EGYPT AND FRANCE CARRY OUT NAVAL DRILL AS SHOW OF FORCE TO TURKEY

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Egypt and France Carry Out Naval Drill As Show Of Force To Turkey

On July 25th, the Egyptian and French Navies held naval drills in the eastern Mediterranean, with the participation of the Egyptian Ghost frigate and French Ghost frigate (ACONIT).

In a statement, the Egyptian Armed Forces reported the following:

“The exercises included many training activities that focus on methods of organizing cooperation in the implementation of combat missions in the sea against hostile marine formations with the actual use of weapons in engagement with surface and air targets in addition to the implementation of confrontational battles, with the use of aircraft.”

The statement further said:

“The training showed the professionalism of the crews of ships in carrying out combat missions with accuracy and high efficiency, with a focus on common coordination points between all the common elements.”

It added that “these drills come in the framework of supporting the pillars of joint cooperation between the Egyptian and French armed forces, and identifying the latest fighting systems and methods in a manner that contributes to honing skills and combat and operational experiences and supporting efforts of maritime security, stability and peace in the Mediterranean.”

This is a show of force at a time when Egypt and France, alongside Greece and Cyprus are opposed to Turkey over its interference in Libya, but mostly due to the agreement it signed with Libya’s Government of National Accord.

The agreement allows Turkey to extract resources from Libya’s EEZ in the Mediterranean Sea.

In the face of the actions of Turkey, France and Egypt had a recent rethinking of their relations, which have apparently grown closer in the face of a “common enemy.”

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RIPPLE EFFECTS: GREECE AND TURKEY OPEN NEW NORTHERN FRONT ON LIBYAN CONFLICT

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 25.07.2020 

Ripple Effects: Greece And Turkey Open New Northern Front On Libyan Conflict

Greece’s navy has declared a state of heightened alert and deployed ships to the Aegean Sea in response to a Turkish vessel conducting seismic surveys for energy exploration purposes close to a disputed maritime area.

On Tuesday the Greek foreign ministry issued a formal protest to Turkey following the announcement that a Turkish drilling ship would conduct explorations in the maritime area south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo in the south eastern Aegean. The foreign ministry also released a statement:

We call on Turkey to immediately cease its illegal activities, which violate our sovereign rights and undermine peace and security in the region.”

Following Turkey’s rejection of the protest, the Greek Navy has sent ships to patrol in the area.

“Navy units have been deployed since yesterday in the south and southeastern Aegean,” a navy source told AFP, declining to give further details.

Athens has stated that Turkish surveys in sections of the Greek continental shelf constitute an escalation of the tension in the region where the two countries dispute the boundary of their respective maritime areas. LINK

Experts cited in media reports have interpreted Turkey’s conduct as designed to test Greece’s determination to defend its interests in the eastern Mediterranean region, and believe that the Turkish leadership’s moves may also be linked to the Libyan conflict. According to this interpretation of the latest developments, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan apparently seeks to “test” the reaction of his opponents. LINK

A report in Xinhua suggests that Greece’s response is to draw even closer to Egypt. Greece and Egypt have been holding negotiations over the demarcation of an exclusive economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean, however the boundaries of the area they are discussing overlaps with the area which was subject to a maritime agreement signed by Turkey and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord in Libya late last year (the two parties also signed a military agreement pursuant to which Turkey has sent thousands of fighters and a large amount of weapons and supplies to the Government of National Accord).

Ripple Effects: Greece And Turkey Open New Northern Front On Libyan Conflict

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi received a phone call from Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday, during which they discussed regional issues, with a focus on the Libyan crisis.

According to the Xinhua report, Sisi expressed Egypt’s opposition to “illegitimate foreign intervention” in Libyan domestic affairs, citing that they would further exacerbate the security conditions in Libya in a way that affects the stability of the entire region, said Egyptian presidential spokesman Bassam Rady in a statement.

For his part, the Greek prime minister also voiced rejection of foreign interference in Libya, while highlighting the political course as a key solution for the Libyan issue.

He hailed Egypt’s “sincere efforts” that seek a peaceful settlement to the Libyan crisis, according to the statement.

Over the past few years, the Egyptian-Greek ties have been growing closer, with their growing enmity with Turkey also resulting in them developing a similar position on Libya. The talks between Sisi and Mitsotakis took place just a few days after the Egyptian parliament approved a possible troop deployment in Libya to defend Egypt’s western borders with the war-torn country. LINK

A perceptive analysis of the emerging Turkey-Libya (Tripoli) relations published last month remains just as salient to describe the situation today:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gambled big in Libya and won big – so far. This victory portends important changes in the politics of the Mediterranean, for Turkey has succeeded not only in demonstrating its determination to become the dominant player in the Eastern Mediterranean, but also in showcasing its military prowess and wherewithal. The latter might precipitate a deeper conflict and crisis in the region, extending north toward Greece.

Erdogan threw his support behind the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) against General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which had besieged the GNA’s capital, Tripoli. Haftar suffered a humiliating defeat as Turkish drones, troops, navy vessels and some 10,000 Syrian fighters transported by Ankara to Libya stopped him in his tracks and then forced him to abandon bases and territory. A last-minute call for a ceasefire by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was rejected by the victorious GNA, which has set its aims at capturing other towns, including the critical port city of Sirte.

Indirectly, this was also a defeat for the countries that had backed Haftar: Egypt, the UAE and Russia. The UAE had contributed military equipment and the Russians non-state mercenary forces.

Turkey’s Libya expedition has to be seen from two perspectives. First, the GNA concluded a deal with Ankara that delineated their respective Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) in such a way that it divides the Mediterranean Sea into two sections. Turkey’s purpose is to hinder efforts by Egypt, Cyprus, Israel and Greece to export natural gas, either through a pipeline or on LNG vessels, to Europe. Turkey has aggressively interfered with efforts by these to drill for gas. Ankara claims that most of the waters around Cyprus actually belong to Turkey or to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a country recognized only by Turkey.

However, more important than simply preventing Eastern Mediterranean gas exports is the underlying strategy driving this push against Haftar. From the moment he assumed power in 2003, Erdogan has striven to elevate Turkey’s international role to that of a regional, if not global, power. Initially, his strategy was one of “zero problems with neighbors,” which served to emphasize Turkey’s soft power. The primary driver, however, was the desire for Turkey to assume a hegemonic position over the Middle East. This policy foundered and was essentially buried by the Arab Spring.

What has replaced it is a more aggressive and militarized posture that takes the fight to perceived enemies. That could mean anyone and everyone, since Turks tend to see most countries as a threat, even if they are allies. LINK

While Turkey has bet big and won big so far, it appears that the period of relatively easy victories is over and its aggressive moves are going to face more resistance in future. As Turkey continues to shows no sign of moderating its expansionist claims and manoeuvres, the region is now moving irrevocably towards a catastrophic military clash as Turkey and Egypt have drawn incompatible ‘red lines’ in Libya, with the coastal town of Sirte likely to be the detonator (or possibly the Jufra airbase to the south).

An international agreement promoted by the UN in 2014-2015 established an executive body and a legislative body to govern Libya and pave the way for a more permanent arrangement. However, fundamental disagreements between the two quasi-State organizations resulted in a complete split, with the executive arm becoming the ‘UN-backed’ Government of National Accord based in Tripoli and the House of Representatives relocating to Tobruk (thus the legislative arm is also ‘UN-backed’, though this detail is usually omitted from mainstream media reports).

Turkey has allied itself with the Government of National Accord (GNA), Egypt has allied itself with the House of Representatives (and its armed forces, the Libyan National Army – the LNA – headed by Khalifa Haftar). More generally, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia are invariably reported as supporting the LNA, while the GNA is mainly backed by Turkey and Qatar.

Following the drastic changes on the battlefield over the last two months as the GNA swept the LNA from its positions around Tripoli following a failed attempt to capture the Libyan capital, both Turkey and Egypt have committed themselves to positions that are in direct conflict, indicating that a major armed clash is inevitable unless there is a major diplomatic breakthrough or one of the two sides accepts a humiliating backdown.

Specifically, Turkey and the Government of National Accord are demanding that the Libyan National Army (which recently gave Egypt permission to send its armed forces into Libya) withdraw from the two areas (Sirte and Jufra) and have expressed their determination to take the areas by force if necessary. The Libyan National Army and Egypt have stated that any attempt to capture the two areas will result in Egypt entering Libya in force, which would result in a direct confrontation between Turkey and Egypt. While Egypt has the advantage of sharing a long land border with Libya, in the event of a major conflict air and maritime power could be decisive.

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Time is Not on Our Side in Libya

Photograph Source: Abdul-Jawad Elhusuni – CC BY-SA 3.0

by VIJAY PRASHAD

JULY 22, 2020

Ahmed, who lives in Tripoli, Libya, texts me that the city is quieter than before. The army of General Khalifa Haftar—who controls large parts of eastern Libya—has withdrawn from the southern part of the capital and is now holding fast in the city of Sirte and at the airbase of Jufra. Most of Libya’s population lives along the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, which is where the cities of Tripoli, Sirte, Benghazi, and Tobruk are located.

Haftar, who was once an intimate of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), is now prosecuting a seemingly endless and brutal war against the United Nation’s recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli and led by President Fayez al-Sarraj. To make matters more confusing, Haftar takes his legitimacy from another government, which is based in Tobruk, and is formed out of the House of Representatives (HOR).

Ahmed says that the quiet is deceitful. Militias continue to patrol the streets along the Salah al-Din Road near where he lives; the rattle of gunfire is anticipated.

On July 8, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres made a statement that could have been delivered at any point over the last decade. “Time is not on our side in Libya,” he announced. He laid out a range of problems facing the country, including the military conflict, the political stalemate between the GNA and the HOR, the numbers of internally-displaced people (400,000 out of 7 million), the continued attempts of migrants to cross the Mediterranean Sea, the threat from COVID-19, and the “unprecedented levels” of “foreign interference.”

The UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution to send a Fact-Finding Mission to Libya to investigate human rights violations in this war, including the mass graves found in Tarhouna. The credibility of the Council is in doubt. An earlier Commission of Inquiry on Libya set up in 2012 to study war crimes in 2011-2012 was shut down largely because the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) refused to cooperate with the investigation. A second inquiry, set up in March 2015, closed its work in January 2016 with the political deal that created the Government of National Accord.

Guterres did not mention the NATO war in 2011. I am told that he wants to appoint a joint Special Representative with the African Union and he would like a full review of the UN mission. All that is well and good; but it is short of what is necessary: an honest look at the NATO war that broke the country, fomenting a conflict that seems without end.

Foreign Interference

Statements about Libya drip with evasion. These terms—“foreign interference” and “foreign-backed efforts”—are dropped into conversations and official statements without any clarification. But everyone knows what is going on.

I ask Rida, who lives in Benghazi (now under the control of General Haftar), what she makes of these phrases. “We all know what is going on,” she tells me via text. “The government in Tripoli is backed by Turkey and others; while Haftar is backed by Egypt and others,” she writes.

At the core, she says, this is a dispute between two regional powers (Turkey and Egypt) as well as a contest between the Muslim Brotherhood (Turkey) and its adversaries (Egypt and the United Arab Emirates). Wrapped up in all this are contracts for offshore drilling in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, which additionally involved Cyprus and Greece.

It is not enough that this is a regional conflict. There is accumulating evidence that General Haftar is being supported by armed mercenaries (from Russia and Sudan) and by arms shipments from France, while the United States seems to have hedged its bets with support to both sides in the conflict.

Last year, General Haftar’s forces moved swiftly toward Tripoli, but were eventually rebuffed by the intervention of Turkey (which provided the Tripoli government with military aid as well as Syrian and Turkish mercenaries).

In late December, Turkey formally signed a military and security agreement with the Tripoli-based GNA, which enabled Turkey to transfer military hardware. This agreement broke the terms of the UN resolution 2292 (2016), recently reaffirmed in UN resolution 2526 (2020). Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have openly been supplying Haftar.

Now, the forces of the Tripoli government have moved to the central coastline city of Sirte, which has emerged as the key hotspot in this contest.

The Tobruk government, which backs General Haftar, and a pro-Haftar tribes council urged Egypt’s General Abdul Fatah El Sisi to intervene with the full force of the Egyptian armed forces if Sirte falls to the Turkish-backed government. Egypt’s military drill—called Hasm 2020—came alongside the Turkish navy’s announcement of maneuvers off the Libyan coast—called Navtex.

This is a most dangerous situation, a war of words escalating between Turkey and Egypt; Egypt has now moved military hardware to its border with Libya.

Oil

Of course, oil is a major part of the equation. Libya has at least 46 billion barrels of sweet crude oil; this oil is highly valued for Europe because of the low costs to extract and transport it. Countries like the UAE, which are pushing the embargo of Libyan oil, benefit from the withdrawal of Libya, Iranian, and Venezuelan oil from already suppressed world oil markets. Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) has stopped oil exports since January; from about 1.10 million barrels per day, Libyan oil production fell to nearly 70,000 barrels per day.

Neither Haftar nor the Government of National Accord in Tripoli can agree on the export of oil from the country. Oil has not left the country for the better part of the past six months, with a loss—according to the NOC—of about US$6.74 billion. General Haftar controls major oil ports in the east, including Es Sider, and several key oil fields, including Sharara.

Neither side wants the other to profit from oil sales. The United Nations has intervened to try and resolve the differences, but so far there has been limited progress. The entire conflict rests on the belief that either side has that it could win a military victory and therefore take the entire spoils; no one is willing to compromise, since any such agreement would mean a de jure partition of the country into its eastern and western halves with the oil crescent divided between the two.

Demilitarized Zone

UN Secretary-General Guterres has surrendered to reality. In his recent statement on Libya, he listed a series of “de-escalation efforts, including the creation of a possible demilitarized zone”; this “demilitarization zone” would likely be drawn somewhere near Sirte. It would effectively divide Libya into two parts.

Neither Ahmed nor Rida would like their country to be partitioned, its oil then siphoned off to Europe, and its wealth stolen by oligarchs on either side. They had misgivings about Muammar Qaddafi’s government in early 2011; but now both regret the war that has ripped their country to shreds.Join the debate on FacebookMore articles by:VIJAY PRASHAD

Vijay Prashad’s most recent book is No Free Left: The Futures of Indian Communism (New Delhi: LeftWord Books, 2015).

Russian Navy showcases its military might in large-scale drills off Syrian coast: video

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News Desk -2020-07-250

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:50 A.M.) – The Russian Navy carried out large-scale drills off the coast of Syria’s Tartous Governorate this week, showcasing their military capabilities in the eastern Mediterranean region amid increased tensions between several nations.

According to Sputnik Arabic, the Syrian coastal region witnessed the qualitative training of the Russian Navy, as they used their warships, military choppers and combat aircraft to simulate the effectiveness of their forces in battle.

Sputnik filmed the naval drills from the coastal governorate of Tartous this week, which is where the Russian Navy is currently based in the eastern Mediterranean.

The publication reported the use of the advanced Raptor waterboats, which are classified among the fastest military boats in the Russian fleet, as they are able to sail at speeds of up to 50 knots, and to carry out various missions in the coast guard teams such as surveillance, and guard missions and rescue missions.

In addition to the training of the Raptor, large marine vessels, including the “Krasnodar” submarine and a missile cruiser, also took part in the military drills.

These Russian naval exercises come at a time of increased friction in the eastern Mediterranean, as Turkey’s role in Libya and their offshore drilling agitates Egypt, Cyprus, and Greece.

The Pendulum Swings Again: the Desecration of Hagia Sophia

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The Pendulum Swings Again: the Desecration of Hagia Sophia ...

Stephen Karganovic

July 18, 2020

The Turkish President should have consulted the prophecies of St. Paisius of the Holy Mountain rather than whatever kitaps he was reading before embarking on his risky provocation. In plain Greek, several decades ago St. Paisius was educating Turkish leaders about the sequence of events that the reconversion of Hagia Sophia would set in motion: “When the cathedral of Hagia Sophia is turned into a mosque, Turkey will disintegrate”. He also added reassuringly, for the benefit of his audience, that “I will not see that happen, but you will.” The saint left us for better pastures in 1994. As a footnote to his vision, he also noted that in the ensuing turmoil Constantinople would remain under Russian control for some time before again being returned to Greece. When and if that happens, it does not exactly sound from the tenor of his prophesy that it will revert to just being a museum.

If Mr Erdogan was so keen on tinkering with the status of this major Orthodox holy place, instead of pursuing short-sighted electoral advantage in a state presumably without a future, he should have done better had he chosen – as Americans are fond of saying –to be on the right side of history. He could have done that simply by returning the temple to the religious community which erected it and to which it rightfully belongs.

But, of course, it would be fatuous to expect from a mere politician with declining ratings a gesture of such dazzling magnanimity.

Hagia Sophia was built and consecrated as an Orthodox place of worship in the 6th century by the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I. It is a structure of great architectural beauty and even greater symbolic value for world Orthodoxy, as its prime cathedral. Upon the conquest of Constantinople and demise of the Byzantine empire in 1453, it was turned into a mosque by the commander of the conquering army, sultan Mehmed II, and functioned in that capacity until 1934, when the reformist President of the Turkish Republic, Kemal Ataturk, made it a museum. The magnificent structure is under the protection of UNESCO (for whatever that is worth) and is the most visited historical site in Turkey.

What is the significance of the second forced reconversion of the Orthodox cathedral of Hagia Sophia into a mosque? It has to do entirely with internal Turkish politics. It is part of a larger design of the current rulers to reconfigure Turkey back from a secular republic to a resurgent neo-Ottoman state, reinforced with a strong religious identity. Given that the local economy is in poor shape and that the government’s foreign policy initiatives have been generally unsuccessful across the board, descending to religious demagoguery is a more or less natural and predictable recourse. For Orthodox Christians and, hopefully, civilized people of all backgrounds this crude reassertion of the right of conquest, targeting not material goods suitable for pillage, but the spiritual patrimony of one of the great world religious traditions, is nothing short of an act which constitutes the fusion of vandalism and blasphemy.

Of course, it could also be said with some justice, this issue is larger than Erdogan and will outlive him. It is clothed in the garb of a regular court order invalidating Ataturk’s earlier decree, and it was confirmed by a cabinet decision after a meeting lasting all of 17 minutes. As far as provocations go, it could also be argued that in terms of bellicosity it is far less dangerous than shooting down a Russian fighter jet in Syria. Also, as worldly logic might have it, the Hagia Sophia ceased to function as a consecrated church and has not served as consecrated Orthodox Cathedral for more than 550 years. Even before the Ottomans arrived it was ransacked and desecrated during the Western Fourth Crusade, and was then turned into a Roman Catholic cathedral during the Latin occupation of the city. Its history has been long and harsh. A friend of mine has argued that “frankly at least as a mosque it will serve as place of worship and fulfil a spiritual and religious function and not be a tourist attraction, which is a greater desecration, literally speaking.”

“Buildings are buildings,” he has asserted, “they are monuments to faith but no substitute for living faith or a living church which is the Body of Christ. [In the large sense, he does have a point there.] This will only happen when Hagia Sophia is reconsecrated, Orthodox Liturgy is held, the sacred mysteries enacted, and of course when the Eucharist is served once again.”

All these, arguably, are good points. But they miss the emotions this symbolically charged act (going to its core, beyond short-term and short-sighted electoral consideration) evokes among the Balkan Orthodox who still have vivid collective memories of Ottomanism (never mind its neo- variety that is being reinvented today). Nor do they fully take into account the emotions of the Russian Orthodox believers whose faith goes back, in a direct historical line, to that very spot in Constantinople where Vladimir’s bedazzled emissaries, while observing the religious services and magnificent decorations, wondered whether they were on earth or in heaven.

So besides the purely practical and realpolitik aspects to this, there is also a much deeper dimension that challenges Orthodoxy to its core. Its chief representative in Constantinople, the “Ecumenical Patriarch” with a plethora of impressive titles but hardly any flock, a man who few would be so naïve as to regard as a designated vessel of the Holy Spirit, but who certainly is an agent and close collaborator of Western intelligence services to whom he owes his precarious position in an increasingly hostile environment, has been resoundingly silent. Shockingly, Patriarch Bartholomew has been hiding in his Fanar rabbit hole while controversy over what should be his main cathedral has been raging all around him. He is more concerned, one imagines, about avoiding a potential indictment for involvement in the Turkish coup attempt several years ago than in reclaiming the jewel of his ecclesiastical heritage or at least protesting for the record its renewed desecration. The setting up of a false and heretical “church” in the Ukraine under his patronage was apparently a matter he thought more pressing and deserving of his public attention that an outrage to his communion being perpetrated literally in his back yard.

Turkey’s Hagia Sophia to Be Reopened as Mosque after Court Decision

Turkey’s Hagia Sophia to Be Reopened as Mosque after Court Decision

By Staff, Agencies

A top Turkish court on Friday revoked the Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum, clearing the way for it to be turned back into a mosque, the official Anadolu news agency reported.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hailed the court’s decision and announced that the site would be handed over to Turkey’s religious affairs directorate and reopened for Muslim worshipping.

Erdogan’s announcement comes shortly after a top Turkish court revoked the sixth-century Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum, clearing the way for it to be turned back into a mosque.

The Council of State, which was debating a case brought by a Turkish NGO, canceled a 1934 cabinet decision and ruled the site would be reopened to Muslim worshipping.

Earlier on Friday, UNESCO warned Turkey against converting the Hagia Sophia museum, a World Heritage site, in Istanbul into a mosque, urging dialogue before any decision is taken.

Hagia Sophia was first constructed as a cathedral in the Christian Byzantine Empire in 537 AD but was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.

Turning it into a museum was a key reform of the post-Ottoman authorities under the modern republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Calls for it to serve again as a mosque has sparked anger among Christians and tensions between the historic foes and uneasy NATO allies Turkey and Greece. Russia, which has become an increasingly important partner of Turkey in recent years, has also urged against altering its status.

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TURKEY ABUSES MIGRANTS AND BLAMES IT ON GREECE

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Turkey Abuses Migrants And Blames It On Greece

On June 19th, Turkey rescued 56 illegal migrants off Turkey’s Aegean coast, the state-run Anadolu agency reported.

Turkish teams rescued the migrants in a rubber boat near the Dikili district of Turkey’s western province of Izmir, the agency said.

Turkey accused Greece coast guard of pushing the back to Turkey.

In 2020 so far, a total of 11,076 migrants attempted to reach Greece via Turkey’s seas, slightly down from 11,710 over the same period in 2019, according to the latest figures released by the Turkish coast guard.

Alongside these accusations, Anadolu Agency also published alleged photographs showing asylum seekers stranded on the streets of Athens.

They were expelled from the Moria Camp on Lesbos Island in Greece after being granted asylum.

The group seeking shelter at Victoria Square, a public park in the capital, comprises of 66 people, including four pregnant women and children.

“They told us we have to leave Moria Camp. They said: ‘Go to Athens, finish your paper work and go wherever you want after that’,” a refugee said.

“I don’t get that. We are refugees. They officially left us here. Imagine that you came to Afghanistan and did not speak the language. And nobody guides you. How would you feel?” said another refugee who spent the night in the street.

A very emotion-filled video was also published of drone footage of migrants flocking the Turkey-Greece border.

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The ominous Jihadis war; From Tripoli to Tripoli:

The ominous Jihadis war; From Tripoli to Tripoli:

May 23, 2020

By Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog

The ‘War on Syria’ is far from being over, and it will continue until all foreign forces illegally present on Syrian soil retreat; either willingly, or defeated.

And even though the American presence in Syria has no clear and realistic political purpose other than wreaking havoc. https://transnational.live/2020/05/19/america-exists-today-to-make-war-how-else-do-we-interpret/ and making it hard for Russia to help reach a decisive victory, in a twist of fate, the focus of the Russo-American conflict in the region may soon move away from Syria.

In reality, the outcome of the ‘War on Syria’ was never expected by the initial assembly of adversaries when they launched the attack. Furthermore, they had many deep differences and nothing in common other than a shared hatred for Syria, but the unexpected turn of events has intensified their internal conflict and seemingly catapulted the strife between those former allies much further afield to a new hub in Libya.

Whilst the world and its media are busy with COVID-19, a new huge struggle is brewing, and this time, it is drawing new lines and objectives that are in reality going to be fueled, financed and executed by the former once-united enemies of Syria; but this time, it will be against each other.

An array of regional and international issues lies behind the impending conflict; and to call it impending is an under-statement. It is already underway, but hasn’t reached its peak yet, let alone making any significant news coverage.

It is a real mess in Libya now, and the short version of a long story goes like this:

Soon after NATO hijacked the UNSC mandate to enforce a no-fly-zone decision over Libya and manipulated it in a manner that ‘legalised’ bombing Libya culminating in toppling and killing Gadhafi, the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), based in the formal capital Tripoli on the Western side of the coast, was created.

But the ‘revolution’ against Gadhafi was launched in the eastern coastal city of Benghazi. After Gadhafi’s demise, another interim government was formed in Libya’s east under the name of National Transitional Council (NTC).

The NTC, whose flag is the flag of the ‘revolution’, did not recognize the GNA and regarded it as a Western lackey.

After a few years of squabbling, NTC strongman General Haftar decided to militarily disable the GNA.

With little concrete protection on the ground from the West, and under the guise of upholding UNSC mandates, Erdogan jumped into the existing void and the opportunity to grab Libya’s oil, and decided to send troops to support the GNA.  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-51003034

In return, Haftar is getting support from other regional players. Recently, representatives from Egypt, the UAE, Greece, Cyprus and France had a meeting and denounced Turkey’s involvement in Libya. https://greekcitytimes.com/2020/05/12/greece-egypt-cyprus-france-uae-denounce-turkey-in-joint-statement/. Erdogan perhaps borrowed a term from his American part-ally-part-adversary and referred to the meeting and its decree as an ‘alliance of evil’. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/turkey-accuses-five-nations-of-forming-alliance-of-evil/2020/05/12/a3c5c63a-9438-11ea-87a3-22d324235636_story.html Fancy this, a NATO member accusing other NATO members of being in an alliance of evil.

It must be noted that even though Saudi Arabia did not attend the meeting, it was there in spirit, and represented by its proxy-partner the UAE.

The USA took a step further and accused Russia and Syria of working behind the scenes and planning to send fighters to Libya to support Haftar. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-security-usa-syria-idUSKBN22J301

But this article is not about the geopolitical hoo-ha. It is about shedding a light on what score-settling is expected to eventuate in Libya, and who is likely to end up doing the fighting against who.

Even though the Afghani Mujahedeen were purportedly the first Jihadi fighters to engage in battle in the 20th Century, their fight was against foreign USSR troops. In terms of an internal force that aimed for fundamentalist Muslim rule, there is little doubt that the first event of such insurgency in the Middle East was the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) revolt that took place in Syria in the early 1980’s and which was quashed by the then President, Hafez Assad. After their smashing defeat, the fundamentalists kept their heads low until they lit the flame again in the Palestinian refugee Naher Al-Bared Camp at the northern outskirts of Tripoli Lebanon in 2007.

There are, for those who are unaware, two cities bearing the name Tripoli on the Mediterranean coast; one is in Northern Lebanon, and it is Lebanon’s second largest city, and the other Tripoli is located on the Western side of the Libyan Coast. They are sometimes called Tripoli of the East and Tripoli of the West, respectively.

Shaker Al-Absi, leader of Fateh Al Islam, a Salafist terror organization, declared jihad and engaged in a bitter fight against the Lebanese Army. He was defeated, remained at large, but any look at Lebanon’s Tripoli after his demise displayed a clear evidence of a huge build-up of Salafist presence in the city.

When the ‘War on Syria’ started only four years later, Tripoli became a major hub for the transport of fighters and munitions from Lebanon into Syria. Nearly a decade later, and with a few Jihadi pockets left in the Idlib province now, their defeat in Syria is imminent.

But who exactly are those murderous head-chopping radical elements that we talking about; past and present?

When the coalition that started the attack on Syria took form, it was comprised virtually of all of Syria’s enemies. Most of them were religious fundamentalists. In an early article, I called them ‘The Anti-Syrian Cocktail’.  https://intibahwakeup.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-anti-syrian-cocktail-by-ghassan-kadi.html

Back then, ISIS, did not exist in the form that it became known as. Furthermore, I have always advocated that there was no difference at all between Al-Nusra and ISIS and/or any other Takfiri organizations. They are all terror-based and founded on violent readings of Islam.

In time however, and this didn’t take long, it became apparent that even though the ideologies were identical, there were two major financiers and facilitators to those many different terror organizations. One was primarily funded by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and the other by Qatar and facilitated by Turkey.

The former group is affiliated with what is known as Saudi Wahhabi Islam. They are also known as the Salafists. The latter group are the MB’s.

As the war was shifting in favour of Syria, their agendas diverged, the schism grew deeper and strong rivalries emerged; especially as the Wahhabis and their sponsors were sent home defeated. Part of this fallout was the ongoing Saudi-Qatari conflict.

But the rivalry that is least spoken about is personal. It is the one between Erdogan and Al-Saud.

They are both fighting over the leadership of fundamentalist Sunni Islam. But Erdogan also has his nationalist anti-Kurdish agenda, and of course, he is desperate to put his hands on oil supplies that he can call his own. He cannot find oil on Turkish soil or in Turkish waters, but he is prepared to act as a regional pirate and a thug and steal another nation’s oil. If no one is to stop him, he feels that he can and will.

Upon realizing that Turkey could not get in Syria either victory or oil, Erdogan is now turning his face west towards Libya. He finds in Libya a few scores that he hopes to settle after his failure in Syria. He wants a face-saving military victory, he wants to assert his position as THE Sunni leader who can reclaim glory, and he wants free oil. Last but not least, In Libya, he will find himself close to Egypt’s Sisi; the political/religious enemy who toppled his MB friend and ally, President Mursi.

On the other side, defeated but not totally out, Saudi Arabia wants blood; Erdogan’s blood.

The Saudis blame Erdogan (and Qatar) for their loss in Syria because he was more focused on his own agenda and spoils rather than the combined ones of the former alliance they had with him. They blame him for abandoning them and making deals with Russia. They hold him responsible for the breakup of the unity of Muslim fundamentalism. They fear his aspirations for gaining the hearts and minds of Muslims who regard him as a de-facto Caliph. As a matter of fact, it was Saudi Crown Prince MBS who used the borrowed word ‘evil’ first when he stated more than two years ago that Erdogan was a part of a ‘Triangle of Evil’. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-turkey-idUSKCN1GJ1WW. And how can we forget the Khashoggi debacle and the ensuing standoff between Turkey and Saudi Arabia?

We must stop and remember once again that not long ago at all, Turkey and Saudi Arabia were allies, who together, plotted how to invade Syria and bring her down to her knees. These are the heads of the two major countries that facilitated the war machine with Saudi money injecting fighters and munitions into Syria from the south, and open Turkish borders and Qatari money injecting them from the north.

Back to Libyan General Haftar. In his westerly advance along Libya’s terrain, he cleaned up the ISIS elements who stood in his way and hindered his progress.  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/02/libya-foreign-powers-khalifa-haftar-emirates-russia-us But ironically, he is now fighting their religious rival; the Turks, the protectors of the MB’s.

The USA may accuse Syria of sending troops into Libya, but where is the proof and why should Syria do this after all? And even though the Saudis and the Emiratis are warming up relationships with Syria, the Syrian Army is still engaged in battle and is not prepared to go and fight in Libya. There is nothing for it to gain. Once the war is over, Syria will be concerned with rebuilding a war-torn nation. Syria has no interests in Libya; none what-so-ever.

The role of Russia is not very clear on the ground even though there are clear indications that Russia supports Haftar ideologically. The support began when Haftar demonstrated to the Russians that he was adamant about fighting ISIS and exterminating its presence in Libya. He lived up to this promise thus far and gained Russian respect.

How will the situation in Libya eventually pan out is anyone’s guess. That said, apart from sending regular Turkish Army units, Erdogan is not short on rounding up fighters; and he has attained much experience in this infamous field of expertise from his vicious attack on Syria. With Qatari money in his pocket, he can recruit as many fighters as Qatar can afford.

Erdogan realizes that the West is not interested in backing him up militarily in Libya. The best deal he can get from America is a tacit support. And with France, a NATO member taking part in the above-mentioned five-nation conference, he will definitely have to stand alone so-to-speak.

He has Qatar behind him, but how powerful is Qatar? A ‘nation’ of 200,000 citizens? How can such a small state play such a big role and why?

Qatar is not really a nation or even a state in the true sense. Qatar is an entity, a ‘corporation’ owned by a ruling dynasty that serves the interests of the USA and Israel. https://thesaker.is/qatar-unplugged/. This family will outlay any sum of money to guarantee its own protection and continuity.

And Erdogan, the friend-and-foe of both of America and Israel, knows the vulnerabilities and strengths of Qatar, and he is using his deceptive talents to provide the Qatari ruling family with the securities that the shortfalls that America and Israel do not provide. For example, it was he who sent troops to Qatar after the Saudi threats. And even though Erdogan will never take any serious actions against his NATO masters except in rhetoric, the weak and fearful Qataris will dance to the tune of any protector and will sell their souls to the devil should they need to.

On the other hand in Libya, if Haftar finds himself facing a huge Turkish army, he will need assistance on the ground. Where will he seek it from?  His next-door neighbour Egypt? If so, will it be in the form of regular army units or hired guns?

Sisi is neither a religious nor a fundamentalist zealot, but this is not meant to be a complementary statement. He has not taken any serious black-and-white steps in regional politics. This does not mean he is a man of principles. He is probably waiting for dollar signs, and if he sees financial benefits in supporting Saudi Arabia in a proxy war against Turkey in Libya, he may opt to agree; if the price it right.

Whether or not Saudi Arabia can afford a new war, especially with current crude prices, is another story, but as the war on Yemen winds down, the gung-ho MBS is irrational enough to be persuaded. His regional enemy is no longer Assad. His current enemy is Erdogan.

To be fair to MBS, despite his vile, criminal and megalomaniac attributes, he never claims to be a religious leader, but Erdogan does, and many Sunni Muslims see in Erdogan THE leader they have been waiting for. This alone constitutes a huge challenge for MBS because neither he, nor anyone else in the whole of Saudi Arabia for that matter, is regarded anywhere in the Muslim World as a potential leader of the Sunni Muslims.

In reality, as far as Muslim leadership is concerned, the Saudis can only bank on the location of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Apart from this, they only have wealth that enables them to buy supporters, but their oil wealth is becoming increasingly vulnerable.

In the uphill fight against Erdogan within the Muslim World, both of the Saudis and the Turks realize that the fight between them in Syria is over. Actually, the Saudis have no loyal ‘troops’ on Syrian soil left to fight anyone with. This begs the question of whether or not the Turks and Saudis are moving the battle ground and the score settling from Syria to Libya.

This time around, such a potential battle between the two lines of Jihadis may have to morph from a fight between terror organizations to a war between regular armies; the Turkish Army against the Egyptian Army. Such a battle will rage over Libyan soil, with the Turks financed by Qatar and Egypt by Saudi Arabia.

Such a war will not necessarily bring in Iran into the fight. If it eventuates, it will be a fundamentalist Sunni-Sunni war, sponsored by fundamentalist Sunni states, each fighting for and against different versions of radical Muslim fundamentalism, under the watchful eyes of the USA and to the glee of Israel.

The jihadi war that was first ignited in Tripoli Lebanon between a rogue terror organization and the Lebanese Army did not end. It kept moving theatres and objectives and changing players. Is the final score going to be settled in Tripoli Libya?

انقلاب تركيّ على نتائج الحرب العالميّة الثانية

د. وفيق إبراهيم

يضغط الاتراك عسكرياً وسياسياً لتحقيق المكانة المحورية بين المتصارعين للسيطرة على اعماق البحر الأبيض المتوسط وسواحل بلدانه مع بعض امتداداتها الداخلية في البر.

فما يجري أدرك مرحلة حرب ضروس بين قوى دولية من اوروبا وشرقي المتوسط وروسيا واميركا مع بعض النحيب المصريّ الشجيّ والرقص الإماراتي على حبال اميركية متينة.

مدى هذه الحرب واسع جداً لشمولها المياه الإقليمية والدولية للمتوسط في جهاته الشرقية والجنوبية فتشمل سواحل بلاد الشام في سورية ولبنان وفلسطين المحتلة ومصر الى السواحل الجنوبية في ليبيا وتونس والجزائر والمغرب وتضم أيضاً سواحل قبرص من كل جهاتها وصولاً الى اليونان.

هناك اذاً صراع مفتوح على المتوسط يأخذ شكل حرب عسكرية شرسة في ليبيا بين دولتيها المتصارعتين الغربية للسراج الموالية لتركيا والشرقية الجنوبية لحفتر المدعومة من فرنسا وإيطاليا وروسيا وألمانيا وبريطانيا، والأميركيين المكتفين بالتأييد السياسي، انما مع مواصلة الحوار مع الأتراك ورجلهم الليبي الاخواني السراج.

كما يتجسّد هذا الصراع في ارتفاع حدة التوتر بين تركيا واليونان على غاز ونفط قبرص وأعماق البحر. وهذا الموضوع محكوم باعتقاد تركي ان الأميركيين خصوصاً والغربيين عموماً بحاجة اليهم، منذ زمن الاتحاد السوفياتي، لذلك ترك الغرب تركيا تحتل الجزء المسكون من أتراك قبارصة في الجزيرة المستقلة منذ 1974.

بالمقابل تعتبر اليونان أن قبرص هي جزء من تراثها الإغريقي بالاضافة الى انتمائها القومي الى اليونان، فتتصرف اليونان وكأنها صاحبة الحق المبرم في الجزيرة وثرواتها.

لكن هذا الصراع ليس إلا الجزء البسيط من صراع عثماني – يوناني تاريخي، نجح فيه الأتراك منذ قرون عدة بالسيطرة على جزء نهائي من تركيا.

هذه الصراعات في المتوسط وليبيا تدفع نحو صراعات عالمية الطابع ومياهه الوطنية والدولية. وهذا يشمل الخلاف اللبناني مع الكيان الإسرائيلي المحتل عند الحدود البحرية في الجنوب وخلاف كامن تركي سوري على إمكانات كبيرة من الغاز والنفط في أعماق حدوديهما البحرية.

ما هي الخطة التركية؟

تشرف تركيا على مسافة طويلة من سواحل المتوسط بدءاً من حدودها البحرية مع سورية وحتى بحار اليونان، وأضافت دوراً متوسطياً لها بالسيطرة على قبرص التركية وليبيا «السراج» وتطمح من خلال العلاقة مع حزب النهضة التونسي الذي يمسك رئيسه الغنوشي برئاسة مجلس نواب بلاده. تطمح الى ضم تونس الى نفوذها. فتستطيع بذلك ان تمسك بالحدود البحرية والإقليمية لقبرص الواقعة في منتصف البحر المتوسط. وتمتد الى ليبيا براً وبحراً مع مدياتها الاقليمية، هذا بالاضافة الى ان سواحل المتوسط التركية تبيح لها التنقيب في اعماق المتوسط بين اليونان وقبرص وحتى سواحلها المباشرة، وتعتبر تركيا أنها دولة متوسطية اساسية لها كامل الحق والاولوية في التنقيب في اعماق البحر المتوسط قبالة العالم العربي من المغرب وحتى حدودها الإقليمية مع اليونان وبلغاريا، اي ما يعادل خمساً وسبعين في المئة من سواحل البحر المتوسط وبالتالي أعماقه الدولية.

هذا ما يدفع الى السؤال التالي: أين العرب من كل ذلك وأين الغرب وروسيا؟

معظم العرب في الخليج مرتبطون بالمشروع الأميركي المتريث من جهة والمشترك من جهة أخرى في الحرب عبر التورط الاماراتي في حرب ليبيا بالإسناد وبالسلاح والتمويل لقوات حفتر.

اما اوروبا فمنزعجة من الاستيلاء التركي على دولة السراج الليبية فتدعم حفتر إنما من دون السماح له بالحسم النهائي، لان المفاوضات الدولية على اقتسام المغانم في كامل البحر المتوسط لم تصل بعد الى خواتيمها، ما يتطلب تسعيراً للمعارك بدأ يظهر بالسلاح الأوروبي والإماراتي المتدفق الى بنغازي والجنوب مع قوات روسية تابعة لشركات فاغنر الى جانب دعم مصري مباشر بالخبراء والمدربين وبعض الكتائب العسكرية، بالمقابل تقف قوات تركية مع جيش السراج ومجموعات من تنظيمات سورية إرهابية وأخرى من الاخوان المسلمين. اما العرب المجاورون لليبيا، فمصر تخشى من انتصار الاخوان المسلمين الليبيين ومعها تركيا، فينعكس على وضعها في الداخل المصري، حيث لا يزال الاخوان المسلمون فيها القوة الأساسية بعد الجيش المصري. لجهة السودان فلا يزال غارقاً في خلافاته الداخلية، وتطبيق سياسات منصاعة للأميركيين تجعله من مؤيدي حفتر حيناً وصامت في معظم الاحيان.

لكن تونس يتنازعها تياران، الاول من الاخوان المسلمين يؤيد السراج الليبي والآخر من أجنحة رئيسها قيس سعيّد الذي يدعو الى الحياد.

واذا كان باستطاعة قائد الاخوان في تونس رئيس مجلس النواب الغنوشي الذي يترأس ايضاً اخوان ليبيا بجهاديين متطوعين فإن قيس سعيّد عاجز عن دعم حفتر إلا بالدعاء.

على مستوى البلدان العربية غير المجاورة، فسورية منهمكة بالتصدّي لتركيا واخوانها مع احتلال عسكري اميركي الى جانب الإرهابيين، والمغرب لم يعد يأبه للصراعات العربية. وهذا حال كامل العالم العربي الذي تجتاحه تركيا اما بالوسائل المباشرة كحال العراق وسورية وليبيا وحزب الإصلاح في اليمن وبعض اجنحة الاخوان في السودان والجزائر وتونس، وإما بالسياسة. لذلك فإن المشروع التركي يبدو واضحاً بمحاولة الاستفادة من تراجع الدور الاميركي في الشرق الأوسط وتقهقر الدور السعودي في معظم العالمين الاسلامي والعربي لإعادة العثمانية الاردوغانية الجديدة بوسيلتين: السيطرة الاستراتيجية والايديولوجية والاستيلاء على الغاز والنفط.

ألا يشكل هذا الأمر انقلاباً تركياً على نتائج الحرب العالمية الثانية؟

يعتبر الأتراك ان الاميركيين سمحوا لهم باحتلال ثلث قبرص منذ 46 عاماً. وكان هناك عدو واحد لهم هو الاتحاد السوفياتي، اما اليوم فلديهم عدوان اثنان واكثر من منافس هما الصين وروسيا والمانيا واليابان والهند، لذلك تبقى تركيا حاجة اساسية للنفوذ الاميركي العالمي، واي تخلٍ عنها يذهب نحو تدمير كبير للجيوبوليتيك الاميركي. هذا هو صميم المراهنة التركية التي تجزم بأن الاميركيين لن يعترضوا على دور كبير لها في مياه البحر الابيض المتوسط وسواحل بلدانه، لا يفعل أكثر من صد النفوذ الروسي الصيني.

فهل هذا صحيح؟

لن تقبل دول اوروبا المتوسطية في فرنسا وايطاليا بهذه المعادلة. وقد تتمكن اليونان العضو في الاتحاد الاوروبي من جذب المانيا ومعظم دول الاتحاد الى مياه البحر المتوسط للاستفادة من ثرواته، كما ان الاميركيين لن يذهبوا الى حدود إثارة غضب الاوروبيين من اجل ارضاء اردوغان، وقد يذهبون كعادتهم نحو التوفيق بين تحالفاتهم انما على اساس الاولوية للمصالح الاميركية.

يتبقى العرب وعندما يستيقظون من سباتهم تكون المعركة على ثروات المتوسط اختتمت فصولها وانتقلت للسيطرة على بحار جديدة.

Why Xi won’t repeat Ming Dynasty mistakes

Why Xi won’t repeat Ming Dynasty mistakes

May 11, 2020

By Pepe Escobar – posted with permission

China has learned from its own rich history and is applying those lessons to re-emerge as a major 21st century power

Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the Jiayu Pass, a famed MIng Dynasty era part of the Great Wall in Jiayuguan City, during an inspection tour of northwest China’s Gansu Province, August 20, 2019. Photo: FacebookWith hybrid warfare 2.0 against China reaching fever pitch, the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative, will continue to be demonized 24/7 as the proverbial evil communist plot for economic and geopolitical domination of the “free” world, boosted by a sinister disinformation campaign.

Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the Jiayu Pass,
a famed MIng Dynasty era part of the Great Wall in Jiayuguan City,
during an inspection tour of northwest China’s Gansu Province,
August 20, 2019. Photo: Facebook

It’s idle to discuss with simpletons. In the interest of an informed debate, what matters is to find the deeper roots of Beijing’s strategy – what the Chinese learned from their own rich history and how they are applying these lessons as a re-emerging major power in the young 21st century.

Let’s start with how East and West used to position themselves at the center of the world.

The first Chinese historic-geographic encyclopedia, the 2nd century B.C. Classic of the Mountains and the Seas, tells us the world was what was under the sun (tienhia). Composed of “mountains and seas” (shanhai), the world was laid out between “four seas” (shihai). There’s only one thing that does not change: the center. And its name is “Middle Kingdom” (Zhongguo), that is, China.

Of course, the Europeans, in the 16th century, discovering that the earth was round, turned Chinese centrality upside down. But actually not that much (see, for instance, this 21st century Sinocentric map published in 2013).

The principle of a huge continent surrounded by seas, the “exterior ocean,” seems to have derived from Buddhist cosmology, in which the world is described as a “four-petal lotus.” But the Sinocentric spirit was powerful enough to discard and prevail over every cosmogony that might have contradicted it, such as the Buddhist, which placed India at the center.

Now compare Ancient Greece. Its center, based on reconstituted maps by Hippocrates and Herodotus, is a composite in the Aegean Sea, featuring the Delphi-Delos-Ionia triad. The major split between East and West goes back to the Roman empire in the 3rd century. And it starts with Diocletian, who made it all about geopolitics.

Here’s the sequence: In 293, he installs a tetrarchy, with two Augustuses and two Caesars, and four prefectures. Maximian Augustus is charged to defend the West (Occidens), with the “prefecture of Italy” having Milan as capital. Diocletian charges himself to defend the East (Oriens), with the “prefecture of Orient” having Nicomedia as capital.

Political religion is added to this new politico-military complex. Diocletian starts the Christian dioceses (dioikesis, in Greek, after his name), twelve in total. There is already a diocese of the Orient – basically the Levant and northern Egypt.

There’s no diocese of the Occident. But there is a diocese of Asia: basically the Western part of Mediterranean Turkey nowadays, heir to the ancient Roman provinces in Asia. That’s quite interesting: the Orient is placed east of Asia.

The historical center, Rome, is just a symbol. There’s no more center; in fact, the center is slouching towards the Orient. Nicomedia, Diocletian’s capital, is quickly replaced by neighbor Byzantium under Constantine and rechristened as Constantinople: he wants to turn it into “the new Rome.”

When the Western Roman empire falls in 476, the empire of the Orient remains.

Officially, it will become the Byzantine empire only in the year 732, while the Holy Roman Empire – which, as we know, was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire – resurrects with Charlemagne in 800. From Charlemagne onwards, the Occident regards itself as “Europe,” and vice-versa: the historical center and the engine of this vast geographical space, which will eventually reach and incorporate the Americas.

Superstar admiral

We’re still immersed in a – literally – oceanic debate among historians about the myriad reasons and the context that led everyone and his neighbor to frenetically take to the seas starting in the late 15th century – from Columbus and Vasco da Gama to Magellan.

But the West usually forgets about the true pioneer: iconic Admiral Zheng He, original name Ma He, a eunuch and Muslim Hui from Yunnan province.

His father and grandfather had been pilgrims to Mecca. Zheng He grew up speaking Mandarin and Arabic and learning a lot about geography. When he was 13, he was placed in the house of a Ming prince, Zhu Di, member of the new dynasty that came to power in 1387.

Educated as a diplomat and warrior, Zheng He converted to Buddhism under his new name, although he always remained faithful to Islam. After all, as I saw for myself when I visited Hui communities in 1997 when branching out from the Silk Road, on my way to Labrang monastery in Xiahe, Hui Islam is a fascinating syncretism incorporating Buddhism, the Tao and Confucianism.

Zhu Di brought down the Emperor in 1402 and took the name Yong Le. A year later he had already commissioned Zheng He as admiral, and ordered him to supervise the construction of a large fleet to explore the seas around China. Or, to be more precise, the “Occidental ocean” (Xiyang): that is, the Indian Ocean.

Thus from 1405 to 1433, roughly three decades, Zheng He led seven expeditions across the seas all the way to Arabia and Eastern Africa, leaving from Nanjing in the Yangtze and benefiting from monsoon winds. They hit Champa, Borneo, Java, Malacca, Sumatra, Ceylon, Calicut, Hormuz, Aden, Jeddah/Mecca, Mogadiscio and the Eastern African coast south of the Equator.

Those were real armadas, sometimes with over 200 ships, including the 72 main ones, carrying as many as 30,000 men and vast amounts of precious merchandise for trade: silk, porcelain, silver, cotton, leather products, iron utensils. The leading vessel of the first expedition, with Zheng He as captain, was 140 meters long, 50 meters wide and carrying over 500 men.

This was the original Maritime Silk Road, now revived in the 21st century. And it was coupled with another extension of the overland Silk Road: after all the dreaded Mongols were in retreat, there were new allies all the way to Transoxiana, the Chinese managed to strike a peace deal with the successor of Tamerlane. So the Silk Roads were booming again. The Ming court sent diplomats all over Asia – Tibet, Nepal, Bengal, even Japan.

The main objective of pioneering Chinese seafaring has always puzzled Western historians. Essentially, it was a diplomatic, commercial and military mix. It was important to have Chinese suzerainty recognized – and materialized via the payment of a tribute. But most of all this was about trade; no wonder the ships had special cabins for merchants.

The armada was designated as the Treasury Fleet – but denoting more a prestige operation than a vehicle for capturing riches. Yong Le was strong on soft power and economics – as he took control of overseas trade by imposing an imperial monopoly over all transactions. So in the end this was a clever, comprehensive application of the Chinese tributary system – in the commercial, diplomatic and cultural spheres.

Yong Le was in fact following the instructions of his predecessor Hongwu, the founder of the Ming (“Lights”) dynasty. Legend rules that Hongwu ordered that one billion trees should be planted in the Nanjing region to supply the building of a navy.

Then there was the transfer of the capital from Nanjing to Beijing in 1421, and the construction of the Forbidden City. That cost a lot of money. As much as the naval expeditions were expensive, their profits, of course, were useful.

Yong Le wanted to establish Chinese – and pan-Asian – stability via a true Pax Sinica. That was not imposed by force but rather by diplomacy, coupled with a subtle demonstration of power. The Armada was the aircraft carrier of the time, with cannons on sight – but rarely used – and practicing “freedom of navigation”.

What the emperor wanted was allied local rulers, and for that he used intrigue and commerce rather than shock and awe via battles and massacres. For instance, Zheng He proclaimed Chinese suzerainty over Sumatra, Cochin and Ceylon. He privileged equitable commerce. So this was never a colonization process.

On the contrary: before each expedition, as its planning proceeded, emissaries from countries to be visited were invited to the Ming court and treated, well, royally.

Plundering Europeans

Now compare that with the European colonization led a decade later by the Portuguese across these same lands and these same seas. Between (a little) carrot and (a lot of) stick, the Europeans drove commerce mostly via massacres and forced conversions. Trading posts were soon turned into forts and military installations, something that Zheng He’s expeditions never attempted.

In fact Zheng He left so many good memories that he was divinized under his Chinese name, San Bao, which means “Three Treasures,” in such places in Southeast Asia as Malacca and Siam’s Ayutthaya.

What can only be described as Judeo-Christian sadomasochism focused on imposing suffering as virtue, the only path to reach Paradise. Zheng He would never have considered that his sailors – and the populations he made contact with – had to pay this price.

So why did it all end, and so suddenly? Essentially Yong Le run out of money because of his grandiose imperial adventures. The Grand Canal – linking the Yellow River and the Yangtze basins – cost a fortune. Same for building the Forbidden City. The revenue from the expeditions was not enough.

And just as the Forbidden City was inaugurated, it caught fire in May 1421. Bad omen. According to tradition, this means disharmony between Heaven and the sovereign, a development outside of the astral norm. Confucians used it to blame the eunuch councilors, very close to the merchants and the cosmopolitan elites around the emperor. On top of it, the southern borders were restless and the Mongol threat never really went away.

The new Ming emperor, Zhu Gaozhi, laid down the law: “China’s territory produces all goods in abundance; so why should we buy abroad trinkets without any interest?”

His successor Zhu Zanji was even more radical. Up to 1452, a series of imperial edicts prohibited foreign trade and overseas travel. Every infraction was considered piracy punished by death. Worse, studying foreign languages was banished, as was the teaching of Chinese to foreigners.

Zheng He died (in early 1433? 1435?) in true character, in the middle of the sea, north of Java, as he was returning from the seventh, and last, expedition. The documents and the charts used for the expeditions were destroyed, as well as the ships.

So the Ming ditched naval power and re-embraced old agrarian Confucianism, which privileges agriculture over trade, the earth over the seas, and the center over foreign lands.

No more naval retreat

The takeaway is that the formidable naval tributary system put in place by Yong Le and Zheng He was a victim of excess – too much state spending, peasant turbulence – as well as its own success.

In less than a century, from the Zheng He expeditions to the Ming retreat, this turned out to be a massive game changer in history and geopolitics, prefiguring what would happen immediately afterwards in the long 16th century: the era when Europe started and eventually managed to rule the world.

One image is stark. While Zheng He’s lieutenants were sailing the eastern coast of Africa all the way to the south, in 1433, the Portuguese expeditions were just starting their adventures in the Atlantic, also sailing south, little by little, along the Western coast of Africa. The mythical Cape Bojador was conquered in 1434.

After the seven Ming expeditions crisscrossed Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean from 1403 for nearly three decades, only half a century later Bartolomeu Dias would conquer the Cape of Good Hope, in 1488, and Vasco da Gama would arrive in Goa in 1498.

Imagine a historical “what if?”: the Chinese and the Portuguese bumping into each other in Swahili land. After all, in 1417 it was the turn of Hong Bao, the Muslim eunuch who was Zheng He’s lieutenant; and in 1498 it was Vasco da Gama’s turn, guided by the “Lion of the Sea” Ibn Majid, his legendary Arab master navigator.

The Ming were not obsessed with gold and spices. For them, trade should be based on equitable exchange, under the framework of the tribute. As Joseph Needham conclusively proved in works such as Science and Civilization in China, the Europeans wanted Asian products way more than Orientals wanted European products, “and the only way to pay for them was gold.”

For the Portuguese, the “discovered” lands were all potential colonization territory. And for that the few colonizers needed slaves. For the Chinese, slavery amounted to domestic chores at best. For the Europeans, it was all about the massive exploitation of a workforce in the fields and in mines, especially concerning black populations in Africa.

In Asia, in contrast to Chinese diplomacy, the Europeans went for massacre. Via torture and mutilations, Vasco da Gama and other Portuguese colonizers deployed a real war of terror against civilian populations.

This absolutely major structural difference is at the root of the world- system and the geo-historical organization of our world, as analyzed by crack geographers such as Christian Grataloup and Paul Pelletier.  Asian nations did not have to manage – or to suffer – the painful repercussions of slavery.

So in the space of only a few decades the Chinese abdicated from closer relations with Southeast Asia, India and Eastern Africa. The Ming fleet was destroyed. China abandoned overseas trade and retreated unto itself to focus on agriculture.

Once again: the direct connection between the Chinese naval retreat and the European colonial expansion is capable of explaining the development process of the two “worlds” – the West and the Chinese center – since the 15th century.

At the end of the 15th century, there were no Chinese architects left capable of building large ships. Development of weaponry also had been abandoned. In just a few decades, crucially, the Sinified world lost its vast technological advance over the West. It got weaker. And later it would pay a huge price, symbolized in the Chinese unconsciousness by the “century of humiliation.”

All of the above explains quite a few things. How Xi Jinping and the current leadership did their homework. Why China won’t pull a Ming remix and retreat again. Why and how the overland Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road are being revived. How there won’t be any more humiliations. And most of all, why the West – especially the American empire – absolutely refuses to admit the new course of history.

Turkey fires back at 5 countries, ‘we ruined your

By News Desk -2020-05-12

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:15 P.M.) – The Turkish Foreign Ministry considered the statement from the UAE, Egypt, France, Greece and Cyprus on Turkey’s activities in the Mediterranean as evidence of “double standards”.

Turkey responds to Egypt, France and other countries: “We have ruined your sabotage accounts to stabilize the region,” the Foreign Ministry said, ” Turkey is under severe attack from Egypt, the Emirates, Greece, Cyprus and France.”

“The statement of the foreign ministers of Egypt, the UAE, Greece, France, and Greek Cyprus on the Mediterranean basin is evidence of the double standards followed by these countries,” they continued.

“Instead of entering the ruling administration in Egypt in a dialogue with Turkey, they preferred to give up and not to defend the rights and interests of its people in the Mediterranean basin, in favor of external powers that allowed them to intervene. There is no reason other than hostility to Turkey as the Emirates has no relationship in the Mediterranean,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Turkey called on the signatories of the five-year statement to act “rationally” and in accordance with international law, and said: “Stabilization in the region will not be by forming coalitions of evil, but rather through transparent and real dialogue and cooperation.”

In a joint statement, Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, France and the United Arab Emirates strongly condemned what it described as “Turkey’s military intervention in Libya” and Turkey’s “illegal” movements in the Mediterranean.

ALSO READ  Egypt intends to return Syria to its ‘natural location in regional and international arenas’

Greece’s Renewed Relations with Syria Further Isolates Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean

By Paul Antonopoulos

Global Research, May 08, 2020

On Tuesday, the Greek Foreign Ministry finally announced a restoration of relations between Greece and Syria and assigned former ambassador to Syria and Russia, Tasia Athanassiou, as a Special Envoy of Greece’s Foreign Ministry for Syria. Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias confirmed this from his Twitter. The appointment of Athanassiou is extremely strategic as she was Greece’s ambassador to Damascus from 2009 to 2012, meaning she is already familiar with Syria and their authorities.

The Greek Foreign Ministry said that contacts will be made for the “international aspects of Syria and related humanitarian action, as well as coordination of actions in view of the ongoing efforts to rebuild Syria.”

Although the Foreign Ministry claims that the suspension of diplomatic relations “was dictated by the security conditions,” we know it was ordered by former Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in December 2012 under orders from NATO and the European Union who were, and in some instances, still backing jihadists against the secular government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Greece became a country ruled by European banker, EU, and NATO puppets from 2010 onwards when on May 2 of that year, the so-called socialist government of George Papandreou signed the first of three bailout packages with the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF. This caused a 25% contraction of the Greek economy, an unemployment rate of 27% and skyrocketed poverty. Any semblance of Greek independence in domestic and foreign policy was lost.

However, moving to 2020, the economic and geopolitical situation in Greece and its surrounding region has drastically changed. Diplomatic sources quoted by Kathemirini, one of Greece’s oldest and most respected newspaper, said that the decision to appoint a Special Envoy for Syria is part of Greece’s steady activity in the Eastern Mediterranean and the wider region. According to the sources, Greece’s increased desire in contributing to efforts in resolving the Syrian crisis was stated by Dendias in his meetings with the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Otto Pedersen.Turkish Intervention in Libya: Another Erdogan Reckless Attempt to Revive Neo-Ottoman Empire

Therefore, a major reason for the reopening of relations with Syria is to further tilt the balance of power in the East Mediterranean in Greece’s favor against Turkey, especially at a time when Ankara does not have a single ally in the region, with the exception of the besieged Muslim Brotherhood government in Libya that is nearly collapsed because of the Libyan National Army’s assault.

The reopening of relations between Athens and Damascus comes at a time when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is making a strong push for a “Blue Homeland” that aims to annex Greece’s Eastern Aegean islands and maritime space. Turkey for nine years attempted to oust Assad from power through various means, including an unsuccessful invasion attempt of Idlib province earlier this year, as well as its continued support for terrorist organisations. In addition, Erdoğan is propping up the Muslim Brotherhood government in Libya by importing jihadists from Syria to the North African country.

Although Erdoğan has failed in all of these endeavours, Turkey still remains a major threat, even at a time when it is facing economic catastrophe with the Turkish lira at a near record low to the U.S. dollar and Turkey’s three largest banks, Garanti, Akbank and İşbank, on the verge of bankruptcy. Even with this looming economic disaster, Turkey still manages to find the funds to violate Greek airspace on a daily basis, send weapons to Libya and fund terrorist organizations in Syria.

As the Eastern Mediterranean becomes a potential major warzone because of Turkey’s aggression, Greece is now renewing relations with old friends. Hafez al-Assad, previous president of Syria and father to Bashar al-Assad, pledged that if Turkey was ever to go to war with Greece, Syria would automatically open a new front in southern Turkey in support of Greece.

Athens however is not completely independent from NATO and the EU. This suggests that although renewing relations with Syria is absolutely critical in protecting its sovereignty, perhaps Greece has gotten approval from the EU and/or NATO to do this.  Greece is perhaps the most important of the very few European countries that have maintained or reopened relations with Syria because of its history of friendly relations, as well as thousands of years of religious, cultural, financial and ethnic ties.

It can be suggested that as the war in Syria begins to end, continued only by Turkey’s refusal to stop backing terrorist organizations in Idlib, the EU wants to try and take advantage of lucrative reconstruction contracts that will be on offer and investment opportunities. It is unlikely that European companies will win reconstruction contracts, but the reality is that Assad has survived the near 10-year efforts to have him removed, and is not going anywhere. Greece could be used as an outlet for the EU to open dialogue and relations with Damascus again.

This is only speculative, but what is for certain is that by reopening relations with Syria, Greece is consolidating the emerging East Mediterranean order and opposes Turkish hegemony in the region. Greece will always have close relations with Cyprus, and has also entered a military alliance with Egypt, supports the Libyan National Army against Turkish-backed forces, and has strong military and energy ties with Israel. Relations with Syria has essentially finalized the strangulation of Turkey’s attempted hegemony of the Eastern Mediterranean and made it the most isolated country in the region – despite Athens’ insistence on improving ties with Ankara if it finally abandons its aggressive foreign policy.

*

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This article was originally published on InfoBrics.

Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies.

Featured image is from InfoBricsThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Paul Antonopoulos, Global Research, 2020

Solidarity in the Age of Coronavirus: What the Arabs Must Do

April 8, 2020

Using humble means, a refugee worker sterilizes the streets in Al-Shati refugee camp. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Ramzy Baroud

While the Coronavirus continues to ravage almost every nation on earth, Arab countries remain unable, or unwilling, to formulate a collective strategy to help the poorest and most vulnerable Arabs survive the deadly virus and its economic fallout.

Worse, amid growing international solidarity, we are yet to see a pan-Arab initiative that aims to provide material support to countries and regions that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 disease.

The lack of collective Arab responsiveness is not unique as it mirrors Europe’s own systematic failure, exhibiting ‘solidarity’ when it is financially convenient, and turning its back, sometimes at its own brethren, when there are no economic incentives.

For example, when Greece defaulted on its debt to international donors in 2015, Germany, and other European Union countries, pounced on the opportunity to dismantle the country’s major financial institutions and to profit from Athens’ mounting miseries.

All the talk of European solidarity, fraternity and community floundered at the altar of greed and unhindered profits.

That was not the first – nor will it be the last – occasion when the opportunistic EU showed its true colors. In truth, Europe is united, not by common history or unbreakable social bonds, but rather by the shared belief that a united Europe is a stronger economic unit.

The same sordid scenario was recently repeated. As Italy began buckling down under the unbearable burdens of the deadly Coronavirus, it immediately, and naturally, sought the help of its European sister states. To no avail.

Despite its sizable debt, Italy is a major player in the economic arena of Europe and, in fact, the world. Indeed, Italy is the world’s 8th largest economy. But the country’s economy is now experiencing a rare freefall, especially in the poorer regions of the South, where people are literally going hungry.

The first country to come to Italy’s aid was neither France, nor, unsurprisingly, Germany, but China, followed by Russia, then Cuba, and others.

This palpable lack of solidarity among European countries has further empowered the ethnocentric view already prevailing in Europe, and championed by far-right movements like Italy’s League Party of Matteo Salvini. For years, the latter has advocated against European integration.

It will take months, if not years, for the political fallout of the Coronavirus to be fully assessed. But what is already clear is that international and regional economic hubs are actively hedging their bets to consolidate their geopolitical positions in the post-Coronavirus world.

Despite bashful American attempts to join the politically-motivated international solidarity, US President Donald Trump’s humble moves arrived too little, too late. In fact, a sign of the times is that Chinese and Russian aid is pouring in to help the United States, which now has the world’s largest number of COVID-19 cases.

A compelling question, however, is where are the Arabs in all of this?

Italy and Spain, in particular, share historical and cultural bonds, and broad political interests, with many Arab countries, interests that will remain long after the Coronavirus is eradicated. Failing to register on the radar of international solidarity with Italy and Spain will prove a strategic miscalculation.

Israel, on the other hand, is activating its aid agency, IsraAID, which has previously worked in Italy between 2016 and 2019, after a major earthquake killed nearly 300 people and left behind massive infrastructural damage.

Israel uses ‘humanitarian aid’ as a political and propaganda tool. Israeli missions are often under-funded and short-lasting, but their impact is greatly amplified by a powerful, official media machine that tries to project Israel as a ‘peace-maker’, not a war-monger.

The truth is, some Arab governments do, in fact, provide badly needed funds and aid to countries that are devastated by wars or natural disasters; alas, these efforts are often disorganized and self-centered – and frankly, not at all motivated by true solidarity.

That said, the absence of Arab initiatives in the field of international humanitarian solidarity dwarf in comparison to the lack of Arab solidarity within the Arab world itself.

According to United Nation estimates, there are “101.4 million (people) in the region who already live in poverty, according to official criteria, and around 52 million undernourished.”

A new policy brief issued on April 1 by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), projects that an additional 8.3 million people are set to join the poor and undernourished masses throughout the Arab world.

Aside from empty rhetoric and useless press releases, we are yet to witness a major collective Arab initiative, championed by, for example, the Arab League, to provide an Arab equivalent to the many economic stimulus plans that have been set into motion in many other countries and regions around the world.

Late March, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, issued a ‘global ceasefire appeal’, pleading to the world, especially to warring Middle Eastern nations, to cease fire and to unite all efforts in one single war against the Coronavirus.

Sadly, that call has so far gone unheeded. The war in Libya is escalating, not subsiding; Israeli killing of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank continues unabated; the flood of refugees out of Syria, Turkey, and other Middle Eastern countries is yet to slow down.

Times of crisis, especially the kind that targets all of us regardless of race, religion, or geography, often constitute a wake-up call, present an opportunity for a new beginning, a new social contract so that we may resurrect from the ashes of our collective pain to build a better world.

Let COVID-19 be that opportunity that will allow all nations, especially in the Middle East, to take a stance against war, hunger and disease, to share their wealth and to extend the hand of solidarity to Africa and our historic allies throughout the world.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Live Updates: Russia Confirms 954 New Coronavirus Cases in 24 Hours Bringing Total to 6,343

A worker packs surgical masks on the production line in a factory in Taoyuan

Spotnik

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, with over 1,270,000 confirmed cases across the world and at least 69,450 fatalities from the disease.
Nations affected by the coronavirus are introducing further measures to curb the spread and urging people to stay at home to be safe and also ease the pressure on healthcare systems amid the crisis.
The United States remains the country hardest hit by the pandemic with almost one-fourth of the world’s infected (at least 337,000), while Italy and Spain remain the main centre of the outbreak in Europe with the highest numbers of deaths (15,887 and 12,641 respectively).
Germany, in the meantime, is approaching 100,000 confirmed cases.
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If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone

March 30, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone

By Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

Germany and their moral poses… a century of Europe cries, “Enough!”

It’s hard for those living outside of Europe to understand the resentment towards Germany; Germans themselves often seem totally oblivious – the “German professor” only ever sees bad, unruly students, after all.

When I first moved to Paris in 2009 I remarked how all the Germans I met were so very nice. I was told, “They have to be, after what they’ve done.”

Low blow?

Hardly. Ignoring history is not politeness or PC progress or evidence of forward-thinking: it’s denial, hysteria and illusory thinking.

To paraphrase Henny Youngman: Take my Mutti – please. Angela Merkel is my generation’s Margaret Thatcher. When Thatcher died there were street parties in the UK, which were brutally repressed by cops, but the billionaire-directed Western Mainstream Media ordered paeans to be penned instead.

For Merkel there has similarly never been anything but fawning coverage, as evidenced – aggravatingly – by this recent story from the Associated Press: Merkel shines in handling of Germany’s coronavirus crisis.

Why such love for an abusive mother? Because she certainly hasn’t abused the German 1%: under Merkel German corporations have re-colonised much of Central Europe, they have extracted as much wealth as possible from weaker Eurozone nations like Greece, and downward pressure on wages was maintained on the German post-Hartz Re(De)forms workforce via the importation of hundreds of thousands of skilled Syrians and detested “minijobs”.

On a pan-European level ever since 2008, and even in the heat of the 2012 European Sovereign Debt Crisis, we have Germany’s constant refusal for “more Europe”, which is the only possible way to save this (atrocious, anti-democratic, unaccountable, corrupt, American-penned, socialism-detesting) version of the pan-European project. Germany refuses to collateralise Eurozone debt, even though it is Germany who would collect as they are the debtors, because Germany doesn’t want mere dead gold but living debt slaves.

The Eurozone is simply so riddled with contradictions and stupidities it just defies journalistic explanation:

Germany just doesn’t get it – for every country with an export surplus, there simply has to be a country with a corresponding deficit. It was German (and French) banks who signed off on the bad loans to the “immoral” Greeks which precipitated the biggest Eurozone problems, and yet it is German banks who got bailed out, despite their errors; and yet it is German banks who got QE to loan; and yet it is German banks which didn’t loan a dime of QE, and certainly not to Greeks. Germany is the biggest recipient of the ECB bond-buying, even though they don’t need it, whereas Greece was excluded even though they need it?

Crazy, but let’s look at Germany’s explanation for all these selfish actions action: moral hazard. They simply cannot perpetuate immorality, and deficits (even if to pay for the elderly, the poor, health care, education, etc.) are immoral. Haven’t you read your Kant, and his OCD-morality? German absolutism is absolute; their personal conscience must be clean no matter how many murderers must be let in the door to commit murder.

So… explain your €822 billion bailout, Germany?

Wait – what? A bailout worth 22% of annual German GDP?

What happened to budget rigour and the moral imperative of balanced budgets? What happened to the total, facile nonsense that a national economy is simply a household writ large? What happened to Yanis Varoufakis recycling absurd stereotypes like “Teutonic discipline” (has he never seen an Oktoberfest?)?

Oh, I get it… Germany is in a crisis – EU deficit rules need to be relaxed.

However: Greece and others were in a crisis for years – why didn’t their crises matter?

(Millions starving in Yemen, millions dying of bad water globally, deaths from natural disasters – indeed, why does the Corona crisis matter so very, VERY much more than those crises? I just can’t comprehend the West’s crisis criterion.)

But it gets worse with Germany: Bailouts for Greece and other crisis-hit nations were contingent on forcing open their economies. German and Dutch companies gleefully bought up assets and market share, and forced in their products but now Germany Will Block Foreign Takeovers to Avoid Economy Sell-Out?

It’s disgusting, German hypocrisy.

But Europeans have been dealing with this for quite some time. In January I wrote this article to explain Europe’s perpetual stagnation and unrest: 1941, 1981, 2017 or today – it’s still Germany’s fault.

Need more? In 2017, foolishly assuming that QE would actually end, I wrote France’s historic effort for an anti-austerity Eurozone, which detailed the self-harming, wooing efforts from De Gaulle to Mitterrand to Hollande aimed at ending this historical trend: “France wanted to not be conquered by the US-German alliance, so they kept proposing a Franco-German (capitalist) alliance.”

Ramin, you seem rather anti-German. Are you a tribalist-racist?

No. What I am is a daily hard news journalist in the heart of Europe and I am fed up with reading lecture after lecture from Germany; hypocrisy after hypocrisy; duplicity upon duplicity.

Just tell me this: where is the “moral hazard” in the Corona crisis, Germany?

Shine a light on that for me, Mutti Merkel.

She cannot. There is none.

There are healthy companies – who have as much Teutonic economic discipline, intelligence and good DNA as a pure and spotless German – in places like Italy which are going to go under without something like Corona-bonds to provide financing wrought by the Marxist logic-defying Western shutdown.

Forget it – shot down already by Germany and their Dutch toadies. Same old story….

The corona overreaction defies Marxist logic and is economic suicide (socialist-inspired nations like China and Iran control their economies, so they can do things which the corporate-dominated West cannot) but yet another German refusal to help, to pool debt and risk, to show solidarity means Germany must leave the Eurozone.

Hell, we KNOW they have the money – while they have had their boots on the throats of people like the Greeks the Germans have also been assiduously picking their pockets. Germany can afford such a staggeringly huge bailout because of these incredibly immoral profits! Oh no Ramin, you’re wrong – they got those profits simply because German capitalists are so very moral. Sure, sure….

German bankers entrapped poorer Eurozone countries into debt slavery, and now that their slaves are sick Germany wants a quarantine?

You’ll never read such analyses in the West, that’s for sure, but what is absolutely, absolutely certain is that the average Eurozone citizen knows what I am talking about already. Anti-German sentiment is going to absolutely explode if Germany’s historical pattern – pro-US imperialism, anti-European project, self-interest above solidarity – continues.

Everybody in Europe (and the whole world) has seen how China, and not Germany, is the one sending supplies to corona-hit Italy. Yes, the Eurozone’s terrible structure means it is always fiddling while Rome burns, but I truly believe that German (capitalist-imperialist) leadership simply doesn’t care.

Of course there are good Germans who want Corona bonds, but the simplest solution to the Eurozone’s crisis has always been to expel Germany.

If Germany is unwilling to take the basic steps needed to improve the currency union, it should do the next best thing: Leave the eurozone.” That’s an assessment from Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. Yes, I did write ‘The Euro’ by Stiglitz: Even fake leftists say ‘exit’, but the point is that only far-right neoliberals don’t see that a “Deutsch-parture” can painlessly end the Eurozone’s near-constant stagnation and dissension. The Netherlands can similarly be invited to leave as well.

Unless naked, would-be German emperors can finally get off their high horses and on board with morality and unity – via something like Corona bonds – a huge explosion of jingoism and neo-fascism in the Eurozone is around the corner.

Fine by me I guess – history shows that this is the last step before socialism because: how can fascism ever possibly succeed for the lower classes? It seems some Western nations need to go through this step (yet again) before accepting that the needs of workers, not bankers, and the poor must always be predominant in political policy.


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

Ceasefire in Idlib to Hold, But Will it be Enough to Bridge Gaps Between Syria and Turkey?

GMT 11.03.2020

Sputnik

Elizabeth Blade

Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said there have been no violations registered in Syria’s northern province of Idlib since Thursday, 5 March, when Ankara sealed a ceasefire deal with Moscow in an attempt to contain the conflict that displaced nearly a million people in three months in north-west of the country.

As the situation around Idlib, escalated, threatening to drag all the conflicting sides into a deeper crisis, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew to Moscow last week to meet with his Russian counterpart and establish new rules of the game.

The measures, which entered into force on 6 March, include an agreement to establish joint patrols of one of Idlib’s two key highways (the M4), along which a Russian-Turkish security corridor will be established.

Pinning Hopes for Better Future

And this time around, thinks Yusuf Erim, a Turkish affairs analyst for TRT World who is close to governmental circles, the chances that both sides will adhere to the agreement are high.

“First of all, [the Idlib agreement presupposed that] Turkey is leaving behind a sizable deployment of troops to secure its area of control and be able to retaliate if Syrian forces violate the agreement. And, secondly, the Syrian army has absorbed huge losses so they don’t have the capability to deal with Turkish troops. Assad understands the repercussions that would follow if he breached the deal”, he said referring to Ankara’s claims that it has “neutralised” hundreds of Syrian soldiers.

In the end of February, 34 Turkish soldiers were neutralised by Syrian troops resulting in Turkey’s decision to launch a full-scale offensive – operation Spring Shield – that claimed the lives of more than two thousand Syrian soldiers and dealt a severe blow to Syria’s military equipment, Turkish sources said.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has justified the operation by saying that Ankara aimed at “putting an end to the carnage” it blamed on Damascus and prevent radicalisation and migration – an opinion shared by Erim, who suggests that Ankara’s involvement in Syria was dictated by purely “national security concerns”.

“Ankara’s first cross border operation into Syria in 2016 was to push back Daesh militants, while the operations in 2018 and 2019 targeted the YPG (Kurdish fighters considered terrorist by Ankara – ed.),” adding that Turkey took great care to avoid skirmishes with the Syrian armed forces. “However, allowing Idlib to collapse and watch a humanitarian disaster unfold on its borders was not an option.”

Is Turkey a True Partner?

But not everyone agreed with this depiction of events. Dr. Nidal Kabalan, Syria’s last ambassador to Turkey, who held this post for more than a year after the eruption of the Arab Spring in 2011, argues that Ankara has successfully disguised its “expansionist intentions” under the preface of fighting for human rights and democracy.

“They didn’t come to Syria to protect civilians,” Kabalan said, adding that the real intention of Ankara was to fight President Assad. In doing so, the former diplomat thinks, Turkey supported various kinds of militants in the war-stricken country, ranging from moderates to extremists.

Since the eruption of the war in Syria nine years ago, Damascus has repeatedly stated that it was fighting terrorists who had flocked to the war-torn country from abroad to wage jihad.

Many, according to Syria, came from Turkey. In 2014, for example, the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, a New York based think-tank, published research suggesting Ankara has not only turned a blind eye to its own citizens travelling to Syria to fight alongside the rebels linked to terrorist groups but has also helped foreign fighters to bypass the lax security on the Syrian border.

Ankara, for its part, denies these allegations: being one of the first countries that designated Daesh* and its branches as terrorist organisations, Turkey positions itself as a country that has eliminated over 6,000 Daesh-affiliated terrorists, more, it claims, than any other state.

In addition, Turkey has also collaborated with the international community to find political solutions to the ongoing  crisis, participating in various talks that aimed at protecting civilians and helping millions of Syrian refugees who had entered the country since the beginning of the war.

Refugees as Means of Extortion?

But in the case of the Syrian refugees, as in other cases, Ankara and Damascus agree to disagree.

Recently, Ankara, which is said to be hosting the largest refugee population in the world, including more than two million from Syria, decided to open its borders for hundreds of asylum-seekers who have amassed at the Turkish-Greek border in a bid to cross into Europe.

Turkey justified its decision by its inability to cope with the growing number of asylum seekers and accused the EU of violating a 2016 agreement, under which Ankara agreed to host thousands in exchange for financial support from Brussels – cash that was too little and came too late.

Reaction of the European bloc was quick to follow. It pointed a finger of blame at Turkey for using the issue as a “bargaining chip” in talks with Brussels and Syria’s former ambassador believes Brussels couldn’t have formulated it better.

“Refugees are only a tool in the hands of Erdogan to extort money from the EU,” the former top diplomat said, while referring to the Turkish president’s comments that his country needs some $40 billion to handle the crisis.

But for the Turkish analyst, Erdogan’s demands made perfect sense.

“Turkey has almost single-handedly been forced to shoulder the migrant crisis with very little outside support. Migration is not Turkey’s problem, its an international issue. The EU has had many opportunities to address the root cause of the crisis but it chose to stay silent. The situation has now reached a point where Turkey can no longer handle it by itself. If the EU will not support Turkey in its initiatives to create solutions inside Syria to curb the displacement of people – then it will have to face the consequences of its inaction,” he summed up.

The EU, for its part, rejects Turkey’s claims, saying the bloc has stuck to its 2016 agreement with Ankara, injecting billions of Euro to assist Turkey to finance schools, housing and medical centres for the refugees it hosts on its soil. 

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Turkish President Erdogan Urges Greece to ‘Open the Gates’ to Migrants

Migrants gather in Edirne, near the Turkish-Greek border on Sunday, March 8, 2020. Thousands of migrants headed for Turkey's land border with Greece after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government said last week that it would no longer prevent migrants and refugees from crossing over to European Union territory.
Turkey announced last month that it could no longer restrain the flow of refugees from Syria, and opened its borders. Following this decision, taken amid tensions in Syria’s Idlib province, thousands of migrants have been attempting to enter Greece through Turkey. Police and army units have been deployed to the border.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Greece to “open the gates” to migrants.

“Hey Greece! I appeal to you… open the gates as well and be free of this burden. Let them go to other European countries,” President Erdogan said during a televised speech in Istanbul.

He added that he will travel to Belgium on Monday for talks with the European Union.

“I hope I will return from Belgium with different outcomes,” Erdogan said.

The Turkish coast guard said on Saturday that Erdogan had ordered that they bar refugees from crossing the sea border with Greece due to a threat to their security.

Greek-Turkish border crisis

The situation with migrants at the Greek-Turkish border escalated in late February after Ankara announced it had opened its border with the European Union to migrants and refugees following the recent increase in tension in the Syrian province of Idlib. Soon after, tens of thousands of migrants rushed to Turkey’s border with Greece and Bulgaria to attempt to get into Europe.

Turkish police stand by migrants camping in Edirne near the Turkish-Greek border
© AP PHOTO / EMRAH GUREL
Turkish police stand by migrants camping in Edirne near the Turkish-Greek border

According to Turkey, one of the reasons it has opened its borders to the EU was the lack of assistance from the bloc in dealing with the flow of migrants. Under the 2016 agreement between the two, Ankara promised to restrain the flow of migrants into the bloc, with Brussels pledging to provide funds to help Turkey care for the refugees.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, agreed on a ceasefire in Idlib. Two parties also agreed to create a security corridor six kilometres (3.7 miles) north and south of the M4 highway in Syria, which connects the provinces of Latakia and Aleppo.

Empires of the steppes fuel Erdogan Khan’s dreams

Source

March 04, 2020

Refugees wait Saturday to cross the border between Turkey and Greece near the Pazarkule border post, in Turkey. Thousands of migrants and refugees, including Afghans, Syrians and Iraqis, have massed at Turkey’s border with Greece after Erdogan announced on February 28 that Turkey would no longer prevent them from leaving for the European Union. Photo: AFP / Burcu Okutan / Sputnik

By Pepe Escobar : posted with permission

As Putin meeting looms, no one in Moscow believes any word, promise or cajoling from Erdogan anymore

The latest installment of the interminable Syria tragedy could be interpreted as Greece barely blocking a European “invasion” by Syrian refugees. The invasion was threatened by President Erdogan even as he refused the EU’s puny “offer you can refuse” bribe of only one billion euros.
Well, it’s more complicated than that. What Erdogan is in fact weaponizing is mostly economic migrants – from Afghanistan to the Sahel – and not Syrian refugees.

Informed observers in Brussels know that interlocking mafias – Iraqi, Afghan, Egyptian, Tunisian, Moroccan – have been active for quite a long time smuggling everyone and his neighbor from the Sahel via Turkey, as the Greek route towards the EU Holy Grail is much safer than the Central Mediterranean.

The EU sending a last-minute emissary to Ankara will yield no new facts on the ground – even as some in Brussels, in bad faith, continue to carp that the one million “refugees” trying to leave Idlib could double and that, if Turkey does not open its borders with Syria, there will be a “massacre.”

Those in Brussels spinning the “Turkey as victim” scenario list three conditions for a possible solution. The first is a ceasefire – which in fact already exists, via the Sochi agreement, and was not respected by Ankara. The second is a “political process” – which, once again, does exist: the Astana process involving Russia, Turkey and Iran. And the third is “humanitarian aid” – a euphemism that means, in fact, a NATO intervention of the Libya “humanitarian imperialism” kind.

As it stands, two facts are inescapable. Number one: the Greek military don’t have what it takes to resist, in practice, Ankara’s weaponizing of the so-called “refugees.”

Number two is the kind of stuff that makes NATO fanatics recoil in horror: Since the Ottoman siege of Vienna, this is the first time in four centuries that a “Muslim invasion” of Europe is being prevented by, who else, Russia.

Fed up with sultan

This past Sunday, Ankara launched yet another Pentagon-style military adventure, baptized as Spring Shield. All decisions are centralized by a triumvirate: Erdogan, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and the head of MIT (Turkish intel) Hakan Fidan. John Helmer has memorably called them the SUV (Sultan and the Ugly Viziers).

Behlul Ozkan, from the University of Marmara, a respected Kemalist scholar, frames the whole tragedy as having been played since the 1980s, now back on the stage on a much larger scale since the start of the so-called Syrian chapter of the Arab Spring in 2011.

Ozkan charges Erdogan with creating “conquering troops out of five unlikely fundamentalist groups” and “naming the armed groups after Ottoman sultans,” claiming they are a sort of national salvation army. But this time, argues Ozkan, the results are much worse – from millions of refugees to the terrible destruction in Syria, and “the emergence of our political and military structures affecting national security in a dangerous way.”

To say that the Russian General Staff are absolutely fed up with the SUV’s shenanigans is the ultimate understatement. That’s the background for the meeting this Thursday in Moscow between Putin and Erdogan. Methodically, the Russians are disrupting Turk operations to an unsustainable level – ranging from renewed air cover to the Syrian Arab Army to electronic countermeasures totally smashing all Turkish drones.

Russian diplomatic sources confirm that no one in Moscow believes any word, promise or cajoling emanating from Erdogan anymore. So it’s useless to ask him to respect the Sochi agreement. Imagine a Sun Tzu-style meeting with the Russian side displaying the very picture of self-restraint while scrutinizing Erdogan on how much he is willing to suffer before desisting from his Idlib adventure.

Those non-nonsense proto-Mongols

What ghosts from the past evolve in Erdogan’s unconscious? Let history be our guide – and let’s go for a ride among the empires of the steppes.

In the 5th century, the Juan Juan people, proto-Mongols as much as their cousins the White Huns (who lived in today’s Afghanistan), were the first to give their princes the title of khan – afterwards used by the Turks as well as the Mongols.

A vast Eurasian Turco-Mongol linguistic spectrum – studied in detail by crack French experts such as J.P. Roux – evolved via conquering migrations, more or less ephemeral imperial states, and aggregating diverse ethnic groups around rival Turkish or Mongol dynasties. We can talk about an Eurasian Turk space from Central Asia to the Mediterranean for no less than a millennium and a half – but only, crucially, for 900 years in Asia Minor (today’s Anatolia).

These were highly hierarchical and militarized societies, unstable, but still capable, given the right conditions, such as the emergence of a charismatic personality, to engage in a strong collective project of building political constructions. So the charismatic Erdogan Khan mindset is not much different from what happened centuries ago.

The first form of this socio-cultural tradition appeared even before the conversion to Islam – which happened after the battle of Talas in 751, won by the Arabs against the Chinese.  But most of all it all crystallized around Central Asia from the 10th and 11th centuries onwards.

Unlike Greece in the Aegean, unlike India or Han China, there was never a central focus in terms of a cultural berth or supreme identity organizing this process. Today this role in Turkey is played by Anatolia – but that’s a 20th century phenomenon.

What history has shown is an east-west Eurasian axis across the steppes, from Central Asia to Anatolia, through which nomad tribes, Turk and Turkmen, then the Ottoman Turks, migrated and progressed, as conquerors, between the 7th and the 17th centuries: a whole millennium building an array of sultanates, emirates and empires. No wonder the Turkish president pictures himself as Erdogan Khan or Sultan Erdogan.

“Idlib is mine”

So there is a link between the turcophone tribes of Central Asia from the 5th and 6th centuries and the current Turkish nation. From the 6th to the 11th centuries they were set up as a confederation of big tribes. Then, going southwest, they founded states. Chinese sources document the first turkut (Turkish empires) as eastern Turks in Mongolia and western Turks in Turkestan.

They were followed by more or less ephemeral empires of the steppes such as the Uighurs in the 8th century (who, by the way, were originally Buddhists). It’s interesting that this original past of the Turks in Central Asia, before Islam, was somewhat elevated to mythic status by the Kemalists.

This universe was always enriched by outside elements – such as Arab-Persian Islam and its institutions inherited from the Sassanids,  as well as the Byzantine empire, whose structural elements were adapted by the Ottomans. The end of the Ottoman empire and multiple convulsions (the Balkan wars, WWI, the Greek-Turkish war) ended up with a Turkish nation-state whose sanctuary is Asia Minor (or Anatolia) and eastern Thrace, conformed into a national territory that’s exclusively Turk and denies every minority presence that is non-Sunni and non-turcophone.

Evidently that’s not enough for Erdogan Khan.

Even Hatay province, which joined Turkey in 1939, is not enough. Home to the historic Antioch and Alexandretta, Hatay was then re-baptized as Antakya and Iskenderun.

Under the Treaty of Lausanne, Hatay was included in the French mandate of Syria and Lebanon. The Turkish version is that Hatay declared its independence in 1938 – when Ataturk was still alive – and then decided to join Turkey. The Syrian version is that Hatay was acquired via a rigged referendum ordered by France to bypass the Treaty of Lausanne.

Erdogan Khan has proclaimed, “Idlib is mine.” Syria and Russia are responding, “No, it’s not.” Those were the days, when turcophone empires of the steppes could just advance and capture their prey.

أردوغان تحت أقدام الجيش السوريّ

د. محمد سيد أحمد

قبل بدء الحرب الكونية على سورية في مطلع العام 2011 كانت العلاقات السورية – التركية قد وصلت إلى أفضل حالاتها، فمن المعروف أنّ العلاقات السورية – التركية ومنذ حصول سورية على استقلالها عام 1946 لم تكن في حالة جيدة حتى تمّ توقيع اتفاقية أضنة عام 1998 فخلال هذه الفترة التي تجاوزت نصف قرن كانت العلاقات متأزّمة وعدائية بسبب استيلاء تركيا على أراضٍ سورية بمؤازرة الانتداب الفرنسيّ، أهمّها لواء إسكندرون عام 1938، ثم اختلاف الخيارات والتحالفات الاستراتيجية لكلا البلدين، حيث انحازت سورية إلى التوجهات الاشتراكية، مقابل توجه تركيا نحو السياسات الرأسمالية الغربية.

وخلال العقود الخمسة الممتدة من منتصف القرن العشرين وحتى نهايته سادت حالة من النزاع بين البلدين كادت تتحوّل إلى حروب مدمّرة، وخلال هذه المرحلة قام الأتراك بتعزيز وجودهم العسكري على الحدود وقاموا بزراعة الألغام حتى لا يتمكّن أحد من العبور، ولمزيد من التوتر قامت تركيا في تسعينيات القرن العشرين بإنشاء مجموعة من السدود الكبرى على نهر الفرات، فحجزت القسم الأكبر من مياهه، وحجزت مياه نهر الخابور بأكملها حتى جفّ وتوقف جريانه في الأراضي السورية، أما الأزمة الكبرى في العلاقات السورية – التركية فكانت مع تنامي التعاون العسكري والسياسي والأمني بين تركيا والعدو الصهيوني سعياً لوضع سورية بين فكي كماشة بما يهدّد الأمن الاستراتيجي القومي في مختلف المجالات.

في المقابل كانت تركيا دائماً تتهم سورية بدعم عناصر حزب العمال الكردستاني، وأنها تستخدم الورقة الكرديّة لزعزعة أمنها، هذا إلى جانب تخوّفها من العلاقات السياسية والتعاون السوري – اليوناني والعلاقات مع الشطر اليوناني من قبرص، وبلغ النزاع أوجه عام 1998 حين هدّدت تركيا باجتياح الأراضي السورية بحجة وقف هجمات حزب العمال الكردستاني واشتعلت نيران الأزمة وتدخلت بعض الدول الإقليمية، وانتهت الأزمة بتوقيع اتفاقية أضنة وخروج عبد الله أوجلان ومقاتلي حزب العمال الكردستاني من شمال سورية.

ومن هنا بدأت العلاقات تتطوّر نحو الأفضل فبدأ التوافق والتعاون في الجانب الأمني ثم انتقل إلى الجانب الاقتصادي والسياسي وجرى توقيع اتفاقيات عدة في جميع المجالات بين البلدين، نفذ معظمها في أوانه، وتطورت العلاقات نحو الأفضل بزيارة الرئيس التركي أحمد نجدت سيزر لسورية في عام 2000، ثم زيارة الرئيس بشار الأسد لتركيا عام 2004 عززت أكثر من العلاقات، ومع صعود حزب العدالة والتنمية في تركيا أحدث تحوّلات كبرى في العلاقة بين البلدين حيث تحوّلت العلاقات بين البلدين إلى تفاهم وتعاون فوقعت اتفاقية إزالة الألغام من على الحدود لإقامة مشاريع إنمائية مشتركة، ورفضت تركيا المشاركة في سياسة العزل والحصار التي حاول الرئيس الأميركي جورج دبليو بوش فرضها على سورية، وتمّ توقيع اتفاق التجارة الحرة بين البلدين والذي سمح بتدفق البضائع في الاتجاهين وإقامة مشاريع مشتركة، وأخيراً جاء اتفاق إلغاء التأشيرات الذي يسمح بدخول السوريين والأتراك دون الحاجة إلى إجراءات قنصلية والذي شكل قمة الانفتاح والتعاون الاقتصادي بين البلدين.

هذه كانت حقيقة العلاقات السورية – التركية في مطلع العام 2011 لذلك حين بدأت المؤامرة الكونية على سورية لم يكن متوقعاً أن تتورّط فيها تركيا بهذا الشكل، لكن الواقع قد أفرز ومنذ اللحظة الأولى تحوّلاً كبيراً في الموقف التركي، حيث شكلت تركيا خنجراً طعنت به سورية فأسال دماءها بغزارة. فالعدو الأميركيّ والصهيوني حين خطط لمشروع «الشرق الأوسط الكبير» كان قد اتفق مع تركيا بزعامة عضو التنظيم الدولي لجماعة الإخوان المسلمين الإرهابية رجب طيب أردوغان أنه سوف يُمنح مكتسبات تمكنه من عودة دولة الخلافة على أن ينفذ كلّ التعليمات وبدقة.

وبما أن المشروع الأميركي – الصهيوني يقوم على تفجير المجتمعات من الداخل عبر تجنيد بعض العناصر الإرهابية فقد تمّ التواصل مع العناصر الكامنة من تنظيم الإخوان المسلمين في الداخل السوري لتكون شرارة البدء، بعدها قام أردوغان بفتح الحدود لتعبر الجماعات التكفيرية الإرهابية التي تمّ تجميعها من كلّ أصقاع الأرض كي تخوض الحرب مع الجيش العربي السوري على كامل الجغرافيا السورية، وخلال السنوات الأولى تمكن الإرهابيون من الاستيلاء على مساحات واسعة من الجغرافيا السورية وكانت غرف العمليات التي تدار منها المعارك أهمّها في تركيا، وعبر الأراضي التركية عبرت الآليات العسكرية والأسلحة بكافة أشكالها لدعم الإرهابيين وكلّ يوم كان يعتقد أردوغان أنّ حلم الخلافة قد أصبح قريباً.

لكن هيهات! فقد بدأ الجيش السوري في معارك التحرير بعد التنسيق السياسي والعسكري مع الحلفاء خاصة الروسي والإيراني. وبالفعل تمكن الجيش العربي السوري من تحرير المساحة الأكبر من الجغرافيا السورية عبر معارك كبرى في حلب ودير الزور والغوطة الشرقية ودرعا… وكان دائماً يتمّ الاتفاق بعد الانتصار إلى السماح للإرهابيين بالتوجه إلى إدلب في الشمال بالقرب من الحدود التركية والتي أصبحت آخر معاقل الجماعات التكفيرية الإرهابية على الأرض السورية وأصبحت أيضاً الأمل الوحيد لأردوغان ليحفظ ماء وجهه أمام شعبه وليحافظ على مقعده في سدة الحكم بعد أن تبدّد وللأبد حلم الخلافة.

وبعد أن فشل الحلّ السياسي لخروج الإرهابيّين من إدلب قرّر الجيش السوري تحريرها عسكرياً وهنا جنّ جنون أردوغان وبدأ في التهديد والوعيد بعملية عسكرية موسّعة إنْ لم يتراجع الجيش العربي السوري، وطلب العون من الأميركي الذي كعادته دائماً يتخلى عن عملائه في حالة هزيمة مشروعه. فلجأ إلى الاتحاد الأوروبي وحلف الناتو للمشاركة فلم يجد مَن يعينه، فقرّر أن يتوجّه منفرداً فوجد جنوده يسقطون صرعى تحت أقدام بواسل الجيش السوري، وهو ما يزيد من اشتعال النيران من حوله في الداخل التركي، لذلك ورغم شراسة المعركة فإنّ الجيش السوري قد تلقى تعليمات قائده الرئيس بشار الأسد باستكمال مسيرة تحرير إدلب دون الالتفات إلى الفقاعات الصوتية الأردوغانية. وهو ما يجعلنا على ثقة بأنّ أردوغان سيسقط تحت أقدام الجيش العربي السوري. اللهم بلغت اللهم فاشهد.

Erdogan Launches anti-Greece Propaganda; Seeks More Support for War Crimes in Syria

March 3, 2020 Miri Wood

Erdogan has launched an anti-Greece propaganda campaign while simultaneously seeking more support for his war crimes against Syria. Days after the caliph-wannabe gave free bus rides to thousands of alleged refugees to the Greek border, Turkey released refugee porn videos meant to make Greece hated by the Mockingbird west.

Last week, after the Syrian Arab Army put out the lights of 37 Turkish regime military invaders who had come to help al Qaeda in Idlib, madman Erdogan got the NATO klan at the UN to hold back-to-back meetings in support of his war crimes and in support of al Qaeda.
Article 4: When NATO tribesmen gather to cluck over an aggrieved member, in this case, Turkey who was enraged that Syria defended itself from criminal invaders. Article 5 is when the tribesmen bond via joint bombing (basically, a bullying operation).
Erdogan called for, and received an Article 4 meeting of NATO tribesmen, with the goal of moving it into a bellicose Article 5 meeting. Greece wanted some guarantees regarding Turkey’s dumping of refugees at Greece’s border. France, the US, UK, and Germany refused, followed by Greece tossing in the proverbial monkey wrench.
Erdogan claims to have dumped 18,000 alleged refugees at Greece’s doorstep; some photos suggest about 10,000 have arrived. Coincidentally, they are all men, and men of a particular age.
Men, however, simply do not cut the mustard when it comes to the needs of the refugee porn junkies, who self-titillate with self-righteous tears for women and baby refugees, and who will devour any amount of snake oil propaganda for such a fix.
Therefore, a video was produced, allegedly at the Greek border, of a screaming woman, allegedly a mother, and two screaming babies, who were intentionally manhandled to make them scream.
The backstory was that mean Greece had showered them with tear gas, though no gas was visible. Somehow, the video was supposed to make Greece look bad, and Turkey look good, even though it was Turkey who sent these alleged refugees packing.
What was ”heart wrenching” was the abuse of toddlers, & the psycho banshee fake mom.
Masih Alinjad is an alleged feminist/Iranian dissident who lives in NYC, who has worked for the CIA’s Voice of America, ‘Persian Service,’ and who does photo ops with Mike ‘Lied, Cheated, Stole’ Pompeo, and Madeline ‘Five Hundred Thousand Dead Iraqi Babies Was Worth It’ Albright.
To some extent, it is ”heart-wrenching” to see the disgusting White Helmets fake rescue scenes recycled to the alleged border of Greece. This 23 second video clip is the same grizzly script, without the white helmets and without the Hollywood make-up.
It is ”heart-wrenching” that anyone would tolerate this criminal propaganda and not condemn the standard terrifying of babies to make them scream, the ‘hand-off’ repetition of passing crying babies from aggressive men who shake them, yank their clothing up so that they will be chilled, and then run off with them into the netherworld.
Every bit of this obscenity is made worse by the addition of the fake mother who allows her babies to be rough-handled by strange men — shirt pulled up in chilly weather; pummeled on back; practically held upside down — while she screams like a psychotic banshee and flails about like she suffers from asterixis and disappears into nothingness as strange men go for the Olympic medals in the 500 meter sprint.
The Child Abuse at the Border has been an ongoing refugee porn motif, particularly when barbed wired is involved, moms are missing, and men touch babies and children inappropriately and/or in hazardous positions.
Generally the children are done in stills, and nobody questions the abuse.
In interesting coordination by NATO stenographer journalism, and NATO-supported NGOs, the ugly video provided by the friend of Pompeo and Albright, who works for one of the CIA cut-outs, was used prelude to the second deification of Turkey and demonization of Greece, on Monday.
Along came — surprise! — The Syria Campaign to confirm the fraudulent ‘tear gas’ video which shows no tear gas, merely the torment of babies, before sharing another Erdogan’s Turkey scam video, as reported by the WaPo Berlin desk director.
How convenient that Turkey released an edited video of a ridiculous dinghy.
The viralized, edited, video showed cuts of Greece’s Coast Guard: Pushing the dinghy away with a pole; appearing to make waves near the dinghy; firing shots into the water near to the dinghy.
Somehow, the NATO stenographers did not marvel at how overstuffed with humanity was the dinghy; even a decent motor would die out from the weight if it tried to travel any distance. Somehow, the NATO propaganda pimps did not consider that the distance from even the closest part of Turkey and Greece would still be impossible to reach.
UK’s Daily Mail pretends it’s naive enough to believe Turkey just happened to be nearby, just happened to take the [edited] video, just happened to rescue the immigrants Erdogan bragged about turning loose on Greece.
Though Greece has previously, sporadically, been demonized by the media, the stenographers have chosen the side of NATO Turkey over NATO Greece’s right to defend its borders. It has begun to snowball. The more Greece is demonized, the bigger the halo painted on Turkey’s madman, Erdogan.
Greece
Over 16 million results.
Bloomberg first diminishes Greece, then spreads Erdogan propaganda against it.
Men sent to Greece’s border by Erdogan start fires at the checkpoint. What other intimidation tactics will they use?
It is of note that uncorroborated reports claim that Turkish police have escorted criminals to the Greek border, when one considers this video that shows Turkish police firing tear gas:
Τούρκοι αστυνομικοί ρίχνουν δακρυγόνα στην Ελληνική πλευρά.
Η χώρα δέχεται εισβολή. Το βίντεο τα λέει όλα!!
130 people are talking about this
It has been suggested that Greece repatriate Syrians, who can then be offered reconciliation. As of Monday, however, of 98 persons arrested by the Greek Border Patrol, none was identified as Syrian.
Monday’s media attacks against Greece, at the behest of Turkey which admits to supplying one of the two videos, also pours a foundation for whatever new criminal hoax is being cooked up in Istanbul, with the visit of Kelly Craft, US Ambassador to the UN, and James Jeffrey, fake ambassador of the invisible embassy that does not exist in Damascus (though his paycheck, courtesy of the American taxpayer, is quite real). The UK’s Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab joins them, today.
Surprisingly, France appears not to be joining this conspiratorial meeting, this breach of International Law, of the UN Charter. These unindicted criminals plot a way to better support Erdogan’s illegal military operations in Syria, plot a way to circumvent UNSCR 2504, the ugly compromise which slightly decreased the affront to Syria’s sovereignty that they could have vetoed.
American taxpayers will be thrilled to know that while their cities crumble, they scramble to keep a roof over their heads, CrowdFund to pay medical bills, and are now told they may not be covered for the Coronavirus, that President Donald J. Trump has found another $108 million to add to the $10 billion already provided, allegedly for humanitarian aid, though every time the SAA frees an area from al Qaeda terrorists, millions of dollars in abandoned NATO weapons are found.
If the US stood with “the people of Syria,” it would not arm and fund al Qaeda in the SAR. It would also not support the crazed president of Turkey.
The world knows that Trump is fiercely protective of US territorial integrity. He breaches Syria’s borders with impunity. He supports Turkey’s illegal incursions into Syria.
In supporting Turkey, he shows his contempt also for Greece, also a NATO ally.
— Miri Wood
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