الذي ينص على تسوية سياسية، والعودة إلى فكرة تغيير النظام، ويجب ألا نسمح بحدوث ذلك». ولفت إلى أنه يجب التركيز على عملية أستانا لضمان الوصول إلى وقف لإطلاق النار، مشيراً إلى أنه يجري العمل على «توسيع عدد المشاركين في هذا الاتفاق».

وبالتوازي، قالت وزارة الخارجية الروسية إن لافروف، ونظيره الأميركي ريكس تيلرسون، اتفقا في اتصال هاتفي أمس، على ضرورة البحث في إمكانية تشكيل لجنة تحقيق تحت رعاية «منظمة حظر الأسلحة الكيميائية». وأضافت في بيان أن لافروف أعرب «عن أسفه لمعارضة واشنطن مبادرة روسيا» في «منظمة حظر الأسلحة الكيميائية»، لافتة إلى أنه جرى الاتفاق على «إطلاق نشاط مجموعة العمل الروسية ــ الأميركية المشتركة، على مستوى نواب وزيري الخارجية للبلدين».
(الأخبار)

 

Dumb US General, John Nicholson, Thinks Russia Must Be Arming the Taliban. Like the USA is arming Al-Qaeda?

US General Thinks Russia Must Be Arming the Taliban

Provides No Evidence for Allegations of ‘Malign Influence’

The Afghan War is going extremely poorly, 16 years in, and the US military needs someone to blame for its failures. The first choice among a lot of top military figures seems to be Russia, and while they offer no evidence to back up their claims, several have alleged that Russia might conceivably be arming the Taliban.

US commandeer Gen. John Nicholson appeared to be joining that camp today during comments in Kabul, complaining about the “malign influence” of Russia in the country, and insisting that he was “not refuting” allegations of Russia shipping weapons to the Taliban.

“Not refuting” is a very weak version of alleging, in this case, as US officials have offered no evidence that this is the case, nor any plausible reason why Russia would conceivably do this, as Russia fought materially the same insurgency during the 1970s and 1980s.

The only rationale for Russia backing the Taliban against the US seems to be that the US cheerfully backed the insurgency during the Russian occupation. Russia, however,, has long supported the US-led war in Afghanistan, hoping it would prevent the spread of Islamist forces into former Soviet republics in Central Asia, nations which Russia has defensive treaties with, and which could quickly suck Russia into a very unpopular regional war.

Given this, and the absolute lack of evidence, the allegations that Russia might be arming the Taliban, or at least that it can’t be ruled out, appears to be a very desperate attempt by the military brass to shift the blame for a failing war to an external party.

Le Pen, Macron to Face Off in French Runoff Election

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[ Ed. note – Marine Le Pen, who wants to steer France out of the EU, and Emmanuel Macron, the pro-EU candidate, will face off against each other in the May 7 runoff election in France.

Both have emerged as top vote-getters in today’s election. According to the New York Times, Le Pen, with 34 percent of the votes counted, is the official front-runner, having garnered 24.6 percent of the vote, compared to 21.9 percent for Macron. The BBC, on the other hand, while still naming Le Pen in first place, is saying the tallies were much closer–at 23.5 percent and 23 percent respectively.

“What is at stake in this election is a referendum for or against lawless globalization,” Le Pen said to the enthusiastic cheers of her supporters after claiming victory. “Either you choose in favor of a total lack of rules, without borders, with unlawful competition, the free circulation of terrorists, or you make the choice of a France that protects. This is truly what is at stake. It is the survival of France.”

Macron, too, spoke to a crowd of supporters–many of them waving both the French flag and the flag of the EU.

“The two political parties that have governed France for years have been discarded,” he said. “The deep … feeling which has led our people to love our country and overcome its divisions is spectacular. You have shown that the hope of our country was not a dream but a relentless and benevolent will.”

Below is an article actually published a couple of days ago, but it gives some insights into French politics and why today’s election may have turned out the way it did. ]

The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty

By Diana Johnstone

Paris.

The 2017 French Presidential election marks a profound change in European political alignments. There is an ongoing shift from the traditional left-right rivalry to opposition between globalization, in the form of the European Union (EU), and national sovereignty.

Standard media treatment sticks to a simple left-right dualism: “racist” rejection of immigrants is the main issue and that what matters most is to “stop Marine Le Pen!”  Going from there to here is like walking through Alice’s looking glass. Almost everything is turned around.

On this side of the glass, the left has turned into the right and part of the right is turning into the left.

Fifty years ago, it was “the left” whose most ardent cause was passionate support for Third World national liberation struggles. The left’s heroes were Ahmed Ben Bella, Sukarno, Amilcar Cabral, Patrice Lumumba, and above all Ho Chi Minh.  What were these leaders fighting for?  They were fighting to liberate their countries from Western imperialism.  They were fighting for independence, for the right to determine their own way of life, preserve their own customs, decide their own future. They were fighting for national sovereignty, and the left supported that struggle.

Today, it is all turned around.  “Sovereignty” has become a bad word in the mainstream left.

National sovereignty is an essentially defensive concept. It is about staying home and minding one’s own business.  It is the opposite of the aggressive nationalism that inspired fascist Italy and Nazi Germany to conquer other countries, depriving them of their national sovereignty.

The confusion is due to the fact that most of what calls itself “the left” in the West has been totally won over to the current form of imperialism – aka “globalization”.  It is an imperialism of a new type, centered on the use of military force and “soft” power to enable transnational finance to penetrate every corner of the earth and thus to reshape all societies in the endless quest for profitable return on capital investment. The left has been won over to this new imperialism because it advances under the banner of “human rights” and “antiracism” – abstractions which a whole generation has been indoctrinated to consider the central, if not the only, political issues of our times.

The fact that “sovereignism” is growing in Europe is interpreted by mainstream globalist media as proof that “Europe is moving to the right”– no doubt because Europeans are “racist”. This interpretation is biased and dangerous. People in more and more European nations are calling for national sovereignty precisely because they have lost it. They lost it to the European Union, and they want it back.

That is why the British voted to leave the European Union.  Not because they are “racist”, but primarily because they cherish their historic tradition of self-rule.

The Socialist Party shipwreck

As his five-year presidency drew to its ignominious end, François Hollande was obliged by his drastic unpopularity to let his Parti Socialiste (PS) choose its 2017 presidential candidate by primary.  In a surprising upset, the Socialist government’s natural candidate, prime minister Manuel Valls, lost to Benoit Hamon, an obscure member of the PS left wing who refused to vote for the unpopular, neo-liberal, anti-labor laws designed by Hollande’s economic advisor, Emmanuel Macron.

To escape from the unpopularity of the PS, Macron formed his own movement, “En Marche!” One after another, Valls, Hollande and other prominent PS leaders are tiptoeing away, leaving Hamon at the helm of the sinking ship.  As Hamon justifiably protests against their betrayal, the party bigwigs pledge their support to Emmanuel Macron.

Macron ostentatiously hesitates to welcome his shopworn converts into the fold, fearing that their conversion makes it too obvious that his “En Marche!” is a clone of the right wing of the PS, on the way to becoming the French subsidiary of the U.S. Democratic Party in its Clintonian form. Macron proclaims that he is neither left nor right, as discredited politicians from both left and right jump on his bandwagon, to his embarrassment.

Hamon himself appears to be unaware that the basic cause of the Socialist Party’s shipwreck is its incompatible devotion to two contrary principles: traditional social democracy, and the European Union (EU). Macron, Hollande and their fellow turncoats at least have made their choice: the European Union.

The Twilight of the Traditional Right

The great advantage of Republican candidate François Fillon is that his policies are clear.  Unlike Hollande, who tried to disguise his neoliberal policies as something else, and based his claim to be on the left on “societal” issues (gay marriage), Fillon is an unabashed conservative.  His policies are designed to reduce the huge national debt. Whereas previous governments (including his own, when he was President Sarkozy’s Prime Minister) beat around the bush, Fillon won the Republican nomination by a program of sharp cutbacks in government spending.  Fillon claims that his austerity measures will lead French capitalists to invest in France and thus save the country’s economy from being completely taken over by foreign corporations, American retirement funds and Qatar.  This is highly doubtful, as there is nothing under EU rules to encourage French investors to invest in France rather than somewhere else.

Fillon departs from EU orthodoxy, however, by proposing a more independent foreign policy, notably by ending the “absurd” sanctions against Russian. He is more concerned about the fate of Middle East Christians than about overthrowing Assad.

The upshot is that Fillon’s coherent pro-capitalist policy is not exactly what the dominant globalizing elite prefers. The “center left” is their clear political choice  since Tony Blair and Bill Clinton revised the agendas of their respective parties. The center left emphasis on human rights (especially in faraway countries targeted for regime change) and ethnic diversity at home fits the long-term globalist aims of erasing national borders, to allow unrestricted free movement of capital. Traditional patriotic conservatism, represented by Fillon, does not altogether correspond to the international adventurism of globalization.

The Schizophrenic Left

For a generation, the French left has made “the construction of Europe” the center of its world view.  In the early 1980s, faced with opposition from what was then the European Community, French President François Mitterrand abandoned the socializing program on which he been elected.  Mitterrand nursed the hope that France would politically dominate a united Europe, but the unification of Germany changed all that. So did EU expansion to Eastern Central nations within the German sphere of influence. Economic policy is now made in Germany.

As the traditional left goal of economic equality was abandoned, it was superseded by emphatic allegiance to “human rights”, which is now taught in school as a veritable religion.  The vague notion of human rights was somehow associated with the “free movement” of everything and everybody. Indeed the official EU dogma is protection of “free movement”: free movement of goods, people, labor and (last but certainly not least) capital. These “four freedoms” in practice transform the nation from a political society into a financial market, an investment opportunity, run by a bureaucracy of supposed experts. In this way, the European Union has become the vanguard experiment in transforming the world into a single capitalist market.

The French left bought heavily into this ideal, partly because it deceptively echoed the old leftist ideal of “internationalism” (whereas capital has always been incomparably more “international” than workers), and partly due to the simplistic idea that “nationalism” is the sole cause of wars.  More fundamental and complex causes of war are ignored.

For a long time, the left has complained about job loss, declining living standards, delocalization or closure of profitable industries, without recognizing that these unpopular results are caused by EU requirements. EU directives and regulations increasingly undermine the French model of redistribution through public services, and are now threatening to wipe them out altogether – either because “the government is bankrupt” or because of EU competition rules prohibit countries from taking measures to preserve their key industries or their agriculture.  Rather than face reality, the left’s reaction has mostly been to repeat its worn-out demand for an impossible “Social Europe”.

Yet the dream of “social Europe” received what amounted to a fatal blow ten years ago. In 2005, a referendum was called to allow the French to approve a Constitution for united Europe. This led to an extraordinary popular discussion, with countless meetings of citizens examining every aspect of this lengthy document. Unlike normal constitutions, this document froze the member States in a single monetarist economic policy, with no possibility of change.

On May 29, 2005, French voters rejected the treaty by 55% to 45%.

What seemed to be a great victory for responsible democracy turned into its major failure.  Essentially the same document, renamed the Lisbon Treaty, was ratified in December 2007, without a referendum.  Global governance had put the people in their place. This produced widespread disillusion with politics as millions concluded that their votes didn’t matter, that politicians paid no attention to the will of the people.

Even so, Socialist politicians continued to pledge undying allegiance to the EU, always with the prospect that “Social Europe” might somehow be possible.

Meanwhile, it has become more and more obvious that EU monetarist policy based on the common currency, the euro, creates neither growth nor jobs as promised but destroys both. Unable to control its own currency, obliged to borrow from private banks, and to pay them interest, France is more and more in debt, its industry is disappearing and its farmers are committing suicide, on the average of one every other day.  The left has ended up in an impossible position: unswervingly loyal to the EU while calling for policies that are impossible under EU rules governing competition, free movement, deregulation, budgetary restraints, and countless other regulations produced by an opaque bureaucracy and ratified by a virtually powerless European Parliament, all under the influence of an army of lobbyists.

Benoit Hamon remains firmly stuck on the horns of the left’s fatal dilemma: determination to be “socialist”, or rather, social democratic, and passionate loyalty to “Europe”. While insisting on social policies that cannot possibly be carried out with the euro as currency and according to EU rules, Hamon still proclaims loyalty to “Europe”. He parrots the EU’s made-in-Washington foreign policy, demanding that “Assad must go” and ranting against Putin and Russia.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon Grasps the Nettle

Not only is the drab, conformist Hamon abandoned by his party heavies, he is totally upstaged on the left by the flamboyant Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a maverick ready to break the rules.  After years as a PS loyalist, Mélenchon broke away in 2005 to oppose the Constitutional Treaty, gaining prominence as a fiery orator. In 2007, he left the Socialist Party and founded the Parti de Gauche (Left Party). Allied with the much weakened Communist Party, he came in fourth in the first round of the 2012 Presidential election with 11% of the vote.  This time he is running for President with his own new movement, La France Insoumise, which can be translated in a number of ways, including “the France that does not submit”.

Submit to what?  Mainly, to the euro and to the antisocial, neoliberal policies of the European Union that are ruining France.

French flags and la Marseillaise have replaced the Internationale at Mélenchon rallies. “The Europe of our dreams is dead,” he acknowledges, vowing to “end the nightmare of dictatorship by banks and finance”.

Mélenchon calls for outright disobedience by violating EU treaties that are harmful to France. That is his Plan A.  His Plan B is to leave the EU, in case Plan A fails to convince Germany (the current boss) and the others to agree to change the treaties. But at best, Plan B is an empty threat to strengthen his hand in theoretical negotiations.  France is such a crucial member, he maintains, that a French threat to leave should be enough to force changes.

Threatening to leave the EU is just part of Mélenchon’s vast and complicated program which includes calling a national convention to draft a constitution for France’s “sixth Republic” as well as major ecological innovation.  Completely changing both France and the European Union at the same time would require the nation to be in a revolutionary effervescence that is by no means visible. It would also require a unanimity among the EU’s 28 member States that is simply impossible.

But Mélenchon is canny enough to have recognized the basic problem: the enemy of jobs, prosperity and public services is the European Union. Mélenchon is by far the candidate that generates the most excitement.  He has rapidly outdistanced Hamon and draws huge enthusiastic crowds to his rallies. His progress has changed the shape of the race: at this moment, he has become one of four front-runners who might get past the first round vote on April 23 into the finals on May 7: Le Pen, Macron, Fillon and himself.

The Opposites are (almost) the Same

A most remarkable feature of this campaign is great similarity between the two candidates said to represent “the far left”, Mélenchon, and “the far right”, Marine Le Pen.  Both speak of leaving the euro.  Both vow to negotiate with the EU to get better treaty terms for France. Both advocate social policies to benefit workers and low income people. Both want to normalize relations with Russia. Both want to leave NATO, or at least its military command.  Both defend national sovereignty, and can thus be described as “sovereignists”.

The only big difference between them is on immigration, an issue that arouses so much emotion that it is hard to discuss sensibly.  Those who oppose immigration are accused of “fascism”, those who favor immigration are accused of wanting to destroy the nation’s identity by flooding it with inassimilable foreigners.

In a country suffering from unemployment, without jobs or housing to accommodate mass immigration, and under the ongoing threat of Islamist terror attacks, the issue cannot be reasonably reduced to “racism” – unless Islamic terrorists constitute a “race”, for which there is no evidence. Le Pen insists that all French citizens deserve equal treatment regardless of their origins, race or religion. She is certain to get considerable support from recently nationalized immigrants, just as she now gets a majority of working class votes. If this is “fascism”, it has changed a lot in the past seventy years.

What is significant is that despite their differences, the two most charismatic candidates both speak of restoring national sovereignty. Both evoke the possibility of leaving the European Union, although in rather uncertain terms.

The globalist media are already preparing to blame the eventual election of a “sovereignist” candidate on Vladimir Putin. Public opinion in the West is being prepared for massive protests to break out against an undesired winner, and the “antifa” militants are ready to wreak havoc in the streets. Some people who like Marine Le Pen are afraid of voting for her, fearing the “color revolution” sure to be mounted against her.  Mélenchon and even Fillon might face similar problems.

As a taste of things to come, on April 20, the EU Observer published an article entitled “Russia-linked fake news floods French social media”. Based on something called Bakamo, one of the newly establishment “fact-check” outfits meant to steer readers away from unofficial opinion, the article accused Russian-influenced web sites of favoring Marine Le Pen, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, François Fillon, Francois Asselineau, and Philippe Poutou. (They forgot to mention one of the most “sovereignist” candidates, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, currently polling in sixth place.)  Since a large majority of the eleven candidates, including three of the four front-runners, are strongly critical of the EU and of NATO and want to improve relations with Russia, it would seem that Putin wouldn’t have to make a great effort to get a more friendly French government next time around.  On the other hand, the EU Observer article is only a small sample of blatant “interference in the French election” on the part of the globalists on behalf of their favorite, Emmanuel Macron, the most enthusiastic Europhile.

The Future of France

Among those listed as alleged Russian favorites, François Asselineau is by far the most thorough critic of the European Union.  Systematically ignored by the media since he founded his anti-EU party, the Union Populaire Républicain (UPR), ten years ago, François Asselineau has thousands of ardent supporters who have plastered his poster all over the country. His tireless didactic speeches, reproduced on internet, have driven home several key points:

– there is no way to improve the EU from the inside, because any change would require unanimity among 27 member states who disagree on key issues.

– the only solution for France is to use Article 50 of the EU treaties to withdraw entirely, as the United Kingdom is currently doing.

– only by leaving the EU can France save its public services, its social benefits, its economy and its democracy.

– it is only by restoring its national sovereignty that genuine democratic life, with confrontation between a real “left” and “right”, can be possible.

– by leaving the EU, France, which has over 6,000 treaties with other countries, would not be isolated but would be joining the greater world.

Asselineau is a single issue candidate.  He vows that as soon as elected, he would invoke Article 50 to leave the EU and immediately apply to Washington to withdraw from NATO.  He emphasizes that none of the other critics of the EU propose such a clear exit within the rules.

Other candidates, including the more charismatic Mélenchon and Le Pen, echo some of Asselineau’s arguments.  But they are not ready to go so far as to advocate a clear immediate break with the EU, if only because they realize that the French population, while increasingly critical of the euro and alienated from the “European dream”, is still fearful of actually leaving, due to dire warnings of disaster from the Europeists.

The first round campaign is an opportunity for Asselineau to present his ideas to a wider audience, preparing public opinion for a more coherent “Frexit” policy.         By far the most fundamental emerging issue in this campaign is the conflict between the European Union and national sovereignty.  It will probably not be settled in this election, but it won’t go away.  This is the major issue of the future, because it determines whether any genuine political life is possible.

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