Declining US, West Expanding NGOs in Lebanon

September 18, 2021

Declining US, West Expanding NGOs in Lebanon

By Mohammad Youssef

NGOs have always been a place of skepticism and untrustworthiness, aside from their imperialistic nature.

Since their early creation, NGOs have been guided by the principles of neutrality, independence and impartiality as they claim; nonetheless, their conduct reveals a lot of contradictions and says the opposite.

Those principles could be easily challenged as they were tempered, all the time, with many reasons and circumstances. The Cold War era has produced a lot of situations where violations took place.

Later on, towards the end of the Cold War the mission of those organizations has been heavily politicized.

The donor countries have always favored their allies to provide them with help, this has resulted in a trend whereby those organizations have categorized victim countries or groups inside them as fit and unfit, such a policy that would necessarily put their credibility at stake. The principle of universality has been put at jeopardy.

The flaws go on, and with the excessive assistance provided by the donors, namely the Western countries, the victims have developed what might be called a dependency complex, while NGOs have bluntly turned to become tools in the hands of the West.

In many instances those organizations adopted the policies and reflected the positions of the donor Western countries. NGOs that should offer help to all needy people without discrimination have been guided by Western governments otherwise. The help that should reach all people equally has turned to be a conditional aid, only those countries or groups that could match the Western standards of possible change in their culture deserve help.

The donors have dictated their conditions and stated their rules. Only those who could change to adopt Western models have the right to deserve aid. This is very alarming, as it shows clearly the real nature of those organizations and the underlying goals of the help.

Aid is used as a tool to enhance and spread Western hegemony in the targeted countries or groups.

In our part of the World, where the military occupations have failed and the Western governments grow hopeless about the political developments, they try to compensate by trying to penetrate the local communities and seek change by creating and supporting elites who are fascinated by the Western model.

They use help as a tool to impose their Western model and to impact elections where they could tap the balance to bring their followers and accomplices to be deputies in the local parliaments. They aim to have those parliamentarians legislate and make laws that would perpetuate and propagate the Western norms and standards which do not reflect the nature or the culture of the people, but those of the West!

NGOs are mushrooming. In every place or country where Western governments seek power change, or to consolidate their grip, the number of licensed organizations increases.

In Lebanon recently, they have become ten times more than what they used to be before.

NGOs in Lebanon do not hide their agenda, nor are they that discrete about their aim, it has become like an open game that they seek to get the majority in the coming parliamentary elections, eight months from now. They are preparing to spend huge budgets to this end.

It would be too early or premature to judge the developments as one cannot make accurate predictions, but one thing is sure here, USA is on the decline, and Western culture is not the model that can be dictated or imposed. All their dreams in this context are futile and would turn to be mere illusions.

Interview with A.B. Abrams about his latest book and the war in Syria

September 12, 2021

Interview with A.B. Abrams about his latest book and the war in Syria

by Andrei for the Saker blog

A.B. Abrams has just released a new book entitled World War in Syria – Global Conflict on the Middle Eastern Battlefields.  Here are two locations were you can order this most interesting volume:

For those who don’t remember who Abrams is, here are two of his previous contributions to the Saker blog:

The book got A LOT of praise already, so I posted a few endorsements at the end of this interview (see at the bottom)

Rather than offer my own endorsement or write a full review, I decided to interview Abrams about both his book and his views on the international aggression against Syria.  I hope you enjoy it and, yes, get the book!

Andrei


1)–Please introduce us to your new book!  Tell us what was your main purpose in writing it and whom, what audience, did you want to reach?

I wrote this book to provide one of the first comprehensive histories of the Syrian War published to mark ten years after it began in 2011. The book places the war in the context of both the history of Syria’s decades long conflict with Western interests which began in the late 1940s, as well as broader Western geopolitical goals in the region and beyond. The title ‘World War in Syria’ reflects an assessment of the conflict primarily not through the paradigm of a civil war, as is more common in the West, but rather as a global conflict which has pitted the Western Bloc and its regional partners against Damascus and its allies – namely Russia, Iran, North Korea and Hezbollah. The war has seen special forces and other assets from all these parties deployed to Syrian soil, with the West, Turkey, the Gulf States and Israel undertaking considerable military, economic and information warfare efforts to bring about the Syrian government’s overthrow.

The book shows the Syrian War as part of a broader trend towards countries outside the Western sphere of influence, namely the minority of countries without Western military presences on their soil, being targeted for destabilisation and overthrow. For targeting countries with significant Muslim populations, Western cooperation with radical Islamist elements to support such objectives has been common, as seen in Indonesia (1950s and early 60s), Chechnya, Afghanistan (1979-92), and Yugoslavia among others. These precedents are explored at the beginning of the book to provide context to Western efforts to employ similar means against Syria.

The book is not aimed at any specific audience, but at anyone with a general interest in the Syrian War, Western, Russian, Iranian or Turkish foreign policy, Middle Eastern politics, contemporary military affairs, insurgency or terrorism. It follows a previous book published in 2020 on the history of North Korea’s 70 year war with the United States, which similarly sought to provide a comprehensive analysis of a major conflict between the U.S.-led Western Bloc and a targeted country including the Western way of war and the use of both economic and information warfare.

2)–Do you believe that Putin is “allowing” (or even helping!) Israel to bomb Syria? Or maybe the Russian and Syrian air defenses are totally ineffective?  How do you explain all the Israeli strikes?

Russia’s position on Israeli strikes has been interesting and caused a great deal of debate and in some cases controversy. I assess that Russian military intervention in Syria in 2015 had the limited goals of supporting counterinsurgency efforts and limiting Western and Turkish efforts to illegally occupy Syrian territory through the imposition of safe zones and no fly. The Russian presence has also served to deter Western and Turkish attacks, as evidenced by the vast discrepancy between the massive strikes planned under Obama to topple the government in 2013, and the very limited attacks carried out under Trump in 2017 and 2018. A longer term goal has more recently materialised with the entrenching of the Russian military presence in Latakia on Syria’s western coast, with Russia’s sole airbase in the region expanded and increasingly oriented away from counterinsurgency operations and towards providing a strategically located asset against NATO.

The expectation among many that Russia ought to prevent Israeli strikes on Syria may well be a result of the Soviet position in the 1980s, when the USSR threatened to intervene if Israel attacked Syria. This resulted in the confinement of Israeli-Syrian clashes that decade to within neighbouring Lebanon’s borders. A number of factors, however, mean that this is no longer feasible. Unlike in the 1980s, Israel is today far from the most pressing threat to Syrian security, while the discrepancy in military capabilities favours Israel much more strongly. Under the Netanyahu government, Russia also cultivated close ties with Israel as a valuable partner with a degree of policy independence from the Western world which could, for example, sell on sensitive Western technologies as it did with the Forpost drone to Russia or with American air defence technologies to China. Israel’s ability to act independently of Western hegemonic interests to some degree has been an asset to Moscow as well as Beijing to strengthen themselves against the West through cooperation. Thus the relationship between Moscow and Tel Aviv is very different from what it was in the 1980s, as is Moscow’s relationship with Damascus, meaning that Russia will be less inclined to take a hard line against Israeli strikes.

Perhaps most importantly, the fact that Russia has not taken a harder line in protecting Syria from Israeli attacks reflects Russia’s much diminished power to influence events beyond its borders compared to the Soviet era. The Russian military intervention in Syria was its first major military action outside the former USSR since the 1980s, and was a major feat considering the poor state of the military just seven years prior in its war with Georgia. The Russian military is nevertheless already stretched protecting its own forces in Syria and deterring Western or Turkish escalation, which is far from easy considering how far these operations are from Russian soil. Unlike in the late Soviet era, Russia no longer has the world’s second largest economy, a large sphere of influence of developed allied economies for support, a blue water navy, 55,000 tanks or 7000 fighters/interceptors. Its military is capable, but if it took on Israel directly as well as Turkey, the West, and the jihadist insurgency at the same time for all attacking Syria, the risk of escalation would be significant and would force it to divert considerable resources away from its own defence – resources which are far more scarce than those the USSR had 40 years ago.

Russia has nevertheless deployed its top fighters the Su-35s, and on at least one occasion Su-34s, to intercept Israeli F-16s before they could attack Syria, which alongside the strengthening of Syrian air defences has made it more difficult for Israel to strike. Russia does not condone Israeli strikes, but they have not been an immediate priority. Although they are damaging particularly to Iranian interests, such strikes do not seriously threaten Syria’s stability and have generally pursued limited goals. While Israel has called for greater Western intervention against Syria in the past, Tel Aviv’s own limitations mean it is not looking to overthrow the Syrian government singlehandedly. This contrasts to Turkey, whose president has stated multiple times and recently in 2020 that the intention is to maintain an occupation and hostile relations until the Damascus government is overthrown. This also remains a long term objective for the West currently through economic warfare, theft of Syrian oil and targeting of crops.

Israeli aircraft have since February 2018 relied in the large majority of attacks on launching standoff weapons from a safe distance outside Syrian airspace, meaning for Syrian ground based air defences to engage them and they must instead intercept the missiles as they approach and cannot target the aircraft themselves. Syria is itself aware of its limitations, and against both Israeli and Turkish strikes it has refrained from escalating by deploying its own fighters/interceptors to attack the enemy aircraft. Syrian aircraft optimised for air to air combat have instead been held in reserve to respond to more serious full scale attacks like the kind the U.S. and is allies were planning in September 2013. As Syrian defences improve with the delivery of the first new fighters as aid from Russia in 2020, the refocusing of resources away from counterinsurgency, and the possible placing of new S-300 systems under Syrian control, the country’s airspace may again begin to be respected as it largely was before the war began. If Syria does begin to deploy fighter units for air defence duties it will reflect a renewed sense of faith in the country’s security, although Turkey rather than Israel is likely to be the first target due to the heated nature of conflict over the Turkish occupation of Idlib and the much weaker state of Turkey’s air force.

3)–I have always suspected that the former Syrian regime (of Assad Sr.) was full of Israeli agents.  My evidence?  The impossible to organize without top complicity murder of Imad Mughniyeh (his widows also believes that, by the way, she is in Iran now) or the huge list of defectors/traitors and other officials/officers who quickly took their money and joined the international war in Syria.  Has that now changed, do you feel that the government is stable and in control?

Based on my knowledge of Syria and Arab nationalist republics more generally, while strong fifth columns have almost certainly been prevalent they are unlikely to be predominantly pro-Israeli and much more likely pro-Western. Although Syria’s Ba’athist government aligned itself very closely with the USSR particularly from 1982, much of the elite and the population maintained strongly pro-Western sentiments. This included the current president in his initial years who, according to Western sources cited in the book, was looking to pivot the country towards closer alignment with the West while sidelining Russia, Iran and the Ba’ath Party. Many in the Arab world even in states which are formally aligned against Western interests aspire to integration and a degree of Westernisation, which has long been a leading weakness in Arab nationalist states’ efforts to establish themselves as independent powers.

The West’s colonial legacy provided a strong basis since the middle of the last century to cultivate considerable soft power in the Arab World. This was perhaps most clearly alluded to by Mohamed Heikal, a leading intellectual of the non-aligned movement and Minister of Information for the United Arab Republic, who noted regarding the political and military elites of Arab republics in the 1950s, 60s and 70s: “All the formative influences in the new leaders’ lives- the books they had read, the history they had learned, the films they had seen- had come from the West. The languages they knew in addition to their own were English or French – Russian was, and remained, a mystery to them. It was impossible for them to remain unaffected by all that they had heard about the communist world- the closed society, the suppression of thought, the ‘Stalinist terror’… they wanted to keep their distance.” Heikal stressed that many of these leaders would turn to the West for assistance “almost automatically,” as the psychology of colonialism persisted. Many of those who turned to a partnership with the Soviets did so only because they were given no other choice, having been refused by the West.

This remains largely true until today at many levels of Syrian society. Perhaps one of the most striking examples was documented by a journalist accompanying the Syrian Arab Army to the frontlines engaging Western-backed insurgents. While the West made war on Syria, it was clear that strongly Western supremacist sentiments persisted throughout the population as a result of Western soft power, with Syrian soldiers on the frontlines reported to exclaim regarding their country: “Look how beautiful this land is! It is almost as beautiful as Europe!” Such sentiments were common even in wartime. The idea of Western primacy and supremacy, long engrained across much of the world through colonial rule, remained a key weakness which made it far from difficult for the Western world to cultivate westphilian fifth columns. According to multiple sources, including British journalist Patrick Seale, this included the President Hafez Al Assad’s brother who had a love for all things American and for parties with Western belly dancers. In this way Syria and Arab nationalist states bear a strong contrast to Western adversaries such as North Korea, which placed a strong emphasis on political education and on ensuring new generations did not grow up seeing the world through paradigms that promote Western supremacy (see Chapters 18 and 19 of my prior book that cover that topic.)

Regarding Israel, while there are strongly pro-Western sentiments within Syria and the Arab world, there are also strong anti-Israeli sentiments which, combined with Israel’s lack of any comparable soft power, makes pro-Israeli fifth columns much more difficult to cultivate. It is highly possible, however, that pro-Western elements in Syria could be led to pursue actions which, while furthering Western interests, also benefit Israel as you mentioned.

4)— How did the war in Syria really start?  Can you give us a summary of the true story (the full story is in your book) of how what began with some local protests (almost) ended with the Takfiris in control of Damascus?

It is difficult to do this question justice with a summary answer as there are so many factors at play. One could trace the origin back to 2007, when following Hezbollah’s unexpected military successes against Israel the previous year the Bush administration began to perceive Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, rather than Al Qaeda, as its primary adversaries. This also led to the first mentions of the possibility of manipulating Al Qaeda-type jihadist groups with the help of regional allies (Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in particular) to focus on attacking Syria and other Iranian partners. By 2009 militants were receiving Western training for operations in Syria. Pro-Western activists in Syria and other Arab countries were also receiving training in the U.S. supported by the State Department, Google, Facebook and others on how to stir unrest using tools such as social media. Media networks and most notably Al Jazeera, which had a long history of being heavily influenced by Western intelligence, began in 2011 to be put to use to vilify the Syrian government, and the Qatari monarchy soon after would lead calls for a Libya-style Western assault.

On the ground in the war’s initial weeks the Syrian government faced large scale incursions by well armed and trained militants from across the Turkish and Jordanian borders, and simultaneously a number of largely peaceful protests against living conditions in some cities. Confusion was sown and the situation quickly escalated out of control. Mass privatisation of public property, years of crop failures, and disparity between the conservative Muslim rural population and the much more liberal lifestyle in major cities, were among a multitude of factors detailed which fuelled unrest and provided foreign powers with an opening to destabilise the country. These details are all fully referenced in the book itself as well as a much more elaborate explanation of the multitude of preparations and incidents which paved the way to war.

5)–Could you please compare and contrast, HOW the Russian and Iranian interventions happened, WHAT these forces did to turn the tide and then tell us WHAT the Russian and Iranian PLANS were and are for Syria – do these two actors more or less agree, or do they have different visions for the future of Syria?

The Russian and Iranian stances towards Syria have contrasted from the war’s outset, with Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev administration in particular being openly resigned to seeing the Syrian state toppled and offering Damascus little in the way of support in the conflict’s critical early stages. Although Russian support increased from 2012 almost as soon as a new administration came to power, namely with arms sales and a blocking of Western efforts to target Syria through the United Nations, it would be three more years before Russia felt the need to deploy its forces. Iranian efforts to make a case for Russian intervention to Moscow, namely through Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani who met with President Putin in 2015, was an important factor.

Iran by contrast, alongside Hezbollah and North Korea, had boots on the ground from 2012-13 and were all committed to supporting counterinsurgency efforts and preserving the Syrian state. For Iran the fall of Syria to Western-backed jihadists as Afghanistan had fallen in 1992 was seen as unacceptable. As senior Iranian cleric Mehdi Taeb famously said: “If the enemy attacks us and wants to take either Syria or [the outlying Iranian province of] Khuzestan, the priority is to keep Syria… If we keep Syria, we can get Khuzestan back too, but if we lose Syria, we cannot keep Tehran.” Iran has thus been much more heavily invested in supporting Damascus throughout the war than Russia has.

There have been similarities between Russian and Iranian support for Syria. Both have sought to support the Syrian economy with Iran emerging as the country’s largest trading partner shortly after the war began, although it has since been displaced by China, while Russia has shown a strong interest in post war investment. Both sought to avoid relying too heavily on deployment of their own manpower on the frontlines as the Soviets had in Afghanistan, and instead focused on arming and training auxiliary forces. Russia, for example, oversaw the creation and arming of the Syrian 5th Corps and provided T-62M and T-72B3 tanks from its own reserves, while Iran facilitated the deployment of allied paramilitaries such as the Afghan Hazara Fatemiyoun. Russia’s military intervention was aimed largely at demonstrating new capabilities to NATO, with many of its strikes meant more than anything as shows of force. An example was in November 2015 when its air force flew Tu-160 supersonic bombers from the Arctic around Ireland and through the Straits of Gibraltar to fire cruise missiles over the Mediterranean at insurgents in Syria before returning to Russia – which was initially widely dismissed by Western officials as phantastic before being confirmed several hours later. Iran’s intervention was significantly quieter and received less fanfare in local media, but was more persistent and tenacious due to the much higher stakes the conflict represented for Tehran. The Iranian and Hezbollah campaigns have also involved much more significant clashes with Israel, as well as with Turkey in Hezbollah’s case, while Russian units have seldom fired on or been fired on by forces from state actors. A significant number of other major contrasts between Iranian and Russian interventions exist, but for the sake of brevity I will restrict the examples to those above.

Although both share the goal of restoring Syrian territorial integrity and bolstering Damascus, Russia and Iran certainly have different visions in accordance with their very different ideological positions, which themselves contrast with Syria’s Ba’athist socialist party-state that is much closer to the USSR, China or North Korea than to either of them. Iran’s influence has led to the growth of Shiite paramilitary groups in Syria which have been major supporters of the Syrian Arab Army on the ground, but their presence contrasts with Syria’s long history of secularism and separation of religion from the state and the security apparatus. This influence may well have an impact on Syrian political culture and policies as it did in neighbouring Iraq. Russia under the current liberal democratic capitalist system, or ‘Western liberalism with Russian characteristics’ as some have referred to it, also has a much greater ideological gap with Damascus than it did in the Soviet era. Russia has been known to try to influence states to move in this direction with reform, most notably Belarus, and could well seek to have a similar influence in Syria. Syria’s ruling party, for its part, is likely to resist both influences but accommodate Russian and Iranian interests on its soil in exchange for their continued economic and military support.

6)–How do you see the future of Syria, Israel and the future of the Middle East?  What has that war changed?

The Syrian War, and the NATO assault on Libya which began almost simultaneously in March 2011, have reshaped the Arab world and Middle East profoundly by in one case removing, and in the other seriously weakening the two Arab states which had longest and most persistently opposed Western hegemony. From the late 1970s and early 1980s, as Iraq and Egypt pivoted to align themselves with the West, Syria and Libya alongside South Yemen and Algeria remained the only countries which had not been absorbed into the Western sphere of influence.

The Syrian conflict marked a turning point in several trends in regional affairs. The U.S.’ refusal to invest heavily in the conflict, particularly in 2013 when a full scale assault had been expected, marked an important step in the Obama administration’s Pivot to Asia initiative. This has since been carried forward by Trump and Biden to focus resources on countering China and North Korea specifically and reduce commitments in the Middle East. The Syrian War set an important precedent for how the Western Bloc could seriously erode an adversary at a very low cost. The campaign avoided the need for tens of thousands of Western boots on the ground as in Iraq and instead relied on jihadist militant groups, with much of the funding to support them coming from the Gulf States and Turkey. While the CIA was responsible for organisation and logistics and for coordinating between the insurgency’s Western-aligned sponsors, the Pentagon budget was not seriously affected by the war. A similar mode of attack was seen in Libya, although jihadists there were less effective and had a much smaller support base and Western air power was applied much more to compensate. Attempts to replicate this low cost means of neutralising Western adversaries are likely.

Other major turning points were seen in Turkey, where its attempt to play a leading role in forcing the overthrow of the Syrian government marked the beginning of a more assertive and interventionist foreign policy stance which recently materialised in its intervention against Armenia in 2020. In Egypt Western support for jihadists in Libya and Syria, and ties between these jihadists and the Muslim Brotherhood domestically, contributed to alienating the Egyptian Military from the West after it took power in 2013. The region also saw Russia remerge as a major player with its first significant combat operations since the early 1970s. Moscow sought to use the strong impression its intervention had made to capitalise on discontent among traditional Western clients such as the Gulf States and Egypt and form new partnerships of its own.

For Syria itself, as the war largely comes to an end, the world in the 2020s is one very different from when the war begun with China having since emerged as the world’s leading economy and Russia having seemingly abandoned its hopes for integration into the West to pursue a more independent foreign policy. This shift has seriously dampened the impacts of Western sanctions on Damascus, with Huawei rebuilding its telecoms networks and China providing everything from busses to power generators as aid which make it far easier Syria and other Western targets in similar positions to survive. Nevertheless, the continued occupation in the north by Western powers led by the U.S., and in Idlib by Turkey, will continue to pose a serious threat until restored to Syrian government control. Occupied areas reportedly hold 90% of Syria’s oil output, which will continue to be illegally expropriated to undermine Damascus’ reconstruction efforts. Idlib meanwhile, as the largest Al Qaeda safe haven the world has seen since September 2001, continues to be a launching pad for jihadist attacks into Syria. Both Idlib and the northern regions could form the bases for Kosovo-style partitioning of Syria enforced by NATO, and for Damascus it will thus be a leading priority to prevent this and impose continued costs on Western and Turkish forces. An example of how this could be done was the Syrian government ballistic missile strike on an oil facility run by militants under Turkish protection in March 2021.

7)– Last, but not least, what is, in your opinion, the US end goal for Syria (and Lebanon)?

The primary goal is the removal of the Ba’ath Party and Syrian military establishment as organisations which can arrange their domestic and foreign policies and their security with a great deal of independence from the West, and are thus able to oppose Western hegemony in the region. Their continued existence has for decades been a thorn in the side of Western efforts to shape the Middle East in line with its interests. In Lebanon the same applies for Hezbollah. This is hardly a U.S. goal exclusively, but is shared by the major NATO members such as Britain, Germany, France and Turkey and is in the common interests of furthering Western global hegemony.

Should the West achieve its objective, what follows could be a civil war as seen in Libya after Gaddafi’s death, in which NATO powers support both sides to ensure any outcome is favourable to Western interests, or the establishment of a client government as the West recently achieved in Sudan with a coup April 2019. While five major motivations for making war on Syria are explored in detail in the book, at the heart of all of them is that the Syrian government was not part of the Western-led order, did not align itself with Western policy objectives against Iran, China and others, and did not house Western soldiers on its soil. This made the state’s existence unacceptable to the West, as did its close security cooperation with Iran, North Korea and Hezbollah. Whether the outcome of Western intervention is a partitioning, a unified Syria remade as a client state, or an indefinite civil war, the primary goal of neutralising Syria as an independent actor would be achieved. Once the goal of destroying the party, state and military was thwarted, and it became clear from 2016 that the Syrian government would retain power, the Western and Turkish goal changed to prolonging the conflict, creating Kosovo-type enclaves under NATO control, and placing downward pressure on Syrian living standards and the economy. They could thereby impede post-war recovery and a return to normality and ensure that Syria would remain weakened and a burden to its allies.

–Thank you!!

PRAISE FOR WORLD WAR IN SYRIA

“Impressive in its scholarship, pondered in its judgements, above all
searing in its dissection of Western powers’ war on Syria waged over

many decades, the book is a must-have on the bookshelves of any seri-
ous fair-minded student of Syria.”

– Peter Ford, British Ambassador to Syria from 2003–2006.
“The most detailed history of the war in Syria so far, providing a richness

of highly interesting details, as well as a critical analysis of its com-
plex international and domestic dimensions, rarely encountered in other

Western publications.”
– Nikolaos van Dam, former Special Envoy for Syria, 2015–16.
Ambassador of the Netherlands to Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, Germany and
Indonesia, 1988–2010. Author of Destroying a Nation: The Civil War
in Syria.
“A. B. Abrams explores the widening scope of the Syrian conflict in his
important book. Solving Syria’s civil war will require a regional approach
engaging stakeholders whose interests are fundamentally opposed.”
– David L. Phillips, Senior Adviser in the Clinton, Bush, and Obama State
Departments. Former Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. Director of
the Program on Peace-Building and Human Rights, Columbia University
ISHR.

“Abrams is a meticulous guide to the labyrinth of Syria’s modern polit-
ical history.”

– Richard W. Murphy. U.S. Ambassador to Syria, 1974 to 1978. Consul in
Aleppo, Syria, 1960–63.
“A. B. Abrams has written an extremely informative and illuminating

account on the international dimension of the origins, outbreak and evo-
lution of the Syrian conflict. His empirically rich analysis in this nuanced

and comprehensive study make it one of the best books, if not the best
book, written about the Syrian crisis. This book is a MUST read for
anyone who wants to understand the Syrian conflict, the Middle East,
and the role of the great powers in the region.”
– Jubin Goodarzi, Professor and Deputy Head of International Relations,
Webster University, Geneva. Former consultant and political adviser
on Middle Eastern affairs for the UNHCR. He formerly held posts at
Chatham House, CSIS and the Ford Foundation.
PRAISE FOR WORLD WAR IN SYRIA

“An insightful and dispassionate record of the Syrian Maelstrom and the
West’s role as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”
– John Holmes, Major General and Director Special Forces (ret.), British
Army.
“This is a sad tale of betrayal and conspiracy. Not just theory but facts
meticulously uncovered by Abrams. The conspiracy was part of broader
trends in the United States and Europe towards the non-Western World.

Since its fight for independence from French rule in 1946, Syria’s strug-
gles to remain free of Western hegemonic ambitions have continued to

play out for decades culminating in the crisis which emerged in 2011 and
became a proxy war of international proportions.”
– Dawn Chatty, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Forced Migration
at the University of Oxford. Fellow at the British Academy. Author of
Syria: The Making and Unmaking of a Refuge State.
“Abrams’ book provides essential historical and geopolitical context to
Syria’s ten-year war, reflecting a particularly deep and comprehensive
understanding of the conflict and of the country’s strategic importance.”
– Military Watch Magazine.
“Supported by a weight of evidence, this book sets out the context and
details of the Syrian conflict and effectively helps the reader to chart a
course between the overwhelming complexity of the crisis and Western
efforts to tell a simplified story of events on the ground. It will be of
interest to researchers, students and those interested in the messy reality
of one of the past decade’s foremost crises.”
– Jack Holland, Associate Professor in International Security at the
University of Leeds. Author of Selling War and Peace: Syria and the
Anglosphere.

“A well-researched and well-written book. Abrams provides the his-
torical context of post-independence Syria within which one can find

the reasons why the war became such a nodal point for regional and
international intrigue. While doing so, he also hones in as no one else
previously has – on some critical turning points during the civil war that
determined the direction of the conflict.”
– David Lesch, Leader of the Harvard-NUPI-Trinity Syria Research
Project. Ewing Halsell Distinguished Professor of Middle East History
at Trinity University. Author of Syria: A Modern History and Syria: The
Fall of the House of Assad.

“The countries intervening in Syria without approval of the Security
Council under Chapter VII were consciously violating international
law. Abrams’ intensive, highly-documented work provides an excellent
resource for understanding the historical and present dimensions of the
conflict.”
– Alfred De Zayas, Professor, Geneva School of Diplomacy. Former UN
Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable
International Order.
“A. B. Abrams has written a timely, balanced and insightful account
of the Syrian war. The book is well-researched and provides both the

necessary historic context but reveals also present-day drivers that re-
sulted in Syria becoming a theater for regional and global competition

for influence.”
– Alex Vatanka, senior fellow in Middle East Studies at the U.S. Air Force

Special Operations School. Senior fellow and director of the Iran pro-
gram at the Middle East Institute, Washington D.C. Adjunct professor at

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
“An impressive and comprehensive feat of in-depth research, most
notably concerning developments in political and military strategy of
international actors in the Syrian war. The author provides a unique and
sophisticated chronological overview of pre-war socio-political and
economic realities in Syria, a detailed description of the conflict over its

entire duration, and an outline of possible post-war scenarios. An excep-
tional feature of the book lies in the author’s profound understanding of

how supplies of specific armaments on both sides influenced the course
of the war. World War in Syria is an excellent work, highly beneficial for

war and security studies professionals and students, as well as for histo-
rians, international relations scholars and the general public wishing to

better understand the effects of external involvement on the development
and outcome of the Syrian conflict.”
– Daria Vorobyeva, Centre for Syrian Studies, University of St. Andrews.
Co-Author of The War for Syria: Regional and International Dimensions
of the Syrian Uprising.

“A superb narrative dealing with tactical, operational and strategic mat-
ters of that war, in as fine military history writing as any by the first rate

military historian, and also shows a horrendous toll this war exerted on
the people of Syria. It is a superb book which makes a great contribution
to the field of study of the Middle East and of global politics and balance
of forces.”
– Andrei Martyanov, former naval officer. Frequent contributor to the U.S.
Naval Institute Blog. Author of The (Real) Revolution in Military Affairs.

تسارع التاريخ والانحدار الأميركيّ


الثلاثاء 24 آب 2021

المركز الاستشاري للدراسات والتوثيق

وليد شرارة

ما يغيظ أيتام الهيمنة «الحميدة» الأميركية، هذه الأيام، هو أنّ الإعلان عن «تمريغ رأسها في وحل أفغانستان»، لم يعد يصدر عمّن يسمّونهم «أبواق الممانعة»، بل عن أبرز المنظّرين، في ما مضى، للنموذج الأميركي على أنّه أفق التطوّر المستقبلي الوحيد والأبدي للإنسانية جمعاء. فرنسيس فوكوياما، المرجع الفكري، حتى لا نقول الروحي، لغالبية بينهم آمنت بنبوءاته، التي سطّرها في كتابه «نهاية التاريخ والإنسان الأخير»، انضمّ إلى الإجماع الواسع وسط النخب الفكرية والسياسية الأميركية والغربية، حول اعتبار دخول «الطالبان» إلى كابول هزيمة منكرة لواشنطن. غير أنّ الأنكى بالنسبة إلى هؤلاء المكلومين، هو أنّ الإجماع المذكور ينطلق من الإقرار بهزيمة الولايات المتحدة ليصل إلى استنتاج آخر، مزلزل، وهو أنّ هيمنتها دخلت في طور متقدّم من الانحسار. أمام مثل هذا الاستنتاج، لم يجد الخائبون، من العرب أساساً، سوى اللجوء إلى مناورة فكرية مكشوفة ومكرورة، وهي التساؤل عن هوية المنتصر وطبيعة مشروعه السياسي والاجتماعي. سبق لأنصار الاستعمار القديم طرح النوع نفسه من الأسئلة، بعد نجاح حركات التحرّر الوطني في انتزاع استقلال بلادها والمصاعب الكبرى التي واجهتها خلال سنوات إعادة البناء الوطني التي تلت. قال هؤلاء: «هل هذا ما قاتلت الشعوب لأجله وضحّت؟ هل فعلت ذلك لكي تنشأ أنظمة حكم سلطوية أو من أجل الحفاظ على نظام الملل المكرّس لتمييز اجتماعي قاسٍ بين فئات الشعب كما حصل في الهند مثلاً؟». طبعاً، الفرضية المضمرة التي يستند إليها مثل هذا الهراء، هي أنّ أوضاع الشعوب المستعمرة كانت أفضل أيام سيطرة الأسياد البيض! الشعور بسعادة غامرة لهزيمة الإمبراطورية العاتية الأميركية في أفغانستان، لا يتأسّس على قاعدة التماهي مع البرنامج السياسي لـ«طالبان». مستقبل هذه البلاد، هو شأن شعبها الذي سيقرّر وحده مصيره وما يراه مناسباً لمصالحه وتطلّعاته من نظام سياسي واجتماعي، وهو قطعاً ليس شأن الغربيين، الذين نشروا الموت والدمار في ربوعها. كم عدد الأفغان الذين قتلتهم الولايات المتحدة وحلفاؤها المتحضّرون: عشرات الآلاف؟ مئات الآلاف؟ المتباكون الحاليون على مصير النساء الأفغانيات والأقلّيات الإثنية، لم يكلّفوا أنفسهم عناء إحصاء عدد الجثث. هذا النوع من التساؤلات التافهة هو إهانة لعقولنا. ينقسم العالم اليوم بين من يشعرون بالسعادة الغامرة لهزيمة واشنطن، ومن يرتعدون ذعراً بسببها. هم محقّون بذلك، لأنّ التحليلات الصادرة في الولايات المتحدة، قبل روسيا أو الصين أو إيران، تؤكّد أننا نشهد تسارعاً للتاريخ، ولكن ليس في الاتجاه الذي استشرفه فوكوياما قبل 30 عاماً.

نهاية حقبة تاريخية


لفرنسيس فوكوياما فضيلة، نادرة بين أترابه من المثقّفين الذين جرى تكريسهم ناطقين رسميين باسم الإيديولوجية السائدة، وهي الاعتراف العلني أكثر من مرّة بخطأ أطروحاته وتحليلاته. هو لم يتردّد، مثلاً، في القطيعة مع تيار «المحافظين الجدد» الذي انتمى إليه لفترة طويلة، وإصدار كتاب نقدي صارم لهم في عام 2006، بعنوان «ما بعد المحافظين الجدد: أميركا على مفترق طرق». يعيد فوكوياما الكرّة، لكنّه هذه المرّة يتراجع عن نظريته التي أكسبته شهرة عالمية حول نهاية التاريخ. ففي مقال على موقع «ذي إيكونوميست”»، بعنوان «نهاية الهيمنة الأميركية»، نُشر منذ أيام، هو يرى أنّ الاستقطاب الاجتماعي – السياسي داخل الولايات المتحدة، الذي تعاظم بفعل حروب التوسّع والسيطرة التي خاضتها، في العقود الثلاثة الأخيرة، والعولمة التي قادتها والأزمة المالية والاقتصادية في عام 2008 – 2009، بات عاملاً رئيسياً في إضعاف موقعها الدولي. ووفقاً له، فإنّ «المجتمع الأميركي منقسم بعمق، وأصبح يعاني صعوبة جمّة للوصول إلى إجماع حول أيّة قضية.

الثقة المفرطة بخلود الإمبراطورية الأميركية، هي سمة راسخة للعقل السياسي لأنصارها بين ظهرانينا

بدأ الاستقطاب حول موضوعات سياسية تقليدية كالضرائب والإجهاض، لكنّه توسّع ليصبح نزاعاً مريراً حول الهُويات الثقافية. طلب الاعتراف من قبل الجماعات التي اعتبرت أنها عانت التهميش من قبل النخب هو واقع التفت إليه قبل 30 سنة على أنّه كعب أخيل الديمقراطيات المعاصرة. كان من المفترض أن يُفضي تهديدٌ كبيرٌ كجائحة كورونا إلى اتحاد المواطنين حول سبل مواجهته. بدلاً من ذلك، غذّت الجائحة الانقسام الداخلي الأميركي، وتحوّل التباعد الاجتماعي وارتداء الأقنعة والتلقيح إلى رموز للتمايز السياسي… خلال الحرب الباردة وحتى بداية الألفية الثانية، ساد إجماع قوي بين النخب السياسية حول ضرورة الحفاظ على موقع أميركي قيادي على الصعيد الدولي. غير أنّ الحروب التي لا نهاية لها في أفغانستان والعراق، غيّرت موقف العديد من الأميركيين حيال التدخّل الخارجي ليس في الشرق الأوسط وحده، بل على مستوى العالم بأسره». مهما كانت العوامل التي يؤدّي تضافرها وتفاعلها إلى إضعاف الموقع المهيمن لقوة مسيطرة في مرحلة تاريخية محدّدة، فإن تداعيات هذا التطور أول ما تظهر في المناطق الخاضعة لسيطرتها. هذا سرّ ما حصل في أفغانستان، وما سيقع في منطقتنا، وفي مناطق أخرى، في الآتي من السنين.



كلّ إمبراطورية إلى زوال


الثقة المفرطة بخلود الإمبراطورية الأميركية، هي سمة راسخة للعقل السياسي لأنصارها بين ظهرانينا. نذير شؤم آخر لهؤلاء أطلقه المؤرّخ الأميركي – البريطاني، نيل فيرغسون، المسكون بنوستالجيا الإمبراطورية البريطانية، والذي أجهر بانتمائه إلى ما أسماه «العصابة النيوامبريالية» عقب الغزو الأميركي – البريطاني للعراق، في عام 2003. ففي مقالٍ بعنوان «نهاية الإمبراطورية الأميركية لن تتمّ بسلام» على موقع «ذي إيكونوميست»، جزم فيرغسون بأنّ مآل الإمبراطورية الأميركية لن يكون أفضل من ذلك الذي وصلت إليه الإمبراطورية البريطانية. هو يعتقد بأنّ اجتماع عوامل كارتفاع المديونية العامة للدولة، وتراجع وزنها الاقتصادي النسبي على المستوى الدولي لمصلحة منافسيها الصاعدين والأكلاف الضخمة للتوسّع الإمبراطوري الزائد، والذي عانت منه بريطانيا في زمن مضى وتعاني منه الولايات المتحدة حالياً، يقود إلى فقدان قطاعات وازنة من مجتمعها للشهية الإمبراطورية. وبحسب فيرغسون، فإنّ «البريطانيين في ثلاثينيات القرن الماضي، كما الأميركيين راهناً، فقدوا هواهم الإمبراطوري، وهو ما لاحظه المراقبون الصينيون وابتهجوا بسببه… المشكلة التي كشفها الانهيار الأميركي في أفغانستان هي أنّ التراجع عن الهيمنة العالمية يندر أن يحصل بشكل سلمي. مهما كانت الصياغة اللغوية المعتمدة للإعلان عن الانسحاب من أطول حرب قامت بشنّها، فإنّ ذلك يوازي الاعتراف بالهزيمة، وليس في نظر الطالبان وحدهم… قناعة السيد بايدن بإمكانية الخروج من أفغانستان على غرار ما فعله نيكسون في فيتنام، هي استعادةٌ لتجربة تاريخية سيّئة لأنّ إذلال أميركا في هذا البلد، كانت له نتائج خطيرة. هي شجّعت الاتحاد السوفياتي وحلفاءه على إثارة القلاقل في أماكن أخرى: في جنوب وشرق أفريقيا، وفي أميركا الوسطى وأفغانستان، التي غُزيت في عام 1979. تكرار سيناريو سقوط سايغون في كابول ستكون له تداعيات سلبية مشابهة».

لم تمنع القناعات الإيديولوجية لمدافعين بارزين عن ريادة النموذج الأميركي لعقود، من الإقرار بالهزيمة الأميركية في أفغانستان، وما تشي به من عوامل بنيوية تسرّع في انحسار هيمنة واشنطن على النطاق العالمي، على عكس مريديهم العرب. هنا تكمن أهمية هذه المقالات، ونحن نحضّهم على قراءتها بتمعّن، كما فعلوا سابقاً عندما روّجوا لنهاية التاريخ والهيمنة «الحميدة» وغيرها من الفقاعات الإيديولوجية.

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Is Afghanistan the First Domino to Fall?

War and Conflict — Strategic Culture

August 22, 2021

Tim Kirby

It certainly looks like a domino that has been put in position poised to fall waiting for others to take their places in the line.

With America withdrawing from Afghanistan abruptly after some 20 years, one big question is being discussed throughout the strategic sphere by those both in big institutions and laying on their couches – is the American loss in Afghanistan the first domino to fall in the eventual collapse of the Global Hegemon? After all, Afghanistan is the “graveyard of empires” probably because it is an expression that sounds nice and because the Soviets fell apart a few years after losing to the locals. So this must be the “beginning of the end” right?

Well, we should never be so quick as to jump onto narrow narratives without looking at the big picture. Side-by-side images of the Americans and their allies fleeing Vietnam and Afghanistan by helicopter are flooding Facebook, posted by those in the Alternative Media who take great joy in any loss by the 21st century’s “Evil Empire” but they seem to forget that just a few decades after losing in Vietnam the United States won the Cold War and took dominance over the planet.

Image: Strategic meme-of-the-year material for 2021.

No single event no matter how photogenic it is, is not going to be a sign of the grand demise of the “Sole Hyperpower”. It really took from the beginning of WWI till the end of WWII for the British to truly fall apart as a geopolitical force. The Soviet Union fell much quicker, but it is very widely believed that Perestroika (or the The Reykjavik Summit) was the real first white flag that devolved into the breakup of the union years later. The Roman Empire was a vastly slower burn than either of these two modern behemoths.

This means we should not be debating if Afghanistan is the first “domino” to fall, but instead we should really take a look at what the rest of the dominos falling would look like. At this point we can surely put together a rough picture of what the next tiles to fall would look like, i.e. what other major failures/events would really be signs of the Monopolar World meeting its demise? The following are a few humble offerings as to what these dominos could be…

Abandoning the Maidan Regime in the Ukraine

The unexpected surrender and soon to be total fall of Kabul has certainly resonated in another city that starts with the letter K. If Washington is finding it necessary to abandon a twenty-year Nation-Building project that they have invested vast sums of money and manpower into, that means that back-burner Kiev could be cut loose in the near future, putting the fate of the region in the hands of the Russians.

Image: We all know who secures Ukrainian “independence”.

The Maidan has been a major roadblock for Russia. As Brzeziński wrote, “It cannot be stressed enough that without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire” and Washington has done an absolutely fantastic job of turning the region into an “anti-Russia” as Putin recently called it.

If the Maidan project were to be abandoned, it would become another quite massive domino. Washington giving up on Kiev, resulting in that current political entity probably being divided up, mostly going to Moscow, would symbolize either the USA’s inability to stop the rise of the Russians or their begrudging acceptance of it.

Taiwan, Hong Kong and/or South Korea

The Trump-era State Department Democracy storm that was inflicted on Hong Kong has seemed to fade away, but a total abandonment of the thorns in the side of the Chinese Dragon would also result in another domino being placed into position.

Image: Not State Department = No Professional Protest Organizers in China.

Bailing on Hong Kong activists or failing to maintain Taiwan’s independence would certainly present a strong sign of weakness and inability from the standpoint of Washington. Furthermore, although China has never had a passionate love for the North Koreans, having South Korea as essentially an American beachhead right next door has been a cause of concern for decades for Beijing. The South Korean economy on paper looks amazing and their cities dazzle with progress but what would be the effects of Ameria giving up on them? Is South Korea able to stand as a great nation, or is it really only successful thanks to the American umbrella? The answer to that would reveal itself within two weeks of an America-free Korean Peninsula.

Simply put, if Washington gives up on Hong Kong, Taiwan and/or South Korea it is another sign of the end for sure as China would be more or less rid of these weak points that have been exploited against it for decades.

A Loss of Control Over the “Bigs”

Big Tech, Big Pharma, Big Agro and so on, have dutifully served Washington’s interests despite their theoretically international nature. But we should never forget that large for-profit entities are quite “whoreish” and will serve whichever master they need to. If Washington cannot control the Bigs as it used to, this would be another domino.

To a small extent this is happening in Hollywood where the Chinese market’s (and its official and unofficial) demands are having a major impact. But if it comes to a point that Hollywood is only making a chunk of the world’s blockbusters rather than nearly all of them it would be the end of the total unobstructed Soft Power dominance of this American institution. Or even worse, if Hollywood can be bought out from under America then a new global narrative could be spun quite quickly.

If the Hegemon fades, the leadership of the Bigs will feel increasing pressure from the Russians, Chinese and Arabs to give up the whole “gay thing” and portray these societies in a positive light whether through bribery or threats of force. Apple may be “designed in California” but if need be they would surely bail for greener pastures rather than living a life of poverty loyal to a failed America.

Mexico, Lakotastan and African-America

The United States has done a fantastic job of fostering independence movements within its rivals while making diverse masses “American” at home. However, as with the Soviets and the British, waves of breakaway republics and successful secessionist movements would be a very big domino indeed.

The Soviets tried to create an African workers uprising in America in the 60’s and failed miserably, but BLM could get out of control, or in the case of a dying USA, could become used by foreign powers. An Afro-American Maidan would certainly be another sign of doom.

The rise of an independent Native-American state like the Lakota Indians’ lands would be yet another tile being stood into place, opening the door for further break-away attempts.

When the Mexicans lost the Mexican-American war they lost the chance to become the dominant power on the continent. Few remember, but the destiny of this New World was not just given to the Americans wrapped in a box. If the Mexicans had won the war they would be the ones with access to the Atlantic (via the Gulf of Mexico) and the Pacific simultaneously, not Washington. It would have been very possible for them to secure the entire West Coast. A Mexico that would begin to take action as an independent actor would certainly be another sign of serious trouble for Washington. Thus far, on the North American continent “there can be only one” but perhaps that isn’t necessarily going to always remain the same “one”.

The death of the Dollar or collapse of the Federal Reserve

If the dollar were to collapse, or there were serious problems at the Federal Reserve, as have been predicted for many years due to insane national debt, this would of course be the biggest domino of all. The West has been able to accumulate bafflingly massive debt with no consequences because of the dominance of Washington. It is very hard to call in a debt from the toughest kid school surrounded by his henchmen. But when the big bully stops growing, and loses his buddies, all of a sudden getting your $5 back with a few whacks from a baseball bat becomes viable.

Image: If you are powerful enough no one can call in your debts.

No one can call in the debt of a Global Hegemon, but Regional Powers have to balance their checkbook. A decrease in power could lead to the national debt prophecy coming true in our lifetimes which would be probably the largest domino of all.

In conclusion

Is Afghanistan “the first domino to fall” in the death of the American Empire? This cannot be proven, but it certainly looks like a domino that has been put in position poised to fall waiting for others to take their places in the line. Other major defeats would be required to say for sure that this “New American Century” is over, not even making it to the one-fourth mark. It is really the other potential signs of the end that are of most concern not squabbling over Afghanistan’s domino status. So the big question is, if Washington is losing its Monopolar World Order, then where will be the next grand retreats?

A Day in the Death of British Justice

August 13th, 2021

By John Pilger

Source

(Originally Published on Mintpressnews on August 12, 2021)

“What has not been discussed today is why I feared for my safety and the safety of our children and for Julian’s life.” — Stella Moris, partner of Julian Assange

Isat in Court 4 in the Royal Courts of Justice in London yesterday with Stella Moris, Julian Assange’s partner. I have known Stella for as long as I have known Julian. She, too, is a voice of freedom, coming from a family that fought the fascism of Apartheid. Today, her name was uttered in court by a barrister and a judge, forgettable people were it not for the power of their endowed privilege.

The barrister, Clair Dobbin, is in the pay of the regime in Washington, first Trump’s then Biden’s. She is America’s hired gun, or “silk”, as she would prefer. Her target is Julian Assange, who has committed no crime and has performed an historic public service by exposing the criminal actions and secrets on which governments, especially those claiming to be democracies, base their authority.

For those who may have forgotten, WikiLeaks, of which Assange is founder and publisher, exposed the secrets and lies that led to the invasion of Iraq, Syria and Yemen, the murderous role of the Pentagon in dozens of countries, the blueprint for the 20-year catastrophe in Afghanistan, the attempts by Washington to overthrow elected governments, such as Venezuela’s, the collusion between nominal political opponents (Bush and Obama) to stifle a torture investigation and the CIA’s Vault 7 campaign that turned your mobile phone, even your TV set, into a spy in your midst.

WikiLeaks released almost a million documents from Russia which allowed Russian citizens to stand up for their rights. It revealed the Australian government had colluded with the US against its own citizen, Assange. It named those Australian politicians who have “informed” for the US. It made the connection between the Clinton Foundation and the rise of jihadism in American-armed states in the Gulf.

There is more: WikiLeaks disclosed the US campaign to suppress wages in sweatshop countries like Haiti, India’s campaign of torture in Kashmir, the British government’s secret agreement to shield “US interests” in its official Iraq inquiry and the British Foreign Office’s plan to create a fake “marine protection zone” in the Indian Ocean to cheat the Chagos islanders out of their right of return.

In other words, WikiLeaks has given us real news about those who govern us and take us to war, not the preordained, repetitive spin that fills newspapers and television screens. This is real journalism; and for the crime of real journalism, Assange has spent most of the past decade in one form of incarceration or another, including Belmarsh prison, a horrific place.

Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, he is a gentle, intellectual visionary driven by his belief that a democracy is not a democracy unless it is transparent, and accountable.

Yesterday, the United States sought the approval of Britain’s High Court to extend the terms of its appeal against a decision by a district judge, Vanessa Baraitser, in January to bar Assange’s extradition.  Baraitser accepted the deeply disturbing evidence of a number of experts that Assange would be at great risk if he were incarcerated in the US’s infamous prison system.

Professor Michael Kopelman, a world authority on neuro-psychiatry, had said Assange would find a way to take his own life — the direct result of what Professor Nils Melzer, the United Nations Rapporteur on Torture, described as the craven “mobbing” of Assange by governments – and their media echoes.

Those of us who were in the Old Bailey last September to hear Kopelman’s evidence were shocked and moved. I sat with Julian’s father, John Shipton, whose head was in his hands. The court was also told about the discovery of a razor blade in Julian’s Belmarsh cell and that he had made desperate calls to the Samaritans and written notes and much else that filled us with more than sadness.

Watching the lead barrister acting for Washington, James Lewis — a man from a military background who deploys a cringingly theatrical “aha!” formula with defence witnesses — reduce these facts to “malingering” and smearing witnesses, especially Kopelman, we were heartened by Kopelman’s revealing response that Lewis’s abuse was “a bit rich” as Lewis himself had sought to hire Kopelman’s  expertise in another case.

Lewis’s sidekick is Clair Dobbin, and yesterday was her day. Completing the smearing of Professor Kopelman was down to her. An American with some authority sat behind her in court.

Dobbin said Kopelman had “misled” Judge Baraister in September because he had not disclosed that Julian Assange and Stella Moris were partners, and their two young children, Gabriel and Max, were conceived during the period Assange had taken refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Britain Assange
Stella Moris after attending the first hearing in the Assange extradition appeal in London, Aug. 11, 2021. Matt Dunham | AP

The implication was that this somehow lessened Kopelman’s medical diagnosis: that Julian, locked up in solitary in Belmarsh prison and facing extradition to the US on bogus “espionage” charges, had suffered severe psychotic depression and had planned, if he had not already attempted, to take his own life.

For her part, Judge Baraitser saw no contradiction. The full nature of the relationship between Stella and Julian had been explained to her in March 2020, and Professor Kopelman had made full reference to it in his report in August 2020. So the judge and the court knew all about it before the main extradition hearing last September. In her judgement in January, Baraitser said this:

[Professor Kopelman] assessed Mr. Assange during the period May to December 2019 and was best placed to consider at first-hand his symptoms. He has taken great care to provide an informed account of Mr. Assange background and psychiatric history. He has given close attention to the prison medical notes and provided a detailed summary annexed to his December report. He is an experienced clinician and he was well aware of the possibility of exaggeration and malingering. I had no reason to doubt his clinical opinion.

She added that she had “not been misled” by the exclusion in Kopelman’s first report of the Stella-Julian relationship and that she understood that Kopelman was protecting the privacy of Stella and her two young children.

In fact, as I know well, the family’s safety was under constant threat to the point when an embassy security guard confessed he had been told to steal one of the baby’s nappies so that a CIA-contracted company could analyse its DNA. There has been a stream of unpublicised threats against Stella and her children.

For the US and its legal hirelings in London, damaging the credibility of a renowned expert by suggesting he withheld this information was a way, they no doubt reckoned, to rescue their crumbling case against Assange. In June, the Icelandic newspaper Stundin reported that a key prosecution witness against Assange has admitted fabricating his evidence. The one “hacking” charge the Americans hoped to bring against Assange if they could get their hands on him depended on this source and witness, Sigurdur Thordarson, an FBI informant.

Thordarson had worked as a volunteer for WikiLeaks in Iceland between 2010 and 2011. In 2011, as several criminal charges were brought against him, he contacted the FBI and offered to become an informant in return for immunity from all prosecution. It emerged that he was a convicted fraudster who embezzled $55,000 from WikiLeaks, and served two years in prison. In 2015, he was sentenced to three years for sex offenses against teenage boys. The Washington Post described Thordarson’s credibility as the “core” of the case against Assange.

Yesterday, Lord Chief Justice Holroyde made no mention of this witness. His concern was that it was “arguable” that Judge Baraitser had attached too much weight to the evidence of Professor Kopelman, a man revered in his field. He said it was “very unusual” for an appeal court to have to reconsider evidence from an expert accepted by a lower court, but he agreed with Ms. Dobbin it was “misleading” even though he accepted Kopelman’s “understandable human response” to protect the privacy of Stella and the children.

If you can unravel the arcane logic of this, you have a better grasp than I who have sat through this case from the beginning. It is clear Kopelman misled nobody. Judge Baraitser – whose hostility to Assange personally was a presence in her court – said that she was not misled; it was not an issue; it did not matter. So why had Lord Chief Chief Justice Holroyde spun the language with its weasel legalise and sent Julian back to his cell and its nightmares? There, he now waits for the High Court’s final decision in October – for Julian Assange, a life or death decision.And why did Holroyde send Stella from the court trembling with anguish? Why is this case “unusual”? Why did he throw the gang of prosecutor-thugs at the Department of Justice in Washington – — who got their big chance under Trump, having been rejected by Obama – a life raft as their rotting, corrupt case against a principled journalist sunk as surely as Titantic?

This does not necessarily mean that in October the full bench of the High Court will order Julian to be extradited. In the upper reaches of the masonry that is the British judiciary there are, I understand, still those who believe in real law and real justice from which the term “British justice” takes its sanctified reputation in the land of the Magna Carta. It now rests on their ermined shoulders whether that history lives on or dies.

I sat with Stella in the court’s colonnade while she drafted words to say to the crowd of media and well-wishers outside in the sunshine. Clip-clopping along came Clair Dobbin, spruced, ponytail swinging, bearing her carton of files: a figure of certainty: she who said Julian Assange was “not so ill” that he would consider suicide. How does she know?

Has Ms. Dobbin worked her way through the medieval maze at Belmarsh to sit with Julian in his yellow arm band, as Professors Koppelman and Melzer have done, and Stella has done, and I have done? Never mind. The Americans have now “promised” not to put him in a hellhole, just as they “promised” not to torture Chelsea Manning, just as they promised ……

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A WikiLeaks supporter gives leaflets to passing drivers, during the first Assange extradition appeal hearing in London, Aug. 11, 2021. Matt Dunham | AP

nd has she read the WikiLeaks’ leak of a Pentagon document dated 15 March, 2009? This foretold the current war on journalism. US intelligence, it said, intended to destroy WikiLeaks’ and Julian Assange’s “centre of gravity” with threats and “criminal prosecution”. Read all 32 pages and you are left in no doubt that silencing and criminalising independent journalism was the aim, smear the method.

I tried to catch Ms. Dobbin’s gaze, but she was on her way: job done.

Outside, Stella struggled to contain her emotion. This is one brave woman, as indeed her man is an exemplar of courage. “What has not been discussed today,” said Stella, “is why I feared for my safety and the safety of our children and for Julian’s life. The constant threats and intimidation we endured for years, which has been terrorising us and has been terrorising Julian for 10 years. We have a right to live, we have a right to exist and we have a right for this nightmare to come to an end once and for all.”

مجتمع مدني؟

30 تموز 2021

تقول التجربتان العراقية والفلسطينية حيث يبلغ تعداد المنتسبين الى جمعيات تحمل اسم المجتمع المدني عشرات الآلاف، والبعض يقول مئات الآلاف، أنه يكفي أن تملك سجلاً لجمعية مع سبعة أشخاص حتى يتم إدراجك على لوائح المستفيدين من منح الهيئات الدولية والسفارات الأجنبية، وتكليفك بمهام تحت عنوان حقوق الإنسان والبيئة وقضايا الديمقراطية وفي بعض الحالات التمويه باسم جمعيات للتشجيع على تمكين المرأة وسكان الريف وحماية الغابات وربما الإرضاع من الثدي والحدّ من النسل، لكن في نهاية المطاف عليك الاستجابة للمشاركة في الدعوات التي تطلقها الجمعيات الشبيهة من أجل “أن يصير المجتمع مدنياً”.

الاسم يثير التساؤل علمياً، فكيف يكون سبعة اشخاص هم مجتمع، وليسوا مجرد جمعية، ومن الذي ابتكر إضافة مجتمع، والمفردة ترمز لما هو إنساني ونبيل في صفة التمثيل كأن يصير للأحزاب تسمية الوطن، كي يتعادل الوزن على الأقل، ثم مدني، كأن هناك مجتمع عسكري يقابله مجتمع مدني، أو مجتمع ديني يقابله مجتمع آخر يفترض أن يكون اسمه لا ديني وليس مدنياً، لأن الديني ليس ضد المدنية من زاوية المعنى المطلق للمفردات.

في لبنان ولدت خلال عشر سنوات ماضية، منذ نشوب الأزمة في سورية وتحوّلها الى حرب آلاف الجمعيات، التي بدأ أغلبها تحت عنوان الإهتمام بشؤون النازحين وتنظيمهم بذريعة مساعدتهم، لأن المطلوب كان جعل النزوح وسيلة للتجنيد لمن صعب تجنيده في سورية للمشاركة بالحرب ضد الدولة السورية، وسرعان ما بدأت تسند لهذه الجمعيات مهام داخلية، ومع تفجير المرفأ تحولت ببيانات رسمية الى بديل للدولة معتمد لتلقي المساعدات لكن دون مساءلة عن وجهة إنفاق الأموال والمساعدات العينية.

مع بدء العام الانتخابي تحدّدت مهمة الجمعيات بحشد الأصوات لمرشحين سيتم اختيارهم بإشراف السفارات، وخصوصاً الرباعي الأميركي الفرنسي الألماني البريطاني، والمال العربي ينفق بإشراف هذه السفارات على الحملات الانتخابية التي يفترض ان تخدم لوائح موحّدة تشرف على تسمية المشاركين فيها من السفارات.

لهذه الغاية تمّ تكليف المسؤولة السابقة في التنظيم العسكري للقوات اللبنانية لإدارة المجتمع المدني تعاونها موظفة حقوقية لدى السفارة الأميركية ووفقاً لقاعدة 6 و6 مكرر واحدة من السيدتين مسلمة والثانية مسيحية، وشركات الإحصاءات تعمل بعقود من السفارات للترويج للفكرة لحين تبلور اللوائح.

سيُصاب المشروع بالنتيجة ذاتها التي أصابته في العراق، لكن هناك قرر الأميركيون الإيعاز لمن يلزم بطلب تأجيل الانتخابات، والمجاهرة برفض المشاركة وإعلان الانسحاب من الترشيح، فهل يفعلون ذلك في لبنان؟

التعليق السياسي

Do Foreign Powers Want a Government in Lebanon Today? هل يريد الخارج حكومة في لبنان اليوم؟

Do Foreign Powers Want a Government in Lebanon Today?

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July 28, 2021

Source: Al-Mayadeen

Ghassan Saoud

Reliable sources have confirmed that France wants a government as soon as possible, one that can guarantee three principle things for it.

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The primary obstacle that prevented Hariri from forming the government is non-existent for Mikati.

Many wind up believing the lies they tell, ignoring, in terms of forming the Lebanese government (or impeding its formation), all internal and external talk of the Saudis’ refusal of a government presided by Saad Hariri. Instead, they continue to talk of internal obstacles and of swapping ministers here or there, which impeded the formation of a government for nine months.

When studying the odds of formation as far as the PM-designate is concerned, we need to dust off the many lies that have piled over the primary reason that has prevented Hariri from forming the government: France, Egypt, and Turkey have all asked Hariri to go ahead and pushed him in that direction, and at the same time, the President and the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) made one concession after the other. It even got to the point where they made ten concessions to help him form; yet, he did not, for the sole reason that he received no Saudi signal that would allow him to do so.

This primary obstacle that has prevented Hariri from forming is non-existent for the new PM-designate. Mikati is not Hariri – the hated in the eyes of Saudi Arabia – and neither is the latter the great power Mikati cannot breathe without. 

Mikati is considerate to Saudi Arabia, tries not to displease it, and would never do anything to provoke it. However, (in contrast to Hariri) he never waited for its signals in his political career. On the other hand, the Kingdom has no veto against “a Mikati government” as it did with Hariri in terms of possible cooperation and finds nothing provoking about Mikati as it did with Hariri, which leads us to say that the first and primary reason that prevented Hariri from forming the government is non-existent today.

The second obstacle that worried Hariri was the removal of subsidies and the severe basket of procedures, which the international community calls reforms, that would have a huge impact on the regular citizen. Most of these procedures are now a fait-accompli, and the Mikati government must work on reducing their severity.

As for the traditional obstacles, such as ministerial quotas and the form of Hezbollah’s representation , these are all minor details that Mikati can find speedy settlements for, should an international decision to form a government exist. These settlements were never a reason to delay the formation or veto it, but they were mere tools used by the local forces waiting for external signals. Most importantly, Mikati is more capable here than anyone else in resolving issues and finding a middle ground that can please everyone, again if there is a definite international decision to form.

The question here is, do foreign powers want a government in Lebanon today? 

Diplomatic and political intel from multiple reliable sources confirms that France wants a government as soon as possible, one that can guarantee three principle things for it:

1- Quick cash for its companies: the French President is late in delivering on the promises he made for major companies benefiting from the “Cedre” finances, which the Lebanese people are borrowing, only for the money to be rerouted to French companies for projects (that no one knows if they are truly necessary). It should be noted that the French Foreign Ministry has for years been reduced to no more than a PR employee looking for projects for French companies.

2- An attempt to close in on Russia’s advances in the region: France and Germany notice that the US is withdrawing from the region and that Russia is investing heavily in Iraqi oil, coupled with its exceptional military presence in Syria and a unique drive towards Lebanon, the first of its kind.

3- Stop the security collapse because of its dangerous political repercussions in terms of Hezbollah’s endurance, the collapse of all other forces, and the loss of the West’s substantial financial investments in the army and security forces.

An additional explanation is necessary here: The French and their international partners do not want a security collapse, but they do want the financial and services collapse to continue, at least until the next parliamentary elections. The US allies’ electoral program consists of only one thing: “hunger, poverty, and humiliation.” They are working hard to pin this on Hezbollah and the FPM so that they can reap its electoral benefits in the FPM’s areas. If they lose this one thing, they have nothing to base their coming elections on. 

The unavailability of raw materials in the Lebanese market, under the direct, close supervision of the Central Bank, will definitely continue, with or without a government. Moreover, not giving depositors their money back, with or without a government, will also continue, and so will the surge in living expenses closely tied to the dollar exchange rate. The cries over the unavailability of medicines need to grow louder now that the pictures of children, the ill, and the elderly have become prime election material.

As such, they want the government to sign deals with them that would allow their companies to get their hands on money for long-term projects that add nothing to people’s lives or living conditions (more useless roads and bridges and dysfunctional treatment plants). They want a government that can put an end to the feeble attempts of some ministers to secure alternative solutions for the unavailability of medicine, electricity, and some foodstuffs. They want a government that can put an end to the Russian ambitions in the port, refineries, and oil. They want a government that would borrow more money to spend on futile projects without any serious work in accounting books, quality of execution, or economic feasibility studies, whilst threatening those who try to impede or modify these dangerous goals behind the formation with silly European sanctions.

In the end, the government will likely be formed: the foreign powers want a government. Hezbollah and its allies (except for the Strong Lebanon Bloc) have all supported designating Mikati and voted for him. The President respects the constitution in terms of cooperating with the person designated by the parliamentary majority, whomever that may be.

Both the President and the FPM will not shoulder the responsibility of standing in the way of all the aforementioned. However, they will prepare for the elections, in their own way, letting the majority that named Mikati shoulder the responsibility for everything his government might do, taking advantage of the opportunity that enables them to finally show that they do not have a parliamentary majority, nor a cabinet majority, nor a power majority. The President and the FPM had some suspicions, but their conviction today is definite and firm: we cannot turn the table, so the least we can do is not sit at it.

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هل يريد الخارج حكومة في لبنان اليوم؟

28 تموز 2021

غسان سعود

المعلومات الدبلوماسية والسياسية من مصادر موثوقة متعددة تؤكد أن الفرنسيّ يريد حكومة بأسرع وقت ممكن تضمن له 3 أمور رئيسية.

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العقبة الأولى التي منعت الحريري من التشكيل غير موجودة بالنسبة إلى ميقاتي.

غالباً ما ينتهي كثيرون إلى تكذيب الكذبة وتصديقها، فيتجاهلون في موضوع تشكيل الحكومة اللبنانية وتعطيلها مثلاً كلّ ما صدر من الداخل والخارج عن عدم القبول السعودي بتشكيل حكومة برئاسة سعد الحريري، ويواصلون الحديث عن عراقيل داخلية ووزير بالزائد أو بالناقص يمكن أن يوقف تشكيل الحكومة 9 أشهر.

ولا بدّ بالتالي عند البحث في احتمالات التشكيل بالنسبة إلى الرئيس المكلف من نفض الأكاذيب الكثيرة المتراكمة فوق السبب الأول الذي منع الحريري من التشكيل: طلب كلّ من الفرنسي والمصري والتركي من الحريري أن يُشكل، وضغطوا بهذا الاتجاه، في ظل تقديم رئيس الجمهورية و”التيار الوطني الحرّ” التنازل تلو التنازل، حتى بلغت 10 تنازلات لحثِّه على تدوير الزوايا والتشكيل، إلا أنَّه لم يشكّل لسبب وحيد أوحد هو عدم تلقّيه إشارة سعودية تسمح له بالتّشكيل. 

هذه العقبة الأولى التي منعت الحريري من التشكيل غير موجودة بالنسبة إلى الرئيس المكلّف الجديد؛ لا نجيب ميقاتي هو سعد الحريري (المغضوب عليه) بالنسبة إلى السعودية، ولا السعودية هي تلك القوة العظمى التي لا يمكن التنفس من دون إشارة منها بالنسبة إلى ميقاتي. 

ميقاتي يراعي السعودية، ويقف على خاطرها، ولا يمكن أن يفعل من قريب أو بعيد ما من شأنه استفزازها، لكنه (بعكس الحريري) لم ينتظر منها الإشارات يوماً في محطات مسيرته السياسية. في المقابل، إن السعودية لا تضع فيتو على “حكومة برئاسة ميقاتي”، كما كانت تضع فيتو على “حكومة برئاسة الحريري” لجهة التعاون المحتمل، ولا تجد في ميقاتي أي استفزاز لها كما كانت تجد في الحريري، وهو ما يدفع إلى القول إن السبب الأول والرئيسي الذي حال دون تشكيل الحريري للحكومة غير موجود اليوم. 

أما العقبة الثانية التي كانت تُقلق الحريري، فهي رفع الدعم وسلة الإجراءات القاسية بحق المواطنين العاديين، والتي يصفها المجتمع الدوليّ بالإصلاحات، وهي في غالبيتها باتت أمراً واقعاً يفترض بحكومة ميقاتي أن تتمكّن من الحدِّ من قسوته قليلاً. 

أما العقبات التقليدية، كالحصص الوزارية وشكل تمثيل “حزب الله”، فهذه جميعها تفاصيل صغيرة يمكن لميقاتي إيجاد حلول تسووية سريعة لها في حال وجود قرار دولي بالتكليف، وهي لم تكن بالمناسبة يوماً سبباً بحد ذاتها لتأخير حكومة أو تطييرها، إنما مجرد وسائل تعتمدها القوى المحلية في انتظار الإشارات الخارجية. والأهم هنا أن ميقاتي يتمتع أكثر من أي شخص آخر بالقدرة على تدوير الزوايا وإيجاد حلول وسطى ترضي الجميع، إذا كان ثمة قرار دولي حاسم بالتشكيل. 

والمؤكد في هذا السياق أن نجيب ميقاتي ما هو في نهاية الأمر إلا نجيب ميقاتي: إذا أشار إليه المجتمع الدولي ممثلاً بالولايات المتحدة وفرنسا بالتشكيل سيُشكل، وإذا طلب منه المجتمع الدولي التريث سيتريث، وإذا لفتوا نظره إلى وجوب عدم الترشح أو رفض التكليف أو الاعتذار عن التكليف فسيفعل قبل صياح الديك. مصالحه في الخارج، وثرواته الموزعة في عواصم العالم، وعدم امتلاكه وريثاً سياسياً يخشى على مستقبله السياسيّ، يدفعه كله إلى الالتزام الحرفي بتوصيات الخارج، مهما كانت الحالة في الداخل.

وعليه، هل يريد الخارج حكومة في لبنان اليوم؟ المعلومات الدبلوماسية والسياسية من مصادر موثوقة متعددة تؤكد أن الفرنسيّ يريد حكومة بأسرع وقت ممكن تضمن له 3 أمور رئيسية:

1. أموال سريعة لشركاته، بعد تأخّر الرئيس الفرنسي كثيراً في تحقيق وعوده للشركات الكبرى باستفادتها من أموال “سيدر” التي يستدينها الشعب اللبناني لتذهب إلى الشركات الفرنسية من أجل بناء مشاريع (لا أحد يعلم ما إذا كانت ضرورية فعلاً)، مع العلم أنَّ الخارجية الفرنسية تحوّلت منذ سنوات إلى موظف علاقات عامة يبحث عن مشاريع للشركات الفرنسية الكبرى لا أكثر.

2. محاولة مزاحمة معجلة مكررة لروسيا في المنطقة بعدما لاحظ الفرنسي والألماني أن الأميركيّ ينسحب من المنطقة تزامناً مع استثمار روسي كبير في النفط العراقي، وحضور عسكري استثنائي في سوريا، واندفاع جدي أول من نوعه نحو لبنان.

3. إيقاف الانهيار الأمني، نظراً إلى تداعياته السياسية الخطيرة لجهة صمود “حزب الله”، وانهيار جميع الأفرقاء السياسيين الآخرين، وضياع الاستثمارات الغربية الكبيرة في الجيش والقوى الأمنية.

وهنا، لا بدّ من شرح إضافي: لا يريد الفرنسيون وشركاؤهم الدوليون انهياراً أمنياً، لكنهم يريدون استمرار الانهيار المالي والخدماتي، أقلّه حتى موعد الانتخابات النيابية المقبلة، حيث يتألّف البرنامج الانتخابي لحلفاء الولايات المتحدة في لبنان من بند وحيد أوحد هو “الجوع والفقر والذل”، الذي يعملون جاهدين لتحميل “حزب الله” و”التيار الوطني الحر” مسؤولياته، ويذهبون إلى الانتخابات في مناطق نفوذ “التيار” تحديداً على هذا الأساس، وهم إذ يخسرون هذا البند، فإنهم لا يملكون أي عنوان آخر يخوضون الانتخابات على أساسه؛ فانقطاع المواد الأولية من السوق اللبناني بإدارة مباشرة ودقيقة من حاكم مصرف لبنان رياض سلامة سيتواصل حكماً، مع حكومة أو من دون حكومة، وعدم دفع المصارف مستحقات المودعين سيتواصل هو الآخر، مع حكومة أو من دون حكومة، والغلاء المعيشي المربوط بسعر الصرف سيبقى على حالته السيئة. ولا بدّ من أن يتعاظم البكاء من انقطاع الدواء بعدما باتت صور الأطفال والمرضى والمسنين هي المادة الانتخابية الرئيسية. 

وعليه، هم يريدون من الحكومة أن توقّع معهم الاتفاقيات التي تسمح لشركاتهم بالحصول على الأموال للبدء بمشاريع طويلة الأمد لا تؤثر من قريب أو بعيد في حياة المواطنين والظروف القاهرة (المزيد من الطرقات والجسور ومحطات التكرير التي لا تعمل)؛ حكومة تقطع الطريق على المحاولات الخجولة جداً لبعض الوزراء في حكومة تصريف الأعمال لتأمين حلول بديلة لانقطاع الدواء والكهرباء وبعض المواد الغذائية، حكومة تقطع الطريق أيضاً على الطموحات الروسية في المرفأ والمصافي والنفط، حكومة تستدين المزيد من الأموال لصرفها على المزيد من المشاريع العبثية من دون تدقيق جديّ بالحسابات ونوعية التنفيذ والجدوى الاقتصادية، مع تسليط سيف العقوبات الأوروبية السخيفة على كل من يحاول إعاقة التشكيل أو تعديل هذه الأهداف الخبيثة للتشكيل.

وفي النتيجة، احتمال التشكيل كبير جداً: الخارج يريد حكومة. “حزب الله” وحلفاؤه (باستثناء تكتل لبنان القوي) دفعوا باتجاه تكليف ميقاتي وسمّوه. رئيس الجمهورية يحترم الدستور لجهة التعاون مع من كلَّفته الأكثرية النيابية، أياً كان اسمه، وهو و”التيار الوطني الحر” لن يأخذا على عاتقهما من قريب أو بعيد مسؤولية الوقوف بوجه كل ما سبق تعداده، إنما سيستعدون على طريقتهم للانتخابات، تاركين للأكثرية التي كلّفت ميقاتي أن تتحمّل مسؤوليّة كلّ ما يمكن أن تفعله حكومته، بعدما سنحت الفرصة أخيراً لتظهير أنهم لا يملكون أكثرية نيابية، ولا أكثرية وزارية، ولا أكثرية سلطوية. كان لدى رئيس الجمهورية و”التيار الوطني الحرّ” بعض الشكوك، لكنَّ قناعتهما اليوم راسخة وحاسمة: لا قدرة لنا على قلب الطاولة. أقل ما يمكن أن نفعله هو عدم الجلوس عليها.

بين أسباب ذعر الغرب من انتصار المقاومة في تموز… وأهداف حربه الاقتصاديّة ضدّ لبنان

July 26, 2021

حسن حردان

 في مثل هذه الأيام سطّر رجال المقاومة البطولات في ميادين مواجهة قوات الاحتلال الغازية خلال عدوانها على لبنان في تموز من عام 2006  وحطّموا خلالها جبروت جيش الاحتلال الصهيونيّ وأذلوا ضباطه وجنوده ولقنوهم دروساً في القتال وجهاً لوجه في بنت جبيل ومارون الراس وعيتا الشعب وعيترون وسهل الخيام ووادي الحجير والغندوريّة إلخ… وقد تجسّد ذلك في حالة الانهيار في معنويات جنود النخبة الصهاينة الذين وجدوا أنفسهم أمام قتال حقيقي أصبحوا فيه شخوصاً يصطادهم رجال المقاومة في الليل والنهار، فيما دبابات الميركافا التي كان يحتمي فيها جنود العدو تحوّلت إلى توابيت لهم بعد أن أحرقها المقاومون بصواريخ الكورنيت…

بفضل هذه البطولات التي جسّدها المقاومون كان يُصنع النصر في كل ساحات المواجهة في البر والبحر وفي تحويل مدن ومستعمرات الكيان في فلسطين المحتلة إلى ساحة حرب افتقد فيها الصهاينة الأمن والأمان، مما هزّ وخلخل مرتكزات وجود كيانهم الغاصب، وقلب المعادلة رأسا على عقب، فبدل أن تُسحَق المقاومة وتحطّم قوتها وتنهار شعبيتها ويقوّض نموذجها الناجح في إلحاق الهزيمة بجيش الاحتلال، وتحرير الأرض من دنسه بلا قيد ولا شرط، وجدنا انّ المقاومة هي مَن سحق ودمّر جيش العدو الذي حاول دون جدوى أن يمحو آثار ونتائج وتداعيات هزيمته عام 2000… فإذا به يُمنى بهزيمة أشدّ وأقسى…

لقد أدّت هذه الهزيمة الجديدة لجيش العدو الصهيونيّ إلى نتيجتين:

النتيجة الأولى، ازدياد شعبية المقاومة التي أثبتت مجدّداً أنها قادرة على تحقيق آمال وتطلعات جماهير الأمة العربيّة، حيث أخفقت الجيوش العربيّة، وذلك بتأكيدها أنها قادرة على إلحاق الهزيمة تلو الهزيمة بجيش العدو وتحطيم أسطورته، واستعادة الحقوق المغتَصبة.. ولهذا نجحت المقاومة الشعبيّة المسلّحة في إدخال كيان العدو في مسار الهزيمة والتراجع والعجز عن تحقيق النصر في مواجهة المقاومين.. وبالتالي فإنّ هذا الكيان كما حقق النصر على العرب تلو النصر واحتلّ الأرض قطعة إثر قطعة، فإنّ المقاومة ستلحق به الهزيمة تلو الهزيمة وصولاً إلى إنهاء وجوده غير الشرعيّ على أرض فلسطين المحتلة…

النتيجة الثانية، قرع جرس الإنذار في العواصم الغربية الاستعمارية، التي خيّم عليها الذعر وأدركت انّ الكيان، الذي زرعته في فلسطين المحتلة ودعمته وزوّدته بكلّ عناصر القوة لحراسة مصالحها الاستعمارية ومنع توحّد الأمة العربية، وضرب حركات التحرّر وتقويض الأنظمة التقدمية، أدركت انّ هذا الكيان بات عاجزاً عن الاستمرار في تحقيق هذه المهمة، ويحتاج إلى مَن يحميه، لا بل انّ وجوده أصبح بخطر حقيقي، ولهذا فإنّ درء هذا الخطر والحفاظ على وجود واستقرار هذا الكيان أصبح مرتبطاً بتقويض المقاومة التي تجرّأت على إلحاق الهزيمة به، خاصة أنّ استمرار هذه المقاومة وتزايد قوّتها لم يعُد يهدّد فقط وجود الكيان الصهيوني، وإنما بات يهدّد أيضاً النفوذ الاستعماريّ الغربيّ في الوطن العربي، وبالتالي تحرير ثروات الأمة من نهب الشركات الغربية…

انطلاقاً مما تقدّم، يمكن تفسير لماذا كلّ هذه الحروب الإرهابية والاقتصادية التي تستهدف هذه المقاومة والدول الداعمة لها، لا سيما سورية وإيران… ولماذا شدّدت واشنطن وحلفاؤها في الغرب، الحرب الاقتصادية على لبنان، وعمدت إلى دعم أحزاب ومجموعات من الـ NGOZ، وأغدقت عليها الأموال الطائلة باعتراف المسؤول في الخارجية الأميركية ديفيد هيل الذي قال إن واشنطن أنفقت 10 مليارات دولار في لبنان ضمن استراتيجية مواجهة حزب الله..

ولهذا فإنّ ما يعاني منه لبنان واللبنانيون هذه الأيام من أزمات مالية واقتصادية واجتماعية خانقة إنما يعود في جزء أساسي إلى هذه الاستراتيجية الأميركية، القائمة على إثارة الاضطرابات في لبنان ودعم قوى سياسية وأهلية، بالتزامن مع تشديد الحصار الاقتصادي ومنع الحلول المتاحة لهذه الأزمات، وذلك بهدف تحميل حزب الله المقاوم وحلفائه المسؤولية عن الأزمات ومحاولة تأليب اللبنانيين ضدّهم في سياق خطة لإخضاع لبنان للشروط الأميركية، مقابل رفع الحصار الاقتصادي…

لكن المقاومة التي عرفت كيف تلحق الهزيمة بقوى الإرهاب في الجرود اللبنانية وتنجز التحرير الثاني، وتسهم إلى جانب حلف المقاومة في إلحاق الهزائم بجيوش الإرهاب الأميركية الصهيونية الغربية في سورية، والعراق، قادرة على إحباط أهداف الحرب الاقتصادية الأميركية الجديدة.. وهو ما كان قد وعد به قائد المقاومة سماحة السيد حسن نصرالله، في بداية تفجّر الاحتجاجات الشعبية في 17 تشرين 2019، عندما قال، لن نركع ولن نجوع وسوف نقتلك، مخاطباً الأميركيّ بطريقة غير مباشرة…

ولهذا بعد نحو سنة وثمانية أشهر، نجد اليوم أن العواصم الغربية تعبّر عن قلقها من أن يؤدي اندفاع الأوضاع في لبنان إلى الانهيار الشامل وتحلل الدولة اللبنانية نتيجة الحصار الاقتصادي الخانق الذي تفرضه على لبنان، الى هجرة اللبنانيين والنازحين السوريين نحو الدول الأوروبية، وتعزيز موقف حزب الله وتمكينه من القيام بدور الدولة في حلّ أزمات اللبنانيين من خلال تأمين الدعم من إيران وسورية والعراق إلخ… وتحقيق التكامل الاقتصاديّ المشرقيّ… مما يشكل ضربة قاصمة للنفوذ الأميركي الغربي في لبنان.. لهذا بدأت العواصم الغربية تتحدّث عن ضرورة تقديم المساعدات للبنان لمنع انهيار الدولة، لدرء النتائج السلبيّة على نفوذها في لبنان، وتجنّب هجرة جماعيّة باتجاه الدول الأوروبيّة.. وفي كلتا الحالتين يمكن القول إنّ خطة إحداث الانقلاب السياسي في لبنان بوساطة الحصار الاقتصادي واستغلال أزمات اللبنانيين الناتجة عن الحصار، لتطويق المقاومة ونزع سلاحها وفرض اتفاق لتحديد الحدود البحريّة يخدم الأطماع الصهيونية، انّ هذه الخطة الانقلابية أخفقت، ولهذا لجأت العواصم الغربية إلى استبدالها بنسخة أخرى تقضي بالعمل على محاولة تحقيق هذا الانقلاب في الانتخابات النيابية المقبلة عبر استغلال الأزمات وانفجار المرفأ وتقديم الدعم المالي للقوى والمجموعات التابعة للغرب، للفوز بأغلبية المقاعد في البرلمان بما يمكنها من إعادة إنتاج السلطة والسيطرة على مفاصل القرار التشريعيّ والتنفيذيّ للعمل على تنفيذ الأهداف الأميركية الغربية المذكورة آنفاً…

لهذا على اللبنانيين أن يدركوا جيداً مَن يقف وراء أزماتهم ومعاناتهم، وأن يعوا انّ مقاومتهم كانت ولا تزال وستبقى هي درعهم الواقي وضمانة أمنهم واستقرارهم، وحمايتهم من العدوانية والأطماع الصهيونية، وطريق خلاصهم من براثن الهيمنة الاستعمارية الغربية التي تسعى الى إخضاع لبنان وإعادته إلى زمن قوّته في ضعفه، حيث كان مستباحاً من قبل العدو الصهيونيّ…

Lebanese PM-Designate Steps Down, Gives Up On Cabinet Formation his Supporters Block Highways in Several Cities, Throw Stones at Lebanese Army Units

16/07/2021

Lebanese PM-Designate Steps Down, Gives Up On Cabinet Formation   

By Staff, Agencies

Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri says he has abandoned his efforts to form a new government, citing differences with the country’s president.

Hariri announced on Thursday that he was unable to reach an agreement with President Michel Aoun on the formation of a new cabinet, and stepped down nine months after he was assigned to the task.

Hariri’s resignation came following a brief meeting with Aoun at Baabda Palace.

He said Aoun had requested fundamental changes to a cabinet line-up he had presented to him, and that the Lebanese president had told Hariri that they would not be able to reach an agreement.

“I met with the president, and we had consultation on the issue of the government,” Hariri told reporters shortly after meeting with Aoun, adding, “There were amendments requested by the president, which I considered substantial in the line-up.”

“It is clear that the position of Aoun has not changed… and that we will not be able to agree,” Hariri said.

Lebanon’s prime minister-designate added that he had offered to spend more time trying to form a cabinet, but he had also been told by the president that, “We will not be able to agree.”

The statement said Hariri had proposed that Aoun take one more day to accept the suggested proposal, but the president had responded, “What is the use of one additional day if the door to discussions was closed.”

The Lebanese president was said to be considering a date for parliamentary consultations as soon as possible after Hariri’s decision to give up on cabinet formation.

Hariri is the second candidate to have failed at forming a government in less than one year amid political bickering between Lebanon’s leaders and the economic crisis gripping the country.

Hariri was designated to form the new government in October, after the resignation of Prime Minister Hassan Diab in the aftermath of the deadly August 4 Beirut port explosion.

Since then, Lebanese political groups have failed to resolve their differences and form a government.

The World Bank has called Lebanon’s crisis one of the worst depressions of modern history, ranking it among the world’s three worst since the mid-1800s in terms of its effect on living standards.

The country’s currency has lost more than 90% of its value since fall 2019 and more than half of the population has been rendered jobless as businesses have shut down.

According to the World Bank, the gross domestic product [GDP] of the country of six million people nosedived by about 40 percent to $33 billion last year, from $55 billion in 2018.

The double blow of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Beirut port explosion has made the difficult situation even worse in the country.

The European Union, led by France – the former colonizer of Lebanon – is also seeking to ramp up pressure on the Lebanese authorities in an attempt to force the formation of a Western-friendly government.

Hariri Supporters Block Highways in Several Cities, Throw Stones at Lebanese Army Units

manar-07301680016263704267

July 15, 2021

Since the former premier Saad Hariri announced quitting the mission of forming the new Lebanese government earlier on Thursday, his supporter started blocking main highways and throwing stones at the Army units in several cities.

In this context, Hariri supporters blocked Cola highway in Beirut as well as other roads in Bekaa and the North, throwing stones at the Lebanese Army units.

Hariri announced his resignation after a meeting with President Michel Aoun who rejected the proposed cabinet line-up of the the PM-designate for several reasons.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Related Video

Entranced Earth: the hegemonic dispute engulfs Brazil

July 13, 2021

Entranced Earth: the hegemonic dispute engulfs Brazil

By Fabio Reis Vianna for The Saker Blog

Even if the rhetoric and the interim security strategy of the Joe Biden administration itself tries to give a multilateralist veneer to the idea that the benevolent hegemon would be back, the reality imposed by the increase in competitive pressure, which deepens after the outbreak of the pandemic, and acquires dramatic contours in the so-called “vaccine war”, reveals a challenging scenario for the coming years.

The gradual increase in competitive pressure, symptom of a phenomenon justified in the theory of the Expanding Universe, would have its origins after the September 11 attacks, when the “universal war on terrorism” unveils a world where the power of an omnipotent hegemon revealed itself in the need for the permanent expansion of power through the use of its military infrastructure.

Then arises the figure of the “terrorist enemy”, which could be any person or group, inside or outside the United States, a universal enemy that could be destroyed anywhere, even if that meant violating individual rights or the sovereignty of other states.

The unilateral power expansionism carried out by the Americans after September 11 would therefore have generated the seed of escalation in conflicts, leading to increased destabilization and consequently to a reactive movement of the other states in the world system.

As if in a movement of self-protection, former powers of the interstate system return to a game that seemed dead, but in practice was only sleeping: the old geopolitics of nations, where national interest and the resumption of sovereignty would return to play the cards against the dogmas of globalization and liberal order.

The return of Russia, which in 2015 intervened in the Syrian war – demonstrating a warlike power not seen for some time – represented a turning point, which apparently began with the reelection of Vladimir Putin himself in 2012, but also with the coming to power of the current Chinese president Xi Jinping in 2013. From then on, the interstate dispute would have accelerated considerably with the rise of these two Eurasian giants.

The spread of international competition and instability would be, therefore, in line with the idea that for international political actors the effort for changes in the system would be preponderant for the achievement of their own interests.

The appearance of new emerging actors in the world system, even if considered a destabilizing factor of the system itself, on the other hand, would boost in the hegemonic state the expansionist impulse necessary for it to remain at the top of the system.

The global instability caused by the clash between the powers that would be benefiting from the instituted international order, and those states that would aim to climb the power ladder, would suggest the end, or at least an interruption of the minimum consensus necessary for harmonious coexistence within what Hedlley Bull would call a “society of states”.

From this perspective, the hypothesis of war would emerge as an almost inevitable expedient to resolve the tensions caused by power imbalances and global instability. It is from war, therefore, and especially from the so-called hegemonic war, that the state or coalition of states that would lead the new international order would emerge.

At the moment in which the crisis or the end of the so-called liberal order created in the 20th century and led by the United States of America is being discussed, what seems evident is the occurrence of an increasingly deeper questioning of the current international order by other nations.

In this sense, the global instability reflected in the increase of competitive pressure would be explicit in the context of a generalized conflictive ambience, or on the way to generalization.

To better conceptualize this idea, Robert Gilpin’s Theory of Hegemonic War would indicate that a generalized conflictive environment, even if not configured in an apparent hegemonic war, would already suggest such a situation if we think that what differs a hegemonic war from other categories of war would be precisely the systemic conception existing in the relations between individual states. This being so, and given that it is a systemic relationship, the whole structure itself would be affected by it.

What has been happening internally in a country like Brazil is a very peculiar and local-scale example of this global phenomenon that has spread throughout the interstate system.

Therefore, just as the pandemic accelerated and deepened the global systemic crisis, internally it had a devastating effect by fusing conflicts and contradictions within societies in many countries around the world.

At a time when the parliamentary commission investigating the pandemic crisis is exposing the viscera of corruption in the Bolsonaro administration, exposing the Armed Forces to a public embarrassment not seen for some time, the repudiation note of the three military commands in a clear threat to the National Congress confirms the thesis that the internal war within the institutions and oligarchic elites is something real and increasingly out of control.

The strange visit of the CIA director to Brasilia, and his meeting behind closed doors with Bolsonaro and the head of Brazilian espionage, General Augusto Heleno, sounded like an intimidating message to Brazilian civil society that the Biden administration would endorse a hypothetical regime closure in Brazil.

As it happened during the Jimmy Carter administration – when the military dictatorship was strongly pressured by the United States -, even if the pressure of American public opinion may lead the Biden administration to abandon the nefarious Bolsonaro administration, it is still very useful for the current American security strategy that a vassal government like the Brazilian one ensures the removal of the Eurasian presence in the “Western Hemisphere”, and even contributes to the destabilization of hostile countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela and Cuba.

The erratic way in which the privatization of Eletrobrás is being carried out – which will lead to an unprecedented increase in costs – as well as the energy crisis that is looming, signal a growing distancing of powerful sectors of the business elites from a government that reveals an openly militarized, authoritarian face that is oblivious to reality.

The fraying, therefore, of social relations at the top of the Brazilian pyramid reveals a scenario that finds historical precedent only in that period that led to the so-called Revolution of 1930, when the dispute between the oligarchies of the time reached its peak.

Following the example of what is happening at this very moment in Cuba and South Africa, the escalation of systemic social conflicts seems to have no end, and even if for different reasons, it would be the result of the pandora’s box opened by the pandemic.

Even if at first glance it doesn’t seem relevant, certainly the deepening of tensions at a global level – within the universe of the great hegemonic dispute – will be decisive for the future of the much debilitated Brazilian democracy.

The classic “Entranced Earth”, by the great filmmaker Glauber Rocha, never came so handy for the Brazilian reality.


Fabio Reis Vianna, lives in Rio de Janeiro, is a bachelor of laws (LL.B), MA student in International Relations at the University of Évora (Portugal), writer and geopolitical analyst. He currently maintains a column on international politics at the centennial Brazilian newspaper Monitor Mercantil.

Article by Vladimir Putin ”On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians“

July 13, 2021

Article by Vladimir Putin ”On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians“

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/66181

July 12, 2021

During the recent Direct Line, when I was asked about Russian-Ukrainian relations, I said that Russians and Ukrainians were one people – a single whole. These words were not driven by some short-term considerations or prompted by the current political context. It is what I have said on numerous occasions and what I firmly believe. I therefore feel it necessary to explain my position in detail and share my assessments of today’s situation.

First of all, I would like to emphasize that the wall that has emerged in recent years between Russia and Ukraine, between the parts of what is essentially the same historical and spiritual space, to my mind is our great common misfortune and tragedy. These are, first and foremost, the consequences of our own mistakes made at different periods of time. But these are also the result of deliberate efforts by those forces that have always sought to undermine our unity. The formula they apply has been known from time immemorial – divide and rule. There is nothing new here. Hence the attempts to play on the ”national question“ and sow discord among people, the overarching goal being to divide and then to pit the parts of a single people against one another.

To have a better understanding of the present and look into the future, we need to turn to history. Certainly, it is impossible to cover in this article all the developments that have taken place over more than a thousand years. But I will focus on the key, pivotal moments that are important for us to remember, both in Russia and Ukraine.

Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians are all descendants of Ancient Rus, which was the largest state in Europe. Slavic and other tribes across the vast territory – from Ladoga, Novgorod, and Pskov to Kiev and Chernigov – were bound together by one language (which we now refer to as Old Russian), economic ties, the rule of the princes of the Rurik dynasty, and – after the baptism of Rus – the Orthodox faith. The spiritual choice made by St. Vladimir, who was both Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Kiev, still largely determines our affinity today.

The throne of Kiev held a dominant position in Ancient Rus. This had been the custom since the late 9th century. The Tale of Bygone Years captured for posterity the words of Oleg the Prophet about Kiev, ”Let it be the mother of all Russian cities.“

Later, like other European states of that time, Ancient Rus faced a decline of central rule and fragmentation. At the same time, both the nobility and the common people perceived Rus as a common territory, as their homeland.

The fragmentation intensified after Batu Khan’s devastating invasion, which ravaged many cities, including Kiev. The northeastern part of Rus fell under the control of the Golden Horde but retained limited sovereignty. The southern and western Russian lands largely became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which – most significantly – was referred to in historical records as the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Russia.

Members of the princely and ”boyar“ clans would change service from one prince to another, feuding with each other but also making friendships and alliances. Voivode Bobrok of Volyn and the sons of Grand Duke of Lithuania Algirdas – Andrey of Polotsk and Dmitry of Bryansk – fought next to Grand Duke Dmitry Ivanovich of Moscow on the Kulikovo field. At the same time, Grand Duke of Lithuania Jogaila – son of the Princess of Tver – led his troops to join with Mamai. These are all pages of our shared history, reflecting its complex and multi-dimensional nature.

Most importantly, people both in the western and eastern Russian lands spoke the same language. Their faith was Orthodox. Up to the middle of the 15th century, the unified church government remained in place.

At a new stage of historical development, both Lithuanian Rus and Moscow Rus could have become the points of attraction and consolidation of the territories of Ancient Rus. It so happened that Moscow became the center of reunification, continuing the tradition of ancient Russian statehood. Moscow princes – the descendants of Prince Alexander Nevsky – cast off the foreign yoke and began gathering the Russian lands.

In the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, other processes were unfolding. In the 14th century, Lithuania’s ruling elite converted to Catholicism. In the 16th century, it signed the Union of Lublin with the Kingdom of Poland to form the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Polish Catholic nobility received considerable land holdings and privileges in the territory of Rus. In accordance with the 1596 Union of Brest, part of the western Russian Orthodox clergy submitted to the authority of the Pope. The process of Polonization and Latinization began, ousting Orthodoxy.

As a consequence, in the 16–17th centuries, the liberation movement of the Orthodox population was gaining strength in the Dnieper region. The events during the times of Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky became a turning point. His supporters struggled for autonomy from the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

In its 1649 appeal to the king of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Zaporizhian Host demanded that the rights of the Russian Orthodox population be respected, that the voivode of Kiev be Russian and of Greek faith, and that the persecution of the churches of God be stopped. But the Cossacks were not heard.

Bohdan Khmelnytsky then made appeals to Moscow, which were considered by the Zemsky Sobor. On 1 October 1653, members of the supreme representative body of the Russian state decided to support their brothers in faith and take them under patronage. In January 1654, the Pereyaslav Council confirmed that decision. Subsequently, the ambassadors of Bohdan Khmelnytsky and Moscow visited dozens of cities, including Kiev, whose populations swore allegiance to the Russian tsar. Incidentally, nothing of the kind happened at the conclusion of the Union of Lublin.

In a letter to Moscow in 1654, Bohdan Khmelnytsky thanked Tsar Aleksey Mikhaylovich for taking ”the whole Zaporizhian Host and the whole Russian Orthodox world under the strong and high hand of the Tsar“. It means that, in their appeals to both the Polish king and the Russian tsar, the Cossacks referred to and defined themselves as Russian Orthodox people.

Over the course of the protracted war between the Russian state and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, some of the hetmans, successors of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, would ”detach themselves“ from Moscow or seek support from Sweden, Poland, or Turkey. But, again, for the people, that was a war of liberation. It ended with the Truce of Andrusovo in 1667. The final outcome was sealed by the Treaty of Perpetual Peace in 1686. The Russian state incorporated the city of Kiev and the lands on the left bank of the Dnieper River, including Poltava region, Chernigov region, and Zaporozhye. Their inhabitants were reunited with the main part of the Russian Orthodox people. These territories were referred to as ”Malorossia“ (Little Russia).

The name ”Ukraine“ was used more often in the meaning of the Old Russian word ”okraina“ (periphery), which is found in written sources from the 12th century, referring to various border territories. And the word ”Ukrainian“, judging by archival documents, originally referred to frontier guards who protected the external borders.

On the right bank, which remained under the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the old orders were restored, and social and religious oppression intensified. On the contrary, the lands on the left bank, taken under the protection of the unified state, saw rapid development. People from the other bank of the Dnieper moved here en masse. They sought support from people who spoke the same language and had the same faith.

During the Great Northern War with Sweden, the people in Malorossia were not faced with a choice of whom to side with. Only a small portion of the Cossacks supported Mazepa’s rebellion. People of all orders and degrees considered themselves Russian and Orthodox.

Cossack senior officers belonging to the nobility would reach the heights of political, diplomatic, and military careers in Russia. Graduates of Kiev-Mohyla Academy played a leading role in church life. This was also the case during the Hetmanate – an essentially autonomous state formation with a special internal structure – and later in the Russian Empire. Malorussians in many ways helped build a big common country – its statehood, culture, and science. They participated in the exploration and development of the Urals, Siberia, the Caucasus, and the Far East. Incidentally, during the Soviet period, natives of Ukraine held major, including the highest, posts in the leadership of the unified state. Suffice it to say that Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev, whose party biography was most closely associated with Ukraine, led the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) for almost 30 years.

In the second half of the 18th century, following the wars with the Ottoman Empire, Russia incorporated Crimea and the lands of the Black Sea region, which became known as Novorossiya. They were populated by people from all of the Russian provinces. After the partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Russian Empire regained the western Old Russian lands, with the exception of Galicia and Transcarpathia, which became part of the Austrian – and later Austro-Hungarian – Empire.

The incorporation of the western Russian lands into the single state was not merely the result of political and diplomatic decisions. It was underlain by the common faith, shared cultural traditions, and – I would like to emphasize it once again – language similarity. Thus, as early as the beginning of the 17th century, one of the hierarchs of the Uniate Church, Joseph Rutsky, communicated to Rome that people in Moscovia called Russians from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth their brothers, that their written language was absolutely identical, and differences in the vernacular were insignificant. He drew an analogy with the residents of Rome and Bergamo. These are, as we know, the center and the north of modern Italy.

Many centuries of fragmentation and living within different states naturally brought about regional language peculiarities, resulting in the emergence of dialects. The vernacular enriched the literary language. Ivan Kotlyarevsky, Grigory Skovoroda, and Taras Shevchenko played a huge role here. Their works are our common literary and cultural heritage. Taras Shevchenko wrote poetry in the Ukrainian language, and prose mainly in Russian. The books of Nikolay Gogol, a Russian patriot and native of Poltavshchyna, are written in Russian, bristling with Malorussian folk sayings and motifs. How can this heritage be divided between Russia and Ukraine? And why do it?

The south-western lands of the Russian Empire, Malorussia and Novorossiya, and the Crimea developed as ethnically and religiously diverse entities. Crimean Tatars, Armenians, Greeks, Jews, Karaites, Krymchaks, Bulgarians, Poles, Serbs, Germans, and other peoples lived here. They all preserved their faith, traditions, and customs.

I am not going to idealise anything. We do know there were the Valuev Circular of 1863 an then the Ems Ukaz of 1876, which restricted the publication and importation of religious and socio-political literature in the Ukrainian language. But it is important to be mindful of the historical context. These decisions were taken against the backdrop of dramatic events in Poland and the desire of the leaders of the Polish national movement to exploit the ”Ukrainian issue“ to their own advantage. I should add that works of fiction, books of Ukrainian poetry and folk songs continued to be published. There is objective evidence that the Russian Empire was witnessing an active process of development of the Malorussian cultural identity within the greater Russian nation, which united the Velikorussians, the Malorussians and the Belorussians.

At the same time, the idea of Ukrainian people as a nation separate from the Russians started to form and gain ground among the Polish elite and a part of the Malorussian intelligentsia. Since there was no historical basis – and could not have been any, conclusions were substantiated by all sorts of concoctions, which went as far as to claim that the Ukrainians are the true Slavs and the Russians, the Muscovites, are not. Such ”hypotheses“ became increasingly used for political purposes as a tool of rivalry between European states.

Since the late 19th century, the Austro-Hungarian authorities had latched onto this narrative, using it as a counterbalance to the Polish national movement and pro-Muscovite sentiments in Galicia. During World War I, Vienna played a role in the formation of the so-called Legion of Ukrainian Sich Riflemen. Galicians suspected of sympathies with Orthodox Christianity and Russia were subjected to brutal repression and thrown into the concentration camps of Thalerhof and Terezin.

Further developments had to do with the collapse of European empires, the fierce civil war that broke out across the vast territory of the former Russian Empire, and foreign intervention.

After the February Revolution, in March 1917, the Central Rada was established in Kiev, intended to become the organ of supreme power. In November 1917, in its Third Universal, it declared the creation of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UPR) as part of Russia.

In December 1917, UPR representatives arrived in Brest-Litovsk, where Soviet Russia was negotiating with Germany and its allies. At a meeting on 10 January 1918, the head of the Ukrainian delegation read out a note proclaiming the independence of Ukraine. Subsequently, the Central Rada proclaimed Ukraine independent in its Fourth Universal.

The declared sovereignty did not last long. Just a few weeks later, Rada delegates signed a separate treaty with the German bloc countries. Germany and Austria-Hungary were at the time in a dire situation and needed Ukrainian bread and raw materials. In order to secure large-scale supplies, they obtained consent for sending their troops and technical staff to the UPR. In fact, this was used as a pretext for occupation.

For those who have today given up the full control of Ukraine to external forces, it would be instructive to remember that, back in 1918, such a decision proved fatal for the ruling regime in Kiev. With the direct involvement of the occupying forces, the Central Rada was overthrown and Hetman Pavlo Skoropadskyi was brought to power, proclaiming instead of the UPR the Ukrainian State, which was essentially under German protectorate.

In November 1918 – following the revolutionary events in Germany and Austria-Hungary – Pavlo Skoropadskyi, who had lost the support of German bayonets, took a different course, declaring that ”Ukraine is to take the lead in the formation of an All-Russian Federation“. However, the regime was soon changed again. It was now the time of the so-called Directorate.

In autumn 1918, Ukrainian nationalists proclaimed the West Ukrainian People’s Republic (WUPR) and, in January 1919, announced its unification with the Ukrainian People’s Republic. In July 1919, Ukrainian forces were crushed by Polish troops, and the territory of the former WUPR came under the Polish rule.

In April 1920, Symon Petliura (portrayed as one of the ”heroes“ in today’s Ukraine) concluded secret conventions on behalf of the UPR Directorate, giving up – in exchange for military support – Galicia and Western Volhynia lands to Poland. In May 1920, Petliurites entered Kiev in a convoy of Polish military units. But not for long. As early as November 1920, following a truce between Poland and Soviet Russia, the remnants of Petliura’s forces surrendered to those same Poles.

The example of the UPR shows that different kinds of quasi-state formations that emerged across the former Russian Empire at the time of the Civil War and turbulence were inherently unstable. Nationalists sought to create their own independent states, while leaders of the White movement advocated indivisible Russia. Many of the republics established by the Bolsheviks’ supporters did not see themselves outside Russia either. Nevertheless, Bolshevik Party leaders sometimes basically drove them out of Soviet Russia for various reasons.

Thus, in early 1918, the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic was proclaimed and asked Moscow to incorporate it into Soviet Russia. This was met with a refusal. During a meeting with the republic’s leaders, Vladimir Lenin insisted that they act as part of Soviet Ukraine. On 15 March 1918, the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) directly ordered that delegates be sent to the Ukrainian Congress of Soviets, including from the Donetsk Basin, and that ”one government for all of Ukraine“ be created at the congress. The territories of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic later formed most of the regions of south-eastern Ukraine.

Under the 1921 Treaty of Riga, concluded between the Russian SFSR, the Ukrainian SSR and Poland, the western lands of the former Russian Empire were ceded to Poland. In the interwar period, the Polish government pursued an active resettlement policy, seeking to change the ethnic composition of the Eastern Borderlands – the Polish name for what is now Western Ukraine, Western Belarus and parts of Lithuania. The areas were subjected to harsh Polonisation, local culture and traditions suppressed. Later, during World War II, radical groups of Ukrainian nationalists used this as a pretext for terror not only against Polish, but also against Jewish and Russian populations.

In 1922, when the USSR was created, with the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic becoming one of its founders, a rather fierce debate among the Bolshevik leaders resulted in the implementation of Lenin’s plan to form a union state as a federation of equal republics. The right for the republics to freely secede from the Union was included in the text of the Declaration on the Creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and, subsequently, in the 1924 USSR Constitution. By doing so, the authors planted in the foundation of our statehood the most dangerous time bomb, which exploded the moment the safety mechanism provided by the leading role of the CPSU was gone, the party itself collapsing from within. A ”parade of sovereignties“ followed. On 8 December 1991, the so-called Belovezh Agreement on the Creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States was signed, stating that ”the USSR as a subject of international law and a geopolitical reality no longer existed.“ By the way, Ukraine never signed or ratified the CIS Charter adopted back in 1993.

In the 1920’s-1930’s, the Bolsheviks actively promoted the ”localization policy“, which took the form of Ukrainization in the Ukrainian SSR. Symbolically, as part of this policy and with consent of the Soviet authorities, Mikhail Grushevskiy, former chairman of Central Rada, one of the ideologists of Ukrainian nationalism, who at a certain period of time had been supported by Austria-Hungary, was returned to the USSR and was elected member of the Academy of Sciences.

The localization policy undoubtedly played a major role in the development and consolidation of the Ukrainian culture, language and identity. At the same time, under the guise of combating the so-called Russian great-power chauvinism, Ukrainization was often imposed on those who did not see themselves as Ukrainians. This Soviet national policy secured at the state level the provision on three separate Slavic peoples: Russian, Ukrainian and Belorussian, instead of the large Russian nation, a triune people comprising Velikorussians, Malorussians and Belorussians.

In 1939, the USSR regained the lands earlier seized by Poland. A major portion of these became part of the Soviet Ukraine. In 1940, the Ukrainian SSR incorporated part of Bessarabia, which had been occupied by Romania since 1918, as well as Northern Bukovina. In 1948, Zmeyiniy Island (Snake Island) in the Black Sea became part of Ukraine. In 1954, the Crimean Region of the RSFSR was given to the Ukrainian SSR, in gross violation of legal norms that were in force at the time.

I would like to dwell on the destiny of Carpathian Ruthenia, which became part of Czechoslovakia following the breakup of Austria-Hungary. Rusins made up a considerable share of local population. While this is hardly mentioned any longer, after the liberation of Transcarpathia by Soviet troops the congress of the Orthodox population of the region voted for the inclusion of Carpathian Ruthenia in the RSFSR or, as a separate Carpathian republic, in the USSR proper. Yet the choice of people was ignored. In summer 1945, the historical act of the reunification of Carpathian Ukraine ”with its ancient motherland, Ukraine“ – as The Pravda newspaper put it – was announced.

Therefore, modern Ukraine is entirely the product of the Soviet era. We know and remember well that it was shaped – for a significant part – on the lands of historical Russia. To make sure of that, it is enough to look at the boundaries of the lands reunited with the Russian state in the 17th century and the territory of the Ukrainian SSR when it left the Soviet Union.

The Bolsheviks treated the Russian people as inexhaustible material for their social experiments. They dreamt of a world revolution that would wipe out national states. That is why they were so generous in drawing borders and bestowing territorial gifts. It is no longer important what exactly the idea of the Bolshevik leaders who were chopping the country into pieces was. We can disagree about minor details, background and logics behind certain decisions. One fact is crystal clear: Russia was robbed, indeed.

When working on this article, I relied on open-source documents that contain well-known facts rather than on some secret records. The leaders of modern Ukraine and their external ”patrons“ prefer to overlook these facts. They do not miss a chance, however, both inside the country and abroad, to condemn ”the crimes of the Soviet regime,“ listing among them events with which neither the CPSU, nor the USSR, let alone modern Russia, have anything to do. At the same time, the Bolsheviks’ efforts to detach from Russia its historical territories are not considered a crime. And we know why: if they brought about the weakening of Russia, our ill-wishes are happy with that.

Of course, inside the USSR, borders between republics were never seen as state borders; they were nominal within a single country, which, while featuring all the attributes of a federation, was highly centralized – this, again, was secured by the CPSU’s leading role. But in 1991, all those territories, and, which is more important, people, found themselves abroad overnight, taken away, this time indeed, from their historical motherland.

What can be said to this? Things change: countries and communities are no exception. Of course, some part of a people in the process of its development, influenced by a number of reasons and historical circumstances, can become aware of itself as a separate nation at a certain moment. How should we treat that? There is only one answer: with respect!

You want to establish a state of your own: you are welcome! But what are the terms? I will recall the assessment given by one of the most prominent political figures of new Russia, first mayor of Saint Petersburg Anatoly Sobchak. As a legal expert who believed that every decision must be legitimate, in 1992, he shared the following opinion: the republics that were founders of the Union, having denounced the 1922 Union Treaty, must return to the boundaries they had had before joining the Soviet Union. All other territorial acquisitions are subject to discussion, negotiations, given that the ground has been revoked.

In other words, when you leave, take what you brought with you. This logic is hard to refute. I will just say that the Bolsheviks had embarked on reshaping boundaries even before the Soviet Union, manipulating with territories to their liking, in disregard of people’s views.

The Russian Federation recognized the new geopolitical realities: and not only recognized, but, indeed, did a lot for Ukraine to establish itself as an independent country. Throughout the difficult 1990’s and in the new millennium, we have provided considerable support to Ukraine. Whatever ”political arithmetic“ of its own Kiev may wish to apply, in 1991–2013, Ukraine’s budget savings amounted to more than USD 82 billion, while today, it holds on to the mere USD 1.5 billion of Russian payments for gas transit to Europe. If economic ties between our countries had been retained, Ukraine would enjoy the benefit of tens of billions of dollars.

Ukraine and Russia have developed as a single economic system over decades and centuries. The profound cooperation we had 30 years ago is an example for the European Union to look up to. We are natural complementary economic partners. Such a close relationship can strengthen competitive advantages, increasing the potential of both countries.

Ukraine used to possess great potential, which included powerful infrastructure, gas transportation system, advanced shipbuilding, aviation, rocket and instrument engineering industries, as well as world-class scientific, design and engineering schools. Taking over this legacy and declaring independence, Ukrainian leaders promised that the Ukrainian economy would be one of the leading ones and the standard of living would be among the best in Europe.

Today, high-tech industrial giants that were once the pride of Ukraine and the entire Union, are sinking. Engineering output has dropped by 42 per cent over ten years. The scale of deindustrialization and overall economic degradation is visible in Ukraine’s electricity production, which has seen a nearly two-time decrease in 30 years. Finally, according to IMF reports, in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, Ukraine’s GDP per capita had been below USD 4 thousand. This is less than in the Republic of Albania, the Republic of Moldova, or unrecognized Kosovo. Nowadays, Ukraine is Europe’s poorest country.

Who is to blame for this? Is it the people of Ukraine’s fault? Certainly not. It was the Ukrainian authorities who waisted and frittered away the achievements of many generations. We know how hardworking and talented the people of Ukraine are. They can achieve success and outstanding results with perseverance and determination. And these qualities, as well as their openness, innate optimism and hospitality have not gone. The feelings of millions of people who treat Russia not just well but with great affection, just as we feel about Ukraine, remain the same.

Until 2014, hundreds of agreements and joint projects were aimed at developing our economies, business and cultural ties, strengthening security, and solving common social and environmental problems. They brought tangible benefits to people – both in Russia and Ukraine. This is what we believed to be most important. And that is why we had a fruitful interaction with all, I emphasize, with all the leaders of Ukraine.

Even after the events in Kiev of 2014, I charged the Russian government to elaborate options for preserving and maintaining our economic ties within relevant ministries and agencies. However, there was and is still no mutual will to do the same. Nevertheless, Russia is still one of Ukraine’s top three trading partners, and hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are coming to us to work, and they find a welcome reception and support. So that what the ”aggressor state“ is.

When the USSR collapsed, many people in Russia and Ukraine sincerely believed and assumed that our close cultural, spiritual and economic ties would certainly last, as would the commonality of our people, who had always had a sense of unity at their core. However, events – at first gradually, and then more rapidly – started to move in a different direction.

In essence, Ukraine’s ruling circles decided to justify their country’s independence through the denial of its past, however, except for border issues. They began to mythologize and rewrite history, edit out everything that united us, and refer to the period when Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union as an occupation. The common tragedy of collectivization and famine of the early 1930s was portrayed as the genocide of the Ukrainian people.

Radicals and neo-Nazis were open and more and more insolent about their ambitions. They were indulged by both the official authorities and local oligarchs, who robbed the people of Ukraine and kept their stolen money in Western banks, ready to sell their motherland for the sake of preserving their capital. To this should be added the persistent weakness of state institutions and the position of a willing hostage to someone else’s geopolitical will.

I recall that long ago, well before 2014, the U.S. and EU countries systematically and consistently pushed Ukraine to curtail and limit economic cooperation with Russia. We, as the largest trade and economic partner of Ukraine, suggested discussing the emerging problems in the Ukraine-Russia-EU format. But every time we were told that Russia had nothing to do with it and that the issue concerned only the EU and Ukraine. De facto Western countries rejected Russia’s repeated calls for dialogue.

Step by step, Ukraine was dragged into a dangerous geopolitical game aimed at turning Ukraine into a barrier between Europe and Russia, a springboard against Russia. Inevitably, there came a time when the concept of ”Ukraine is not Russia“ was no longer an option. There was a need for the ”anti-Russia“ concept which we will never accept.

The owners of this project took as a basis the old groundwork of the Polish-Austrian ideologists to create an ”anti-Moscow Russia“. And there is no need to deceive anyone that this is being done in the interests of the people of Ukraine. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth never needed Ukrainian culture, much less Cossack autonomy. In Austria-Hungary, historical Russian lands were mercilessly exploited and remained the poorest. The Nazis, abetted by collaborators from the OUN-UPA, did not need Ukraine, but a living space and slaves for Aryan overlords.

Nor were the interests of the Ukrainian people thought of in February 2014. The legitimate public discontent, caused by acute socio-economic problems, mistakes, and inconsistent actions of the authorities of the time, was simply cynically exploited. Western countries directly interfered in Ukraine’s internal affairs and supported the coup. Radical nationalist groups served as its battering ram. Their slogans, ideology, and blatant aggressive Russophobia have to a large extent become defining elements of state policy in Ukraine.

All the things that united us and bring us together so far came under attack. First and foremost, the Russian language. Let me remind you that the new ”Maidan“ authorities first tried to repeal the law on state language policy. Then there was the law on the ”purification of power“, the law on education that virtually cut the Russian language out of the educational process.

Lastly, as early as May of this year, the current president introduced a bill on ”indigenous peoples“ to the Rada. Only those who constitute an ethnic minority and do not have their own state entity outside Ukraine are recognized as indigenous. The law has been passed. New seeds of discord have been sown. And this is happening in a country, as I have already noted, that is very complex in terms of its territorial, national and linguistic composition, and its history of formation.

There may be an argument: if you are talking about a single large nation, a triune nation, then what difference does it make who people consider themselves to be – Russians, Ukrainians, or Belarusians. I completely agree with this. Especially since the determination of nationality, particularly in mixed families, is the right of every individual, free to make his or her own choice.

But the fact is that the situation in Ukraine today is completely different because it involves a forced change of identity. And the most despicable thing is that the Russians in Ukraine are being forced not only to deny their roots, generations of their ancestors but also to believe that Russia is their enemy. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the path of forced assimilation, the formation of an ethnically pure Ukrainian state, aggressive towards Russia, is comparable in its consequences to the use of weapons of mass destruction against us. As a result of such a harsh and artificial division of Russians and Ukrainians, the Russian people in all may decrease by hundreds of thousands or even millions.

Our spiritual unity has also been attacked. As in the days of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a new ecclesiastical has been initiated. The secular authorities, making no secret of their political aims, have blatantly interfered in church life and brought things to a split, to the seizure of churches, the beating of priests and monks. Even extensive autonomy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church while maintaining spiritual unity with the Moscow Patriarchate strongly displeases them. They have to destroy this prominent and centuries-old symbol of our kinship at all costs.

I think it is also natural that the representatives of Ukraine over and over again vote against the UN General Assembly resolution condemning the glorification of Nazism. Marches and torchlit processions in honor of remaining war criminals from the SS units take place under the protection of the official authorities. Mazepa, who betrayed everyone, Petliura, who paid for Polish patronage with Ukrainian lands, and Bandera, who collaborated with the Nazis, are ranked as national heroes. Everything is being done to erase from the memory of young generations the names of genuine patriots and victors, who have always been the pride of Ukraine.

For the Ukrainians who fought in the Red Army, in partisan units, the Great Patriotic War was indeed a patriotic war because they were defending their home, their great common Motherland. Over two thousand soldiers became Heroes of the Soviet Union. Among them are legendary pilot Ivan Kozhedub, fearless sniper, defender of Odessa and Sevastopol Lyudmila Pavlichenko, valiant guerrilla commander Sidor Kovpak. This indomitable generation fought, those people gave their lives for our future, for us. To forget their feat is to betray our grandfathers, mothers and fathers.

The anti-Russia project has been rejected by millions of Ukrainians. The people of Crimea and residents of Sevastopol made their historic choice. And people in the southeast peacefully tried to defend their stance. Yet, all of them, including children, were labeled as separatists and terrorists. They were threatened with ethnic cleansing and the use of military force. And the residents of Donetsk and Lugansk took up arms to defend their home, their language and their lives. Were they left any other choice after the riots that swept through the cities of Ukraine, after the horror and tragedy of 2 May 2014 in Odessa where Ukrainian neo-Nazis burned people alive making a new Khatyn out of it? The same massacre was ready to be carried out by the followers of Bandera in Crimea, Sevastopol, Donetsk and Lugansk. Even now they do not abandon such plans. They are biding their time. But their time will not come.

The coup d’état and the subsequent actions of the Kiev authorities inevitably provoked confrontation and civil war. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights estimates that the total number of victims in the conflict in Donbas has exceeded 13,000. Among them are the elderly and children. These are terrible, irreparable losses.

Russia has done everything to stop fratricide. The Minsk agreements aimed at a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Donbas have been concluded. I am convinced that they still have no alternative. In any case, no one has withdrawn their signatures from the Minsk Package of Measures or from the relevant statements by the leaders of the Normandy format countries. No one has initiated a review of the United Nations Security Council resolution of 17 February 2015.

During official negotiations, especially after being reined in by Western partners, Ukraine’s representatives regularly declare their ”full adherence“ to the Minsk agreements, but are in fact guided by a position of ”unacceptability“. They do not intend to seriously discuss either the special status of Donbas or safeguards for the people living there. They prefer to exploit the image of the ”victim of external aggression“ and peddle Russophobia. They arrange bloody provocations in Donbas. In short, they attract the attention of external patrons and masters by all means.

Apparently, and I am becoming more and more convinced of this: Kiev simply does not need Donbas. Why? Because, firstly, the inhabitants of these regions will never accept the order that they have tried and are trying to impose by force, blockade and threats. And secondly, the outcome of both Minsk‑1 and Minsk‑2 which give a real chance to peacefully restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine by coming to an agreement directly with the DPR and LPR with Russia, Germany and France as mediators, contradicts the entire logic of the anti-Russia project. And it can only be sustained by the constant cultivation of the image of an internal and external enemy. And I would add – under the protection and control of the Western powers.

This is what is actually happening. First of all, we are facing the creation of a climate of fear in Ukrainian society, aggressive rhetoric, indulging neo-Nazis and militarising the country. Along with that we are witnessing not just complete dependence but direct external control, including the supervision of the Ukrainian authorities, security services and armed forces by foreign advisers, military ”development“ of the territory of Ukraine and deployment of NATO infrastructure. It is no coincidence that the aforementioned flagrant law on ”indigenous peoples“ was adopted under the cover of large-scale NATO exercises in Ukraine.

This is also a disguise for the takeover of the rest of the Ukrainian economy and the exploitation of its natural resources. The sale of agricultural land is not far off, and it is obvious who will buy it up. From time to time, Ukraine is indeed given financial resources and loans, but under their own conditions and pursuing their own interests, with preferences and benefits for Western companies. By the way, who will pay these debts back? Apparently, it is assumed that this will have to be done not only by today’s generation of Ukrainians but also by their children, grandchildren and probably great-grandchildren.

The Western authors of the anti-Russia project set up the Ukrainian political system in such a way that presidents, members of parliament and ministers would change but the attitude of separation from and enmity with Russia would remain. Reaching peace was the main election slogan of the incumbent president. He came to power with this. The promises turned out to be lies. Nothing has changed. And in some ways the situation in Ukraine and around Donbas has even degenerated.

In the anti-Russia project, there is no place either for a sovereign Ukraine or for the political forces that are trying to defend its real independence. Those who talk about reconciliation in Ukrainian society, about dialogue, about finding a way out of the current impasse are labelled as ”pro-Russian“ agents.

Again, for many people in Ukraine, the anti-Russia project is simply unacceptable. And there are millions of such people. But they are not allowed to raise their heads. They have had their legal opportunity to defend their point of view in fact taken away from them. They are intimidated, driven underground. Not only are they persecuted for their convictions, for the spoken word, for the open expression of their position, but they are also killed. Murderers, as a rule, go unpunished.

Today, the ”right“ patriot of Ukraine is only the one who hates Russia. Moreover, the entire Ukrainian statehood, as we understand it, is proposed to be further built exclusively on this idea. Hate and anger, as world history has repeatedly proved this, are a very shaky foundation for sovereignty, fraught with many serious risks and dire consequences.

All the subterfuges associated with the anti-Russia project are clear to us. And we will never allow our historical territories and people close to us living there to be used against Russia. And to those who will undertake such an attempt, I would like to say that this way they will destroy their own country.

The incumbent authorities in Ukraine like to refer to Western experience, seeing it as a model to follow. Just have a look at how Austria and Germany, the USA and Canada live next to each other. Close in ethnic composition, culture, in fact sharing one language, they remain sovereign states with their own interests, with their own foreign policy. But this does not prevent them from the closest integration or allied relations. They have very conditional, transparent borders. And when crossing them the citizens feel at home. They create families, study, work, do business. Incidentally, so do millions of those born in Ukraine who now live in Russia. We see them as our own close people.

Russia is open to dialogue with Ukraine and ready to discuss the most complex issues. But it is important for us to understand that our partner is defending its national interests but not serving someone else’s, and is not a tool in someone else’s hands to fight against us.

We respect the Ukrainian language and traditions. We respect Ukrainians’ desire to see their country free, safe and prosperous.

I am confident that true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia. Our spiritual, human and civilizational ties formed for centuries and have their origins in the same sources, they have been hardened by common trials, achievements and victories. Our kinship has been transmitted from generation to generation. It is in the hearts and the memory of people living in modern Russia and Ukraine, in the blood ties that unite millions of our families. Together we have always been and will be many times stronger and more successful. For we are one people.

Today, these words may be perceived by some people with hostility. They can be interpreted in many possible ways. Yet, many people will hear me. And I will say one thing – Russia has never been and will never be ”anti-Ukraine“. And what Ukraine will be – it is up to its citizens to decide.

Western Civilization Has Been Destroyed by Diversity

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS • JULY 6, 2021

For decades liberal gentiles and jews have been lying to us that diversity within a single country is wonderful. Hiding behind this lie is an agenda to undermine every Western country by destroying its unity. The tool used was massive non-white immigration, supplemented in the United States with teaching blacks racial hatred of whites.

If you think blacks have not been taught to hate whites, watch the 13 minute video included in Fred Reed’s article and listen to blacks tell you how much they hate you ( https://www.unz.com/freed/blackness-fatigue-enough-is-too-much/ ). Not all blacks, of course, but the blacks who don’t hate us are “Uncle Toms.” The blacks who do hate white people tell us about it in the Black Arena Report: https://www.blackagendareport.com/freedom-rider-terrible-origins-july-4th

Blacks learn to hate us from liberal gentiles and jews who brought America Cultural Marxism from Germany in the 1930s. Hatred of whites is institutionalized in American education—-critical race theory—-but also in entertainment such as movies, songs, and books. A new entertainment medium has emerged-—woke horror movies concerned with the rise of Trump supporters portrayed as white supremacists. In these movies white supremacists draped in the American flag wipe out black communities. https://www.rt.com/op-ed/528241-forever-purge-trump-capitol-riot/

What most Americans know they have learned from movies and TV. Hardly any Americans read books, much less serious ones. Back in those days when I was a university professor, I recall a lecture I gave on the Russian revolution. A student interrupted me and said, “that’s not the way in happened in the movie.”

At first I thought he was making a joke, but he was serious. He was challenging my explanation based on years of study with a Hollywood movie.

As I have stressed for decades in my annual Christmas column, There is plenty of room for cultural diversity in the world, but not within a single country. A Tower of Babel has no culture. Without a culture there is no nation.

Western countries are no longer nations. There is no longer an American nation, a British nation, a French nation, a German nation. There are only multicultural hell-holes in which dwindling white majorities are so overwhelmed by guilt and self-doubt that they are unable to resist their disintegration and that of their country.

Fred Reed believes that white people, lacking leadership and a media, are slow to awareness, but that awareness is arriving with the consequence being a social explosion ( https://www.unz.com/freed/blackness-fatigue-enough-is-too-much/ ).

Perhaps or perhaps not. The decades of propaganda and indoctrination have done their damage. Entire generations of white ethnicities have been brainwashed against themselves. In the United States critical race theory is institutionalized in the educational system. It has become the norm, and part of the enculturation of American youth. We can be assured that a similar process has long been underway in Europe. Jean Raspail identified it in 1973 in his novel, The Camp of the Saints. Except for Marine Le Pen in France and Nigel Farage in Britain, no European ethnicity has a champion. All European leaders are on the side of the immigrant-invaders.

It is ironic that during the decades that Western civilization was destroyed Western leaders were focused on “nation building” in former colonies.

(Republished from PaulCraigRoberts.org by permission of author or representative)

Al Mayadeen English: To Defy Monopolies

July 1 2021

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Ghassan Ben Jeddou 

Source: Al Mayadeen

We, the family of Al Mayadeen, are all treading the path of freedom in the face of hegemony and supremacy.

Al Mayadeen Family Welcomes Its Newest Member

On the ninth anniversary of the launch of Al Mayadeen Media Network, we were late in issuing Al Mayadeen net in English, yet here it is; our first English platform is now officially released, after two previous Arabic and Spanish editions.

Indeed, it was an amiss delay, we admit that, but to be honest, it was intentional… This step was not among our political, professional, and financial priorities. Moreover, we aimed first to consolidate our base media system that marked our start, to avoid any risk of being overburdened; otherwise, our plans would have gone awry, and our potentials would have been scattered.

Our main concern was to address the Arab public opinion. Who can forget the circumstances under which Al Mayadeen was established prior to the actual fulfillment of our dream? Who can forget that we were in the midst of blood-shedding and destructive Arab, regional, and international conflicts? Can we ever forget the “Decade of Fire” fueled by media outlets blinded and driven by all forms of ignorance and distortion campaigns, to the extent that they actually became essential collaborators in crimes and destruction? We were and still are at the heart of the public opinion battle.

Launching Al Mayadeen website in Spanish was based on a well-considered strategic media decision. We, the Al Mayadeen family, are part of the Global South, in the frame of a true engagement and belonging and not only as a biased partner. The Global South is rich and embraces tens of languages and diverse cultures. Yet, we dare say, it enjoys the same humanitarian options and strategic prospects, all treading the path of freedom in the face of hegemony and supremacy. To that end, Al Mayadeen Español, our second online making, was born.

And today, in chronological and not in preference order, we introduce our third online making, Al Mayadeen English. The time has finally come for this new project to step into the light and shine. This constitutes a new stage in formulating discourse and presenting rich content to our English-speaking followers. There is more to say, but everything will be left at the appropriate time.

We address every speaker and reader of the English language, wherever they may be. We are not going to confine ourselves by aiming for a particular type of audience. We will not corner ourselves in one direction. We’re not going to constrain ourselves to ignorant propaganda and incitement showmanship. At the same time, we will not lose our editorial, cultural, and political identity in the name of fraudulent openness. We will not drain ourselves in conceptual battles. We will not waste our efforts in hypocritical and opportunistic appeasement.

We have been very clear and vocal about our public policies, which we announced since establishing Al Mayadeen. With our pens and voices, we will defend our right to free and boost pluralistic media. We will stand against worldwide media unilateralism. Due to our friends support in international media, we will contribute to establishing a professionally sound and fearless media environment. Open to new cultures, yet politically and strategically steadfast; Al Mayadeen English is for everyone.

It is Al Mayadeen English; its focus will be on the new generations and renewed minds, using modern and scientific language. The news platform is welcoming and accessible. This feature will allow our social media platforms to expand to every home and business; with nothing other than positive engagement, it will be a voice for the free people. It will be a platform that respects reason – unreservedly.

Al Mayadeen is a constructive force in our Arab media environment. It is also a force of influence in public opinion.

Al Mayadeen English joining Al Mayadeen Online is a modest yet well-established step. It is rooted, unwavering, and resilient. It constitutes of a young crew led by an intelligent and creative administration. Thus, this site may usher in a new era for Al Mayadeen.

Today, a website and social media platforms are launched, but tomorrow, it could be greater!

We wish Al Mayadeen English all the luck and success.The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

The Chinese Miracle, Revisited

The Chinese Miracle, Revisited

June 30, 2021

Western exceptionalists may continue to throw a fit 24/7 ad infinitum: that will not change the course of history.

By Pepe Escobar with permission and widely distributed

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) centennial takes place this week at the heart of an incandescent geopolitical equation.

China, the emerging superpower, is back to the global prominence it enjoyed throughout centuries of recorded history, while the declining Hegemon is paralyzed by the “existential challenge” posed to its fleeting, unilateral dominance.

A mindset of full spectrum confrontation already sketched in the 2017 U.S. National Security Review is sliding fast into fear, loathing and relentless Sinophobia.

Add to it the Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership graphically exposing the ultimate Mackinderian nightmare of Anglo-American elites jaded by “ruling the world” – for only two centuries at best.

The Little Helmsman Deng Xiaoping may have coined the ultimate formula for what many in the West defined as the Chinese miracle:

“To seek truth from facts, not from dogmas, whether from East or West”.

So this was never about divine intervention, but planning, hard work, and learning by trial and error.

The recent session of the National People’s Congress provides a stark example. Not only it approved a new Five-Year Plan, but in fact a full road map for China’s development up to 2035: three plans in one.

What the whole world saw, in practice, was the manifest efficiency of the Chinese governance system, capable of designing and implementing extremely complex geoeconomic strategies after plenty of local and regional debate on a vast range of policy initiatives.

Compare it to the endless bickering and gridlock in Western liberal democracies, which are incapable of planning for the next quarter, not to mention fifteen years.

The best and the brightest in China actually do their Deng; they couldn’t care less about the politicizing of governance systems. What matters is what they define as a very effective system to make SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) development plans, and put them in practice.

The 85% popular vote

At the start of 2021, before the onset of the Year of the Metal Ox, President Xi Jinping emphasized that  “favorable social conditions” should be in place for the CCP centennial celebrations.

Oblivious to waves of demonization coming from the West, for Chinese public opinion what matters is whether the CCP delivered. And deliver it did (over 85% popular approval). China controlled Covid-19 in record time; economic growth is back; poverty alleviation was achieved; and the civilization-state became a “moderately prosperous society” – right on schedule for the CCP centennial.

Since 1949, the size of the Chinese economy soared by a whopping 189 times. Over the past two decades, China’s GDP grew 11-fold. Since 2010, it more than doubled, from $6 trillion to $15 trillion, and now accounts for 17% of global economic output.

No wonder Western grumbling is irrelevant. Shanghai Capital investment boss Eric Li succinctly describes the governance gap; in the U.S., government changes but not policy. In China, government doesn’t change; policy does.

This is the background for the next development stage – where the CCP will in fact double down on its unique hybrid model of “socialism with Chinese characteristics”.

The key point is that the Chinese leadership, via non-stop policy adjustments (trial and error, always) has evolved a model of “peaceful rise” – their own terminology – that essentially respects China’s immense historical and cultural experiences.

In this case, Chinese exceptionalism means respecting Confucianism – which privileges harmony and abhors conflict – as well as Daoism – which privileges balance – over the boisterous, warring, hegemonic Western model.

This is reflected in major policy adjustments such as the new “dual circulation” drive, which places greater emphasis on the domestic market compared to China as the “factory of the world”.

Past and future are totally intertwined in China; what was done in previous dynasties echoes in the future. The best contemporary example is the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – the overarching Chinese foreign policy concept for the foreseeable future.

As detailed by Renmin University Professor Wang Yiwei, BRI is about to reshape geopolitics, “bringing Eurasia back to its historical place at the center of human civilization.” Wang has shown how “the two great civilizations of the East and the West were linked until the rise of the Ottoman Empire cut off the Ancient Silk Road”.

Europe moving seaward led to “globalization through colonization”; the decline of the Silk Road; the world’s center shifting to the West; the rise of the U.S.; and the decline of Europe. Now, Wang argues, “Europe is faced with a historic opportunity to return to the world center through the revival of Eurasia.”

And that’s exactly what the Hegemon will go no holds barred to prevent.

Zhu and Xi

It’s fair to argue that Xi’s historical counterpart is the Hongwu emperor Zhu, the founder of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). The emperor was keen to present his dynasty as a Chinese renewal after Mongol domination via the Yuan dynasty.

Xi frames it as “Chinese rejuvenation”: “China used to be a world economic power. However, it missed its chance in the wake of the Industrial Revolution and the consequent dramatic changes, and was thus left behind and suffered humiliation under foreign invasion …we must not let this tragic history repeat itself.”

The difference is that 21st century China under Xi will not retreat inward as it did under the Ming. The parallel for the near future would rather be with the Tang dynasty (618-907), which privileged trade and interactions with the world at large.

To comment on the torrent of Western misinterpretations of China is a waste of time. For the Chinese, the overwhelming majority of Asia, and for the Global South, much more relevant is to register how the American imperial narrative – “we are the liberators of Asia-Pacific” – has now been totally debunked.

In fact Chairman Mao may end up having the last laugh. As he wrote in 1957, “if the imperialists insist on launching a third world war, it is certain that several hundred million more will turn to socialism, and then there will not be much room left on earth for the imperialists; it is also likely that the whole structure of imperialism will utterly collapse.”

Martin Jacques, one of the very few Westerners who actually studied China in depth, correctly pointed out how “China has enjoyed five separate periods when it has enjoyed a position of pre-eminence – or shared pre-eminence – in the world: part of the Han, the Tang, arguably the Song, the early Ming, and the early Qing.”

So China, historically, does represent continuous renewal and “rejuvenation” (Xi). We’re right in the middle of another one of these phases – now conducted by a CCP dynasty that, incidentally, does not believe in miracles, but in hardcore planning. Western exceptionalists may continue to throw a fit 24/7 ad infinitum: that will not change the course of history.

سلاح الكلمة The weapon of the word.

**Please scroll down for the English Machine translation**

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29/06/2021

بثينة شعبان 

المصدر: الميادين نت

استمرّ الغرب بتطوير نهجه بالاهتمام بالكلمة إلى جانب الطلقة، فكانت الحرب الإعلاميّة لا تقلّ أهميّة عن السلاح المستخدم في الحروب.

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إنّ الكلمة في هذا الصراع هي من أمضى الأسلحة، كما أن المثقفين والمفكرين والكتّاب المؤمنين بقضاياهم جنود أساسيون.

متى سيدرك العرب أنَّ أهمية أيّ حدث تقاس بديمومة نتائجه وآثاره والقدرة على التأثير في الواقع من خلال هذه النتائج؟ ومتى سيكفّون عن التهليل والترويج، ويبدأون بتكريس الوقت والجهد لمراجعات حقيقية معمّقة وشاملة، تعزّز الصواب وتصحّح الأخطاء، لمنع الوقوع فيها مرة أخرى وتكرارها؟ 

من يتفكَّر في التاريخ الحديث للسياسات الغربية في المنطقة والعالم، لا بد من أن يصل إلى استنتاج مفاده أنهم يستفيدون من كلّ تجربة يخوضونها، ويتخذون القرارات التي تجنّبهم الوقوع في الأخطاء ذاتها مرة أخرى، وتمكّنهم من تحسين أدائهم في المرات القادمة. 

على سبيل المثال لا الحصر، اكتشفت الولايات المتحدة إبان حربها على فيتنام أنَّ الإعلام الحرّ في حينه أدى دوراً مهماً في صناعة الرأي العام الأميركي والعالمي لمصلحة فيتنام وإيصال حقيقة جرائم العدوان الأميركي فيها إلى معظم البشر؛ فقامت بعد ذلك بتغييرات جذرية في البنى الإعلامية، من الملكية إلى المواضيع والأسلوب، وحتى إلى اللغة والجمل والصياغة، بحيث لم نشهد أيّ صرخة إعلامية حين احتلَّت الولايات المتحدة العراق في العام 2003 لأسباب واهية، بل قامت في هذه الحرب بتطوير سيطرتها الإعلامية، ليصبح الإعلام المسموح به هو الإعلام المرافق للقوات فقط، بحيث يحتاج أي خبر إعلامي لموافقة القائد العسكري الأميركي في العراق. 

وقد استمرّ الغرب بتطوير نهجه بالاهتمام بالكلمة إلى جانب الطلقة، فكانت الحرب الإعلاميّة المضلّلة التي شنّها لتبرير قصف ليبيا، والعدوان على سوريا من خلال أدواته الإرهابية، والترويج للحرب على شعب اليمن، وهو ما لا يقلّ أهميّة عن السلاح المستخدم في هذه الحروب. 

ولهذا كله، توقف الغرب وقفة مهمة، إذ تمكن الشباب الفلسطيني والعربي وأحرار العالم من كسر الاحتكار الغربي للإعلام خلال الهبّة الفلسطينية المباركة، واستخدموا الإعلام الجديد لإيصال حقيقة ما يجري إلى أرجاء الأرض، وكشف كذب الصهيونية والوسائل الإعلامية المماثلة لها، والتي اعتادت أن تكون الوحيدة التي توصل النسخة التي تريد عن الأحداث إلى عقول الشعوب وقلوبهم في البلدان الغربية، بحيث أصبح دعم هذه الشعوب لجرائم الكيان الصهيوني ضد الفلسطينيين أمراً مسلماً به لا يجرؤ أحد على تحديه.

حين خرج مئات الآلاف في الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا وفرنسا وكندا وأستراليا يحملون الأعلام الفلسطينية، ويعبرون عن دعمهم للحق الفلسطيني ولشعب فلسطين في أرضه ودياره، دقّ ناقوس الخطر لديهم بأن إحدى أهم أدواتهم، وهي “التضليل الإعلامي”، تتعرّض لتحدٍّ غير مسبوق من قِبل من فَهِم الآلية وقرر أن يستخدمها لمصلحته حقوقه.

من هنا، يجب أن نقرأ أيضاً قرار السلطات الأميركية حجب مواقع قنوات “العالم” و”المسيرة” و”اللؤلؤة” و”فلسطين اليوم” و”نبأ” و”الكوثر” على الإنترنت، لأنَّ هذه القنوات هي قنوات مقاومة، وهي توضح الوقائع لجمهور المقاومة كي لا يكون ضحيّة للتضليل الإعلامي الغربي. لقد وصل قلق الولايات المتحدة إلى أنها اتخذت قرارات قضائية، واستولت على 33 موقعاً يستخدمها اتحاد الإذاعات والتلفزيونات الإسلامية، و3 مواقع إلكترونية يستخدمها “حزب الله”.

وفي الوقت الذي يُعتبر هذا العمل تقييداً صارخاً لحرية التعبير، وعملاً شائناً لكمِّ الأفواه غير المنسجمة مع الإرادة الأميركية، فإنّ هذا العمل يعبّر عن مدى القلق الذي يشعر به أصحاب القرار في الولايات المتحدة، وفي الغرب عموماً، من اتساع مساحة الفهم الحقيقي لما يقومون به من جرائم بحق الإنسانية، ودور الشبكات الإعلامية المقاومة والإعلام الجديد في إرساء أسس هذا الفهم المستحدث إلى حدّ ما. 

كما يتزامن ذلك مع إعلاء صوت الإعلام الرسمي والخاص في الصين وروسيا، وتصدّي القيادات الصينية والروسية لكلّ تصريح ينطلق من الغرب، وتقديم الجواب المناسب له، وضمان نشر هذا الجواب في الفضاء الإعلامي الغربي. هذا كلّه يعتبر جزءاً لا يتجزّأ من تشكّل العالم المتعدّد الأقطاب، والوعي بأهمية امتلاك الشرق لصوته وأدواته، وأن لا يصل هذا الصوت إلى الدول المستضعفة فحسب، وإنما إلى الدول التي تمتلك أدوات التضليل والهيمنة وتشغّلها أيضاً.

وفي هذا الإطار، إنّ تصفية المقاوم العربي الشريف نزار بنات، والذي استخدم الكلمة والفكر سلاحاً ضدّ العدوان والمعتدين، تعتبر سابقة خطيرة ومشؤومة في أعقاب الهبّة الفلسطينية والمنجزات التي تتحقّق ببطء، ولكن باستمرار، من حيث إنارة درب الناس بالكلمة الصادقة المعبّرة عن الواقع، بعيداً عن النفاق الغربي وتلاعبه بالحقائق والوقائع والأسلوب والجملة والكلمة.

إنّ أكثر ما تأثّرتُ به لخسارة الشهيد نزار بنات هو ما قالته والدته المكلومة: “أعطوا الحرية للمثقفين؛ فنزار كان موسوعة، وحرام أن يموت هكذا”. في هذه الجمل، عبّرت هذه السيدة المقاومة، والتي ربّت نزار على المقاومة، عن حرصها على القضية وعلى فلسطين، رغم خسارتها الشخصيَّة لابنها، لكنها اعتبرته خسارة لفلسطين وللقضية، لأنه كان موسوعة.

 كم هي نبيلة أولاً! وكم هي محقّة ثانياً! لأنهم في الحرب على امتلاك الصوت، يريدون تصفية الأصوات الحرّة والمنتمية في كلّ مكان، كما فعلوا دائماً، من ناجي العلي، إلى غسان كنفاني، إلى مئات الشباب المثقف المقاوم، وفي الوقت ذاته يحجبون المواقع ووسائل الإعلام.

لقد لفت نظري في مؤتمر الأمن الدولي الذي عُقد في سانت بطرسبرغ منذ أيام أنّ وزير خارجية الجزائر شكر روسيا على دعم سوريا في مكافحة الإرهاب. وفي المؤتمر ذاته، حذّر الرئيس بوتين من أنّ النظام العالمي يتمّ تقويضه، وأنّ محاولات البعض لتحقيق مصالحهم وتعزيز أمنهم على حساب أمن الآخرين مستمرةٌّ من دون رادع، بينما أكّد أنّ روسيا تحاول توسيع قاعدة التعاون الخلّاق بين الدول على أسس متساوية وبالوسائل السّياسية والدبلوماسيّة. وفي الأمم المتحدة، أكّد مندوب الصين، في وجه المحاولات الغربية لفرض فتح المعابر إلى سوريا، أنّ “تحسين الوضع الإنساني في سوريا يتطلّب جهوداً عالمية مشتركة ونهجاً شاملاً”.

إذاً، اليوم في المنطقة والعالم، وصلنا إلى نقطة يشعر فيها الغرب بأنّه يكاد يفقد سيطرته وهيمنته على منابع الثروات العربية التي ينهبها، من خلال قمع شعوبنا وتصدير أدواته الإرهابية، وهو يتحسّس بداية خلل في احتكاره التاريخي لإيصال الصورة التي يريد إلى أذهان الشعوب. 

من ناحية أخرى، هناك يقظة صينية – روسية – إيرانية – فنزويلية – سورية – فلسطينية – جزائرية، تشمل عدداً كبيراً من دول العالم، ضاقت ذرعاً بالهيمنة الغربية، وقرّرت اجتراح الأساليب والسبل لإيصال صوتها إلى مبتغاه. نحن في مرحلة قلق شديد لدى القطب الواحد من فقدان هيمنته، وإدراك متسارع للأقطاب الأخرى بقدرتهم المؤكدة على بناء عالم جديد على أساس المصير المشترك والكرامة المتساوية لبني البشر. 

إنّ الكلمة في هذا الصراع هي من أمضى الأسلحة، كما أن المثقفين والمفكرين والكتّاب المؤمنين بقضاياهم جنود أساسيون. علينا جميعاً الانتباه إلى محاولات الفتك بهم أو تشويه ما يكتبون وما يقولون لمصلحة القوى المعادية، فالعملاء المأجورون اليوم يعملون في الداخل والخارج، وقد يكون عملاء الداخل أكثر قدرة على إلحاق الأضرار بقضايانا. لا وجهات نظر في مسألة الحقّ والباطل، ولا وجهة نظر بين الانتماء والخيانة. المرحلة مرحلة حسم ووضوح وشجاعة على تسمية الأشياء والأشخاص بمسمّياتها، وعلى تأبّط الصبر والمثابرة والإيمان بالانتصار زاداً مستمرّاً لكلّ الشرفاء المؤمنين بقضايا شعوبنا المحقّة والعادلة. فلنُعِد للّغة مكانتها، وللكلمة المقاومة مكانها المشرّف، وللمثقفين المقاومين الدعم والاحترام والتقدير والمؤازرة في مهمتهم التاريخية النبيلة.

The weapon of the word.

The West continued to develop its approach to taking care of the word alongside the shot, and the media war was as important as the weapon used in the wars.

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The word in this conflict is the one who has spent the weapons, and intellectuals, intellectuals and writers who believe in their causes are essential soldiers.

When will The Arabs realize that the importance of any event is measured by the permanence of its consequences and its effects and the ability to actually influence through these results? When will they stop cheering and promoting, and start devoting time and effort to real, in-depth and comprehensive reviews that promote right and correct mistakes, to prevent them from falling back and repeating them?

Those who reflect on the recent history of Western politics in the region and the world must come to the conclusion that they benefit from every experience they experience, make decisions that avoid making the same mistakes again, and enable them to improve their performance in the coming times.

To name a few, during its war on Vietnam, the United States discovered that free media at the time played an important role in making American and global public opinion in Vietnam’s interest and communicating the truth about the crimes of American aggression to most people; The war is developing its media control, so that the permitted media is only the media accompanying the forces, so that any media news needs the approval of the U.S. military commander in Iraq.

The West has continued to develop its approach to taking care of the word alongside the shot, and the misguided media war it has waged to justify the bombing of Libya, the aggression against Syria through its terrorist tools, and the promotion of war against the people of Yemen, which is as important as the weapon used in these wars.

For all this, the West stopped an important pause, as the Palestinian and Arab youth and the free world were able to break the Western monopoly of the media during the blessed Palestinian gift, and used the new media to convey the truth of what is going on all over the earth, and uncovered the lies of Zionism and similar media, which used to be the only one that brought the version of events to the minds and hearts of the peoples in western countries, so that their support for the crimes of the Zionist entity against the Palestinians became taken for granted by no one dares to Challenged.

When hundreds of thousands of people in the United States, Britain, France, Canada and Australia came out carrying Palestinian flags and expressing their support for the Palestinian right and the people of Palestine in their land and homes, they sounded the alarm that one of their most important tools, “disinformation,” was subjected to an unprecedented challenge from understanding the mechanism and decided to use it for its own benefit.

Hence, we should also read the decision of the U.S. authorities to block the sites of the channels “Al-Alam”, “March”, “Pearl”, “Palestine Today”, “Akhbar” and “Kawtar” on the Internet, because these channels are channels of resistance, and they clarify the facts to the audience of resistance so as not to be a victim of Western media misinformation. The United States is concerned that it has taken judicial decisions, seizing 33 sites used by the Islamic Radio and Television Union and three websites used by Hezbollah.

While this action is a blatant restriction of freedom of expression, and an outrageous act of unconscionable mouths with American will, this action reflects the extent to which decision makers in the United States, and in the West in general, feel about the breadth of real understanding of their crimes against humanity, and the role of resistance media networks and the new media in laying the foundations for this fairly new understanding.

This also coincides with the raising of the voice of the official and private media in China and Russia, the response of Chinese and Russian leaders to every statement emanating from the West, providing the appropriate answer to it, and ensuring that this answer is published in the Western media space. All of this is an integral part of the multipolar world, and awareness of the importance of the East having its voice and tools, and reaching not only vulnerable States, but also states that possess and occupy disinformation and hegemony.

In this context, the liquidation of the Arab resistance, The Honorable Nizar Banat, who used the word and thought as a weapon against aggression and aggressors, is a dangerous and ominous precedent in the wake of the Palestinian donation and the achievements that are being achieved slowly, but constantly, in terms of lighting the path of the people with a sincere word expressing reality, away from Western hypocrisy and manipulating facts, facts, methods, sentences and words.

What was most affected by the loss of martyr Nizar Banat was what his grieving mother said: “Give freedom to intellectuals; Nizar was an encyclopedia, and he must die like this.” In these sentences, this resistance lady, who raised Nizar on the resistance, expressed her concern for the cause and Palestine, despite her personal loss of her son, but considered it a loss for Palestine and for the cause, because it was an encyclopedia.

How noble she is first! And how right she is again! Because in the war on the possession of sound, they want to filter free and belonging voices everywhere, as they have always done, from Naji al-Ali to Ghassan Kanafani, to hundreds of educated resistance youth, while blocking websites and the media.

I was struck at the International Security Conference held in St. Petersburg a few days ago that the Algerian Foreign Minister thanked Russia for supporting Syria in the fight against terrorism. At the same conference, President Putin warned that the world order was being undermined, that attempts by some to achieve their interests and enhance their security at the expense of the security of others continued unchecked, while stressing that Russia was trying to expand the base of creative cooperation between states on an equal basis and by political and diplomatic means. At the United Nations, in the face of Western attempts to force the opening of crossings into Syria, the Chinese representative stressed that “improving the humanitarian situation in Syria requires joint global efforts and a comprehensive approach.”

So, today in the region and the world, we have reached a point where the West feels that it is almost losing control and dominance over the sources of Arab wealth that it plunders, by suppressing our peoples and exporting its terrorist tools, and is feeling the beginning of a flaw in its historical monopoly to convey the image it wants to the minds of peoples.

On the other hand, there is a Sino-Russian-Iranian-Venezuelan-Syrian-Palestinian-Algerian vigilance, which includes a large number of countries in the world, fed up with Western hegemony, and has decided to go through the methods and ways to get its voice to its goal. We are in a period of great concern among the pole of the loss of its dominance, and an accelerated realization of other poles of their proven ability to build a new world on the basis of common destiny and equal dignity for human beings.

The word in this conflict is the one who has spent the weapons, and intellectuals, intellectuals and writers who believe in their causes are essential soldiers. We should all pay attention to attempts to kill them or distort what they write and what they say for the benefit of hostile forces, as the paid agents today work at home and abroad, and agents at home may be better able to harm our causes. No views on the question of right and wrong, nor a view between belonging and betrayal. The stage is a stage of determination, clarity and courage in naming things and people by their names, and on the patience, perseverance and belief in victory has continued to increase for all honest people who believe in the issues of our peoples that are right and just. Let us return to the language of its place, the word resistance has its honorable place, and the resistant intellectuals have support, respect, appreciation and support in their noble historical mission.

«الشرق الأوسط الإسلاميّ» مركز ثقل العالم بين بكين وطهران…The “Islamic Middle East” is the center of the world’s gravity between Beijing and Tehran…

**Please scroll down for the Adjusted English Machine translation**

«الشرق الأوسط الإسلاميّ» مركز ثقل العالم بين بكين وطهران

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 محمد صادق الحسيني

كلّ المؤشرات والقرائن والوقائع الميدانيّة على أكثر من صعيد إقليمي ودولي باتت تؤكد انعدام الرؤية الاستراتيجية لدى الدولة التي كانت يوماً الأعظم في العالم وهي الولايات المتحدة الأميركية…!

بايدن يطلب اللقاء مع بوتين على عجل لوقف تدهور العلاقات بين بلديهما، وإجراء تهدئة تمنع تقدم الحليفين الاستراتيجيبن الصين وروسيا على حساب الدولة التي تهشّمت صورتها في أكثر من ساحة دولية رغم ظاهرها المخادع كدولة عظمى!

محاولة بايدن هذه لا تحمل أيّ معالم صفقة او اتفاقيات بين البلدين، بل تهدف اساساً الى منع موسكو من توظيف كل من الصين والهند وايران كمجال حيوي لتنشيط المقدرات الروسية الهائلة في هذه البلدان بديلاً عن أوروبا التي تحاول واشنطن إغلاقها بوجه موسكو قدر الإمكان…

وفي سياق مثل هذه الأولوية الاستراتيجية فقط يمكن فهم محاولات واشنطن المتعثرة لكنها المصرّة على وقف تهوّرات حليفيها التاريخيين جنوب وغرب إيران، ايّ الكيانين السعودي و»الإسرائيلي»!

وقف حرب اليمن حتى على سبيل الخدعة والمناورة تحتاج اليها واشنطن حتى تتمكن من وقف التمدّد الإيراني الذي يزداد اندفاعه مع كلّ يوم يمرّ على تخبّط إدارة محمد بن سلمان الغارقة في مستنقع حرب اليمن الآسن والذي لم يعد يجلب للرياض سوى سرعة أفول القبيلة السعودية الحاكمة، وإنْ على مراحل…

هكذا تفهم أيضاً خطوات حكومة بايدن التي تتخلّى شيئاً فشيئاً عن تهوّرات نتن ياهو وتحاول استبداله بالثنائي بينيت – ليبيد الأميركيّي النزعة والجنسية الثانية…

ثمّة رعب خفي يحكم كلّ تصرفات إدارة بايدن من أمر تعتبره ربما نهاية التاريخ الأميركي الحقيقية وليست نهاية تاريخ فوكوياما الشهيرة.

فمركز ثقل العالم يُسرع في الانتقال من الغرب الى الشرق وكلّ العلائم في المعلوماتية والتقنيات وحروب الجيل الخامس والاقتصاد والثقافة والفنون وعالم ما بعد الدولار تفيد بأنّ الغرب لم يعد مركز العالم ولا حتى النموذج المحبّب أو الجاذب لغالبية سكان الكرة الأرضية كما كان في القرن الماضي.

إنّ القرن الذي أنهينا عشريّتين منه بات قرن الصين وروسيا وإيران بامتياز، وكلّ قوى الحرية والتمرّد على الهيمنة الغربية في العالم لا سيما الهيمنة الأميركية منها باتت ترنو لرؤية عالم ما بعد أميركا.

حتى ربيبة أميركا الصهيونية في حرب الـ 11 يوماً الأخيرة على فلسطين – سيف القدس – لم تتمكّن من تحقيق ولو صورة نصر بل على العكس تماماً، 4 أيام متتالية تقوم نحو 200 طائرة عسكرية إسرائيلية (ايّ نحو ثلثي الطيران الحربي) بقصف شريط لا يتجاوز نحو 30 كلم من البحر غرباً حتى الشجاعية شرقاً، ولا نتيجة تذكر سوى تهديم أبنية وقتل أطفال ونساء وفشل عسكري تامّ، وانقلاب الصورة لدى الرأي العام حتى الغربي ضدّ تل أبيب ووضعها في صورة قاتلة المدنيين ولا غير…

كلّ هذا من علامات جغرافيا آخر الزمان وانحطاط القوة الغربية وضياع الرؤية لدى الأميركي الذي ظنّ يوماً انه سيد العالم، فإذا به يكتشف انه بات محاطاً بقوى تفوقه بكلّ شيء تقريباً إلا القتل والمخاتلة والخديعة طبعاً!

حتى الاتفاق النووي وليالي الأنس في فيبنا باتت سراباً في سراب بالنسبة للأميركي فلا هو قادر على إعادة إحياء الاتفاق كما يريد ولا هو قادر على إعادة إيران الى المربع الذي يرغب…

إيران الجديدة القادمة بسرعة خلال الأشهر الثلاثة المقبلة لم تعد أصلاً بحاجة الى إحياء الاتفاق النووي، بعد أن دخل في دور المحاق داخلياً في زمن انتخابات مصيرية ستنقل إيران مباشرة الى نادي الدول العظمى من دون حتى رفع العقوبات…

تذكروا ماذا قال الإمام السيد علي الخامنئي في أكثر من خطاب:

إنّ مفتاح اقتصاد إيران ليس في لوزان ولا جنيف ولا نيويورك… إنه في داخل إيران…

جاء الوقت لتتمّ ترجمة هذا الشعار على يد الرباعي (رئيسي – جليلي – زاكاني – قاضي زاده هاشمي)، في إطار حكومة شبابية ثورية مبدئية هي أيضاً جزء من تحالف «شرق أوسطي إسلامي» يقف خلفه سور الصين العظيم وسيف القيصر الروسي.

ووجهته القدس دائماً وأبداً…

في مثل هذه الأجواء والفضاءات يمكن فهم ما تفضّل به القائد التاريخيّ المشرقيّ الشجاع سماحة السيد حسن نصر الله في ثلاثينية المنار لتحرير فلسطين عندما قال :

استيراد البنزين والمازوت والفيول من الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران من قبل حزب الله مباشرة أو شركات خاصة تابعة هو خيار سياسي واقتصادي واجتماعي للأكثرية اللبنانية التي تعاني المذلة لأنّ بعض السياسيين يؤثرون رضى الأميركي على مصلحة المواطنين، والشروع بهذا الخيار سيؤدّي إلى جهود أميركية علنية لمنع وصول البواخر، وبالتالي سيفضح كلّ الدعاية السخيفة والكاذبة التي تقول إنّ أميركا تقف إلى جانب الشعب اللبناني، ولذلك قد يؤدي التهديد وحده إلى حلّ المشكلة ولو بشكل جزئي…

ولكن يبقى خيار الاتجاه الفعلي إلى الشرق هو الحلّ الجذري لكلّ مشكلات دول وقوى التحرر العربية والإسلامية من جبال الأطلس الكبير غرباً الى سور الصين العظيم شرقاً…

قد نرى تقلب وجهك في السماء فلنولينك قبلة ترضاها.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…


The “Islamic Middle East” is the center of the world’s gravity between Beijing and Tehran…

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Mohamed Sadek Al , Husseini

All indicators, evidence and facts on the ground on more than one regional and international level now confirm the lack of strategic vision of the country that was once the greatest in the world, the United States of America…

Biden urgently requests a meeting with Putin to stop the deterioration of relations between their two countries, and to conduct a calm that prevents the progress of the two strategic allies, China and Russia, at the expense of the country, whose image has been shattered in more than one international arena, despite its deceptive appearance as a superpower!

Biden’s attempt does not bear any features of a deal or agreements between the two countries, but rather aims mainly to prevent Moscow from employing China, India and Iran as a vital area to stimulate Russia’s enormous capabilities in these countries as an alternative to Europe, which Washington is trying to close to Moscow as much as possible…

It is only in the context of such a strategic priority that it is possible to understand Washington’s faltering attempts, but it is determined to stop the recklessness of its two historical allies, south and west of Iran, that is, the Saudi and “Israeli” entities!

Stopping the Yemen war, even as a trick and maneuver, is needed by Washington in order to be able to stop the Iranian expansion, which is getting more and more motivated with each passing day, as the Mohammed bin Salman administration floundered in the bitter quagmire of the Yemen war, which no longer brings Riyadh only the speed of the demise of the ruling Saudi tribe, albeit in stages…

This is also how to understand the steps of the Biden administration, which is gradually abandoning Netanyahu’s stinking recklessness and trying to replace him with Bennett-Lapid American duo of American Behavior and second nationality.

There is a hidden horror governing all the actions of the Biden administration from something it considers perhaps the true end of American history, not the end of Fukuyama’s history.

The center of weight of the world is accelerating the transition from west to east and all the signs in informatics, technology, 5G wars, economy, culture, the arts and the post-dollar world indicate that the West is no longer the center of the world, nor is it even the beloved or attractive model of the majority of the earth’s population as it was in the last century.

The century from which we have finished is the century of China, Russia and Iran with distinction, and all the forces of freedom and rebellion against Western hegemony in the world, particularly American hegemony, are now looking forward to seeing the post-American world.

Even the Zionist America’s 11-day war on Palestine , the Sword of Jerusalem, has not been able to achieve even a victory image, quite the contrary, four consecutive days in which some 200 Israeli military aircraft (about two-thirds of the military aviation) bomb a strip not more than 30 km from the sea west to Shujaiya to the east, and the result is little but the destruction of buildings and the killing of children and women and a complete military failure, and the reversal of the image in public opinion even western against Tel Aviv and putting it in the form of a deadly civilian and nothing else…

All this is a sign of the geography of the end of time, the decline of Western power and the loss of vision of the American, who once thought he was the master of the world, so he discovers that he is surrounded by forces that surpass him with almost everything but killing, imagination and deception of course!

Even the nuclear deal and the nights of the people of Our Country have become a mirage for the American, he is not able to revive the agreement as he wants and he is not able to return Iran to the square he wants…

The new Iran coming quickly over the next three months no longer needs to revive the nuclear deal, after it entered the role of internal catch-up in the time of crucial elections will move Iran directly to the club of the great powers without even lifting sanctions…

Remember what Imam Ali Khamenei said in more than one speech: The key to Iran’s economy is not in Lausanne, Geneva, nor New York… It is inside Iran…

The time has come for this slogan to be translated by the Quartet (Main – Jalili- Zakani – Qazizadeh Hashemi), within the framework of an initial revolutionary youth government that is also part of the “Middle Eastern Islamic” alliance behind which the Great Wall and the Sword of the Russian Tsarstand.

Jerusalem is always and never directed…

In such an atmosphere and space, it is possible to understand what the courageous, levantine historical leader, His Eminence Hassan Nasrallah, preferred in the 1930s to liberate Palestine when he said:

The import of gasoline, gasoline and fuel from the Islamic Republic of Iran directly by Hezbollah or private subsidiaries is a political, economic and social choice for the lebanese majority, which suffers humiliation because some politicians influence the satisfaction of the American on the interest of the citizens, and initiating this option will lead to public U.S. efforts to prevent the arrival of ships, and therefore will expose all the silly and false propaganda that says that America stands with the Lebanese people, so the threat alone may solve the problem even partially…

But the option of the actual direction to the east remains the radical solution to all the problems of arab and Islamic liberation countries and forces from the Great Atlas Mountains to the Great Wall to the east…

We may see your face flip in the sky.

we are still alive, say god

US, UK, EU barbaric sanctions are killing Syrians — The Wall Will Fall

Syria has been the stage upon which a world war is being fought and our global power balance is being re-calibrated as a result – a balance which does not comply with US allied unipolarity. Russia, Iran, China and the non-aligned axis would see a multi-polar world emerge from the ashes of this conflict. Washington clings to the supremacist exceptionalism with which it has dominated the world and any threat to that supremacy must be crushed and destroyed – diplomacy is dead in the West. Politicians, diplomats in the US-aligned sphere have become talking heads for central power policy diktats, there is no anti-war party, there is no “democracy” there is only dictatorship and military aggression either direct or proxy when their demands are not met.

US, UK, EU barbaric sanctions are killing Syrians — The Wall Will Fall

Dr Bouthaina Shaaban: a decade of dirty war on Syria

May 8, 2021

Brave New Cancel Culture World

Brave New Cancel Culture World

May 01, 2021

If we need a date when the West started to go seriously wrong, let’s start with Rome in the early 5th century

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

In 2020, we saw the enshrinement of techno-feudalism – one of the overarching themes of my latest book, Raging Twenties.

In lightning speed, the techno-feudalism virus is metastasizing into an even more lethal, wilderness of mirrors variant, where cancel culture is enforced by Big Tech all across the spectrum, science is routinely debased as fake news in social media, and the average citizen is discombobulated to the point of lobotomy.

Giorgio Agamben has defined it as a new totalitarianism.

Top political analyst Alastair Crooke has attempted a sharp breakdown of the broader configuration.

Geopolitically, the Hegemon would even resort to 5G war to maintain its primacy, while seeking moral legitimization via the woke revolution, duly exported to its Western satrapies.

The woke revolution is a culture war – in symbiosis with Big Tech and Big Business – that has smashed the real thing: class war. The atomized working classes, struggling to barely survive, have been left to wallow in anomie.

The great panacea, actually the ultimate “opportunity” offered by Covid-19, is the Great Reset advanced by Herr Schwab of Davos: essentially the replacement of a dwindling manufacturing base by automation, in tandem with a reset of the financial system.

The concomitant wishful thinking envisages a world economy that will “move closer to a cleaner capitalist model”. One of its features is a delightfully benign Council for Inclusive Capitalism in partnership with the Catholic Church.

As much as the pandemic – the “opportunity” for the Reset – was somewhat rehearsed by Event 201 in October 2019, additional strategies are already in place for the next steps, such as Cyber Polygon, which warns against the “key risks of digitalization”. Don’t miss their “technical exercise” on July 9th, when “participants will hone their practical skills in mitigating a targeted supply chain attack on a corporate ecosystem in real time.”

A New Concert of Powers?

Sovereignty is a lethal threat to the ongoing cultural revolution. That concerns the role of the European Union institutions – especially the European Commission – going no holds barred to dissolve the national interests of nation states. And that largely explains the weaponizing, in varying degrees, of Russophobia, Sinophobia and Iranophobia.

The anchoring essay in Raging Twenties analyzes the stakes in Eurasia exactly in terms of the Hegemon pitted against the Three Sovereigns – which are Russia, China and Iran.

It’s under this framework, for instance, that a massive, 270-plus page bill, the Strategic Competition Act , has been recently passed at the US Senate. That goes way beyond geopolitical competition, charting a road map to fight China across the full spectrum. It’s bound to become law, as Sinophobia is a bipartisan sport in D.C.

Hegemon oracles such as the perennial Henry Kissinger at least are taking a pause from their customary Divide and Rule shenanigans to warn that the escalation of “endless” competition may derail into hot war – especially considering AI and the latest generations of smart weapons.

On the incandescent US-Russia front, where Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sees the lack of mutual trust, no to mention respect, as much worse than during the Cold War, analyst Glenn Diesen notes how the Hegemon “strives to convert the security dependence of the Europeans into geoeconomic loyalty”.

That’s at the heart of a make-or-break saga: Nord Stream 2. The Hegemon uses every weapon – including cultural war, where convicted crook Navalny is a major pawn – to derail an energy deal that is essential for Germany’s industrial interests. Simultaneously, pressure increases against Europe buying Chinese technology.

Meanwhile, NATO – which lords over the EU – keeps being built up as a global Robocop, via the NATO 2030 project – even after turning Libya into a militia-ridden wasteland and having its collective behind humiliatingly spanked in Afghanistan.

For all the sound and fury of sanction hysteria and declinations of cultural war, the Hegemon establishment is not exactly blind to the West “losing not only its material dominance but also its ideological sway”.

So the Council on Foreign Relations – in a sort of Bismarckian hangover – is now proposing a New Concert of Powers to deal with “angry populism” and “illiberal temptations”, conducted of course by those malign actors such as “pugnacious Russia” who dare to “challenge the West’s authority”.

As much as this geopolitical proposal may be couched in benign rhetoric, the endgame remains the same: to “restore US leadership”, under US terms. Damn those “illiberals” Russia, China and Iran.

Crooke evokes exactly a Russian and a Chinese example to illustrate where the woke cultural revolution may lead to.

In the case of the Chinese cultural revolution, the end result was chaos, fomented by the Red Guards, which started to wreak their own particular havoc independent of the Communist Party leadership.

And then there’s Dostoevsky in The Possessed, which showed how the secular Russian liberals of the 1840s created the conditions for the emergence of the 1860s generation: ideological radicals bent on burning down the house.

No question: “revolutions” always eat their children. It usually starts with a ruling elite imposing their newfound Platonic Forms on others. Remember Robespierre. He formulated his politics in a very Platonic way – “the peaceful enjoyment of liberty and equality, the reign of eternal justice” with laws “engraved in the hearts of all men”.

Well, when others disagreed with Robespierre’s vision of Virtue, we all know what happened: the Terror. Just like Plato, incidentally, recommended in Laws. So it’s fair to expect that the children of the woke revolution will eventually be eaten alive by their zeal.

Canceling freedom of speech

As it stands, it’s fair to argue when the “West” started to go seriously wrong – in a cancel culture sense. Allow me to offer the Cynic/Stoic point of view of a 21st century global nomad.

If we need a date, let’s start with Rome – the epitome of the West – in the early 5th century. Follow the money. That’s the time when income from properties owned by temples were transferred to the Catholic Church – thus boosting its economic power. By the end of the century, even gifts to temples were forbidden.

In parallel, a destruction overdrive was in progress – fueled by Christian iconoclasm, ranging from crosses carved in pagan statues to bathhouses converted into churches. Bathing naked? Quelle horreur!

The devastation was quite something. One of the very few survivors was the fabulous bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback, in the Campidoglio/ Capitoline Hill (today it’s housed in the museum). The statue survived only because the pious mobs thought the emperor was Constantine.

The very urban fabric of Rome was destroyed: rituals, the sense of community, singin’ and dancin’. We should remember that people still lower their voices when entering a church.

For centuries we did not hear the voices of the dispossessed. A glaring exception is to be found in an early 6th century text by an Athenian philosopher, quoted by Ramsay MacMullen in Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eight Centuries.

The Greek philosopher wrote that Christians are “a race dissolved in every passion, destroyed by controlled self-indulgence, cringing and womanish in its thinking, close to cowardice, wallowing in all swinishness, debased, content with servitude in security.”

If that sounds like a proto-definition of 21st century Western cancel culture, that’s because it is.

Things were also pretty bad in Alexandria. A Christian mob killed and dismembered the alluring Hypatia, mathematician and philosopher. That de facto ended the era of great Greek mathematics. No wonder Gibbon turned the assassination of Hypatia into a remarkable set piece in Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (“In the bloom of beauty, and in the maturity of wisdom, the modest maid refused her lovers and instructed her disciples; the persons most illustrious for their rank or merit were impatient to visit the female philosopher”).

Under Justinian – emperor from 527 to 565 – cancel culture went after paganism no holds barred. One of his laws ended imperial toleration of all religions, which was in effect since Constantine in 313.

If you were a pagan, you’d better get ready for the death penalty. Pagan teachers – especially philosophers – were banned. They lost their parrhesia: their license to teach (here is Foucault’s brilliant analysis).

Parrhesia – loosely translated as “frank criticism” – is a tremendously serious issue: for no less than a thousand years, this was the definition of freedom of speech (italics mine).

There you go: first half of the 6th century. This was when freedom of speech was canceled in the West.

The last Egyptian temple – to Isis, in an island in southern Egypt – was shut down in 526. The legendary Plato’s Academy – with no less than 900 years of teaching in its curriculum – was shut down in Athens in 529.

Guess where the Greek philosophers chose to go into exile: Persia.

Those were the days – in the early 2nd century – when the greatest Stoic, Epictetus, a freed slave from Phrygia, admirer of both Socrates and Diogenes, was consulted by an emperor, Hadrian; and became the role model of another emperor, Marcus Aurelius.

History tells us that the Greek intellectual tradition simply did not fade away in the West. It was a target of cancel culture.

Nixon ‘opened’ China, but only superpower China could ‘open’ Iran (1/2)

Friday, 02 April 2021 2:52 PM  [ Last Update: Friday, 02 April 2021 2:52 PM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Nixon ‘opened’ China, but only superpower, socialist China could ‘open’ Iran (1/2)
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

By Ramin Mazaheri  cross-posted with The Saker

One thing about Western business media is that whenever any imperialism-opposing nation has a major success their subsequent understatement speaks volumes, as evidenced by an article in the oil trade press, The Iran-China Axis Is A Fast Growing Force In Oil Markets, at the website OilPrice. For trade journalists they are quite behind the trends of their industry: Iran and China are now a permanent force in the oil world, but far beyond that realm as well.

In reading OilPrice over the years I am not surprised: they have repeatedly reacted to the bilateral 25-year strategic agreement — which has just been fully signed — as though it was something which had not been in discussion for years; with total consternation as to why these two countries could want to ally with other; with an Iranophobia so enormous that their bias is rarely even barely concealed.

The outlook of their journalists is that of businessmen, and thus it’s the incredibly narrow and self-serving point of view of a specialist. It is unsurprising that — when compelled to formulate a political or moral viewpoint — OilPrice has a totally Cold War view of the world, which is typical in the West, and which explains why their headline calls it an “Iran-China Axis” instead of an “Alliance.” The use of such a term is typical Western media propaganda designed to conflate the right-wing Germans of the World War II era with modern Iran and China, even though the latter are totally different from the former in political ideology, economic structure and social morality.

It’s a nonsensical and historically-nihilist conflation, but when examining OilPrice’s take on the Iran-China deal, we are reminded that Western business media is quite content to sensationalize, to warmonger and to create sustained market panic in order to increase the grip of militarism in the Western psyche and to continue the inequitable Western domination of the oil trade. OilPrice, specifically, also wants the price of oil to always increase.

Thus the article is full of many stupidities worthy of the idiocies of George W. Bush, the paranoia of J. Edgar Hoover, the anti-socialist hysteria of the Dulles brothers and the hypocritical phoniness of Barack Obama. Things of the lowest order of political analysis and knowledge abound, such as: “The first is they are both absolute dictatorships,” “the rogue Islamic country,” China’s Belt and Road Initiative is “a shield for China’s true intentions” and a “Trojan horse” for “military expansion,” etc.

(Of course, few international projects as transparently pragmatic and non-ideological as China’s BRI — if you accept China’s offer of mutually-beneficial cooperation there is no additional demand to also legislate acceptance of their “universal” values.)

But we benefit from knowing the oil trade’s viewpoint because while there are so very many financial shenanigans in the Western economy, there is still a “real” economy, and oil is its lynchpin.

Oil is also the lynchpin of the US dollar’s global preeminence and overvaluation. Indeed, this article’s concluding paragraph is a reminder of those very fundamental — yet often forgotten — facts: “Finally, the introduction of a war premium to oil prices will cause a commensurate re-evaluation of oil equities in non-belligerent countries. The modern economy runs on petroleum products and derivatives, and will for many decades.”

 The Great Financial Crisis and subsequent Great Recession proved that the Western economy is indeed incredibly vulnerable to many types of phonily-inflated equities, economic fundamentals-untethered financial products, sham derivatives concocted by high finance and more besides. However, the author is correct when he writes that paragraph because the Petrodollar — the forced sale of oil in dollars — is the most important and longest-running financial sham. It replaced the gold standard, after all.

But China and Iran’s unprecedented petrodollar end run (and via a new joint China-Iranian bank) is just one part of why their bilateral agreement is such a huge deal. Not only does the pact upset the delicate balance of Western financial chicanery, but it permanently upsets longstanding Western geopolitical advantages, global geopolitical reality and especially the idea that the United States is the sole portal through which modern history can enter.

US has fallen so very far since 1971— now they are even behind China, and Iran just proved it

The bilateral deal’s importance can’t be understated for either side, and I have written about it for years. It’s as if — in the year 1545 — the Bolivian silver miners at Potosi struck a fair deal with the Spanish crown: Instead of getting enslaved, sham conversions and colonized Bolivia would still be an Incan cultural force today, with almost 500 additional years of illustrious history, learning and advancement. Thankfully, China is socialist — thus it is anti-imperialist and mindfully chooses cooperation over enslavement (either literally, through local puppets or through debt). Thankfully, Iran is not the shell-shocked Inca — they know who their enemies are, and also who works with enough goodwill to be welcomed.

For a more modern take, the deal is the equivalent of Richard Nixon’s “Opening of China” in 1971, except in a total role reversal: What is historically vital is no longer the position of the US, but the attitude of the superpower China.

Iran is often described as the last great “untapped market” — against all odds, expectations and supposed historical inevitabilities they chose the East as partners, not the West. That’s gigantic.

The deal will mark the “Opening of Iran” because it is not a mere “lifeline” to Iran – as it is often falsely described – but a guarantee of real prosperity, as it will be administered by Iran’s successful, revolutionary political structure. It is absolutely not more than just the achievement of stability, which Iran achieved entirely on its own starting in 1979, when the slogan was “Neither East nor West but the Islamic Republic.”

To quote from the OilPrice article:

“The New York Times is quoted as saying-

 ‘The partnership, detailed in an 18-page proposed agreement obtained by The New York Times, would vastly expand Chinese presence in banking, telecommunications, ports, railways, and dozens of other projects. In exchange, China would receive a regular — and, according to an Iranian official and an oil trader, heavily discounted — supply of Iranian oil over the next 25 years.’

 And there you have it.”

And there you have it, indeed.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi are seen in this photo while signing the “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” deal between the two countries in Tehran on March 27, 2021. (Via IRNA)

Oil-based cars and machines may be significantly phased out by greener technologies in 25 years or so, but Iran has made a superb bargain to sell as much oil as they can while they still can. The “heavy discount” is only about 4%, but I can see how – as a Western “oilfield veteran” – this OilPrice author expects everyone to scratch and claw for every penny he or she can grab. For Iranian bureaucrats, however, a longer-term economic view is required, as is less greed.

War —  and sanctions (what used to be called “blockades” in English) are indeed war — certainly does force civilians and civil servants into more moral and more intelligent behaviors: self-sacrifice, unity, collective action, planning, determination, study, reflection, etc. The West’s sanctions have been perhaps praised in Iran nearly as often as they have been derided because Iran has had no choice but to build up its domestic capabilities — economic, intellectual, moral and natural — which naturally demanded a long-term commitment of domestic effort, political policies and acceptance of the national consensus.

But if the economic impact of illegal Western sanctions encouraged Iran’s leaders to make a 25-year oil bargain at only a 4% loss, then I say: take the money and run. If Washington, London, Paris and Tel Aviv fully had their way Donald Trump would have succeeded in forcing Iran to get 0% value from China —instead Tehran settled for 96% value over 25 years. If Iran doesn’t get yuan for every barrel that’s fine —China has technologies and skills which Iran can learn from, assimilate into future domestic projects and then likely export.

But this is what nobody seems to get about the indubitably socialist-inspired modern Iranian economy: Iran doesn’t do Western capitalism, i.e. it doesn’t sell out. Chinese companies will work alongside Iranian industries, all of which are state-owned and state-controlled to a degree which is unthinkable in the neoliberal West. China is not “buying” Iranian corporations – this is not $400 billion in “mergers” and “take-overs” — they are buying Iranian products or bartering for them via techniques Iran can learn from and projects which Iran needs to see built.

And there you have it: Iran secured money and intellectual investment for 25-years, and there is no danger of this investment being hijacked by foreign capital from any nation, which is how foreign investment works in Western neoliberalism. If the Iranian government can redistribute money downwards so effectively over four decades of hot and cold war, then surely they can do better in times of economic prosperity —this is the argument many Iranians have made over and over and over, and the West is fearfully aware of this rationale.

$16 billion per year in cash/goods/skills, and throw in a little thing called diplomatic unity, over 25 years – remember to compare that with what the West just offered: In 2019 France proposed a one-time $15 billion credit line. It was shot down by Washington, and of course Europe complied because neither want Iran to be prosperous or stable.

An incredibly ‘woke’ cooperation between 2 different ethnicities, cultures, regions & religions

Iran has proven to the world that America no longer has the ability to control the main global gate, and that is indeed a real achievement, but this achievement was equally fueled by Western incompetence, cruelty, intolerance and greed. Iran and China have risen, thanks to their modern and revolutionary cultures and structures — of course — but just look at how far the West has fallen since 1971?

As for China it’s vital to remember that it was an oil embargo which pushed fascist Japan into war with the United States, but China now has a guaranteed source of oil stability. China, which imports 75% of its daily needs, is almost as oil-poor as Japan but now no matter what Western adventurism produces in the Straits of Hormuz Beijing can count on the certainty of enough oil supplies to get by.

Iranian oil is already serving as Beijing’s backup against Western imperialist immolation, as the OilPrice article relates in detail: “China is stockpiling oil at a pace unrivaled in the developed world.” Doing so is, “In a marked dichotomy with the U.S., China is building oil inventories by design.” China, in contrast to Western liberal democracy, actually has competent civil service motivated — not by “universal” values, perhaps — by actual values instead of personal greed.

And there you have it: good governance based on modern political ideas which value the individual citizen over the aristocrat’s dollars. That’s the reason why Iran and China rankle the West so much.

So how could the West possibly like the 25-year strategic pact – it’s a “permanent” sea change. It’s a “permanent” step up in class for both Iran and China, and via an incredibly unprecedented cooperation. “Our relations with Iran will not be affected by the current situation, but will be permanent and strategic,” said China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the signing.

But it’s not based on mere dollars — it’s a “pact” in a very broad cultural and political sense, and that’s both a shocking rejection of the Western model and the exciting proposal of something new for global humanity.

China and the USSR never cooperated as closely as this. Impressive Cuba, all alone in the New World, just can’t bring the heft which Iran brings to the table. North Korea is so beset upon and so war-scarred that they reject diplomatic ties like what Iran just accepted. You’d have to go back to the Eastern Bloc’s cooperation with Moscow to find something similar.

But what makes this cooperation so incredibly and excitingly “woke” is that it’s between two totally different cultures, religions and ethnicities. It’s truly a meeting of minds, as equals. We could truly go on and on about this aspect, and we should. We should also repeatedly point out that Western liberal democracy demands homogeneity via total submission to their hive mind, whereas socialist democracy protects, accepts and elevates differences and minorities in a consensus-based democracy.

It’s a meeting of two longtime empires whose modern political structures now explicitly forbid empire-building. But that’s a point which stresses the past and looks backward.

This is a meeting of two countries bravely and excitingly looking forward to this new century, whether it’s the 15th (less than two weeks ago the Iranian calendar reached the year 1400), or the 48th (it’s year 4719 in China).

It’s an incredible cooperation, and one so very long in the making.

Part 2 of this article examines how Western media responds to Sino-Iranian unity with hysterics at the prospects of reduced income from the Western imperialism machine. The article is titled: The Iran-China pact is a huge blow for Western imperialists who want war in Asia

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


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