أيها اللبنانيون مَنْ منكم يعرف أسماء شهداء الاستقلال؟

معن بشور

شكراً لرفاق القوميين الاجتماعيين الذين بإحيائهم على مدى أعوام لذكرى رفيقهم شهيد الاستقلال في بشامون سعيد فخر الدين، يذكّرون اللبنانيين بأنّ استقلالهم لم يأت دون شهداء وتضحيات، وأنه لم يكن نتيجة ضغط بريطانيّ على الانتداب الفرنسي، كما يحلو للكثيرين تصويره..

ولكن كم من اللبنانيين يعرف أنّ البطل فخر الدين لم يكن الشهيد الوحيد في تلك الأيام العشرة الفاصلة بين اعتقال أركان حكومة الاستقلال 11 تشرين الثاني وإعلان الاستقلال في 22 تشرين الثاني 1943، بل كان هناك 14 شهيداً و 44 جريحاً في طرابلس تمّ إطلاق النار عليهم في ساحة السلطي في شارع المصارف، بعد اعتقال المغفور له عبد الحميد كرامي مع الرئيسين بشارة الخوري ورياض الصلح والوزراء كميل شمعون وعادل عسيران وسليم تقلا، بالإضافة الى شهداء أطفال المدارس في صيدا الذين تمّ قتلهم بالدم البارد أمام مقر الحاكم الفرنسي…

بل كمّ من اللبنانيين يذكر كيف اتّحد اللبنانيون، كما لم يتحدوا من قبل في معركة الاستقلال، فصنعوا في شوارع عاصمتهم وسائر المدن والأرياف، كما في برلمانهم والحكومة المؤقتة في بشامون وفي قلعة راشيا، ملحمة الاستقلال التي صنعت للبنانيين استقلالاً، ولكن لم تكن كافية لتصنع لاستقلالهم دولة الحق والقانون والعدالة الخالية من أمراض الطائفية والفساد والارتهان للقوى الخارجيّة..

لم يكن إهمال الرواية الكاملة لملحمة الاستقلال جزءاً من الإهمال المزمن الذي يعاني منه اللبنانيّون منذ أكثر من 77 عاماً، بقدر ما كان جزءاً من خطة خطيرة بعناوين متعدّدة.

أوّل العناوين ترسيخ القناعة لدى الشعب اللبناني أنّ لبنان قاصر تتقاذفه لعبة الأمم ولا يستطيع شعبه ان يحقق نصراً لا في الداخل ولا على الخارج إلا «بمعونة أجنبيّة»، وهو ما يتجلّى اليوم حين باتت المبادرة الفرنسيّة هي حبل نجاة اللبنانيين في مفارقة تاريخيّة تقول «إنّ من اجتمع اللبنانيون جميعاً بالأمس لإخراجه، من بلدهم أصبح اليوم محطّ إجماع الطبقة السياسيّة الحاكمة لإنقاذ البلد بعد 77 عاماً من الاستقلال.

ثاني العناوين تكريس الانطباع أنّ الاستقلال كان نتيجة جهود فوقيّة بين سياسيين وسفراء لا ثمرة كفاح شعبيّ دامٍ قدّم خلاله اللبنانيون العديد من الشهداء مباشرة في لبنان، أو من خلال انخراط العديد منهم في الثورة السورية الكبرى عام 1925 بقيادة سلطان باشا الأطرش والتي يجمع المؤرّخون وفي مقدمّهم المؤرخ الكبير الأستاذ شفيق جحا أنها كانت أحد أبرز الأسباب التي أدّت الى استعجال المندوب السامي الفرنسي منح لبنان دستوره عام 1926، وهو الدستور الذي ما زال معمولاً به بعد تعديلين أولهما يوم الاستقلال، وثانيهما بعد الطائف عام 1989.

ثالث العناوين هو انتهاج سياسة حرمان بعض المدن والمناطق اللبنانيّة من الإعلان شرف المشاركة بدماء أبنائها في ملحمة الاستقلال، وكأنّها ناقصة «اللبنانية» لتبرير حرمانها طيلة عهود الاستقلال من أبسط حقوقها ومن تشغيل أهمّ مرافقها، ولعلّ ما تعرّضت له مدن كطرابلس وصيدا وجبل عامل وأرياف الشمال والبقاع من حرمان هو أنصع دليل على هذه الخطة.

من هنا، وفي ظلّ إهمال الطبقة الحاكمة لشهداء تلك الملحمة الاستقلاليّة الرائعة، والذين لم يستحقوا حتى زيارة «بروتوكولية» لمدافنهم، كما هي زيارة أضرحة الرؤساء والوزراء والزعماء الذين شاركوا في تلك الملحمة، نشعر انه لا بدّ من أن نذكر أسماء أولئك الشهداء، خصوصاً في طرابلس وصيدا، مذكرّين أيضاً بلوحة في قلعة الاستقلال في راشيا تضمّ أسماء كلّ أبناء تلك المنطقة الذين استشهدوا في معارك ضدّ الاحتلال الفرنسي.

أما شهداء طرابلس فهم: سليم صابونه، أحمد صابر كلثوم، رشيد رمزي حجازي، فوزي قاسم شحود، عبد الغني أفيوني، عباس إبراهيم حبوشي، محمد علي حسين خضر، عبد القادر مصطفى الشهال، كمال عبد الرزاق ضناوي، وديع خاطر بركات، أحمد جوجو، محمد حسين الحمد وسليم الشامي.

وفي صيدا استشهد في انتفاضة 1936 ضدّ الانتداب، برصاص جنود الانتداب الذي أصاب ايضاً كتف المجاهد الشهيد معروف سعد وأدّى الى استشهاد كلّ من: عبد الحليم الحلاق، محمد مرعي النعماني، ناهيك عن كوكبة من طلبة المدارس في صيدا الذين استشهدوا او جرحوا برصاص الانتداب أمام مركز المندوب الفرنسي وهم الشهداء: سعد البزري، ثروت الصباغ وشفيقة ارقدان.

فكيف تكون احتفالاتنا في عيد الاستقلال في غياب أيّ ذكر لشهداء الاستقلال، بل في غياب أيّ محاسبة لمن أوصل لبنان الى ما هو عليه من حال مزرية على كلّ المستويات، ومن فساد ما زال أقوى من كلّ محاولات التصدّي له، حتى بات «استقلالنا» هذه الأيام هو «طرد» شركة تدقيق جنائي لمصرف لبنان وحساباته، ولوزارات الدولة ومؤسساتها، من بلادنا، حرصاً على «الصندوق الأسود» الذي بات أهمّ من استقلال الوطن وحقوق المواطن.

بين العميدين.. الخوري والمعلم

راميا الإبراهيم

راميا الإبراهيم  مذيعة ومقدمة برامج في قناة الميادين

المصدر: الميادين نت

18 تشرين ثاني 20:53

من مجلس الأمن في أربعينيات القرن الماضي إلى “جنيف 2 ” عام 2014 قصةٌ وطنيةٌ خطّها “مسيحيٌّ ومسلمٌ”.. معذرة. ما بينهما وبعدهما الكثير مما يعرّي كذبة الطائفية حيث سورية وطنٌ للجميع حرٌّ ومستقلّ.

من مجلس الأمن في أربعينيات القرن الماضي إلى “جنيف 2 ” عام 2014 قصةٌ وطنيةٌ خطّها “مسيحيٌّ ومسلمٌ”.. معذرة. ما بينهما وبعدهما الكثير مما يعرّي كذبة الطائفية حيث سورية وطنٌ للجميع حرٌّ ومستقلّ.

بين العميدين.. الخوري والمعلم
بين العميدين.. الخوري والمعلم

في بلادي أي سورية (ونحن فيها نكتب سورية بالتاء المربوطة) لم نكن نعلم ديانة صديقٍ أو زميلٍ إلا في حالتين الزواج أو الوفاة.. لم نكن أساساً نُعير بالاً لذلك… حتى وإن جاء أحدٌ على ذكر الأمرِ وهي كانت من النوادر، كان يخفض صوته همساً و كأنه يقرّ بأنه يرتكب خطيئة..

محرك الوطنية.. فارس بيك الخوري 

لا تتّسع بضع الكلمات التي أهمُّ بكتابتها لإنصاف أحد قامات بلادي الوطنية، الثائر ضد الاحتلالين العثماني والفرنسي، الأديب والمفّكر والسياسي الأصيل.. مناصبُ عديدةٌ تدرّج فيها رئيس الوزراء فارس بيك الخوري ومنها وزارة الأوقاف، وهذه الأخيرة لم تكن  الوحيدة التي شغلها، لكن أهمية ذكرها تكمن في كون الخوري مسيحياً. معذرة … مسيحيٌ حارب محاولات فرنسا تبرير إبقاء استعمارها لسورية… بادعائها أن المسحيين يطلبون حمايتها، فذهب إلى المسجد الأموي واعتلى المنبر قائلاً: إن الفرنسيين يقولون إن المسيحيين يطلبون الحماية منها، أنا من هنا أعلنها، أنا أطلب الحماية من شعبي.

من قصص استقلال سوريا 

عام 1946 في جلسة مجلس الأمن، جلس فارس بيك الخوري في المقعد الخاص بالمندوب الفرنسي. وعندما جاء المندوب الفرنسي ليجلس على مقعده، فوجئ بالخوري… طلب منه الفرنسي الانتقال إلى المقعد الخاص بسورية لكن الخوري تجاهله وأخرج ساعته من جييب سترته وراح يتأمل فيها بينما المندوب الفرنسي استشاط غضباً وراح يشرح له… هذا مقعد فرنسا، أنظر هذا العلم الفرنسي أمامه وهناك مقعد سورية حيث علمها أمامه.. لكن الخوري لم يتحرك واستمر بالنظر إلى ساعته. كاد مندوب فرنسا أن يفقد عقله، وعند الدقيقة الـ 25 قال فارس بيك بلغة فرنسية واضحة: سعادة السفير جلست في مقعدك 25 دقيقة، فكدت تقتلني غضباً وحنقاً.. سورية تحمّلت سفالة جنودكم 25 سنة وآن الآوان لها أن تستقلّ.

وكان الاستقلال إلى جانب بطولات أبناء الوطن على اختلاف تلاوينهم. وفي بلدي كما المنطقة لوحة فسيفسائية من الأديان والمذاهب والقوميات هي مصدر قوة بلا شك، وستبقى كذلك. 

في قصص سيادة سورية

بعد ثلاث سنوات من الحرب في سورية وعليها، وهي الأقسى بالمناسبة تحدثت فيها الكرة الأرضية جمعاء باسم الشعب السوري وحكومته وجيشه ورئيسه.. ما عداهم.

وكانت كلمة سورية 

في مؤتمر “جنيف 2” حيث اجتمع العالم لمناقاشة “قضية سورية”، كانت كلمةٌ للوفد السوري برئاسة الراحل شيخ الدبلوماسية ابن دمشق الأصيل وزير الخارجية وليد المعلم. 

خطأٌ أعتقدُ أن واشنطن تندم عليه إلى اليوم، مع عواصمَ للأسف عربية وأيضا غربية. فهي لم تعتقد أن هناك من يضرب أو يشكك بروايتها التي أفردت لها امبراطوريات الإعلام والسياسة بين الغربية منها والعربية وبمال هذه الأخيرة عن “الرئيس القاتل وجيشه السفاح  للثورة”.

عشر دقائق مُنحت للمعلم ليقول كلمته.. لكنها كلمة سورية، قال المعلم بكل هدوء، وأضاف مخاطباً بان كي مون الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة سابقاً عندما حاول مقاطعته لتخطيه الوقت المحدد: “لقد تكلمتَ أنتَ 25 دقيقةً، أنا أعيش في سورية وأنت تعيش في نيويورك.. لدي الحق لإيصال الصورة الحقيقية في سورية”.

 تحدث المعلم  34 دقيقة بالتمام، لم تفلح لا مقاطعات بان كي مون ولا أصوات الجرس في ثنيه عن إكمال كلمته حتى النهاية.. مع رسائل واضحة ومباشرة، مخاطباً وزير الخارجية السابق جون كيري: “لا أحد في العالم سيد كيري، لا أحد في العالم يستطيع إضفاء الشرعية أو عزلها أو منحها لرئيسٍ أو حكومةٍ أو دستورٍ أو قانونٍ أو أي شيءٍ في سورية إلا السوريين أنفسهم”.

و كانت كلمة سورية.. أجبر العالم على سماعها كاملة. 

رئيس أركان الجيش الدبلوماسي 

لم يكن المعلم رئيس وفد سورية إلى مؤتمر “جنيف2” فحسب.. كان يمثل تاريخاً من الوطنية والانتماء والمهنية والخبرة والثبات والعفة، فالملايين من الدولارات دُفعت له حتى ينشقَّ عن وطنيته في سنيّ الحرب في سورية وعليها، فأبى كما الجسم الدبلوماسي السوري، ليكون رئيس أركان جيش دبلوماسيٍّ بطلاً وشريكاً بالانتصار.

سورية وطن للجميع 

بين العميدين الخوري والمعلم من مجلس الأمن في أربعينيات القرن الماضي إلى “جنيف 2 ” عام 2014 قصةٌ وطنيةٌ خطّها “مسيحيٌّ و مسلمٌ”.. معذرة، وما بينهما وبعدهما الكثير.. تعرّي كذبة الطائفية والصدام الديني حيث سورية وطنٌ للجميع حرٌّ مستقلّ…

Turkey’s Destabilizing Role

Source

Tuesday, 29 September 2020 10:22

With the current problems between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the continuous meddling of Turkey stirring trouble where it can-one cannot help but remember Cyprus and the way that beautiful Island was divided (1974) due to Turkish greed and a long time wish to reestablish the Ottoman Empire with a new face.

Cyprus pre-1974 was an island with a rising economy and status amongst world countries. Under the wise leadership of President Makarious it was navigating its way upwards.

Sadly the coup by the Greek Junta on President Makarious presented Turkey with an excuse to invade the Island-one that it had been searching for, for some time.

Syriatimes had the opportunity to interview Marinos Sizopoulos President of EDEK (a socialist Cyprus political Party).

EDEK party shrinks as turmoil escalates over ousted MEP, KNEWS

1- Can you give us a brief overview of the Cypriot problem-maybe going back to the British occupation of the island of Cyprus

After the occupation of Cyprus by the British, the Greek Cypriots of the island, in their very first official welcoming speech to the British in July 1878, asked for enosis (union) with Greece. The enosis was the main and constant demand of the Cypriots, expressed in every official memorandum to the British, in articles in the newspapers and speeches in the Legislative Council. 

The main turning points in the history of the movement for union with Greece was the 1931 revolt known as «Oktovriana», the referendum of 1950 and the EOKA struggle of 1955-1959. Specifically, the demand of Cypriots for Enosis urged them to an impulsive and not organized public revolt in 1931. The aftermath of the 1931 revolt was that the Governor’s House, symbolizing the colonial rule, was set on fire and an autocratic rule was imposed immediately afterwards.

In 1950 the results of the referendum for union (“enotiko dimopsifisma” as it is called) was that 96% of the Cypriots demanded the union of the island with Greece. Five years later, the EOKA struggle began which demanded the unification of the island with Greece. The struggle was ended with the Zurich and London Agreements in 1959. Following the Agreements, Cyprus was recognized as an independent state, the union could no longer be promoted and Turkey, Great Britain and Greece were imposed as the guaranteeing powers of the Republic of Cyprus. 

Few years later, in 1963, the military coup of Turkey against the Republic of Cyprus emerged. The coup was the first attempt of Turkey to put in action its plan for reoccupying Cyprus. This plan was designed in 1956 and it aimed to overthrow the legitimate government of the island by military force and integrate Cyprus to the Turkish regime.    Almost ten years later, in 1974, the military coup of the Greek military Junta allowed Turkey to invade and illegally capture 37% of the island. 

Since then, EDEK, the Socialist Party of Cyprus, has been struggling to set Cyprus free from the Turkish army. We demand all refugees be allowed to return to their home land, all settlers that illegally have been transferred by Turkey in the occupied areas, and all Turkish troops leave the island immediately. 

2- Archbishop Makarious the third was a well known leader of Cyprus-what was his role exactly?

Makarios was a charismatic leader. The people who met him, in Cyprus and abroad, admired him for his personality and knowledge. This can be confirmed by the thousands of letters that he received by his fans and followers from all over the word. Even in the reports of the foreign diplomats held in the historic archives we read how clever he was and how he fought for the justice of his people.   

Makarios succeeded to give prestige to both the office of Archbishop and that of the President of the Republic of Cyprus. He spent his life doing charity and missionary work in Cyprus and abroad. He was struggling for the establishment and strengthening of the Republic of Cyprus. By calling the name Makarios, we refer to the person whose work reflects our flag, our land, our struggles for freedom, national dignity and survival as Greek Cypriots.

His role after the Agreements in Zurich and London was focused on his initiatives for strengthening the Republic of Cyprus as an independent state. He worked hard for strengthening the role of Cyprus in the international community and especially into the Non-Aligned Movement. He systematically tried to give Cyprus an important and significant role in this Movement. As it is very well known he developed some really strong and sincere friendships with the Arab countries of the region, and specifically with Syria and Egypt. 

3- How many political parties are there in Cyprus?

There are four parliamentary parties in Cyprus which have been active for a few decades now. Randomly a few more parties, movements or combinations are popping up, but their existence is just for a short period of time. EDEK, of which I am President since 2015, was established in 1969. It is the socialist party of Cyprus, the fourth political power in the Cyprus Parliament.

4- In your opinion what was the reason for the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey and did Greece play a detrimental role in this invasion?

Turkey’s main goal, set since the 1950s, was to integrate Cyprus into Turkish territory in order to gain a dominant role in controlling the Middle East.

Britain sought to maintain its military presence and influence in Cyprus, in order to continue to exploit the island’s geostrategic position to the benefit of its interests in the region.

The United States, which was acting within the context of the Cold War (as it was at its peak at the time), sought to avoid the internationalization of the Cyprus problem and, above all, the involvement of the Soviets in the island’s affairs.

The junta of Athens, subservient to American politics, contributed with various illegal political and military means to carry out the coup against Makarios and to enable Turkey to invade and occupy the 37%.

For the United States and Britain, the Turkish invasion was a way of resolving a chronic problem. A “resolution” which runs counter to international law and the UN Charter. 

5- What were the policies of the USA and Europe towards Cyprus after the invasion?

The main goal of the US and the European Union is not to clash with Turkey, with which their geo-strategic interests are particularly important. Thus, in violation of international law, European principles, resolutions and provisions of the UN Charter, they either maintain an equal distance, or push Turkey towards the realization of its goals. The United States does that by strengthening Turkey with military equipment, and the European Union by enhancing its trade relations and economic agreements with Turkey.

Editor-in-Chief Reem Haddad

Basma Qaddour

Turkey’s Destructive Role in the M.E and Europe

Source

Tuesday, 15 September 2020 10:49

Turkey has for a longtime now been the enzyme that speeds problems in the area of the Mediterranean. Still unable to stomach the Treaty of Lausanne(1923) which defined the borders of modern day Turkey it has for a long time now been scheming to extend its borders by land grabbing from other countries. This can be clearly depicted in two countries Cyprus and Syria .In 1974 Turkey attacked Cyprus and occupied a third of the island and formed on its own the “Republic of Northern Cyprus” recognized by no country in the world except its creator. In Syria the story is even sadder – not satisfied with usurping Alexanderetta ,Turkey opened its borders to terrorists to infiltrate Syria and aided and abetted them(During the war of terror on Syria). Now it has taken a further step by arming and training terrorists and by actually sending its troops inside Syria. Turkey dreams of a revival of the Ottoman Empire and for that to happen boundaries must change and towns and cities might have to be erased. A question arises –why does no one do anything about  this? Why is the world silent while Turkey wreaks havoc where it wants. What is the UN doing or for that matter the EU?

 Syriatimes carried out an interview with EU parliamentarian Athanasios Konstantinou to clarify certain points.

  Member of European Parliament  to ST: EU’s appeasement of Turkey, has deeply injured the trust of Greek citizens

 Member of European Parliament Athanasios Konstantinou reckons that hollow actions that have no political and economic impact will be taken by the EU against Turkey for political propaganda reasons.

 He told Syria Times e-newspaper that from the 1980 till today, more than 60.000 Turkish planes have infiltrated Greek airspace not counting the paralleling actions of the Turkish navy.

 Konstantinou, in addition, has pointed out that U.N. repeatedly over time appears  powerless and without the will to enforce international law and in that way tolerate NATO to act in their place.

 Here below is the full text of the interview:

1-Can you tell us about the origins of the gas drilling dispute between Greece  and Turkey? 

For many decades Turkey has applied a calculated foreign policy that aims to seize as much of the Aegean Sea as possible, part of a larger plan to enforce itself as a Mediterranean power.

 This policy is obviously effective, due mostly to the failure of all past and present Greek governments (and their allies) to efficiently protect the Greek borders. This explains why Turkey defies international law and openly and officially threatens war, if Greece exercises its rights to the “12 nautical miles” international law, in Aegean.

A major phase for the implementation of their strategy was the occupation of Northern Cyprus. Until then, the Turkish plan was a “paper” one, but since then, Turkey is moving with real steps. Consider that from the 1980 till today, more than 60.000 Turkish planes have infiltrated the Greek airspace  not counting the paralleling actions of the Turkish navy.

 All major powers and alliances endorse the Turkish plan, otherwise the occupation of Cyprus, with its obvious geopolitical effects, would not have been tolerated and possibly would have not been tried by the Turks!

 So in that light, what we see now regarding the “drilling dispute” as you put it, is not surprising.

2-Is the United Nations able to influence Turkey?? 

The United Nations, unfortunately, wasn’t able in the past and cannot in the present, influence Turkey. Allow me to remind your readers that, for the illegal Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus, U.N. voted two resolutions, ordering the withdrawal of the Turkish army.

 Nothing of the kind has happened.

 Furthermore, the UN voted on an arms embargo for Libya, an embargo, today de facto ignored by Turkey and other countries.

 The greater issue here is that, U.N. repeatedly over time appears powerless and without the will to enforce international law and in that way tolerates NATO to act in their place.

And NATO’s first priority, of course, is the protection of USA’s interests and not the international law.

3-Many EU emergency summits were held concerning this issue, were the results positive?

The results of these summits, can barely  be described as “not-negative” but we certainly cannot define them as positive. In my opinion, European Union with its appeasement Turkish policy, has severely damaged the trust of the European peoples in the Union. And without any doubt, has deeply injured the trust of Greek citizens. After all, Greek borders are part of the E.U. ’s borders. And the Greek economy as well. When a malicious outsider defies your borders and tries to rip-off your wealth and you don’t defend either, then you void the reasons for your own existence as a Union.

4- Is the EU likely to approve  sanctions on Turkey ? What kind of sanctions will they be and most importantly how effective?  

So far, everything points out that no real measures or sanctions will be imposed on Turkey from E.U. Only hollow and without political or economic impact actions will be taken and only for political propaganda reasons.

If this is the case, then we are led to believe that EU politics obey and serve not the interests of European citizens but those of  big international financial lobbies. And I know that this is most frustrating for the Syrian people also, because you have felt this injustice through the sanctions imposed to Syria.

5-How does Libya enter into this equation? 

The Turkish involvement in Libya, is the second major stepping stone, of their plan to promote themselves to a Mediterranean power, as I have pointed out earlier.

The Turkish government wisely tries to capitalize on NATO’s great mistake and injustice on Libya, where once more, international financial lobbies have indicated policies aiming to gain and disregard the will of the peoples. The result was chaos in Libya and opportunity for Turkey. This is why other countries like Egypt, counteract against the Turkish actions.

Editor in chief : Reem Haddad

Basma Qaddour

History: The Zionist Origins of Saudi Arabia and Its Royals

Part I

By Rez Karim

Global Research, September 22, 2020

Recognizing the contentious nature of the subject, this two-part article relies only on official treatises, pacts and primary sourced evidence to compile a historically accurate account of the founding of Saudi Arabia and Al Saud family becoming ‘Royals’.

Growing up Muslim in a Muslim majority country, I spent most Friday afternoons at a mosque, attending the Jummah prayer. First part of a Jummah prayer calls for the Imam to perform a Khutbah – a weekly sermon of sorts. It was in one of those Khutbahs that I, as a very young boy, learnt about the plight of the Palestinians for the first time.

Indeed, it’s a common practice among Imams around the world to bring up the Palestinian issue at mosques, especially during Friday sermons, and pray for the Palestinian people. In those prayers and discussions, Israel’s name comes up inevitably. In fact, Israel’s oppression of Palestinians bears no ambiguity in Islamic thoughts. And condemnation of Israel, therefore, comes naturally to Muslims around the world.

However, what escapes awareness in almost all Muslims is the connection between Israel and Saudi Arabia. While zealously castigating Israel for its atrocities, Muslims often revere Saudi Arabia as the custodians of Islam’s holiest sites; completely ignoring the Kingdom’s role in founding the Zionist state in the first place.

Notwithstanding the existence of a deep-seated bias against Israel among Muslims, it’s important to recognize that the lack of criticism for Saudi Kingdom, alongside Israel, doesn’t come from bias. Indeed, this absence finds its roots not in bias, but in a complete lack of knowledge. Knowledge among current generation of Muslims, as well as among the world population, about how Saudi Arabia and its founding king, Abdel Aziz Ibn Saud, played a critical role in establishing the Zionist state of Israel.

Suffice it to say, this ignorance about one of the most critical periods in world history seems anything but normal. Amazingly, the world, especially the Muslim world, had been kept in darkness about this momentous chapter in Middle East history. Propaganda and omissions run rampant within the historical accounts of this period. Official Saudi sources like House of Saud website, for example, avoids any mention of British involvement in founding the KSA. Although this omission seems predictable to many, it’s worth noting that even mainstream media outlets like the BBC, and prominent historians such as Professor Eugene Rogan etc., routinely portray Ibn Saud as having acted independently during WWI, and not as an instrument for the British Empire.

Therefore, recognizing the contentious nature of the issue – and to avoid becoming yet another ‘perspective’ on the subject – this article relies only on primary sourced evidence and the following four official treatises and declarations to compile a historically accurate account of the events:

  1. The McMahon-Hussain Correspondence
  2. The Treaty of Darin
  3. The Sykes-Picot Agreement
  4. The Balfour Declaration

1. The McMahon-Hussain Correspondence

To properly understand the events that led to the creation of both Israel and Saudi Arabia, we must travel back to the early 1900s’ Middle East. At the outbreak of WWI in the region, Sir Henry McMahon, then British High Commissioner in Egypt, offered Hussain bin Ali, Sharif of Hijaz (or ruler of the Hijaz – the western Arabian region in which Mecca and Medina lie), an independent Arab state if he would help the British fight against the Ottoman Empire. Hussein’s interest in throwing off his Turkish overlords converged with Britain’s war aim of defeating the Ottomans. McMahon made this offer via a series of letters exchanged between him and Sharif Hussain, collectively known as the McMahon-Hussain Correspondence. On his 14 July 1915 letter to McMahon, Hussain stated, among other things, the following as one of his propositions:Palestine: Britain Should Apologise for the Balfour Declaration, Not ‘Celebrate’ It

“Firstly.- England will acknowledge the independence of the Arab countries, bounded on the north by Mersina and Adana up to the 37th degree of latitude, on which degree fall Birijik, Urfa, Mardin, Midiat, Jezirat (Ibn ‘Umar), Amadia, up to the border of Persia; on the east by the borders of Persia up to the Gulf of Basra; on the south by the Indian Ocean, with the exception of the position of Aden to remain as it is; on the west by the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea up to Mersina. England to approve the proclamation of an Arab Khalifate of Islam.”

In response, McMahon wrote on 24 October 1915:

“I regret that you should have received from my last letter the impression that I regarded the question of the limits and boundaries with coldness and hesitation; such was not the case, but it appeared to me that the time had not yet come when that question could be discussed in a conclusive manner.

“I have realized, however, from your last letter that you regard this question as one of vital and urgent importance. I have, therefore, lost no time in informing the Government of Great Britain of the contents of your letter, and it is with great pleasure that I communicate to you on their behalf the following statement, which I am confident you will receive with satisfaction:-

“The two districts of Mersina and Alexandretta and portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo cannot be said to be purely Arab, and should be excluded from the limits demanded.

“With the above modification, and without prejudice of our existing treaties with Arab chiefs, we accept those limits.”

Interestingly, throughout history, there has been much disagreement as to whether this promise included Palestine. However, as we can see above, the area promised to the Arabs in McMahon’s letter excluded only the territory to the west of a line from Damascus north to Aleppo. Palestine, far to the south, was, by implication, included. Nevertheless, the British subsequently denied that they included Palestine in the promise and refused to publish the correspondence until 1939.

At the time however, Sharif Hussain believed this official promise from the British Government. He went on to make the most significant contribution to the Ottoman Empire’s defeat. He switched allegiances and led the so-called ‘Arab Revolt’ in June of 1916, which removed the Turkish presence from Arabia.

The defeat of the Ottoman Empire by the British in WWI left three distinct authorities in the Arabian peninsula. Sharif of Hijaz Hussain bin Ali of Mecca (in the west); Ibn Rashid of Ha’il (in the north); and Emir Abdel Aziz Ibn Saud of Najd and his religiously fanatical followers, the Wahhabis (in the east).

2. The Treaty of Darin

On 26 December 1915, Sir Percy Cox, on behalf of the British Government, signed the Treaty of Darin with Abdel Aziz Ibn Saud. Also known as the Darn Pact, the treaty made the lands of the House of Saud a British protectorate. The British aim of the treaty was to guarantee the sovereignty of Kuwait, Qatar and the Trucial States (later UAE). Abdul-Aziz vowed not to attack these British protectorates. He also pledged to enter WWI in the Middle East against the Ottoman Empire as an ally of Britain.

Britain’s signing of Darin Pact in December went against their promises of mutual protection made to Sharif Hussain in October; because Britain’s treaty with Ibn Saud does not oblige him to not attack the Hijaz.

The treaty also saw Abdel Aziz receiving £5000 per month ‘tribute’ from the British Government. After World War I, he received further support from the British. Support included substantially more monetary rewards and a glut of surplus munitions.

3. The Sykes-Picot Agreement 

On May 19, 1916, representatives of Great Britain and France secretly reached an accord, known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The accord aimed at dividing most of Arab lands under the Ottoman rule between the British and the French at the end of WWI. In its designated sphere, it was agreed, each country shall be allowed to establish such direct or indirect administration or control as they desire and as they may think fit.

Two diplomats, a Briton and a Frenchman, divided the map of one of the most volatile regions in the world into states that cut through ethnic and religious communities. The secret agreement largely neglected to allow for the future growth of Arab nationalism; which at that same moment the British government was using to their advantage against the Turks.

A century on, the Middle East continues to bear the consequences of the treaty. Many Arabs across the region continue to blame the subsequent violence in the Middle East, from the occupation of Palestine to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), on the Sykes-Picot treaty.

Indeed, Britain’s signing of this treaty went directly against what it promised to the Sharif of Hijaz in October of previous year. As we will see in Part II of this article, Britain’s betrayal of their promises of an independent Arab state eventually led them to unleash their attack dog, Ibn Saud, on Sharif Hussain and topple him. This allowed the British to effectuate the Sykes-Picot accord, and subsequently establish the Zionist state of Israel.

Read Part II

*

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

Author Rez Karim is an Electrical Engineer and Chief Editor at VitalColumns.com.

Featured image is from the authorThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Rez Karim, Global Research, 2020

توسّع أردوغان في شرق المتوسّط مسمار نعش النهاية..

سماهر الخطيب

وجّهت الولايات المتحدة بالأمس دعوة إلى الحليف الناتوي تركيا لسحب قواتها من شرق المتوسط.

وجاءت الدعوة على لسان وزير الخارجية الأميركية مايك بومبيو عشية زيارته إلى قبرص بهدف التوصل إلى حل سلميّ يُنهي التوتر في المنطقة.

وبحسب بومبيو فإن «زيارته لقبرص تأتي استكمالاً لاتصالات أجراها الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب مع نظيره التركي رجب طيب أردوغان ورئيس الوزراء اليوناني»، مشدداً على «ضرورة حل النزاع بطريقة دبلوماسية وسلمية». كما أشار إلى «دور ألمانيا في السعي إلى خفض التوتر».

فيما أكدت الدول الأوروبية السبع المطلة على المتوسط في ختام قمتها بشأن الأوضاع في شرق المتوسط استعدادها لـ»فرض عقوبات على تركيا ما لم تتراجع عما وصفته بتحركاتها الأحادية الجانب في المنطقة».

كما أكدت الدول الأوروبية السبع “دعمها الكامل وتضامنها مع قبرص واليونان في وجه التعديات المتكررة على سيادتهما وحقوقهما السيادية والأعمال التصعيدية من جانب تركيا”، وفق ما جاء في البيان.

وندّد الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون أول أمس، بـ”لعبة الهيمنة لقوى تاريخية” في البحر الأبيض المتوسط وليبيا وسورية، مسمياً تركيا. وقال ماكرون إن «دول المتوسط السبع تريد حواراً بنية حسنة مع تركيا التي تقود سياسة توسعية في البحر الأبيض المتوسط».

وفي المشهد التركي يبدو أنّ أردوغان ماضٍ إلى نهاية حقبته «الأردوغانية»، بعد أن أصبحت نزعته «السلطانية» المتحكمة والمسيطرة على أفعاله وأقواله. وهو يعلم جليّاً بأنّ تلك النزعة التوسعية فاقدة أي شرعية أو مشروعية وخالية من أي سند قانوني يدعمها أو حق تاريخي يؤصّلها، ليس في مياه البحر الأبيض المتوسط، فحسب، إنما في معظم الأراضي السورية التي سلخها أجداده عن أمها السورية بلا حق وها هو اليوم يفتح عليه أبواب مواجهات قاسية وقاصمة، قد تصل إلى حد الحرب.

ومنذ أن وقعت تركيا اتفاقية ترسيم الحدود مع الوفاق الليبية ولم تكل ولم تهدأ بتوجيه تهديداتها لجيرانها في منطقة شرق البحر الأبيض المتوسط، وبخاصة قبرص واليونان، وذلك من خلال إعلانها الخاص بتوسيع نطاق عملياتها لاستكشاف حقول الغاز في المنطقة المتنازع عليها شرقي المتوسط، وتأكيدها على مواصلة سفينة التنقيب التركية “ياووز” أعمالها، خلال الفترة الممتدة من 18 آب، وحتى نهاية أيلول الحالي.

وصرّح أردوغان مراراً أن بلاده ستستأنف عمليات التنقيب وستبحث عن مصادر الطاقة قبالة جزر يونانية، متوعّداً بعدم التراجع عن توغل بلاده في شرق المتوسط، زاعماً أن لبلاده «الحق تماماً» في المنطقة المتنازع عليها مع اليونان.. وإذا ما فتحنا دفتر الحساب حول الحق المزعوم فسنجد أنّ هذه «الحقوق العثمانية» ما هي إلا الأوهام مجرّدة من المصداقية بنت إمبراطوريتها السابقة على المجازر التي ارتكبتها كالمجازر الأرمنية والسريانية واقتطعت الأراضي بلا أدنى حق متذرعة بقوة السيف من جهة وباتفاق مع حلفاء الحربين العالميتين الأولى والثانية من جهة أخرى..

إنما هروب أردوغان من الجهة الغربية نحو جهة المتوسطية سيكون مسماراً في نعش النهاية الحتمية لجنون الحقبة «الأردوغانية» التي عاشتها بلاده ودفعت وستدفع أكلافها عالية وغالية..

إذ أضحى أردوغان عدواً مشتركاً للغرب وللشرق بتصرّفاته الرعناء ولم تقتصر تلك العداوة على الخارج بل ظهرت وتغلغلت داخل بلاده وبين مواطنيه..

ودخل في دوامة الخلافات مع محيطه الشرقي والغربي وبات العمق الاستراتيجي أضغاث أحلام ولم يعد يساوي الحبر الذي كتب فيه أحمد داوود أوغلو كتابه موجهاً دعواته لحزبه السابق حزب العدالة والتنمية بالتوجه نحو الشرق والداخل المشرقي وباتت رؤية “صفر مشاكل” صفراً على شمال طموحات أردوغان الرعناء.. فأصبح الإقليم برمته ضدّه، فبينما تلوّح أوروبا بورقة العقوبات، تحرّك فرنسا قطعها الحربية إلى المتوسط، وواشنطن تفتر علاقتها به وتطلب منه بصريح العبارة سحب قواته من المتوسط وتدين “الجامعة العربية” تصرفاته وتطالبه بسحب قواته من سورية وليبيا وغيرها من البلاد التي عاث فيها فساداً ليبدو وكأنّ الجميع اتفق عليه ويتجه نحو تشكيل حلف جديد في رحم المنطقة لملاقاته، والذي يبدو في الزمن القريب قدراً مقدوراً..

في المحصلة تبدو نهاية «الأردوغانيّة» أمراً محتوماً وحقيقة مؤكدة، وفي التاريخ الكثير من أمثولات أطماع أردوغان وأوهامه التي تسببت بانهيار إمبراطوريات كبيرة واندثرت حضارات عظيمة، إذا ما افترضنا أنّ تركيا «حضارة» وإن كانت، فإنما حضارة مسروقة مبنية على مجازر..

وفي العودة إلى التاريخ، فإن كثيراً من الإمبراطوريات انهارت وفسدت واضمحلت من داخلها، بسبب تصرفات حكامها وما محاولة أردوغان لبناء دولة خلافة تركية من جديد، إلا أوهام مضادة لحركة التاريخ وتزييف لتطور البشرية..

وإذا ما استمرّ في تجاوزاته لكل الخطوط الحمر فإن نهايته حتماً ستأتي على يد تحالف دولي إقليمي، قد يتحول إلى حلف عسكري في القريب العاجل، للقضاء على أوهام السلطان الذي لم يعد له صاحب أو صديق..

Why empty can makes the most noise? Or how visible is hidden deep in invisible?

Why empty can makes the most noise? Or how visible is hidden deep in invisible?

August 11, 2020

Note by the Saker: I want to express my deepest gratitude to Zoran for taking up my (always standing) invitation to express a point of view different than the one expressed by Johnny-on-the-spot in Serbia.  And, just in case, I want to remind everybody that I take NO personal position on this issue.  I hope that with Zoran’s column we can now have a discussion of substantive issues even if we vehemently disagree with each other.  Kind regards, The Saker

by Zoran Petrov for The Saker Blog

I was also one who has sent complaints to Saker on reporting from Belgrade and the one who refused his request to write something about situation in Serbia. There are many reasons for my refusal – one of them is that I am a biodynamic farmer and right now is high season for us in the fields. But Saker´s open letter did make change of my mind! Even if it means being accused as one of “tyrant’s trolls and bots”.

In younger days I was deputy editor in chief of small Yugoslav weekly in Australia and one of the first rules for every journalist was to avoid in their articles attributes like the one in reporting from Belgrade – “Serbian tyrant”, “psychopath” or having statements like “the board of medical charlatans”, “illegitimate, fraudulently elected deputies” without giving argumentation for such statements. Or better to say – without substance.

Instead manipulative “the people of Belgrade” good journalist would write (small or large) group of people, huge crowd, etc. and poetic expressions like “Serbia has now sunk to the darkest depths of the Middle Ages…”, “it is the descent of a proud country and noble nation into the malodorous septic tank…” would never be printed…

But what is happening in Serbia? Although everything seems quite obvious to Johnny-on-the-spot in Belgrade, questions must be raised about true influences and powers play in Serbia.

Good starting point could be series of lectures given by Rudolf Steiner in 1916 and firstly published as “Karma of Untruthfulness “in 1948. Steiner gave many lectures on nature of political events of his time. Quite interesting is his remark in 1918 that “Russian revolution was a social experiment that will last 70 years”! There are nice insights in his lectures into events that happened before WWI and background info on real causes that led to WWI.

Macintosh HD:Users:katarinapetrov:Downloads:200px-Mehmed_talaat_pasja.jpg

Steiner claimed that there was quite obvious clear intention of secret Anglo-Saxon brotherhoods to destroy 4 empires based on strong religious impulses – German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman empire!

Back in 1893, an elusive Englishman named Charles George Harrison delivered a series of six lectures to the Berean Society, a London based association of Christian esotericists. Harrison, described as a “mysterious and unknown figure,” was an English occultist and Anglican Christian. In his second lecture Harrison spoke of “the next great European war” and of how the “national character” of the Slavic peoples would “enable them to carry out experiments in Socialism, political and economical, which would present innumerable difficulties in Western Europe.”[1]

These brotherhoods took active roles after WWI, from forming new states to establishing new borders like the one between Serbia and new countries of Hungary and Romania (free masons even published a book about how demarcation line was settled among them for newly established Yugoslavia). What is less known is their role in Ottoman empire destruction – major figures in Young Turk movement were at least Freemasons. The role of Dönmeh[2] members is quite intrigant and hard to follow due to their secrecy. The fact is that direct responsibility for Armenian genocide does not lay on some, of those days religious fanatic Al Kaida, but on western educated and western leaning, young Turks like Talaat Pasha (one of 4 feared Pashas) that ruled during last days of Ottoman Empire. Talaat Pasha comes from Dönmeh environment in Salonika, 33rd Scottisch Rite Freemason, minister of interior, etc., masterminded genocide of Armenian people. Today whole Turkish nation is blamed for this genocide! “Good thing” was Young Turks decision to turn Aja Sofia into museum as today is “bad thing” by Erdogan to turn in back into mosque!

With these hints in mind maybe we could start to check what is happening in Serbia right now! Is Serbia better place now then 8 years ago? I remember when several Serbian governments unsuccessfully tried to sell 2 black holes of Serbian budget – Bor copper mine[3] and Smederevo Foundry[4]. Roughly 500 millions of euros went to cover wages and maintenance costs of these two unproductive companies. No one wanted to buy any of these companies even when the sale for 1 euro for each of them (There was short episode with US company that bought Smederevo Steel Mill for 1 euro but returned it back to Serbian state after they melted surplus of tanks and artillery pieces from Serbian army)! During Vucic rule he managed to bring Chinese companies that paid good money for these companies with commitment to make further investments into modernization as well in environmental protection. Serbian state is minority shareholder and more importantly it has 500 euros more in annual budget!

Long overdue modernization of Serbian army did take place (but we are not going into this topic) and it might have some connection with interesting events:

1. in 2018 Chinese president XI and Vucic discussed possible purchase of FK3 (frankensteined S-300 and Patriot missile defence system);

2. in 2019 and 2020 Serbian solders took training in Russia on S-400 missile defence system;

3. in 2020 Russia brought S-400 missile defense system to Serbia for a joint military exercise.

4. This month it became public information that Serbia actually bought FK – 3 from China[5]

How do we connect all these dots, are Russians and Chinese so stupid to play Vucic games, Western puppet? Why would Serbian soldiers spend nearly 2 years in Russia on training how to use S-400 when government already bought FK-3!?

Even more interesting events took part in the last 60 days! But Johnny-on-the-spot in Belgrade, somehow overlooked it. Instead, of all 2 million something Belgrade citizens, he focused his attention on handful (at most 1000) active protestors?!

Chain of events started with sudden visit of FM Lavrov to Belgrade on 18th of June. After meeting with Lavrov, grim Vucic warned of “difficult times ahead”[6] :

1. protests started by small group of people (because “fraudulent election”) eventually swelled on one day to maybe 6-7000 people. But after violence by some, number of protestors decreased rapidly in the matter of 48 hours! Interestingly, police arrested young men from Ukraine and Turkmenistan (with Israel passports), from Great Britain, etc. fully prepared for fight with police.

It is hard to believe that security services in Serbia were not aware of preparation for protests. It could be even that Lavrov brought those information? It is obvious to me that firecracker was prematurely ignited (aikido scenario) and gave Vucic nice pretext for negotiation in Brussels to show his counterparts that he is not at peace at home because Kosovo but also to get some more space for maneuver after uncomfortable complete majority in Serbian parliament!

2. US mediated Serbia/Kosovo negotiation was postponed as a blow to Trump[7]

3. Brussels mediated Serbia/Kosovo negotiation came “back on track”[8] whatever it means.

4. Serbia contacted US to buy 20 bombers[9] but if US refuses it, Serbia will find someone else where to buy it (Russia).

5. Serbian army entered Kosovo in joint border with NATO KFOR[10]. Press statement from KFOR confirmed event adding that everything was in accordance with UN resolution 1244 and Kumanovo Agreement (The Military Technical Agreement signed between the International Security Force (KFOR) and the Governments of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Serbia) !?!?[11]

And, yes, Corona did something to Serbian government that started frantically to invest hundreds of millions of euros in health system of Serbia that was devastated during last 30 years. Many new hospitals are going to be built as a matter of urgency, complete restructuring of microbiological labs in Serbia, state owned Torlak (in older days major vaccine provider for Asia and Afrika) was resurrected amid claims that it was sold. Veil of silence was lifted and we know now that Torlak still produces influenza vaccine among others. State of art new labs were bought or donated from China…

So many news in so few days! Chess game is in full swing and we need good and thoughtful reports from Belgrade!

It is important to remember – when Vucic came to power he was immediately accused of being Western pawn that should finalize Kosovo independence. He might be a Western man in Serbia but he did not give Kosovo independence yet!

Notes:

  1. https://www.newdawnmagazine.com/articles/brothers-of-the-shadows-overlords-of-chaos 
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%B6nmeh 
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zijin_Bor_Copper 
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hesteel_Serbia 
  5. https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/08/03/world/europe/03reuters-serbia-arms-china.html 
  6. http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a611225/Belgrade-additionally-worries-about-Kosovo-after-Moscow-s-estimatesBelgrade-additionally-worries-abo.html 
  7. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/25/world/europe/serbia-kosovo-trump-hashim-thaci.html 
  8. https://www.rferl.org/a/leaders-of-kosovo-serbia-to-hold-talks-in-eu-effort-to-reboot-dialogue/30721718.html 
  9. https://www.voanews.com/europe/serbia-seeks-purchase-more-warplanes-strengthen-its-armed-forces-potentially-russia 
  10. https://exit.al/en/2020/08/09/serbian-army-entered-kosovo-in-joint-border-patrol-with-natos-kfor-mission/ 
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumanovo_Agreement 

Lebanon’s future: Lebanon’s Mutasarrifate Take II:

August 10, 2020

A crossroads of civilizations, Lebanon has been often involved in wars, invasions, and sectarian warfare. Image depicts Lebanese soldiers in 1861, right after a big clash between Maronite Christians and Druze muslims.

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

Most of the current instability in the Levant and the whole Middle East is inadvertently and inadvertently a result of the obsession about Israel’s security; both from the Israeli as well as the American sides. That said, many of the region’s problems are deep-rooted and go back to times before Israel was created and before America had any influence.

In the middle part of the Nineteenth Century, and whilst the entire Levant was under Ottoman rule, sectarian strife between Lebanese Maronites (a regional Catholic sect) and Druze (regional esoteric Muslim-based faith) left thousands savagely butchered, towns decimated, and civilians displaced. The strife escalated in 1860-1861, and as it was obvious back then that the Ottoman Empire was not far from its demise, the West was looking for half an opportunity to interfere in the Levant; and under the guise of protecting the Lebanese Maronites, coerced the Ottomans to give Mount Lebanon autonomy, under the auspices of the West.

This all happened prior to WWI, before Sykes Picot, and before any single Western nation could make a claim on Lebanon. The decision had then to be reached by consensus. This is why it was jointly reached by France, Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia. The Ottomans had no choice but to accept and dilute their influence in the region by giving the West a post within the Ottoman Empire.

The French proposed that the ruler should be given the title of Plenipotentriary, and the word was translated to a Turkish word of Arabic origin, Mutasarrif, but that person was appointed by the West; not by Turkey, and the political entity itself was called the Mutasarrifate of Mount Lebanon.

For readers interested in my take and analysis on Lebanon’s recent history in a more detailed but concise narrative, they can go to this reference. In brief, Grand Liban (Greater Lebanon) was created by the French under the demand of the then Maronite Patriarch Howayyek in 1920. It was meant to give Lebanese Christians a sense of security, and to be a neutral country in the Middle East; with a Western outlook.

This article will not discuss the geopolitical changes that have happened since. They are in the link above. That said, with the many changes over the last century, the situation in Lebanon has become untenable.

In summary, and among other things, Lebanon has to find a way to deal with Israel, with Syria which is the heart of the axis of resistance and support of Hezbollah, its Arab neighbours who are predominantly against Syria and Hezbollah, devise a united policy as to the status and level of the presence of Hezbollah, find a way out of the current financial collapse and redefine the country’s position as either a neutral country or a spearhead of resistance.

But this is easier said than done not only because of the political divisions, but also because of the endemic corruption of its Mafia lords; Lebanon’s ruling elite and their cronies.

These are the family lines of the same lords that led Lebanon into the civil war. They all have little armies, real armies; some with tanks and artillery. The Lebanese Army is incapable of crushing them, and even if it attempts to, it will have to attack them all at once; not one at a time without risking being accused of impartiality and giving favours.

Those leaders are accused of having thieved $800 Bn from Lebanon and siphoned it overseas. And in as much as they loathe each other, they equally need each other because the existence of each of them is contingent upon that of the others.

Much has been blamed in the past on the disunity of the Lebanese themselves, but when literally millions took to the streets in October 2019, they were united, they carried the slogan of ‘kellon yani kellon’ (all of them means all of them). But before too long, meddlers and thugs were set up inside their camps wreaking havoc and disunity. The protestors were hoping that the Lebanese Army would make a move and start arresting the leaders and the cronies implanted amongst them, but the army itself is bogged down in the same game of dirty politics and loyalties.

In simple terms, the Lebanese people can become united if they have the will and they have done so in the past. They have learned this lesson the hard way, but they simply do not have the means and the power to dislodge the ruling families who control everything; all the way from daily bread to election results.

The country has been struggling for years with mountains of rubbish that the government has not been able to process, electricity shortages, water shortages, soaring unemployment just to name a few problems. It is little wonder why the economy collapsed and the Lira lost nearly 80% of its value in the last few months. Add to this COVID-19, the Caesar Act, and now the Beirut Sea-Port explosions.

Of interest to note is that the latest events in Lebanon have been capitalized on to raise the level of dissent against Hezbollah. According to some, Hezbollah was blamed for everything; even including the sea-port disaster.

Sometimes however, disasters offer silver linings. The cries of Lebanese citizens in the streets of major cities did not generate any global compassion, but after the massive blast, there seems a change in this respect.

Many nations have come forward and offered to assist the Lebanese people, and their governments are not shying away from stating that they will not entrust this aid to the Lebanese Government for distribution to those in need. This is because the whole world, not only the Lebanese people, no longer trust Lebanese officials.

Thus far, among a list of nations, aid and offers of aid came from Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the USA, and ironically, even from Israel .

But no aid offer has thus far come close to that of France. French President Marcon did not only make a promise, but he also visited Lebanon and walked on Ground Zero (thereby shooting the concept of nuclear attack in the guts) and made a very intriguing yet audacious promise. He promised Lebanon a ‘new political pact’.

What does a ‘new political pact’ exactly mean?

This promise harks back to the days of colonization when France did not only actually draw the map of the new state of Lebanon and gave it a constitution that was shaped on France’s own, but it also goes back to the days when the Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate was created, does it not?

Macron went further and promised to return to Lebanon on the 1st of September 2020, a very ominous date indeed, a date that marks the centenary of the declaration of Grand Liban.

But Lebanon is no longer under French mandate, and France is unable to receive such a mandate without international support. That said, as unbelievable as it may sound, more than fifty thousand Lebanese have signed a petition asking France to take control of Lebanon for the next ten years. And speaking of former colonizers, if such a poll was taken for the return of Turkish rule, perhaps more would sign it as the popularity of Erdogan is growing within the Sunni street.

This is not to say that Lebanese people want to be ruled by a foreign entity. It is simply because they are feeling beaten, robbed, hungry, terrorised, so helpless and have lost total faith in their own leaders and political process and are desperately screaming out for help from outside.

If the events of 1860-1861 have generated enough Western ‘sympathy’ to ‘help’ the people of Lebanon, then the events of 2020 are much more prominent and offer a much bigger opportunity and lure for a new-style intervention.

But once again, France cannot get away with doing this alone. With Russia already on the ground in Syria and America looking for a new role in Lebanon, France would have to get them on board somehow. It is plausible that a new international conference that of course includes Russia but also Turkey, but not Iran, may soon be convened to discuss the political future of Lebanon.

This time, the West will have a significantly larger incentive than the one it had back in 1861, because this time around, it will have one small eye on Lebanon, and the bigger eye on the security of Israel, as well as seeing in this an opportunity they have not been able to achieve by other means in order to reach a deal that stamps out Iranian influence and presence just at the door step of Israel’s borders.

If the international community were serious about helping the Lebanese people and the Lebanese Army, it is quite capable of freezing the assets of the corrupt leaders and repatriating those funds to jump-start the economy again. Lebanon has a huge wealth of highly qualified professionals, many of whom currently are unemployed, and are desperately needing work in a country that desperately needs rebuilding. But would they be trusted, given their miserable track record, and who would they be answerable to if they breached the agreed mandate?

But such a plan, devised by an international conference would not bear fruit unless it puts teeth into the decision, sending troops to disarm the relatively small militia of the corrupt politicians, forcefully if needed. Theoretically, and with good intentions, this is conceivable. However, since when has such an operation ever been genuinely executed and free of abuse and various stakeholder’s pursuing their nefarious agendas. How could we forget Libya? That said, the intervention in Libya was NATO-based, the presence of Russia and possibly China in any international agreement over Lebanon will add more balance.

But no one will be able to disarm the formidable army of the true resistance, Hezbollah, any more than Hezbollah will agree to lay down its weapons.

According to my analysis and predictions, it appears likely that some type of intervention will occur to cleanse the country of the political elite and their private interest militias. The pact will draw a line somewhere in South Lebanon, keep an area under Hezbollah’s control, and have Hezbollah to agree to leave Lebanese politics. This would be the biggest concession that Hezbollah will agree to, if it does. This will not give Israel all of what it wants, because such an outcome will not safeguard it from Hezbollah’s rockets, however Israel cannot expect more than that, if it does.

Russia may use this ‘opportunity’ to reach a way out of the deadlock and find a political settlement with the USA over their differences in Syria. But for this to happen, Syria will also need to agree to remove Iranian influence and presence from Syrian soil, as this fact has caused so much growing divisiveness in the region and provided an excuse for further Israeli aggression and US presence in Syria.

Most ironically in this particular context, even Chairman Nasrallah referred to silver linings in his latest speech on the 8th of August 2020, following the sea-port disaster. He said “from the womb of the tragedy, opportunities are born, and that international discussions emerging from this incident are an opportunity that must be capitalized upon by the Lebanese” I do not profess to know what Chairman Nasrallah meant, but he did add that all of those who are hedging their bets on the failure of the resistance will eventually fail.

Lebanon has probably gone the full circle, and the age of Mutasarrifate Take II is possibly only around the corner.

If Marcon is true to his word, for better or for worse he needs to act fast because he knows that the condition of the Lebanese people is dire. But no doubt, given his country’s history great skepticism prevails.

Tragically, such an outcome will catapult Lebanon right back into the age of Western custodianship. Depending on its fine details, and unless it stipulates the lifting of sanctions on Syria, its outcome may have serious further economic repercussions on Syria. Furthermore, it will take away many of the achievements of the Axis of Resistance, realistically however, such an outcome is not far-fetched.

The murderous, greedy, filthy and corrupt Lebanese political leaders would not have only destroyed Lebanon’s economy, but also returned it to the doldrums of the age of colonization.

Censorship: Dictator Erdogan Continues to Block Syria News in Turkey

August 7, 2020 Arabi Souri

Recept Tayyeb Erdogan - Turkey Sultan Wannabe

The Turkish madman and Sultan wannabe Recep Tayyeb Erdogan continues to block our site Syria News in Turkey, or better call it Erdoganstan, the site has been blocked since 2013.

A thread on Reddit reminded me of the blocking in Turkey, it’s been a while I didn’t check with our visitors from Turkey whether they can access the site normally in different regions of Turkey, do they need to use a VPN to access the site? I’d highly appreciate if we get the response in the comments.

This is the thread on Reddit of Turkish visitors who can’t access the site normally and need a VPN to override Erdogan’s censorship, yet still one of them, as I understood from the translator, he still couldn’t access the site:

Censorship: Erdogan continues to ban Syria News in Turkey

I used Google Translator to try to confirm that the discussion is about the censorship of Syria News in Turkey, and this is what it returned:

Turkish citizens don't have access to Syria News
  • Does the site syrianews.cc anti-AKP banned pro-Assad regime in Turkey?
  • I saw a news on Social Media, a link was given to this site. I said I’ll read, I clicked but “mafiş”. I used a VPN, it was turned on. Now I can’t say the problem is on my computer.
  • It doesn’t open for me

Obviously, the madman and loyal servant to the worldwide Political Zionism movement, Erdogan is working hard to fulfill his role as the “leading player in the Greater Israel Project” – in his own words, has managed in a short period of time to reverse most achievements Turkey has accomplished since its evolvement from the most hated Ottoman Sultanate to a modern country a century ago, now he’s doubling down on reviving that anti-Islamic criminal empire that fought fake religious wars in the name of Islam against everybody else.

Erdogan: ‘George W. Bush Assigned Me the Leading Regional Role in the Greater Israel Project.

Erdogan Intimidating Syrianews.cc to Silence Us

The Ottoman sultanate, and contrary to the propaganda its defenders try to spread, is a complete 180 degrees twist from Islamic teachings. This can easily be established by their ditching of the Arabic language, the language of the Holy Quran, as the state’s formal language and enforcing their Turkish language on the Muslims and others in the countries they invaded and destroyed.

The Ottomans infiltrated and then collapsed the last real Islamic Caliphate the Abbassid based in Baghdad, and continued to sideline the Damascus center of the former Omayyad Caliphate. They moved the center of their ‘Sultanate’ to Constantinople which they conquered and called it Astana then Istanbul, the furthest they could reach from centers of Islam in Mekkah, Medina, Quds (Jerusalem), Damascus, Fustat (Cairo), and Baghdad.

The Turks – Ottomans have great hatred towards Arab Muslims manifested in their constant invasions of other countries using Muslim youth from the Arab world to fight the useless bloodiest wars of the Sultan, not to spread Islam, but to make it a hated religion. Islam strictly prohibits invading and attacking other countries that did not pose any threat or invade Muslim countries. The only other context where Islam permits an attack against another country is when it prohibits its Muslim people from practicing their prayers, even in this case, if there’s a peace treaty with that country Islam prohibits attacking it. This explains how Islam easily and peacefully spread in regions as far as China and Indonesia without any war.

The Ottomans also worked hard to stop the advance of the Arab Muslim territories from science and education in all its fields and to prevent it completely, the succeeded in making more than 90% of the population of the regions they conquered illiterate. They stole the books to their capital, they oppressed, harshly the people of the regions under their control. That’s all very much un-Islamic and against a main teaching of Prophet Muhammad PBUH.

Their grandchildren now fighting freedom of speech, oppressing journalism, and attacking all their neighbors and beyond is not surprising, seems it runs in their genes.

We call on all governments of the world to block Erdogan’s propaganda sites in their countries until he allows freedom of speech back in his, after all, his propaganda sites are only used to recruit anti-Islamic terrorists in your countries.

All those who claim they are helping the Syrian people and shout their lungs out that they want us to gain freedoms we don’t have and democracy we lack, and to distribute our resources better, are the same ones who ban our voices, block our contributions, they jail their own citizens who do not align with their criminal policies, and steal our resources, burn our food, and prevent others from trading with us or even help us.

Trump Bombs Syrian Wheat Fields while Fighting COVID ‘Enemy’ at Home

Local Farmers Block Stolen Syrian Wheat Shipment heading to Erdogan

Hearing is Not Like Seeing: NATO’s Terrorists Burning Syrian Wheat Crops – Video

Nobody is Talking about the Sanctions against Syria!

Erdogan Thugs Arrest 61 Teachers in Ankara

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Paying it forward – Erdogan style

Paying it forward – Erdogan style

July 20, 2020

by Ghassan and Intibah Kadi for the Saker Blog

With all eyes globally poised at COVID-19 and the impending economic meltdown, Black-Lives-Matter activism, and the protests in the USA and some Western countries, little attention is given to the rise of a potentially more formidable religious fundamentalism base for ISIS-style and orientation than ISIS itself; and indications are pointing to this happening right now, in today’s Turkey.

Al-Qaeda and ISIS are/were rogue organizations with relatively little resources, little prowess, and no international standing to offer them a safe haven under which to hide and protect themselves from the wrath of the world, so to speak.

But this was not the case for the Saudis over the last few decades. Saudi Arabia is an internationally recognized political entity, a member of the United Nations, a G-20 member with enormous wealth and a commodity that the world needs; oil. Saudi Arabia used its dollar power to spread the fundamentalist Wahhabi version of Islam based on the interpretations and teachings of Ibn Taymiyyah.

The Saudis spent billions of dollars, tens and even perhaps hundreds of billions building religious schools and mosques throughout the entire globe. They sponsored, fostered and abetted preachers, including highly controversial violent radical preachers in order to promote their version of Islam. They financed and equipped most fundamentalist terror groups, all the way initially from the Afghani Mujahideen, the Somali Al-Shabab, to the Nigerian Boku Haram; just to name a few. Their program commenced in the late 1960’s, during the reign of Saudi King Faisal who initially wanted to eradicate the growing doctrine of Marxism in the Muslim World.

And when the Saudis believed they had it made, when they felt the road was paved and all obstacles removed, they launched the multi-billion dollar attack on Syria.

By then, fundamentalist Sunni Muslim youth across the globe were banking on Saudi leadership and had put all of their faith and hope in them to lead the Muslim World towards a new era in which Wahhabi Islam was expected to make a series of gains on the global arena; with a covert intention to gain world control.

As the Saudis were beginning to fail in fulfilling their promise, ISIS made its mark in the minds of Muslim youth when world media aired videos of ISIS tanks in the streets and main squares of Mosul; Iraq’s second largest city. Just before and after the fall of Mosul, the advance of ISIS looked unstoppable; reminiscent of the bygone days of Muslim conquest and glory, as perceived by many sympathetic Muslim youth.

It was not a surprise therefore, that when ISIS leader/Caliph Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi called for a Jihad in 2013, he not only rounded up the fundamentalist Sunni sector already radicalized, but he also managed to charm other previously moderate Sunnis who were amazed at his achievements.

It must be remembered here that in as far as Muslim religious battles and conquests are concerned, perhaps the last such great conquest of them all in the Western hemisphere, was the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. But this conquest of Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II was the result of a huge effort, strategic planning, determination, patience, perseverance and the ability to employ the best in the world in terms of weapon development and specifically cannon manufacturing.

With the Saudi failure in Syria and its utter inability to score any victory in Yemen against all odds that favoured its highly privileged position, Saudi Arabia began to lose its stature as the leading nation of Muslim fundamentalism.

Enter Erdogan.

As I have written many times before, Erdogan is a combination of a religious fundamentalist zealot and a Turkish nationalist. He also has his own egocentric agendas, aspiring to be a mega Muslim leader and an empire builder.

In his quest for leadership, he has taken the role of an opportunist, a blackmailer and a scavenger, among other things.

As an opportunist, he rode on the anti-Syria bandwagon and walked the Qatari-Saudi talk. They flooded him with money and promises. He opened his borders with Syria to the terrorists they funded.

Later on, he used the Syrian refugees in Turkey to blackmail the EU with, opening the floodgate of refugees at will and demanding financial bribes, mainly from Germany, to close the gates after receiving his ransom price, courtesy of the lack of wisdom and short-sightedness of Angela Merkel.

As a scavenger, he is capitalizing on what the Saudis have invested in, to his own benefit.

Erdogan promised his supporters back in 2011 to pray in the Omayyad Mosque in Damascus after defeating Syrian President Assad, but he failed. He promised Turkish people to have ‘zero problems’ internally and externally. He failed. He expected to force Russia into accepting his terms prior to the 15th of March 2020 meeting, and he also failed. He was hoping to score a swift victory in Libya, and he is clearly failing.

What he fails to recognize is that he already is biting off more than he can chew, yet he is preparing to bunker down in Azerbajian.

The man is desperate for a win. There is no better score he can mark on the board than the equivalent of Sultan Mehmet II’s conquest of Constantinople; albeit take two.

The big difference here is that prior to the fall of Constantinople, it was the capital of the Byzantine Empire and its fall was the result of a military defeat at the hands of the Ottomans. Oddly enough however, the Erdogan propaganda machine is portraying the change of status of Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque as a great achievement. His supporters are chanting slogans claiming that turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque is tantamount to a conquest that was predicted in the Hadith.

Something must be amiss here. It is either that those supporters do not know that Constantinople/Istanbul had already been under Muslim/Turkish rule for more than five centuries, it is either that they don’t understand what conquest means, or that they are simply trying to festoon Erdogan with someone else’s achievements.

The real reason is more sinister. Erdogan has not been able to score any decisive military victory in all of his gambles, hence he decided to capitalize on the work of his ancestors. Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II took Constantinople after a long journey of strategic planning, but Erdogan thinks he can exhume the remains of vestiges of bygone glory and cloak himself with remnants of slogans of historic milestones and call them his own, thereby reclaiming an icon already under his control, and then audaciously call himself an all-time victor. Instead of having to go to battle to prove his worth, he chose the convenience of the stroke of a pen, and voila, he transformed himself to an instant great Muslim Fatih/conqueror. This is historic plagiarism at its worst.

In essence, in claiming such a great victory over Hagia Sophia, Erdogan has ‘photoshopped’ a triumph based on a fabricated virtual reality that is aimed to win him more support from the fundamentalist Sunni Muslim street; one that is least driven by rationality.

In all of this, Erdogan has not only benefited from the ground work of the Wahhabi Saudis he is fundamentally opposed to as being a Muslim Brotherhood man, but with his understanding of how to manipulate the vulnerable minds of Muslim youth, all the monies the Saudis have spent have inadvertently turned into a pay-it-forward scheme that he hopes will elevate him to the top of the Muslim World hierarchy.

Thus far, manipulating those vulnerable minds both domestically and within the broader Muslim World has been the only area in which Erdogan has been successful.

That said, the difference in international clout between Al-Qaeda/ISIS and the Erdogan leadership is much larger than that of such organizations and the untouchable Saudi Arabia. Turkey is not only a state, a member of the UN, a member of the G-20, but it is also a NATO member with a huge army.

But unlike the Saudis who do not have any history of strategic planning, technological prowess and entrepreneurial achievements other than paying foreigners to build them palaces, Turkey can play a more pernicious role, after all, it is a nation that has had a long history of empire building; and if and when Turkey decides to rise in a fundamentalist way, the world must take notice.

Under the protection of the above, and knowing that the West will not deal with any part of Turkey like it did with Tora Bora, Erdogan feels at liberty to incrementally convert the public school system into a fundamentalist one, but according to an Erdogan propaganda video, with its Arabic captions designed to recruit support from the Arab Sunni world, he indicates he is building the army of the future for the ‘Ummah’ by radicalizing the youth via the re-vamped schools. The Youtube has been removed, but here’s a screenshot of it.

In an article published nearly two years ago in the NYT, Erdogan’s plan of changing over the education system into a religious one is well presented. Public schools are systemically replaced by the religious Imam Hatip schools, of which Erdogan himself is a graduate. Whilst those schools teach regular subjects, around 50% of which are religious, and a student must pass those subjects before he/she can graduate. With this approach in fact, Erdogan could be leading Turkey into not only becoming a theological state, but also a nation that does not have enough technocrats and STEM graduates at a time when he is trying to build an empire and an advanced army. What is also of note is that affluent secular Turkish parents will send their children to private, non-religious schools, and the new generation of doctors, engineers and teachers will be mainly comprised of them.

In a propaganda video, a noisy and loud Erdogan supporter makes a statement saying that whoever stood up for the victory of Hagia Sophia will do the same for the mosques of Jerusalem, Cordoba (in Spain), Yemen, Mecca and Medina.

The main danger of Erdogan, globally speaking, is that he understands both of the fundamentalist Muslim as well as the liberal Western minds, but the West does not have this full understanding; no doubt to its own peril. Until he is either stopped, or falls on his own sword, he will continue to see the world as open slather for his fundamentalist and expansive adventures, because his mind is set in stone in the age of conquests and religious glory.

Links: Erdogan’s Plan to Raise a ‘Pious Generation’ Divides Parents in Turkey

Clash of civilizations, revisited

Clash of civilizations, revisited

July 17, 2020

By Pepe Escobar – republished from Asia Times by permission of author

Late afternoon in May 29, 1453, Sultan Mehmet, the third son of Murad, born of a slave-girl – probably Christian – in the harem, fluent in Turkish, Arabic, Greek, Latin, Persian and Hebrew, followed by his top ministers, his imams and his bodyguard of Janissaries, rides slowly towards the Great Church of St Sophia in Constantinople.

It’s unlikely that Sultan Mehmet would be sparing a thought for Emperor Justinian, the last of quite a breed: a true Roman Emperor in the throne of Byzantium, a speaker of “barbarous” Greek (he was born in Macedonia) but with a Latin mind.

Much like Sultan Mehmet, Justinian was quite the geopolitician. Byzantium trade was geared towards Cathay and the Indies: silk, spices, precious stones. Yet Persia controlled all the caravan routes on the Ancient Silk Road. The sea route was also a problem; all cargo had to depart from the Persian Gulf.

So Justinian had to bypass Persia.

He came up with a two-pronged strategy: a new northern route via Crimea and the Caucasus, and a new southern route via the Red Sea, bypassing the Persian Gulf.

The first was a relative success; the second a mess. But Justinian finally got his break when a bunch of Orthodox monks offered him to bring back from Asia some precious few silkworm eggs. Soon there were factories not only in Constantinople but in Antioch, Tyre and Beirut. The imperial silk industry – a state monopoly, of course – was up and running.

A fantastic mosaic in Ravenna from the year 546 depicts a Justinian much younger than 64, his age at the time. He was a prodigy of energy – and embellished Constantinople non-stop. The apex was the Church of St. Sophia – the largest building in the world for centuries.

So here we have Sultan Mehmet silently proceeding with his slow ride all the way to the central bronze doors of St Sophia.

He dismounts and picks up a handful of dust and in a gesture of humility, sprinkles it over his turban.

Then he enters the Great Church. He walks towards the altar.

A barely perceptible command leads his top imam to escalate the pulpit and proclaim in the name of Allah, the All Merciful and Compassionate, there is no God but God and Muhammad is his Prophet.

The Sultan then touches the ground with his turbaned head – in a silent prayer. St Sophia was now a mosque.

Sultan Mehmet leaves the mosque and crosses the square to the old Palace of the Emperors, in ruins, founded by Constantine The Great 11 and ½ centuries before. He slowly wanders the ancient halls, his fine velvet slippers brushing the dust from the fabulous pebbled floor mosaics.

Then he murmurs two verses of a Persian poet:

“As the spider weaves the curtain over the palace of the Roman Caesars

The owl sings the time of the house of Afrasiab”

The Byzantine empire, founded by Constantine The Great on Monday, May 11, 330, was over on a Tuesday, May 29, 1453.

Sultan Mehmet is now the Lord of Constantinople and the Lord of the Ottoman Empire. He’s only 21 years old.

Back to the Magic Mountain

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan re-christened Hagia Sophia from a museum back into a mosque. He may have done it because his popularity is waning; his proxy wars are a disaster; his AKP party is shattered; and the economy is bleeding badly.

But what’s striking is that right at the beginning of his official televised speech, Erdogan quoted exactly the same verses by the Persian poet murmured by Sultan Mehmet in that fateful afternoon in 1453.

Erdogan’s latest move – which is part of his perennial master plan to claim leadership of global Islam over the decrepit House of Saud – was widely interpreted in myriad latitudes as yet another instance of clash of civilizations: not only Orthodox Christianity vs. Islam but once again East vs. West.

That reminded me of another East vs. West recent derivation: a revival of the Settembrini vs. Naphta debate in Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, promoted by a Dutch think tank, the Nexus Institute, which aims to “keep the spirit of European humanism alive”. The debate pitted Aleksander Dugin against Bernard-Henri Levy (widely known in France as BHL). The full transcript of the debate is here.

Dugin is a leading Eurasianist and the conceptualizer of the – largely banned in the West – Fourth Political Theory . As a philosopher and political theorist, Dugin is cartoonishly demonized across the West as “Putin’s brain”, a closet fascist and “the most dangerous philosopher in the world”.

BHL, hailed as “one of the West’s leading intellectuals”, is a vain poseur who emerged as a “nouveau philosophe” in the mid-1970s and ritually regurgitates the usual Atlanticist mantras enveloped in flowery quotes. He managed, among other feats, to write a book about Pakistan without knowing anything whatsoever about Pakistan, as I thrashed it on Asia Times back in 2002.

Here are a few interesting talking points throughout the debate.

Dugin stresses the end of Western hegemony and global liberalism. He asks BHL, directly, how, “interestingly, in your book, you define the American empire or the global liberal system as a system of nihilism, based on nothing.” Dugin does define himself as a nihilist “in the sense that I refuse the universality of modern Western values (…) I just challenge that the only way to interpret democracy is as the rule of minorities against the majority, that the only way to interpret freedom is as individual freedom, and that the only way to interpret human rights is by projecting a modern, Western, individualistic version of what it means to be human on other cultures.”

BHL, which seems not to have read his own, dreary, book – this is something Dugin told me in person last year in Beirut, after the debate – prefers to resort to proverbial, infantile Putin bashing, picked up over and over again, stressing “there is a bad, dark wind of nihilism in its proper sense, which is a Nazi and a fascist sense, which is blowing in the great Russia.”

Later on in the debate, BHL adds, “I really believe that there is a link between, on the one side, your and Huntington’s way of thinking; and, on the other side, the occupation of Crimea, the 30,000 deaths in Ukraine and the war in Syria with its bloodbath, tragic and horrible.”

On racism, Dugin is adamant: he does not defend it. For him, “Racism is an Anglo-Saxon liberal construction based on a hierarchy between peoples. I think this is criminal.” Then he defines “a new Manichean division, a new racism. Those who are in favor of Western values, they are good. Everybody who challenges that, in the Islamic tradition, in the Russian tradition, in the Chinese tradition, in the Indian tradition, everywhere, they are populists, and they are classified as fascism. I think that is a new kind of racism.”

BHL prefers to concentrate on “the civilization of human rights, freedom, individual dignity, and so on. This deserves to be universalized. This should be conceived, except if you are a racist, as profitable for the entire humanity.” And then it’s Anti-Semitism all over again: “All the men who you quoted and from whom you draw your inspiration – Spengler, Heidegger, who is also a great philosopher of course, and others – are contaminated, corrupted, infected by this plague which is antisemitism. And alas – you too.”

In Paris circles, the joke is that the only thing BHL cares about is the promotion of BHL. And everyone who does not agree with one of the “leading Western intellectuals” is Anti-Semitic.

BHL insists he’s interested in building bridges. But it’s Dugin who frames the real heart of the matter: “When we try to build bridges too early, without knowing the structure of the Other – the problem is the Other. The West doesn’t understand the Other as something positive. It is all the same, and we immediately try to find bridges – they are illusions, and not bridges, because we are projecting ourselves. The Other is the same, the ideology of the same. We first need to understand otherness.”

BHL totally ignores Levi-Strauss. It’s Dugin who refers to Levi-Strauss when talking about The Other, describing him as one of his teachers:

“This anthropological pluralism, I agree, is precisely the American and French tradition. But it is not reflected in politics, or it is reflected in a very perverted way. So I think there is a big contradiction between this anthropological thought in American universities and French universities, and a kind of very aggressive colonial neo-imperialist form to promote American interests on the world scale with weapons.”

BHL is left with – what else – Putin demonization: “The real imperialism, the real one who is interfering and sowing disorder and interfering in the affairs of others, alas, is Putin. And I need not speak of America, where it is now proved that there has been a huge, crude, and evident Russian intervention in the electoral process of the last election.” BHL, who does not even qualify as a neophyte in geopolitics, is oblivious to the absolute debunking of Russiagate.

BHL is adamant “there is today a real clash of civilizations. But not the one you mention in your books, between the north and the east and the west and the south and all of that; there is a clash of civilizations all over the planet between those who believe in human rights, in liberty, in the right for a body not to be tortured and martyred, and those who are happy with illiberalism and the revival of authoritarianism and slavery.”

Dugin’s challenge for years has been to try to conceptualize what may come next, after the failure of Marxism, fascism and liberal democracy. As much as he thinks Eurasian, he’s inclusive – incorporating “Euro” with “Asia”. BHL for his part simplistically reduces every “evil” to “illiberalism”, where Russia, China, Iran and Turkey – no nuances – are thrown in the same dustbin alongside the vacuous and actually murderous House of Saud.

Mao returns

Now let’s attempt a light-hearted ending to our mini-triptych on the clash of civilizations. Inevitably, that has to do with the ongoing US-China Hybrid War.

Around two years ago, the following dialogue was a smash hit on Chinese Weibo. The Great Helmsman Mao Zedong – or his ghost – was back in town, and he wanted to know about everything that was goin’ on. Call it a – revisionist? – realpolitik version of the clash of civilizations.

Mao: “Can the people eat their fill?”

Answer: “There’s so much to eat they’re dieting.”

Mao: “Are there still any capitalists?”

Answer: “They’re all doing business overseas now!”

Mao: “Do we produce more steel than England?”

Answer: “Tangshan alone produces more than America.”

Mao: “Did we beat social imperialism (as in the former USSR)?”

Answer: “They dissolved it themselves!”

Mao: “Did we smash imperialism?”

Answer: “We’re the imperialists now!”

Mao: “And what about my Cultural Revolution?”

Answer: “It’s in America now!”

الأميركيون يتخلّون عن الإقليم للأتراك

الأميركيون يتخلّون عن الإقليم للأتراك

الثلاثاء ١٤ تموز ٢٠٢٠   

عباس ضاهر – 

خاص النشرة

عندما سجن الأتراك القس الإنجيلي الأميركي أندرو برونسون هبّت ​واشنطن​، ومارست ​عقوبات​ فورية على أنقره سبّبت لها خسائر إقتصادية كبيرة، إلى أن سارع الرئيس التركي ​رجب طيب اردوغان​ بإتخاذ قرار الإفراج عنه. وعندما أعلن الأتراك إعتماد كاتدرائية ​آيا صوفيا​ ​المسيحية​ مسجداً إسلامياً، إكتفى الأميركيون بإعلان أسفهم بشأن الخطوة الأردوغانية من دون إتخاذ أي إجراء بحق الدولة التركية، لا سياسياً ولا إقتصادياً. بينما كانت ​روسيا​ تعتبر ما جرى بحق آيا صوفيا بأنه شأن تركي داخلي.بالطبع، ليست المسألة تركيّة داخلية، ولا الكاتدرائية المسيحية العريقة هي شأن عابر لا يستحق أكثر من جملة إنشائية مبنية على أسف، بل إن طبيعة ردود الفعل الدولية تدل على نوعية التعاطي الدولي، غرباً وشرقاً، مع أنقره التي تتمدد بكل إتجاه إقليمي، وتفرض نفوذا لها يستعيد مجدها في أيام ​الدولة العثمانية​. فهل هناك قبول عالمي بالدور التركي في الإقليم؟.

يبدو أن واشنطن تكرر تجربتها في ​تركيا​ كما فعلت مع ال​إسرائيل​يين. كان الأميركيون في خمسينيات وبداية ستينيات القرن الماضي لا يتعاملون مع ​تل أبيب​ كقوة كما تعاملوا معها لاحقاً. لكن نتائج ​حرب 1967​ التي خاضها الإسرائيليون ضد العرب جعلت ​الولايات المتحدة الأميركية​ تضع إسرائيل في مرتبة الحليفة القوية التي يمكن الإعتماد عليها في ​الشرق الأوسط​. بعدها إزدادت عوامل الدعم والتبني الأميركي لتل أبيب، إلى حد بات فيه الإسرائيليون يعتبرون أنفسهم أنهم يعيشون اتحاداً عضوياً مع الأميركيين.

ما هو حاصل فعلياً أن الأميركيين لا يعولون الآن على أي دور عربي، وهم اغرقوا ​دول الخليج​ بحروب مفتوحة، كما الحال في ​اليمن​ و​ليبيا​. وحدها تركيا حاربت بأدوات عربية وإسلامية طيلة السنوات الماضية، وأقامت تحالفات متينة، وباتت القوة الإقليمية الأكثر قدرة، فتمددت من ​سوريا​ الى ليبيا، وفرضت مصالح في ​العراق​، وتسعى لفرض نفوذ في ​لبنان​، وأسست بنية صلبة في غزة، ونسجت علاقات مع ​باكستان​ و​أفغانستان​، وكل دول ستان، وتصرفت على أساس أنها وقطر في شراكة مستدامة، سلماً وحرباً، وتعاملت مع ​إيران​ كقوة وازنة تحنّ إلى تقاسم الأدوار الإقليمية مع الجبابرة الدوليين.

أمام هذا الواقع، سلّمت الولايات المتحدة الأميركية بأهمية وفاعلية الدور التركي الريادي، وهي تستعد لتُخلي له المنطقة بإنسحاب ​عسكري​ من سوريا والعراق، قد يحصل قبل موعد الإنتخابات الأميركية. فلماذا تثق الولايات المتّحدة بتركيا؟

تستند واشنطن على أن أنقره عضو في ​حلف شمال الأطلسي​، وتدير دولة ذات قدرات بشرية وعسكرية وصناعية هائلة، وهي عناصر تفتقدها ​الدول العربية​ مجتمعة. مما يعني أن تركيا تمنع تفرّد روسيا أو إيران في الإقليم، لا بل تستطيع أن تحدّ من نفوذ الإيرانيين في أي دولة إسلامية رغم التقارب التركي-الإيراني القائم في علاقات مميزة بين أنقره و​طهران​.

الأهم، أن تركيا تملأ فراغاً كان يمكن ان يملأه العرب في سوريا ولبنان وليبيا ومناطق أخرى. فلو أرسلت مصر في السنوات الماضية كتيبة عسكرية إلى سوريا للمشاركة الى جانب دمشق في الحرب ضد ​الإرهاب​، لكانت اكتسبت ​القاهرة​ شرعية عربية واسعة انطلاقا من سوريا. لكن المصريين تركوا الساحة السورية، بينما كانت دول الخليج تدعم المجموعات المسلحة التي صارت الآن في خدمة تركيا في شمال وشرق سوريا.

المسألة تتكرر في لبنان الآن، بعد إنسحاب دول الخليج من أي دور سياسي أو مالي في لبنان، مما رمى مجموعات سنّية في أحضان أنقره، وتحديداً في ​شمال لبنان​. الأمر يتكرر في بعض مناطق العراق ايضاً، فيما إستطاعت تركيا أن تسحب مقاتلين سوريين للقتال في ليبيا قُدّر عددهم ١٧ الف مسلّح يساندون “​الإخوان المسلمين​” في ليبيا في معركة ​حكومة​ ​طرابلس الغرب​ ضد جيش المشير حفتر.

على هذا الأساس، توحي المتغيرات الجيوسياسية أن تركيا تتمدد على حساب العرب لتزعّم المسلمين السنّة في مساحات واسعة. عندها سيكون الإقليم محكوماً بين ثلاثة عناصر: تركيا، إيران، وإسرائيل، في ظل نفوذ روسي واسع، وصيني وأميركي غير مباشر. بينما يتفرج العرب على خلافاتهم ويلتحقون بقوة إقليمية هنا، وقوى دولية هناك: مصر مشغولة ب​سد النهضة​ مع ​اثيوبيا​، و بحدودها مع ليبيا، وبمناطق في ​سيناء​ تحوي ناراً إرهابية تحت الرماد، وبحدودها مع غزة التي يحكمها “الإخوان المسلمون”-حلفاء تركيا.

السعودية​ و​الإمارات​ انهكتا بحرب اليمن من دون جدوى، بينما تزكزك تركيا بهما في كل ساحات الإقليم.

باقي دول العرب حصروا اهتماماتهم بساحاتهم في ظل أزمات أمنية ومالية واقتصادية ودينية وعرقية تهدد مجتمعاتهم بشكل دائم.

Woodrow Wilson’s Racism And His Support For Zionism

Source

by Lawrence Davidson 

Author - American Herald Tribune

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.

He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

Part I— Woodrow Wilson’s Racism

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) was born in Staunton, Virginia, to Christian fundamentalist parents—his father was a Presbyterian minister—who supported the Confederacy during the Civil War. Thus, Wilson grew up and was educated in the segregated American South. This upbringing imbued him with both a literal interpretation of the Bible and a lifelong racist outlook which he brought with him to every position, every office he ever held. For instance, while he served as president of Princeton University (1902-1908), he refused to allow the university to admit African Americans. Despite his racist orientation, Princeton subsequently named a School of Public Policy and International Affairs, sub-colleges and buildings for Wilson. Today, in the wake of uprisings against not only police brutality toward African Americans and other minorities, but also America’s racist legacy, Princeton has removed Wilson’s name from these institutions and buildings. 

Wilson went on to become the 28th president of the United States (1913-1921). He led the United States into World War I, was instrumental in the founding of the League of Nations, appointed the first Jewish member of the Supreme Court and, notably, facilitated the eventual establishment of a “Jewish national home” in Palestine through his support for the Balfour Declaration (1917). At the time he remarked, “To think that I, son of the manse [minister’s house], should be able to help restore the Holy Land to its people.” Subsequently, this decision made him as much a hero to Zionists, and American Zionists in particular, as he was a villain to African Americans. 

Part II—The Zionist Dilemma

Given today’s reaction against the country’s historical racism, American Jews’ understanding of Wilson’s legacy is being debated. The challenge for Zionists is to save Wilson’s heroic image without totally disregarding his racist record. An attempt to do just that came in an essay, recently published on 2 July 2020, in the American Jewish newspaper the ForwardThe essay is entitled “Woodrow Wilson was a hero to Jews. What should we do with his racism?” and was written by Jonathan D. Sarna, a Brandeis University professor of American Jewish history.

Sarna notes both facets of Wilson’s career. On the one hand “The Jews of his day considered Wilson a hero and a savior, a man of principle and ethical uprightness.” On the other, African Americans “learn a totally different narrative” wherein “Wilson … staunchly defended segregation and characterized Blacks as an ‘ignorant and inferior race.’” 

Sarna seeks to square this circle by retreating to a frankly banal apologia: ”Many a flawed hero accomplished great deeds and changed the institutions and nations they led for the better. … They remind us that good people can do very bad things — and vice versa.” This is poor consolation for African Americans. It also turns out to be a shaky basis for Jewish admiration of Wilson. This is so because the alleged good Woodrow Wilson did for the Jews—his support for the Balfour Declaration—was based on the same racist foundation shaping his behavior toward African Americans.  

Part III—Wilson Supports the Balfour Declaration

What is the connection between Wilson’s racism and his support for the Balfour Declaration? The president was a European race supremacist, or what today would be called a “white supremacist.” As he saw it, African Americans were not the only “ignorant and inferior race” out there. All the non-European peoples, such as those of the Ottoman Empire, including Palestinians, qualified for this designation.

On 8 January 1918, in the run-up to America’s entrance into World War I, President Wilson announced his “Fourteen Points.” These were the nation’s war aims—notions around which to rally the American people. A major theme that runs throughout these “points” is the promise of self-determination for peoples then under the rule of the enemy Central Powers: Germany, Austria and the Ottoman Empire. Referring specifically to the last-mentioned, point twelve reads, “The Turkish portion of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development.”

Such a promise, of course, included the Arabs of the Ottoman province of Greater Syria, which in turn included Palestine and its indigenous population. This pledge might seem to conflict with Wilson’s racist outlook, but one has to keep in mind that point twelve was meant as a propaganda piece in support of the broader claim that America was joining a war to make the world safe for democracy. As a vehicle for arousing the enthusiasm of the American people, it was effective. However, it transformed itself into something problematic as soon as Wilson got to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. U.S. allies Britain and France wanted to incorporate most of the Ottoman lands, which they considered the spoils of war, into their own existing empires, and so objected to point twelve. 

Because of his European supremacist point of view, Wilson really had no deep objections to this expansion. The question was how to go along with his allies’ wishes while still appearing to honor the Fourteen Points. He achieved this goal in a way that also meshed with his racist worldview. He and his allies established the Mandate System. Real self-determination was now to be reserved for the European peoples previously belonging to the German, Austrian and Russian empires. For instance, Poland and Serbia, among others, were to be “accorded the freest opportunity for autonomous development.” Non-European peoples were  viewed as unprepared for this reward. They were to be placed under the tutelage of a “mandatory power,” which in the case of most of the Arab lands meant either Britain or France. Such imperial powers, in turn, were to instruct these inferior peoples in the art of self-government. It should come as no surprise that Palestine was given over to the British as a “mandate territory.” Indeed, the Balfour Declaration was incorporated into the preamble and second article of the mandate document for Palestine.  

Part IV—Back to Sarna’s Suggestion

Woodrow Wilson supported the Balfour Declaration because he was a Christian fundamentalist who believed that God desired the Jews, whom Wilson understood to have been civilized through long residence in the West, to “return to their ancient home.” The instruments for that return were the Balfour Declaration and the British mandate. The Palestinians were not even relevant to the issue for Wilson.

Given this history, what do we learn when, as Sarna suggests, we “probe more deeply into [our hero’s] flaws”?

—It is now recognized that Wilson’s major flaw was his racist worldview and the behavior that flowed from it.

—This racism was the basis of his mistreatment of African Americans.

—As it turns out, that same racist outlook was part of the basis for his support of the Balfour Declaration—the very act that makes Wilson a hero for both past and present Zionists. 

Now we come to the second part of Sarna’s suggestion, that an examination of the hero’s flaws “invites us to think harder about our own flaws.” What are the resulting implications of such a self-examination for today’s Zionists?

—What sort of flaw in ourselves should an examination of Woodrow Wilson bring Zionist Jews to consider?

—The fact is that contemporary Israeli Jewish and Zionist attitudes toward the Palestinians in many ways mimic those of Woodrow Wilson toward African Americans. 

—If we are to consider Wilson’s racism a flaw from which Jews too can learn, the consequence must be a reconsideration of the inherently racist Zionist attitudes and policies toward the Palestinians.

I do not know if Jonathan Sarna really meant to inspire a serious assessment of Israel’s and Zionism’s flaws through the reexamination of those of their champion, Woodrow Wilson. However, such an assessment would certainly reveal a shared racism. Wilson never ceased to be a racist and, at least since 1917, the Zionists have been following his “heroic” model. How many of them can be counted upon to take up Sarna’s suggestion and look into this shared historical mirror in any honest way?

القوة وفائض القوة…

سعادة مصطفى أرشيد

ارتبطت تركيا في ذاكرتنا بصورة سلبية، فقد ترهّلت وشاخت الدولة العثمانية منذ القرن التاسع عشر، ونخرها سوس الفساد، وساد فيها الاستبداد السياسي والإداري وتخلفت عن مواكبة سنة التقدم والتطور المتسارعة في العالم، دخلت وأدخلتنا في عصور الظلام والتخلف، وفقدت احترامها بعد أن أصبحت مسرحاً لتدخل الدول الأجنبية المعادية وأصبح قناصل تلك الدول في القدس ودمشق وبيروت وحلب يمثلون سلطة أقوى من سلطة الولاة والإداريين العثمانيين، ومواطنيهم فوق القانون العثماني فهم لا يحاكمون إلا من قناصلهم واستحقت الدولة العثمانية بجدارة لقب الرجل المريض. تغوّل الولاة وجباة الضرائب والأعشار على عامة الناس فسلبوهم القليل الذي يقتاتون به، أما عندما حاولت الدولة اللحاق بالعالم المتقدم، قامت باعتماد سياسة التتريك الإقصائيّة لغير الأتراك، اختزنت ذاكرتنا الجمعية مع ما تقدم ذكره، أفعال قائد الجيش الرابع جمال باشا (السفاح) وأسلوبه في معالجة هزائمه بإعدام كوكبة من خيرة رجال الوطن في دمشق وبيروت وعاليه، أما في العهد الكمالي (الأتاتوركي) فقد تمّ سلب لواء اسكندرون بالتآمر مع الفرنسيين، وعمل أتاتورك وفريقه على بناء الشخصية التركية الجديدة على أنها نقيضنا وعدو لنا وتبنى الثقافة الغربية معتقداً أنها قادرة على جعله وجعل بلاده جزءاً من أوروبا، وقد ارتبطت تركيا أتاتورك بالمشاريع المعادية وأصبحت دولة صديقة وحليفة لـ (إسرائيل).

لكن إشارات مشجّعة لاحت في الأفق الرمادي في تسعينيات القرن الماضي، عندما فاز حزب الرفاه بالحكم، ثم تعززت بفوز حزب العدالة والتنمية بالانتخابات عام 2002 بقيادة الثالوث أردوغان، عبد الله غول، واحمد داوود اوغلو، وهذا الأخير كانت له مساهمته الهامة والإيجابية في وضع قواعد جديدة للسياسة الخارجية التركية، شرحها تفصيلاً في كتابه المثير والشيّق (البعد الاستراتيجي) الذي صدرت طبعته العربية عام 2010، وقد لقي اهتماماً غير مسبوق في الأوساط السياسية والثقافية، إذ ظهرت تركيا أخرى غير التي عرفها العالم لثمانية عقود، تركيا التي تظهر استقلالاً عن الغرب واقتراباً من الشرق باعتباره محيطها الطبيعي، وهي وإن كانت لا تزال ترنو لدخول الاتحاد الأوروبي ولكنها في الوقت ذاته تسعى نحو الشرق بثقة وإيمان أنها جزء منه، كذلك لا تبدي على أطلسيتها عواطف حميمة تجاه دولة الاحتلال، بقدر ما تبدي تعاطفاً مع قضايانا جميعها وخاصة في فلسطين، ولا زالت مداخلة أردوغان في دافوس التي وضع بها حداً مهيناً لغطرسة شمعون بيريس مجال إعجاب وتقدير، هذه السياسة التي أسمتها أنقرة بسياسة (صفر مشاكل)، أرادت بها الخلاص من تناقضاتها القديمة وما أكثرها، بدءاً بأعدائها التاريخيين روسيا واليونان وقبرص، ثم مع الأرمن المتهمة بارتكاب مجازر الإبادة تجاههم، ثم مع دمشق وبغداد وطهران والأكراد.

استبشر الجميع خيراً من هذه السياسة الجديدة، فمن النواحي الفكرية استطاعت تقديم نموذجاً إسلامياً معتدلاً وبعيداً عن التعصّب وحرفية النصوص والغيبية، وفي السياسة إذا أصبحت تركيا الجديدة ظهيراً قوياً لعالمها الحقيقي ومجالها الحيوي، بعد أن كانت لثمانية عقود من الكمالية، مخلب قط بالغ العدوانية في مواجهه العالم العربي والمشرق بأسره. عادت تركيا إلى جوارها الطبيعي، لتكون جزءاً من المنطقة، وعقدت الآمال على أنّ ثالوث العالمين الفارسي والتركي (عالمين توسعا إثر تفكك الاتحاد السوفياتي واستقلال دول ذات أصول وثقافات فارسية أو تركية) والعالم العربي قادر على العمل المشترك وبناء كتلة وازنة في عالم القطب الواحد، أشاع حكم العدالة والتنمية الحريات العامة وكرّس الديمقراطية أساساً لتداول الحكم، وألزم الجيش بثكناته لقطع الطريق أمام الانقلابات العسكرية. أما في الجانب الاقتصادي، فتمّ ضرب الفساد في دوائر الدولة وإطلاق طاقات الأجيال الشابة، فازدهر الاقتصاد وتقدّمت التجارة والصناعة لتصبح ذات قدرة تنافسية في الجودة والسعر، وانتشرت المنتجعات السياحيّة وأصبحت قبلة السياح من أوروبا والعالم العربي، وقدّمت المسلسلات الدرامية التركية نماذج إسلامية بها بعض التغريب واللبرالية أثارت إعجاب المشاهدين.

لكن ذلك كله ما لبث أن تداعى عندما داهمنا «الربيع» الزائف، إذ سرعان ما أدّى إلى انكشاف وجه آخر للبلد الذي علقنا عليه الآمال. وجه لا يتفق مع التقديرات المتفائلة السابقة، فأظهرت تركيا نياتها وطموحاتها العثمانية القومية غير الودية تجاه جيرانها، ولكن باستبدال النموذج الكمالي الطوراني العلماني المتعصّب بالنموذج الأردوغاني العثماني الإسلامي المتعصب أيضاً الذي يرى أنّ له حقوقاً في ما كان ذات يوم دولة علية (عثمانية) وريثة دول الخلافة الإسلامية، واستذاق أردوغان حلاوة ما حققه وحزبه من رخاء وتقدّم وازدهار وانتشار، ولكن بدلاً من أن يستمر في الطريق ذاتها، أخذته النشوة إلى التحوّل من سياسة (صفر مشاكل) إلى سياسات مشتبكة مع جميع من سبق له تصفير المشاكل معهم، فدخل على خط الأزمة السورية واظهر انه كان شريكاً في التخطيط لها داعماً منظمات الإرهاب والتطرف وناهباً مصانع حلب وآثارها ومتاجرها مع العصابات الإرهابية بالبترول السوري المسروق، ووعد بإسقاط النظام في عام 2012 خلال شهور وأن يصلي في الجامع الأموي بمنطق الفاتح، الأمر الذي لم يستطع فعله لا خلال شهور ولا بعد ثماني سنوات، وتدخل في العراق معتبراً انّ لتركيا حقاً تاريخياً في التدخل ويهدّد العراق وسورية بمنابع نهري دجلة والفرات، وفي لبنان حيث يدعم التطرف في طرابلس والتنابذ المذهبي ويحرض على المقاومة بذرائع طائفية متطرفة، يحاول الاحتكاك بالأردن من بوابة القدس وسدانة المسجد الأقصى وقبة الصخرة، وعاد ليقاتل الأكراد ويشتبك مع الأرمن وساءت علاقته باليونان وروسيا التي أسقط إحدى طائراتها واضطر لتقديم اعتذار مهين للرئيس الروسي، ومؤخراً بعث بعساكره على ليبيا ونقل إليها آلاف الإرهابيين من الشمال السوري – حيث لم يعد يستطيع تحقيق أحلامه إلا أنه قد يستطيع إطالة عمر الأزمة –، وهو بذلك يهدّد مصر وأمنها المتهاوي، لتركيا وأردوغان الحق في الدفاع عن مصالحهم العليا، ولكن لنا الحق أيضاً في الدفاع عن أمننا القومي وأن لا نقبل العبث به، لتستطيع تركيا دخول المجموعة الأوروبية من خلال ابتزاز أوروبا بقضايا المهاجرين في ليبيا.

أما على الصعيد الداخلي، اختلف مع فتح الله غولن ثم مع شريكيه عبد الله غول وأحمد داوود أوغلو وغيرهم من أركان حزبه وغير حزبه من أطياف سياسية.

مؤخراً، تمّ اعتماد آيا صوفيا لتصبح مسجداً كما كانت عليه قبل العهود الكمالية، وبغضّ النظر عن المقدمات القانونية، وملابسات الحجج التاريخية، فإن ذلك القرار أثار نقاشاً يبدو انه سيأخذ وقتاً ويريق حبراً ويحدث تشنّجات في محلها وفي غير محلها. آيا صوفيا بناء بالغ الجمال والروعة بني مع بناء القسطنطينية المدينة التي تقع في قارتي آسيا وأوروبا، لتكون أيقونة العمارة الكنسية والكاتدرائية الأهمّ في العالم، وبقيت كذلك لألف عام، واثر فتح القسطنطينية، حوّلها محمد الفاتح العثماني إلى مسجد لخمسمئة عام وأصبحت متحفاً في العهد الكمالي لتسعة عقود، يرى أردوغان في هذه الخطوة تعزيزاً لزعامته التركية والإسلامية السنية، وانتصاراً يضاف إلى انتصاراته، ولكنه أيضاً بهذه الخطوة يزيد من أعدائه ومنهم الباكي ومنهم المتباكي على آيا صوفيا، ثم يدفع باتجاه توتير علاقاته بالعالم الغربي ويؤزمها أكثر مع العالم الارثوذكسي، وقد يتخذ نتنياهو من ذلك حجة ومبرّراً لتنفيذ أجنداته الخبيثة في القدس ومقدساتها.

تعيد هذه المسألة الأذهان إلى الفوارق بين التسامح والتعصب الديني والاستبداد السياسي، يمكن ملاحظة ذلك بمقارنة موقف الخليفة عمر بن الخطاب تجاه كنيسة القيامة التي احترمها وأمر برعايتها هي وغيرها من الكنائس، بأداء معاوية تجاه كنيسة حنانيا التي أصبحت المسجد الأمويّ بشرائها شراء القوي الآمر، وقد نص القرآن على ضرورة احترام الكنائس وساكنيها من القسس والرهبان الذين تفيض أعينهم من الدمع، ولكن عهوداً أخرى ساد فيها التعصب أكثر من التدين في طرفي المعادلة أصبح تحويل المنتصر أماكن عبادة المهزوم أماكن لا تليق بقدسيتها كما يحصل اليوم في مساجد عسقلان وقيسارية التي تحوّلت إلى بيوت ليل وخلاعة أو لتحويلها إلى أماكن عبادة لدين المنتصر هو السائد، كما حصل في المسجد الأقصى إبان الاحتلال الفرنجي (الصليبي) للقدس ومساجد اشبيلية وقرطبة وطليطلة، وكما حصل في المسجد الصلاحي الكبير في نابلس على سبيل المثال الذي تحوّل من كنيسة إلى مسجد.

في يقيني وإيماني أنّ المؤمنين برسالتيْ الإسلام المسيحية والمحمدية يستطيعون عبادة الله في أيّ مكان وأيّ زمان والعالم مليء بالمساجد والكنائس التي وظيفتها تحقيق الراحة والسكينة للنفس المؤمنة، لا أن تكون مصدراً للشقاق والخلاف، الأمر الذي نعايشه اليوم في قصة آيا صوفيا، الخشية من أن يدفع هذا الإجراء مجتمعاتنا المتهالكة إلى مزيد من التفتت، وإلى مزيد من الانقسام على أسس طائفيه ومذهبية.

يلجأ أردوغان إلى فائض القوة داخلياً وخارجياً، الأمر الذي يعود عليه بالضرر. فللقوة حدود تقتضي الحذر باستعمالها إلا بأسباب موجبة، القوة ضرورة للدول حيث إنها تحقق المصالح وتصون البلاد، أما فائضها فإنه يصنع الإشكاليات والاضطرابات وغالباً ما يعود بالأذى على من اتخذه سياسة.

كم نحن بحاجة لإطفاء الحرائق المشتعلة بدلاً من إذكاء لهيبها.

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سياسي فلسطيني مقيم في جنين – فلسطين المحتلة.

There Is a Dark and Dangerous Forest Behind These Burning Trees…

Source

 • JULY 14, 2020


Roughly half-way through the year 2020 it is becoming pretty obvious that there are a number of major developments which almost got our total attention, and for good reason, as these are tectonic shifts which truly qualify as “catastrophe” (under the definition “a violent and sudden change in a feature of the earth“). These are:
  • The initiation of the global collapse of the AngloZionist Empire.
  • The immense economic bubble whose ever-growing size is the best predictor of the magnitude of the huge burst it will inevitably result in.
  • The implosion of the US society due to a combination of several and profound systemic crises (economic collapse, racial tensions, mass poverty, alienation of the masses, absence of social protections, etc.).
  • The COVID-19 (aka “it’s just like the seasonal flu!!“) pandemic which only exacerbates all the other major factors listed above.
  • Last, but not least, it is hard to imagine what the next US Presidential election will look like, but one thing is certain: by November we will already have a perfect storm – the election will only act like a battery which will feed even more energy into this already perfect storm.
To be sure, these are truly momentous, historical, developments whose importance cannot be over-stated. They are, however, not the only very serious developments. There are, in fact, several areas of serious political tensions which could also result in a major explosion, albeit a regional one “only”!
I will list just a few, beginning with the most visible one:

Turkey

Erdogan is up to no good. Again. What a big surprise, right? Every time I hear somebody writing something about Erdogan the dreaming of becoming the sultan of a new Ottoman Empire, I tend to roll my eyes as this is a cliche. Yet, there is no denial that this cliche is true – the neo-Ottoman ideology is definitely alive and well in Turkey and Erdogan clearly wants to “ride that horse”. So let’s list some of the things which the Turks have been up to:
  1. Syria: The Turks have clearly been dragging their feet in northern Syria where, at least according to the deal Erdogan made with Putin, the “bad terrorists” should have left a long time ago and the key highway should have been under the joint protection of the Russian and Turkish forces. Well, Turkey did some of this, but not all, and the “bad terrorists” are still very much present in northern Syria. In fact, they recently tried to attack the Russian Aerospace Forces base in Khmeimim (they failed, but that is still something which the Turks have to answer for since the attack came from a zone they control). Protecting terrorists in exchange for promises of immunity from their attacks has been tried many times in the past and it has never worked – sooner or later the terrorist groups always slip out of the control of their masters and even turn against them. This is now happening to Turkey.
  2. Libya: The Turks are also deeply involved in the Libyan civil war. In fact, “deeply involved” does not give enough credit to the Turkish military which used Turkish-made drones with devastating effectiveness against the forces of Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar, the commander of the Tobruk-based Libyan National Army (which is backed by both Russia and Egypt). Only the prompt (and rather mysterious) deployment of Russian air defenses and a number of unidentified MiG-29s succeeded in eventually bringing down enough Turkish drones to force them to take a pause. The Egyptians have made it clear that they will never allow the so-called “Government of National Accord” to take Sirte or any land East of Sirte. The Libyan Parliament (of East Libya) has now given Egypt the official authorization to directly intervene in Libya. This makes some kind of Egyptian intervention an almost certain thing.
  3. Hagia Sophia: And just to make sure there are enough sources of tension, the Turks have now declared that the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul will no longer be a museum open to all, but a mosque. Now the CIA-puppet modestly known as “His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch” Bartholomew should be the most vocal opponent to this move, but all he can do is mumble some irrelevancies (he wanted to go down as the Patriarch who patronized the Ukrainian schism and, instead, he will go down in history as the Patriarch who did nothing to prevent the Ottomans from seizing one of the holiest sites of the Orthodox world. Truth be told, he probably could not have prevented that (Erdogan’s move is entirely due to upcoming elections in Turkey) – but he sure could have tried a little better. Ditto for the head of the Moscow Patriarchate (and, for that matter, the Russian government) who expressed stuff like concern, or dismay, of some form of condemnation, but who really did nothing to make Erdogan pay for his move.
What the Turks just did is a disgrace, not only for Turkey itself which, yet again, proves that the Ottoman version of Islam is a particularly toxic and dangerous one. It is also a disgrace for the entire Muslim world which, with a few notable exceptions such as Sheikh Imran Hosein, has done nothing to prevent this and, if anything, has approved of this move. Finally, this is a disgrace for the entire Orthodox world as it proves that the entire worldwide Orthodox community has less relevance and importance in the eyes of the Turkish leader than the outcome of local elections. Russia, especially, would have the kind of political muscle needed to inflict all sorts of painful forms of retaliation against Turkey and yet Russia does nothing. This is a sad witness to the extreme weakness of the Orthodox faith in the modern world.
Add to this all the “traditional” sources of instability around Turkey, including the still unsolved (and unsolvable!) Kurdish issue, the tensions between Turkey and Iraq and Iran, Turkish low-key support for anti-Russian factions in the various former Soviet Republics and the constant confrontation with Greece).
Turkey remains one of the most dangerous states on the planet, even if most people remain unaware of this. True, in the recent years Turkey lost a lot of its power, but it still has plenty of formidable assets (including a very strong domestic weapon systems manufacturing capability) which it can use for a vast spectrum of nefarious political and military interventions.

Egypt

Egypt is another country which regularly makes some headlines and then disappears from the public’s radar. Yet, right now, Egypt is faced not with one, but with twopossible wars!
  1. Libya: as I mentioned above, should it come to an open clash between Turkey and Egypt in Libya, there could be a rapid horizontal escalation in which initial military clashes in Libya could turn into clashes over the Eastern Mediterranean and even possible strikes on key military objectives in Turkey and Egypt. The only good news here is that there are a lot of major actors who do not need a shooting war in the Eastern Mediterranean and/or the Middle-East. After all, if it came to a true military confrontation between Turkey and Egypt, then you can be pretty sure that NATO, CENTCOM, Greece, Israel and Russia would all have major concerns. Besides, it is hard to imagine what kind of military “victory” either Turkey or Egypt could hope for. Right now the situation is very tense, but we can hope that all the parties will realize that a negotiated solution, even a temporary one, is preferable to a full-scale war.
  2. Ethiopia: Egypt has a potentially much bigger problem than Libya to deal with: the construction by Ethiopia of the “The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam(GERD)” on the Blue Nile river. While nobody really knows what the eventual impact of this dam will be on Sudan and Egypt, is is pretty clear that a civilization built along the Nile river will face a major threat to its way of life if the way the Nile river flows is disturbed in a major way (which this dam will definitely do).
Of the two possible conflicts I mentioned above, it is the second one which has me most worried. At the end of the day, neither Turkey nor Egypt will get to decide what happens in Libya which is mostly a kind of multi-player “chessboard” where “big guys” (US, France, Russia) will eventually decide the outcome. In the case of the dam in Ethiopia, the local actors will probably have a decisive say, especially since both sides consider that this is an existentially important issue for them.
If you look at a map of the region, you will see that the distance between the Egyptian border and the location of the dam on the border between Ethiopia and Sudan is a long one (about 1’200km or 745 miles). Should it come to a military confrontation between the two countries, this distance will pretty much decide the shape of the warfare we shall see: mainly air and missile strikes. The main problem here (for both sides) is that neither side has the kind of air force or missiles which would allow it to effectively strike the other country. This, however, could change very rapidly, especially if Russia does sell 24 of its advanced Su-35 multi-role air superiority fighters to Egypt, and even more so if Russia throws in a few capable air-to-ground strike missiles into the package (the delivery of the first Sukhois appears to be imminent). Then there is this “minor detail” of Sudan being stuck between the two combatants: Khartoum simply cannot look away and pretend like all is well if two of its major neighbors decide to fight each other over Sudanese airspace.
In theory Egypt could also try to mount some attack from the Red Sea, but right now the Egyptian Navy does not pack the kind of punch which would allow it to effectively strike Ethiopia (especially with Eritrea in between the Red Sea and Ethiopia). But that could also change, especially since Egypt agreed to purchase the two Gamal Abdel Nasser (ex-Mistral) class amphibious assault ships and helicopter carriers which, while not ideal, would definitely boost the Egyptian’s command and control capabilities, especially if the Egyptians succeed in deploying AWACS and strike aircraft (rotary or even light fixed wing V/STOL) on these ships. In practice, however, I think that the Egyptians could engage these ships much more effectively in Libya than they would in the Red Sea (especially since these ships are poorly defended against missile strikes).
Finally, not only is the GERD defended by decent air defense systems (along with a few decent, if aging, air force aircraft), a dam is a pretty hard target to disable: it is big, strong, and has a large volume which, by itself, also contributes to the “hardness” against attacks.
So there are reasons to hope that a conflict can be avoided, but it will be very hard to get the two sides to agree to compromises on issues which both sides see as vital to their national security.

The Ukraine

Yes, the Ukraine. Again. This insanity which began with the Euromaidan has not stopped, far from it. In fact, ever since the election of Zelenskii the Ukraine has become something of a madhouse which would be outright hilariously comical if it wasn’t also so tragic and even horrible for millions of Ukrainians. I will spare you all the details, but we can sum up the main development of the past months as “Zelenskii has completely lost control of the country”. But that would not even begin to cover the reality of this situation.
For one thing, the war of words between Trump and Biden over the Ukraine-gate has now “infected” the Ukrainian political scene and each side is now busy with what is known locally as “black PR”: trying to dig up as much dirt against your opponent as possible. Zelenskii is so weak that, amazingly, the previously almost totally discredited Poroshenko has now made a strong comeback and thereby acquired the support of a lot of influential nationalists. The latest incredible (but true!) “informational bomb” was set off by a member of the Ukrainian Rada, Andrei Derkach, who released a recording of Joe Biden and Poroshenko discussing the pros and cons of organizing a terrorist attack in Crimea (see here for details about this amazing story). This makes both Biden and Poroshenko “sponsors of terrorism” (hardly a surprise, but still). Other “juicy” news stories about the Nazi-occupied Banderastan include Zelenskii possibly fathering a kid with an aide and the brutal attacks on the members of a small (but growing) “Sharii” opposition party which the authorities not only ignored, but most likely ordered in the first place. It is not my purpose here to discuss all the toxic intricacies of internal Ukronazi politics, so I will only look at one of the major dangers resulting from this dynamic: there is talk of war with Russia again.
Okay, we have all heard the very same rumors for years now, and yet no real and sustained Ukrainian attack on the LDNR or, even less so, Crimea ever took place (there were constant artillery strikes and diversionary attacks, but those remain below the threshold of open warfare). But what we hear today is a little bit different: an increasing number of Ukrainian and even Polish observers have declared that Russia would attack this summer or in September, possibly using military maneuvers to move forces to the Ukrainian border and attack. Depending on whom you ask, such an attack could come from Belarus and/or from central Russia – some even worry about a Russian amphibious operation against the Ukrainian coastline and cities like Mariupol, Nikolaev, Kherson or Odessa.
The Ukronazis are truly amazing. First they cut off all the electricity and even water from Crimea, and then they declare that Russia will have to invade to retake control of the water supply. The notion that Russia will solve Crimea’s water problem by peaceful and technological means is, apparently, quite unthinkable for the Ukronazi leaders. In the real world, however, Russia has a comprehensive program to comprehensively solve Crimea’s water problems. This program has begun by laying down water pipes, improving of the irrigation system of Crimea, the use of special aircraft to trigger rain and might even include the creation of a desalination plant. The simple truth is that Russia can easily make Crimea completely independent from anything Ukrainian.
And just to make things worse, the head of the Ukrainian Navy (which exists on paper mostly) has now declared that a new Ukrainian missile, the Neptune, could reach as far as Sevastopol. The problem is not the missile itself (it is a modernized version of an old Soviet design, and it is slow and therefore easy to shoot down), but the kind of “mental background noise” that this kind of talk of war creates.
From a purely military point of view, Russia does not even have to move any troops to defeat the Ukrainian armed forces: all Russia needs to do is to use its powerful long-range stand-off weapons and reconnaissance-strike complexes to first decapitate, then disorganize and finally destroy the Ukrainian military. Russia’s superiority in the air, on the water and on land is such that the Ukrainians don’t have a chance in hell to survive such an attack, nevermind defeating Russia. The Ukrainians all know that since, after all, their entire military could not even deal with the (comparatively) minuscule and infinitely weaker LDNR forces (at least when compared to regular Russian forces).
Still, the Ukrainians have one advantage over Russia: while this would be extremely dangerous to try, they must realize that, unlike in the case of their attacks on the Donbass, should they dare to attack Crimea, President Putin would not have any other option than to order a retaliatory strike of some sort. Any Ukrainian attack or strike on Crimea would probably fail with all the missiles intercepted long before they could reach their targets, but even in this case the pressure on Putin to put an end to this would be huge. Which means that it would not be incorrect to say that whoever is in power in Kiev can force Russia to openly intervene. This means that in this specific case the weaker side can have at least some degree of escalation dominance.
Now the Ukraine definitely cannot achieve strategic surprise and is even most unlikely to achieve tactical surprise, but, again, the actual success of any Ukrainian strike on Crimea does not require the designated targets of the strike to be destroyed: all that would be needed, in some plans at least, is the ability to do two things:
  • Force Russia to openly intervene and
  • Choose the time, place and mode of attack most problematic for the Russian side
Finally, I would suggest that we look at this issue from the point of view of the AngloZionist Empire: in many, if not most, ways, the Banderastan the West created in the Ukraine has outlived its utility: the USN won’t get a base in Crimea which is now lost forever (it is now one of the best defended places on the planet), Russia has not openly intervened in the civil war, the Ukronazi forces were comprehensively trounced by the Novorussians and in economic terms, and the Ukraine is nothing but one big black hole with an ever growing event horizon. Which might suggest to some in the US ruling elites that to trigger a losing war against Russia might be the best (and, possibly, only) thing their ugly creation could do for them. Why?
Well, for one thing, such a war will be bloody, even if it is short. Second, since the Russians are exceedingly unlikely to want to occupy any part of what is today the Nazi-occupied Ukraine, this means that even a total military defeat would not necessarily result in a complete disappearance of the current Banderastan. Yes, more regions in the East and the South might try to use this opportunity to rise up and liberate themselves, and should that happen Russia might offer the kind of help she offered the Novorussians, but I don’t think that anybody seriously believes that Russian tanks will be seen on Kiev or, even less so, Lvov (nevermind Warsaw or Riga). So a military loss against Russia would not be a total loss for Banderastan and it might even yield some beneficial dynamics to whatever consolidated Ukronazi-power might come out from such a conflict. Actually, should that happen I fully expect the Ukronazis to declare a kind of jihad to liberate the Moskal’ -occupied Ukraine. This means that the initial bloodbath would be followed by a festering low to medium level military conflict between Russia and the Ukraine which could last a very long time and also be most undesirable for Russia.
During my studies I had the honor and privilege to study with a wonderful Colonel of the Pakistani Army who became a good friend. One day (that was around 1991) I asked my friend what the Pakistani strategy would be during a possible war against India. He replied to me: “look, we all know that India is much stronger and bigger than Pakistan, but what we all also know is that if they attack us we can give them a very bloody nose”. This is exactly what the Ukrainian strategy might be: to give Russia a “bloody nose”. Militarily, this is impossible, of course, but in political terms any open war against the Ukraine would be a disaster for Russia. It would also be a disaster for the Ukraine, but the puppet-masters of the Ukronazis in Kiev don’t care about the people of the Ukraine anymore than they care about the people of Russia: all they want is to give the Russians a big bloody nose.
In summary, here is one possible scenario which might result in a regional catastrophe: whoever is in power in the Ukraine would begin by realizing that the project of an Ukronazi Banderastan has already failed and that neither the EU nor, even less so, the US is willing to continue to toss money into the Ukie black hole. Furthermore, clever Ukie politicians will realize that neither Poroshenko nor Zelensii have “delivered” the expected “goods” to the Empire. Then the East-European US vassal-states (lead by Poland and the Baltic statelets) also realize that EU money is running out and that far from having achieved any real economic progress (nevermind any “miracle”), they are also becoming increasingly irrelevant to their masters in the EU and US. And, believe me, the political leaders of these US vassal-states have realized a long time ago that a war between Russia and the Ukraine would be a fantastic opportunity for them to regain some value in the eyes of their imperial overlords in the EU and US. To people who think like these people do, even an attempted Neptune strike against Sevastopol would be a quick and quite reasonable way to force Putin’s hand.
Lastly, we can now look at the situation in Russia

Russia

One would think that following the massive victory the Kremlin has achieved with the vote on the changes to the Russian Constitution, the political situation in Russia would be idyllic, at least compared to the sinking Titanic of the “collective West”. Alas, this is far from being the case. Here are some of the factors which contribute to a potentially dangerous situation inside Russia.
  1. As I have mentioned in the past, besides the “official” (pretend) opposition in the Duma, there are now two very distinct “non-system” oppositions to Putin: the bad old “liberals” (which I sometimes call the 5th column) and the (relatively new) “pink-nationalist” Putin-haters which I christened, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I admit – as a 6th column (Ruslan Ostashko calls them “emo-Marxists“, and that is a very accurate description too). What is so striking is that while Russian 5th and 6th columnists hate each other, they clearly hate Putin even more. Many of them also hate the Russian people because they don’t “get it” (at least in their opinion) and because time and again the people vote with and for Putin. Needless to say, these “5th and 6th columnists” (let’s call them “5&6c” from now on) declare that the election was stolen, that millions of votes were not counted at all, while others were counted many times. According to these 5&6c types, it is literally unthinkable that Putin would get such a high support therefore the only explanation is that the elections were rigged. While the sum total of these 5&6c types is probably not enough to truly threaten Putin or the Russian society, the Kremlin has to be very careful in how it handles these groups, especially since the condition of the Russian society is clearly deteriorating:
  2. Russia has objective, real, problems which cannot simply be dismissed. Most Russians clearly would prefer a much more social and economically active state. The reality is that the current political system in Russia cares little for the “little man”. The way the Kremlin and the Russian “big business” are enmeshed is distressing to a lot of Russians, and I agree with them. Furthermore, while the western sanctions did a great job preparing Russia for the current crisis, it still remains true that Russia does not operate in such a favorable environment, revenues are down in many sectors, and the COVID19 pandemic has also had a devastating effect on Russian small businesses. And while the issue of the COVID19 virus has not been so hopelessly politicized in Russia has it has in the West, a lot of my contacts report to me that many people feel that the Kremlin and the Moscow authorities have mismanaged the crisis. So while the non-systemic opposition of the 5&6c cannot truly threaten Russia, there are enough of what I would call “toxic and potentially dangerous trends” inside the Russian society which could turn into a much bigger threat should a crisis suddenly erupt (including a crisis triggered by an always possible Ukrainian provocation).
  3. More and more Russians, including Putin-supporters, are getting frustrated with what they perceive as being a lame and frankly flaccid Russian foreign policy. This does not necessarily mean that they disagree with the way Putin deals with the big issues (say Crimea, or Syria or the West’s sabre-rattling), but they get especially frustrated by what they perceive as lame Russian responses against petty provocations. For example, the US Congress and the Trump Administration have continued to produce sanctions and stupid accusations against Russia on a quasi-daily basis, yet Russia is really doing nothing much about that, in spite of the fact that there are many options in her political “toolkit” to really make the US pay for that attitude. Another thing which irritates the Russians is that arrogant, condescending and outright rude manner in which western politicians (and their paid for journalists in Russia) constantly intervene in internal Russian matters without ever being seriously called out for this. Sure, some particularly nasty characters (and organization) have been kicked out of Russia, but not nearly enough to really send a clear message Russia’s enemies.
  4. And, just to make things worse, there are some serious problems between Russia and her supposed allies, specifically Belarus and Kazakhstan. Nothing truly critical has happened yet, but the political situation in Belarus is growing worse by the day (courtesy of, on one hand, the inept policies of Lukashenko and, on the other, a resurgence of Kazakh nationalism, apparently with the approval of the central government). Not only is the destabilization of two major Russian allies a bad thing in itself, it also begs the question of how Putin can deal with, say, Turkey or Poland, when Russia can’t even stabilize the situation in Belarus and Kazakhstan.
To a large degree, I share many of these frustrations too and I agree that it is time for Putin and Russia to show a much more proactive posture towards the (eternally hostile) West.
My problem with the 5th column is that it is composed of rabid russophobes who hate their own nation and who are nothing but willing prostitutes to the AngloZionist Empire. They want Russia to become a kind of “another Poland only further East” or something equally insipid and uninspiring.
My problem with the 6th column is that it hates Putin much more than it loves Russia, which is regularly shows by predicting either a coup, or a revolution, or a popular uprising or any other bloody event which Russia simply cannot afford for two main reasons:
  1. Russia almost destroyed herself twice in just the past century: in 1917 and 1991. Each time, the price paid by the Russian people was absolutely horrendous and the Russian nation simply cannot afford another major internal conflict.
  2. Russia is at war against the Empire, and while this war remains roughly an 80% informational/ideological one, about 15% an economic one and only about 5% a kinetic war, it remains that this is a total, existential, war for survival: either the Empire disappears or Russia will. This is therefore a situation where any action which weakens your state, your country and its leader always comes dangerously close to treason.
Right now the biggest blessing for Russia is that neither the 5th nor the 6th column has managed to produce even a halfway credible political figure who at least appears as marginally capable of offering realistic solutions. A number of 5th columnists have decided to emigrate and leave what they see as “Putin’s Mordor”. Alas, I don’t see any stream of 6th columnists leaving Russia, which objectively makes them a much more useful tool for outfits like the CIA who will not hesitate to infiltrate even a putatively anti-US political movement if this can weaken Russia in general, or Putin personally.
Right now the Russian security services are doing a superb job countering all these threats (including the still very real Wahabi terrorist threat) all at the same time. However, considering the rather unstable and even dangerous international political situation, this could change if all the forces who hate Putin and what they call “Putinism” either join forces or simply strike at the same time.

Conclusion

There are, of course, many other potential flashpoints on the planet, including India, Pakistan and China, the South China Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Korean Peninsula and many others. Thus the above is only a sampling of a much larger list.
The huge changes taking place before our eyes are real, and they are huge. But we should not follow the lead of the corporate media and focus on only one or two “hot” topics, especially not when there are plenty of very real dangers out there. This being said, there is no doubt that what will happen in the next couple of months inside the United States is by far the biggest and most important development out there, one which will shape the future of our planet no matter what actually happens. And I am not referring to the totally symbolic non-choice between Biden and Trump.
I am referring to how the US society will deal with a virulently anti-US coalition of minorities which hate this country and everything, good and bad that it stood for in the past. Right now the US elites are committing national suicide by not only failing to oppose, but also by actively supporting the BLM thugs and everything they stand for: BLM & Co. remind me of Ukronazis whose main expression of national identity is to hate everything Russian – the BLM thugs do the same thing: their entire worldview is pure hatred of the hetero White male and the western civilization; and just as the Ukies regale each other with stories about the “ancient Ukrs” the BLM folks imagine that they will somehow turn the US into a type Wakanda before expelling (or worse) all those who are not willing to hand over their country to roaming gangs of illiterate thugs.
While Russia has to face the potential of internal violence, the United States is already facing a dangerous and violent insurrection which is likely to become much worse as the economic crisis triggered by the pandemic fully explodes. So far, the effects of this crisis have been somewhat tempered by a combination of 1) political denials about the nature of the threat (“oh, nonsense, it is just like the seasonal flu!“) 2) the mass distribution of money (which has only helped temporarily) 3) the existence of a huge financial bubble which will only make matters worse, but which temporarily can create the illusion that things are not nearly as bad as they really are.
It is said that nature abhors a vacuum. This is true. It is also true that the collapse of the Empire has now created several vacuums which will be filled by new actors, but there is no guarantee at all that this transition will be peaceful. So while we are watching some very big trees burning, we should not forget that behind these trees there is a big forest which can also burn, possibly creating a much bigger forest fire than the trees we see burning today.

PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE MADE BET AND LOST. OVERTURES TO WEST UNDERMINED PATRIARCHY POSITIONS IN EAST

Source

Patriarch Of Constantinople Made Bet And Lost. Overtures To West Undermined Patriarchy Positions In East
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I leads the service during the Epiphany Day ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey, 06 January 2020. Greek Orthodox swimmers take part in an annual race to retrieve a wooden crucifix thrown into the Bosphorus waters at the Golden Horn. EPA-EFE/ERDEM SAHIN

On July 24, the Hagia Sophia will be open for prayer following the decree of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan turning this world heritage site and a symbolic christian site into a msoque. For a long time, the Erdogan government has been working to convert Turkey into a leading state in the Islamic world and soldify its influence in the territory of the collapsed Ottoman Empire. Therefore, the turning of Hagia Sophia into a mosque was a logical step from the Turkish leadership. In the event of the success of Turkish foreign policy adventures, the mosque will become a symbol of Erdogan’s Turkey.

Despite the international criticism, the move of the Erdogan government will not face any real resistance or punishing from other influential palyers. Regardless positions of the sides, this decision in fact did not really impact or threaten interests of any other regional or global power. In this case, the main affected side is the Ecumenical Patriarchy of Constantinople. Hagia Sophia was the patriarchal cathedral until 1453. Currently, the patriarchal cathedral is St. George’s Cathedral, but until recently the patriarchy was able to pretend that it has a kind of influence on the situatino with Hagia Sophia as an important symbol of the Christian World. These claims were broken by the reality.

Furthermore, more and more voices adress concerns that political gaimes of Bartholomew I of Constantinople undermined the unity of the Orthodox community and led not only to destructive developments in eastern Europe, but also set conditions in which local Orthodox Churches were split and had no voice in the Hagia Sophia question. In previous years, Bartholomew I became a useful servant of the United States and provider of its policy in countries with strong Orthodox communities. Actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchy of Constantinople allowed the global elites to undermine the values of conservative societies of eastern Europe and set up pseudo-church organizations supporting the neo-liberal, globalist world order. These actions were especially clear in such countries as Montenegro and Ukraine and created a deep rift between the patriarchy and local churches that opposed such actions, including the Russian Orthodox Church.

In turn, Bartholomew I apparently believed that the United States will contribute efforts to keep him in power and allow the Ecumenical Patriarchy of Constantinople to expand its influence creating a kind of ‘Orthodox Papism’. This did not happen. On top of this, the position of the United States in the Middle East was recently weakened by both years of the back-and-forth diplomacy of previous administrations and the unwillingness of the current administration led by President Donald Trump to participate in conflicts and invest in regions where he sees no clear revenue for his country. Thus, the Ecumenical Patriarchy of Constantinople found itself without support from its main backer. As to the US Democratic Party and its presidential candidate Joe Biden, their public commitment to neo-liberal values is strong as it has never been. So, if Bartholomew I wants to rely on this very faction in the US elites, he will need to demonstrate his own commitment to this anti-coonservative, pro-minotiries, pro-LGBTQ stance. Thus, he will undermine the position of Constantinople among the more traditionalist part of the Orthodox World and further. This will likely lead to the situation when conservative Orthodox societies will have no other option but strengthen their ties with the Russian Orthodox Church, which is in the open conflict with Constantinople.

Bartholomew I made bet and lost, but his actions made a real damage to the Orthodox World. It may take years before negative consequences of his actionswill be fully removed.

مِن محمّد الثّاني إِلى أردوغان: أُصوليّةٌ مُتجدّدةٌ

الثلاثاء ١٤ تموز ٢٠٢٠   

رزق الله الحلو 

خاص النشرة

مِن محمّد الثّاني إِلى أردوغان: أُصوليّةٌ مُتجدّدةٌ

لم يُظهر الرّئيس التّركيّ رجب طيّب أَردوغان، في ملفّ تحويل متحف “​آيا صوفيا​” التّرائيّ العالميّ إلى مسجدٍ، تبدأ الصّلوات فيه بتاريخ 23 تمّوز الجاري، “نموذجًا مثاليًّا للحاكم المُسلم”! في وقتٍ نجد أَنّ ما تنعم به ​تركيا​ اليوم، من تقدّمٍ نسبيٍّ وازدهارٍ، إِنّما الفضل فيه يعود إِلى مصطفى كمال أَتاتورك، أَي إِلى النّظام العلمانيّ فكرًا وفلسفةً وسياسةً.وأَردوغان المُنتمي إِلى “حزب العدالة والتّنمية”، يميل بوجدانه ويتطلَّع إِلى إِعادة الحُكم الدّينيّ سواءً عن طريق العودة إِلى نظام الأَجداد (الخلافة العُثمانيّة) أَو عن طريق إِحياء النّزعة الدّينيّة في المجتمع التّركيّ، لتكون بعد ذلك عاملاً مُساعدًا له في ترويض الشّعب وتشريع ديكتاتوريّته، ليُصبح أَكثر جُرأة ويحقِّق أَهدافه وأطماعه التّوسّعيّة شيئًا فشيئًا…

كما وأَنّ حسابات أَردوغان الدّاخليّة، ورهانه في هذا المجال على شعبٍ سيَسْكر بجُنوح رئيسه نحو الأُصوليّة ليس في محلّه، إِذ إِنّ الشّعب التّركيّ قد رضع وتشرّب مفاهيم الحريّة والعلمانيّة كما وأَنّ ثقافة ​الإنسان​ التّركيّ، وأُسلوب حياته وسيكولوجيّته وبُعده السّوسيولوجيّ… أَقرب إِلى الشّعوب الأُوروبيّة منه إِلى الشّعوب العربيّة…

حتّى أَنّ تاريخ العرب والمسلمين عابقٌ بقيم التّسامح والتّعايش مع غير المسلمين، كما وأَنّ ​المسيح​يّين حصلوا على وظائف عُليا في الدّولتين الأُمويّة والعبّاسيّة!. وأَكثر ما يُخشى، أَن يكون حنين أَردوغان إِلى حقبةٍ إِجراميّةٍ لا خير فيها للعرب ولا للمُسلمين، بل إِنّها كانت سببًا في عُزلة العرب، وتخلُّفهم على مدى قرونٍ من الزّمن… في ظلّ حقبةٍ كانت سببًا في تشويه الصّورة الحقيقيّة للإِسلام، من خلال رسم الدّين في صورةٍ دمويّةٍ وعُنصريّةٍ دينيّةٍ وعرقيّةٍ، لم توفّر العرب ولا المسيحيّين، إذ نفّذ العثمانيّون جرائم في حقّ العرب، لا لشيءٍ سوى أَنّهم عرب، كما وأَنّ ما ارتكبوه من إِبادة جماعيّةٍ في حقّ الأَرمن لا لشيءٍ سوى أَنّهم مسيحيُّون!.

والخُطوة الأَردوغانيّة المُتطرِّفة الأَخيرة الّتي تم فيها تحويل متحف آيا صوفيا إِلى مسجدٍ؛ أَثبتت بما لا يدع مجالاً للشّكّ أَنّ النّظام التُّركيّ بدأَ يقترب مِن أُسلوب الميليشيات التّكفيريّة، ويكاد يتلاشى الفرق بينه وبين الجماعات الإرهابيّة كـ “داعش” و”​القاعدة​”.

وهذهِ الخطوة تُهين كُلّ مَن يحترم حُريّة الأَديان ومشاعر أَتباع كُلّ دينٍ، وإذا ما سُمح ل​أردوغان​ بالمضيّ في خطته الممنهجة، فلن نُشاهد في تركيا أَيّ ​كنيسة​ٍ، إذ إنّه وَفقًا للـ “عُثمانيّة ​الجديدة​”، لا مكان لأَي دينٍ آخر في تركيا سوى الإِسلام. فما هو مُتحف “آيا صوفيا”، الّذي هو في الأَساس كنيسةً؟.


كنيسة آيا صوفيا


كنيسة “آيا صوفيا” التّاريخيّة الّتي ينوي أَردوغان تحويلها مُجدّدًا إِلى مسجدٍ مكثت تحت الاحتلال التّركيّ 677 عامًا، بعدما كانت بُنيت في العام 537 على يد إِمبراطور بيزنطيا جوستنيان الأَوّل، وقد اختير موقع بنائها على تلّةٍ في وسط العاصمة الإِمبراطوريّة المُطلّة على ​مضيق البوسفور​، آخر بقعة أَوروبيّة مقابل المشرق المسيحيّ آنذاك، المُمتد من مصر حتّى ​سوريا​ و​لبنان​ وجبال الأَناضول وكيبدوكيا وأَرمينيا. وبعد إِنجازها، اعتُبرت تحفةً ومُعجزةً معماريّةً في القرن الخامس لا مثيل لها لا شرقًا ولا غربًا سوى الإِهرامات المصريّة، وأَبهرت الجميع ببنائها الضّخم وصحن قبتها وقاعة هيكلها الشّاسع المُتّسع لآلاف المُصلّين وهندستها الفريدة… وقد استمرّت تلك الكنيسة في خدمة المؤمنين من المسيحيّين لأَكثر من أَلف عامٍ، شهد فيها جرن العماد على بركة آلاف الأَطفال وجدرانها سمعت طلبات الفُقراء والمرضى والمحتاجين.

وفي يومٍ أَسود من العام 1453، وصلت طلائع جُنود السُّلطان التُّركيّ محمّد الثّاني إِلى المدينة، وقد عقد النّيّة على احتلالها، بعد ما فشل أَجداده في تلك المهمّة لمئات الأَعوام، كما فشل قبله الخليفة الأُمويّ معاوية في القرن السّابع، حين بقيت الكنيسة عصيّةً على المُحتلّين.

ووعد السّلطان جنوده بأَن تكون المدينة –إِذا دخلوها– مُلكًا لهم لثلاثة أَيّام، وأَنّ نساءها بكُلّ أَعمارهم في الدّاخل هديّة لهم كجواري لتشجيعهم على القتال. وهكذا، حاصر الأَتراك المدينة المُنهكة لفترة 52 يومًا، إِلى أَن دخلوها في ٢٩ أَيّار بعد اختراق جُدرانها، وبدأت مذبحة كبرى وعمليّة اغتصابٍ هي الأَكبر في التّاريخ. وقُطعت رؤوس عشرات آلاف الرّجال البالغين أَمام نسائهم، لحظاتٍ بعد ما شهدوا اغتصاب بناتهم. واستمرّ سماع صراخ تلك الفتيات طوال اللّيل المليء ب​الحرائق​ ورائحة الموت والدّماء، حيث تناوب الجنود على انتزاع الفتيات الصّغيرات من أَيدي رفاقهم واغتصابهنّ مع أُمهاتهنّ.

وأَمّا الكنيسة الّتي اختبأ فيها وفي ساحاتها وأَقبيتها أَكثر من خمسة آلاف مُصلّ خوفًا، اقتحمها جنود السّلطان وكتيبته الخاصّة، وتوجّهوا فورًا إِلى المذبح، وأُخد البطريرك جانبًا مع كبار الأَساقفة والكهنة، وقُطعت رؤُوسهم في الدّاخل. وأَما الرّجال فسيقوا إِلى الخارج وقُتلوا واحدًا تلو الآخر أَمام عائلاتهم، وجُمع الأَطفال الذذكور وجرى تكبيل أَرجلهم بالسّلاسل تمهيدا لبيعهم كعبيد، لتبدأ لاحقًا حفلة اغتصابٍ جديدةٍ للنّساء والفتيات انتهت بتكبيلهنّ تمهيدًا لإِهدائهنّ إِلى القصور والبيع في الأَسواق البعيدة.

وقيل يومها إِنّ أَصوات العويل خرقت قناة البوسفور إِلى الجهة الأُخرى: أَطفالٌ فُصلوا عن والداتهم وسيقوا بعيدًا والحديد في أَعناقهم… كما وكُسّرت أَبواب الكنيسة البرونزيّة وأُخرجت ذخائر القدّيسين وأُحرقت خارجًا مع الأَيقونات النّادرة، ونُهب ذهب “الايكونستاس الكبير”. ولم تنتهِ المذبحة إِلاّ بوصول السُّلطان إِلى السّاحة حيث عاين المبنى الّذي راقبه مع أَبيه مِن بعيدٍ لسنواتٍ طامعًا فيه!. وقد أَعلن فورًا نيّته بتحويله إِلى مسجدٍ عاقدًا العزم على الصّلاة فيه بعد أَسابيع…


التّاريخ يُعيد نفسه


لقد أَزمع أَردوغان على الالتزام بكتاب محمّد الثّاني على حساب الكُتُب السّماويّة، وإِذا كان الثّاني غسل الدّماء عن الرُّخام الأَبيض لأَرضيّة الكنيسة وبدأ بطمس الفُسيفساء على جُدران الكنيسة، حيث أُخفيت ​العذراء​ من فوق المذبح وأَيقونة المسيح الذّهبيّة من أَعلى مدخل الكنيسة، وطُلست الجدران بالكلس لإِخفاء المعالم المسيحيّة… فإِنّ أَردوغان تعهّد بعد 567 عامًا، باستكمال طمس الحضارة الإِنسانيّة، مستهدفًا بذلك أوّل ما استهدف، وثيقة الأخوّة الإنسانيّة الّتي وقّعها في أَبوظبي السّنة الماضية، قداسة ​البابا فرنسيس​ وشيخ الأَزهر أَحمد الطيّب. وإِذا كان كِلْس محمّد الثّاني يذوب مع الوقت، لتظهر مُجدّدًا المعالم المسيحيّة على الفُسيفساء، فإِنّ لأَردوغان أُسلوبه الخاصّ في عصر التّكنولوجيا المُتطوِّرة، والسّياسات الدّوليّة الإِنزوائيّة–الإنعزاليّة لا بل التّحريضيّة التّكفيريّة، ليمحو الحضارة الإِنسانيّة على طريقته!. وللحديث صلة…

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The Rise and Fall of Empires

Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

June 08, 2020

The Rise and Fall of Empires

I think that it would be true to say that sudden spurts of economic growth are often caused by preparation for war, war itself, and post-war reconstruction. This process in particular was occasioned by the end of WW1 which was succeeded by a restless and runaway period of economic growth based on the US Stock Market boom in 1929. Given the laws of capitalism and its immanent rhythm of boom-bust this break-down was entirely predictable.

The ensuing downturn migrated over the pond to a still weak Europe which had not really recovered from the carnage of 1914-18. The resulting depression in Europe was particularly acute in Germany since it was still attempting to pay its wartime reparations to the allies which had been foisted upon it as a result of the Versailles Treaty. This resulted in the great German inflation during the early to late 1920s.

As if this wasn’t enough, another blow to global economic and financial stability was to be delivered: this in the form of the Anstalt-Credit Bank failure of 1931. Credit-Anstalt was an exceptionally large bank based in Vienna. Given the interconnectedness of banking and finance, and the fragility of the European banking system at the time, one bank failure can give rise to multiple failures. In October 1929, the Austrian  Schober government compelled the allegedly well-financed Credit-Anstalt to assume liabilities, which together with the simultaneous Wall Street Crash led to the financial imbalance of the then-largest Austrian credit provider. Credit-Anstalt had to declare bankruptcy on 11 May 1931.

The collapse of the Credit-Anstalt in Vienna started the spread of the crisis in Europe and forced most countries off the Gold Standard within a few months. A feeling of financial distrust and insecurity spread from Vienna and led to runs on other banks in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Poland, and Germany. The collapse set off a chain reaction that led from the run on German banks to withdrawals in London and the devaluation of the pound to large-scale withdrawals from New York and another series of bank failures in the United States. So in brief the news of the crisis of the Credit-Anstalt, the most important bank in Central Europe, shook the whole economic structure of Europe and sent shock waves through the rest of the world.

POLITICAL AND STRATEGIC IMPLICATIONS

All of which added even greater political and economic instability in both Europe and North America during the Interregnum. Crises of this type unsurprisingly gave rise to bitter class struggles between capital and labour, and various other social and political disequilibria. Revolution in Russia, the rise of the Nazis in Germany and earlier in Italy the new political movement of the black-shirted Fascisti led by one Benito Mussolini – this new political template being the counter-revolution from below. Coincidental with this there was, moreover, the fall of no less than four royal dynasties, the Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns, Romanovs, and Ottomans. The old order had gone, in Europe at least, but their empires still remained: Britain, France, and new kid to the imperialist club – the United States since it had got into the imperialist game in the late 19th century, and there it still remains.

The resulting collisions of interest between the rival nations and blocs with unfinished geopolitical business left over from WW1 seemed to take on an inexorable process – a process headed toward open military conflict between the Great Powers. And so it turned out. Germany was a powerful well-armed state with imperial ambitions but eventually was to be confronted by the combination of the USA, the USSR, and the British Empire, which meant it was bound to lose.

World War 2 was, with the exception of Latin America, a global war and had global ramifications. The major reconstruction of physical, economic, political, and geopolitical organizations and institutions had a number of distinct phases in both war-ravaged Europe and the Far East. The US was fortunate in this regard since apart from Pearl Harbour no major damage occurred on its own territory with the exception of Hawaii.

BRETTON WOODS 1944

The year 1942 was the turning point when the allied victory was more or less guaranteed. It was decided therefore to convene a meeting of the allied powers – excluding the USSR for geopolitical reasons – which was in the main conducted and overseen by the US and UK, with the US being the senior partner, of course. In 1944 the conference was to be held at the Washington Hotel in the small town of Bretton Woods in New Hampshire, USA; grandiosely titled, the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference. At the time Hitler would last another 10 months, and war continued to rage in the Far East and Japan would not surrender for another 13 months. The UN Charter was still a year away. The specific goals of the attendees was to create institutions that would promote a vision beyond the end of the war united in hopes for a world united through prosperity.

US FOREIGN POLICY & TWILIGHT OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE

All very noble and idealistic. However also in play were the usual motivations of nation states and their internal interest groups – groups who harboured their own concerns which were somewhat less idealistic. It was argued by some realist foreign relations theorists that the plan for these Bretton Woods institutions go back further to the 1930s and to the US Council of Foreign Relations. (1)

‘’Members of this group assessed early on that, at a minimum, the US national interest required free access to the raw materials of the Western hemisphere, the Far East, and the British Empire. On July 24, 1941, a council memorandum outlined the concept of a grand area: that part of the world which the United States dominated economically and militarily to ensure materials to its industries.’’ (2)

Of course it was tacitly understood by the Americans that the British Empire stood in the way of US imperial aggrandisement and ultimately it had to go. The British delegation were in fact being played by the Americans throughout these tortuous negotiations. But the British were semi-aware of what the Americans were up to. According to the principal British negotiator J.M.Keynes who wrote in a private letter to a colleague:

‘’The greatest cause of friction between the US and Great Britain over a very long period was the problem of what we used to call the old commitments, arising out of the fact that lend-lease* did not come into anything like full operation for some nine months after it had legally come into force … You do not emphasise the point that the US Administration was very careful not to take every precaution to see that the British were as near as possible bankrupt before any assistance was given … or appropriately abated whenever there seems the slightest prospect that leaving things as they are might possibly lead to a result in leaving the British at the end of the war otherwise than hopelessly insolvent.’’(3)

Thus the whole issue of lend-lease boiled down to this: The UK was broke, a supplicant, and did not have the wherewithal to pay back the loans made to the US. On the other hand the hard-nosed US ruling circles were not a registered charity and insisted on business reciprocity involving loan repayment. Moreover, the fact that this meant the virtual winding up of the British empire and the Sterling Area was judged in certain American quarters as being a good deal for the US. It should be noted that the parsimony of the US vis-à-vis the British loan contrasted sharply with the extension of Marshall Aid and the wiping out of post-war German debts.

‘’The first loan on the post-war agenda was the British Loan which, as President Truman announced in forwarding it to Congress, would set the course of American and British economic relations for many years to come. He was right, for the Anglo-American Loan Agreement spelled the end of Britain as a Great Power.’’ (4)

POST-WAR AUSTERITY – POLITICS IN EUROPE

The post-war period was one of bitter austerity from the late 40s with rationing and austerity taking place among the ruins of war, and this continued until the early 1950s, to be exact 1954 in the UK, 1950 in Germany.

In the UK The Labour party was elected to power in 1945, which it is said, won the 1945 election by servicemen returning from the war and voting Labour in droves. The new government was given a political mandate to nationalise the core industries: Rail, Public Utilities (gas, electricity, water), Transport, Coal, Iron and Steel, and, most importantly, the setting up of the National Health Service, the jewel in the crown of a new social and political order as overseen by a determined social-democratic party

Over in Europe change was also on the agenda. There were open mass communist parties, the PCF in France, and PCI in Italy often supplemented with armed partisans in France, Italy, Yugoslavia, and the Balkans including Greece. Tito’s partisans gained power in 1946. But the civil war in Greece 1944-49 had a different outcome.(5) Also coming to power in the Balkans at this time were Albanian partisans led by the charismatic albeit demented figure of Enver Hoxha.

Things got better in the next phase of post-war recovery during the 1950s which marked the continuation of post-war reconstruction policies. This involved an end of rationing and a spurt of growth which had been pretty much flat for centuries until WW1 when the epoch of industrialisation of society evolved pari passu with mechanized industrial production; this was a feature of both civilian and military research which often involved a cross-fertilisation of both. Growth took off almost vertically in the 1950s and 60s. This was certainly true in the mid-20th century. But this was a political as well as a strategic/economic phenomenon. This was a period of acute internal political conflict and struggle.

POST-WAR BOOM AND COLD WAR

However from the middle 1950s the momentum of social and political developments moved to a more sustained and semi-tranquil path. The Trente Glorieuses as the French called it – a golden age of social and political peace: there were high levels of growth, low levels of unemployment, high wage levels, high levels of investment, not quite a social-democratic utopia, but at least the years of poverty, war and austerity had been left behind, it seemed for good. I think this unparalleled post-war economic boom had a great deal to do with post-war reconstruction. A point I made in the opening paragraph.

However, it should also be borne in mind that in international and strategic terms this was the Cold War era. A period of nuclear standoff, NATO, the Warsaw Pact, and the unstable division of Europe and colonial wars in Korea (UN under US control) Indo-China (French and American) Malaya, Kenya, Palestine (British). A situation which is still ongoing with the U.S. attempting (unsuccessfully) to carve out an empire.

BRETTON WOODS 2

These tendencies were highly visible and generally in the public realm. But perhaps the less contentious issues and decisions had been and were taking place in more recondite settings. Back in 1944, at the opening session of Bretton Woods, Henry Morgenthau, then Secretary of the US Treasury was to set forth one of the underlying assumptions that guided the work of the architects of the Bretton Woods system. Some were valid others less so. In particular the assumption that 1. Everyone would be the beneficiary of increased world trade, and 2. That economic growth would not be constrained by the limits of the planet.

The trouble with this mode of thinking is that the policy consensus and values among the powers that be (PTB) are also shared by everyone else. This is a very obvious and common shortcoming ‘groupthink’ among the ‘power elite’ of policy makers, and opinion formers, as was pointed out by the astute American intellectual, C Wright Mills way back in the 1950s.

All of this notwithstanding, by the end of the historic meeting, the World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and IMF (International Monetary Fund) and GATT (the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) which was superseded by the WTO (World Trade Organization). If I may paraphrase the poet Robert Browning: Roosevelt was in the White House, God was in his Heaven and all was right with the world!

CONSOLIDATION AND NEW WORLD ORDER

Since that time these global organizations have been dutifully occupied over the years adhering faithfully to their mandate to promote economic growth through globalization – globalization being a catch-all term involving market liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation. Through Structural Adjustment Programmes/Policies (SAPs) the World Bank and the IMF have pressured countries of the Global South to open their borders and convert their economies from self-sufficiency to export production. Trade agreements negotiated through GATT/WTO have reinforced these policies and prized open economies in both the Global South and North opening the path to the increasingly free importation of goods and capital flows (usually ‘hot money’). These archaic trade theories are justified by reference to David Ricardo and his archaic concept of ‘comparative advantage’ which is still taught in economics departments of universities.

The American New World Order established in 1945 had a strategic-military component as well as an economic one. US occupation in 1945 became permanent through the imposition of NATO which has expanded incrementally all the way to the Russian border. This occupation has lasted for 7 decades and is barely noticed as such. Europe has essentially become a collection of vassal states unthinkingly loyal to its American masters. The situation has become so entrenched that – apart from a brief Gaullist opposition – Europeans are completely unaware of this silent annexation. An annexation which in large part was carried out by the CIA and its euro Quislings. These included Operations, Gladio, Mockingbird and Paperclip.

This Atlantic Military-Strategic bloc – NATO – is an aggressive intercontinental vehicle serving as the instrument for US strategy for global dominance. Hard power.

‘’The occupied and colonized can come to accept and adopt the system and ways of their occupiers and colonizers … In Western (and now a fortiori Eastern) Europe many have come to accept without challenge the primary role of the US over the affairs of their states and give little thought to NATO except as a foundation of their security architecture. They have been raised and socialised, with this as part of their world. In many instances it is not only a normal part of the status-quo for them, it is also invisible to them. This is why the post-Cold-War continuation of the Atlantic Alliance went mostly unchallenged at the societal level in NATO member states, leaving the US to slowly consolidate its influence in each and every state.’’(6)

Financial dominance has also been another weapon operationalised and used by the US in their quest for global hegemony. This is particularly relevant with the role of the US$. As the global reserve currency the dollar gives a number of trade advantages over its trade ‘partners’. These are easy enough to enumerate but taking one example:

‘’It costs only a few cents for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to produce a $100 bill, but other countries have to pony up $100 of goods and services in order to obtain one. (The difference between what it costs the government to print a note and a foreigner to procure it is known as seignorage after the right of the medieval Lord or seigneur to coin money and keep for himself some of the precious metal from which it was made.) About $500 billion of US currency circulates outside of the United States for which foreigners have had to provide the United States with $500 billion goods and services.’’(7)

But it is not a privilege which should be abused. Human Nature being what it is, however, it was abused. When the US left the Gold Standard in 1971 it could print dollars with abandon to pay its import bills. This meant it could accrue many advantages including the one mentioned by Eichengreen above. However, all was not as clear-cut as it seemed.

THE TRIFFIN DILEMMA AND THE DOLLAR RACKET

There was always a fundamental incompatibility between the attainment of global economic stability and possession of a single national currency to perform the role of the world’s reserve currency. As a global reserve currency the dollar has to be the anchor of the world’s trading system. However, as a domestic currency the dollar needs to have sufficient flexibility for internal policy. Thus at the heart of the dollar’s value and use there is this contradiction for the dual roles of this currency.

During the Bretton Woods ‘golden age’ which lasted from 1944 until 1971, the US$ was fixed against gold at $35 per oz. However the cost of US wars of choice in Korea and Indo-China, as well as ambitious social programmes like LBJ’s ‘Great Society’, saw a global build-up of surplus dollars accumulating in central banks around the world. These surplus dollar countries then began trading in their surplus dollars at the gold window at the Fed. This was a situation which the US could not tolerate as gold was flying out of the US to various overseas central bank venues.

Thus it was that on August 15, 1971, President Nixon suspended dollar/gold convertibility for a temporary period, which in fact morphed into a permanent arrangement – an arrangement which persists to this day. The gold standard was replaced with the US$ fiat standard. The dollar was to be regarded as being as good as gold, which was rather more like an act of faith than rational economic policy.

The maverick Belgian economist Robert Triffin first drew attention to this anomaly during the 1960s in his seminal work Gold and the Dollar Crisis: The Future of Convertibility. He observed that having the US dollar perform the role of the world’s reserve currency created fundamental conflicts of interest between domestic and international economic objectives.

On the one hand, the international economy needed dollars for liquidity purposes and to satisfy demand for reserve assets. But this forced, or at least made it easy, for the US to run consistently large current account deficits.

He argued that such a policy of running persistent deficits would eventually put pressure on the dollars convertibility and ultimately lead to the demise of the Bretton Woods system of international exchange which is exactly what happened in 1971.

This arrangement led to what in effect were tangible advantages for the US, at least to the current situation.

Nice work if you can get it. International trade as denominated in US$’s meant that the US$ qua world reserve currency could use its dollars to buy foreign assets and pay for them in dollars. These dollars were then held by foreigners who could no longer convert surplus dollars into gold but could only purchase US Treasuries and other US dollar-denominated assets which were never going to be repaid. Surplus dollar countries would sell their hard-earned dollars to purchase US Treasuries which pushed up the value of the dollar and kept US interest rates low; and the US in turn would buy goods and services from these same surplus countries. It worked rather like this: a foreign computer company – say ‘Japcom’ – sells you a computer by lending you the money to buy it! The ultimate free lunch.

But of course there’s always a catch! The effect of a strong dollar which raised domestic US industries costs, led to the hollowing out of the US domestic economy which ultimately could not compete with more efficient overseas competition. The last thing that the US rust belt needed was/is a strong dollar which had the effect of making its export industries less competitive. This left the US in an economic quandary. Namely, that the United States must on the one hand simultaneously run a strong/dollar, policy and on the other a weak/dollar policy, or put another way must allow for an outflow of dollars to satisfy the global demand for the currency, but must also engineer an inflow of dollars to make its domestic industries more competitive. As explained thus: when the Fed cuts interest rates, investors sell dollar-denominated assets and buy foreign assets, which tends to weaken the dollar’s exchange rate.

Having it both ways! Which of course is hardly possible.

Moreover, it is a moot point as to whether the rest of the world will continue to support this ‘exorbitant privilege’ in perpetuity. So far, the Vichy-Quisling-Petainst regimes in Europe and East Asia have to touch their forelocks and prostrate themselves before their Lord and Masters, but it would be wrong to imagine that this can continue as a permanent arrangement. Ironically, however, the US hegemon treats its friends and allies considerably worse than its putative enemies. Such is the nature of geopolitics.

WHAT NEXT?

The rise and fall of empires has always been a leitmotif for historians from Thucydidies and Herodotus, to Gibbon, Glubb and Hobsbawm in the modern period. It seems fairly obvious that the United States is in irreversible decline, and I think that the same is probably true of Europe given that Europe has been effectively Americanised. The American intellectual Morris Berman has perceptively got his finger on the pulse of the decay of modern-day America.

‘’As the 21st century dawns, American culture is, quite simply, in a mess … The dissolution of American corporate hegemony, when it does occur – and our own ‘Soviet Watershed’ is at least 40 or 50 years down the road as of this writing – will happen because of the ultimate inability of the system to maintain itself indefinitely. This type of breakdown which is a recurrent historical phenomenon is a long-range one and internal to the system.’’ (8)

The long decline as described by Berman is in general a cultural critique. A dumbing down so massive, relentless and comprehensive that is seems irresistible and sadly unstoppable. As Berman further writes:

‘’For a zoned-out, stupefied populace, ‘democracy’ will be nothing more than the right to shop, or to choose between Wendy’s or Burger King, or to stare at CNN and think that this managed infotainment is actually the news. As I have said, corporate hegemony, the triumph of global democracy/consumerism based upon the American model is the collapse of American civilization. So a large-scale transformation is going on, but it is one that makes triumph indistinguishable from disintegration.’’(9)

Add to this the hollowing out of the US productive economy (10) and the rise of a bloated financial sector which is kept going by infusions of money freshly printed by the Fed and which is more and more taking on the visage of an gigantic Ponzi scheme where existing debt levels are serviced by more debt, apparently without end. This is not going to be easy to reverse. The ongoing deindustrialisation of the US and its satellites seems to be irreversible.

The US political elites and the MSM seem little more than a monkey house of corrupt buffoons with not a political idea in their heads or what they are about and where they are going: but everything is fine as long as they get paid-off. It seems all very reminiscent of the last days of the French monarchy with America’s own Marie Antoinette, the air-head Nancy Pelosi, passing the time on TV by recommending the variety of ice-cream she keeps in her fridge during the current shut-down. The people have got no bread Nancy! Well let them eat ice-cream! Brilliant PR from Nancy Antionette.

Then of course there are the complete and certifiable lunatics (the neo-cons) who, along with Israel and its 5th column within the US, are intent on dragging the US into unwinnable wars which are slowly degrading the morale the civilian population and fighting capacity of the ‘invincible’ US military machine.

An historical analogy from history seems germane at this point.

It has been recorded that the most important battle that the Roman Army fought was The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. Three crack Roman legions crossed the Rhine to engage the Germanic tribes; a cake walk, or so they thought. Unfortunately, they were overconfident and badly led. Strung out on the march and unable to get into their customary Roman battle formations – the dreaded testudo (tortoise) – and were attacked on all sides by hordes of Germanic tribesmen and unceremoniously put to the sword: three crack legions, 20,000 men, one tenth of the Roman Army. This was in 9 CE. The Roman Empire lasted approx. another 400 years, but its reputation had suffered a blow from which it never recovered. The beginning of the end came when the Visigoths crossed the Danube 376 AD into the Roman Empire properly. When Rome was sacked it was the definitive end of empire. The US seems set on the same course, or one similar perhaps, although it is difficult if not impossible to put a date on its final demise.

Who can tell the future? We shall wait and we shall see.

NOTES

(1) The Council of Foreign Relations founded in 1921, is a United States non-profit think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. It is headquartered in New York City, with an additional office in Washington, D.C. This somewhat bland description does not explain the reality. In fact the CFR is made up of a number of notables drawn from the American political and financial nomenklatura, an incubator of leaders and ideas unified in their vision of a global economy dominated by US corporate interests.

(2) The Failures of Bretton Woods – David C Korten – The Case Against the Global Economy – 1996 – p.21

* Under the Lend-Lease program, from 1941 to 1945 the United States provided approximately $50 billion in military equipment, raw materials, and other goods to thirty-eight countries. About $30 billion of the total went to Britain, with most of the remainder delivered to the Soviet Union, China, and France

(3) Robert Skidelsky – John Maynard Keynes – Fighting for Britain – 1937-46- collected works and letters – xxiv 28/29 letter to E.R.Stettinuis, 18 April 1944

(4) Michael Hudson – Super Imperialism – pp.268/269

(5) The British Labour government of 1945-40 actually took sides in the Greek Civil War fought between the Greek government army (supported by the United Kingdom and the United States)and the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) — the military branch of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) supported by YugoslaviaAlbania and Bulgaria. This lasted from 1946 to 1949. The Soviet Union avoided sending aid. The fighting resulted in the defeat of the DSE by the Hellenic Army. The Labour party, social-democratic as it may have portrayed itself, was nonetheless pro-imperialist to the core and a founder member of 1940.

(6) Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – The Globalization of NATO p.334.

(7) Barry Eichengreen – Exorbitant Privilege – pp.3/4

(8) Morris Berman – The Twilight of American Culture – p.21. Published in 2000.

(9) Berman – ibid. – p.132

(10) The Auto-vehicle industry which was pioneered by Henry Ford was dominant up until recently when it produced 50% of motor vehicles. But this is no longer the case. Currently global auto-vehicle producers can be ranked as follows:

1. Toyota (Japan) Annual Output: 10,455,051 2. Volkswagen (Germany) Annual Output: 10,382,384 3. Hyundai/Kia (South Korea) Annual Output: 7,218,391. 4. General Motors (United States) Annual Output: 6,856,880. 5. Ford (United States) Annual Output: 6,386,818. 6. Nissan (Japan) Annual Output: 5,769,277. 7. Honda (Japan) Annual Output: 5,235,842. 8. FCA (Italy, USA) Annual Output: 4,681,457. 9. Renault (France) Annual Output: 3,373,278. Group PSA (France) Annual Output: 3,152,787

Calculated Assumptions and Prevention of “Scientifically Shattered” Societies

April 25, 2020

Note by the Saker: I did post this excellent article by Mansoureh Tajik because it presented a view rarely seen in the West: a view from Iran and a view from a deeply religious person. Yes, that is somewhat of a departure from my rule about not discussing medical aspects of the pandemic, but in this case, it was worth it, at least in my opinion.
HOWEVER
I ask you to please not use this pretext, again, inundate the comment section with you favorite theory about the virus. Really! Surely you can react and discuss this article without the obligatory “here is my theory about the virus”.
Looks, if I cannot appeal to your common sense, then I will have to shut down the comments section under this article.
Your choice.
The Saker

Calculated Assumptions and Prevention of “Scientifically Shattered” Societies

Calculated Assumptions and Prevention of “Scientifically Shattered” Societies

by Mansoureh Tajik for The Saker Blog

Health is severely commodified and diseases are disgracefully exploited as means to social, political, and financial ends. Statements like, “Let us not play politics with people’s health” are made to dress up stealth politics and covert missions to play political games with people’s health and lives on behalf of some vested interest. It is done so by pretending the efforts are devoid of any politics and solely intended for the good of the general public.

In the current atmosphere of uncertainty, disinformation, and behind-the-scene jockeying around this maroon aureole, therefore, our priorities demand us to make transparent the underlying politics of top contenders in the competition of narratives. Who is doing what to whom, how, why, and what is next?

I borrow a passage from Sylvia Noble Tesh’s classic book (1988), Hidden Arguments: Political Ideology and Disease Prevention Policy,[1] to contextualize the point of this exercise and questions, The discussions in that book are a bit dated but their resonances feel rather current. She asserted:

“Behind debates about such questions as the toxicity of environmental pollutants, the hazards of smoking, and the health effects of cholesterol lie other hidden arguments. These arguments are more fundamental: What is the legitimate source of knowledge? What is the nature of human beings? And what is the ideal structure of society? Firmly but often unconsciously held answers to these questions guide scientists, policy makers, and ordinary citizens alike to different constellations of facts about the causes of disease and hence, to different preferences for prevention policy.”[2]

We could add questions about an infectious disease like COVID-19 and its potential causes to Tesh’s list and still be in the same frame of argument. It has been stated in the past and it does not hurt to repeat, as Shi’a, we do not believe there to be any separation between our politics and our religion. Health and diseases greatly affect if and how we perform our required and essential tasks like prayers, fasting, Hajj, jihad, and more. Even our most basic greeting, Salam, and the name of our religion, Islam, all share the same root as our word for health, Salamat. So, for us, there is no shame or any compulsion in admitting that matters related to health and diseases are one and the same as our religion and our politics.

Those societies in which their systems of beliefs have convinced their people, however, that health and disease decisions are made through some apolitical processes and free of political values should have followed Tesh’s advice some thirty years ago that,

“We need public discussion about the values, beliefs, and ideologies with which scientists and policy makers begin. This is not an unwarranted intrusion of politics into science. There is no science uninfluenced by politics. This is a plea to get the politics out of hiding.”[3]

Judging by the signs, I sense that the time for such public discussions by the elites are way passed their deadlines. Discussions about exactly whose political values, views, and interests in public health and diseases are hidden from the very public, at the exclusion of, and at the expense of that very public are all passed due. It appears in not so distant a future such discussions will be carried out by the public on the streets with guns and at gunpoint.

Meanwhile, it is useful to discuss and clarify a few relevant items since the decisions we make rest heavily on what we assume the causes of current events are. It is imperative to make the correct decision and determine which side to take and where to spend most of our energy. In this essay, I would like to discuss one of the Saker’s position regarding SARS-COV-2 and contrast that with the position of the Iranians.

From the beginning of the coronavirus affair, the Saker has maintained a firm position that novel coronavirus is not a bio-weapon. He made his point here and reiterated his position through multiple updates. He solidly sealed his view here. In a recent article here, he provided a reminder by recapitulating that “a truly weaponized virus would both be much more transmissible than SARS-COV-2 and it would be far more deadly.”

It is certainly quite appropriate to assume the null until we have enough solid evidence to reject it. That means, in the case of the novel coronavirus the default assumption would maintain the virus not to be a bio-weapon unless and until there is preponderance of reasonable evidence to reject the null assumption. The Saker has gone a step further, however. His statements, in effect, provide an acceptance of the null not as an assumption but as a proven statement.

The position of the Iranians contrasts with that position. It is not prudent for us to accept the Saker’s firm assessment and to rule out a strong possibility that SARS-COV-2 could be a bio-weapon. My own impetus to pry open the Saker’s stance is twofold. On one hand, I would like to ensure the principle of precaution in these discussions are not overlooked (i.e. the need to err on the side of caution). On the other hand, I think the actual rationale provided by the Saker concerning the aspects of “transmissibility” and “deadliness” of SAR-COV-2 in determining its weaponization status needs additional investigation.

First the principle of precaution. Iranians are a nation that has been the subject of relentless conventional and non-conventional attacks by the US and the west from every imaginable venue and by any conceivable means. Therefore, as a people who are still suffering from the consequences of the chemical attacks by then weaponized agent, Sadam Hussein, we do not feel we have the luxury of definitively accepting a non-weaponized status for this virus.

We imagine for ourselves four possible scenarios based on two rival assumptions. First, if we assumed this virus is a bioweapon and planned according to that assumption, and the virus turned out to have been indeed a bioweapon, then we have done right by our nation and what we are obligated to do in terms of preparation and protection.

Second, if we assumed the virus is not a bioweapon, thus we do not treat it as one but it is, in fact, a bioweapon, then we are guilty of neglect, carelessness, and in breach of our duties in protecting ourselves and our nation.

Third, if we assumed the virus is a bioweapon and prepared accordingly and it turned out not to have been one, then we have prepared for and put into practice a drill with all its required infrastructure that are useful for our defenses and preparedness. In addition, we have supported the country’s health system and have helped reduce its burden in dealing with an infectious disease.

Fourth, if we assumed the virus is not a bioweapon and it was not one, then we would have carried on with life as usual and dealt with a particularly tough flu season and we were no more prepared than before the whole affair.

The Leader of Iran, Ayatullah Khamenei clarified[4] Iran’s position and decision in one of his earlier speeches on March 8 as follows:

“Another key point is that we are asking all sections in the country, we request them to cooperate with a sense of responsibility with the Ministry of Health which is at the frontline of this issue and to make available to the ministry all their necessary resources. We have, of course, asked the armed forces and all organs linked to our office [i.e. the office of the Commander in Chief of all armed forces, Ayatullah Khamenei] that they, too, cooperate and put all of their resources in this area at the service of the people. This is not an event that has just happened for our country. You know and you have heard that this has happened in many countries of the world. The difference, of course, is that in many countries, they are hiding the truth, they are not talking about it. Our officials have spoken with sincerity and truthfulness from the very first day. They have been transparent in their reporting. They have made people aware of the situation which is a good thing. There are places though that we know they have it much worse than we do, but they do not talk about it. We do ask God Almighty for health and wellbeing for all those other countries, too. God Will InshAllah help them, too.

And the last word on this matter is that this event is a transient issue as well. It will pass. It is not an extraordinary event. Happenings similar to this occur in the country. Certainly, I do not wish to minimize the issue but we should not aggrandize it either. There is something that has happened. It will take a specific period of time. A period of time that will not be too long, InshAllah. This will exist for the country and then it will go away. The experiences that we will gain in this area, the actions that people take, and what various organs do, which in fact a general and a public drill in this area, this could become an achievement. If we could have these sorts of achievements, a calamity changes to a blessing. A threat changes into an opportunity.”

Last week, in an event held during this year’s Army Day celebration in Iran on Friday, April 17, Amir Sartip Aziz Nasirzadeh, the head of Islamic Republic’s Air Force, said[5],

“We view the spread of coronavirus through a military lens. The spread of this virus, in our calculation, is a biological threat or a quasi-biological threat. This subject for the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the military is a practice and a drill to counter biological threats.”

For Iranians, therefore, to assume the novel coronavirus as a bioweapon is logically and wisely a more appropriate assumption. An assumption of otherwise could be more deleterious. However, the Iranians having figured into their calculus not to accept the null assumption about the novel coronavirus is not a reasonable evidence to reject the Saker’s argument. Therefore, I discuss the second element that motivates me to offer this rebuttal which relates to the actual rationale provided by the Saker. He used not high enough “transmissibility” and insufficient “deadliness” as two major determinants to reject the weaponization of SAR-COV-2.

To be fully transparent, I must say I am not an expert in weapons and my practical military training is limited to what a regular Basiji goes through here in Iran. That makes my expertise in this area limited to not accidentally shooting myself in the foot. My argument is therefore literary in essence and not based on practical skills and field experience.

To weaponize an agent (biological, chemical, or nuclear) and the degree of weaponization depends entirely on the specific aim and purpose for that weaponizing. That means, a biological agent can be designed and released to be not highly but “just enough” transmissible and not highly lethal but “just enough” deadly to achieve the intended goal of an attack. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had identified around 30 organisms[6] that might be weaponized. CDC employs a classification scheme based on the intended outcome in three different categories of weaponizations for biological agents. The classification is based on “ease of dissemination, morbidity and mortality, panic potential, and level of public health requirements.” They have defined the categories as follows:

Category A: Highest priority diseases that pose a risk to national security, are easily transmitted, have high morbidity and mortality, would have a major public health impact and cause panic, and require special public health preparedness.

Category B: Moderate priority diseases with lower morbidity and mortality and more difficult to disseminate.

Category C: High priority diseases that have the potential to cause significant morbidity and mortality and are emerging pathogens that could be engineered for mass dispersionCategory C agents are emerging pathogens that could be engineered for mass dissemination because of their availability, ease of production and dissemination, mortality rate, and ability to cause a substantial health impact.”[6]

It is therefore important to consider the intended outcomes as important variables in determining the weaponization of SAR-COV-2. Looking from this angle, transmissibility and deadliness would be more of a tactical decision commensurate to specific aims of the attack than key indicators of weaponization. It might be interesting to note that US CDC had classified SARS coronaviruses as potential biological agents under Category C[7], but it is now removed from its main page[8]. Those interested though could search for published scientific articles that used the CDC’s information as their references in earlier dates.

I would like to go a bit further in supporting my position. I will use an example of attack operations during World War I in which the British carried out “low-grade” attacks and acts of sabotage against the Ottoman’s darling project, the Hejaz Railway. An excerpt from an article by S. Anderson (2014) in the Smithsonian Magazine[9] illustrates the significance of the railroad:

“The southernmost town in Jordan, Mudowarra was once connected to the outside world by means of that railroad. One of the great civil-engineering projects of the early 20th century, the Hejaz Railway was an attempt by the Ottoman sultan to propel his empire into modernity and knit together his far-flung realm. By 1914, the only remaining gap in the line was located in the mountains of southern Turkey. When that tunneling work was finished, it would have been theoretically possible to travel from the Ottoman capital of Constantinople all the way to the Arabian city of Medina, 1,800 miles distant, without ever touching the ground. Instead, the Hejaz Railway fell victim to World War I. For nearly two years, British demolition teams, working with their Arab rebel allies, methodically attacked its bridges and isolated depots, quite rightly perceiving the railroad as the Achilles’ heel of the Ottoman enemy, the supply line linking its isolated garrisons to the Turkish heartland.”

Those attacks were carried out under the command of the British agent T.E. Lawrence (the infamous Lawrence of Arabia made famous by Hollywood). The attacks could have actually been more exact and more destructive than they were to finish the job of destroying the railroad in a much shorter time frame. However, they opted for operations that were less destructive. Lawrence himself explains the reason in Revolts in the Desert[10] by saying:

“In the drainage holes of the spandrils six small charges were inserted zigzag, and with their explosion all the arches were scientifically shattered; the demolition being a fine example of that finest sort which left the skeleton of its bridge intact indeed, but tottering, so that the repairing enemy had a first labour to destroy the wreck, before they could attempt to rebuild.”

“Scientifically shattered,” seems to suggest causing “just enough” destruction for the enemy to get entangled and locked in specific areas, to divert its resources, manpower, and focus to those areas and away from other priorities and critical tasks. If the bridges and the railroads of Hejaz Railway were “scientifically shattered” and tulip bombs were used to twist the rails into tangled ribbons of steel but not completely destroy them, why would not a virus be weaponized in a manner that can “scientifically shatter,” let’s say, health systems, health personnel, and infrastructure of a country with “just enough” but not very high destruction and lethality?

I can think of two specific reasons: 1) A fear that bioweapon would spread beyond the target population and adversely affect allies and own forces and populations. 2) A fear of God and the Day of Judgment. Let’s briefly explore both reasons. For the first one, in case the biological agent can make its way back to one’s own population, if the original source of the attack is prepared, then this becomes a non-issue. However, if not, we must examine whether or not those who use such weapons care sufficiently about their own people and populations.

In a study conducted by the Institute of Medicine titled, “Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite,” that was presented at a hearing by the members of the US Congress in 1993 regarding US Department of Defense Mustard Gas Testing,[11] it was revealed that 60,000 US service members were exposed to mustard agents and Lewisite during World War II. Based on the records of that hearing, participants in military test experienced varying degree of exposure to mustard agent or Lewisite. The tests ranged from a drop of agent on the arm in “patch” tests to repeated gas chamber trials and fields tests. In addition, there were thousands of non-service individuals who worked in the US arsenals that produced these chemical agents. There were no follow-up medical care or monitoring of long-term effects but at the time of hearing, the information from the study revealed that:

The scanned document is some hundred thirty pages long, within it though, there are some vivid descriptions that illustrate a high level of indifference and disregard for human suffering. An excerpt is shown below:

We could spend quite a bit of time to review similar examples from the exposure of Vietnam Veterans to Agent Orange[12, 13] to CIA and Military testing of LSD[14] to various DARPA projects. However, the point can be made that some governments’ concerns for health and wellbeing of their own people may not be sufficiently high to serve as an obstacle in decision making.

The second reason about why would a given power refrain from “scientifically shattering” populations and societies using bio-weapons is a fear of God and the Day of Judgment. It is that belief that we cannot really get away and there WILL come a day when we must defend our intentions and deeds. Here, I am not talking about a superficial belief and using the name of God Almighty as a political means to material ends. Nor am I speaking of the type of believers who think they can commit all sorts of atrocities and injustice and be forgiven by God because they are just so special and “chosen”.

وَقَالُوا لَنْ تَمَسَّنَا النَّارُ إِلا أَيَّامًا مَعْدُودَةً [And they say, “Never will the Fire touch us, except for a short period of time.” (Qur’ān, Chapter 2, Verse 80)].

I am speaking of genuinely true believers in God who are very fearful and weary of the day they must stand before their Creator and defend their actions. That is enough functional and practical (not theoretical) fear and weariness that would prevent them from violating God’s boundaries and committing atrocities now, here, and in this world.

Perhaps a passage from the book, Brother Qasem[15], which contains a collection of lectures, talks, and views from Martyr Sardar Soleimani could illustrate what I mean. The segment is titled “Didn’t you say you invited him?!” in the book:

“For years we had been chasing after one of the most notorious rebels in Sistan and Bluchestan. This rebel was very active in narcotic trafficking and had martyred great many of our revolutionary guard members. Finally, after employing very complex intelligence operations, we invited him to a special locality for negotiation. Immediately upon his and his companions’ arrival to the designated place, we arrested him and his team and put them in jail. We were very pleased. He was someone whose criminal record would have secured him some fifty death sentences.

In a meeting in which we were visiting the Leader [Ayatullah Khamenei], I brought up the subject and gave the Leader the news about the arrest and described the event. I was expecting to see a positive reaction and happy response from His Eminence. The Great Leader of the Revolution immediately ordered, “Tell them to set him free right this moment.”

Without hesitation and question, I made the call. Afterwards, while quite baffled, I asked, “Agha! Why? I don’t understand; why did I have to do that? Why did you order his release?”

The Leader said, “Didn’t you say you had invited him?! The order of Islam is that if you invite anyone, and he is your guest, even if he is your father’s killer, you have no right to cause him discomfort.”

I was stunned with the response. Immediately, of course, the Leader commanded, “You must make sure to arrest him.” A few months later, in another series of complex operations, we arrested the fellow.”

The rebel in question was Abdulmalik Rigi, the terrorist agent in the service of the US and the Saudis. But he is not the key point of the excerpt, the Taqwa (as operationalized here by the Leader of the Iranian Revolution) is. Taqwa is to always be mindful and fearful of God’s boundaries and to make sure one does not cross them not matter what the event or the situation. May peace be upon you.

References

[1] Tesh SN (1988). Hidden Arguments: Political Ideology and Disease Prevention Policy. 4th Edition, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

[2] Ibid, P. 3.

[3] Ibid, P. 177.

[4] Speeches by Ayatullah Khamenei on Esfand 13, 1398 (March 8, 2020). Speech after Tree Planting Ceremony. Available online at: http://farsi.khamenei.ir/speech-content?id=45076

[5] Tasnim News Agency, “Fight against corona for armed forces is a military exercise against biological threats.” Farfardin 29 (April 17), 1399; 10:46; News code: 2245243; https://tn.ai/2245243

[6] Williams M, Sizemore DC. “Biologic, Chemical, and Radiation Terrorism Review.” [Updated 2020 Feb 17]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493217/

[7] Moran GJ (2002). “Threats in bioterrorism. II: CDC category B and C agents.” Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America, 20(2):311-30.

[8] US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Bioterrorism Agents and Diseases by Category. Access online at: https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/agentlist-category.asp#c

[9] Anderson S (2014). “World War I: Hundred Years Later, The True Story of Lawrence of Arabia.” Simithsonian Magazine, Special Report, Available online at: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/true-story-lawrence-arabia-180951857/

[10] TE Lawrence (1926). Revolt in the Desert. Garden City Publishing Company, Inc.

[11] Hearing before the Sub-committee on Compensation, Pension, and Insurance of the Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Second Congress, Second Session, March 10, 1993. Printed for the use of the Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, Serial No. 103-3. Available online at: https://ia802307.us.archive.org/31/items/departmentofdefe1993unit/departmentofdefe1993unit.pdf

[12] Hansen JC (1981). “The Vietnam Veteran vs Agent Orange: The War that Lingers.” Government Accounting Office (GAO) Review, Spring 1981, Pages 29-36. Available online at: https://www.gao.gov/assets/680/674041.pdf

[13] Stellman JM & Stellman SD (2018). “Agent Orange During the Vietnam War: The Lingering Issue of Its Civilian and Military Health Impact.” American Journal of Public Health, 108(6): 726-728.

[14] Disbennett BM (2014). “An Analysis of CIA and Military Testing of LSD on non-Consenting US Service Members and Recovery through the VA Disability System.” Tennessee Journal of Race, Gender, & Social Justice, 3(2): 173-201.

[15] Mehrvanfar A (1397). “Brother Qasem: a Collection of Strategic thinking of Haj Qasem Soleimani in areas of Guardianship, Revolution, Holy Defense, Martyrdom, the Protectors of Haram, Culture and Arts.” Mehr Amir-Al Mumenin Publishing, 1st Edition, Page 23. [Translated from the original in Farsi by the author.]

Neo-Ottomanism and Erdogan’s Illusory Sense of Power!

Source

Thursday, 23 April 2020 14:10 

Turkey has placed itself in a strategic dilemma on all sides since it has become at odds with its neighbours in the Middle East, the Balkans, the Caucasus and its allies, in addition to a potential conflict with Russia and Iran over conflicts of interests. 

After 2011, Turkey turned its back on the “Zero Problems” policy, and its actions brought about panic and discontent among its allies, who sought to expel the NATO-country from the military alliance, describing Turkey as an “unreliable ally that pursues its interests selfishly.”

All these conflicts have raised questions about the contradictory nature of Turkish foreign policy: what does Turkey want?

Many political analysts simply say that during Erdogan’s era, Turkish foreign policy embraced the dream of the neo-Ottomans that aimed at restoring the glory of the outdated empire and forming a new identity for Turkey on the basis of religious belief, which may lead to irreversible damage within the Turkish society.

Unlike Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of the modern Turkish Republic, Erdogan wants to boost nationalism and the role of Islam in the Turkish state-structure after decades of secularism. 

For this purpose, he has focused on the importance of Ottoman history in his speeches and increased religious education in state schools, that have turned into “Imam Hatip” schools.  These schools are religious secondary education institutions that do not only produce preachers (religious clerics) but also cultivate religious sentiment in their students.

Other critics argued that what is going on in Turkey is not unique and that most people around the world long for the past. They call this movement a policy of nostalgia that ties itself to “memory, not history.”

However, the Western-backed Arab Spring, led by the United States, provided a valuable opportunity for Erdogan, who tried not to waste it and, of course, he didn’t hesitate to risk everything to follow his dream to become the Sultan of the new Islamic world he wants to create.

The turmoil of 2011 that engulfed the Arab countries was good chance to reconstruct the Ottoman Empire. As a result, he rushed to provide support to terrorist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS, which embraced the nostalgic ideology. He has also worked so hard to install them in the countries that Ottomans once occupied such as Syria, Libya, Egypt, Bosnia and Chechnya  under the pretext of supporting freedom. 

For instance, he supported the former president of Egypt Mohamed Morsi (who was democratically elected and later on toppled due to his extremist policies) An Islamist affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood organisation – and he is still sending Syrian mercenaries to fight in Libya spreading chaos and death in the devastated country. 

In June 2019, Erdogan held a funeral prayer in Istanbul’s ancient Fatih mosque in honour of Morsi, who died during his trial and, of course, he made an impassioned speech glorifying his onetime ally. 

Many videos that made a fuss on social media showed how Turkey sent al-Nusra Front fighters (al-Qaeda linked jihadist group in Syria) to fight as mercenaries in Libya. They are the same fighters who fought the Syrian Arab Army in Idlib and were praised by the Western mainstream media as “moderate rebels” during the Syrian crisis.

Erdogan’s controversially ostentatious character also appeared during the visit of German chancellor Angela Merkel to Istanbul, as photos showed opulent and gilded chairs surrounded by gold. At the time, Social media comments came fast: The Sultan of Turkey on his throne.

Erdogan has staked his reputation, his relationship with his allies and the lives of Turkey’s soldiers, and he is still willing to take the risk for the sake of his illusory sense of Power.

Over the course of Erdogan’s rise to power, Turkey appears to be burning bridges with both allies and opponents and giving signals that it wants to play hard with an increasing number of adversaries.

The truth is that it was always only a matter of time before Erdogan halts “zero problems” policy. 

Emma Abbas

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