Archive | October 23rd, 2019

“Erdogan Stole Syrian Factories, Oil and Wheat and Today He Is Stealing Syrian Land”. President Al-Assad

By Hamda Mustafa

Global Research,

President Bashar Al-Assad has stressed that the President of the Turkish regime Recep Tayyib Erdogan is a thief who stole the Syrian factories, wheat and oil and today he is stealing Syrian land.

President Al-Assad made the remarks during his meeting with soldiers and officers of the Syrian Arab Army on the front lines in al-Hbeit town of Edlib countryside.

 Military situation on the ground specifies priority

The president affirmed that all the Syrian areas have the same importance, but what specifies priority is the military situation on the ground.

According to SANA, President Al-Assad said that

“Idleb was an advanced outpost for them. The advanced outpost is usually located in the front lines, but in this case the battle is in the east and the advanced outpost is in the west. This is in order to disperse the forces of the Syrian Arab army.”

“We have been saying that the battle for Idleb is essential for ending chaos and terrorism in all the Syrian areas,” President Al-Assad added.

He made it clear that

“when we are exposed to an aggression or robbery we must support each other and join efforts. But, some Syrians didn’t do that, particularly during the early years of the war… We asked them not to count on foreign parties…we told them that your bet should be on the army, the people and the homeland but nobody listened, and now they are counting on the Americans.”

President Al-Assad went on to say that as soon as the Turkish aggression started in the north of the country, we made contacts with the different political and military forces on the ground. We told them that we are ready to support any group that would resist.”

 “This it is not a political decision, it is in fact a constitutional and national duty and if we don’t do that, we don’t deserve this homeland,” the president emphasized.

Posted in Syria, TurkeyComments Off on “Erdogan Stole Syrian Factories, Oil and Wheat and Today He Is Stealing Syrian Land”. President Al-Assad

Russian/Turkish Agreement on Northern Syria

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research,

When deals are struck, the devil is in the details, along with implementation of what was agreed on by all parties involved.

The historical record is clear. The US, West and Israel can never be trusted. The Russian Federation operates by a higher standard. Its word is its bond, not so for Turkey, especially under lawbreaker/terrorist supporter/human rights abuser Erdogan.

He allied with US aggression on Syria for regime change, three times invaded its territory illegally, his latest aggression begun October 9 — the highest of high crimes, his forces using banned weapons, killing civilians indiscriminately.

Domestically he banned speech, media and academic freedoms, imprisoning or otherwise eliminating critics, including children — what tyranny is all about.

Throughout US-led war on Syria, he called for toppling overwhelmingly popular Bashar al-Assad, wants northern Syrian territory annexed, especially its oil-producing areas.

He supports ISIS, al-Nusra, and other terrorists, earlier conspired with the Islamic State to steal Syrian oil, currently using jihadists as proxy forces in his ongoing aggression and occupation of northern Syrian territory.

On Tuesday, Assad denounced him as a “thief,” adding:

“He has stolen factories, wheat, oil in cooperation with Daesh (ISIS), and today, he steals territory.”

He’s an “actor” in cahoots with US-led aggression.

“The latest of the plays is that he says they have decided to enter Syria. Well, for nine years, he has been trying to enter, but he was not allowed.”

“He said he has notified the Americans that he will enter. You mean you told the Americans?”

“What happened, happened. Despite all the bravado (about Kurdish fighters) that we have heard through the years, that they will fight and whatnot, the Turks have occupied most of the region in just four days, which the Americans have planned.”

Syrian officials earlier warned the Kurds against cooperating with the US, Assad explained.

“We repeated it,” he stressed, adding: “The Americans will sell you out one day” — precisely what happened.

Syria’s priority is “defending against (US-led NATO/Turkish) aggression,” all parts of the country of equal value, he stressed.Turkey Invades? Erdogan Seeks Annexation of Northern Syria Territories

Turkish and proxy forces captured and control over 100 northern Syrian villages, along with the border towns of Ras al-Ain and Tel Abyad.

According to observers on the ground, his forces looted homes, shops, and other businesses, along with wheat and barley silos.

Assad vowed to liberate all areas of Syria controlled by US/Turkish-supported terrorists and illegally occupied by Pentagon and Turkish forces.

On Tuesday in Sochi, Russia, Vladimir Putin met with Erdogan on Syria. The Turkish regime communications director Fahrettin Altun claimed an agreement was reached to respect “Syria’s territorial integrity and political unity.”

Erdogan said remaining Kurdish fighters “must leave (a) 30-km zone…150 hours” from Wednesday (after which) Turkey and Russia will begin joint patrolling of the area to the east and to the west of” Syrian territory Turkish forces invaded (except the border city of Qamishli in Hasakah province), adding:

Joint patrols will be carried out within a 10-km area from Turkey’s border. According to Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu,

“additional troops (and) equipment will be needed for patrolling since the border is rather extensive and the patrolling should be serious and substantial so that we could avert any serious incidents. Especially since the patrolling will be carried out jointly.”

Sergey Lavrov said Turkey’s cross-border “operation is coming to an end. Now everything will depend on whether the agreements will be adhered to, namely regarding the disengagement of forces and equipment, and the withdrawal of Kurdish military formations,” adding:

“We do not particularly look at the United States and its stance. That stance is quite variable and contradictory, and of course, the coalition led by the United States is in Syria illegally. This is well known.”

Erdogan’s cross-border aggression has nothing to do with combatting terrorists, nothing to do with Turkish security, nothing to do with helping Syrian refugees, everything to do with his revanchist aims.

It’s unclear how Putin handled these and related issues during talks with Erdogan on Tuesday.

Both leaders agreed to respect the 1998 Ankara/Damascus Adana Interstate Agreement on Combating Terrorism — vowing to prevent terrorists in Syria from threatening Turkey.

RT reported that

“Russian military police and Syrian servicemen will be deployed to northeastern Syria, while Turkey’s operation ‘Peace Spring’ will continue in a limited area,” as agreed to by Putin and Erdogan.

On October 9, Erdogan’s cross-border aggression began. He and Putin agreed on letting Turkish forces “temporarily” conduct so-called “counter-terrorism” operations in northern Syria.

At the same time, Russia’s president said unlawfully deployed foreign forces in Syria must leave. Claiming Erdogan shares this view is unsupported by reality on the ground.

Putin also urged Syrian and Kurdish officials to reach accommodation on issues where they differ to help restore peace and stability to the country.

Following talks with Erdogan, he briefed Syria’s Assad on what was discussed, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, indicating he and Putin concurred on what was agreed on in Sochi.

Russia is an invaluable Syrian ally, the US, NATO, and Israel its mortal enemies.

Erdogan can never be trusted. It remains to be seen whether what was agreed on in Sochi sticks.

Given longstanding US hegemonic aims for regional control, resolution of years of conflict and chaos is far from achieved.

Posted in Russia, Syria, TurkeyComments Off on Russian/Turkish Agreement on Northern Syria

Better Relations Between the US and Russia Are Not in the Cards

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Global Research,

By now Russians must wonder if the better relations they desire with the US are ever to be.  US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Democrat from Hawaii is the latest peacemaker to be declared “a Russian asset” by Hillary, the DNC, and the presstitutes.

The way the Democrats, the presstitutes, and their Puppet Master—the military/security complex—have it rigged, unless you want to bomb Russia into the stone age, you are a Russian asset.

How, then, can any American leader advocate bringing the dangerous tensions with Russia to an end?

Look what happened to Trump when he declared his intention of “normalizing relations with Russia.”  There is nothing more desperate that needs doing, but it cannot happen.

Two immovable mountains stand in the way.

One is the military/security complex’s need for an enemy in order to justify the military/security complex’s $1,000 billion dollar annual budget and the power that comes with it. Fifty-eight years ago in his last address to the American people,

President Dwight Eisenhower warned that

“we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.  We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

Ike’s warning went unheeded, and today, more than a half century later, the military/security complex rules America.

The other immovable mountain is the US world hegemonic ideology of the  neoconservatives who have controlled US foreign policy since the Clinton regime.  The neoconservatives declare the US to be the “indispensible, exceptional” country with the right to impose its will and agendas on the rest of the world.

The collapse of the Soviet Union removed all constraints on Washington’s unilateralism.  There was no longer another global power to get in Washington’s way.  

To keep it this way, neoconservative Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz set out the Wolfowitz Doctrine.  The doctrine states that it is the “first objective” of US foreign and military policy to prevent the rise of Russia or any country capable of serving as a check on US unilateral action.  Are Americans Too Insouciant To Survive?

Caught offguard by Vladimir Putin, who restored Russian sovereignty from Russia’s status as an American vassal under Yeltsin, the neoconservatives and their Western media whores have launched massive propaganda attacks on Russia in order to demonize, isolate, marginalize, and perhaps overthrow with American-financed NGOs, as happened to Ukraine in the  Maidan Revolution and as the US is currently attempting in Hong Kong against China.

The hegemonic ideology of the neoconservatives and the military/security complex’s need for an enemy preclude any normalization of relations with Russia.

As I and Stephen Cohn have emphasized, the current tensions between the two nuclear superpowers are far more dangerous than during the Cold War.  During the Cold War every American president worked with his Soviet counterpart to reduce tensions.  John F. Kennedy and Khrushchev defused the Cuban missile crisis and removed the US missiles from Turkey.  JFK’s reward was to be assassinated by the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff who concluded that JFK was soft on communism and a threat to the national security of the United States.

President Richard Nixon opened to China and negotiated the SALT I Treaty and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Leonid Brezhnev. Nixon’s reward was to be politically assassinated with the Watergate orchestration and forced to resign.

President Carter and Brezhnev signed the SALT II Treaty, and Carter was rewarded by the military/security complex throwing its money behind anti-communist Reagan.

President Reagan outmaneuvered the military/security complex,  and he and Gorbachev ended the Cold War.

The George H.W. Bush administration gave assurances to Gorbachev that if the Soviet Union permitted the reunification of Germany, the US would neither incorporate the former Warsaw Pact into NATO nor move NATO one inch to the East.

The Clinton regime reneged on the word of the US Government and moved NATO to Russia’s borders.

Subsequent US regimes—George W. Bush, Obama, Trump—have pulled out of the remaining treaties and agreements and, thereby, elevated the tensions between the nuclear superpowers to the pre-Kennedy era.

The danger of this development is not appreciated.  Nuclear warning systems of incoming ICBMs are notorious for false warnings.  During the Cold War both sides received false alarms of incoming attacks, but neither the Amerians nor the Soviets ever pushed the button in response to the warnings.

Why?  The reason is that both sides understood that they were working to reduce tensions and to build trust.  Both sides understood that in this atmosphere the alarms had to be false.

Today the situation is very different.  Russia and its leadership have been demonized and excoriated by Western politicians and media.  Americans and their vassals in Europe have been taught to hate and fear Russians.  The Russian government has experienced false accusations never before experienced in diplomatic affairs.  Neither side can possibly trust the other.  Add to this the fact that response times are now in the minutes, and you should be able to comprehend that the world can be blown up due to nothing more than a false alarm.

For the ideological neoconservatives and the greed-ridden corrupt American military/security complex to put life on Earth under this kind of risk indicates that neither neoconservatives nor armaments industries are capable of subordining their self-interests to life itself.

Normally, the restrained, non-confrontational responses of Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to American insults and provocative actions would be admirable.  But with the US playing the role of the bully, passive Russian responses to bullying encourage more bullying.  As kids of my generation learned, when confronted with a bully you immediately stand up to him.  Otherwise, he sees you as lacking self-respect and resolve and ups the bullying. The only way to avoid the fight is to stand up to him immediately.

The Russian government’s failure to stand up to Washington’s bullying guarantees more bullying.  Sooner or later the bullying will cross a line, and Russia will have to fight.

A less passive Russian government could do a lot for peace.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on Better Relations Between the US and Russia Are Not in the Cards

For Expedient Execution of Brexit Embattled British PM Has One Last Independent Legal Move Left

Challenge the Parliament with contempt of Vox Populi and request that the High Court strikes its erroneous earlier ruling on the matter

By Ivan Daraktchiev

Global Research,

Earlier we have suggested that Boris Johnson could easily quench the chaotic mess in British Parliament where for three years now we observe politicking and positioning for career advancement, and no consideration whatsoever about assisting the Government in its job: on the contrary, visible to everyone is the obsession by most MPs with opposing whatever move which would seem to bring BREXIT closer to the finale.

Previously our proposal was along the lines of informing Parliament that there are two illegalities that they should give strong consideration to /1,2/ before continuing with their obstructive behavior:

1. The EU is an illegitimate construction, and on top of that Gordon Brown’s signature on the Treaty of Lisbon is made outside the sovereign’s sanction – David Cameron’s suggestion for the 2016 referendum is a clear albeit implicit admission to awareness of this.

2. British Judiciary’s decision to grant a say on BREXIT to Parliament after The British People spoke can not be considered wise nor rightful nor fair nor just (it would have been called “unconstitutional” as well, if UK had a constitution as a single document) – no court should grant to a servant the right to control its master, and a careful slash experienced judge should anticipate the theoretical possibility of effective opposition to the boss’ decree.India: Violations of the Right to Food and Work Rampant Across the Country, Made Worse by Aadhaar

Those arguments not having been used, we arrive at a critical point today whereby the agony could be extended further for no benefit to the British People. At the same time the voices in Parliament calling for another referendum have multiplied, and in our opinion exactly that could help resolve the crisis immediately.

If I were in the shoes of the British PM, I would make an urgent request, “cito,” to the High Court to immediately strike its earlier decision to grant Parliament a say on BREXIT, admitting its erroneous judgment. The request should rely on a single argument: various MPs have called for “new referendum” not realizing that this is expression of contempt vis-à-vis the sovereign’s decision in 2016. And if the court refuses to correct itself, it could in turn be accused of holding the sovereign in contempt. I do not think that a honest judge will omit the chance to restore justice and avoid blame in the future…

Posted in UKComments Off on For Expedient Execution of Brexit Embattled British PM Has One Last Independent Legal Move Left

Pesticides Trigger Cancer?

Carcinogenicity Assessment Flawed for Four Out of 10 Pesticides, New Review Shows. Irrelevant data used to dismiss tumours in animals exposed to pesticides

By GMWatch

Global Research,

A new review of carcinogenicity assessments of pesticide active ingredients shows 40 percent were not carried out in compliance with existing European guidelines, leading to possible continued exposure of farmers and consumers to cancer-causing pesticides.[1] In 30 percent of the cases, significant details were missing from the dossiers, raising uncertainties about how European authorities came to the conclusion they did.

The review, “Chronically underrated – A review of the EU carcinogenic hazard assessment of 10 pesticides”, released today by Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Germany and the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), analysed the carcinogenicity sections of the draft Renewal Assessments Reports (RARs) of ten pesticides.[2] The review, performed by senior toxicologist Dr Peter Clausing, focused on how the sections describing carcinogenicity studies in rats and mice in the EU assessment documents complied with the applicable guidelines and guidance documents of the EU and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Susan Haffmans, senior advisor on pesticides at PAN Germany, said,

“After discovering a considerable number of flaws in the carcinogenicity assessment of glyphosate, it was the logical next step to investigate whether similar problems occurred with other pesticides. Analysing these ten RARs has made it clear that at least three of the pesticides should have been classified as ‘presumed’ human carcinogens, rather than just ‘suspected’ human carcinogens.”

The carcinogenicity classification triggers the regulatory fate of a pesticide active ingredient. Pesticides classified as “suspected” human carcinogens can be marketed, while those classified as “presumed” human carcinogens cannot.[3]

The new review shows that:

  • For three pesticides, the outcome of Dr Clausing’s review was similar to that of the European authorities: chlorothalonil, diuron, forchlorfenuron;
  • For three pesticides, the outcome of Dr Clausing’s review differed from that of the European authorities and concluded that the classification should be upgraded: folpet, pirimicarb, and thiacloprid;
  • For one pesticide, Dr Clausing’s review found that severe data gap should have been identified by the European authorities and a flawed decisive carcinogenicity should not have been accepted: phosmet;
  • For three pesticides, Dr Clausing’s review found that reports were not sufficiently informed to allow any conclusive external review: captan, chlorpropham, and dimoxystrobin.

Abuse of historical control dataThey Profit, We Die: Toxic Agriculture and the Poisoning of Soils, Human Health and the Environment

The new review found – in line with the long-standing concerns of GMWatch – that the most frequent flaw in carcinogenicity assessments was the abuse of historical control data. Historical control data are drawn from control animals in experiments other than the one under examination, carried out at different times and in different conditions. Due to the large number of variables introduced by these differing conditions, the data obtained from historical controls cover a very broad range of values.

In the abuse of such data identified by the new review, this broad range of values was wrongly used to state that any cancers seen in the animals exposed to the pesticide fall within this range and thus do not represent a real carcinogenic effect of the pesticide.

According to good scientific practice and official guidance set by the OECD for regulators to follow, the most valid control group is the one within the experiment under examination – and historical control data should not be used to dismiss tumours found in treatment (exposed) groups of animals. An exception can be made in certain highly restricted circumstances, but these hardly ever apply in such cases of invalid dismissals.

Specifically, the new review found that historical control data were wrongly used by industry and regulators to dismiss study results for dimoxystrobin, folpet, phosmet and pirimicarb.

Rise of cancer

Genon K. Jensen, Executive Director of the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) commented,

“The current rise of non-communicable diseases including cancer means that Europe cannot afford the health price of flawed pesticides classifications. Committing to a rigorous implementation of European laws should be a founding block of reaching Europe’s zero-pollution objective to prevent diseases and protect people, starting with farmers, from substances toxic to their health.”

PAN Germany and HEAL called on the European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen to pay particular attention to a more rigorous application of existing pesticide legislation and guidance documents. In her recent confirmation hearing at the European Parliament, the Commissioner-designate for health Stella Kyriakides already agreed Europe needs to reduce dependency on pesticides and stimulate the take-up of low-risk and non-chemical alternatives.[4]

Posted in Education, Environment, HealthComments Off on Pesticides Trigger Cancer?

The EU Is Rewriting World War II History to Demonize Russia

By Max Parry

Global Research,

Last month, on the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II, the European Parliament voted on a resolution entitled “On the Importance of European Remembrance for the Future of Europe.” The adopted document:

“…Stresses that the Second World War, the most devastating war in Europe’s history, was started as an immediate result of the notorious Nazi-Soviet Treaty on Non-Aggression of 23 August 1939, also known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and its secret protocols, whereby two totalitarian regimes that shared the goal of world conquest divided Europe into two zones of influence; Recalls that the Nazi and communist regimes carried out mass murders, genocide and deportations and caused a loss of life and freedom in the 20th century on a scale unseen in human history, and recalls the horrific crime of the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazi regime; condemns in the strongest terms the acts of aggression, crimes against humanity and mass human rights violations perpetrated by the Nazi, communist and other totalitarian regimes.”

For 75 years, we have been told that the war started on September 1st, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland, even though the Pacific Theater between Japan and China began two years earlier. Now we are to understand that it actually began eight days prior when the German foreign minister visited Moscow. Take no notice of the inherent doublespeak in the premise that a war could be the consequence of a peace agreement, which without any evidence provided is said to have contained “secret protocols”, not provisions. You see, unlike the other pacts signed between European countries and Nazi Germany — such as the Munich Betrayal of 1938 with France and Great Britain to which the Soviets were uninvited while Austria and Czechoslovakia were gifted to Hitler for the courtesy of attacking Moscow — Molotov-Ribbentrop was really a confidential agreement between Hitler and Stalin to conquer Europe and divide it between them.

This is pure mythology. The fact of the matter is that neither the Soviets or even Germany drew the dividing line in Poland in 1939, because it was a reinstatement of the border acknowledged by the League of Nations and Poland itself as put forward by the British following WWI. Even Winston Churchill during his first wartime radio broadcast later that year admitted:

“Russia has pursued a cold policy of self-interest. We could have wished that the Russian Armies should be standing on their present line as the friends and allies of Poland, instead of as invaders. But that the Russian Armies should stand on this line was clearly necessary for the safety of Russia against the Nazi menace.”

Yet according to the EU, even though Moscow was the last country to agree to a peace deal with Hitler, it was all part of a hidden plot between them. In that case, why then did Germany choose to invade the USSR in 1941? The EU leaves this question unanswered. Forget about its racial policies of enslaving slavs or that Hitler openly declared in Mein Kampf that Germany needed to conquer the East to secure the Lebensraum. Nevermind that in the Spring of 1941, less than two months before Operation Barbarossa, Stalin gave a speech to the Kremlin at a state banquet for recent graduates of the Frunze Military Academy to give warning of an imminent attack:

“War with Germany is inevitable. If comrade Molotov can manage to postpone the war for two or three months through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that will be our good fortune, but you yourselves must go off and take measures to raise the combat readiness of our forces.”

The EU has redacted that the entire reason for the signing of the Nazi-Soviet pact in August 1939 had been to buy time for the Red Army’s attrition warfare strategy to adequately prepare its armaments against a future invasion by the Wehrmacht.

The Soviet leadership well understood that Germany would eventually renege on the agreement, considering that in 1936 it had signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan and Italy directed at the Communist International. For six years, the USSR was thwarted in its attempts to forge an equivalent anti-fascist coalition and to collectively defend Czechoslovakia by the British and the French, whose ruling classes were too busy courting and doing business with Germany. It had been the Soviets alone who defended the Spanish Republic from Franco in the final rehearsal before the worldwide conflict and only when all other recourses had run out did they finally agree to a deal with the Hitlerites.

Joachim von Ribbentrop signing the Anti-Comintern Pact.

Just a week prior to the signing of the neutrality treaty, Stalin gave a secretspeech to the Politburo where he explained:

“The question of war or peace has entered a critical phase for us. If we conclude a mutual assistance treaty with France and Great Britain, Germany will back off of Poland and seek a modus vivendi with the Western Powers. War would thus be prevented but future events could take a serious turn for the USSR. If we accept Germany’s proposal to conclude with it a non-aggression pact, Germany will then attack Poland and Europe will be thrown into serious acts of unrest and disorder. Under these circumstances we will have many chances of remaining out of the conflict while being able to hope for our own timely entrance into war.”

This latest resolution is part of a long pattern of misrepresentation of WWII by the Anglo-Saxon empire, but is perhaps its most egregious falsification that truly desecrates the graves of the 27 million Soviet citizens who were 80% of the total Allied death toll. Earlier this year, for the commemoration on the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings, Russia and its head of state were excluded from the events in Portsmouth, England. As if the ongoing absence of Western European leaders from the May 9th Victory Day ceremonies held annually in Russia weren’t insulting enough, while it’s true that the Eastern Front was not involved in Operation Overlord, Russian President Vladimir Putin had previously been in attendance at the 70th anniversary D-Day events in 2014. No doubt the increase in geopolitical tensions between the West and Moscow in the years since has given the EU license to write out Russia’s role in the Allied victory entirely with little public disapproval, though many of the families of those who volunteered in the International Brigades were rightly insulted by this tampering of history and voiced their objection.

The EU motion‘s real purpose is to fabricate the war’s history by giving credit to the United States for the liberation of Europe while absolving the Western democracies that opened the door for the rise of fascism and tried to use Germany to annihilate the USSR. History itself should always be open to debate and subject to study and revision, but the Atlanticists have made this formal change without any evidence to support it and entirely for political purposes. Like the founding of the EU project itself, the declared aim of the proposal is supposedly to prevent future atrocities from taking place, even though the superstate was designed by former Nazis like Walter Hallstein, the first President of the European Commission, who was a German lawyer in several Nazi Party law organizations and fought for the Wehrmacht in France until his capture as a POW after the invasion of Normandy.

Rather than preventing future crimes, the EU has committed one itself by deceptively modifying the historical record of communism to be parallel with that of the Third Reich. Even further, that they were two sides of the same coin of ‘totalitarianism’ and that for all the barbarity committed during the war, the Soviets were equally culpable — or judging by the amount of times the text cites the USSR versus Germany, even more so. It remains unclear whether we are now to completely disregard the previous conclusions reached by the military tribunals held by the Allies under international law at Nuremberg of which all 12 war criminals sentenced to death in 1946 were German, not Soviet. The document doesn’t even attempt to hide its politicized direction at the current government in Moscow, stating that:

“Russia remains the greatest victim of communist totalitarianism and that its development into a democratic state will be impeded as long as the government, the political elite and political propaganda continue to whitewash communist crimes and glorify the Soviet totalitarian regime.”

This accusation does not stand up to critical observation, as Russia has since erected official memorials to those executed and politically persecuted during the so-called ‘Great Terror.’ However, the stark difference between the EU resolution and the Wall of Grief in Moscow is that the latter is based on evidence from the Soviet archives. It has become a widespread and ridiculous belief in the West that Stalin somehow killed as much as five times as many people as Hitler, an absurdity not reflected in the now disclosed and once highly secretive Soviet archives, which after two decades of examination show that over a period of three decades from the early 1920s to his death in 1953, the total recorded number of Soviet citizens executed by the state was slightly less than 800,000. While that is certainly a horrid number, how does it even begin to compare to an industrial scale extermination based on the race theory?

How can anyone believe Stalin killed tens of millions of people when even the most simple analysis of a population demographics chart shows that the Soviet population rate consistently increased each decade with the only reduction taking place during WWII as a result of their casualties? Socialists, who perhaps more than any other political tendency seem to suffer from autophobia, should defend their own history from such falsification. It is only when flaws occur under communist states that the entire political and economic system is to be denounced outright, but never capitalism which for five centuries has colonized half the world while enslaving and killing entire nations.

Most of the wildly exaggerated death figures stem from falsities written in The Black Book of Communism by a group of right-wing French academics in 1997,who did not conceal their apologism for the Nazi collaborationist self-proclaimed Russian Liberation Army (ROA) commanded by Gen. Andrey Vlasov who defected to Germany during the war:

“A singular fate was reserved for the Vlasovtsy, the Soviet soldiers who had fought under the Soviet general Andrei Vlasov. Vlasov was the commander of the Second Army who had been taken prisoner by the Germans in July 1942. On the basis of his anti-Stalinist convictions, General Vlasov agreed to collaborate with the Nazis to free his country from the tyranny of the Bolsheviks.”

History: Russian Government Condemn’s European Parliament’s Blaming Stalin as Having Started World War II

The other highly cited work by the West for its overestimated portrayal of Soviet repression is the equally unreliable The Gulag Archipelago volumesby Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who as historian Ludo Martens noted also attempted to provide justification for Vlasov’s treason in his best-selling 1973 work:

“And so it was that Vlasov’s Second Shock Army perished, literally recapitulating the fate of Samsonov’s Russian Second Army in World War I, having been just as insanely thrown into encirclement. Now this, of course, was treason to the Motherland! This, of course, was vicious, self-obsessed betrayal! But it was Stalin’s. Treason does not necessarily involve selling out for money. It can include ignorance and carelessness in the preparations for war, confusion and cowardice at its very start, the meaningless sacrifice of armies and corps solely for the sake of saving one’s own marshal’s uniform. Indeed, what more bitter treason is there on the part of a Supreme Commander in Chief?”

Image on the right: Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The truth is located in the Soviet archives which indicate that Stalin’s successor, the Ukrainian-born Nikita Khrushchev, was as intent on absolving the entirety of the Soviet leadership as himself from any culpability in the purges of the 1930s so that blame for its excesses were placed squarely on his predecessor. In succession, Western historians like the British Foreign Office propagandist Robert Conquest followed his example and this account quickly became official doctrine. In hindsight, Khrushchev’s infamous 1956 secret speech, “On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences”, was what planted the seeds of self-doubt in the Soviet system that would eventually lead to its undoing decades later. To the contrary, what the historical records show is most of those who were purged in that period were not necessarily perceived as political threats to Stalin himself, but were targeted because of an overall systemic paranoia held by the entire Soviet government regarding internal sabotage and counter-revolutionary activity by a real fifth column getting inspiration from a certain traitorous former Bolshevik in exile and a potential invasion originating from outside the country.

Many forget that during the Russian Civil War, exactly such a scenario had occurred when the Allies of World War I, including the United States, collectively intervened on the side of the Whites only to be driven out by the Red Army, making such fearful instincts not entirely unreasonable. Not to mention, the rapid industrialization of the entire nation in a single decade while in preparation for the growing threat of war with Germany. When Hitler began his Masterplan for the East, their worst fears came to fruition when tens of thousands of Banderite turncoats enlisted in the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician) in Ukraine to collaborate with the German occupiers in the slaughter of their fellow countrymen and after the war ended, continued their treasonous struggle during the 1950s with assistance from the CIA. So the saying goes, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you…

As for the accusation of “whitewashing”, it is true that recent polls indicate that 70% of Russians today hold a favorable view of Stalin — but just as many are nostalgic for communism itself and regret the breakup of the USSR on the basis that the socialist system ‘took care of ordinary people.’ Putin did once remark that despite Stalin’s legacy of repression, he doubted that the native Georgian statesman would have been willing to drop two atomic bombs on Japan like the United States, an atrocity that killed 225,000 innocent civilians (most of them instantly) which is more than a quarter of those capitally punished during the entire Stalin era. Was he wrong to say so? A significant amount of deaths also occurred in the Soviet-wide famines of the 1930s, but there is significantly more evidence to suggest that the British deliberately starved 3 million Bengalis to death then there is to support the Holodomor fraud concocted by the Ukrainian nationalist diaspora. If the West wants to talk about deliberate starvation, it should take a look at what the U.S. did with its economic sanctions in the 1990s killing half a million Iraqi children which former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright famously described as “worth it.”

This isn’t the first time the Anglosphere has historically omitted the Soviet role in the Allied victory or conflated the USSR with the Third Reich. On previous occasions the European Parliament has issued resolutions declaring August 23rd “a European day of remembrance of the victims of the Nazi-Soviet alliance.” This is all an attempt by the Atlanticists to depict communism as somehow worse than fascism while disconnecting the Nazis from the lineage of European settler colonialism whose racism was its source of inspiration. Why is that which befell the Jews not considered an extension of what was already done to the Herero-Nama tribes for which Namibia is now suing Germany a century later?

The neoliberal political establishment in Europe and its anti-EU populist opponents are fond of appearing dead-set against one another, but it seems they share the same fairytale beliefs about WWII that the Nazis and Soviets were equivalent evils as inscribed in this latest decree. It has always been ironic that the liberal billionaire “philanthropist” and currency manipulator George Soros is so derided by right-wing populists when it was his Open Society Institute NGOs which engineered the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. Soros may be averse to the anti-immigrant brand of right-wing nationalism currently on the rise in Western Europe, but as a fanatical Russophobe he is willing to make strange bedfellows with ultra-nationalists in Kiev to undermine Moscow’s sphere of influence and that includes revising WWII history to a version favored by the Banderites which took power during the pro-EU 2014 coup d’etat in Ukraine.

The Nazi junta regime in Kiev has since instituted Russophobic ‘de-communization’ laws erasing the remaining traces of Ukraine’s Soviet past while replacing them with memorials to their wartime foes. A recentexample was the city of Vinnitsa renaming a street that paid tribute to the Soviet spy and war hero Richard Sorge to that after Omelyan Hrabetsk, a commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army which cooperated with Germany during the war and killed thousands of Poles and Jews. Sorge posed as a German journalist in Tokyo and famously provided timely intelligence to Moscow that Japan did not plan to attack the USSR, allowing Stalin to transfer essential reinforcements to the Battle of Moscow which proved to be a major turning point in the war. He was executed by the Japanese in 1944 and posthumously awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union.

Now the EU is ‘decommunizing’ history in its own legislation. Meanwhile, Soros’s influence over the EU cannot be overstated as his lobbying power has enabled him to provide direct council to its executive branch more than any official head of state in the political and economic union. The hedge fund tycoon made a fortune as an investor during Russia’s mass privatization in the 1990s after enlisting Jeffrey Sachs and the IMF to apply ‘shock therapy’ to its economy as it did in Poland and his native Hungary. Under Putin, however, Soros’s NGOs have since been barred from Russia. Perhaps the reason he can so cynically provide support to fascist elements in Ukraine to undercut Moscow is that he did so personally in his upbringing in Hungary.

Born Gyorgy Schwartz, during WWII he was a teenager from an affluent Jewish family which survived the Axis occupation by using their wealth to bribe a government official from the collaborationist Arrow Cross government who provided the Soros’s forged documents identifying them as Christians, while the adolescent by his own admission delivered deportation notices to other Jews. A short time later, the young Soros impersonated the adopted gentile son of an official who inventoried the stolen valuables and property from Jewish estates and even accompanied him during his work. One would assume as a Jew he would have been haunted by these experiences, but Soros has repeatedly stated he has no regrets and even disturbingly compared it to his future work as an investor.Like Soros, the EU has no ideology except an unquenchable thirst for greed and is fond of Nazis when they are the kind that hate Russia. For its own political interests, it is willing to dangerously foster a version of history invented by a rebranded far right where the quislings who collaborated with the Axis powers elude guilt and the Soviets who courageously defeated them are maliciously slandered. Fascism was never fully eradicated only because the West continued to nurture it during the Cold War and even now that capitalism has been reinstated in Eurasia, it continues to do so to undermine a resurgent Moscow on the world stage.

As the world appears increasingly on the brink of WWIII, one is reminded of the expression by Karl Marx who famously stated that “history repeats itself…first as tragedy, then as farce” in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, when comparing Napoleon Bonaparte’s seizure of power in the French Revolution with the coup by his nephew half a century later which brought an end to the French Revolution. Equally fitting is the humorous line by the legendary writer and noted anti-imperialist Mark Twain who reputedly said, “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Both are applicable to the unquestionable tragedy of WWII and the farcical mockery of its history by the EU whose policies continue to make another global conflict that much more likely.

Posted in Europe, RussiaComments Off on The EU Is Rewriting World War II History to Demonize Russia

China’s Move towards Digital Cryptocurrency

From Skepticism to Endorsement

By Paul Antonopoulos

Global Research,

The participants of last week’s “Block Chain Life” forum held in Moscow concluded that digital cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is an inevitable reality of the future that must be developed and harnessed. The event held on October 16-17 had over 4,800 participants, more than half of them Chinese and Russian.

It is not surprising considering China is becoming a center for digital cryptocurrency, especially when considering that over 80% of bitcoin mining activities occur in China. This of course was done with close Russian assistance who provided the necessary programming skills. However, it was a long time in the making as China initially expressed scepticism towards cryptocurrencies and blockchains before moving towards endorsement and support. National digital cryptocurrencies have the potential to become competitors with the traditionally decentralized digital cryptocurrencies and conventional payment method.

As the price of digital cryptocurrencies is very volatile and has even recently declined, China announced in 2017 that any digital cryptocurrency transaction, including the initial token offer (ICO), is illegal, with even reports that the government intends to ban mining. Beijing now appears to have a different outlook towards cryptocurrencies, especially as a vehicle to continue to the de-Dollarization of their economy.

Xu Haoyang, the founder of China’s largest mining pool, ViaBTC, explained that in 2017, China ordered mining companies to dismantle their equipment as at the time they understood that the situation was unstable. This did not mean that they cannot operate there, and rather, miners just returned to Sichuan and Yunnan provinces again to continue their activities shortly after. There is no news recently that digital cryptocurrency mining is still be banned and the difference now is that the Chinese government is now beginning to understand what digital cryptocurrencies are, and they even intend to issue its own digital coins, the “renminbi.” Haoyang believes that China will not ban digital mining and rather that if you consume too much electricity, access to electricity resources may be subject to certain restrictions.Will China Make the Yuan a Gold-Backed Currency?

China’s attitude towards digital cryptocurrency has changed, especially with Wang Xin, director of the Central Bank Research Bureau, saying this summer that the State Council of China has approved plans to develop the digital renminbi. Mu Changchun, director of the Digital Currency Institute of the People’s Bank of China, later said that the digital renminbi is actually ready for distribution. The digital renminbi will replace cash in circulation and the payment system can process up to 300,000 transactions per second.

After Facebook announced the establishment of the international digital cryptocurrency Libra, China immediately stepped up its efforts to issue its own digital cryptocurrency. China’s Global Times published an article entitled “China cannot be absent from the era of global digital currency competition” suggesting that China cannot ignore the inevitable rise of digital currency. The Chinese government seems to conclude that digital cryptocurrency has become an objective phenomenon.

Although digital currency was initially decentralized and dominated by companies like Bitcoin, large institutions and states are starting to issue their own digital cryptocurrencies. This also comes as the U.S., as revealed by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, said that they are far from issuing digital currency because the technology is still in its infancy, but it is still a stated goal.

But China’s current idea has been decided. Mu Changchun, a Deputy Director at the People’s Bank of China, said that unlike the Libra crypto, a digital cryptocurrency that will be issued by private companies, the digital renminbi will have all the marks of China’s national sovereign currency. Because there is always a risk of a private company going bankrupt which can threaten the existence of the Libra, then the digital renminbi must be much more reliable. There is reason to believe that China will use the short pauses issued by Libra to launch its digital cryptocurrency.

Rather, it can be suggested that the move to digital currencies is a natural course for China to take to de-Dollarize their economies. Although only a catastrophic market change will end the Dollar’s hegemony over the global economy in the short term, China is now playing the long game to achieve 100% financial sovereignty. China has added almost 100 tonnes of gold to its reserves over the last ten months, an increase of nearly 5.4 tonnes of gold to China’s holdings — bringing the total additions since December to about 96 tonnes, according to the Financial Times. This includes efforts to trade in local currencies and selling its holdings in U.S. bonds.

Although it is unlikely that these efforts will topple the Dollar as the de facto currency of the world anytime soon, the long-term effects of these moves by China cannot be overlooked. Whether the Chinese Yuan will replace the Dollar remains to be seen, it is likely that in the medium-term we will begin to see a much more equitable balance in the financial markets and sectors between the Great Powers. With China pushing ahead with cryptocurrencies, it is not known yet how Washington will respond to this latest move by Beijing to liberate itself from the Dollar hegemony. There is definitely every possibility that U.S. President Donald Trump will want to consider options on how to counter Beijing’s move as a wider part of his trade war against China.

Posted in ChinaComments Off on China’s Move towards Digital Cryptocurrency

UK Parliament Advances Johnson’s No-Brexit/Brexit Deal, Rejects His Timetable

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research,

On Tuesday, Johnson won one Brexit vote, lost another, Britain’s status of leaving the EU uncertain.

By a 329 – 299 majority, MPs approved legislation, supporting Brexit in principle, short of final approval.

Its status is “paused (in) limbo” because MPs rejected Johnson’s fast-track demand for adopting the measure by a 322 – 308 margin.

On Tuesday, he and Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn met, his spokesman saying:

“Jeremy Corbyn reiterated Labor’s offer to the prime minister to agree (on) a reasonable timetable to debate, scrutinize, and amend the withdrawal agreement bill, and restated that Labor will support a general election when the threat of a no-deal crash-out is off the table.”

Johnson said if Brussels agrees to a three-month delay, requested in a letter he sent the bloc unsigned late Saturday as mandated, he’ll ask MPs to support a snap election.

Brussels is currently deciding on whether to grant Britain another extension until January 31.

European Council President Donald Tusk said he’ll recommend it. Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said the UK won’t leave the EU on October 31, Johnson’s demand.

Since majority Brits voted by national referendum to leave the EU in June 2016, majority MPs approved any Brexit legislation Tuesday for the first time.

Johnson’s loss of control over the timetable gives opposition MPs time to pick apart what he and Brussels agreed on, perhaps changing it enough for a later vote to defeat it.Vote on Johnson’s No-Brexit/Brexit Deal Delayed

It’s status remains very much uncertain. Corbyn called Johnson the “author of his own misfortune,” adding:

“Tonight the House (of Commons) refused to be bounced into debating a hugely significant bill with barely any notice.”

“Work with us to agree a reasonable timetable, and I suspect this House will vote to debate this bill. That would be the sensible way forward.”

Johnson “express(ed) disappointment that the House has voted for delay rather than a timetable that would have guaranteed the UK could leave on 31 October with a deal,” adding:

“The EU must now make up their mind over how to answer parliament’s request for a delay…Until they have reached a decision, we will pause this legislation. Let me be clear, our policy remains that we should not delay.”

The so-called “Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB)” is around 115 pages, MPs needing time to examine, debate, and change what’s disagreed with by majority vote.

Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP Sammy Wilson said his party rejects Johnson’s (no-deal) deal as it proposed “a border in the Irish Sea,” adding:

“The prime minister has lost my respect. Instead of owning his decision to capitulate on Northern Ireland to get his deal through in a hurry, he is implying that none of us can read the detail.”

An EU extension is uncertain, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, saying “we consider that there is no justification for a new extension.” It requires approval by all other 27 EU member-states.

While Johnson’s no-Brexit/Brexit deal is alive, its fate remains uncertain following Tuesday’s parliamentary votes.

As things now stand, it’s highly unlikely that Britain will leave the EU in one form or other on October 31 as Johnson demanded.

Posted in UKComments Off on UK Parliament Advances Johnson’s No-Brexit/Brexit Deal, Rejects His Timetable

Erdogan Calls Putin as Russia Seethes at Turkey’s Syrian Incursion

By Alexander Mercouris

Global Research,

In the immediate aftermath of the Turkish capture of Jarablus in Syria Turkish President Erdogan telephoned his “friend Putin” on Friday 27th August 2016. The Kremlin’s account of the conversation is remarkable even by its standards for its terseness: 

“The two leaders discussed the development of Russia-Turkey trade and political and economic cooperation in keeping with the agreements reached in St Petersburg on August 9.  Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan exchanged opinions on developments in Syria and pointed out the importance of joint efforts in fighting terrorism.  They agreed to continue their dialogue on the issues of the bilateral and international agenda.”

The true subject of the discussion will in fact have been the Turkish capture of Jarablus in northern Syria.

Whilst it seems the Turks did inform the Russians of this move in advance, it is clear that the Russians are to put it mildly unhappy about it.  Though the Turks appear to have tried to arrange talks with the Russian military leadership presumably to discuss this move – even announcing a visit to Turkey by General Gerasimov, the Chief of the Russian General Staff – no such talks are taking place, with the Russians denying that a visit to Ankara by their Chief of General Staff was ever agreed, and the Turks now saying that the visit has been postponed.

The Russian media meanwhile is carrying articles making clear the extent of Russian anger.  An article in the Russian newspaper Kommersant, which is clearly based on official briefings, is accusing Turkey of “going further than promised in Syria”.  That this article reflects official thinking in Moscow is shown by the fact that the semi-official English language Russian news-site “Russia Beyond the Headlines” has republished it in English.

The article makes it clear that Turkey did not coordinate the Jarablus operation with Moscow or Damascus, and that it was much bigger than Moscow was led to expect.  The Russians are also clearly annoyed by the extent to which the operation has been coordinated by Turkey with the US, which is providing air support.

“For Moscow, Ankara’s operation was an unpleasant surprise, demonstrating that the expectations for a convergence of the countries’ positions on Syria that emerged after the meeting between Putin and Erdogan were premature.  In deciding about the operation in Jarabulus, the Turkish leader has sent a signal that relations with the U.S. remain a priority for him, and he prefers to act in the framework of the antiterrorist coalition led not by Moscow, but Washington.”

(Bold italics added)

I have repeatedly warned against over-high expectations that the recent rapprochement between Turkey and Russia amounted to any sort of realignment.  I have also said that despite Turkish annoyance with the US over the recent coup attempt, Turkey remains a US ally, continues to be committed to regime change in Syria, and is not going to throw the US out of Incirlik or allow Russia to use the base.  My only surprise is that judging from this comment it appears there were some people in Moscow who thought otherwise.

The Kommersant article then continues ominously

“According to Kommersant’s information, in case of aggravation of the situation, the Russian military and diplomats are ready to employ bilateral channels of communication with their Turkish counterparts, as well as express their concerns to the U.S. if necessary.  According to Vladimir Sotnikov, director of the Moscow-based Russia-East-West centre, Ankara’s actions could seriously affect the process of normalisation of bilateral cooperation that was agreed by presidents Putin and Erdogan in St. Petersburg”.

(Bold italics added)

That suggests that behind the mild public language strong complaints have been made in private by Moscow to Ankara.  Erdogan’s call to Putin looks like an attempt to assuage Russian anger, to reassure Moscow about Turkey’s intentions in Syria, and to keep the “process of normalisation” between Turkey and Russia on track.  The terse Kremlin summary of the conversation suggests that Putin in response made Russian feelings and concerns perfectly clear, and that there was, in the diplomatic language of the past, “a full and frank exchange of views” ie. a row.

Why are the Russians so angry about the Jarablus operation?

Here I acknowledge my heavy debt to the geopolitical analyst Mark Sleboda who over the course of a detailed and very helpful discussion has corrected certain errors I have previously made about the Jarablus operation and has greatly enlarged my understanding of it.Turkey, the Kurds and the US debacle in North East Syria

In my two previous articles discussing the Jarablus operation I said that it looked to be targeted principally at the Kurds, whose militia, the YPG, has over the last year significantly expanded the area in north east Syria under its control.  I also discounted the possibility that the Turkish seizure of Jarablus was intended to affect the course of the battle for Aleppo by providing supplies to the Jihadi fighters trying to break the siege there.  In my latest article I said the following

“….. it is not obvious that the rebels actually need a “safe zone” in this area.   They already have a corridor to send men and supplies to Aleppo through Idlib province, which they already control.  Why add to the problems of setting up a “safe zone” much further away in north east Syria when the rebels already control territories so much closer to Aleppo?”

Mark Sleboda has explained to me that the principal corridor to supply the rebels in Syria has always been through the area of north east Syria around Jarablus.  In his words

“Idlib is not an acceptable supply route from Turkey to forces in Aleppo province because the Turkish-Syrian border in Idlib is mountainous terrain – small and bad roads and then long routes all the way through Idlib past SAA held territory into Aleppo province. The Jarablus Corridor north of Aleppo is and has always been absolutely vital for the insurgency,. That’s why Turkey, Brookings, etc have always placed so much priority on a no fly zone there. Now its come to realisation.”

In other words the Turkish capture of Jarablus before it could be captured by the YPG was not primarily intended to prevent the linking together of two areas within Syria under Kurdish control – though that may have been a secondary factor – but was primarily intended to secure the main supply route (or “ratline”) Turkey uses to supply the Jihadi fighters attacking Aleppo.

Beyond that it is now clear that Turkish ambitions go much further than Jarablus.  Various Turkish officials have over the last two days been speaking to the Turkish media of Turkey establishing a large rebel controlled “safe zone” in this area of Syria.   Moreover – as Mark Sleboda says – they have now secured US support for it, as shown by the very active role the US air force is taking in supporting the Turkish move on Jarablus.

As Mark Sleboda has also pointed out to me, creating this rebel “safe zone” within Syria has been a declared Turkish objective for over a year.  The Turks have up to now been prevented from realising it because of US reluctance to provide the necessary support, and because of concern in Washington and Ankara about a possible Russian military reaction.  With the move to Jarablus and beyond now carried out with US support and through Russian acquiescence obtained by stealth, the Turks have now achieved it.

What implications does this have for the war in Syria and for the continuation of the Russian – Turkish rapprochement?

Going back to the war in Syria, my own view remains that this will not in the end decide the outcome of the battle of Aleppo, where reports suggest that the Syrian army is continuing to gain ground despite the uninterrupted – and in fact increasing – flow of supplies to the Jihadi fighters across the Turkish border. My longer term view also remains that if the Syrian government succeeds in recapturing the whole of Aleppo and eventually Idlib, then it will have won the war.  However what this episode shows is that the war is far from won, and that the Turks and their US backers are still prepared to go on escalating it in order to prevent the Syrian army winning it.

Beyond that I think the British reporter Patrick Cockburn may turn out to be right, that by trying to establish a “safe zone” within Syria Turkey is overplaying its hand and is taking a step that

“….would embroil Turkey in the lethal swamp lands of the Syrian-Iraqi war.”

Already there are indications that the Turkish move is provoking a local reaction from the YPG and the Kurds.  Despite earlier reports that the YPG was withdrawing all its forces back across to the eastern bank of the Euphrates, there are now credible reports of scattered resistance to the Turkish move by Kurdish militia aligned with the YPG, and there are also reports of mobilisation against the Turkish move in the Kurdish areas of Syria.

In my recent article I made the following point about the potential ability of the YPG to wreck any scheme to set up a rebel “safe zone” in this part of Syria

“North east Syria is a bitterly contested area in which the dominant force is not the rebels but the YPG.  It does not look like a credible “safe zone” for the rebels or a credible launch area from which to launch attacks on Aleppo.  On the contrary an attempt to create a rebel “safe zone” in this area would antagonise the YPG, and would restore the alliance between the Syrian government and the YPG to full working order, leading to constant fighting in the area of the so-called “safe zone” between the Syrian rebels and the YPG.  That would surely defeat the whole purpose of the “safe zone”, rendering it unsafe and effectively worthless as a “safe zone”.   Of course the Turkish military could try to garrison the area to defend whatever “safe zone” it created inside it.  That would however require an incursion into Syria that went far deeper than the one to Jarablus, and which would risk the Turkish army becoming bogged down in a lengthy guerrilla war on Syrian territory with the YPG.  I doubt Erdogan, the Turkish military or the US would want that.”

In his article discussing the Turkish incursion Patrick Cockburn makes essentially the same point

“Turkey may be able to prevent the Kurds permanently extending their rule west of the Euphrates, but it would be a very different and more dangerous operation to attack the de facto Syrian Kurdish state, which has spread itself between the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers since the Syrian Army largely withdrew from the region in 2012.”

Setting up a rebel “safe zone” inside Syria in the teeth of the opposition of the YPG is however what Erdogan and the Turks – backed by the US – have now decided to do.

In recent days there has been some renewed talk of Russia becoming bogged down in the war in Syria.  In my opinion the country that runs by far the greatest risk of getting bogged down in Syria is not Russia but Turkey, which already has to deal with an Islamist terrorist campaign and a Kurdish insurgency on its own territory – both in large part consequences of the war in Syria – and which cannot afford to add a war between the Turkish army and the potentially Russian backed YPG in Syria to its mounting problems.  That however is what Turkey by its latest move now risks.

There remains the outstanding puzzle of US policy.  The US actively encouraged the YPG to capture the town of Manbij – which lies west of the Euphrates – from ISIS, and provided heavy air support for the YPG operation to the capture Manbij.  It is now demanding that the YPG withdraw from Manbij and from all areas west of the Euphrates, and is providing air support for a Turkish military operation that is at least in part targeted against the YPG.

It is impossible to see any logic in these moves.  As I said in my previous article

“It is impossible to see any coherent strategy here.  Rather it looks as if CIA and military officials on the ground in Syria have been going their own way, encouraging the YPG to expand as fast as it can, heedless of the larger consequences.  The political leadership in Washington, when it finally woke up to what was happening, then had to take disproportionate steps to bring the situation back under control.”

Regardless of this, the Turkish move into Syria should bury once and for all any idea that Turkey is in the process of undertaking a geopolitical realignment away from the West and towards the Eurasian powers.  Not only is Turkey still a US and NATO ally,  but it is now conducting an illegal military operation against Russian opposition in Syria with US military support.  That is not the action of a country in the process of carrying out a realignment and preparing to switch alliances from the West to Beijing and Moscow.

The Russians and the Turks are now talking to each other, which for several months they had stopped doing.  The Kremlin’s summary of Friday’s conversation between Putin and Erdogan shows that they are still talking about improving their trade links and economic ties.  However, as the Kommersant article shows, even that limited progress now appears to be in jeopardy as the two countries’ conflicting stances in the Syrian war once again threaten to pull them apart.

In other words Turkey remains, as it has always been, an ally not of Russia and the Eurasian powers, but of the US and the West, and its actions in Syria are a clear demonstration of that.The original source of this article is The DuranCopyright © Alexander MercourisThe Duran, 2016

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Posted in Russia, Syria, TurkeyComments Off on Erdogan Calls Putin as Russia Seethes at Turkey’s Syrian Incursion

The Kurds: Washington’s Weapon of Mass Destabilization in the Middle East

Part I of the Three-Part Series

By Sarah Abed

Global Research,

Timely article by Sarah Abed on the Kurdistan-Israeli relationship first posted on Global Research on July 14, 2017

In this three part series, MintPress  and Global Research contributor Sarah Abed analyzes the role that some Kurdish factions have played throughout history in helping major powers create chaos in the Middle East – from the Kurdish uprising in Iraq in the 1960s to the ongoing conflict in Syria today.

SYRIA (Analysis)– Historical accounts of the Kurds have been a subject of mystery and perplexity for years, and have been seldom discussed by major Western media outlets until recently. Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the ongoing conflict in Syria, Kurds have been romanticized by mainstream media and U.S. politicians alike to justify a Western interventionist narrative in those countries. Ever since the U.S. invaded Syria, the U.S. and Israel have supported the semi-autonomous Kurdistan, with Israel purchasing $3.84 billion dollars worth of oil from them, a move that could have geopolitical and economic ramifications for both parties.

In 2015, the Financial Times reported that Israel had imported as much as 77 percent of its oil supply from Kurdistan in recent months, bringing in some 19 million barrels between the beginning of May and August 11. During that period, more than a third of all northern Iraqi exports, shipped through Turkey’s Ceyhan port, went to Israel, with transactions amounting to almost $1 billion, the report said, citing “shipping data, trading sources, and satellite tanker tracking.”

The sales are a sign of Iraqi Kurdistan’s growing assertiveness and the further fraying of ties between Erbil and Baghdad, which has long harbored fears that the Kurds’ ultimate objective is full independence from Iraq.

Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units, (Y.P.G), stand guard next to American armored vehicles at the Syria-Turkey border, Apri, 2017. (Youssef Rabie Youssef/EPA)

In 1966, Iraqi defense minister Abd al-Aziz al-Uqayli blamed the Kurds of Iraq for seeking to establish “a second Israel” in the Middle East. He also claimed that “the West and the East are supporting the rebels to create [khalq] a new Israeli state in the north of the homeland as they had done in 1948 when they created Israel. Interestingly enough, history is repeating itself with their present-day relationship – the existence of which is only acknowledged in passing by either side for fear of retribution.

For much of the conflict in Syria, several Kurdish militias have become some of the U.S.-led coalition’s closest allies within the country, receiving massive amounts of arms and heavy weapon shipments, as well as training from coalition members. Kurdish militias also dominate the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the U.S.-backed group best known for leading the coalition-supported offensive targeting the Daesh (ISIS) stronghold of Raqqa.The weapons that the United States has provided Kurdish and Arab fighters in the anti-Islamic State coalition include heavy machine guns, mortars, anti-tank weapons, armored cars and engineering equipment.

In May, U.S. President Donald Trump approved arming Kurdish militiamen in Syria with heavy weaponry, including mortars and machine guns. Within one month of Trump’s approval, 348 trucks with military assistance had been passed to the group, Anadolu added. According to the news agency’s data, the Pentagon’s list of weapons to be delivered to the group includes 12,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 6,000 machine guns, 3,000 grenade launchers and around 1,000 anti-tank weapons of Russian or U.S. origin.

The United States’ shipments included 130 trucks, with 60 cars passing on June 5, and 20 vehicles on June 12, per Sputnik News.

On June 17, Sputnik News reported that the United States is still supplying the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria with ammunition to fight Daesh, delivering 50 truckloads in one day alone, according to Turkish media reports. Earlier in the day, the trucks reached the city of al-Hasakah in northwest Syria.

Both historical and modern day ties between Israel and the Kurds have brought benefits to both sides. In the past, Israel has obtained intelligence, as well as support, for a few thousand Jews fleeing Ba’athist Iraq. The Kurds have received security and humanitarian aid, as well as links to the outside world, especially the United States. The first official acknowledgment that Jerusalem had provided aid to the Kurds dates back to Sept. 29, 1980, when Prime Minister Menachem Begin disclosed that Israel had supported the Kurds “during their uprising against the Iraqis in 1965 to 1975” and that the United States was aware of this fact. Begin added that Israel had sent instructors and arms, but not military units.

Ethnic Kurdish Israelis protest outside the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, July 8, 2010.

The Kurds are the largest group of nomadic people in the world that have remained stateless since the beginning of time. This fact has allowed Western powers to use the “stateless” plight of the Kurdish people as a tool to divide, destabilize and conquer Iraq and Syria, where colonial oil and gas interests run deep.

The U.S.-led coalition of war criminals is using elements of Syria’s Kurdish population to achieve its goal of destroying the non-belligerent, democratic country of Syria, led by its popular, democratically-elected President Bashar al-Assad. Washington seeks to create sectarianism and ethnic divides in a country that, prior to the Western-launched war, had neither.

However, Kurdologists reject this characterization because it does not fit into their account of historical events that attributes a state to them at one point in time. Their estimated population is 30 million, according to most demographic sources. They also reject the idea that they are being used as pawns.

Responding to a question about where the autonomous administration would “draw the line” on U.S. support and the support of other superpowers, the co-leader of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Salih Muslim Muhammad, stated

“Our guarantee is our mindset. It depends on how much we educate and organize our people. If we defend our morals and ideology, then bigger powers cannot use us as pawns.”

Perhaps no other group of people in modern times has been as romanticized in the Western conscience as the Kurds. Consistently portrayed as “freedom fighters” who are eternally struggling for a land denied to them, the Kurds have been frequently utilized throughout history by other countries and empires as an arrow and have never themselves been the bow.

In today’s case, the Kurds are being used by NATO and Israel to fulfill the modern-day colonialist aim of breaking up large states like Iraq into statelets to ensure geopolitical goals. When nations are divided into smaller statelets, they are easier to conquer by foreign entities. This is a signature move that powerful imperialist nations use for the purpose of colonizing smaller and less influential nations. The Kurds have been utilized as pawns in this “divide and conquer” strategy throughout history and continue to allow themselves to be used by colonial powers.

Ultra-leftist opportunists or real revolutionaries?

In an article written in 2007, NPR senior news analyst Daniel Schorr stated that the Kurds of Iraq have a long history of being used as pawns in regional power struggles. Now, they are finding themselves in the middle of a contest between the United States and Iran for dominance in the Middle East.

In 1973, President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had the CIA instigate a Kurdish uprising in northern Iraq against Saddam Hussein. The United States walked away from the rebellion when Saddam and the Shah of Iran settled their differences, leaving the Kurds to face their own fate. Interestingly, the Kurds seem to have developed amnesia by once again choosing to cooperate with Washington, which has repeatedly used them solely for its own benefit.

In the Gulf War over the Iraqi seizure of Kuwait in 1990, President George H.W. Bush appealed to the Kurds, as well as the Shiites in the south, to rise up in rebellion against Saddam.

A Kurd kisses a picture of United States President George W. Bush during celebrations in the streets of Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq Wednesday April 9, 2003. (AP/Kevin Frayer)

Victorious in that war, the American military permitted Saddam to retain his helicopter gunships, which he used to retaliate against the Kurds, along with Shiites, by the hundreds. American public opinion eventually forced the administration to establish northern and southern no-fly zones to protect the two populations.

Kurdish loyalty to America has cost them quite a bit, and so it is with a certain narcissism that the Bush administration presumed to tell the allegedly autonomous Kurds what kind of relations they could entertain with other countries in the region, including American rival Iran. But the Kurds appear to be finding themselves in a contest between the U.S. and Iran for dominance in the Middle East yet again.

Andrew Exum, a former top Pentagon Middle East policy official who served as an Army Ranger, stated

”… this decision — to arm a group closely associated with a foreign terrorist organization, and one that has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state — will likely reverberate through U.S. relations with Turkey for decades to come.”

The Turkish government has long insisted that the Kurdish militia is closely linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a separatist group known as the PKK. That group is listed by Turkey, the United States and Europe as a terrorist organization.

A rough estimate found in the CIA Factbook sets the Kurdish population at 14.5 million in Turkey, 6 million in Iran, about 5 to 6 million in Iraq and less than 2 million in Syria, which adds up to close to 28 million Kurds in what they refer to as “Kurdistan” and adjacent regions.

However, other sources state that there are only about 1.2 million Kurds left in Syria due to the carefully calculated and planned imposed war by NATO and its Gulf Allies. Roughly the same number migrated to Germany during the past six years.

It’s important to differentiate between Kurdish people who have assimilated in the countries they now reside in and reject the idea of establishing an illegal Kurdistan and those who are power hungry and are allowing themselves to team up with the West and Israel to assist in the destabilization of the region. Some Kurdish people in Syria, especially those that reside in areas that are not controlled by the Kurds, such as Damascus, are loyal to the Syrian government and have stated that they voted for Assad in 2014.

This free and democratic election saw Assad win 88.7 percent of the popular vote over the other two nominees. In the beginning of the war in Syria, there were Kurds fighting in the Syrian Arab Army, who received arms and salaries just like their Syrian counterparts. There are a small number that are still in the Syrian Arab Army in the southern Syria.

But in northeastern Syria, many Kurds have defected to the U.S.-led SDF where arms, salaries, and training are provided by the U.S. Syrians consider the Kurds who have remained loyal to Syria as their fellow Syrian brothers and sisters and the descriptions of Kurdish treachery in this article do not apply to them.

The loosely-knit coalition of Syrian rebel groups known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), are armed, trained and backed by the U.S. The group is currently engaged in the early stages of battle in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria.

Independence and disunity

An important thing to remember is that the ethnic marker “Kurd” refers to speakers of several different related, but distinct, languages. The two most important are Sorani in Iraq and Iran and Kurmanji in Syria, Turkey and smaller contiguous regions in Iraq and Iran. Sorani tends to use Arabic script, while Kurmanji uses Latin script, which shows how different they can be from one another.

Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is predominantly made up of Sorani speakers, while the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), PYD and other nationalist groups in Syria and Turkey speak Kurmanji. This division naturally maps these divergent political expressions. It is not as simple as superimposing the KRG’s borders over the PYD and PKK-controlled territory.

On the other hand, Turkey does not contest Sorani speakers’ aspirations to the same extent as it does Kurmanji speakers. Encouraging the autonomy of the Iraqi Kurds should not entail the same problems for the Turco-American alliance as encouraging Syro-Turkish Kurdish nationalism would.

The quest for independence is intrinsic to Kurdish identity. However, not all Kurds envision a unified Kurdistan that would span the Kurdish regions of four different sovereign countries. Most Kurdish movements and political parties are focused on the concerns and autonomy of Kurds within their respective countries. Within each country, there are Kurds who have assimilated and whose aspirations may be limited to greater cultural freedoms and political recognition.

Kurd

Kurds throughout the Middle East have vigorously pursued their goals through a multitude of groups. While some Kurds established legitimate political parties and organizations in efforts to promote Kurdish rights and freedom, others have waged armed struggles. Some, like the Turkish PKK, have employed guerrilla tactics and terror attacks that have targeted civilians, including their fellow Kurds.

The wide array of Kurdish political parties and groups reflects the internal divisions among Kurds, which often follow tribal, linguistic and national fault lines, in addition to political disagreements and rivalries. Tensions between the two dominant Iraqi Kurdish political parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) escalated to a civil war that killed more than 2,000 Kurds in the mid-1990s.

Political disunity stretches across borders as well, with Kurdish parties and organizations forming offshoots or forging alliances in neighboring countries. Today, disagreements over prospects for Kurdish autonomy in Syria or Iraqi Kurds’ relations with the Turkish government have fostered tensions that have pitted the Iraqi KDP and its Syrian sister organization, the KDP-S, against the PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD. Still, adversarial Kurdish groups have worked together when it has been expedient. The threat posed by Daesh has led the KDP-affiliated Peshmerga to fight alongside Syrian PYD forces.

Kurdish groups have, at times, bargained with not only their own governments but also neighboring ones – in some cases at the expense of their relations with their Kurdish brethren. The complex relationships among Kurdish groups and between the Kurds and the region’s governments have fluctuated, and alliances have formed and faltered as political conditions have changed. The Kurds’ disunity is cited by experts as one of the primary causes for their inability to form a state of their own.

The Kurds’ illegal, unjustified claims for autonomy

The West claims that the Kurds are one of the most moral and dignified forces in the Middle East fighting against Daesh. But if their focus is on defeating Daesh, as they claim, why are they committing genocide against Syrians in the process? Taking this into consideration, it is hard to justify the West’s persistent claim that armed Kurdish terrorist groups are trying to help Syria. The reality on the ground contradicts these empty compliments, which the West uses to save face while supporting these terrorist organizations. This false narrative was in fact used to arm the Kurds in Syria in order to create instability and division.

U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led Syria Democratic Forces raise their flag in the center of the town of Manbij after driving ISIS out of the area, in Aleppo province, Syria. (ANHA via AP)

It is strange that the Kurds would be so antagonistic towards Syrians, as the country has largely been welcoming for them. For example, reforms were made in Syria in 2012 to benefit the Kurds.

“President Assad issued a decree granting Arab Syrian citizenship to people registered as foreigners in the (governorate of Hassake),” said the SANA news agency.

The measure, which benefited about 300,000 Kurds, came a week after Assad tasked a committee with “resolving the problem of the 1962 census in the governorate of Hassake.”

In January 2015, SANA news reported that then-Syrian Prime Minister Dr. Wael al-Halqi said:

“the Kurds are a deeply-ingrained component of the Syrian society and Ayn al-Arab is part of Syria that is dear to the hearts of all Syrians.”

Al-Halqi’s affirmation came during his meeting with a Kurdish delegation which comprised Kurdish figures. He also urged all to discard violence and spread amity, reiterating that a solution to the Syrian crisis could be achieved “through national dialogue and consolidating national reconciliations,” indicating that dialogue will definitely be “under the homeland’s umbrella away from foreign dictates.”

In 2014, The Civil Democratic Gathering of Syrian Kurds said that the steadfastness of the people of Ayn al-Arab in the face of terrorists was a form of expression of the Syrian Kurds’ commitment to their affiliation to their homeland of Syria. The gathering’s Higher Council of Secretaries said that the steadfastness of Ayn al-Arab was cause for admiration and that attempts to transgress against the territorial integrity of Syria were parts of a plot to cause chaos and division and undermine the resistance axis.

These are just a few examples of the Syrian government’s attempts to unify all of those who live within the country’s borders. But even with these actions of good faith, the SDF has chosen to side with Syria’s enemies rather than work with the Syrian army.

A recent agreement – initiated and brokered by the U.S. between a Free Syrian Army (FSA) faction and the Kurdish-led SDF lays out conditions whereby U.S.-initiated negotiations would allow the FSA faction al-Muatasim Brigade to peacefully take over 11 villages in northern Syria that are controlled by the SDF. The general outlines of this unprecedented agreement were announced on May 10, stating that the U.S.-led coalition had delegated to al-Muatasim the task of being in charge of and administering the designated villages.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Al-Muatasim is known to be a strong ally of the U.S., which is why it was chosen to be in charge of the designated villages. This further proves the point that the U.S., SDF and FSA are still working together. Their cooperation is part of an effort to counter the progress being made by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies.

In Part II of MPN’s Sarah Abed analysis of the Kurds’ role in helping the U.S. and Israel destabilize the Middle East, she will explore more of their ties to Israel and other countries, as well as their links to Daesh.


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