Democracies Don’t Start Wars. But Democrats Do

By Philip Giraldi, Ph.D.
Source: Strategic Culture

It may have been President Bill Clinton who once justified his wrecking of the Balkans by observing that liberal interventionism to bring about regime change is a good thing because “Democracies don’t start wars with other democracies.” Or it might have been George W. Bush talking about Iraq or even Barack Obama justifying his destruction of Libya or his interventions relating to Syria and Ukraine. The principle is the same when the world’s only superpower decides to throw its weight around.

The idea that pluralistic democracies are somehow less inclined to go to war has in fact been around for a couple of hundred years and was first elaborated by Immanuel Kant in an essay entitled “Perpetual Peace” that was published in 1795. Kant may have been engaging in some tongue in cheek as the French relatively liberal republic, the “Directory,” was at that time preparing to invade Italy to spread the revolution. The presumption that “democracies” are somehow more pacific than other forms of government is based on the principle that it is in theory more difficult to convince an entire nation of the desirability of initiating armed conflict compared to what happens in a monarchy where only one man or woman has to be persuaded.

The American Revolution, which preceded Kant, was clearly not fought on the principle that kings are prone to start wars while republics are not, and, indeed, the “republican” United States has nearly always been engaged in what most observers would consider to be wars throughout its history. And a review of the history of the European wars of the past two hundred years suggests that it is also overly simple to suggest that democracies eschew fighting each other. There are, after all, many different kinds of governments, most with constitutions, many of which are quite politically liberal even if they are headed by a monarch or oligarchy. They have found themselves on different sides in the conflicts that have troubled Europe since the time of Napoleon.

And wars are often popular, witness the lines of enthusiastic young men lining up to enlist when the Triple Entente took on the Germans and Austrians to begin the First World War. So, war might be less likely among established democracies, but it should be conceded that the same national interests that drive a dictatorship can equally impact on a more pluralistic form of government, particularly if the media “the territory of lies” is in on the game. One recalls how the Hearst newspaper chain created the false narrative that resulted in the U.S.’s first great overseas imperial venture, the Spanish-American War. More recently, the mainstream media in the United States has supported the disastrous invasion of Iraq, the destabilization of Syria, and the regime change in Ukraine, Afghanistan and Libya.

So now we Americans have the ultimate liberal democratic regime about to resume power, possibly with a majority in both houses of Congress to back up the presidency. But something is missing in that the campaigning Democrats never talked about a peace dividend, and now that they are returning the airwaves are notable for Senators like Mark Warner asking if the alleged Russian hacking of U.S. computers is an “act of war?” Senator Dick Durbin has no doubts on the issue, having declared it “virtually a declaration of war.” And Joe Biden appears to be on board, considering punishment for Moscow. Are we about to experience Russiagate all over? In fact, belligerency is not unique to Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo.  War is in the air, and large majority of the Democratic Party recently voted for the pork-bloated National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), endorsing a policy of U.S. global military dominance for the foreseeable future. If you are an American who would like to see national health insurance, a large majority among Democrats, forget about it!

But more to the point, the Democrats have a worse track record than do the Republicans when it comes to starting unnecessary wars. Donald Trump made the point of denouncing “stupid wars” when he was running for office and has returned to that theme also in the past several weeks, though he did little enough to practice what he preached until it was too late and too little. Clinton notoriously intervened in the Balkans and bombed a pharmaceuticals factory in Sudan and a cluster of tents in Afghanistan to draw attention away from his affair with Monica Lewinsky. His secretary of State Madeleine Albright thought the death of 500,000 Iraqi children due to U.S. sanctions was “worth it.” Barack Obama tried to destroy Syria, interfered in Ukraine and succeeded in turning Libya into an ungovernable mess while compiling a “kill list” and assassinating U.S. citizens overseas using drones.

If you want to go back farther, Woodrow Wilson involved the U.S. in World War One while Franklin D. Roosevelt connived at America’s entry into the Second World War. FDR’s successor Harry Truman dropped two atomic bombs on civilian targets in Japan, killing as many as 200,000. Japan was preparing to surrender, which was known to the White House and Pentagon, making the first use of nuclear weapons completely unnecessary and one might call it a “war crime.” Truman also got involved in Korea and John F. Kennedy started the intervention in Vietnam, though there are indications that he was planning to withdraw from it when he was killed. The only Democratic president who failed to start one or more wars was the much-denigrated Jimmy Carter.

So, it is Joe Biden’s turn at the wheel. One has to question the philosophy of government that he brings with him as he has never found a war that he didn’t support and several of his cabinet choices are undeniably hardliners on what they refer to as national security. The lobbies are also putting pressure on Biden to do the “right thing,” which for them is to continue an interventionist foreign policy. The Israeli connected Foundation for the Defense Democracies (FDD) has not surprisingly issued a collection of essays that carries the title “Defending Forward: Securing America by Projecting Military Power Abroad.” If one had to bet at this point “defending forward” will be what the Biden Administration is all about. And oh, by the way, as democracies don’t go to war with democracies, it will only be the designated bad guys who will be on the receiving end of America’s military might.Or at least that is how the tale will be told.

HUNDREDS OF MILITANTS DEFECT FROM INFLUENTIAL TURKISH PROXY GROUP IN SYRIA

Hundreds Of Militants Defect From Influential Turkish Proxy Group In Syria

06.05.2020 

Around 700 militants have defected from the Turkish-backed Sultan Murad Division as result of disagreements related to the group’s involvement in the Libyan war, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on April 6.

According to the London-based monitoring group, the defectors left the group in protest to the deployment of Syrians in Libya.

“The defection of the commanders and fighters from the faction came in protest against the faction’s policy of sending fighters to Libya to fight alongside the al-Sarraj government [the Government of National Accord (GNA)] … In addition to disputes as a result of the faction’s leadership policy on Syria,” the SOHR’s report reads.

After defecting, the militants abandoned several positions on the frontlines with Kurdish forces and the Syrian military around the town of Ras al-Ain in northern al-Hasakah.

Activists revealed that the defectors included six military commanders of the Murad Division. The commanders were identified as Abu Walid Al-Ezzi, Araba Idris, Abu Bilal Hanish, Abu Muhannad al-Hur and Fadi al-Diri.

Turkey began deploying Syrian militants in Libya to support GNA forces, last year. The step provoked many hardliners, who argued that their battle is only against the regime in Syria.

Last month, Turkey cut support for Faylaq al-Rahman, one of its proxy groups, for refusing to send any militants to fight in Libya.

In spite of these setbacks, more Syrian militants are preparing to depart to Libya. A recent report by the SOHR revealed that more than 7,000 Syrian militants are currently fighting for the GNA.

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Turkey Lied to Us

Source

03 May 2020 10:54  

The Investigative Journal has recently published a well-documented report about Turkey’s dirty role played in Syria and Libya. 

 “I just got back from Libya yesterday,” said Zein Ahmad*, a Turkish-backed so called Syrian National Army (SNA) militant in Afrin. “But I had been trying to leave for more than a month.” When the Libyan National Army (LNA) neared Tripoli in April 2019.

Turkish forces began heavily recruiting militants and terrorists  from its affiliated to terrorist groups and began flying hundreds to Libya every week. The exact number of terrorists Turkey has sent is unknown, but estimates range from 5,000 to 17,000.

Ahmad is a member of Ahrar al-Sharqiya,  and had been based in Afrin with the faction since Turkey’s Operation “Olive Branch” in 2018. The Turkish invasion of Afrin led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians and the displacement of hundreds of thousands. Ahrar al-Sharqiya perpetrated widespread war crimes in the city, including looting, murder, kidnapping, and serial rape.

When asked if he believed in Turkey’s mission in Afrin, Ahmad laughed. “I was a mercenary going to Afrin, and I was a mercenary going to Libya.

The militants in Libya were promised salaries ranging from $2000-3000 per month, but reports assert that they received nothing. One member said he’s been paid $2000 every month and a half rather than every month. Some Faylaq al-Majd members who have been in Libya for more than three months say they were paid once and never again.

“They told us we would be paid $3000 a month. That never happened. The first month we got $2000. The second month, they gave us $1400. The third month, we weren’t paid at all,” Ahmad said. “So we looted. We took copper from the homes, anything gold we could find, anything valuable we could find. And the Libyans with us would take the items and sell them for us.”

After arriving in Libya, Ahmad stayed in a house in Tripoli with ten other Syrian militants and a Libyan militant who accompanied them whenever they left the house. The house was a well-appointed villa, almost certainly abandoned by its rightful owners when clashes intensified and drew closer.

 “It was nothing like we are used to in Syria,” Ahmad said. “It’s urban street combat. We don’t have the right weapons or the right skills. We are being slaughtered. And so, many of us started to refuse to fight. Or we’d be taken to the frontlines and hide there.”

Ahmad says that when the militants began defying orders, Libyan soldiers would come and beat them. He says once, when a Syrian had refused to fight three times in a row, a Libyan militiant shot him in the leg.

The number of the terrorists brought from Syria to Libya by Turkey desperate to leave Libya is growing by the day. “The last lie that Turkey told us was that we would only have to stay for two months, or three months,” Ahmad said. “But more than three months had passed for my group, and they weren’t letting us back.”

Ultimately, Ahmad was forced to pay his commander $700 to fly home to Syria. “There were around 100 of us,” he said. “Some paid $500, and some as much as $1000, but then they put us on a plane with the dead and injured and allowed us to return to Syria.”

Dr. Mohamad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

alibrahim56@hotmail.com

POV VIDEO DOCUMENTS LAST MOMENTS OF SYRIAN MERCENARY GROUP IN LIBYA

On May 2, the Libyan National Army (LNA) released a video documenting the very last minutes of a group of Syrian mercenaries fighting on the side of the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

The group was neutralized by LNA units during clashes in the district of Saladin, right to the south of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

The video shows the mercenaries heading aboard a Turkish ACV-15 armored personnel carrier (APV) to storm a villa in the district. Minutes after arriving in the villa, the group got hit with an ordnance.

Most of the group’s militants were killed or injured in the strike. The group’s leader, nicknamed al-Hayani [likely because he is from the town of Hayan in northern Aleppo], immediately panics and start shouting on the radio asking for help as troops from the LNA approach the villa.

“Guys, they are storming us, they are storming us … They are shooting at us, they reached us,” al-Hayani shouts on the radio in a clear Aleppo dialect.

Frustrated as his commanders continue to ignore his repeated calls for help, al-Hayani began to shout even louder and louder on the radio

As an ACV-15 passes by their village without stopping, he shouts “stop, stop, stop for God’s sake stop, tell him to come back, to come back.”

The video ends with al-Hayani saying “Guys, please send us an ACV … Guys, we are dying … Guys, everyone with me are injured only I’m alive.”

The video demonstrates the poor training of Turkish-backed Syrian militants as well as the lack of serious coordination between them and GNA forces.

According to a recent report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), 233 Syrian militants have been killed in Libya, thus far. A total of 7,400 Syrian militants were deployed by Turkey in Libya to support the GNA.

The deployment of Syrian militants allowed GNA forces to hold onto their remaining positions around Tripoli. However, this came at a high cost.

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Is Western Media credible anymore?

Is Western Media credible anymore?

December 11, 2019

by Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan for The Saker Blog

Western media is spreading fake news and fabricating stories with evil intentions. Western Media is biased and creating unrest and chaos in various parts of the world. Media is being used by the Western world to coerce, influence and achieve their ill-political motives. Unfortunately, Western Media is already dominating and controlling public opinion throughout the world.

Let me give you a particular example of the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). BBC reported that the Saddam Hussain regime in Iraq possesses Weapons of Mass Destructions (WMD). America along with its allies attacked Iraq, destructed Iraq, killed millions of people, damaged Infrastructure, Power Houses, Telecommunication, Hospitals, Schools, Churches, Mosques, Roads, Industry, Oil Wells, Refineries, etc. Finally noticed that there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Later on, the British Prime Minister of that time, acknowledged that the BBC news was not accurate, and information about WMD was not correct. But after damaging a country totally and harming millions of people, pushing Iraq into stone ages, one’s mere apology may not be accepted and may not be forgiven by humanity, irreversible damage to Iraq may never be forgotten by the history.

It is worth mentioning, Iraq was a very stable, oil-rich, and total welfare state under President Saddam Hussain. Education, health care was free of cost to its citizens, plenty of food, variety of food was available abundantly. Electricity was available in all parts of the country in abundance sufficiently. Fuel and items of daily use were available everywhere conveniently. The society was very much stable, satisfied and living a comfortable life. All factions of the society were enjoying harmony and was a tolerant society. It might be possible a few exceptionally politicians opposing the ruling party “Bath” or President Saddam Hussain, were victimized. They might be few in numbers or two digits only. But the vast majority of the nation was comfortable with the rulers.

But after the US war on Iraq, today, people of Iraq are facing a shortage of food, fuel, electricity, medicines, and items of daily life. No free education and health care are provided by the government. The society is extremely polarized, intolerance and factionist are very much common. Terrorism, lawlessness, and chaos are witnesses everywhere.

Is publically apology is sufficient to cool down the suffering of millions of Iraqis? Can anyone ignore the dirty role of the BBC? Is it possible, people of Iraq forget the BBC? Can the victim forgive the BBC?

It is only one example only. The same trick was played in the case of Syria. BBC reported that the Syrian Government possesses Chemical Weapons and is using against rebellions. Western Alliance NATO, under the US leadership, attacked Syria, killed millions of innocent people, displace millions of common citizens, damaged the whole country, and pushed the Syrian into stone ages. Forced the Syrian people to take asylum in the Western World where they are humiliated, especial the women and children are being abused. A huge portion is forced to live in temporary camps within the country, where life is very hard and lacks the basic amenities of daily life. Western World has made the life on common Syrian misery and curse only. While Syrians was a very stable country, may not be very rich, but with all basic amenities available conveniently. Nature has blessed the Syrians with best fruits and vegetables, and traditional Syrian food is one of the important attractions in the region. The people of Syria are very pretty and a superior creature. They can compete any beauty villain in the world easily. The law and order situation was very much comfortable and society was stable and living in harmony.

The same is the case of Libya, where ill-motivated fake News led to the destruction of a sovereign country. A very stable, oil-rich nation turned into chaos and lawlessness. A nation with all comforts and facilities has been deprived of even basic needs of life. A sate with total welfare for its citizens has been changed into a lack of everything like food, medicines, fuel, electricity, etc.

The situation in Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, and Afghanistan is not much different than this. The US admits its role in spreading fake information about Afghanistan and admits its failure in Afghanistan. Pakistan, Turkey, and Iran are on the list and Western World is engaged in a hybrid war, where media is the basic weapon and in some cases over-engaged in spreading fake news and fabrication of stories to create chaos and promote instability.

In Pakistan only, we noticed many illegal radio stations operating by Western-funded NGOs, spreading hate, misinformation, and troubles only. Many media houses and individual journalists are hired by Western World and used as front-man or under-cover operation of hybrid war in Pakistan.

Only in the Middle East, around two million people have been killed, several million have been displaced from their homes, either to live in Camps or to move to other countries seeking asylums.

In fact, the world is full of such examples and unfortunately, the developing world is the victim and under direct target.

The recent reports regarding Mike Pompeo regarding lies, cheating, stealing, etc are further confirmation that information is deliberately changed to achieve designed results. The US role in

1970s ‘Operation Condor,’ in which South American dictators systematically tortured and killed dissidents in the region. An estimated 60,000 people were killed by the Latin American states in the clandestine operation, 30,000 in Argentina alone. Another 30,000 were disappeared and 400,000 imprisoned during the Operation. It is now known that the CIA was a guiding hand throughout the whole process, by training and helping military and civilian personnel. “Diplomacy and military strength go hand in hand. They are indeed intimately related. Each relies on the other,” Pompeo also admitted during the conference called “Why Diplomacy Matters.”

Covert operations, ousting democratically elected governments, inciting revolts and supporting transnational companies are run of the mill actions for the CIA, all justified as part of the fight against those who question U.S. interests. Actions that continue until this day. In 2018, one of its offshoots, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) channeled over US$23 million to meddle in the internal affairs of key Latin American countries, under the flagship of “human rights” or “democracy,” which represent a real menace for national sovereignty and the continuity of progressive governments in the region and the world.

These are the only few known facts, there must be much more in various parts of the world similar incidents and fake news or spread of misinformation.

I believe the Western World is misusing Media and the spread of distorted information as an unarmed wing or tool of defense and diplomatic strategies, to achieve their evil goals. It seems Western media is notorious for spreading fake news and the fabrication of stories. They have lost their credibility at all. The intellectuals and people with common sense no more believe Western Media anymore. The credibility of Western Media is challenged and lost recognition among the people having conscious.

I have been traveling internationally frequently and come across many foreigners. Most of them have a very negative impression about Pakistan. But those who have travelled to Pakistan, are very different and praise Pakistan. In fact, media is projecting negative image of Pakistan, however, the ground realities are very different. I do not claim that Pakistan is perfect and everything is ideal, but reject the extremely negative impression posed in the Western Media. There might be many problems in Pakistan but just like other countries, not much different from the rest of world. In some respect, Pakistan is better than many other nations awhile facing few challenges too like other nations. Misinformation and distorted stories regarding Pakistan are part of Western Media war launched against Pakistan.

I understand some of you may disagree with my opinion and maybe offended but at least it may initiate an open debate. Let’s explore the avenues of a common ground where we can seek the truth. The common man is interested only in seeking the real facts and figures. Let’s judge the reports and news on an impartial basis and reach conclusion at our own. With the improvement of technology, and especially with the help of the internet and ICT (Information and Communication Technologies), it is possible for the dissemination of facts instantly. We should conceive the facts with open-minded and be receptive to facts only.

I wish for a peaceful world where justice, freedom, and truth will prevail. Let’s join hands toward this goal and all those willing to achieve this goal, be struggling till the victory. In fact, journalist is a holy profession and must not be politicized. Let the media work for the welfare of humanity. There are many media houses working very well and are serving humanity properly. We must salute them and extend our full cooperation. We must differential among good and bad News agencies or media houses. It is our own duty to judge the good and evil media and should appreciate the positive role of media where ever necessary.

I must offer my heartiest apology if offended a few of you. But willing to find common ground and extend my full cooperation, if it is desired by some of you. Let’s build a better world, where tomorrow should be better than yesterday. Our next-generation must not face the same challenges which we have faced. Love humanity, love peace, seek the truth.

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist, ex-Diplomat, Academician, Researcher, member editorial board (World Scientific), Peace-activist, Geo-analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), Islamabad, Pakistan. E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com)

Terrorism Is What We Say It Is

By Jeremy Salt
Source

Ahwaz terror attack 54fc1

There is no consensus when it comes to defining terrorism. The most acceptable is ‘the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in pursuit of political aims.’ Some definitions insert the word ‘systematic’ so the act is defined as the regular, standard behavior of an individual or a group and not just one aberrant or anomalous action.

Terror is not quite the same as terrorism. Terror is experienced by many people in many ways and at many levels of their lives. There is terror at home in the hands of an abusive husband. There is the terror experienced by sexually abused children. There is terror in the school and the church, from abusive priests and teachers.

There is terror in the streets, from the man holding a knife to your throat as he demands your wallet and there can be terror at the hands of police, there to protect but frequently to abuse and even kill.

A violent father will terrorize his family for years. He will terrorize them regularly, day after day. He will assault his wife and children. He might even kill them. The family will live in a state of fear for years. There will be no end to it any more than there seems to be an end to occupation for the occupied.

This is a digression but it is not unreasonable to compare the fear of an abusive father in the home to the fear of soldiers and settlers amongst a people living under occupation. Violence is always just around the corner in both circumstances.

The home is turned into occupied territory, a place of violence and terror from which there is no escape for the trapped child. The abusive father becomes the soldier, the border police and the settler.

The state and the media tell us who the terrorist is. It is never us. It is always them. The terrorist is the Islamic State in Syria, the terrorist is the gunmen shooting dead 90 young people in the Bataclan theatre in Paris and the terrorist is the man driving a 19-ton truck into a mass of people strolling along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. The central problem with this mainstream definition is that it excludes the terrorist actions of a state, except, of course, when the state is part of ‘them’ and not ‘us’ and needs to be set up as a fitting target for attack.

The killers at Bataclan and Nice had their own political motives but so do ‘western’ governments and their regional allies when launching their wars of aggression in the Middle East. Their actions meet their own criteria of terrorism – unlawful violence against civilians with a political aim in mind – and they have killed infinitely more people than the victims of all individual or group terrorist attacks put together.

Their wars would be more accurately described as onslaughts by the most powerful armies in the world on countries scarcely capable of defending themselves. Israel’s war on Lebanon in 1982 was a terrorist war directed against a civilian population, with the political aim in mind of extinguishing the PLO. Its ‘wars’ on Gaza have been terrorist attacks on a civilian population with the aim of destroying support for the Palestinian government elected in 2006.

When the US and its allies invaded Iraq in 2003 the entire Iraqi population south of the Kurdish region was terrorized. Across the country, people did not know whether they or someone close to them would live to see the next day. Hundreds of thousands did not.

They were the sacrifice that had to be made so a dictator could be stripped of the weapons of mass destruction he did not have and the architects of the killing of these civilians knew he did not have.

There were no elegies, no regrets, and no remorse. No flags waving over coffins and no sound of the last post. They were pulp, no more than dross, the scourings in the factory of war, a faceless, nameless pile of bodies with a sign stuck on the top reading ‘collateral damage.’

This did not mean that death did not concern the folk back home. Many were horrified and came out into the streets to demonstrate but most were concerned only with the death of their own, the soldiers sent to kill in this senseless war.

The same governments that led the attack on Iraq then took advantage of the ‘Arab spring’ to turn their attention to Libya. This most developed country in Africa was not destroyed by ‘rebels.’ It was destroyed by the air forces of the US, the UK, and France. The ‘rebels’ moved forward only under cover of aerial attack. Without it they could not have gone beyond the municipal boundaries of Benghazi.

These same governments changed gear when it came to Syria, where they knew they could not get any kind of UN Security Council backing for what they intended to do. They claimed to have been engaged in a ‘war on terror’ since 9/11 but now they and their regional allies used the terrorist gangs they had pledged to destroy to destroy Syria. Their takfiris were no more than the equivalent of the contras Ronald Reagan used against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua in the 1980s.

The criminality in all of this is enormous. The Nuremberg tribunal defined an aggressive war as the supreme international crime. The invasion of Iraq in 2003, the destruction of Libya in 2011 and the slow-motion destruction of Syria from 2011 onwards were aggressive wars and thus supreme international crimes for which no-one who commissioned them has been held accountable in a court of law.

The 2003 attack on Iraq followed ten years of sanctions described by senior UN humanitarian coordinators as genocidal. This was a decade of terror suffered by the Iraqi people, deprived of food, clean water, and energy supplies. Half a million children who would have lived died. The sanctions sickened so many governments they refused to apply them any longer.

With the sanctions regime collapsing, and with it becoming clear that Saddam would survive and Iraq would again take its place as a front line Arab state against Israel, the US decided to attack again and break Iraq up.

The second war on Iraq was launched and sustained under cover of the most reprehensible lies, not one of them being challenged let alone exposed by the corporate media. Up to one million people were killed within a few years and millions more fled their country. Until the attack on Syria, it was the greatest outpouring of refugees in the Middle East since the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948.

The refugees scattered in all directions. Some managed to reach Indonesia, where they took rickety boats across the Timor Sea to Australia. Many drowned when their boats sank.  Others were turned back and some actually made it through the naval cordon. Taking no responsibility for its military role in the destruction of their country, the Australian government then locked them up in ‘detention centers’ or in camps behind razor wire in the middle of the desert.

The vicious, inhumane treatment of such vulnerable people will rank for all time as one of the most despicable episodes in Australian history. What it exposed yet again was the racism deeply embedded in Australian society, directed against one vulnerable group of people after another, the indigenous people from the beginning of white settlement, Chinese miners in the 19th century, ‘boat people’ escaping the Vietnam war in the 1970s and most recently the ‘boat people’ escaping the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq.

The irony could not be lost on anyone, as it was the white settlers themselves who in 1788 were the first ‘boat people,’ massacring the native people and claiming the entire land under the lie of terra nullius. Neither should the similarities with the Zionist occupation of Palestine be lost on anyone.

War turned Libya into a jumping-off point for Libyans and other Africans escaping war or seeking a better life in Europe. Thousands drowned crossing the Mediterranean. The Aegean was another death zone, for Iraqis driven out of their homeland or Kurds escaping theirs.

Then it was Syria’s turn.  If there is any redeeming feature in this latest attempt to destroy an Arab country it is that Syria has survived and in time foreign forces will eventually have to withdraw from the territory they have occupied.  The governments responsible have again violated international law in the most shocking fashion and again no-one has been punished or even held accountable.

These state crimes are the greatest in modern history, far worse in the scale of destruction and the numbers of people killed than the crimes of the national socialists and fascists in the 1930s. One would have to go back to the war on Vietnam for a parallel measure of death and destruction.

Israel was a central element in the wars on Iraq and Syria. It has long been agitating for war on Iran. Its politicians and lobbyists in the US were pushing for ‘regime change’ in the Middle East two decades ago, with the aim of clearing the region of all possible threats to Israeli military domination.

Psycho-historically, Israel also wanted to destroy what was left of the ‘Arab idea’ and what lay at its heart – Palestine. This project began with its establishment.  Israel would decide what the Arab world would be and Israel would tell the world what Arab and Palestinian history had been. Indeed, there would no longer be an ‘Arab world’ in any integrated sense.  As the Yinon planrevealed in the 1980s, it would be broken up into ethno-religious enclaves that Israel could dominate.

Along with the gross crimes committed in Iraq, Libya and Syria there have been the drone missile attacks ordered against Yemen, Somalia and other countries by that paragon of western liberal democracy, Barack Obama.

Now we have his successor dismissing international law with his claim that Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are part of Israel. Thus encouraged, Netanyahu is pledging that after the forthcoming elections he will annex at least parts of the occupied West Bank. ‘A Palestinian state would endanger our existence’ he says. If he does, Trump is likely to follow through with recognition.

What else are these attacks on the governments and people of the Middle East but terror and terrorism as defined – ‘the unlawful use of violence … especially against civilians … in the pursuit of political aims’?

This terrorism is not random but part of the DNA of certain states, no different in essence from the terror of the gunmen who burst into the Bataclan theatre and began shooting down civilians as innocent as the Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians and Palestinians killed by tank fire and missile strikes or shot by gunmen along the Gaza fence. Only the uniform separates them from the Bataclan killers.

These two governments, the US and Israel, have turned the canons of international law upside down. Their law is no more than the law of the jungle, the law not of the civilization whose virtues they endlessly spout but of brute force. They have demonstrated by their actions that where their perceptions of national interest are concerned there is no law they will obey and every law they will break.

They are the Leviathan without the social contract. They have taken the world back to Thomas Hobbes’ ‘state of nature,’ in which, for millions of people in the Middle East the life of a man or a woman, adult or child, becomes ‘brutish and short.’

In their eyes, the ‘terrorist’ is not just the Bataclan gunmen but anyone who stands in their way, whether an individual, an organization or a state. The latest addition, put on the list of designated terrorist groups by Donald Trump, is Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), which has sent forces to support Syrian and Hizbullah resistance to western-led and Israeli aggression against Syria and Lebanon. In response, Iran’s Supreme Security Council has designated the US government as a terrorist government and CENTCOM, the US central military command, as a terrorist group.

The attack on Syria has been yet another terrible violation of international law, at numerous levels, by the US and its ‘western’ and Middle Eastern regional partners. As usual, the UN Secretary-General refuses to speak out, further whittling away the UN’s credibility as the supposed defender of international order. The response by the Syrian government and its allies to the attack on Syria is not terrorism, but resistance to it.

US and Israeli orchestrated terror in the Middle East has to be put in the right semantical order. Israel was founded through terror and by terror it has been maintained. Its terrorism is not random but normalized and necessary to its existence as a state that has chosen to live outside the law, with the full support of the US.

Israel is not ‘defending’ itself when it attacks Gaza or when its soldiers, police, and settlers kill Palestinians in Jerusalem or on the West Bank. What is it is ‘defending’ is its theft of someone else’s property. It is the Palestinians who are defending their rights, under law, not Israel.

Israeli civilians living illegally on occupied land in east Jerusalem or the West Bank put themselves in harm’s way and are to be held primarily responsible for the consequences to themselves and their families.

The terror experienced by Israeli Jews living close to the Gaza fence is the minutest fraction of the terror routinely inflicted on Palestinians on the other side of the fence. They are being targeted not because they are Jews, as Netanyahu and Zionist lobbyists would have the world believe, but because they are living on land stolen from its owners more than seven decades ago after being ethnically cleansed. It would not matter who they are.  They would still be resisted because of what they have done.

Adherence to international law would redress the situation in Palestine yet the joint US and Israeli response to the violence and terror they have initiated across the Middle East is more violence and more terror. This is their answer. You will do as we say or else, signaling that the ‘special relationship’ between these two unruly, lawbreaking countries is one of the most dangerous in history.

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