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Thursday, January 17, 2019

لا استراتيجية مغايرة لترامب بل حملة متصاعدة ضدّ إيران لحماية «إسرائيل»


يناير 14, 2019

د. عصام نعمان

من القاهرة أطلق مايك بومبيو، نيابةً عن دونالد ترامب، حملةً بمحاور متعدّدة ضدّ خصوم الولايات المتحدة في غرب آسيا، ولا سيما في المشرق العربي. بومبيو تقصّد ان يقتصر خطابه على خطوط عريضة لعلمه أنّ رئيسه المتقلّب المزاج لن يستقرّ على رأي وأنّ ما سيقوله هو أو غيره اليوم قد يقول ترامب عكسه غداً.

اللافت في خطاب وزير الخارجية الأميركي حرصه على دحض الخطاب الذي كان ألقاه باراك أوباما في العاصمة نفسها قبل عشر سنوات. فقد وصف الرئيس الأميركي الأسبق بالضعف في تصدّيه لما أسماه «الخطر الإيراني الإقليمي» ما أدّى الى تقوية النظام الإسلامي في طهران وتشجيعه على «بسط نفوذه من اليمن الى العراق، والى سورية، وأبعد من ذلك الى لبنان».

بومبيو لم يركّز حملته على إيران فحسب، بل تناول فيها ايضاً حزب الله اللبناني، مؤكداً انّ واشنطن سوف تصعّد ضغوطها عليه بقوله: «في لبنان، ما زال لحزب الله وجود كبير، لكننا لن نقبل هذا الوضع الراهن لأنّ عقوباتنا الشديدة ضدّ إيران موجّهة ايضاً ضدّ هذا التنظيم الإرهابي وقادته، بمن فيهم نجل حسن نصرالله زعيم حزب الله». الى ذلك، ادّعى بومبيو انّ «ميل أميركا الى التمنيات جعلنا نتجاهل كيف قام حزب الله بتجميع ترسانة ضخمة مؤلفة من نحو 130 الف صاروخ وتخزين الأسلحة ونشرها في البلدات والقرى اللبنانية … هذه الترسانة موجّهة مباشرةً ضدّ حليفتنا «إسرائيل». فوق ذلك، تعهّد بومبيو بأن تواصل حكومته تعقّب الإرهابيين الذين يسعون الى التمدّد في ليبيا واليمن … ونحن ندعم بقوة جهود «إسرائيل» لمنع طهران من تحويل سورية الى لبنان آخر».

هذه هي، إذاً، محاور حملة بومبيو الترامبية بخطوطها العريضة، حتى إشعار آخر: تشديدُ الضغوط والعقوبات على إيران وحلفائها وحمايةُ «إسرائيل» ودعمها بسخاء ومواجهة التنظيمات الإرهابية ومَن تعتبرهم الولايات المتحدة بمثابة تنظيمات شبيهة او رديفة في سورية ولبنان واليمن.

لا تغيير لافتاً في حملة بومبيو الترامبية، لا من حيث الغايات ولا الوسائل. «إسرائيل» كانت دائماً، وما زالت، الحليفة الرئيسة للولايات المتحدة الجديرة بالرعاية والحماية في وجه العرب المعادين لها وإيران كانت دائماً، وما زالت، محور عداءٍ أميركي مركّزاً ومتواصلاً منذ الثورة التي أزاحت الشاه، حليف واشنطن المخلص، وأوصلت نقيضه الإمام الخميني وأنصاره إلى السلطة فيما سورية وتنظيمات المقاومة اللبنانية والفلسطينية واليمنية كانت دائماً، وما زالت، موضوع ملاحقة دائمة بعداءٍ شديد من جانب أميركا و«إسرائيل» شمل أيضاً الحكومات والقوى المناهضة لهما في المنطقة.

لعلّ الأمر الوحيد المغاير الذي لم يأتِ بومبيو على ذكره هو تعاون الولايات المتحدة الضمني والعلني مع تنظيمات إرهابية ناشطة في سورية ولبنان والعراق وسيناء المصرية واليمن ضدّ الحكومات والقوى المعادية لـِ «إسرائيل» ولحاميتها أميركا. ذلك أنّ واشنطن بادرت خلال اضطرابات ما يسمّى «الربيع العربي» الى توظيف عشرات التنظيمات الإرهابية الإسلاموية في خدمة أغراضها العدوانية ضدّ حكومات وقوى تحررية في أقطار عربية عدّة.

لا بومبيو، ولا من قبله رئيسه ترامب، هدّد باستعمال مزيدٍ من العنف المباشر ضدّ الدول والتنظيمات المعادية للولايات المتحدة و«إسرائيل» في المنطقة. هذا لا يعني بطبيعة الحال مهادنتها. بالعكس، أميركا ستثابر، شأنها اليوم، في اعتماد «الحرب الناعمة» المتصاعدة ضدّ أعدائها وأعداء الكيان الصهيوني. الحرب الناعمة تنطوي على فصول ساخنة تتعهّد واشنطن جانبها «المريح» المتمثل باستعمال سلاح الجو والحروب الأهلية التي يتولاها غيرها من وكلاء وتنظيمات إرهابية وحركات فئوية تتقن فن إثارة الفتن الطائفية، كما تقوم أميركا بفرض عقوبات اقتصادية وحروب تجارية ضدّ خصومها ومنافسيها.

في كلّ مراحل وجوانب الحرب الناعمة، لا دور لجنود أميركيين على الأرض. ذلك يجنّب الولايات المتحدة خسائر بشرية فادحة لطالما شكت منها وأرهقتها في حروب كوريا وفيتنام وأفغانستان والعراق ما حملها على «اختراع» الحرب الناعمة لتتفادى خسائر بشرية وتوفّر على نفسها سخط وتقريع شديدين من أهالي الجنود ونكسات سياسية في الداخل.

عامل آخر يدفع ترامب الى تفادي التدخل بقوات برية والتعرّض تالياً الى خسائر بشرية هو تصاعد المعارضة الداخلية ضدّه نتيجةَ سلوكه مسالك سياسية واقتصادية غريبة وخطيرة ما أقلق الرأي العام الأميركي وضاعف تحفظه وحذره من مغامراته السياسية والأمنية، ومعارضة إرسال قوات برية الى مناطق النزاع.

لكلّ هذه الأسباب والعوامل لن يتأتّى عن جولة بومبيو، وقبله مستشار الأمن القومي جون بولتون، ايّ فصول ساخنة تتعدّى تلك المعمول بها حالياً في ميادين الصراع في سورية والعراق وفلسطين واليمن وأفغانستان. فقد باشرت إدارة ترامب سحب قواتها ومعداتها العسكرية من سورية، في إطار تواطؤ تحت الطاولة مع تركيا يرمي الى إحلال قوات تركية محلّ قواتها المنسحبة. كلّ ذلك لتفادي حلول قوات سورية محلها ما يهدّد جهود أميركا، ومن ورائها «إسرائيل»، لتفكيك سورية وتقسيمها.

باختصار، ستثابر إدارة ترامب في اعتماد مختلف أشكال الحرب الناعمة بغية مشاغلة وإضعاف أعداء أميركا و«إسرائيل» في كلّ مكان، ولا سيما في سورية ولبنان والعراق واليمن. وعليه، يمكن اعتبار ما يحدث الآن، بالتواطؤ مع تركيا أو من دونه، في إدلب وغرب حلب وشرق الفرات، وما يحدث على طول حدود لبنان مع فلسطين المحتلة في سياق عملية «درع شمالي» وسواها، وما يحدث على حدود قطاع غزة وفي محيطه من مناوشات وعمليات عدوانية دورية، وما يحدث في العراق بعد سحب بعض القوات الأميركية من سورية وتركيزها في قاعدة عين الأسد في محافظة الأنبار العراقية، وما يحدث في اليمن من مجازر ومآسٍ يقوم بها حلفاء أميركا… أجل، يمكن اعتبار كلّ هذه الاعتداءات والاشتباكات والمناوشات تجليات ميدانية للحملة الصهيوأميركية المتجدّدة التي يعتمدها ساكن البيت الأبيض في غمرة حاله المزاجية الراهنة والمرشحة دائماً الى صعودٍ وهبوط.

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Oh, The Services of Islington Council

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Introduction by GAMany of us have, in the past, been open to leftist ideas. Ethically oriented thinkers are still excited by the idea of equality, freedom and opposition to racism. Sadly, these ideals are not reflected in New Left politics. While the Old Left taught us to transcend gender, race, sexual preference etc., the New Left builds walls dividing us along those same lines. As much as the Old Left was inspired to openness by Orwell’s criticism of the tyrannical, the New Left has slipped into that authoritarian dystopia. In a Kafkaesque manner that defies any reasonable rationale, the New Left is consumed with interfering with freedom of expression, meaning expression that does not comply with its strict newspeak protocol. The New Left bureaucracy is oblivious to the intent of the law and uses the form of the law to impose its will.
The Islington Council, a ‘Labour’ run operation, exemplifies everything that has gone wrong with New Left ideology, politics and practice. It operates bureaucratically masking its authoritarian positions,  following forms of procedure that are without substance so that the Council effectively insulates itself from its constituents and the rest of society.
We have to ask why, why is the New Left removed from traditional Labour values? Why is it detached from the people? Why would the New Left want to act as an obvious  Zionist tool? Why is it determined to bring Jeremy Corbyn down?
The answer is simple. The ideological and spiritual roots of the traditional Left came from working class politics. Traditionally, Labour and Left leaders both came from the working people and unions. They were proletarians who were inherently connected with the their class, its needs and its values. This ended when the evaporation of manufacturing made the working class workless. The unions have collapsed and the orientation of Labour politics has shifted radically. Instead of aspiring to be working class and union heroes, young Labour politicians are most often a dysfunctional herd of spoiled middle class former university activists who mature into party commissars. These New Left politicians may never have had to work and are in any case totally removed from the working people and their values as well as the values of the Old Left.
In the following article Eve Mykytyn dissects Islington Council’s institutional duplicity, the council’s formulaic pretences and most disappointingly, its removal from the Labour values of freedom and work.  While many of us are sympathetic to Corbyn and his politics, Britain may want to think twice before it gives his party greater access  to government. Labour politics seems to mean – end to free Britain as we know it.We shouldn’t let this happen. We better make sure that the Labour Party fix itself first.

Oh, The Services of Islington Council
 By  Eve Mykytyn
How does Islington Council respond to complaints about its decision to ban Atzmon?
The Islington Council issued a ‘detailed’ ‘stage one’ response to a complaint from a ticket holder(TH). The initial complaint, dated 19/12/18, expressed ‘disgust’ at the decision to ban Atzmon and a desire to see a music concert “that has no antisemitism in its show. ” In her first response, Lucinda Brown, venue business manager, had on 21/12/18 (the date of the concert) directed TH  to the Council’s (non) statement on its site.
As of  11/2/19 Ms Brown claims she “had the opportunity to investigate the details” of the complaint  and her “findings were as follows:” Contact the promoter and “raise a complaint.”  Ms. Brown then finds that the complaint has been duly  investigated at “stage one of Islington’s Complaint procedure and not upheld.” TH was given 30 days to reply.
The Council claims to be a service organisation. What service did TH get? What might Ms. Brown have ‘investigated’? Did she herself check with the promoters to see if refunds were available?  Since the Council itself had prevented Atzmon from playing, a simple “I’m sorry” might have been more satisfying than the insulting pretence that a refund would be forthcoming if TH were simply to “raise a complaint.”  Why did Ms. Brown send this answer at all?  Does sending a nonsensical jargon filled note help to feign service?
London Councils, the parent organisation of Islington Council provides for a three step complaint procedure in which the complainant is entitled at each successive phase to have his appeal reexamined by an employee higher up the council ladder. Mr. Atzmon’s appeals were handled first by Martin Bevis, the assistant director of Financial Operations & Customer Service and then by Ian Adams, the director of Financial Operations and Customer Service . Mr. Atzmon was not informed of or offered the third level of review to the Corporate Complaints Officer of the London Council. The Council’s policy provides that  a complaint will only be reviewed at Stage 3 if “at the discretion…there is a clear reason for dissatisfaction….or that any remedy proposed is insufficient.” Atzmon was never given the chance to make a case for a third appeal. There is even a fourth step available, if appeals one-three fail to satisfy the complainant, he may bring the complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman at the London Councils.
Why was Atzmon not fully informed of his rights of review?
Atzmon would seem to be included in the Council’s mission statement, which reads as follows: “We’re determined to make Islington fairer. To create a place where everyone, whatever their background, has the opportunity to reach their potential and enjoy a good quality of life.” Did they add, ‘if we agree with their opinions?’
The Council made its decision weighing two competing interests. First, the rights of Mr Atzmon under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act of 1998 “to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.” Article 10 restricts this right as follows: “The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law…”
Article 10 makes clear that the right to free speech is not subject to a balancing test unless the speech violates a law. Atzmon, having crossed no legal limits in his speech, was not subject to speech restrictions. Indeed, the ban had to do with prior speech, no one alleged that Atzmon would speak while playing the saxophone at a rock concert.
The council referred to and quickly dismissed Atzmon’s rights under Article 10, citing article 10 rights to earn a living (which is not a provision of Article 10) and deciding that Article 10 rights are subservient to the Council’s duty under S 149 of the Equality Act of 2010. Are individual liberties properly curtailed by a council acting under a general non discrimination mandate? What if the Council thought it could make Islington safer for a protected group by bursting into homes instead of banning employment, would this be a legitimate override of personal freedom?
The Council claimed that its ban was necessitated by the law it found controlling, “the legal duty placed on the Council by s.149 of the Equality Act 2010.” But does the equality act even mandate the Council’s actions?
S 149 part 1 states the general purpose of the rule:  that a public authority must perform its duties with due regard to three factors; a. to eliminate discrimination, b to provide for equal opportunity and, c to foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.
Section (5) of 149 explains how to ‘foster good relations’ as required by section 1(c). “Having due regard to the need to foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it involves having due regard, in particular, to the need to (a)tackle prejudice, (b)promote understanding.”
Mr Bevis and Mr. Adams ‘found’ that Atzmon’s views are well known and disliked in the Jewish community. But both men went beyond this. Acting not as lawyers, judges (or may I assume scholars of Jewish identity politics) they pronounced Atzmon’s comments  “to be, [regarded as] at the lowest, provocative and distasteful, and, at the highest, anti-Semitic and racist by many, particularly those in the Jewish community.”
Based on their personal (and not legal) reading of materials provided by opponents of Atzmon, the Council concluded that good relations with the Jewish community would be harmed by Atzmon’s appearance. Tickets to the concert cost money and the musicians were known. Were many Jews likely to find offence also likely to pay to attend a rock Christmas concert with Gilad Atzmon?
Further, while some may have cheered the Council’s choice to disregard Atzmon’s Section 10 rights, how did his banning help to foster good relations between Jews and others? What about the ‘others’ who merely wanted to go to the concert? What groups did the Council integrate with the Jews to foster good relations?
Or does ‘fostering good relations’ mean banning any speech any protected group objects to?

If you are a British citizen, you can file a Freedom of Information request asking for records relating to Gilad Atzmon’s ban, the standards relied upon for that purpose and the process and assistance used by Bevis and Adams in their decision making.
You can do this by using Islington Council’s complaints form here, by writing to Islington Council at 222 Upper Street, London N1 1XR, or by fax to 020 7527 5001.
To sign a petition in support of Gilad click here

Fighting Poverty with a Hate Map?

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The name, ‘The Southern Poverty Law Center’ (SPLC) is misleading. The SPLC does little to alleviate poverty,  its own stated goals are: fighting hate, teaching tolerance and seeking justice. At the moment, the SPLC lists its top activity as attempting to remove confederate statues and symbols. This is consistent with the activity for which the SPLC is best known, its annual hate map in which it locates so-called ‘hate’ groups on a map of the United States. How is it that one of the best funded poverty law centers acts as an arbitrar of hate instead of as an advocate for the poor?
The term ‘Poverty Law’ usually refers to the more mundane practice of representing poor people who are often un or under represented. But the SPLC’s goals are more lofty, here’s how Mark Potok, a Senior Fellow at SPLC described his mission. “It’s not what most in the media think. Sometimes the press will describe us as monitoring hate crimes…Our criteria for a ‘hate group’… have nothing to do with criminality or violence or any kind of guess we’re making about ‘this group could be dangerous.’ It’s strictly ideological. I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups, to completely destroy them
Each year, the SPLC advertises over 900 hate groups on its hate map. Author Laird Wilcox says the SPLC “Has specialized [in] a highly developed and ritualized form of defamation … a way of harming and isolating people by denying their humanity and trying to convert them into something that deserves to be hated and eliminated. They accuse others of this but utilize their enormous resources to practice it on a mass scale themselves.”
To begin with, the SPLC uses a very loose definition of a hate group as “an organization that – based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities – has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” They bolster this with the false claim that the FBI uses a similar definition of hate crime, “[A] criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”  But the FBI’s words do not refer to practices or beliefs, they characterize an actual crime which may have been inspired by bias.
Without advocating hate or prejudice I find the SPLC’s categories hilarious. They are: Ku Klux KlanNeo-NaziWhite NationalistRacist SkinheadChristian IdentityNeo-ConfederateBlack SeparatistAnti-LGBTAnti-MuslimGeneral Hate  (Anti-ImmigrantHate MusicHolocaust Denial and Radical Traditional Catholicism) and Other Hate (a grab bag of ‘hateful’ ideologies). Query, if a neo-nazi gets a haircut will he become a racist skinhead or a neo-confederate?
One ‘hate’ group, Radical Traditional Catholicism, are excoriated for blaming Jews for the killing of Christ and “They also embrace extremely conservative social ideals with respect to women.”  Is this a hate group?  Ultra Orthodox Jews have some pretty vile thoughts about non Jews and also adhere to extremely conservative social ideals for women.  Why aren’t the Lubovitches, for instance, on the list?
Holocaust denial is the only hate group defined by simply questioning authority. SPLC claims such groups “only pretend to be interested in historical research.” Instead, even the claim that Jews may have died in ways other than the gas chambers form [hate groups] because they are used simply  “to rehabilitate the German Nazis’ image as part of a bid to make the ideology of national socialism more acceptable.”  A number of historians investigating World War II might find this assertion surprising.
“The SPLC’s list is wildly inflated,” said Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research at the Anti-Defamation League. The National Socialist Movement, for example, was listed 49 times in the 2015 Hate Map, since the count included each of the NSM’s individual chapters. The SPLC also counts single individuals as a group or chapter. The result is a count totally at odds with Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics. Hate crimes plummeted 24% between 1998 and 2013, according to the FBI. Yet the SPLC claims the number of hate groups in the U.S. shot up by 75% during this same period.
The SPLC has so many categories of ‘hate’ and those categories are political as much as violent. So is there any actual harm from a listing on the hate map?
There was when Floyd Lee Corkins entered the Family Research Council intending to kill as many as possible because “he found us listed as a hate group on the SPLC website,” said executive vice president retired Gen. William Boykin. “We and others like us who are on this ‘hate map’ believe that this is very reckless behavior. … The only thing that we have in common is that we are all conservative organizations. …”
Gurnee IL is an unlikely location for a hate group. A prosperous suburb of 30,000, the town is careful with its reputation with tourists as it is home to Six Flags Great America amusement park, the Gurnee Mills indoor shopping mall and the water park, Great Wolf Lodge.
But the SPLC bestowed upon Gurnee the label that makes small-town officials sweat. Towns usually earn their reputations as harbors for hate groups in more public ways. They may be unlucky enough to be the place the Klan decides to march and someone later dies (Charlottesville) or be  home to the media-trolling Westboro Baptist Church (Topeka, Kansas). But for towns like Gurnee, designation as one of the 917 locales on SPLC’s Hate Map comes without warning or explanation.
When the town asked the self appointed cartographers of hate to remedy the listing they were told, “I know it is disturbing to find hate groups in your community but I don’t think that should be seen as a reflection of what I am sure is a wonderful community.” Sorry, but the map is only updated once a year. “Call back in January.” The town protested that its police had searched and failed to find a hate group in Gurnee. SPLC Intelligence Chief Heidi Beirich would not budge. “ Even though the police couldn’t locate them doesn’t mean they aren’t there.”
Given the low threshold for inclusion on the list, it is not surprising that other towns were included for questionable reasons. In 2004, Olathe, Colorado earned a white hood icon when a self-proclaimed “international imperial wizard” from Indiana told a Denver newspaper that a chapter in Olathe, “a little Klan klavern,” had asked him to come and speak. Neither he nor any of the town officials  could name any of the members. Olathe stayed on SPLC’s list for three years.
Amana, Iowa, was placed on the hate map when someone at the SPLC spotted a chat thread on the Daily Stormer. Someone with the screen name “Concerned Troll” proposed a neo-Nazi “book club” meeting in an Amana café. No one in Amana was able to confirm to the SPLC whether or not the meeting actually took place, but that was enough to earn the corn-carpeted state its only swastika.
But still, Beidich worries more about undercounting than over inclusion. She thinks the undercount groups hide in shadows. She does not explain why listing what are  ‘un’ hate groups, by her own criteria,  will cause hate groups to emerge from the shadows. In fact, it is not clear why we are not all better off if a ‘hate’ group stays hidden.

"We're All Palestinians Now" (video)

I toured California last week. Following is my talk at the Monterey Peace and Justice Center, presented by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. I elaborated on my ‘most controversial ideas’: The J-Word, the Post political, the meaning of history and Athens vs. Jerusalem. The talk was introduced by Barbara Honegger. It was followed by a Q&A session.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Why Israel’s Airstrikes in Syria Are a Sign of Weakness, Not Strength


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© СТАЛКЕР/ZONE
I will proceed from what seems to be an established fact (SANA confirmed) that on the night of January 11th Israel hit one depot at Damascus international airport. I.e., material damage. 12 projectiles were fired in total. Syrian air defences worked, and by all accounts they were as effective as they were in the previous Israeli bombing run (80% accuracy approx.).
Even if Israel had hit two warehouses or a local farm in addition, then it changes absolutely nothing. What the Syrian Army lost can be replaced with little risk; Iran has seemingly supplied the Syrian Army very well and continues to do so at will.
How many times has Israel hit targets in and around Damascus and its airport since 2015? The answer is “many”. And each attack resulted in more or less the same thing – small material losses. A few times troops were killed in a couple of cases, but this can hardly be described as large losses (yes, war entails human losses – shocking, isn’t it?).
There is some misunderstanding in regards to why Russia sent the S-300 to Syria and upgraded the Syrian Army’s air defence network, integrating it into its own network. Like with the S-400, there was the assumption that Israel would never bomb Syria again, or that a NFZ was created.
S-300 system
Schematic showing the range of equipment that forms the S-300 system
Like with the S-400, this is not the case at all. As I explained once upon a time in an older article, the deployment of the S-400 was the logical next step after establishing the Minsk Agreements and neutralising what the West was trying to do in Ukraine.
What was the West trying to do in Ukraine? Mainly: drag Russia into a fratricidal sabbath and signing the death warrant of the Russian nation. The collapse (coup) of the USSR was already a bullseye for the West, so managing (weaponising against Russia) “independent” post-Soviet states was the next task. Having created a paradigm whereby the West must pour money into a black hole, being unable to abandon the Banderist monster it created, Russia paved a safe road to Syria (Sukhois touched down at Hmeymim in September 2015). The West was frozen in time and vulnerable to an attack to its rear (collapse of the liberal order).
Incidentally, the Gilets Jaunes protests represents the first stage of this attack to the rear. But it’s not Russia who is behind it; the West is suffocating itself with its own hands – Russia merely created the conditions for such a thing to happen by deploying the S-400 and putting an end to the Skyes-Picot project, thus in turn preventing France from pillaging the Middle East anymore (Russia will toss France out of Africa later). As a result, the internal contradictions that form the equilibrium mood in French (EU) society were raised to the surface, similar to how Ukraine’s dark past (OUN-UPA, SS collaboration) came to the surface (the West assisted this process via the 2014 coup, but did not create it).
The S-300 deployment was needed by Russia in order to take the load off the S-400. I.e., to give Russia more room to manoeuvre in the diplomatic sphere (read more here). Reminder: the S-400 is much more than an anti-air system. It embodies the future of international relations and a transition away from “Responsibility to protect” (it’s ironic because in reality this doctrine enforces the opposite – shirking responsibility). In other words, Israel had carved out for itself room to manoeuvre in Syria that started to pose a danger to Russia’s (and thus International Law’s) “red line” zone in and around Hmeymim and Latakia/Tartus. What do I mean by “red line” zone? Russia was invited into Syria by Assad, and thus it must base its military somewhere. Much like how an embassy is a special kind of territory, a military base is also like a “state within a state”. Russian troops represent Russia’s signature, in the same way that Syrian troops represent Syria’s signature. In fact, the Kurds shot themselves in the foot when they tried to exit from the framework of the Syrian state, because they do not have the leverage to “go it alone” in the big world of International Relations. America has business partners, not friends.
There is another, more vivid interpretation of this “red line” zone: the clear framework, as defined by International Law, whereby Russia is RESPONSIBLE both in the media and before the UN Charter for its action or reaction. I.e., S-400 shooting down an Israeli jet means that the Russian state is responsible for it, and if the S-200 is fired, it means that the Syrian Army is responsible, respectively.
This is why Russia ALWAYS tried to find a way to use the S-200 in order to repel Israel (a few Israeli jets were shot down.. sorry… it was a “bird strike”). This liberates Russia from being blamed in the media and at the diplomatic level (not behind closed doors, however, as all parties understand how the great game works) in front of Israel, and thus gives Moscow more diplomatic room to manoeuvre and also limits consequences to the LOCAL environment (for example, Jews living in Russia will not be made to feel uncomfortable because the country they live in just attacked their “motherland”).
Does Netanyahu know that Moscow gave the Syrian Army the order to fire the S-200 at its precious jets? Of course, but in terms of International Law, it is not a Russian (re)action, it is a Syrian one. And if push came to shove and Assad was taken to the ICC, Syria can say that Israel violated its sovereignty, thus Damascus is also covered by the UN Charter (this didn’t work for Milosevic because Russia was not in a position to offer its allies leverage due to the treacherous Perestroika, which crippled Russia in all aspects).
However, there is a problem. Israel can violate International Law (at the local level, not globally and certainly not against a nuclear superpower) without consequence. I.e., the game is rigged. So, how can Russia push Israel back and coerce it into abiding by International Law? Here we have to be careful to not enter into a paradox: violating International Law (and thus severing diplomatic relations) in order to force a violator to abide by International Law. This is the equivalent of slitting your own throat.
Now let’s speak a little bit about what Russia is trying to globally:
We’ve all seen what the US & Co have done in our lifetimes, and even in the lifetimes of our descendants. A good “modern” example is Yugoslavia: the US definitively spat at the principals of the UN and grossly violated International Law, dropping depleted uranium without a UN mandate.
How the US managed to do this is a topic for another day, but what’s important is that the sovereignty of Yugoslavia was blurred via NGOs and aggressive media work, along with false justifications based on “Russell’s Teapot” concepts. This fact is still alarming even today. So it was learnt pretty quickly in Moscow (and by Putin) where all of this was going. The only way that Russia could survive amidst this post-Soviet onslaught was if it targeted the projected US’ weakness. And so today we have Kinzhal, Avangard, Kalibr, S-400, Pantsir, etc. The West has no answer for these weapons, and is unlikely to have even parity in the next 50 years. It’s like saying:
“You like to use aircraft carriers and your airforce to pummel weaker opponents, hijack their economy and hand it over to the IMF, and then integrate it into NATO to stop it escaping US hegemony? Okay, we’ll develop the necessary toolkit to hit you when the time is right.”
A common theme in everything that I have ever written – whether it be for Russian media or for English media or on social media – is that I place an emphasis on the (relative) long-term. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next month, not in 5 years, but in 20 years+. We are now in an epoch where social media is a far more important (in terms of time) battlefield than the zone of military operations of the ground. They, of course, work in sync, but the US understood that color revolutions are more efficient (consume less resources) and pose less risk for US troops.
Anyway, without wanting to digress, my point is that all actions/reactions must be slotted into an algorithm that produces multiple results based on different time periods in the future. A solution that brings fruits in 5 years but then a catastrophe in 10 years is no good. The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has a supercomputer, as I have mentioned many times in the past. Today we can say that the algorithm being used allowed Russia (and friends) to encircle the West. Russian media is, frankly speaking, kicking the MSM’s ass.
The algorithm is based on RISK. Russia must be allowed to make mistakes and suffer the consequences as a result. During WW2 the USSR turned a black situation into a victory (the ratio of destroyed Red Army tanks to destroyed German tanks looks alarming on paper, but finds understanding with a wide perspective). The victory was possible because of this same RISK. There was no safety net – Russians (Rus) either win or are exterminated.
And isn’t this true to life? We may consider ourselves to be so distant from our Neanderthal/Cro-Magnon ancestors, with our iPhones and e-cigarettes, but we haven’t changed at all. We still fight for survival, we are always ready to launch arrows and defend ourselves. It seems to me, based on things I’ve read from people who know Syria far better than I do, that Syria dug itself into a hole. Of course, takfiris/Muslim Brotherhood/Wahhabi/Zionist/Anglos took advantage of it, but Damascus tried certain domestic policies, and some worked, some didn’t.
The main problem now is that Syria has a demographic crisis, much like Ukraine. In fact, it seems that this is true for the entire Middle East. This didn’t just happen in 2011 because of terrorists. It is a process that started long before this. So, who is going to solve this crisis? Is it Moscow? Well, I think for many laypeople this would be the ideal scenario. After all, absolving oneself from responsibility is conformable. But what does this ultimately mean? Syria must remain a child who needs help from Daddy?
Surely Syria would like to look after itself and be self-sufficient, whilst at the same time enjoying profitable trade relations and military alliances with allies, where parties have equal status, and not like a vulnerable toddler surrounded by adults? Of course, China, Russia, and all Eurasian friends are going to help rebuild Syria, but at some point Syria will need to depend on its own economy and efforts. The Eurasian Development Bank isn’t an endless pool of funds, nor is Russia a bottomless pit of aid.
So let’s come back to the question asked earlier in this article. How can Russia help Syria, deter Israel, and at the same time preserve diplomatic and historical ties with both countries (only an idiot wouldn’t want to have more allies than enemies)? Simple: by enforcing rules that apply to ALL parties in Syria. By the way, I should make it clear right now that Russia isn’t interested in bombing Israel or any other lunatic actions. Westerners might have a hard time understanding why, but this is because the West has never truly experienced war, only Hollywood movies.
The deployment of the S-400 established the following rules (not an exhaustive list, but some examples nevertheless):
  • Russia’s military (re)actions are clearly distinguished from Syria’s;
  • Parties cannot bluff about what collective leverage (from all theatres of military operations around the world combined) they have or don’t have;
  • Russia controls the tempo (it’s economy is stronger than the other parties’ economies);
  • Donetsk, Lugansk, and Crimea are lost for the West (the Banderist abscess was isolated);
  • Nord Stream 2 is being built, end of discussion;
  • Association with jihadist groups in Syria now incurs losses and not profits (why would a client continue to fund something that evidently cannot achieve their aims and objectives);
  • Syria’s sovereignty is final, unless a party has the leverage to challenge this;
Let’s expand on some points:
  • As I mentioned earlier: for Moscow, separating Syria’s actions in Syria and Russia’s actions in Syria was a very, very important move. This allowed Moscow to participate in the proxy war without exposing its rear to a US attack (Navalny/Grudinin coup?)
  • The bias of the UN was removed in the grand scheme of things. The RISKparadigm enforced by the S-400 (Russia let Turkey make the anticipated mistake, allowing S-400 deployment) pushed the US to the North East (Washington’s “plan B”) and made the local chessboard easier to read.
  • Turkey’s sphere of influence (SOI) in Syria was isolated to Idlib (operation Annex Aleppo failed); Qatar and Saud were pitted against each other and removed from the game (lack of leverage); Israel’s SOI shrunk due to the strengthening of Hezbollah’s regional status and proximity to Israel’s Syrian-side borders. I.e., the rats started to scatter.
  • The Astana Agreement in many respects is even more genius than the Minsk Agreement. Russia found a way to exploit Turkey’s lack of leverage (after all, the US is ready to unleash a Gulen coup at any moment) and coerce it into reformatting the jihadist matrix (NGO network). As time progressed & the Syrian Army liberated more and more territory, the jihadist groups consolidated time and time again, and the list of terrorist groups became more and more truncated. This is a very interesting aspect of fourth generation warfare that deserves its own article. Anyway, fast forward to today, and there is only Al Nusra left (Zinki and Ahrar are non-entities, since Qatar and Saudi Arabia washed their hands of them). Although we can’t say for sure what “Nusra” (HTS) really is today (terrorists can just change flags and create new allegiances with Ankara’s help), they are the controlling force anyway.
  • Hopefully this helps to understand why Russia was happy to leave Idlib for later. Ankara knows all terrorists in Idlib by name, and they are a burden. Today a relationship with Tehran and Moscow can bring far more fruits than ties with Nusra can. Erdogan is a realist, he puts his finger to the wind. One more point about Turkey: Nusra’s magic capture of most of Idlib and the decimation of Zinki/Ahrar is not a coincidence, nor is it organic. It is Erdogan’s way of handing over Idlib to Assad and saving face amongst his electorate. Of course, he drives a hard bargain (Assad must bring the Kurds to heel and definitively end their separatist “Rojava”project), but it’s a good deal anyway since the big loser is the West and its MENA terrorist allies.
  • Russia indeed controls the tempo not only in Syria, but also in MENA. The little scare we had in the middle of 2018 when the West was close to bombing Syria again was successfully averted because Russia temporarily slowed the tempo down and managed to encircle the US in the media space (the DPR and LPR use the same strategy now to prevent Poroshenko from using the Donbass theatre to further impose martial law and cancel elections). Pay attention to how Russia jumped ahead of the MSM/NGOs in the social media time continuum. Moscow reported a lot that the White Helmets were filming a false flag. What happened here is extremely complex and needs a separate article (or even book!) about NGO media work.
So, knowing that the deployment of the S-400 reconfigured the parameters of SyrianWar.exe, it becomes (I hope) possible to at least understand that the situation is not at all black and white. After all, it if was, then there wouldn’t be a need for supercomputers in MoDs. The conversations that happen behind closed doors are not at all like the statements that are disseminated for public consumption. Not at all.
What’s the real reason Israel still bombs Syria?
Because it has to in order to “stay in the game”. But things aren’t like they were before. Now Tel Aviv must pass through this RISK paradigm and earn its place at the poker table. But is damaging 1 warehouse in Damascus (according to some social media “experts”, this symbolises the end of the Syrian state and Russia’s failure to defend its interests…) worth it?
It is here that we see the importance of having not just local, but also global leverage. The fact that Israel fights upstream and RISKS much more than what it can possibly hope to gain testifies that its position on the grand chessboard has weakened. Netanyahu was forced to call early elections. He is being investigated for fraud. Hamas and Hezbollah are now stronger than ever before. Iran is entrenching itself further and cementing solid ties with powerful countries. The UN demands to give Golan Heights back to Syria. etc. Another big blow for Tel Aviv is that Syria’s air defence were upgraded, and it is Tel Aviv’s own fault. Just like how Turkey blinked, Tel Aviv was involved in the Ilyushin catastrophe, and it must pay the price for it – but in accordance with International Law, not through reciprocal violations of the UN Charter!!!!!! The bear says jump, the snakes ask “how high?”. Syria’s Pantsirs (air DEFENCES) are watching…
Syrian air defences hit an Israeli missile
Syrian air defences hit an Israeli missile – January 12, 2019
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So, too long; didn’t read?
Well think of it like this: Syria is well on the way to being a self-sufficient and independent (not in the American sense, where post-Soviet states are hijacked and turned into liberal springboards) nation, capable of defending itself. An adult. Wanting responsibilities, and not shying away from them. Meanwhile, Israel is dependent on Western aid and becomes more and more childish (Freud used the term “fixation”), incapable of growing up and becoming truly independent. A lot like the US actually, which is the bastard child of London, forever playing the victim and inventing “successes” on Blu-ray.
If you aren’t convinced by anything I said and think that Russia is “weak” or prefers to cower in a corner, then please remember the fact presented below.
soviets dead ww2
I think Syria understands the message now much more than ever before.

Syria: Kurds Reject Turkish ‘Safe Zone’ Agreed With Trump


Senior political Kurdish leader Aldar Khalil said Syrian Kurds rejected the US-proposed “security zone” under Turkey’s control in northern Syria, AFP reported.
Khalil said that the Kurds would only accept the deployment of UN forces along the separation line between Kurdish fighters and Turkish troops to prevent an offensive.
On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he and his American counterpart Donald Trump reached a “historic understanding” on Syria in their latest phone call.
“Other choices are unacceptable as they infringe on the sovereignty of Syria and the sovereignty of our autonomous region”, the Kurdish official added.
Following a phone conversation with Trump, Erdogan announced Tuesday that Ankara would create a 32-kilometre safe zone in northern Syria.
Erdogan’s spokesperson later elaborated that the security zone would be controlled by Ankara.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team
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Behind the «Israeli» Acknowledgment of Syria Strike


3 hours ago
In a rare acknowledgement, the “Israeli” entity confirmed Saturday that it had conducted an airstrike on Syria, targeting Damascus airport.
At his weekly cabinet meeting, “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, confirmed that the “Israeli” Occupation Forces had conducted an air raid, saying that “Just in the past 36 hours, the air force attacked Iranian depots full of Iranian weapons in the Damascus International Airport”.
Retired Lebanese Major General and political researcher, Hisham Jaber, highlights some key issues regarding the “Israeli” airstrike on Syria.
Maj. Gen. Jaber indicated that it is “a normal thing that ‘Israel’ issues a confirmation –regardless of it being false – regarding the strike. After all, Syria had already announced, on Saturday, that Syrian air defenses had intercepted an air raid carried out by the ‘Israeli’ entity.”
The “Israeli” entity typically refrains from commenting on individual airstrikes in Syria, but does generally acknowledge that it carries out raids against “Iranian- and Hezbollah-linked targets” in the country.
In this context, Maj. Gen. Jaber slammed these “Israeli” allegations saying, “It is one thing for ‘Israel’ to claim hitting Iranian and Hezbollah targets – which is not true at all – for wherever there are Syrian troops, Iranian advisors are present”.
The “Israeli” acknowledgement came at a time when the IOF had announced it has completed the so-called “Northern Shield” tunnel digging operation, amidst intensive reports on “Israeli” media speculating why Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah hasn’t commented on the ongoing events.
“Regarding the tunnels, irrespective of their presence or absence, it has been said that tunnel digging breached United Nation’s resolution 1701. But what is important is knowing the exact date these tunnels had been allegedly dug, if any,” said Gen. Jaber.
He went to explain that, “Had these alleged tunnels been dug by the Resistance between the years 2000 (the end of the ‘Israeli’ aggression) and 2006, then they did not breach any resolution, since UN resolution 1701 had not been declared at that time,” adding that “We are free to do whatsoever on our land”.
Maj. Gen Jaber pointed out that the aforementioned issue should have been stated bluntly by the Lebanese State when faced with the UNIFIL’s statement regarding the tunnel digging.
However, the retired army general posed a critical question , asking, “if it has been proved that the digging took place after 2006 and the tunnels were in fact a breach of 1701 on Lebanese soil, then how many times has ‘Israel’ breached that same resolution by trespassing Lebanese air, land and sea?”
“This is the end point. This is where the issue stops! We have nothing further to add,” Gen. Jaber proclaimed, adding,
“The Resistance is not obliged to adhere to ‘Israeli’ declarations as to publicize the number of their missiles and where they are kept. It’s is totally absurd! It’s not our job to reassure the ‘Israelis’ if we have or haven’t acquired ballistic missiles.”
Furthermore, the retired army general explained that the Resistance possessed “enough” missiles and
“‘Israel’ should stop targeting Syria under the pretext of preventing Hezbollah from acquiring more missiles via Syria”.
A final point regarding the alleged tunnels, Maj. Gen. Jaber asserted that “the Resistance’s stance regarding that issue is wise. And it doesn’t want to get caught in a give-and-take situation with the ‘Israelis’”.
Source: Al-Ahed News

Eisenkot’s Legacy in Confronting Lebanon: Restraint & the Growing Capabilities of the Resistance

The retirement of every chief of staff of the “Israeli” army, with some exceptions such as the resignation of Dan Halutz following the 2006 defeat in Lebanon, is normally accompanied by propaganda and theatrical displays.
Putting that aside, we find that Gadi Eisenkot’s retirement from his post, his exit from military service and the succession of Aviv Kochavi coincide with major strategic and practical developments surrounding the Zionist entity.
At the level of the theatrical display, Eisenkot was keen to appear in the media, trying to showcase what he called achievements against the axis of resistance. To this end, he conducted a series of interviews that grabbed headlines and newspaper articles in a celebratory manner. What made the “Israelis” really happy during Eisenkot’s term was that he did not involve them in any war with regional foes – especially since the public is aware that the internal front will be one of its main arenas in any broad confrontation.
In the past four years, however, it has been become apparent that “Israel” – during Eisenkot’s term – has adopted a “brinkmanship” policy in the hope that it will extract concessions from Hezbollah and restraint it in case Tel Aviv opted to launch an aggression. It is well known that one of the conditions for a successful “brinkmanship” policy is that one side succeeds in persuading the other that it is prepared to go to the limit. But Hezbollah faced this policy with a firm stance forcing “Israel” to retreat and back down. Although “Israel” had many reasons for the operational initiative, the political and security decision makers backed down due to their concerns over the price of any military confrontation. In light of this, “Israel’s” messages of intimidation turned into additional victories for Hezbollah enhancing the resistance’s deterrence force. As such, the enemy became more exposed.
In this regard, the enemy tries to mislead when praising calm with Lebanon, especially since it did not want this calm, which formed an umbrella for the resistance to continue to accumulate and develop its military and missile capabilities. At the very least, Tel Aviv was seeking a similar version of what was happening in Syria. It terms of ambition, “Israel” aims to exploit Hezbollah’s preoccupation with countering Takfiri terrorism, to attack it, destroy its strategic capabilities or restrict it. Thereby giving “Israel” a wide margin in attacks at the local and regional levels.
On the other hand, calm was a demand for the resistance for several reasons. First, the resistance does not adopt an open war strategy with the “Israeli” entity. It has its other strategy in the struggle with the enemy in Palestine. Second, it provides it with the opportunity to continue to build and develop its defensive, deterrent and offensive capabilities. And this is what happened. And third, it is a demand of the Lebanese people as it is a gateway to building and resolving crises.
A quick glance back reveals that these demands and objectives have been achieved to a very large extent, distinguishing Lebanon from all of its Arab neighbors. The negatives that it is currently grappling with are the result of the performance of the ruling political class at the economic, political and social levels.
It is clear that if the chief of staff of the “Israeli” army had to speak objectively, in response to the army’s command, Syria has won, and the threat of rebuilding the Syrian army is again on the horizon. Hezbollah along with Syria triumphed and removed an existential danger threatening it and the people of the region. The axis of resistance triumphed in the battle regionally. All “Israeli efforts to drain Hezbollah and divide Syria have failed.  The resistance succeeded in developing its military and missile capabilities. In light of this, Hezbollah’s Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah announced that the group succeeded in acquiring precision rockets. “Israel” recognizes the effects of the rockets as dangerous to regional equations and its strategic depth. However, the effects of possessing precision missiles are more significant than the effects of the tens of thousands of rockets themselves.
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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Turkey, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham Work To Defend ‘Syrian Revolution’

January 15, 2019
Leader of Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham Abu Mohammad Al-Joulani declared his support to an expected Turkish military operation against Kurdish armed groups in northeastern Syria during an interview with Amjad Media on January 14.
He stressed that his group supports “the operation to liberate the eastern Euphrates”. He also rejected criticism from his militant counterparts that the recent Hayat Tahrir al-Sham expansion within the Idlib de-escalation zone opens a route for a Russian-backed military operation in the area. He recalled that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which just recently was the official branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, is an important part of the so-called “Syrian revolution” thus justifying its further actions.
Recently, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham de-facto established a full control of the most of the Idlib de-escalation zone by defeating the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation and forcing it to accept own rule across the area.
Now, the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham leadership is working to consolidate its gains in security and media spheres. Experts say that the main idea of Al-Joulani and his inner circle is to become an irreplaceable partner of the Turkish government in Idlib-related issues and this approach has worked so far.
On January 14, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlet Cavusoglu stressed that Turkey is doing what is required to maintain peace and prevent violations in the Idlib de-escalation zone. He even claimed that the Idlib de-escalation deal has been “successfully” implemented despite difficult conditions and that the Syrian government and the countries that support it are to blame if Idlib becomes “terrorist nest”.
Cavusoglu somehow forgot to mention that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which is the internationally designated terrorist group, was excluded from the ceasefire regime established in the Idlib zone and is a legal target of military actions, which were expected to be undertaken in the framework of the deal. However, now it became clear that Turkey’s attempts to prevent the further military successes of the Damascus government in northwestern Syria openly contributed to the expansion of al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda-like entities there.
Meanwhile, the political leadership of the Syrian Kurds was once again encouraged by harsh statements of US President Donald Trump towards Turkey and announced that it had paused talks with the Damascus government.
An official representative of the Syrian Kurds in Moscow, Rshad Bienaf, told the Russian media that there was a “dialogue”, but no results were achieved because the Damascus government is not ready to change the constitution in the favor to the so-called “democratic system” established in the US-occupied area of northeastern Syria.
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