Is Democracy Consistent with Islam?

Global Research, February 16, 2019

Most people are under the impression that democracy and Islam are somehow incompatible. However, I don’t see any contradiction between democracy and Islam, as such. Although, I admit, there is some friction between Islam and liberalism.

When we say there is a contradiction between Islam and democracy, we make a category mistake which is a serious logical fallacy. There is a fundamental difference between democracy and liberalism. Democracy falls in the category of politics and governance, whereas liberalism falls in the category of culture. We must be precise about the definitions of terms that we employ in political science.

Democracy is simply a representative political system that ensures representation, accountability and the right of electorate to vote governments in and to vote governments out. In this sense, when we use the term democracy, we mean a multi-party, representative political system that confers legitimacy upon a government which comes to power through an election process which is a contest between more than one political parties in order to ensure that it is voluntary. Thus, democracy is nothing more than a multi-party, representative political system.

Some normative scientists, however, get carried away in their enthusiasm and ascribe meanings to technical terminology which are quite subjective and fallacious. Some will use the adjective liberal to describe the essence of democracy as liberal democracy while others will arbitrarily call it informed or enlightened democracy. In my opinion, the only correct adjective that can be used to describe the essence of democracy is representative democracy.

After settling on theoretical aspect, let us now apply these concepts to the reality of practical world, and particularly to the phenomena of nascent democratic movements of the Arab Spring. It’s a fact that the ground realities of the Arab and Islamic worlds fall well short of the ideal liberal democratic model of the developed Western world.

However, there is a lot to be optimistic about. When the Arab Spring revolutions occurred in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen, and before the Arab Spring turned into an abysmal winter in Libya and Syria, some utopian dreamers were not too hopeful about the outcome of those movements.

Unlike the socialist revolutions of 1960s and 1970s, when the visionaries of yore used to have a magic wand of bringing about a fundamental structural change that would culminate into equitable distribution of wealth overnight, the neoliberal democratic movements of the present times are merely a step in the right direction that will usher the Arab and Islamic worlds into an era of relative peace and progress.

The Arab Spring movements are not led by the likes of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Jawahar Lal Nehru and other such charismatic messiahs that socialist thinkers are so fond of. But these revolutions are the grassroots movements of a society in transition from an abject stagnant state toward a dynamic and representative future.

Let us be clear about one thing first and foremost: any government – whether democratic or autocratic – would follow the same economic model under the contemporary global political and economic dispensation. It’s a growth-based neoliberal model as opposed to an equality-based socialist model. It’s a fact that the developing, Third World economies with large populations and meager resources cannot be compared with the social democracies of Scandinavian countries where per capita incomes are more than $40,000.

A question would naturally arise that what would the Arab Spring movements accomplish if the resultant democratic governments would follow the same old neoliberal and growth-centered economic policies? It should be kept in mind here that democracy is not the best of systems because it is the most efficient system of governance. Top-down autocracies are more efficient than democracies.

But democracy is a representative political system. It brings about a grassroots social change. Enfranchisement, representation, transparency, accountability, checks and balances, rule of law and consequent institution-building, nation-building and consistent long term policies; political stability and social prosperity are the rewards of representative democracy.

Immanuel Kant sagaciously posited that moral autonomy produces moral responsibility and social maturity. This social axiom can also be applied to politics and governance. Political autonomy and self-governance engender political responsibility and social maturity.

A top-down political system is dependent on the artificial external force that keeps it going. The moment that external force is removed, the society reverts back to its previous state and the system collapses. But a grassroots and bottom-up political system evolves naturally and intrinsically. We must not expect from the Arab Spring movements to produce results immediately. Bear in mind that the evolution of the Western culture and politics happened over a course of many centuries.

More to the point, the superficially “socialist” Arab revolutions of 1960s and 1970s only mobilized the elite classes. Some working classes might have been involved, but the tone and tenor of those revolutions was elitist and that’s the reason why those revolutions failed to produce desirable long-term results. The Arab Spring movements, by contrast, have mobilized the urban middle class of the Arab societies in the age of electronic media and information technology.

In the nutshell, if the Arab Spring movements are not about radical redistribution of wealth, or about creating a liberal utopia in the Middle East overnight, what is the goal of these movements then? Let me try to explain the objectives of the Arab Spring movements by way of an allegory.

Democracy is like a school and people are like children. We only have two choices: one, to keep people under paternalistic dictatorships; two, to admit them in the school of representative democracy and let them experience democracy as a lived reality rather than some stale and sterile theory. The first option will only breed stunted bigots, but the second option will engender an educated human resource that doesn’t just consume resources but also creates new resources.

Finally, I would like to clarify that the militant phenomena in Libya and Syria has been distinct and separate from the political and democratic phenomena of the Arab Spring movements as in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen.

A question arises that when political movements for enfranchisement turn violent, do their objectives cease to be legitimate? No, the objectives remain the same, but from a pacifist standpoint, we ought to make a distinction between political movements for democratic reforms, to which we should lend our moral support; and the militant phenomena, which must be avoided at any cost due to immense human suffering that proxy wars and military interventions anywhere in the world inevitably entail.

In legal jurisprudence, a distinction is generally drawn between lawful and unlawful assembly. It is the inalienable right of the people to peacefully assemble to press their demands for political reform. But the moment such protests become militarized and violent, they cease to be lawful.

Expecting from heavily armed militants, as in Libya and Syria, who have been described by the Western mainstream media as “moderate rebels,” to bring about political reform and positive social change is not only naïve but is bordering on insanity.*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from Kodak Agfa

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HIGHLIGHTING THE PEACE DAMASCUS MISSED FOR YEARS WHEN UNDER TERRORISTS’ MORTARS

In Gaza

As I mentioned at the beginning of this clip, when in Syria as a journalist it usually takes 3 or so days to acquire the necessary permissions to go to areas outside Damascus (or rather, areas outside of Damascus where there is a risk due to presence of terrorists, terrorists bombings, or their landmines).

During this time, instead of loitering I try to interview average Syrian civilians, sometimes artisans, and otherwise love walking alone in the meandering back lanes, absorbing the atmosphere–whether daytime or evening.

People ask me about safety: I feel completely safe walking alone in these lanes. In contrast from my first visit in 2014 to the liberation of eastern Ghouta in 2018, I did not feel safe, nor did Syrian civilians, because at any moment a terrorist-fired mortar might strike, as they did incessantly over the years.

As I noted a few weeks ago when I was here, the mood on the streets is completely difference than in previous years. Yes, people remained steadfast and defiant in the face of the terrorism, but now streets are busier than before, late into the night. That doesn’t make a good “story”, so Western media are not, to my knowledge, reporting on this. Instead, I see new stories invented to yet again attempt to demonize Syria or Russia, instead of just allowing Syrians to get back to life. It’s for the hell Syrians have endured and the silence of the media on this hell that I continue to post positive updates while in Damascus.

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So-called “White Helmets” Preparing to Film Staged Chemical Attacks in Idlib Hospitals: Zakharova

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Moscow is concerned over the fact that terrorists have not abandoned their attempts to stage chemical attacks against Syrian civilians.

The White Helmets have deployed equipment in several hospitals in the Syrian province of Idlib to film false flag chemical attacks and blame it on Damascus, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated on Thursday, according to Sputnik.

“There are also serious concerns about reports that terrorists are not abandoning attempts to fake the use of chemical weapons against civilians. According to available information, a group of activists, the notorious pseudo-humanitarian organization, the White Helmets, have prepared the necessary equipment in several hospitals of Idlib to film such provocations”, Zakharova said at a briefing.

The spokeswoman elaborated that tensions were running high in the Idlib de-escalation zone, saying that Tahrir al-Sham militants are carrying out daily shelling of nearby areas and actively building up their forces near the contact line with Syrian government forces, Sputnik said.

Moscow and Damascus have on a multitude of occasions pointed out that the White Helmets have staged a number of provocations in Syria involving the use of chemical weapons in order to blame them on the Syrian government and provide Western countries with justification for intervention in the Arab Republic.

The notorious NGO has repeatedly been busted staging and filming false-flag attacks: last April, the group published footage featuring doctors in Douma hospitals treating patients that had suffered from an alleged chemical attack by the Syrian Arab Army.

Reports of the purported use of chemical agents in Eastern Ghouta surfaced on 7 April 2018 in some media, citing militants on the ground. A number of Western countries, including France, the US and the UK, quickly picked up the claims, and instantly accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of having dropped a chlorine bomb on civilians.

Damascus vehemently denied the allegations, denouncing the attack as a staged provocation to justify potential foreign intervention. Immediately after the purported incident, Moscow dispatched its chemical corps commission to inspect the site and determine whether there had been an actual chemical attack; the expert group, however, found no traces of chemical agents in Ghouta.

US Troop Pullout From al-Tanf

Speaking of the envisaged US withdrawal from Syria, Zakharova said that Moscow had urged Washington to immediately pull its troops out of the al-Tanf zone and transfer the area to Damascus’s control.

“We urge Washington to immediately withdraw its troops from At Tanf are and transfer control over this territory to the Syrian government, which could take care of its citizens as we see it can do”.

Zakharova also drew attention to the “plight of the inhabitants of Rukban camp for internally displaced persons”, which is located within the 55-kilometre security zone set by the Pentagon.

“The full responsibility for the depressing situation in the camp is borne, of course, by the United States, which illegally occupies this zone, and secondly, deploys its military base there, regularly providing material and technical support, while not contributing to the delivery of food and medicine to the residents of Rukban. It is necessary to immediately take measures to resettle the camp”, she noted.

H.M

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Terrorism at the Service of ‘Regime Change’. How the West Gets Hit by Its Own Former ‘Useful Freedom Fighters’

Terrorism at the Service of ‘Regime Change’. How the West Gets Hit by Its Own Former ‘Useful Freedom Fighters’

Terrorism at the Service of ‘Regime Change’. How the West Gets Hit by Its Own Former ‘Useful Freedom Fighters’

The Times of London recently published an apologetic story about some “Chechen battalion” that it likes. This special military unit is fighting on the side of Ukrainian troops near the port of Mariupol on the Azov Sea and is headed by a bearded Chechen with a huge dagger inscribed with the words “Death to Separatists.” The Times describes this seemingly bloodthirsty gentleman in a positive light.

An enemy of my enemy

There is one good reason for that. The author of the story, British journalist Marc Bennets, and the commander of the “anti-separatist” battalion, named Muslim Cheberloevsky, have one common enemy. This enemy is the Russian president Putin. In the story, Cheberloyevsky explains to Bennets that he kills the Ukrainian “separatists” (i.e. mostly the Russian-speaking people of Donbass, who refused to live under the crudely nationalist regime of Petro Poroshenko), because he sees them as allies of president Putin. And “Putin is our enemy too,” explains Cheberloyevsky his affinity to Ukrainian nationalists, who normally look down on anyone who was born in Russia. Good enough for The Times. On its pages, Mr. Cheberloyevsky becomes a “freedom fighter.”

The fact that Mr. Cheberloyevsky holds Islamist views and that in an interview to Ukrainian TV he had admitted having trained with the so called Islamic State (formerly ISIS) in Iraq and Syria – this information does not deter The Times in the least. So what, if this useful Islamist “waged jihad” in Syria? Obviously, the UK’s mainstream media shares the establishment’s opinion that the West has a bigger fish to fry with the likes of Mr. Cheberloyevsky – fighting Putin. The perspective of spoiling the day for “Vlad the Bad” is enough for The Times to forget how the anti-Putin and anti-Assad jihadists, having received Western aid, committed terrorist acts in Western Europe and the US. For example, the Boston marathon bombing in 2013 or the Bataclan massacre in Paris in 2015 were both masterminded by Islamist recipients of Western aid for “freedom fighters,” who had radicalized themselves in the same places as Mr. Cheberloyevsky.

Weaponizing Islamism – at your own peril

George Galloway, a former British MP and a prominent critic of British establishment, cites The Times’ story in order to prove his point: “It was always thus.” For several decades, the United States and its allies inside the EU continuously tried to weaponize the Islamist radicals against what the Western establishment saw as much more important adversaries – against Russia, China, Libya, Syria, Iran, etc. It is enough to mention the admitted facts of American and British financing for Osama bin Laden and his proxies during their anti-Soviet campaign in Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s. Among more recent cases, one could cite the political asylum provided in the US and in the EU to the anti-Russian terrorists, such as the Tsarnaev brothers, who on their own killed and maimed several dozen people by exploding a bomb in Boston, Massachusets, during the traditional annual marathon in 2013. The Russian security services warned their American colleagues BEFORE the attack, that the future main perpetrator of the “marathon massacre,” Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had taken part in the anti-Russian terrorist activities in two of the Moslem regions of Russia – the autonomous republics of Chechnya and Dagestan. But this warning went unheeded, with 3 Bostonians killed and 16 losing their limbs as a result.

This time again, the British media is undisturbed by the dangers of the alliance with the likes of Mr. Cheberloyevsky.

“There was more interest in Strictly Come Dancing than the long-bearded Islamist extremists, who were now, once again, our partners in crime,” former MP George Galloway writes, and one could not agree more.

We have seen it all – in Syria

Somehow, a lot of the arms and so called “non-lethal equipment” provided by the US and its allies to the “moderate armed opposition” (what an oxymoron!) fighting the Syrian president Bashar Assad ended in the wrong hands. Even Western journalists admitted on many occasions, that a lot of this deadly stuff was ultimately used by the Islamic State and other terrorist groups in the region, such as Jabhat al-Nusra and Jaish al-Islam. Even The Guardian, normally subservient to the globalists, had to report that the “wrong” terrorists quite logically got hold of American gifts to the “right” terrorists, with gifts ranging from Humvee armored vehicles to the should-launched anti-aircraft missiles. Later these arms were used against citizens of Western countries, among many other victims. But the mainstream Western press never criticized its governments’ decisions to supply such weapons to “moderate Syrian opposition,” concentrating instead on the crusade against Putin and Assad. In 2011-2015 the supposedly “pluralist” American, British or French media machines were not different from the supposedly “unfree” Saudi or Turkish ones in that they all viewed the Islamists as a “lesser evil” than the secular Syrian government or, heaven forbid, Russian military contingent legally invited by this government to Syria.

Bigger evil – lesser evil

“The logic of Western political leaders is simple and cynical,” explains Mikhail Delyagin, the head of the Moscow-based Institute for Globalization Problems. “How many Western citizens can terrorists kill? Not more than a few hundreds, at worst a thousand or two, as it was the case during the 9/11 terrorist act in the United States, in 2001. Such a situation is most unfortunate, but it cannot be a threat to the power of globalist clans which now control the US and the EU. Meanwhile, Russia’s or China’s counteraction can be a limitation on their power, it can thwart their plans of spreading the globalist, so called “liberal” ideology to the largest possible number of countries. So, the main enemies of the modern West crack up to be Russia and other sovereign countries, not the terrorists.”

The proof that this kind of attitude dominates on the side of Western elites can easily be obtained from their own loyal “free” press, if only one takes the trouble to memorize how the headlines (and the affiliations!) of, say, the New York Times change over the course of the wars which the US assisted in unleashing.

From the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011 to the year 2013, the New York Times has been describing the insurgents operating against president Assad as “moderate,” denying the reports about their ties to the international jihadist movement or their attempts to impose medieval Islamist laws on Assad’s Syria. And then, suddenly, in 2013, we read the following in an article by the NYT’s Anne Barnard and Eric Schmitt:

“Known as fierce fighters willing to employ suicide car bombs, the jihadist groups now include more than 6,000 foreigners, counterterrorism officials say, adding that such fighters are streaming into Syria in greater numbers than went into Iraq at the height of the insurgency there against the American occupation.”

“Too little” crime, “too late” deaths

Later in the article, the NYT’s authors voice some very controversial criticism of the policy directed at arming those very sinister international terrorists in Syria: “Even Congressional supporters of the C.I.A.’s covert program to arm moderate elements of the Syrian opposition fear the delivery of weapons, set to begin this month, will be too little, too late.”

Isn’t that great? The NYT is not criticizing something clearly illegal: a covert (like almost any intentional crime) CIA program to supply deadly weapons to terrorists fighting a sovereign country’s government. They criticize this criminal act for coming too late and lacking in scope!

“Spooky parallels” of terror

The Washington Post’s shameless veteran-columnist David Ignatius, who recently got famous for reporting to the authorities, Stalin style, on Michael Flynn’s unauthorized contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States, had a rare moment of writing something critical of globalists in 2012. At the moment, president Obama’s line on using the Islamists as “work horses” for the regime change in Syria became apparent. And Ignatius produced a parallel that just asked to be made – the parallel between modern Syria and the American involvement in Afghanistan of the 1980s.

“The parallels are spooky. In Syria, as in Afghanistan, CIA officers are operating at the borders (in this case, mostly in Jordan and Turkey), helping Sunni insurgents improve their command and control and engaging in other activities… There’s even a colorful figure who links the two campaigns: Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who as Saudi ambassador to the US in the 1980s worked to finance and support the CIA in Afghanistan and who now, as chief of Saudi intelligence, is encouraging operations in Syria… There is a negative element to this parallel too, however: this CIA-backed victory opened the way for decades of chaos and jihadist extremism that are still menacing Afghanistan, its neighbors and even the United States.”

This “even” in the article by Ignatius can be a target for sarcasm: after all, even according to the official American version, the 9/11 mass murder was planned in Afghanistan “liberated” with the help from the CIA. So, George Galloway probably has a point, when he advises the Western governments in his article: “Read Mary Shelley, read Frankenstein, and read it to the end.” Alas, the end may be too awful, too near – and not only for the Western sponsors of Islamist terrorism.

Mass Psychosis and The Church of Humanitarian Interventionism

Mass Psychosis and The Church of Humanitarian Interventionism

January 03, 2019

by David Penner for The Saker Blog

Ask any American liberal aged sixty-five and older what they think about Franco, Mussolini, or Hitler and they will vehemently denounce these men as tyrants, murderers, and despots. Ask them what they think about the Vietnam War and they will say it was a tragedy, not only for the Vietnamese, but for the poor American soldiers who were drafted and used as cannon fodder. Liberals also once defended the civil rights movement and the New Deal while vigorously opposing McCarthyism. That these same people would go on to support deunionization, resegregation, and Russophobia while enthusiastically backing barbarous wars and interventions in Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine constitutes not only a betrayal of leftist principles, but is indicative of a rejection of reason and the reality-based world.

Like the proverbial general always fighting the last war, liberals remain trapped in the past, unable to adapt to rapidly unfolding kinetic developments. The problem is that not only is this general fighting the last war, this is a general that can no longer distinguish between right and left and has lost any semblance of a moral compass.

There’s a Hitler on The Danube

One could argue that the new Cold War began with Bill Clinton bringing Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic into NATO. For Russians that were not yet alarmed by this perfidy, their red lines were irrefutably crossed with the NATO destruction of Yugoslavia and the bombing of Serbia, regarded by Russians as a brotherly nation. This constituted an illegal war of aggression, and was carried out without a mandate from the United Nations Security Council. Indeed, the NATO destruction of Yugoslavia initiated an unraveling of international law and marked an erosion in the equilibrium between the great powers.

As Noam Chomsky has noted, Yugoslavia was marked for destruction, because unlike the other formerly communist European countries they did not embrace privatization. The destruction of Yugoslavia was not only a violation of the UN Charter, but was also the first “humanitarian intervention” following the collapse of the USSR that liberals were duped into embracing. In an article on the RT website titled “15 years on: Looking back at NATO’s ‘humanitarian’ bombing of Yugoslavia,” the author writes, “NATO demonstrated in 1999 that it can do whatever it wants under the guise of ‘humanitarian intervention,’ ‘war on terror,’ or ‘preventive war’ – something that everyone has witnessed in subsequent years in different parts of the globe.”

While Milošević and the Serbs were marked for demonization due to their lack of enthusiasm for neoliberal “reforms,” Croatian secessionists (many of whom subscribed to a neo-Nazi and neo-Ustasha ideology), Muslim fundamentalists in Bosnia, and the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) were supported by the West. Brigadier-General Pierre Marie Gallois of the French Army has condemned the NATO destruction of Yugoslavia, and has gone on record stating that the endless stories of Serb atrocities, such as mass rapes and the siege of Sarajevo were fabricated. Gallois also argues that the German elite sought revenge for the fierce Serb resistance during the two world wars, especially with regard to the Serb partisans that held up German divisions that were headed towards Leningrad and Moscow during Operation Barbarossa. While relentlessly demonized, the Serbs were in many ways the greatest victims of the NATO-orchestrated Balkan wars, as hundreds of thousands of Serbs were forcibly expelled from both Croatia and Kosovo while Serbia was turned into a free-fire zone by NATO for over seventy days. Washington took advantage of the conflict to solidify control over its European vassals.

During the aerial campaign, between ten and fifteen tons of depleted uranium were dropped on Serbia resulting in extremely high rates of cancer. The Independent coyly informed its readers that the forced expulsion of Serbs from Croatia, which they refer to as an “exodus” – is a great mystery – a “riddle.” The only “riddle” is how liberals can denounce genocide and speak ad nauseam about human rights while supporting neo-Nazi regimes, such as the Poroshenko government in Kiev and the Tudjman government in Croatia, which have perpetrated genocidal war crimes in broad daylight. The forced expulsion of Serbs from Croatia was eventually reported by The New York Times, but four years too late. Liberal-backed jihadists in Libya and Syria have likewise carried out one ethnic cleansing after another.

Endless calls by the mainstream press to stop the evil Serbs from establishing a “greater Serbia” were blatant propaganda, as there was no way that the hundreds of thousands of Serbs in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo could have “invaded” these territories, as they had already been living there for centuries. Indeed, this very scenario holds true for the ethnic Russians in the Donbass. Moreover, as the mass media was busy vilifying the Serbs, behind the scenes American diplomats had no illusions about who they were dealing with, referring to the Croatian nationalists as “our junkyard dogs.”

In an article titled “The Rational Destruction of Yugoslavia,” Michael Parenti writes:

Tudjman presided over the forced evacuation of over half a million Serbs from Croatia between 1991 and 1995, replete with rapes and summary executions. This included the 200,000 from Krajina in 1995, whose expulsion was facilitated by attacks from NATO war planes and missiles. Needless to say, U.S. leaders did nothing to stop and much to assist these atrocities, while the U.S. media looked the other way.

Kosovo was also prized by the Western elites because of its rich deposits of coal, lead, zinc, cadmium, gold and silver valued in the billions of dollars. The tragic balkanization of Yugoslavia, where brother was pitted against brother, brought about the destruction of a non-aligned country with a nationalized economy thereby bolstering the power of Western finance capital.  Of the NATO bombings, Parenti posits that, “To destroy publicly-run Yugoslav factories that produced auto parts, appliances, or fertilizer…is to enhance the investment value of western producers. And every television or radio station closed down by NATO troops or blown up by NATO bombs extends the monopolizing dominance of the western media cartels. The aerial destruction of Yugoslavia’s social capital served that purpose.”

Lamentably, all of this was drowned out by the mass media’s vilification of the Serbs. An article in The Guardian titled “Serbs enslaved Muslim women at rape camps” encapsulates perfectly how Western liberals were duped into embracing a war which was waged for no other reason than to fortify the power of US and NATO hegemony. This propaganda is particularly galling in light of the fact that women’s rights have been thrown back into the Stone Age precisely in the very countries which have come under attack by Washington and her proxies, such as Libya, jihadist-occupied Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine.

“Save Benghazi” and More Humanitarian Psychosis

Repeated calls by the presstitutes to “save Benghazi” sufficed to obtain liberal support for a war of aggression that has left Libya in such a state of anarchy and chaos, that Libyans who have been unable to flee the country are now trapped in a failed state where warring militias vie for power. In an article in Foreign Affairs titled “Obama’s Libya Debacle,” Alan J. Kuperman writes, “With Moscow’s acquiescence, the United Nations Security Council had approved the establishment of a no-fly zone in Libya and other measures to protect civilians. But NATO exceeded that mandate to pursue regime change.”

Under Gaddafi Libyans enjoyed a high standard of living, and health care and education were free. Gaddafi’s desire to set up a gold-backed dinar put him in the crosshairs of the Western elites, as this would have liberated Africans from domination by the World Bank and the IMF through establishing a common gold-backed currency. Alas, this was lost on the human rights crusaders of the holier-than-thou faux left.

Libya, which formerly had the highest standard of living in Africa, has been annihilated as a nation state. Slave markets are a legacy of this great “humanitarian intervention,” as are pogroms carried out against black Africans, formerly given refuge by the Gaddafi regime. An article in The Telegraph, which appeared in March of 2011, titled “Libya crisis: Benghazi fights for its life as Gaddafi attacks,” was one of countless articles in the mainstream press that incited messianic liberals into supporting a war of aggression against a people that had become too independent.

Once a country is marked for destruction by the Western elites no story is too outrageous, as evidenced by Susan Rice’s claim that Gaddafi supplied his troops with Viagra so that they could more effectively carry out mass rapes. This barbaric destruction of a sovereign state was summed up by liberal icon Hillary Clinton, who when asked about the brutal murder of Gaddafi, happily blurted out “We came! We saw! He died!

In what constituted the most genocidal invasion of a country following the end of the Vietnam War, Iraq was marked for annihilation after Saddam Hussein made the decision to sell oil in euros. In a rare moment of candor from a high priest of liberalism, Madeleine Albright, when asked about the half a million children that died due to the Clinton-backed sanctions, replied “We think the price is worth it.” This chilling remark underscores the fact that, contrary to liberal theology, the destruction of Iraq was perpetrated with equal fervor by both parties. Incredibly, even after spending trillions of dollars systematically destroying Iraqi social and political institutions, Washington failed to install a puppet government in Baghdad which has forged alliances with Tehran, Damascus, and Moscow.

Liberal saint Obama, in comparing the reunification of Crimea and Russia with the Iraq War, informs us that the “annexation of Crimea” – which was enthusiastically backed by the overwhelming majority of Crimeans – was worse than the invasion of Iraq, which resulted in a million deaths, destroyed a civilization and fueled the rise of ISIS.

As if her abysmal record makes her a Marxist scholar, Albright now warns Americans of the dangers of fascism, her implication of course being that the rise of Trump represents a threat to our democracy. Perhaps the Donald’s desire to pursue detente with Russia, and the fact that he has yet to start any new wars are what liberals are really upset about.

The Obama administration’s support for the Saudi war on Yemen is yet another impressive achievement for the liberal class, and has yielded such an earthly paradise that Yemenis have resorted to eating leaves to survive. For this extravaganza of mass murder the presstitutes didn’t even bother coming up with a fictitious narrative, allowing the salt of the earth to set aside their pom-poms for a while and take a nap.

Syria: Mass Murder in Paradise

Unsurprisingly, the mass media had no trouble duping imaginary leftists into believing that Syrians were being indiscriminately slaughtered by the Syrian Arab Army and the evil Russians. Unbeknownst to The Guardian and The New York Times, the US military presence in Syria is illegal, while Russian and Iranian military personnel are there at the invitation of the Syrian government. The Obama administration and its vassals are clearly responsible for the carnage in Syria, as they poured billions of dollars into backing the many jihadist groups. The mass media also hoodwinked liberals into thinking that the US military has been fighting ISIS, when they have used ISIS along with Al-Nusra Front and other illegal armed formations, as proxies with which to wage war on Syrian society. If Washington were battling the jihadists in Syria, why would they simultaneously be antagonists with the Syrian government and the Russians, who together saved Syria from being overrun by these very barbarians? Indeed, such questions have become a form of unmitigated heresy.

Articles such as “The Effects of Suspending American Aid to Moderate Syrian Opposition Groups,” by Hosam al-Jablawi, which appeared on The Atlantic Council’s website, seek to further the fallacy that the militants have been mostly democratic and secular. Washington and her vassals have poured enormous amounts of weaponry into the conflict zone, and Israeli weapons have been discovered in Syrian territories liberated from Daesh. That German machine guns from the Second World War have been discovered in some of these hideouts is symbolic of the true intentions of these murderous and sociopathic gangs.

The New York Post has referred to the jihadists in Syria as “freedom fighters.” While this may not be regarded as a “liberal” publication, an even more inane sentiment was expressed on Democracy Now, where Amy Goodman discussed the fighting in Eastern Ghouta with Rawya Rageh, Alia Malek, and Wendy Pearlman. Throughout the entire discussion of what can only be called an imaginary war, the fact that a large swath of Syria was taken over by jihadists, many of whom were not even Syrians but foreigners, is not even mentioned. In this cloud-cuckoo-land that passes for journalism the militants do not even exist. Assad and Putin are simply killing as many Syrians as possible, and doing so in an orgy of gratuitous savagery.

An article in The Guardian titled “You’re on your own, US tells Syrian rebels, as Assad goes on offensive” is deliberately written with the intention of stirring up liberal outrage over “indifference in the face of genocide,” and seeks to evoke memories of the Holocaust, the appeasement of Hitler, and the defeat of the Republicans by the forces of Franco. Meanwhile, independent media is shunned by liberals, who dismiss efforts at real journalism and political analysis as “conspiracy theory.” Thankfully for the insane, there is no shortage of good reading material.

Moscow has repeatedly maintained that the Syrian Arab Army is no longer in possession of chemical weapons, and there is ample evidence that the chemical attacks in Syria are false flag operations carried out by the jihadists to justify NATO aerial attacks on the Syrian Arab Army and Syrian infrastructure. Clearly, these incidents make for great Hollywood and have been extremely effective in stirring up gullible liberals who proceed to bray, as if on cue, for another regime change.

Tied to the mass media’s obsession with accusing Assad of “gassing his own people” are the White Helmets, who have been funded by the West, and who are clearly allied with the jihadists. The White Helmets played a critical role in duping liberal fundamentalists into thinking that there was a democratic uprising in Syria, and that the West must intervene “to put an end to the suffering.” Time will tell if Washington truly ceases all military operations in this war-ravaged country.

Forgotten Killing Fields: Afghanistan and Ukraine

The invasion and military occupation of Afghanistan was sold as a war to free oppressed women. An article in The Independent by Jane Dalton titled “Afghanistan’s first female military pilot granted asylum in US after fleeing Taliban death threats,” is crude propaganda, yet very effective nevertheless. This is a great way to distract insouciant liberals from what Americans are more likely to do in their dealings with Afghans, which is to murder them, and then urinate over their dead bodies. What the mass media doesn’t like to talk about is how the rise of the Taliban is a direct result of Washington’s support for the mujahideen in their insurgency against the secular Afghan communist government in the 1980s. Washington is furious with the International Criminal Court over considering prosecution of American officials for war crimes in Afghanistan, and has even threatened to arrest ICC judges in retaliation. Unbeknownst to these judges, Americans are God’s chosen people. Consequently, they are incapable of war crimes.

Samantha Power is a particularly pious priest in the Church of Humanitarian Interventionism. Power was a staunch advocate of military intervention in Libya, and used her influence to cover up the crimes of the US-Saudi genocidal assault on Yemen. She defended Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014, and yet was extremely critical of the “annexation of Crimea.” That the reunification of Crimea and Russia was in fact a legitimate humanitarian intervention is an irony that was undoubtedly lost on her. In a 2016 showdown with Vitaly Churkin at the UN Power accused Russia, Syria, and Iran of slaughtering civilians in Aleppo, when they were liberating the city from jihadists backed by Washington and her vassals. Power also spoke of the liberation of Aleppo as if the jihadists were Jews bravely defending themselves in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Syrian and Russian troops were fascists perpetrating brutal acts of collective punishment. Following this deranged rant, Churkin said, “The speech by the US representative is particularly strange to me; she gave her speech as if she was Mother Teresa herself. Please, remember which country you represent. Please, remember the track record of your country.”

The NATO-backed putsch in Kiev, supported wholeheartedly by the Obama administration, resulted in an unconstitutional seizure of power by the heirs of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, as well as a genocidal war waged against the ethnic Russians of the Donbass who have steadfastly refused to recognize the Banderite regime. In pitting neo-Nazis against neo-partisans, the restoration of Ukrainian nationalism has resurrected the demons of the past, as the bodies of slain Novorossiyan fighters are mingled with the bones of their heroic grandfathers.

Despite blathering on about the Nazis for decades, liberals were fully complicit in bringing this odious regime to power, as they were easily hoodwinked into thinking that the coup was a grassroots democratic uprising, and that the armed formations battling the Ukrainian military in the Donbass were divisions from the Russian Armed Forces, when they are overwhelmingly comprised of locals from Donetsk and Lugansk.

Moreover, as the Western elites impose multiculturalism and identity politics at home, they are simultaneously fomenting the rise of neo-Nazism in Eastern Europe. This underscores the moral bankruptcy, duplicity, and schizophrenia of the liberal class and has trapped Europeans in an intellectual paralysis where they are being offered a choice between neo-Nazism or multiculturalism, both of which benefit the oligarchy. The Maidan coup, executed by pogromists, neo-Nazis, and Banderites has legitimized unconstitutional seizures of power and inspired those who would like to carry out a putsch of their own in Germany.

A Hitler on The Moskva River?

As Putin has noted, following the collapse of the USSR Washington and NATO have pursued a policy of unilateralism. These wars have not only been carried out in flagrant violation of the UN Charter that condemns wars of aggression, but have also contributed to the degradation of the rule of law within the West itself. Western stenographers like to complain about terrorism, but terrorists filled the vacuum following the destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and a large swath of jihadist-occupied Syria – “humanitarian interventions” – where liberal complicity is undeniable and irrefutable.

The Church of Humanitarian Interventionism is rooted in the myth that the invasion of Normandy brought about the defeat of fascism. While this is not to denigrate the contributions made by resistance groups in Western Europe or those who lost their lives on the beaches of Normandy, the fact is that the defeat of fascism was achieved by the Red Army and allied partisans who bore the brunt of the best German troops, together with the courage of the Russian people who suffered the loss of twenty-seven million of their countrymen. This much vaunted invasion was launched on June 6, 1944, and only after it was clear that the Nazis were going to lose the war.

The descent of liberals into a morass of madness and bestiality is intertwined with a gross naivete regarding the true intentions of publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Guardian which are leading their readers around like so many poodles. Sadly, most of these creatures will go to their graves never understanding the treachery of these periodicals that they have given their very souls to. Liberals have also decided that it is better to spend trillions of dollars on illegal wars of aggression while their sons and daughters have inadequate health insurance and wallow in dead-end jobs working for the minimum wage.

In a spectacular display of Russophobia and Apocalypticism, Nikki Haley, who could easily work for either party and not know the difference, recently wrote on her Twitter page that “Lying, cheating, and rogue behavior have become the new norm of the Russian culture.” Washington’s decision to make Putin their favorite new bogeyman undoubtedly helps justify the obscene budget of the military industrial complex. Let’s pray that the bells of humanitarian intervention don’t ring out in strident cacophony over the Kremlin, which would assuredly take us to a place from which there is no dawning, and the evanescing of the sun of mankind forever.
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David Penner’s articles on politics and health care have appeared in Dissident Voice, CounterPunch, Russia Insider and KevinMD. Also a photographer and native New Yorker, he is the author of three books: Faces of The New Economy, Faces of Manhattan Island, and Manhattan Pairs. He can be reached at 321davidadam@gmail.com.

Big Lies Drown Out Hard Truths

By Stephen Lendman
Source

When the US launches naked aggression in other countries, truth-telling in Washington, the West, Israel, and journalism the way it’s supposed to be are the first casualties.

Managed news misinformation and disinformation, Big Lies, and fake news take precedence, hard truths suppressed – the way it always is in the run-up to wars and while they’re ongoing, ordinary people manipulated to believe what’s polar opposite reality.

US aggression is all about achieving control over other nations – in Syria and everywhere else. There’s nothing civil about what’s been going on for nearly eight years in the Syrian Arab Republic, US naked aggression planned long before launched. 

So-called “moderate rebels” don’t exist. All opposition forces are jihadist extremists, cutthroat killers, hired gun mercenaries – armed, funded, trained, and directed by CIA operatives, US special forces, and their imperial counterparts to commit atrocities, including use of chemical and other banned weapons.

Al-Qaeda-connected White Helmets masquerade as civil defense workers, complicit with high crimes of jihadists. UN Secretary-General Guterres and so-called UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura support Washington’s imperial agenda without admitting it in so many words – instead of firmly condemning it.

Guterres repeatedly turns a blind eye to Israeli high crimes of war, against humanity, and slow-motion genocide against millions of long-suffering Palestinians.

NATO secretaries general operate the same way, appointed by Washington, serving its interests, blaming victims in one country after another of high crimes committed against them.

All wars are based on deception and Big Lies. Propaganda works. Most people believe nearly everything fed them repeatedly by major media press agents for powerful interests.

It’s why America gets away with mass slaughter and destruction time and again against one country after another. Mass outrage is absent when vitally needed.

Obama’s war on Syria, escalated by Trump, continuing despite his December 19 troop withdrawal announcement, relies on steady major media reported disinformation and Big Lies.

Out-of-touch, uninformed, and indifferent Americans are easy marks to manipulate – no matter how many previous times they were duped.

Syria was invaded. ISIS and other jihadists were recruited and imported from scores of countries, including Western ones. 

They’re used to do Washington’s killing and dying for the empire, supported by Pentagon-led terror-bombing, massacring countless tens of thousands of civilians in Syria alone, along with destroying vital infrastructure in large parts of the country.

The same Nuremberg-level high crimes repeat in one US war theater after another, accountability never forthcoming.

Russia, Iranian military advisers, and Hezbollah fighters alone support Syrian sovereign independence, territorial integrity and right of its people alone to choose their government and leadership – free from foreign interference, in compliance with international law.

Turkey’s Erdogan is more enemy than ally of these objectives, aiming to annex northern Syrian territory, mainly its oil rich area, along with waging war on Kurds internally and cross-border.

Like US, NATO, and Israeli officials, he can never be trusted – a sworn enemy of peace, equity and justice, a regional menace, a tinpot despot, masquerading as democratic, a notion he abhors like his counterparts in the West and Jewish state.

Nothing going on in Syria is about humanitarian intervention, responsibility to protect, liberation, or fostering democratic values – just the opposite.

US-led high crimes against peace continue daily. The Nuremberg Charter calls them:

(1) “Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;” and

(2) “Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned” above.

War crimes are defined as:

“Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.”

Crimes against humanity include:

“Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.”

“Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity.is a crime under international law.”

All of the above apply to what’s going on in Syria and other US war theaters. America is permanently at war on humanity at home and abroad – the disturbing hard truth Western media suppress.

All US wars flagrantly violate international, constitutional, and US statute laws. They rage with no end of them in prospect – others in the wings to be launched when ordered.

Trump is a tool of the imperial state. The same goes for his predecessors and key congressional members on both sides of the aisle.

Humanity’s survival is up for grabs over Washington’s rage to dominate all other countries – by whatever it takes to achieve its objectives.

A Final Comment

Iran is the leading Middle East peace and stability advocate. Its military advisors in Syria are all about aiding Damascus combat the scourge of US/NATO/Saudi/Israeli supported jihadists.

Last week, outgoing IDF chief General Gadi Eisenkot lied, claiming Iran aims “to build a force of 100,000 ground troops” in Syria, including “ground, aerial, naval and intelligence capability (to establish a) line of military positions along the Golan” border.

His remarks and Netanyahu’s vow to escalate aggression in Syria over the nonexistent Iranian aim “to establish military bases in” the country indicates endless war will continue – whether US troops stay or leave.

Iranian military advisors alone are involved, invited by Damascus. The same goes for Russia and Hezbollah fighters. 

US, UK, French, and Turkish forces are invaders, flagrantly violating core international law.

Liberating Syria from the scourge of US-led aggression remains unattainable as long as the diabolical aims of Republicans and undemocratic Dems remain unchanged.

What Can Follow America’s Withdrawal From Syria

December 20, 2018

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

Just before Trump announced that American troops are to leave Syria “immediately”, many compatriots, friends and analysts were wondering what could be the next event that might change the course of future events in northern and eastern Syria. The first reaction to the news of Trump ordering his troops to leave Syria took many by surprise. That said, we have to wait and see if Trump does not wake up tomorrow changing his mind. The reason behind Trump’s decision to withdraw is not very important and as far as this article is concerned, it is irrelevant. If he wants to believe that he is leaving victoriously, that’s fine, for as long as he does leave. That said, the sudden resignation of Mattis clearly indicates that the former top gun does not see it with the same spectacles. Either way, the withdrawal, if it happens, may end up to be a long and protracted process that could take weeks, months and perhaps years, and the manner in which it happens opens the doors for many possibilities and contingencies.

Before Trump’s decision, there were two serious nagging and unresolved problems in Syria standing in the way of ending the war and the commencement of rebuilding the war-ravaged nation; and they were the ongoing presence of the terrorists in Idlib and the presence of American troops in the North East.

Idlib has been the sink hole of Syria, a place where all terrorists ended up. In any major battles, all the way from the battle of Al-Qusayr in 2013 to the most recent battle of Daraa in 2018, all of which ended up with terrorists defeat, negotiations ended up with militants leaving the areas in secure buses and settling in Idlib. No one really knows how many of them are there at the present moment because the overall figure includes those who were bunkered there from the beginning. The estimates run from as low as 10,000 to a high 100,000. The truth is that we don’t know. The figure could well be outside those estimates; but they have to be huge nonetheless.

Regardless of the number, they are the only terrorists left who answer to Erdogan and/or who can be manipulated by him. If they don’t, they either have to fight to death or leave. But given that all of their supply lines come from Turkey, they don’t have much of a choice but to kowtow to the Sultan. The Sultan is using his loyal “troops” as a trump card for two reasons; first of all to continue to have a de-facto military presence in government-controlled areas in Syria, and secondly and most importantly perhaps, is because he regards the terrorists as his Muslim brothers, and it is his “duty” to protect them.

This was why when Russia and Syria were making preparations to go inside Idlib and clean it up, he told them that he could achieve the same objective with negotiations and that they can leave Idlib for him to deal with. A few months later, Russia and Syria are still waiting for him to come true to his word.

So what is Erdogan exactly trying to do in northern Syria and why are Putin and Assad putting up with him?

Before Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria, it was clear that Putin understands Erdogan too well. He knows that Erdogan has an Achilles Heel, two of them in fact; one in each foot. In many previous articles, I have reiterated that Erdogan is incurably both an Islamist and a Turkish nationalist; even though the ideologies are in total contradiction with each other. And even though he is cunning, calculating and prepared to wait for the right moment to act, when it comes to either nationalism or religion, he regresses into a programmed robot that is simply unable to think and act rationally; and Putin has been trying to use this weakness of Erdogan to serve his own objectives.

Erdogan wants to protect Al-Nusra in Idlib, and this is why Putin convinced Assad to leave the Idlib carrot in the hands of Erdogan, not necessarily because he believes that Erdogan will indeed deal with it in the manner that he should, but simply to present to him that Russia regards him like a credible partner.

On the other hand, the simmering tension between Ankara and Washington over the Kurdish issue has been coming to a head for a long time. Ever since America pledged support to Syrian Kurds, Erdogan, in blunt terms, has been clearly saying to his American “allies” that they must choose between Turkey and the Kurds. He has been making serious threats that he will attack Manbij and clean it up from Kurdish militants even if American troops do not leave.

Erdogan’s nationalist Achilles heel has left him in serious discord with his biggest NATO ally.

Given that the nationalist aspect of Erdogan is prepared to risk falling out with NATO and even fighting American troops in Syria just to prevent the creation of an independent Kurdish state south of his border, he was putting himself in the position of the former Afghani Mujahideen who were fighting their own war, and at the same time, serving another purpose for another group. With this stance, Erdogan presented that he was prepared to fight with America at any level, even militarily; because to him, the Kurdish issue was a redline that he was not prepared to see crossed.

For a while, a fair while in fact, Russia and Syria stood back and watched how the American-Turkish impasse morphed. It seemed that any potential fight would not only serve to prevent the creation of an independent Kurdish state, but would also end up with American withdrawal from Syria, and thus serving the objectives of both Syria and Russia.

And even though in theory it is the role and duty of Syria and her army to liberate the North-East from American presence, this course of action did not only risk a major confrontation with NATO and possible widespread bombing all over the country, but this option will also risk a direct confrontation between America and Russia on Syrian soil.

This was the only reason why Russia and Syria seemed prepared to put the resolution of the Idlib dilemma on hold. This is the only rational reason as to why they did not coerce Erdogan to rush into any quick action there before the problem of American presence has been resolved.

Knowingly or inadvertently, the American withdrawal from Syria, if it happens, will take a huge bargaining chip away from the hand of Erdogan in as far as his relationship with Russia is concerned. Erdogan will no longer be able to say to Russia that if Russia wants him to deal with America’s presence, then Russia must accept the deal with Idlib too.

In short and simple terms, the American withdrawal, if it happens, will take the decision of what happens in Idlib out of Erdogan’s hands.

The above sounds good, good for Syria, but the final outcome of this will depend on a number of factors, the most important of which is who is going to replace the American troops and how soon.

If America leaves behind a mercenary army as some speculate, fighting it will be logistically easier in the sense that it will not open the door for direct confrontation with United States army.

Depending on the pattern of withdrawal, the void generated by the retreating American troops can either be filled by the legal national Syrian Arab Army or by an invading Turkish army. But this depends on the location as well as the time table of withdrawal. If America for example leaves Deir Ezzor now, which is in the east and a couple of hundred kilometers south of Turkey’s border, the void will automatically be filled by the Syrian Army. However, if America leaves a northerly position such as Manbij, Turkey will move in before the Syrian Army will have a chance to do so. And such a scenario can spell more problems for Syria.

The problem here is more of a humanitarian nature than territorial, because sooner or later, Turkey will have to leave Syria. That said, if Turkish troops control any Syrian land, even for a short time, they will most likely declare open season on Syrian Kurds, and given Turkish history in dealing with such situations, this can be brutal.

On the other hand, if Erdogan tries to inflict a Kurdish massacre, then his Idlib carrot will turn into a stick lashing his own hide. For years, he had managed to juggle his contradictions of being a nationalist and an Islamist, but he will finally have to choose between his two alter egos. His nationalist ambition of annihilating Kurdish resistance in Syria can endanger his Muslim brothers in Idlib. His split-personality dilemma is finally coming to a head.

Would the man who was prepared to fight America if America supported a Kurdish state be also prepared to fight Russia if Russia attacked his Islamist brothers in Idlib?

Ideally, the best scenario possible for Syria and Russia, a resolution that will uphold Syria’s sovereignty and integrity all the while avert any Kurdish bloodshed, is for Syria and Russia to immediately fill in any gap created by retreating American forces. Erdogan must be kept out of Syria, and once his hands cannot reach Syrian Kurds any longer, he will no longer be able to have any say in Idlib.

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