israel Owns the UN as well as the US

rima khalaf

Rima Khalaf. Click to enlarge

Israel Owns the UN as well as the US

Via Global Research, March 18, 2017 — originally from Middle East Eye

The head of the United Nation’s West Asia commission resigned on Friday, after what she described as pressure from the secretary-general to withdraw a report accusing Israel of imposing an “apartheid regime” on Palestinians.

The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which comprises 18 Arab states, published the report on Wednesday, saying it was the first time a UN body had clearly made the charge.

Click here to read the statement of Khalaf posted on ESCWA’s social media.

However two days later, Rima Khalaf, UN under-secretary-general and ESCWA executive secretary, announced her resignation at a news conference in Beirut.

“I stand by my assessment in the report, that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid,” she said at the conference.

“I find myself unable to accept the pressure placed on me over the last period of time.

“The secretary-general demanded yesterday that I withdraw the report, and I refused,” she said, adding: “I believe that discrimination on the basis of skin colour, religion or ethnicity is unacceptable.”

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday asked for the report to be removed from the UN website.

The UN on Friday accepted her resignation, with spokesperson Stephane Dujarric saying:

“This is not about content, this is about process.”

“The secretary-general cannot accept that an under-secretary-general or any other senior UN official that reports to him would authorise the publication under the UN name, under the UN logo, without consulting the competent departments and even himself,” he told reporters.

Dujarric had earlier said that “the report as it stands does not reflect the views of the secretary-general” and was written without consultations with the UN secretariat.

The United States, an ally of Israel, said it was outraged by the report.

“The United Nations secretariat was right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether,” the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said in a statement.

Click here to read Haley’s statement posted on her social media.

The Israeli ministry spokesman, Emmanuel Nahshon‏, commenting on Twitter, also noted the report had not been endorsed by the UN secretary-general.

Click here to read Nahshon’s statement posted on his social media.

“The attempt to smear and falsely label the only true democracy in the Middle East by creating a false analogy is despicable and constitutes a blatant lie,” Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon said in a statement.

What was in report?

The report said it had established on the “basis of scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid.

“However, only a ruling by an international tribunal in that sense would make such an assessment truly authoritative,” it added.

The report said the “strategic fragmentation of the Palestinian people” was the main method through which Israel imposes apartheid, with Palestinians divided into four groups oppressed through “distinct laws, policies and practices”.

It identified the four sets of Palestinians as: Palestinian citizens of Israel; Palestinians in East Jerusalem; Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; and Palestinians living as refugees or in exile.

ESCWA hoped the report would inform further deliberations on the root causes of the problem in the United Nations, among member states, and in society, Khalaf said at an event to launch the report at ESCWA’s Beirut headquarters.

It was authored by Richard Falk, a former UN human rights investigator for the Palestinian territories, and Virginia Tilley, professor of political science at Southern Illinois University.

Before leaving his post as UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories in 2014, Falk said Israeli policies bore unacceptable characteristics of colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing.

Source

Assad: US Forces in Syria are ‘Invaders’

Assad: US Forces in Syria are ‘Invaders’

Video and Transcript

“Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one,” Assad said.

“And we don’t think this is going to help. What are they going to do? To fight ISIS? The Americans lost nearly every war. They lost in Iraq, they had to withdraw at the end. Even in Somalia, let alone Vietnam in the past and Afghanistan, your neighboring country. They didn’t succeed anywhere they sent troops, they only create a mess; they are very good in creating problems and destroying, but they are very bad in finding solutions.”

March 13, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –   Damascus, SANA-President Bashar al-Assad said that the solution to the crisis in Syria should be through two parallel ways: the first one is to fight the terrorists, and this is our duty as government, to defend the Syrians and use any means in order to destroy the terrorists who’ve been killing and destroying in Syria, and the second one is to make dialogue.

The president added in an interview given to Chinese PHOENIX TV that any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one.

Flowing is the full text of the interview:

Question 1:  Thank you Mr. President for having us here in Dimashq, the capital of Syria. I think this is the first interview you have with Chinese media after the national ceasefire and after so many fresh rounds of talks, both in Astana and in Geneva, and of course after US President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and these days, as we have seen, your troops are making steady progress in battlefields, but peace talks do not seem just as productive. So, as far as the Geneva talks is concerned, your chief negotiator, Mr. Jaafari, was trying hard to find out who should be sitting on the other side of the negotiation table. So, according to your idea, who should be sitting there?

President Assad: This is a very crucial question. If you want those negotiations to be fruitful, we have to ask “who is going to be sitting there?” I mean, there could be a lot of good people with good intentions, but the question is: who do they represent? That’s the question. In this situation, you have different groups, you have people who are, let’s say, patriotic, but they don’t represent anyone, they represent themselves. You have others who represent the terrorists, and you have terrorists on the table, and you have others who represent the agenda of foreign countries like Saudi Arabia, like Turkey, like France, UK and maybe the United States. So, it’s not a homogeneous meeting. If you want it to be fruitful, going back to the first point that I mentioned, it should be a real Syrian-Syrian negotiations. In spite of that, we went to that meeting because we think any kind of dialogue could be a good step toward the solution, because even those people who are terrorists or belonging to the terrorists or to other countries, they may change their mind and go back to their normality by going back to being real Syrians, detach themselves from being terrorists or agents to other groups. That’s why I say we didn’t expect Geneva to produce anything, but it’s a step, and it’s going to be a long way, and you may have other rounds, whether in Geneva or in Astana.

Question 2: But anyway, it is an intra-Syrian talks, right? But the matter of fact is, it is proxy dialogue. I mean, main parties do not meet and have dialogue directly.

President Assad: Exactly.

Journalist: Are you personally satisfied with the current negotiation format or mechanism?

President Assad: we didn’t forge this mechanism; it was forged by de Mistura and the UN with the influence of the countries that wanted to use those negotiations in order to make pressure on Syria, not to reach any resolution. As you just said, each one represents a different agenda, even the opposition delegations, it wasn’t one delegation; different delegations of the opposition. So, if I’m going to – as a government – if I’m going to negotiate with someone, who’s it going to be? Which one? Who represents who? That’s our question. So, you are right, this time there was no negotiations in Geneva, but this is one of the reasons, that’s why it didn’t reach anything. The only thing we discussed in Geneva was the agenda, the headlines, what are we going to discuss later, that’s it.

Question 3: But as we see, lot of time, money, energy have been put into this effort, and the clashes are still going on, people are still dying, and the refugees are still increasing.

President Assad: Exactly.

Journalist: What is the possible way of having a negotiation?

President Assad: Again, you are correct. The more delay you have, the more harm and destruction and killing and blood you’ll have within Syria, that’s why we are very eager to achieve a solution, but how and in which way? You need to have two parallel ways: the first one is to fight the terrorists, and this is our duty as government, to defend the Syrians and use any means in order to destroy the terrorists who’ve been killing and destroying in Syria. The second one is to make dialogue. This dialogue has many different aspects; you have the political one, which is related to the future of Syria; what political system do you need, what kind? It doesn’t matter which one, it depends on the Syrians, and they’re going to have referendum about what they want. The second part is to try to bring many of those people who were affiliated to the terrorists or who committed any terrorist acts to go back to their normality and lay down their armaments and to live normal life in return for amnesty that has been offered by the government, and we’ve been going in that direction for three years, and it worked very well. It worked very well. So, actually, if you want to talk about the real political solution since the beginning of the crisis, of the war on Syria, till this moment, the only solution was those reconciliations between the government and the different militants in Syria, many of them joined the government now, and they are fighting with the government. Some of them laid down their.

Question 4: But talking about the Syria war, you can never exclude the foreign factors. The Saudi-backed high negotiating committee, HNC, are saying that they are counting on the Trump administration to play a positive role instead of the mistaken policies under his predecessor Barack Obama. So, from your side, what do you expect from Trump’s Middle East policy, particularly policy on Syria?

President Assad: The first part that you mentioned about their hopes, when you pin your hopes on a foreign country, doesn’t matter which foreign country, it means you’re not patriotic, and this is proved, because they should depend on the support of the Syrian people, not any other government or administration.

Now, regarding the Trump administration, during his campaign and after the campaign, the main rhetoric of the Trump administration and the president himself was about the priority of defeating ISIS. I said since the beginning that this is a promising approach to what’s happening in Syria and in Iraq, because we live in the same area and we face the same enemy. We haven’t seen anything concrete yet regarding this rhetoric, because we’ve been seeing now certain is a local kind of raids. You cannot deal with terrorism on local basis; it should be comprehensive, it cannot be partial or temporary. It cannot be from the air, it should be in cooperation with the troops on the ground, that’s why the Russians succeeded, since they supported the Syrian Army in pushing ISIS to shrink, not to expand as it used to be before that. So, we have hopes that this taking into consideration that talking about ISIS doesn’t mean talking about the whole terrorism; ISIS is one of the products, al-Nusra is another product, you have so many groups in Syria, they are not ISIS, but they are Al Qaeda, they have the same background of the Wahabi extremist ideology.

Question 5: So, Mr. President, you and Mr. Donald Trump actually share the same priority which is counter-terrorism, and both of you hate fake news. Do you see any room for cooperation?

President Assad: Yeah, in theory, yes, but practically, not yet, because there’s no link between Syria and the United States on the formal level. Even their raids against ISIS that I just mentioned, which are only a few raids, happened without the cooperation or the consultation with the Syrian Army or the Syrian government which is illegal as we always say. So, theoretically we share those goals, but particularly, not yet.

Question 6: Do you have personal contact with the President of the United States?

President Assad: Not at all.

Journalist: Direct or indirect.

President Assad: Indirect, you have so many channels, but you cannot bet on private channels. It should be formal, this is where you can talk about a real relation with another government.

Question 7: As we speak, top generals from Turkey, Russia, and the United States are meeting somewhere in Turkey to discuss tensions in northern Syria, where mutually- suspicious forces are allied with these countries.  So, do you have a plan for a final attack on Daesh when the main players actually do need an effective coordination in order to clear Syria of all terror groups?

President Assad: Yeah, if you want to link that meeting with ISIS in particular, it won’t be objective, because at least one party, which is Turkey, has been supporting ISIS till this moment, because Erdogan, the Turkish President, is Muslim Brotherhood. He’s ideologically linked and sympathetic with ISIS and with al-Nusra, and everybody knows about this in our region, and he helped them either through armaments, logistically, through exporting oil. For the other party, which is the United States, at least during Obama’s administration, they dealt with ISIS by overlooking their smuggling the Syrian oil to Turkey, and this is how they can get money in order to recruit terrorists from around the world, and they didn’t try to do anything more than cosmetic against ISIS. The only serious party in that regard is Russia, which is effectively attacking ISIS in cooperation with us. So, the question is: how can they cooperate, and I think the Russians have hope that the two parties join the Russians and the Syrians in their fight against terrorism. So, we have more hopes now regarding the American party because of the new administration, while in Turkey nothing has changed in that regard. ISIS in the north have  only one route of supply, it’s through Turkey, and they’re still alive and they’re still active and they’re still resisting different kinds of waves of attacks, because of the  Turkish support.

Question 8: Now, US troops are in Manbej. Is the greenlight from your side? Did you open the door for these American troops?

President Assad: No, no, we didn’t. Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one. And we don’t think this is going to help. What are they going to do? To fight ISIS?  The Americans lost nearly every war. They lost in Iraq, they had to withdraw at the end. Even in Somalia, let alone Vietnam in the past and Afghanistan, your neighboring country. They didn’t succeed anywhere they sent troops, they only create a mess; they are very good in creating problems and destroying, but they are very bad in finding solutions.

Question 9: Talking about Russia and China, they just vetoed a new UN sanction on Syria last week. What do these Chinese vetoes mean exactly for your country?

President Assad: Let’s be very clear about their position, which is not to support the Syrian government or the Syrian president, because in the West they try to portray it as a personal problem, and as Russia and China and other countries and Iran support that person as president. It’s not the case. China is a member of the Security Council, and it’s committed to the Charter of the United Nations. In that veto, China has defended first of all the Charter, because the United Nations was created in order to restore stability around the world. Actually, the Western countries, especially the permanent members of the Council as a tool or means in order to change regimes or governments and to  implement their agenda, not to restore stability, and actually to create more instability around the world. So the second part is that China restored stability in the world by creating some kind of political balance within the United Nations, of course in cooperation with Russia, which is very important for the whole world. Of course, Syria was the headline, the main headline, this is good for Syria, but again it’s good for the rest of the world. Third, the same countries that wanted to use the UN Charter for their own vested interested are the same countries who interfered or tried to intervene in your country in the late 90s, and they used different headlines, human rights, and so on, and you know that, and if they had the chance, they would change every government in the world, whether big country or small country, just when this government tries to be a little bit independent. So, China protected the Chinese interests, Syrian interests, and the world interests, especially the small countries or the weak countries.

Question 10: If I’m not mistaken, you said China is going to play a role in the reconstruction of Syria. So, in which areas you think China can contribute to bring Syrian people back to their normal life after so many years of hardships?

President Assad: Actually, if you talk about what the terrorists have been doing the last six years, it’s destroying everything regarding the infrastructure. In spite of that, the Syrian government is still effective, at least by providing the minimum needs for the Syrian people. But they’ve been destroying everything in every sector with no exception. Adding to that, the Western embargo in Syria has prevented Syria from having even the basic needs for the livelihood of any citizen in Syria. So, in which sector? In every sector. I mean, China can be in every sector with no exception, because we have damage in every sector. But if we talk about now, before this comprehensive reconstruction starts, China now is being involved directly in building many projects, mainly industrial projects, in Syria, and we have many Chinese experts now working in Syria in different projects in order to set up those projects. But of course, when you have more stability, the most important thing is building the destroyed suburbs. This is the most important part of the reconstruction. The second one is the infrastructure; the sanitation system, the electricity, the oil fields, everything, with no exception. The third one: the industrial projects, which could belong to the private sector or the public sector in Syria.

Question 11: Alright. And it seems no secret that there are some Chinese extremists are here, fighting alongside Daesh. I think it is a threat to both Syria and China. What concrete or effective measures do you have to control border and prevent these extremists from free movement in the region?

President Assad: When you talk about extremists or terrorists, it doesn’t matter what their nationality is, because they don’t recognize borders, and they don’t belong to a country. The only difference between nationality and nationality, is that those for example who came from your country, they know your country more than the others, so they can do more harm in your country that others, and the same for Syrians, the same for Russian terrorist, and so on. So now, the measures, every terrorist should be defeated and demolished, unless he changed his position to the normal life. Second, because you’re talking about different nationalities -more than 80 nationalities – you should have cooperation with the other governments, especially in the intelligence field, and that’s what’s happening for example with the Chinese intelligence regarding the Uyghur terrorists who are coming from China through Turkey. Unfortunately, the only means that we don’t have now and we don’t control is our borders with Turkey, because the Uyghur  in Particular, they came from Turkey, the others coming maybe from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, form the sea, maybe, and the majority from Turkey, but the Uyghur terrorists coming mainly from Turkey. Why? I don’t know why, but they have the support of the Turkish government, and they were gathered and collected in one group, and they were sent to the northern part of Syria. So, the mission now is to attack them, wherever they existed. Of course, sometimes you cannot tell which one… who is who, they mix with each other, but sometimes they work as separate groups from different nationalities. And this is very crucial kind of cooperation between the Syrian and the Chinese intelligence, and we did many good steps in that regard.

Question 12: Mr. President, as you may be fully aware that the “White Helmets” took an Oscar this year for the best documentary short, but folks are saying that the truth about this “White Helmets” is not like what Netflix has presented, so what is your take on this?

President Assad: First of all, we have to congratulate al-Nusra for having the first Oscar! This is an unprecedented event for the West to give Al Qaeda an Oscar; this is unbelievable, and this is another proof that the Oscars, Nobel, all these things are politicized certificates, that’s how I can look at it. The White Helmets story is very simple; it is a facelift of al-Nusra Front in Syria, just to change their ugly face into a more humanitarian face, that’s it. And you have many videos on the net and of course images broadcasted by the White Helmets that condemn the White Helmets as a terrorists group, where you can see the same person wearing the white helmet and celebrating over the dead bodies of Syrian soldiers. So, that’s what the Oscar went to, to those terrorists. So, it’s a story just to try to prevent the Syrian Army during the liberation of Aleppo from making more pressure on the attacking and liberating the districts within the city that have been occupied by those terrorists, to say that the Syrian Army and the Russians are attacking the civilians and the innocents and the humanitarian people.

Question 13: Right. Now Palmyra. I took a one-day trip to Palmyra this time. Now, the city is under your control, so as its strategic position is concerned, because Homs is the heart of Syria, it’s right in the middle, now, when you have Palmyra, what is your next target? Are you going to expand a military operation into Raqqa and Dier Ezzor?

President Assad: We are very close to Raqqa now. Yesterday, our troops reached the Euphrates River which is very close to Raqqa city, and Raqqa is the stronghold of ISIS today, so it’s going to be a priority for us, but that doesn’t mean the other cities are not priority, in time that could be in parallel, because Palmyra is on the way to Dier Ezzor city in the eastern part of Syria which is close to the Iraqi borders, and those areas that have been used by ISIS as route for logistic support between ISIS in Iraq and ISIS in

Syria. So, whether you attack the stronghold or you attack the route that ISIS uses, it has the same result.

Question 14: How many days do you think this war is going to last?

President Assad: if we presume that you don’t have foreign intervention, it will take a few months. It’s not very complicated internally. The complexity of this war is the foreign intervention. This is the problem. So, in the face of that intervention, the good thing that we gained during the war is the unity of the society. At the very beginning, the vision for many Syrians wasn’t very clear about what’s happening. Many believed the propaganda of the West about the reality, about the real story, that this is against the oppression. If it’s against the oppression, why the people in Saudi Arabia didn’t revolt, for example? So, now what we gained is this, this is our strongest foundation to end that war. We always have hope that this year is going to be the last year. But at the end, this is war and you can’t expect what is going to happen precisely.

Question 15: Mr. President, you are President of the Syrian Republic, at the same time, you are a loving husband and a father of three. How can you balance the role of being a President, a father, and a husband?

President Assad: If you cannot succeed in your small duty which is your family, you cannot succeed in your bigger duty or more comprehensive duty at the level of a country. So, there is no excuse that if you have a lot of work to abandon your duties; it’s a duty. You have to be very clear about that, you have to fulfill those duties in a very good way. Of course, sometimes those circumstances do not allow you to do whatever you have to do, your duties, fully, let’s say.

Journalist: During a day, how much time you spend on work, and how much time you spend with your family members?

President Assad: Actually, it’s not about the time, because even if you are at your home, you have to work.

Journalist: Okay.

President Assad: Let’s say, in the morning and the evening, you have the chance, but in between and after those times, you have the whole day to work.

Question 16: Have you ever thought of leaving this country for the sake of your family?

President Assad: Never, after six years, I mean the most difficult times passed; it was in 2012 and 2013, those times we never thought about it, how can I think about it now?

So, no, no, this is not an option. Whenever you have any kind of reluctance, you will lose. You will lose not with your enemies; you lose with your supporters. Those supporters, I mean the people you work with, the fighters, the army, they will feel if you’re not determined to defend your country. We never had any feeling neither me nor any member of my family.

Question 17: And how is Kareem’s Chinese getting along?

President Assad: He learned the basics of Chinese language, I think two years ago. Unfortunately, the lady and the man who taught him had to leave, because they were members of the Chinese Embassy. They went back to China. Now, he stopped improve his Chinese language.

Question 18: Do you think it is a good choice to learn Chinese for him?

President Assad: Of course, of course, because China is a rising power.

Journalist: You didn’t force him to learn Chinese? It’s his own option, right?

President Assad: No, no, we never thought about it, actually. I didn’t think that he has to learn Chinese, and I didn’t expect him, if I thought about it, that he would say yes, because for many in the world the Chinese language is a difficult language to learn. He took the initiative and he said I want to learn Chinese, and actually till this moment, I didn’t ask him why. I want him to feel free, but when he’s getting older, I’m going to ask him how? How did it come through your mind to learn this language, this difficult language, but of course important language.

Journalist: You didn’t ask him before? President Assad: No, not yet. Journalist: So, you think it’s a good choice?

President Assad: Of course, of course. As I said, it’s a rising power, it’s important. I mean, most of the world has different kinds of relation with China whether in science, in politics, in economy, in business, I mean, in every filed you need it now. And our relation for the future is going to be on the rise. It was good, but it’s going to be on the rise because when a country like China proves that it’s a real friend, a friend that you can rely on, it’s very natural to have better relation on the popular level, not only on the formal level.

Journalist: Thank you Mr. President, thank you for your time.

President Assad: Thank you for coming to Syria, you’re most welcome.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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In Memory of Vitali Churkin, Russia’s Charismatic Ambassador to the UN

Vitali Churkin succeeded in creating and sustaining a balance in the UN Security Council, a balance between East and West, a multipolar world crucial to global peace and economic justice.

Global Research, March 03, 2017
28 February 2017
vitaly-churkin

On February 20, 2017 the shattering news reverberated throughout the United Nations, and the world:  the  charismatic and world renowned  Russian Ambassador to the United Nations, Vitali Churkin, was suddenly stricken in his office at the Russian Mission and pronounced dead upon arrival at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. 

The New York City Medical Examiner failed to discover the cause of Ambassador Churkin’s sudden death, stating that the autopsy is inconclusive and ‘determining the cause and manner of his death requires further study, which could require weeks of further screenings.’  For ten years Churkin had illuminated the corridors of the United Nations, and  a surrealistic atmosphere of disbelief and incredulity now permeates the United Nations, as unanswered questions regarding Ambassador Churkin’s death increase.

Vitali Churkin’s colossal intellectual power prevailed over the crass propaganda and hypocrisy of his detractors at the UN Security Council.  In so doing, he restored the credibility of the UN Security Council, and restored the dignity and independence of the United Nations.  His moral force and courage, even in isolation,  towered above his detractors at the Security Council, and within the General Assembly.

His prodigious knowledge of the historic context and realities being distorted by his opponents was a formidable obstacle to their chronic attempts to hijack and deform both the Security Council, and the UN itself, into becoming a tool for geopolitical engineering antithetical to the very purposes for which the UN was established.

Following the first Persian Gulf War, authorized by Security Council Resolution 678, the United Nations had become regarded as an annex of the US State Department and the Pentagon.  Security Council Resolution 1973 reinforced that impression, and, indeed, when Lakhdar Brahimi, formerly Foreign Minister of Algeria and top United Nations envoy, was asked why UN offices were so often  bombed, he replied that the UN was becoming perceived as a “party to disputes.”

Churkin’s arrival at the UN, and the re-emergence of Russia as a world power, with the Presidency of Vladimir Putin, re-established the United Nations as a multipolar organization, and with the six vetoes cast by Vitali Churkin, the United Nations was prevented from further debasement, as those vetoes prohibited the UN endorsement of the barbaric slaughter of yet another country in the Middle East.  Vitali Churkin commanded the respect of even those attempting to discredit him, and he was admired by even those who hated him for his capacity to expose their duplicity.

More than 25 years ago I first met Vitali Churkin at his office in the Soviet Foreign Ministry in Moscow.  I had been invited to Russia by Vladimir Petrovsky, First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union, and  I had been referred to Churkin by the International Editor of a major Soviet newspaper, who advised me that Mr. Churkin could solve an urgent problem I was confronting.

On the morning of December 21, 1991, Vitali Churkin immediately welcomed me to his office, assured me that he would take care of my problem – which he did with alacrity, and we then spoke for hours about subjects ranging from capitalism versus communism, my previous work in Santiago, Chile during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, the consequences of the imminent dismembering of the Soviet Union, his close friendship with Boris D. Pyadyshev, the distinguished editor of the prestigious journal,  “Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn,” and we discussed other subjects too numerous to mention.  Churkin’s presence was electrifying, his intellect dazzling, his warmth disarming and engaging, and he impressed me as a man who did not suffer fools gladly. We shared contempt for hypocrisy and double standards.  His personality could be described with two words:  formidable and unique.   But he was completely unpretentious, and retained that magnetic human warmth which charmed even the most dour opponents.

Two days after I first met Churkin,  Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet President and General -Secretary of the Communist Party resigned, the Soviet Union collapsed, and an abyss opened, the catastrophic consequences of which would unfold throughout the ensuing decades.  But that freezing Moscow winter, with his world – (and ours, ultimately) disintegrating around him, Churkin’s steely discipline and good will guided the foreign press through the devastated terrain of the dying Soviet empire, as we instinctively shuddered at what was to come.

On January 31, 1992 we returned to the United Nations for the summit meeting of US President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, held at Conference room 4 of the UN.  Prior to the meeting, he and I discussed my plans to return to Moscow, and following the boilerplate speeches of both the American and Russian Presidents, as they exited the chamber, with Churkin a member of that solemn entourage, he winked at me as they departed, a gesture revealing both his great sense of fun, and his utter disdain for stultifying bureaucratic restraint.

In the early weeks of February, 1992, I awaited the visa for my return to Moscow, which Alex, a Russian  foreign ministry official had promised to arrange.  After weeks sped by, without my Russian visa arriving at the Russian Consulate in Washington, I phoned Mr. Churkin in Moscow.  He immediately took my call, and I explained that Alex had not arranged for my return visa, as he had promised to do.  Mr. Churkin replied:  “I’m sure he will do as he promised, but I’ll look into it.” The following morning I received a telephone call from the Russian Consulate informing me that they had just received two visas for me!  That was typical of Churkin’s style:  he was extraordinarily effective, and totally sincere.

Following my return to Moscow in late February, 1992, Churkin informed me that he had been appointed Ambassador to Chile, which he regarded as a form of exile.  Andrei Kozyrev was now Foreign Minister.  Life in Moscow was becoming chaotic, and denial no longer shielded me from the reality of the collapse of the Soviet Union.  The deterioration of conditions of life following that collapse was inevitable and demoralizing, and, of course, only the beginning of what would become catastrophic.  Russia had been my sanctuary, following my exposure to fascism, in Chile, and, to certain elements of it in the USA, but that sanctuary in Moscow no longer existed.

On April 7, 1992, I wrote a long letter to Churkin to say good bye, and apologizing for having cut short my visit.  On April 8 we met again, at length, and Churkin tried to convince me to remain in Moscow.   That afternoon he spoke with sorrow  of the collapse of the socialist government of President Najibullah in Afghanistan, and I shared his grief, and perhaps we both, subliminally, at least, expected the disastrous consequences which ensued from the destruction of that last civilized and Soviet supported government in Afghanistan.  Churkin told me that he had just returned from Tbilisi, Georgia, where he had been meeting with Edouard Shevardnadze.  The conversation continued, and he offered to help me with my work.  Churkin ultimately succeeded in persuading me to stay in Moscow.

But, eventually, flashbacks and horrific memories of my experiences in Pinochet’s Chile, and elsewhere, and fear of the dire long-term consequences of the Soviet collapse continued troubling me, and in June  I finally left Russia, which, bitterly ruptured my friendship with Churkin.

Fifteen years later, unexpectedly,  I met Vitali Churkin again at the United Nations.   Miraculously, our friendship survived the preceding years of turmoil.  At times, we had argued ferociously, at times, incessantly.  But what we shared was indestructible.

Russia was being resuscitated as a world power, and Churkin was beginning his mastery of the United Nations environment.  On July  13, 2009, Churkin graciously invited me to participate in a roundtable celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the birth of Andrei  Gromyko, one of the founding fathers of the United Nations.  The meeting was held in Conference Room 8.

Participants included Henry Kissinger, Anatoly Gromyko, Ambassador William VandenHeuvel, Veronika Krasheninnikova and Alfred Ross.  When the translator failed to appear, Churkin blithely announced we would move to plan B, and speak in English, a language he commanded impeccably.  Gromyko’s son, Anatoly, summarized the history of Soviet diplomacy, and comments were requested of Ms. Krasheninnikova, one of Russia’s expert advisers who helped author the law requiring disclosure of the identity of funders of the many foreign organizations in Russia, a law she had observed in the USA, and which helped to protect Russia from pernicious and destabilizing “color revolutions.”  Ms. Krashenninikova then courteously invited Ambassador VandenHeuvel to contribute to the discussion.  Throughout that unforgettable morning, Vitaly Churkin glowed with pride at the splendid legacy of great Soviet diplomats who had helped to champion the cause of peace, economic justice, and a world based on humanitarian principles, above all.   That Gromyko roundtable seemed to be one of Churkin’s most joyous presentations.

Later, at a Vietnamese reception, to which I realized I was the only journalist invited, Ambassador Churkin came over to me and said:  “Carla, you were right all along.”  I was so astounded by his words I was unable to reply and ask him to specify about what, precisely, I had been “right all along,” and I’ll always regret that lost opportunity.

But Vitali Churkin attained his greatness of stature, that for which he will be remembered by the United Nations, and honored by history, following the UN Security Council’s ill advised and  reckless adoption of Resolution 1973, in 2011, authorizing, by “all necessary measures,” the barbarous NATO slaughter of Libya, one of the Arab world’s most progressive nations, an attack which pulverized that previously functioning state, and transformed it into an incubator of terrorism.  Thereafter, Churkin, indefatigably represented Russia’s categorical opposition to a UN sponsored attack on Syria, which would, otherwise, have been the third progressive Arab country destroyed  with collusion by the UN, and could, very likely, precipitate a World War.  Churkin was a great diplomat, but in his latter years at the UN, he emerged as a great statesman, transcending the technical limits of his position, at the zenith of his power.

Vitaly Churkin spearheaded the three famous “double vetoes” of Chapter VII draft resolutions which the dogs of war were attempting to force upon the UN.  And in this he was immeasurably strengthened by his friend and comrade, Li Baodong, China’ brilliant and noble Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, and formerly Ambassador to the UN.  Both Vitali Churkin and Li Baodong were intellectual aristocrats of the highest order.  When, together, they raised their arms to veto the draft war resolutions at the Security Council, spectators at the UN and worldwide gasped in awe at the enormity of their power to command peace and to halt in their lethal tracks the insane march of the merchants of death toward Armageddon. Again and again and again Churkin and Li Baodong cast double vetoes, repelling and defeating ravenous attempts to inflict on Syria the barbaric slaughter that had already been inflicted on Iraq and Libya.  Those moments were spellbinding.  Their triumphant double-vetoes were a legendary victory for peace and justice and a turning point in UN history, which laid the foundation for a progressive transformation of the global order.

Following Li Baodong’s transfer to Beijing, Churkin alone at the United Nations shouldered the huge burden of staving off  savage attacks on Syria, continuing to veto those draft resolutions that would have led, ominously and treacherously to ”regime change.”  As TASS so accurately described him, posthumously, “Churkin was like a rock against which were broken the attempts by our enemies to undermine what constitutes the glory of Russia.”  But he represented much more than that:  he was like a rock against which were broken the aggressive actions of neo-colonialists who attempted to mask their ruthless greed with sanctimonious and arrogant contrivances.  He exposed this prevarication.  But his was a Russian heroism – an unbreakable moral force reminiscent of Kutuzov at Borodino.

The deadly resurgence of Russophobia, a form of neo-McCarthyist fascism in America, a cancer infecting the Security Council and even the General Assembly reached ominous proportions recently, and an atmosphere targeting Russia as “fair game,” an atmosphere resembling the blood lust that precedes a lynching, and described by Chinese Ambassador Liu as “poisonous,” preceded the sixth and last veto cast by Ambassador Churkin.  China also cast a veto against this recent draft resolution,  with the Security Council again experiencing the titanic force of another double veto.  The date was December 5, 2016.  The Syrian Government had just recovered Aleppo.  Soon thereafter, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey was assassinated, followed by the death of the Russian Ambassador to India.

On February 21,  a Security Council meeting opened, commemorating the life and work of Ambassador Churkin.  One of the most moving and beautiful – and revealing – speeches was delivered by  Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho who stated:  “I was deeply shocked and saddened by the news of the passing of Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.  I happened to meet him on Sunday (yesterday) at lunchtime, coincidentally, we were seated next to each other at a restaurant.  He was with his wife, I was with my wife, and we were all very happy at the time.  In fact, he had arrived a bit after I did, so I did not realize that he was there.  I suddenly heard a voice saying, ‘Koro, what do you recommend?’  I looked back and there was Vitaly, looking happy, looking very well and with his usual big smile.” According to Ambassador Bessho, he was ebullient, and evidently took a walk with his wife in the park afterward.  Within less than 24 hours Churkin was dead in his own office.  Three Russian Ambassadors have died in the line of duty within the past three months.

Like a great impresario, Vitali Churkin succeeded in creating and sustaining a balance in the UN Security Council, a balance between East and West, a multipolar world crucial to global peace and economic justice.  Churkin’s death destroys this balance, and leaves the Security Council, and the United Nations vulnerable to the manipulation and control by those member states and interests he succeeded in commanding and so skillfully held at bay.  Seldom is one person so indispensable.  But Vitali Churkin was such a person.  His star blazed brilliantly, but too briefly.

US Adopts Negative Approach to United Nations, in other words “International Law”

US Adopts Negative Approach to United Nations

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/03/02/us-adopts-negative-approach-united-nations.html

There are many warning signs to indicate that the US is poised to adopt a more negative approach toward the United Nations than it has in recent years. For instance, the Trump administration is considering canceling US participation on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in protest of the body’s actions in general, and specifically its treatment of Israel.

On February 16, Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN, called out the HRC for «breathtaking double standards» and «outrageously biased resolutions» against Israel, during a press conference after her meeting with the UN Security Council. She lashed out at the council for failing to discuss the buildup of illegal Hezbollah weapons, provided by Iran; strategies for defeating the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group; or holding Syrian President Bashar Assad accountable for the alleged crimes against civilians.

According to Politico, US State Secretary Rex Tillerson is questioning the value of the US belonging to the Human Rights Council.

The US believes that the countries which violate human rights are members of the council. In 2012, the body was slammed for allowing a representative of the Palestinian Hamas group to speak.

 

Indeed, the council has been many times criticized for being biased and incompetent. Russia has blasted the body for confrontational approaches. Speaking at the UN General Assembly session in November, 2016, Grigori Lukyantsev, Russian Foreign Ministry’s deputy director of Humanitarian Cooperation and Human Rights, accused the UNHRC of becoming a platform for lambasting certain countries and settling political scores. «We have to note that the Council’s agenda has become an instrument for promoting conjunctural interests of several countries and groups. Discussions more and more often turn to settling political scores, mentorship, defamation of states. Moreover, the ungrounded geographical imbalance in the matter of human rights situations in one or another country does not reflect real tendencies, but rather represents a result of political orders», he noted. The deputy director also noted that Russia decries «attempts to use the HRC for including different politically charged issues on the agenda for the UN General Assembly».

In October, 2016, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi criticized the re-election of Saudi Arabia to the UNHRC, saying that the election is, «the best indication that human rights is merely in direction of political interests». Human rights groups had called on countries to reject the candidacy of Saudi Arabia, which has been accused of indiscriminate attacks against civilians in Yemen. The kingdom was elected for its calls to protect women’s rights, which are widely believed to be violated by Riyadh.

No doubt the US is serious about pulling out from the council. The calls for leaving have been heard there since a long time ago. Actually, Republicans have always been prone to minimize the role of the UN. In 2003, many US officials and lawmakers were stunned by the fact that the UN Human Rights Commission elected the Libyan ambassador Najat al-Hajjaji its president yesterday, overriding a US objection that her country’s «horrible» record disqualified it for the post. Many Americans hold the opinion that the withdrawal from the UNHRC will not hurt the United States in any way.

They may be right; the decision to withdraw will not have grave consequences. It’s not the membership in the council that matters but rather the US disparaging attitude towards the United Nations in general. The views of President Trump and his advisers – combined with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress – indicate that Washington is poised to change its policy towards the UN. In the 1980s, President Ronald Regan was antagonistic to the international body. The conservative think tank Heritage Foundation acted as the leading anti-UN lobby at that time. It campaigned for defunding the organization. George W. Bush Jr. openly derided the UN and renounced many multilateral treaties.

President Trump has made making derogatory comments about the United Nations. The UN has «such great potential,» but it has become «a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!» he tweeted in December, 2016. A couple of days later he tweeted again: «As to the UN, things will be different after Jan 20th».

The new US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, had argued for a review of US expenditure on the UN to ensure America «gets what it pays for» though she cautioned in her confirmation hearing against «slash and burn» cuts.

The administration is preparing to order sweeping cuts in funding to the UN and other international organizations, while potentially walking away from some treaties. A president’s draft executive order would reduce voluntary contributions to international bodies by 40% and complains of ‘burdensome’ commitment to UN. The draft order could reverse or roll back funding for priorities championed by former President Barack Obama, including international peacekeeping missions and US support for development work under the UN umbrella. A second order calls for a review and possible withdrawal from certain forms of multilateral treaties that do not involve «national security, extradition or international trade». Potential targets include the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

According to the Washington Post, the proposed funding review is envisaged to take a year and be overseen by a panel including the departments of defence, state, justice, the office of the director of national security, the office of management and budget and the national security adviser. It is likely to attract only limited opposition in Congress. «The United States is in fact the United Nations’ largest supporter, providing nearly a quarter of its total revenues, and the American contribution continues to grow annually», the Guardian cites the text of the order on international funding cuts, titled Auditing and Reducing US Funding of International Organizations.

Richard Gowan, a UN expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said «I think that heavy cuts to US funding to the UN are likely, and Trump will keep on kicking the institution to score cheap political points».

Alabama representative and senior Republican Mike Rogers drafted a bill to terminate the US membership in the UN. In early January, a bill known as the American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017 was introduced to US Congress. The bill aims to repeal the United Nations Participation Act of 1945 and other related laws. It requires the president to terminate US membership in the UN and to close the America’s Mission to the United Nations. The legislation prohibits the authorization of funds for the US assessed or voluntary contribution to the UN, the authorization of funds for any US contribution to any UN military or peacekeeping operation, the expenditure of funds to support the participation of US armed forces as part of any UN military or peacekeeping operation, US Armed Forces from serving under U.N. command, and diplomatic immunity for UN officers or employees.

Also in January, Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Lindsey Graham introduced a bill to defund the United Nations. Many Republicans see the Trump presidency as the best opportunity to pull out from the UN.

True, the organization is certainly overdue for serious internal changes but the world needs it as the only universal body able to take on the challenges to humanity and maintain global security, including the fight against terror. The UN is a communication platform bringing states together to talk instead of plunging into endless conflicts.

After the Cold War, the UN saw a radical expansion in its peacekeeping duties, taking on more missions in ten years than it had in the previous four decades. Between 1988 and 2000, the number of adopted Security Council resolutions more than doubled, and the peacekeeping budget increased more than tenfold. Today, the organization maintains 16 UN peacekeeping operations with 117,000 troops, police, military observers, civilian personnel and volunteers from 125 countries.

In the current UN budget, these operations cost $7.87bn a year. The US defense budget in FY 2016 was approximately $600bn. The Guardian emphasizes that «for a truly tiny cost, close to 1% of the American defense budget, America receives a huge dividend from the UN – peace in many remote parts of the world, making them safe for American trade, investment and tourism. If the US tried to do all this alone (which it would be unable to), it would cost first, American lives, and second, billions more in US tax dollars». The UN’s role in tackling the problem of refugees around the world is immense.

The UN isn’t perfect but it’s the best international body to address international problems. To reject the organization will rob the US of a vital institution to communicate with the world. To disregard the UN means to disregard international law. Hopefully, this is only a temporary trend and reason will prevail. By leaving, the US will shoot itself in the foot. 

SYRPER MOVING BACK TO BLOG FORMAT SOON; RUSSIA/CHINA KIBOSH WESTERN RESOLUTION IN UNSC; SAA PUNISHING RODENTS IN AL-QAABOON

Ziad Fadel

الجيش يتقدم باتجاه حي القابون ويسيطر على عدة نقاط للمجموعات المسلحة في مزارع القابون

ALEPPO: The army is moving toward Al-Baab after crushing ISIS psychopaths in Taadif who have admitted to abandoning their positions there. As more reinforcements arrive to help in exterminating the Turk-supported derelicts, the latter started shelling our army. Our army fired back destroying 3 armored cars and killing over 20 of the rodents. We are getting assistance now also from the SDF as the Kurds are beginning to realize that their future is better served with Dr. Assad and the Syrian people than trying to surreptitiously establish federalism in Syria. Russia is working hard to avoid a confrontation between the Turk savages and the Syrian Army.

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DAMASCUS:

Al-Qaaboon: This is ‘Alloosh-Land, or so it was before our army decided to put an end to that rat’s Reign of Terror in the Ghoutaa. It is northeast of Damascus and forms a natural entryway into Doumaa where Muhammad ‘Alloosh continues to blow hot air while stripping the citizens of their belongings. The Syrian Army attacked in two prongs, the first from the northwest and the second from the northeast. In so doing, many farm areas were deloused. The carcasses of the dead rodents are scattered all over the fields acting as a very nutritious kind of fertilizer. The purpose of the attack was to cut off terrorist rats from those in Doumaa and Harastaa in anticipation of the Endloosung which is coming to a theater near you in the Eastern Ghoutaa. The attack also came after a limited period of time granted to the huddled vermin by the Syrian Army High Command to surrender and accept amnesty. The amnesty window closed at 6:00 a.m. last Sunday. Intercepted communications indicate a certain hopelessness has set in as the weakening defenses promise a major offensive by the SAA very soon.

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Dear Readers, in a very short time, SyrPer will be moving back to its original blog format. This is due to the fact that the present platform is expensive. I have been delighted to note that since we started our blogspot with news about the war in Syria, many new sites have emerged. We now have people like Sharmine Narwani, Afraa Dagher, Brandon Turbeville, Waf Halaby, Samer Hussain, Leith Fadel, and so many others contributing to the real story of the Syrian conflict. This does not mean I am going away or retiring from my coverage. The only difference will be that you have to change the address and start reading the blog. I will keep you all informed about the change and when it will take place. Thanks. Ziad

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NEW YORK CITY AT THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL:

Another miserable resolution based on the old lies was kited by the United States, the U.K. and the feckless French. It called for sanctions against the Syrian government in the way of denying it access to helicopters. Of course, with our army trouncing the murdering, human-liver-eating cannibals everywhere in Syria, this particular resolution was designed to slow all that down. Russia and China, true to their words, put the kibosh on the ridiculous maneuver and were supported by Bolivia. Kazakhstan, Egypt and Ethiopia all abstained.

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NEWS AND COMMENT:

Watch this fascinating recreation of the last moments of the Russian giant, Alexander Prokhorenko as he defended his position in Palmyra: (From John Esq)

Fascinating new field development to protect Syrian Armor here sent by John Esq.. Note that Canthama comments on the article at the end:

http://within-syria.blogspot.com/2017/02/sarab-1-2-aps.html

Jeffrey Laubach sent this email to me with a comment on the lying and propaganda in the media:

“I don’t know about you, but I’ve just about had enough of all the lies that are being propagated by both the government and the mainstream media. Recently, the Saudi Foreign Minister again made the ridiculous claim that President Bashar al-Assad was chiefly responsible for the creation of ISIS by letting radical Islamists out of Syrian jails. Strangely enough, what he failed to mention was that many more, even exponentially more, of these radical Islamists were literally trained and released from U.S. military prisons like Camp Bucca in Iraq.

Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, was himself an inmate at this prison, where he and other leaders were literally allowed to teach the other inmates – many of which were impressionable young men who, at the time, were innocent of any real crimes. They also presided over their own courts where they administered their own twisted version of  law among the inmates. Incredibly, U.S. military authorities later claimed that there was nothing that they could have done about any of it!

Today however, I discovered on very good authority that not only were these ISIS monsters allowed to teach their twisted ideology to the other inmates, but they were also allowed to use radical Islamist texts, including perhaps the bible of al-Qaeda, Sayyid Qutb’s “Milestones!”

The U.S. government and establishment media can make all the claims that they want, the Saudi Foreign Minister can lie all he wants, but it will NEVER change the fact that ISIS was literally built right inside American-controlled prisons in Iraq. That is the truth.”

Read more 

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Interesting week for Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump

This article was written for the Unz Review

Putin’s latest move

I don’t follow the western corporate media so I don’t really know how much coverage this development has received in the West, but in Russia and the Ukraine the big news is the decision by Russia to begin recognizing official Novorussian documents such as passports, driver licenses, school and college diplomas, etc. The Russians were pretty specific in the way the made the announcement. They said that it was a temporary measure dictated by humanitarian considerations. They have a point. Until now, the residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics had to travel to the Nazi-occupied Ukraine to try to get their documents. Which, considering how the Ukronazis consider anybody from the Donbass was not only futile, but sometimes dangerous. This decision makes perfect sense practically. But, of course, it has a far-reaching symbolic dimension too. The timing is also crucial: by recognizing the documents issued by the DNR and LNR authorities, the Russians have de facto “semi-recognized” the authorities which issued them and that is just a fairly short step away from recognizing these republics.

Right now, the Kremlin is vehemently denying any such thoughts. But all the Kremlin-affiliated commentators are rather blunt about what this really means. According to them, the message for the junta in Kiev is simple: if you attack Novorussia or if you officially ditch the Minks agreements we will immediately recognize these two republics. And, once that happens, it’s over the the Ukronazis, these republics will be gone just like South Ossetia or Abkhazia. Of course, nobody will officially recognize the independence of these republics, but neither will anybody do anything meaningful about it. And, let’s be honest, the Russian authorities couldn’t care less about what western politicians or their corporate media have to say: they already heard it all and it’s not like they could be demonized much further.

The next logical move would be to move the Russian border control from the Russian border to the line of contact. Or not. If the Russians don’t do it, this might be a sign that they support the official position of the Republics which is that they want to liberate the totality of the Doentsk and Lugansk regions. By the way, the Russian Border Guards are elite and highly militarized forces whose presence on the line of contact would in no way prevent a Novorussian (counter-)attack against the Ukronazi forces. So the decision about where to deploy them would have a primarily political dimension and no real military consequences.

Right now the Ukronazis have basically gone officially on record in declaring that they never intended to abide by the terms of the Minsk 1 and Minsk 2 agreements. Here is what Anton Gerashchenko, an special adviser to the Minister of internal Affairs of Ukraine and a member of the Board of the Ministry of internal Affairs of Ukraine openly declared on Ukrainian national TV: (emphasis added).

Let’s immediately say that the Minsk Agreements were not implemented from the day they were signed in February 2015. This was a temporary measure on the side of the Ukraine and, I will be honest, a deliberate deception. Remember that the first Minsk Agreement was signed following the military disaster near Ialovaisk when we had no forces to defend the front from Donetsk to Mariupol. The second Minsk Agreement was signed following the treacherous Russian aggression on Debaltsevo and the formation of the “Debaltsevo Cauldron”. These agreements are not international agreements or anything else.

Needless to say, NOBODY in the West paid any attention to this statement, and why would they, after all, their line has always been that Russia is not abiding by the Minsk Agreement, even if Russia is not even a party to them (Russia is only a witness and guarantor). And if a senior Ukronazi official says otherwise, who cares?!

This amazing admission by Gerashchenko is only the latest in a series of steps taken and statements made by various Ukronazis to the effect that “we are done negotiating and from now on, we will solve this problem by force”. So far, the “force” applied has been primarily in the form of a total blockade of the Donbass which included the prevention of a large amount of vitally needed coal to the Nazi-occupied Ukraine from the Donbass even though this shipment had already been paid for. Officially Poroshenko does not condone this blockade, but in practice he is either unwilling or unable to prevent or stop it. Another sign that the Independent Banderastan is falling apart.

There is a strong feeling in Russia that Poroshenko is powerless and that the Ukronazi crazies are up to no good. Clearly, *nobody* in the Ukronazis elites has any intention of actually implementing the Minsk 1 and Minsk 2 agreements. That, by the way, might be a dangerous approach for a number of reasons:

First, these agreements were endorsed by the UNSC and every country out there, at least as far as I know. So Gerashchenko is wrong – the Minsk Agreements are binding under international law.

Second, the Ukrainian authorities recently found and released a document showing that Yanukovich had made an official request for a Russian intervention in the Ukraine. They wanted to show that he was a traitor. But in the process, they also showed that the last legitimate president of the Ukraine had made a legal request for a Russian intervention which might well mean that, at least in legal terms, any subsequent Russian intervention in the Ukraine would be 100% legal.

Even better, Yanukovich is still in Russia. And, from a legal point of view, you could make the case that he is still the legitimate president of the Ukraine. If the Yemeni President in exile Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi could ask the Saudis to intervene in Yemen, why would that no be an option for Poroshenko Yanukovich to ask for such an intervention in the Ukraine?

Right now, the Russians are making no such legalistic statements. But you can be sure that they have already aligned all their ducks in a neat row just in case they do decide to openly intervene in this civil war.

How realistic is the possibility of a Russian recognition of the breakaway republics or an overt Russian intervention in the Ukraine?

I think that it all depends on what the Ukronazis crazies do. If they really attack Novorussia I expect the Kremlin to recognize the DNR and LRN. A Russian intervention? I doubt it, but only because I believe that the DNR/LNR can handle a Nazi attack. So the only question for me is how long Poroshenko will stay in power and what the real crazies will do once they overthrow him. Right now this mostly depends on the USA but since the US elites are locked in desperate struggle for power, I don’t see the Trump taking and dramatic decisions anyway, not in the Ukraine, not elsewhere. At least not as long as there is a question mark as to who is really in charge in the White House. Everybody is waiting for the outcome of that struggle, including Moscow and Kiev.

Trump – all words, no action, but good words

In the meantime, Trump has been busy doing speeches. Which sounds pretty bad until you realize that these are good speeches, very good ones even. For one thing, he still is holding very firmly to the line that the “fake news” (which in “Trumpese” means CNN & Co. + BBC) are the enemies of the people. The other good thing that twice in a row now he has addressed himself directly to the people. Sounds like nothing, but I think that this is huge because the Neocons have now nicely boxed Trump in with advisors and aides which span from mediocre, to bad to outright evil. The firing of Flynn was a self-defeating disaster for Trump who now is more or less alone, with only one loyal ally left, Bannon. I am not sure how much Bannon can do or, for that matter, how long until the Neocons get to him too, but besides Bannon I see nobody loyal to Trump and his campaign promises. Nobody except those who put him in power of course, the millions of Americans who voted for him. And that is why Trump is doing the right thing speaking directly to them: they might well turn out to be his biggest weapon against the “DC swamp”.

Furthermore, by beating on the media, especially CNN and the rest of the main US TV channels, Trump is pushing the US public to turn to other information sources, including those sympathetic to him, primarily on the Internet. Good move – that is how he won the first time around and that is how he might win again.

The Neocons and the US ‘deep state’ have to carefully weigh the risks of continuing their vendetta against Trump. Right now, they appear to be preparing to go after Bannon. But what will they do if Trump, instead of ditching Bannon like he ditched Flynn, decides to dig in and fight with everything he has got? Then what? If there is one thing the Neocons and the deep state hate is to have a powerful light pointed directly at them. They like to play in the dark, away from an always potentially hostile public eye. If Trump decides to fight back, really fight back, and if he appeals directly to the people for support, there is no saying what could happen next.

I strongly believe that the American general public is deeply frustrated and angry. Obama’s betrayal of all his campaign promises only made these feelings worse. But when Obama had just made it to the White House I remember thinking that if he really tried to take on the War Machine and if he came to the conclusion that the ‘deep state’ was not going to let him take action or threaten him he could simply make a public appeal for help and that millions of Americans would flood the streets of Washington DC in support of “their guy” against the “bastards in DC”. Obama was a fake. But Trump might not be. What if the Three Letter Agencies or Congress suddenly tried to, say, impeach Trump and what if he decided ask for the support of the people – would millions not flood the streets of DC? I bet you that Florida alone would send more than a million. Ditto for Texas. And I don’t exactly imagine the cops going out of their way to stop them. The bottom line is this: in any confrontation between Congress and Trump most of the people will back Trump. And, if it ever came to that, and for whatever it is worth, in any confrontation between Trump-haters and Trump-supporters the latter will easily defeat the former. The “basket of deplorables” are still, thank God, the majority in this country and they have a lot more power than the various minorities who backed the Clinton gang.

There are other, less dramatic but even more likely scenarios to consider. Say Congress tries to impeach Trump and he appeals to the people and declares that the “DC swamp” is trying to sabotage the outcome of the elections and impose its will upon the American people. Governors in states like Florida or Texas, pushed by their public opinion, might simply decide not to recognize the legitimacy of what would be an attempted coup by Congress against the Executive branch of government. Now you tell me – does Congress really have the means to impose it’s will against states like Florida or Texas? I don’t mean legally, I mean practically. Let me put it this way: if the states revolt against the federal government does the latter have the means to impose its authority? Are the creation of USNORTHCOM and the statutory exceptions from the Posse Comitatus Act (which makes it possible to use the National Guard to suppress insurrections, unlawful obstructions, assemblages, or rebellions) sufficient to guarantee that the “DC swamp” can impose its will on the rest of the country? I would remind any “DC swamp” members reading these lines that the KGB special forces refused not once, but twice, to open fire against the demonstrators in Moscow (in 1991 and 1993) even though they had received a direct order by the President to do just that. Is there any reason to believe that US cops and soldiers would be more willing than the KGB special forces to massacre their own people?

Donald Trump has probably lost most of his power in Washington DC, but that does not entail that this is the case in the rest of the USA. The Neocons can feel like the big guy on the block inside the Beltway, but beyond that they are mostly in “enemy territory” controlled by the “deplorables”, something to keep in mind before triggering a major crisis.

This week I got the feeling that Trump was reaching out and directly seeking for the support to the American people. I think he get it if needed. If this is so, then the focus of his Presidency will be less on foreign affairs, were the USA will be mostly paralyzed, than on internal US politics were he still might make a difference. On Russia the Neocons have basically beat Trump – he won’t have the means to engage in any big negotiating with Vladimir Putin. But, at least, neither will he constantly be trying to make things worse. The more the US elites fight each other, the less venom they will have left for the rest of mankind. Thank God for small favors…

I can only hope that Trump will continue to appeal directly the people and try to bypass the immense machine which is currently trying to isolate him. Of course, I would much prefer that Trump take some strong and meaningful action against the deep state, but I am not holding my breath.

Tonight I spoke with a friend who knows a great deal more about Trump than I do and he told me that I have been too quick in judging Trump and that while the Flynn episode was definitely a setback, the struggle is far from over and that we are in for a very long war. I hope that my friend is right, but I will only breathe a sigh of relief if and when I see Trump hitting back and hitting hard. Only time will tell.

The Saker

Nikki Haley Calls Apartheid Israel ‘the one true democracy in the Middle East’

Out of all of Trump’s appointees, Nikkie Haley is probably one of the worst. Formerly a governor of South Carolina, Haley is the current US ambassador to the United Nations. That’s her in the video above giving a presentation at the UN last Thursday.

I’m not sure how much Haley knows about international law. According to Wikipedia, she graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. How she ended up as UN ambassador, after criticizing Trump in the general election, is unclear. *

At any rate, Haley seems fully unaware that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. Nor does she seem to comprehend why other UN-member states might press for resolutions seeking to call Israel to account, both for its settlements as well as its 50-year occupation of the West Bank–land universally recognized as necessary for a Palestinian state. So perhaps she is simply uninformed and does not understand the nature of Israel’s occupation or its devastating impact upon the lives of those forced to live under it. Or at least that’s one possibility.

The other possibility, of course, is that Haley does understand these things…and that she simply believes Israel is exceptional and should not have to follow the same laws and international standards that apply to other states. If so, apparently in Israel are those who would agree with her. Less than a week after her talk at the UN–in which she accused the body of a “prejudiced approach to Israeli-Palestinian issues”–an Israeli military court handed down an 18-month sentence to an Israeli soldier who carried out an execution-style slaying of a wounded Palestinian in March of last year. There was no doubt the soldier was the one who pulled the trigger. The shooting was captured live on video. The sentence of 18 months he received for killing a Palestinian is lighter than what Palestinian children are often given for throwing stones.

* Incredibly, Haley also voiced criticism of Trump–over his stance on Russia–during her congressional confirmation hearings back in January. At that time she accused Russia of “war crimes,” and said, “They (the Russians) have done some terrible atrocities.”

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