كردستان مستقلة فلماذا الاستفتاء؟

كردستان مستقلة فلماذا الاستفتاء؟

سبتمبر 25, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– يكفي مجرد التدقيق بالمفردات الواقعية لحياة إقليم كردستان لاكتشاف أنّ الاستقلال الذي يعيش الإقليم في ظله هو سقف ما تعنيه كلمة استقلال، كموضوع مطروح على الاستفتاء. والباقي من مفردات الاستقلال والقصد فك التشابك مع الحكومة المركزية في العراق، يشبه ما يطال انفصال بريطانيا عن الاتحاد الأوروبي، ولا يمكن حلّه بغير التراضي. وبالتأكيد بريطانيا لم تستفت شعبها على الاستقلال بل على فكّ التشابك مع الاتحاد الأوروبي والخروج من الصيغة الاتحادية، وكان أوْلى بقيادة كردستان أن تكون صادقة وواضحة بما تعنيه بالاستفتاء، لهذه الناحية، وتضع أمام شعبها بشفافية ميزان الأرباح والخسائر، وأن لا تقدّم إلا بالتوافق على الاستفتاء طلباً لتفويضها التفاوض لفكّ التشابك بعدها، وأن يكون ضمن التوافق حكماً حلّ رضائي لوضع المناطق المتنازع عليها، لا بلطجة كما يحدث الآن.

– كردستان مستقلة، هذه حقيقة ساطعة، فلها برلمانها وحكومتها وجيشها، ودبلوماسيتها، وأمنها، وتسيطر على موارد النفط في مناطق سيطرتها كاملة من دون أن تمنح الحكومة المركزية شيئاً منها، وتستولي على عائدات الجمارك على الحدود الخاصة بالعراق الواقعة تحت سيطرتها، ولا يدخل الجيش العراقي مناطق سيطرتها، وإنْ احتاج لضرورات القتال ضدّ داعش ينال إذناً محدوداً بالزمان والمكان، فعلى أيّ استقلال يستفتون، وعلاقة كردستان بالعراق كعلاقة أيّ دولة أوروربية بالاتحاد الأوروبي؟ فهل فرنسا واسبانيا تطلبان الاستقلال، أما التشبيه بنماذج كاتالونيا مع اسبانيا وسكوتلندا مع بريطانيا تزوير للتاريخ والجغرافيا والقانون والسياسة؟

– حتى الصيغة الاتحادية القائمة هي كذبة كاملة، فكردستان تنال ميزات الصيغة الاتحادية وميزات الاستقلال معاً، تمنح الحكومة العراقية فرصة ادّعاء عراق موحّد، مقابل التنازل واقعياً عن حقوق الدولة الاتحادية، من التنازل عن نشر الجيش على الحدود إلى التنازل عن استيفاء عائدات النفط أو نسبة منها، ومعها التنازل عن كلّ صلاحيات البرلمان العراقي والحكومة العراقية لحساب الحكومة الإقليمية والبرلمان الإقليمي للتشريع وممارسة السلطة بكلّ أبعادها وعائداتها، فبغداد شريك الغرم وأربيل شريك الغُنم بضمّ الـ غ .

– السؤال عن سبب السير بالاستفتاء ضروري هنا، والجواب هو بالخدعة التي يريد مسعود البرزاني تمريرها عبر فرض أمر واقع بحسم مصير المناطق المتنازع عليها، خصوصاً كركوك بضمّها للاستفتاء وهي مصادر الثروة. وهذه هي الفرصة المناسبة في ذروة الانشغال العراقي بالحرب على داعش، مستغلاً سيطرة البشمركة عليها عملياً، ومع كلّ ذلك طيّ صفحة مئتي مليار دولار هي فوائض عائدات بيع النفط طوال سنوات تزيد عن العشر تقاضاها البرزاني، لم تدخل لا في موازنة العراق ولا في موازنة إقليم كردستان، وفي المقابل يمنح البرزاني في توقيت حرج، الأميركيين و«الإسرائيليين» منصة سياسية لابتزاز قوى المنطقة، والدخول على خط رسم خرائط جديدة. بقوة هذا الابتزاز يكون أمن «إسرائيل» في رأس جدول الأعمال، بعدما فقدت ورقة داعش فعاليتها، والصفقة ثلاثية للبرزاني المال وللأميركي الابتزاز التفاوضي ولـ«الإسرائيلي» الإشغال والاستنزاف لمحور المقاومة، ولكن لشعب كردستان الكارثة.

– لم تُصَب ولن تُصاب قوى المقاومة بالذعر، ولو أنها تصرّ على التحدّث بعقلانية مع أكراد المنطقة كجزء من مكوّناتها، من موقع الحرص على عدم منح الأميركيين و«الإسرائيليين» فرص العبث بنسيج شعوب المنطقة، لكن التحسّب كان دائماً للعب هذه الورقة. وهذا ما يفسّر التعامل مع الأتراك بطريقة فيها الشدّ والجذب والمرونة والفرص، فتركيا تواجه خطراً وجودياً عبر قيام دولة كردية، وستكون عنوان المواجهة مع الانفصال الكردي، وستلجأ إلى حلف الأطلسي طلباً لموقف من تهديد يطال أحد أعضاء الحلف، وستتخذ الإجراءات التي تسبّب حصاراً اقتصادياً يُنهي ظاهرة صعود أربيل وازدهارها، ويتوقف تدفق النفط، ويشحّ المال، وتقفل الأجواء بوجه الطائرات، وتُغلق الحدود وتتوقف المتاجرة، وإنْ تمّت مناوشة تكون تركية كردية، ويكتشف الأميركي أنه أراد حلّ مأزق فصنع مأزقاً أكبر بين حليفين، وأنّ قوى المقاومة الحية والفاعلة لم ولن يصرفها شيء عن التحدي «الإسرائيلي». لكن ما سيكتشفه قادة كردستان بعد مقامرتهم الفاشلة، أنّ العودة للصيغة الاتحادية قد لا تكون متاحة بعد الفشل. وإنْ بقيت متاحة فسيكون تطبيقها صارماً بلا دلال ولا دلع وحساب بمفعول رجعي عن أموال النفط التي نُهبت.

– أما في سورية فلا تهاون مع أيّ محاولة انفصال، هذا ما تقوله الأيام القريبة المقبلة بالحديد والنار، وسيقرأه الأميركيون بالوقائع ويقفون مذهولين يبتلعون لعاب عجزهم.

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Britain’s Distant War

Britain’s Distant War

The latest attack in London is deeply connected to a hidden war Britain itself is waging

Battle of Mosul U.S. Army M109A6 Paladin at Q West


Britain is engaged in a major war, and has been for three years, yet very few people recognise this and there is little debate about the rationale or potential consequences.

It is mainly an air war fought with strike-aircraft and armed-drones and is at an intensity not seen since the Gulf war in early 1991. As then, this war is run by a United States-led coalition and has killed tens of thousands of people. What is difficult to explain, though, is that few make the connection between this new war and the many attacks of the past three years, including Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino, Nice, Berlin, Istanbul, Manchester and three attacks in London – Westminster Bridge, London Bridge and now Parsons Green.

That there is a direct connection should hardly be a surprise, since ISIS propagandists were calling for attacks on the “far enemy” as soon as the coalition’s air war started in August 2014. Nor should it be forgotten that this blowback has happened before. After the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005, prime minister Tony Blair insisted strongly that there was no connection between the Iraq war and those attacks; but this stance was quickly undermined with the release of suicide-videos by the bombers and by the deputy head of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The latter said: “this blessed battle has transferred – like its glorious predecessors in New York, Washington, and Madrid – the battle to the enemies’ land”, and that the attacks were a “slap” to the policies of Tony Blair.

For one of the bombers, Mohammad Siddique Khan, the matter was clear-cut:

“Until we feel security, you will be our targets. Until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people we will not stop this fight. We are at war and I am a soldier. Now you too will taste the reality of this situation.”

A major commitment

An odd element about the current war with ISIS is that its extent and intensity are actually in the public domain, but are scarcely covered in the media outside of the specialist security and military publications. As a result, there is virtually no political debate, even after four attacks in Britain this year alone, and many more elsewhere, not least Barcelona.

A few indicators are illuminating. The independent monitoring group Airwars finds that in the 1,134 days of the campaign so far, there have been 26,739 coalition strikes in Iraq and Syria with 98,532 bombs and missiles dropped. The great majority of these have been precision-guided munitions; the Pentagon currently estimates that over 60,000 ISIS personnel have been killed.

The Pentagon does acknowledge that many hundreds of civilian have died, but Airwars has examined the evidence very closely and estimates the number of civilians killed at a minimum of 5,343. The great majority of all the attacks have been by the US airforce and navy: the USAF flying mainly from bases in Turkey, Kuwait and Qatar, and the navy from aircraft-carriers.

The Parsons Green attack on 15 September did not kill anyone, but left several people badly burned and scores more traumatised. On 15-16 September, Airwars reported sixty-six airstrikes in Iraq and Syria which, if the death-toll was average for the coalition, would have killed at least fifty-five people on each day.

Why should Britain, in particular, be a target and why is there so little discussion? The first relates to Britain’s substantial role. In the wider coalition involved in this war, Britain is the second-most significant country after the US, followed by France and a number of others (including Belgium, Denmark and Australia); still more, such as Spain, deploy troops to Iraq to train forces being used against ISIS.

Britain operates mainly out the RAF base at Akrotiri in Cyprus, but also deploys drones from elsewhere in the region, possibly including a base in Kuwait, with these operated remotely at RAF Waddington just south of Lincoln. Furthermore, many other RAF stations in Britain are indirectly if substantially involved.

The extent of what is officially known as Operation Shader is remarkable and was covered in a useful briefing from the House of Commons library in March 2017 and a much more recent summary in the ever-reliable Jane’s Defence Weekly (see Tim Ripley, “Heading for Brexit”, JDW 54, 36, 6 September 2017)

At the forefront of the UK contribution are Tornado and Typhoon strike-aircraft and Reaper armed-drones. The strike-aircraft number fourteen at any one time, which is likely to require at least thirty available overall, but the back-up from other aircraft adds greatly to this. They include Airseeker surveillance aircraft, Voyager tanker aircraft, C130 and C17 transport-aircraft, E3-D, Rivet Joint and Sentinel surveillance aircraft and, reportedly, the newest transport aircraft in RAF service, the Airbus A400.

The Commons report in March listed 3,000 missions flown including 1,200 airstrikes, with the RAF “conducting operations not seen since the first Gulf War” in 1991. Interestingly, Jane’s reports satellite data showing that RAF Akrotiri has also been host to heavy-lift Chinook twin-rotor helicopters, indicating, in its view, that they are there to support UK special forces.

The use of special forces, which governments consistently refuse to discuss in parliament, has figured in some newspapers with close links to the ministry of defence such as the Mail and Telegraph. In this case, the way the forces are organised will mean a fairly broad-based commitment.

While centred on personnel from an SAS squadron, there will also be units from the Special Forces Support Group which normally includes elements of 1 Para, the Royal Marines and the RAF regiment, as well as specialists from the Special Reconnaissance Regiment and the Special Signals Regiment, with the Chinooks and other aircraft operated by the Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing.

A time to rethink

A clear conclusion follows from all this. Britain is at war; ISIS wants to bring that war home to its “far enemy”; the movement succeeds in Nice, Barcelona, Manchester, London Bridge and elsewhere. The second question above, of why there is so little discussion of how the two connect, remains to be answered.

There are several reasons. One is that it is a “remote war”, with very few boots on the ground, virtually no risk to military personnel and therefore no body-bags coming home and no funeral corteges through Royal Wootton Basset.

The Remote Control Project at Oxford Research Group chronicles how this kind of conflict is part of a much wider trend towards remote war, and is accentuated by the almost complete absence of western media reporters at the war’s receiving end. There is copious coverage of grim attacks like Parsons Green but no coverage whatsoever of the daily attacks in Iraq and Syria.

The political significance is considerable: for this situation is likely to continue unless ISIS gets lucky and succeeds in a major attack. At least until now, it has not been able to use chemical or radiological weapons in its targeting on the far enemy. Hopefully it never will, but if it does then that may be the circumstance when people wake up to the fact that we have been involved in a very dirty war for more than three years with no end in sight.

Furthermore, this is likely to be the model of conflict that states like Britain will repeatedly fight in the coming years – unless they consider radically different approaches to security. A week after the country entered the seventeenth year of the “war on terror”, there is so far little sign of that much needed rethink.

Source: openDemocracy

dispatches – inside Britain’s Israel Lobby

Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby

 

israel’s chief stooge at Westminster shames us again

Israel’s chief stooge at Westminster shames us again

 

Binyamin Netanyahu and Theresa May

By Stuart Littlewood

“As prime minister, I am proud to say that I support Israel. And it is absolutely right that we should mark the vital role that Britain played a century ago in helping to create a homeland for the Jewish people.” 

Thus spoke Theresa May the other day as she welcomed members of the Jewish community to 10 Downing Street. But by focusing on creating a homeland for the Jewish people she’s also celebrating the hell that Balfour’s Declaration created for the gentle Palestinians and for the rest of the region. “Born of that letter, the pen of Balfour, and of the efforts of so many people, is a remarkable country,” said May, apparently blind to the reality.

Proud of “unspeakable misery, dispossession and displacement”

Right now we’re on the run-up to the centenary of what is arguably the biggest foreign policy blunder in British history: the Balfour Declaration. In 1917 Arthur Balfour, Foreign Secretary, bowed to Zionist demands for a homeland for the Jews in Palestine and gave an undertaking that set the world on course for long-term turmoil and, for the native Palestinians, unspeakable misery, dispossession and displacement. It was a criminal conspiracy. And Balfour was an A-list idiot who bragged that he wasn’t even going to consult the local Arab population about this theft of their homes and lands.

Yet he remains a hero of the Conservative Party which, led by Theresa May, plans to celebrate this hundred-year “running sore” – as Lord Sydenham called it – in great style, inviting Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu to the festivities. That’s if the mad-dog warmonger isn’t under arrest by then on imminent charges of corruption back home.

“I will always do whatever it takes to keep our Jewish community safe,” May added. “Through our new definition of anti-Semitism we will call out anyone guilty of any language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews. We will actively encourage the use of this definition by the police, the legal profession, universities and other public bodies.”

She was referring to the  International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

BDS “unsucessful”? Really?

One of May’s Cabinet minsiters, Sajid Javid, told the World Jewish Congress that the UK would celebrate the upcoming anniversary with pride. “Someone said we should apologise for the declaration, to say it was an error of judgment. Of course that’s not going to happen.” To apologise, he said, would be to apologise for the existence of Israel and to question its right to exist.

Israel stooge Sajid Javid

Israel stooge Sajid Javid

Instead, he emphasised the UK government’s intolerance towards any kind of boycott of Israel. He said:

I’ll be 100 per cent clear. I do not support calls for a boycott, my party does not support calls for a boycott. For all its bluster, the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] campaign is most notable I think, for its lack of success… As long as I’m in government, as long as I’m in politics, I will do everything in my power to fight back against those who seek to undermine Israel.

The UK, Javid said, has maintained close diplomatic, trade and security ties with Israel since its inception, and is counted upon by Israel to vote in its favour at the UN and other international institutions.

As Noam Chomsky has aptly observed: “People who call themselves supporters of Israel are actually supporters of its moral degeneration and ultimate destruction.”

Israel lobby stooges like May and Javid continue trying to ram their pro-Zionist nonsense down out throats despite the fact that last time they attacked the successful BDS movement, warning that her government would “have no truck with those who subscribe to it”, they came spectacularly unstuck. Two hundred legal scholars and practising lawyers from all over Europe put May in her place by pointing out that BDS is a lawful exercise of freedom of expression and outlawing it undermines a basic human right protected by international convention. Her efforts to repress it amounted to support for Israel’s violations of international law and failure to honour the solemn pledge by states to “strictly respect the aims and principles of the Charter of the United Nations”.

May needs a crash course in human rights

Top legal experts were recently asked for their views by Free Speech on Israel, Independent Jewish Voices, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Their verdict was that those in public life cannot behave in a manner inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for freedom of expression and applies not only to information or ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive, but also to those that “offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of the population”.

What’s more, there is an obligation to allow all concerned in public debate “to express their opinions and ideas without fear, even if these opinions and ideas are contrary to those defended by the official authorities or by a large part of public opinion, or even if those opinions and ideas are irritating or offensive to the public”. Article 10 says that everyone has the right to freedom of expression including “freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers”. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says the same sort of thing, subject of course to the usual limitations required by law and respect for the rights of others.

Eminent human rights lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC has sharply criticised the anti-Semitism definition touted by May. Firstly, it isn’t a legally binding definition so doesn’t have the force of a statutory one. And it cannot be considered a legal definition as it lacks clarity. Therefore, any conduct contrary to the IHRA definition couldn’t necessarily be ruled illegal.

He says it was “most unsatisfactory for the government to adopt a definition which lacks clarity and comprehensiveness” and suggests the government’s decision to adopt the IHRA definition was simply a freestanding statement of policy – a mere suggestion as to a definition of anti-Semitism that public bodies might wish to use. But no public body was under an obligation to adopt or use it, or should be criticised for refusing to. He warned that if a public authority did decide to adopt the definition then it must interpret it in a way that’s consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights mentioned above.

Legally invalid definition of anti-Semitism

According to Tomlinson, then, the IHRA definition doesn’t mean that calling Israel an apartheid state that practises settler colonialism, or urging BDS against Israel, can properly be characterised as anti-Semitic. Furthermore, a public authority seeking to apply the IHRA definition in order to prohibit or punish such activities “would be acting unlawfully”.

Retired Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Stephen Sedley has weighed in by criticising the IHRA definition for lack of legal force. “It is not neutral: it may well influence policy both domestically and internationally.” He added that the right of free expression, now part of our domestic law by virtue of the Human Rights Act, “places both negative and positive obligations on the state which may be put at risk if the IHRA definition is unthinkingly followed”. Moreover, the 1986 Education Act established an individual right of free expression in all higher education institutions “which cannot be cut back by governmental policies”.

Sedley felt the IHRA definition was open to manipulation. “What is needed now is a principled retreat on the part of government from a stance which it has naively adopted.”

As for Javid’s crack about not having to apologise for Israel’s existence, he must have forgotten that in the wake of the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which granted the Jews territory within defined borders, they declared statehood in 1948 without borders, grabbing as much extra land as they could by armed terror and ethnic cleansing. The new state of Israel’s admission to the UN in 1949 was conditional upon honouring the UN Charter and implementing UN General Assembly Resolutions 181 and 194. It has failed to do so and to this day repeatedly violates provisions and principles of the Charter.

When the UK Conservative government makes pronouncements on foreign affairs it pays to consider that 80 per cent of its MPS are claimed to be signed-up members of the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) lobby group and this is a stepping-stone to higher office. CFI, according to its website, is active at every level of the party.

It is sad that so many of our politicians are so spineless and so insecure that they feel the need to herd together under the flag of what the UN has called a racist state.

 

حق تقرير المصير للكرد… ومعهم للعرب والترك أيضاً؟

سبتمبر 16, 2017

د. عصام نعمان

هزمت بريطانيا وفرنسا السلطنة العثمانية في الحرب العام 1918. أعلن مصطفى كمال اتاتورك وفاتها بإقامة الجمهورية في تركيا العام 1924. اختلف الورثة من تركٍ وعرب وكرد على حصر إرثها وتقاسم تركتها وما زالوا. المفارقة أنّ «قاتلَيّ» السلطنة تولّيا، من خلال مؤتمرات ومعاهدات نظّماها، تحديد هويات الورثة وعددهم وحصصهم الارثية. أقرّا للترك دولةً في برّ الاناضول. اصطنعا للعرب بضع دويلات في بلاد الشام وبلاد الرافدين. وعدا الكرد بدولة في مفاوضات معاهدة سافر Severes 1920 ثم أنكراها عليهم لاحقاً. منذ ذلك التاريخ تدير دول أوروبا، ومعها أميركا، نزاعاً متمادياً بين ورثة شرعيين وآخرين مفترضين للإرث العثماني التليد.

الكرد كانوا وما زالوا ساخطين على ما انتهت إليه قسمة التركة العثمانية: غالبيتهم أُبقيت في تركيا الكمالية. أقليتهم جُعلت من نصيب العراق وسورية. أما مَن كان منهم يعيش خارج السلطنة العثمانية فقد أُلحِق بالكيانات السياسية القائمة وأهمّها إيران.

دول الغرب قرّرت، اذاً، مصير الكرد. ليس مصير الكرد فحسب، بل مصير الترك والعرب والأرمن أيضاً، وهي ما

زالت تتلاعب بمصائر هذه الأقوام بقدر ما تتيحه موازين القوى الدولية. في هذا المجال، نشأت مفارقات لافتة. فالترك الذين أسقطت أوروبا امبراطوريتهم وتصرفت بـ «ممتلكاتها» انحازوا إلى دولها في الصراعات الدولية التي أعقبت الحرب العالمية الثانية 1945-1939. والعرب الذين كانت بريطانيا وعدت الشريف حسين الهاشمي بدولة تضمّ الولايات العربية المطلوب سلخها عن السلطنة العثمانية أُحبِطوا فارتضى بعض قادتهم نصيبه من التركة التي جرى تقاسمها، واعترض بعضهم الآخر. أما جمهورهم الأوسع فكان وما زال يتوق الى إقامة دولة واحدة تضمّ الشتات.

اليوم يعود بعض الكرد بقيادة مسعود البرزاني الى طرح مسألة حق تقرير المصير، وأقرّ تنظيم لذلك استفتاء في 25 الشهر الحالي ليشارك فيه سكان المناطق العراقية الواقعة تحت سلطة قواته البيشمركة . الدول الحاضنة لسكانٍ أكراد تركيا، العراق، سورية، إيران رفضت مشروع الاستفتاء، كما أنّ الولايات المتحدة أعلنت رفضها ؟ له أيضاً. بعض هذه الدول رفض مبدأ الاستفتاء وطلب إلغاءه. بعضها الآخر طلب تأجيله. البرزاني أعلن تمسكه بإجرائه في موعده مع انّ قوى سياسية كردية عدّة تعارض إجراءه في الوقت الحاضر. الى أين من هنا؟

يرسم إصرار البرزاني على إجراء الاستفتاء رغم المعارضة الدولية الواسعة علاقة استفهام كبيرة. ذلك أنّ القيادات الكردية المتعاقبة حرصت بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية على التعاون مع دول الغرب، ولا سيما بريطانيا والولايات المتحدة، والانخراط في مخططاتها وسياساتها وحروبها لدرجة حملت بعض معارضيها في العراق على تسميتها «تاكسي الدول»، فهل يتجاوز البرزاني تقليداً اتبعه معظم أسلافه ويمضي في الاستفتاء إلى النهاية برغم الدول المعارِضة… وكيف ستكون النهاية؟

يرى بعض المراقبين أنّ البرزاني يناور ولا يصادم، وأنه يحاول استغلال حال الاضطراب والفوضى التي يعيشها العراق وحال الشجار والاختلاف التي تمرّ بها الدول الإقليمية والدول الكبرى كي يعزّز مركزه التفاوضي إزاء حكومة بغداد بغية حملها على تقديم تنازلات في مسألتين رئيسيتين: إقرار «حق» الأكراد في محافظة كركوك وفي المناطق المتنازع عليها في محافظات نينوى وصلاح الدين وديالى التي تضع البيشمركة يدها عليها، وتكبير حصة إقليم كردستان في ميزانية الدولة الاتحادية وفي عائدات النفط المستخرَج من منابعه في الإقليم المذكور.

فوق ذلك، يبتغي البرزاني تنازلاً آخر: موافقة جميع الأطراف، العراقية والإقليمية والدولية، على تأجيل الاستفتاء وليس على إلغائه. ذلك أنّ تأجيل الاستفتاء ينطوي على معنى الإقرار بحق تقرير المصير، رغم الانصياع إلى مطلب إرجاء تنفيذه، بينما يعني إلغاء الاستفتاء إنكار حق تقرير المصير برمّته.

قد يتوصّل أطراف النزاع إلى تسويةٍ للخلاف بالتوافق على مصطلح ديبلوماسي يؤمّن مخرجاً ولو مؤقتاً من حال التأزّم والحرج، أو قد يُترك البرزاني لمصيره في تنفيذ استفتاء لن يكون له في الظروف الراهنة مفعول أو مردود عملي. لكن سؤالاً مصيرياً يبقى مطروحاً وضاغطاً على جميع أطراف الصراع: كيف يمكن الخروج من المعضلة التاريخية؟

المعضلة التاريخية هي حاجة جميع أقوام السلطنة العثمانية المهزومة إلى تقرير المصير من جهة، ومن جهة أخرى ضرورة ألاّ يمارس كلٌّ من هذه الأطراف حقه في وجه الآخرين وعلى حسابهم. فالعرب والكرد والترك وغيرهم من الأقوام لهم الحق بتقرير المصير الذي مارسته عنهم عنوةً بريطانيا وفرنسا غداةَ انهيار السلطنة العثمانية باصطناع كياناتٍ سياسية هشّة وقيامهما بتوزيعهم عليها اعتباطاً بينها أو في داخلها.

كيف تمارس هذه الأقوام حقها في تقرير المصير بعد أن انتهت الرقعة الجغرافية التي كانت تسيطر عليها السلطنة العثمانية في المشرق الى ما انتهت اليه من كياناتٍ متعددة، ركيكة ومتنازعة؟ أبالاحتراب في ما بينها أم بالحوار؟ وكيف يكون الحوار في هذا الزمن الصعب؟

الجواب: برسم مسار طويل يبدأ بتعايش الأقوام داخل كلّ كيانٍ من كيانات بلاد العرب والترك واتحادها في طلب الحرية والديمقراطية وفي بناء دولة مدنية على أسس حكم القانون والعدالة والتنمية. والمأمول أنّ بلوغ هذه الأقوام حال الدولة المدنية الديمقراطية يضعها أمام خيارين: 1 البقاء فيها بإطار نظام مركزي ديمقراطي أو اتحادي فدرالي ديمقراطي، أو 2 الحوار والتفاوض مع الأطراف المعنيين لتحقيق الاستقلال بمودة وإحسان.

كِلا الخيارين أقلّ كلفةً من النزاع والاحتراب.

وزير سابق

Letter to my American friends

Letter to my American friends

The Saker

Introduction by the Saker: During my recent hurricane-induced evacuation from Florida, I had the pleasure to see some good friends of mine (White Russian emigrés and American Jews who now consider themselves American and who fully buy into the official propaganda about the USA) who sincerely think of themselves as liberals, progressives and anti-imperialists. These are kind, decent and sincere people, but during our meeting they made a number of statements which completely contradicted their professed views. After writing this letter to them I realized that there might be many more people out there who, like myself, are desperately trying to open the eye of good but completely mislead people about the reality of Empire. I am sharing this letter in the hope that it might maybe offer a few useful talking points to others in their efforts to open the eyes of their friends and relatives.

——-

Dear friends:

During our conversation you stated the following:

  1. The USA needs a military
  2. One of the reasons why the USA needs a military are regimes like the North Korean one
  3. The USA has a right to intervene outside its borders on a) pragmatic and b) moral grounds
  4. During WWII the USA “saved Europe” and acquired a moral right to “protect” other friends and allies
  5. The Allies (USSR-US-UK) were morally superior to the Nazis
  6. The Americans brought peace, prosperity and freedom to Europe.
  7. Yes, mistakes were made, but this is hardly a reason to forsake the right to intervene

I believe that all seven of these theses are demonstratively false, fallacies based on profoundly mistaken assumptions and that they all can be debunked by common sense and indisputable facts.

But first, let me tackle the Delphic maxim “know thyself” as it is, I believe, central to our discussion. For all our differences I think that there are a number of things which you would agree to consider as axiomatically true, including that Germans, Russians, Americans and others are roughly of equal intelligence. They also are roughly equally capable of critical thinking, personal investigation and education. Right? Yet, you will also agree that during the Nazi regime in Germany Germans were very effectively propagandized and that Russians in Soviet Russia were also effectively propagandized by their own propaganda machine. Right? Do you have any reason to suppose that we are somehow smarter or better than those propagandized Germans and Russians and had we been in their place we would have immediately seen through the lies? Could it be that we today are maybe also not seeing through the lies we are being told?

It is also undeniable that the history of WWII was written by the victors of WWII. This is true of all wars – defeated regimes don’t get to freely present their version of history. Had the Nazis won WWII, we would all have been treated to a dramatically different narrative of what took place. Crucially, had the Nazis won WWII, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe that the German people would have shown much skepticism about the version of history presented in their schools. Not only that, but I would submit that most Germans would also believe that they were free people and that the regime they live under was a benevolent one.

You doubt that?

Just think of the number of Germans who declared that they had no idea how bad the Nazi regime really was. Even Hitler’s personal secretary, Traudl Junge, used that excuse to explain how she could have worked for so many years with Hitler and even like him so much. There is an American expression which says “where I sit is where I stand”. Well, may I ask – where are we sittting and are we so sure that we have an independent opinion which is not defined by where we sit (geographically, politically, socially and even professionally)?

You might ask about all the victims of the Nazi regime, would they not be able to present their witness to the German people and the likes of Traudl Junge? Of course not: the dead don’t speak very much, and their murderers rarely do (lest they themselves end up dead). Oh sure, there would be all sorts of dissidents and political activists who would know the truth, but the “mainstream” consensus under a victorious Nazi Germany would be that Hitler and the Nazis liberated Europe from the Judeo-Bolshevik hordes and the Anglo-Masonic capitalists.

This is not something unique to Germany, by the way. If you take the Russian population today, it has many more descendants of executioners than descendants of executed people and this is hardly a surprise since dead people don’t reproduce. As a result, the modern Russian historiography is heavily skewed towards whitewashing the Soviet crimes and atrocities. To some degree this is a good thing, because it counteracts decades of US anti-Soviet propaganda, but it often goes too far and ends up minimizing the actual human cost of the Bolshevik experiment in Russia.

So how do the USA compare to Germany and Russia in this context?

Most Americans trust the version of history presented to them by their own “mainstream”. Why? How is their situation objectively different from the situation of Germans in a victorious Third Reich? Our modern narrative of WWII was also written by victors, victors who had a vested reason in demonizing all the other sides (Nazis and Soviets) while presenting us with a heroic tale of liberation. And here is the question which ought to really haunt us at night: what if we had been born not Russians and Jews after a Nazi defeat but if we had been born Germans after an Allied defeat in WWII? Would we have been able to show enough skepticism and courage to doubt the myths we were raised with? Or would we also be doubleplusgoodthinking little Nazis, all happy and proud to have defeated the evil Judeo-Bolshevik hordes and the Anglo-Masonic capitalists?

Oh sure, Hitler considered Jews as parasites which had to be exiled and, later, exterminated and he saw Russians as subhumans which needed to be put to work for the Germanic Master Race and whose intelligentsia also needed to be exterminated. No wonder that we, Jews and Russians, don’t particularly care for that kind of genocidal racist views. But surely we can be humans before being Jews and Russians, and we can accept that what is bad for us is not necessarily bad for others. Sure, Hitler was bad news for Jews and Russians, but was he really so bad news for “pure” (Aryan Germanic) Germans? More importantly, if we had been born “pure” Germans, would we have have cared a whole lot about Jews and Russians? I sure hope so, but I have my doubts. I don’t recall any of us shedding many tears about the poly-genocided (a word I coined for a unique phenomenon in history: the genocide of all the ethnicities of an entire continent!) Native Americans! I dare say that we are a lot more prone to whining about the “Holocaust” or “Stalinism”, even though neither of them ever affected us personally, (only our families and ethnicity) than about the poly-genocide of Native Americans. I very much doubt that our whining priorities would have been the same if our ethnicity had been Lakota or Comanche. Again, I hope that I am wrong. But I am not so sure.

Either way, my point is this:

We are hard-coded to be credulous and uncritically accept all the demonization of Nazis and Soviets because we are Jews and White Russians. Careful here, I am NOT saying that the Nazis and Soviets were not evil – they definitely were – but what I am saying is that we, Jews and Russians, are far more willing to accept and endorse any version of history which makes the Nazis and Soviets some kind of exceptionally evil people and that, in contrast, we almost instinctively reject any notion that “our” side (in this case I mean *your* side, the American one since you, unlike me, consider yourselves American) was just as bad (if only because your side never murdered Jews and Russians). So let’s look at this “our/your side” for a few minutes.

By the time the USA entered WWII it had already committed the worse crime in human history, the poly-genocide of an entire continent, followed by the completely illegal and brutal annexation of the lands stolen from the Native Americans. Truly, Hitler would have been proud. But that is hardly all, the Anglo invaders then proceeded to wage another illegal and brutal war of annexation against Mexico from which they stole a huge chunk of land which includes modern Texas, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico!

Yes, all this land was illegally occupied and stolen by your side not once, but TWICE! And do I even need to mention the horrors of slavery to add to the “moral tally” of your side by the time the US entered the war?

Right there I think that there is more than enough evidence that your side was morally worse than either the Nazis or the Soviets. The entire history of the USA is one of endless violence, plunder, hypocrisy, exploitation, imperialism, oppression and wars. Endless wars of aggression. None of them defensive by any stretch of the imagination. That is quite unique in human history. Can you think of a nastier, more bloodthirsty regime? I can’t.

Should I even mention the British “atrocities tally”, ranging from opium wars, to the invention of concentration camps, to the creation of Apartheid, the horrors of the occupation of Ireland, etc. etc. etc.?

I can just hear you say that yes, this was horrible, but that does not change the fact that in WWII the USA “saved Europe”. But is that really so?

To substantiate my position, I have put together a separate PDF file which lists 5 sources, 3 in English, 2 in Russian. You can download it here:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0ByibNV3SiUooWExTNGhMTGF5azQ

I have translated the key excerpts of the Russian sources and I am presenting them along with the key excerpts of the English sources. Please take a look at this PDF and, if you can, please read the full original articles I quote. I have stressed in bold red the key conclusions of these sources. You will notice that there are some variations in the figures, but the conclusions are, I think, undeniable. The historical record show that:

  1. The Soviet Union can be credited with the destruction of roughly 80% of the Nazi military machine. The US-UK correspondingly can be credited with no more than 20% of the Allied war effort.
  2. The scale and scope of the battles on the Eastern Front completely dwarf the biggest battles on the Western Front. Battles in the West involved Divisions and Brigades, in the East they involved Armies and Groups of Armies. That is at least one order of magnitude of difference.
  3. The USA only entered the war a year after Stalingrad and the Kursk battle when it was absolutely clear that the Nazis would lose the war.

The truth is that the Americans only entered the war when it was clear that the Nazis would be defeated and that their real motive was not the “liberation of oppressed Europe” but to prevent the Soviets from occupying all of Europe. The Americans never gave a damn about the mass murder of Jews or Russians, all they cared about was a massive land-grab (yet again).

[Sidebar: By the way, and lest you think that I claim that only Americans act this way, here is another set of interesting dates:

Nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: August 6 and 9, 1945

Soviet Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation: August 9–20, 1945

We can clearly see the same pattern here: the Soviets waited until it was absolutely certain that the USA had defeated the Japanese empire before striking it themselves. It is also worth noting that it took the Soviets only 10 days to defeat the entire Kwantung Army, the most prestigious Army of the Japanese Empire with over one million well-trained and well-equipped soldiers! That should tell you a little something about the kind of military machine the Soviet Union had developed in the course of the war against Nazi Germany (see here for a superb US study of this military operation)]

Did the Americans bring peace and prosperity to western Europe?

To western Europe, to some degree yes, and that is because was easy for them: they ended the war almost “fresh”, their (stolen) homeland did not suffer the horrors of war and so, yes, they could bring in peanut butter, cigarettes and other material goods. They also made sure that Western Europe would become an immense market for US goods and services and that European resources would be made available to the US Empire, especially against the Soviet Union. And how did they finance this “generosity”? By robbing the so-called Third World blind, that’s all. Is that something to be proud of? Did Lenin not warn as early as 1917 that “imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism”? The wealth of Western Europe was built by the abject poverty of the millions of Africans, Asians and Latin Americas.

But what about the future of Europe and the European people?

There a number of things upon which the Anglos and Stalin did agree to at the end of WWII: The four Ds: denazification, disarmament, demilitarisation, and democratisation of a united Germany and reparations to rebuild the USSR. Yes, Stalin wanted a united, neutral Germany. As soon as the war ended, however, the Anglos reneged on all of these promises: they created a heavily militarized West Germany, they immediately recruited thousands of top Nazi officials for their intelligence services, their rocket program and to subvert the Soviet Union. Worse, they immediately developed plans to attack the Soviet Union. Right at the end of the WWII, Anglo powers had at least THREE plans to wage war on the USSR: Operation DropshotPlan Totality and Operation Unthinkable. Here are some basic reminders from Wikipedia about what these operations were about:

Operation Dropshot: included mission profiles that would have used 300 nuclear bombs and 29,000 high-explosive bombs on 200 targets in 100 cities and towns to wipe out 85% of the Soviet Union’s industrial potential at a single stroke. Between 75 and 100 of the 300 nuclear weapons were targeted to destroy Soviet combat aircraft on the ground.

Plan Totality: earmarked 20 Soviet cities for obliteration in a first strike: Moscow, Gorki, Kuybyshev, Sverdlovsk, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Saratov, Kazan, Leningrad, Baku, Tashkent, Chelyabinsk, Nizhny Tagil, Magnitogorsk, Molotov, Tbilisi, Stalinsk, Grozny, Irkutsk, and Yaroslavl.

Operation Unthinkable: assumed a surprise attack by up to 47 British and American divisions in the area of Dresden, in the middle of Soviet lines. This represented almost a half of roughly 100 divisions (ca. 2.5 million men) available to the British, American and Canadian headquarters at that time. (…) The majority of any offensive operation would have been undertaken by American and British forces, as well as Polish forces and up to 100,000 German Wehrmacht soldiers.

[Were you aware of these? If not, do you now wonder why?]

I am not making these things up, you can look it up for yourself on Wikipedia and elsewhere. This is the Anglo idea of how you deal with Russian “allies”: you stab them in the back with a surprise nuclear attack, you obliterate most of their cities and you launch the Nazi Wehrmacht against them.

I won’t even go into the creation of NATO (before the WTO – known in the West as the “Warsaw Pact” – was created in response) or such petty crimes as false flag terrorist attack (Operation Gladio).

[Have you ever heard of Operation Gladio or the August 1980 “Bologna massacre”, the bombing of the Bologna train station by NATO secret terrorist forces, a false-flag terrorist attack (85 dead, over 200 wounded) designed to discredit the Communist Party of Italy? If not – do you now wonder why you never heard of this?]

The sad reality is that the US intervention in Europe was a simple land-grab, that the Cold War was an Anglo creation, as was the partition of Europe, and that since WWII the USA always treated Europe as a colony form which to fight the “Communist” threat (i.e. Russia).

But, let’s say that I am all wrong. For argument’s sake. Let’s pretend that the kind-hearted Americans came to Europe to free the European people. They heroically defeated Hitler and brought (Western) Europe peace, prosperity, freedom, happiness, etc. etc. etc.

Does this good deed give the USA a license for future interventions? You both mentioned WWII as an example and a justification for the need for the USA to maintain a military large enough to counter regimes such as the North Korean one, right? So, let me ask again,

Does the fact that the USA altruistically, kindly and heroically liberated Europe from both the Nazis and the Soviets now grant the moral legitimacy to other, subsequent, US military interventions against other abhorrent, aggressive or evil regimes/countries out there?

If you reply “no” – then why did you mention it as a justification?

If you reply “yes” – then please forgive me for being so obtuse and ask you for how long this “license to militarily intervene” remains valid? One year? Five years? Maybe ten or even seventy years? Or maybe this license grants such a moral right to the USA ad aeternam, forever? Seriously, if the USA did liberate Europe and bring it peace and happiness, are we to assume that this will remain true forever and everywhere?

I also want to ask you this: let’s say, for the argument’s sake, that the moral license given by the US participation in the war in Europe is, truly, forever. Let’s just assume that, okay? But let me ask you this: could it be revoked (morally, conceptually)? Say the USA did something absolutely wonderful in Europe. What about the subsequent horrors in southeast Asia, Latin America or the Middle-East. How many murdered, maimed, occupied, terrorized, bombed and otherwise genocided “non-West Europeans” would it take to outweigh the putatively “happily liberated” Europeans which, according to you, grant the USA the license to intervene? Even if the US in Europe was all noble and pure, do the following seventy years of evil mass murder worldwide really count for nothing or does there come a point were “enough is enough” and the license can be revoked, morally speaking, by people like us, like you?

May I point out to you that your words spoken in defense of a supposed need for the USA to maintain a military capable of overseas operations strongly suggest that you believe that the USA has a moral right (if not a duty!) to conduct such operations, which means that the post WWII atrocity-tally of the USA is not, in your opinion, sufficient to elicit a “enough is enough” reaction in you. Are you sure that you are comfortable with this stance?

In theory, there could be another reason to revoke such a moral license. After all, one can have the moral right to do something, but not necessarily the capability to do so. If I see somebody drowning in a flood, I most certainly have the moral right to jump in the water and try to save this person, do I not? But that does not mean that I have the strength or skills to do so. Right? So when you say that the USA needs to maintain a military capable of protecting friends and allies from rogue and dangerous regimes like the one in North Korea, you do imply that besides having the right to extend such a protection the USA also has the capabilities and the expertise to do so?

Really?

And what is the evidence for that, may I ask?!

I asked you to name me a single successful US military intervention since WWII and you could name none. Good! I agree with you. The reality is that every single US military operation since WWII has resulted in a disaster either on the humanitarian, political and military level (often on all of them combined). Even Grenada was a total (military) failure! Also, do you see who sits in the White House today? Do you really want The Donald in charge of protecting “our friends and allies” and are you confident that he has the skillset needed to do this competently? Or Hillary for that matter? Even Sanders has a record of defending catastrophic military operations, such as the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006 which, you guessed it (or not), ended in abject defeat for the Israelis and untold civilians horrors in Lebanon. But forget the President, take a look at US generals – do they inspire in you the belief that they are the kind of people who can be trusted to skillfully execute a military intervention inspired by moral and ethical reasons?! What about US “Congresspersons”? Would you trust them? So where do you see honest and competent “saviors of others” in the US polity?

Did you notice that there was no Islamic State in Iraq before the US invasion? Or did you notice that ever since the US declared a war on ISIS the latter has been getting stronger and stronger and taking over more countries. Yes, of course, once the Russians got involved ISIS began suffering defeat after defeat, but all the Americans had to say about the Russian intervention was to denounce it and predict it would fail. So why is it that the Russians are so good at fighting ISIS and the Americans, and their allies, so bad? Do you really want the Americans in charge of world security with such a record?!

Is insanity not repeating the same thing over and over again expecting different results?

Now I hear the reply you gave me to this point. You said “yes, mistakes were made”.

Mistakes?!

I don’t think that millions of murdered people, including hundreds of thousands of children, are “mistakes” (how would you react if somebody conceded to you that Hitler and Stalin made “mistakes”?). But there is something even more insidious in this notion of “mistake”.

How would you define “success”?

Say the US armed forces were not only good at killing people (which they are), but also good at winning wars (which they ain’t). Say the USA had been successful in not only invading Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in fully pacifying these countries. Say the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan would have been successfully defeated, their economy had bounced back, and democratic regimes put in power: capitalism everywhere, 100 channels on each TV, McDonalds in every Afghan villages, gay pride parades in downtown Kabul, gender-neutral toilets in every mosque, elections every 4 years or so and not a single shot fired, not a single bomb going off? Would that be a “success”?

I pray to God and hope with all my heart that your reply to this question is a resounding “no!!”. Because if you answered “yes” then you are truly messianic genocidal imperialists. Yup, I mean that. Why? Because your notion of “success” is the spiritual, psychological and cultural death of an ancient civilization and that makes you, quite literally, an mortal enemy of mankind as a whole. I can’t even imagine such a horror. So I am sure that you answered “no!!” as every decent human being would, right?

But then what is a “success”? You clearly don’t mean the success as defined by your rulers (they would enthusiastically support such an outcome; in fact – they even promise it every time over and over again!). But if their idea of “success” is not yours, and if you would never want any other nation, people or ethnicity to ever become a victim of such as “successful” military intervention, why do you still want your rulers with their satanic notion of “success” to have the means to be “successful” in the future? And that in spite of the fact that the historical record shows that they can’t even achieve any type of “success” even by their own definition, nevermind yours?!

Did you notice that nowhere in my arguments above did I mention the fact that the USA has never asked people (as opposed to local Comprador elites) whether they wanted to be saved by Uncle Sam or not? Neither did they ask the American people if they wanted to go to war, hence all the well-known false flags from the “remember the Maine”, to the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, to Pearl Harbor, to the “Gulf of Tonkin incident”, to September 11th: every time a lie had to be concocted to convince the American people that they had to go to war. Is that really people power? Is this democracy?!

Are there people out there, anybody, who really favor US military interventions? Yes, I suppose that there are. Like the Kosovo Albanians. I suspect that the Afghan Tajiks and Hazara were pretty happy to see the US bomb the crap of the Taliban. So there might be a few cases. Oh, and I forgot our Balt and Ukrainian friends (but then, they were also happy when the Nazis came, hardly much of an example). But it is pretty safe to say that in reality nobody wants to be liberated by Uncle Sam, hence the wordwide use of the “Yankee go home” slogan.

This letter is already way too long, and I will forgo the listing of all the reasons why the USA are pretty much hated all over the planet, not by the ruling elites, of course, but by the regular people. And when I say “the USA” I don’t mean Paul Newman, Mark Twain, Miles Davis, Quentin Tarantino, James Taylor or the Bill of Rights or the beautiful country called “the USA”. But the regime, as opposed to any one specific government or administration in Washington, the regime is what is truly universally hated. I have never seen any anti-Americanism directed at the American people anywhere, not even in France, Greece or Latin America. But the hate for the Empire is quasi universal by now. Only the political elites whose status, power and well-being is dependent on the Empire do, in fact, support the Empire and what it stands for. Everybody else despises what the USA stands for today. And every military intervention only makes this worse.

And you want to make sure this continues? Really?

Right now the US is desperately trying to save al-Qaeda (aka IS, ISIS, Daesh, al-Nusra, etc.) from defeat in Syria. How is that for a moral stance after 9/11 (that is, if you accept the official narrative about 9/11; if you understand that 9/11 was a controlled demolition in which al-Qaeda patsies were used as a smokescreen, then this makes sense, by the way).

By the way – who are the current allies the US are so busy helping now?

  • The Wahabi regime in Saudi Arabia
  • The Nazi regime in the Ukraine and
  • The last officially racist regime on the planet in Israel

Do these really strike you as allies worth supporting?!

And what are the American people getting from that? Nothing but poverty, oppression, shame, hatred, fear and untold physical, psychological and moral suffering.

These are the fruits of Empire. Every Empire. Always.

You mentioned that every time you see a veteran you thanked him for his service. Why? Do you really think that he fought in a just war, that his service is something he can be proud of? Did he fight for his people? Did he defend the innocent? Or was he an occupier in a foreign land and, if he saw combat, did he not kill people who defended their own land, their families and their way of life? What exactly do you thank that veteran for? For following orders? But is that not something the Nuremberg trials specifically condemned as immoral and illegal?

Do you remember how you told me that xxxxx’s Marine husband lived in a nice house with all their material needs taken care of? You added “compare that to Russian servicemen”. Well, you clearly are not aware of how Russian soldiers live nowadays, under your hated Putin, but that is besides the point. The question which I wanted to ask you then and which I will ask you now is this: is the comfortable lifestyle granted to US Marines good enough a reason to be a Marine – that is being part of the very first force called in to murder innocent people and invade countries? Do you even know what Marines did to Fallujah recently? How much is a human soul worth? And it is really your belief that being a hired killer for the Empire is an honorable way of life? And should you think that I am exaggerating, please read the famous essay “War is a Racket” by Marine Brigadier General Smedley Butler, who had the highest rank a Marine could achieve in his time and who was the most decorated Marine in history. If war is a racket, does that not make Marines professional racketeers, hired thugs who act as enforcers for the mobsters in power? Ask yourself this: what would be the roughly equivalent counterparts of the US Marines in Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia? To help you answer this question, let me offer a short quote from the Wikipedia entry about the Marine Corps: (emphasis added)

The Marine Corps was founded to serve as an infantry unit aboard naval vessels and was responsible for the security of the ship and its crew by conducting offensive and defensive combat during boarding actions and defending the ship’s officers from mutiny; to the latter end, their quarters on ship were often strategically positioned between the officers’ quarters and the rest of the vessel.

Does that help you identify their Nazi or Soviet counterparts?

Of all people, is it not we, Jews and Russians, who ought to recognize and categorically reject the trappings of Empire and all the rationalizations used to justify the subservient service to Empires?

I believe that history shows beyond any doubt that all Empires are evil, inherently and essentially, evil. They are also therefore equally evil. Shall I explain why?

Do you know what crimes is considered the ultimate, supreme, most evil crime under international law? It is not genocide, or crimes against humanity. Nope, the ultimate crime is the crime of aggression (that, by the way, makes every single US President a war criminal under international law, think of it!). In the the words of the chief American prosecutor at Nuremberg, Robert H. Jackson, the crime of aggression is the ultimate crime because “it contains within itself the accumulated evil” of all the other war crimes. Well, to paraphrase Jackson, imperialism contains within itself all the accumulated evil of all empires. Guantanamo, Hiroshima, Fallujah, Abu Ghraib, Gladio and all the rest, they “come with the territory”, they are not the exception, they are the norm.

The best thing which could happen to this country and its people would be the collapse of this Empire. The support, even tacit and passive, of this Empire by people like yourself only delays this outcome and allows this abomination to bring even more misery and pain upon millions of innocent people, including millions of your fellow Americans. This Empire now also threatens my country, Russia, with war and possibly nuclear war and that, in turn, means that this Empire threatens the survival of the human species. Whether the US Empire is the most evil one in history is debatable, but the fact that it is by far the most dangerous one is not. Is that not a good enough reason for you to say “enough is enough”? What would it take for you to switch sides and join the rest of mankind in what is a struggle for the survival of our species? Or will it take a nuclear winter to open your eyes to the true nature of the Empire you apparently are still supporting against all evidence?

The Saker

UK banks ‘complicit’ in Palestinian oppression, rights group claims

UK high street banks are investing in and arranging loans for firms supplying arms to Israel

Palestinian children play amidst the ruins of a building destroyed during the 50-day war Israel waged on Gaza in the summer of 2014 in Gaza City, on April 13, 2014 (AFP)

British high street banks including HSBC and Barclays are a “crucial link in the chain” of Palestinian oppression as they invest in and loan money to companies who supply arms to Israel, a campaign group has claimed in a report.

The “Deadly Investments” report by War on Want explores the business relationship between the UK’s financial sector and 19 companies which supply Israel with weapons and technology it says are used against Palestinians.

“The deadly trade of arms is facilitated not only by the UK government,” it claims. “UK banks and financial institutions participate in Israel’s militarised repression by holding shares in companies that sell military technology and weapons to Israel, and by providing and facilitating loans to companies producing such military technology and weapons.”

“Our findings show that UK banks and other financial actors facilitate and profit from Israel’s militarism, making them complicit in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.”

Investments and loans

The report comes on the back of the release of guidance by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights last month, clarifying that banks and financial institutions have a responsibility to “avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts” and “prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their operations, products or services by their business relationships”.

The report said the banks in question hold shares worth more than £10.8bn ($13.9bn) in military and technology companies such as BAE Systems, General Electric and Lockheed Martin.

War on Want used the Orbis database, a commercial financial database, and the nasdaq.com website to produce the report.

According to the group, HSBC owns shares worth more than £831m ($1.07bn) in firms that provide arms and technology to Israel, including £180m ($232m) of shares in BAE Systems, which manufactures the target selection displays in F-16 fighter jets used by Israel in its 2014 assault on Gaza.

HSBC is also said to own £102m ($131.4) of shares in Boeing, the US company that provides Israel with Apache helicopters and Hellfire missiles.

The British high street bank also has significant investments in Caterpillar, whose specially modified bulldozers are used to demolish Palestinian homes, and in Raytheon, whose “bunker buster” bombs were used by Israel to target civilian homes during the 2014 assault on Gaza.

HSBC in 2010 published its ethical guidelines for investments in the defence industry. It said that while it does not invest in any company that manufactures cluster bombs or anti-personnel mines, it does provide financial services to customers who sell or manufacture weapons among other business.

HSBC told War on Want that it holds shares in arms companies on behalf of clients, but did not say which investments these were.

It also referred War on Want to its Defence Equipment Sector Policy which said that “HSBC decided in 2000 to withdraw progressively from the financing of the manufacture and sale of weapons”.

British financial institutions have also been providing or arranging syndicated loans that run into the billions for companies that sell arms and technology to Israel.

Syndicated loans are provided to a borrower by a group of lenders, where the financial institution or bank can manage the syndicate, act as a lender, or both.

Barclays alone participated in 29 such loans totalling £41.1bn ($53bn) to firms including American aerospace company Lockheed Martin, which is in the process of delivering 50 F-35 jets to Israel, and Northrup Grumman, which built three Saar V missile ships used by the Israeli navy to police the coast of Gaza.

According to the report, HBSC participated in 15 syndicated loans totaling £19.3bn ($25bn) which went to several companies including British manufacturer Rolls-Royce.

‘Profiting from oppression’

War on Want’s senior military and security campaigner, Ryvka Barnard, said: “UK high street banks are key players in the UK-Israel arms trade and make these deadly deals possible.

“Banks like HSBC are a crucial link in the chain of oppression, facilitating and profiting from the brutal military repression of Palestinians.

“War on Want is calling for banks to divest from, and stop facilitating loans to, companies that sell weapons and security services to Israel.

“We also repeat our call for the UK government to implement a two-way arms embargo on Israel.”

The campaign group, which has been a stalwart advocate of the BDS movement and has called for a two-way arms embargo with Israel until it complies with international law, suggests that some of the companies mentioned could be criminally liable for complicity.

“A company that facilitates the violation of international law by, for example, providing weapons to a government that uses them to carry out war crimes, may be criminally complicit with that crime.”

The UN Human Rights Council has repeatedly called on companies to stop all business involvement in Israel’s illegal settlements and voted to create a database of companies that are involved in supporting and facilitating settlement activity in 2016.

With the release of the report coinciding with 50 years of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights, and 10 years since the continuing blockade of the Gaza Strip began, the report said: “The impacts of the occupation and siege on Palestinians have been devastating, an ever-intensifying system of human rights abuse and imposed poverty on millions of Palestinians.”

2017 also marks 100 years since the Balfour Declaration which declared British support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

In a statement to MEE, HSBC said it had “progressively withdrawn from financing the manufacture and sale of defence equipment”.

“We believe that our policy, which is reviewed regularly, is one of the most restrictive in the financial services industry,” said Francis Sullivan, European regional head of sustainability.

“We value the work carried out by NGOs such as War on Want and we have sought to meet with them to understand their specific concerns.”

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