Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

‘West must be held accountable for Libya, apologize & leave it alone’ – Gaddafi’s cousin

RT | February 21, 2017

The Libyan people are still suffering because Western powers continue to fuel the ongoing conflict there, the cousin of slain leader Muammar Gaddafi has said on the sixth anniversary of the Arab Spring, adding that the West should apologize and leave Libya alone.

“It is clear to everyone what is now happening in Libya: total destruction, people fleeing their homes, mass hunger. Our country has descended into total darkness, and our people are enduring suffering,” Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, the cousin of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, told RT in an exclusive interview.

“On this anniversary of the Arab Spring, we must demand an apology to all Libyans – those whose homes were destroyed, those who were humiliated. On their behalf, I demand that the UN Security Council and the leading world powers apologize for what happened in 2011.”

Friday marked six years since the start of the Arab Spring, a wave of violent and non-violent protests that engulfed the Middle East and North Africa.

The civil unrest that broke out in Libya on this revolutionary tide came after the US-backed bombing campaign of the country toppled its long-time leader Gaddafi.

The nation has since been torn apart by fighting between different armed gangs and factions seeking control, including terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), as well as two rival governments – the internationally-recognized government in Tobruk (GNA) and the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC) formed by Islamists. The two bodies agreed to form a unity government under an agreement proposed by the UN in December 2015, yet there still are numerous stumbling blocks which the sides have so far failed to overcome.

Gaddaf al-Dam stresses that the conflict was stirred up by the West, and that it should be held accountable.

“The war, the destruction of Libya, all that, in their own words, was a mistake. [The West] recognized that they caused the overthrow of a revolutionary regime in Libya. All of them, first of all, should apologize and correct all that they’d done. But the suffering Libyan people, living in basements, forced to flee their homes, see nothing of the sort six years on. No one even talks about it today. What is happening in Libya is a crime from all points of view,” Gaddaf al-Dam said.

He believes the international community was not only wrong to interfere in Libya in the first place, but must now stop its meddling to let Libya deal with the crisis itself.

“Unfortunately, the international community is still trying to manage the conflict in Libya – and doesn’t want to step aside. We are caught in a swamp. Every day there are meetings, in Tunisia, in Geneva… How much more of this? We are not children,” he stated, noting that the conflict in his view can only be solved through negotiations between representatives of all rival factions in Libya – including those who are now in prison, like Gaddafi’s son and former prominent political figure Saif al-Islam – and without foreign intervention.

Despite his calls to the West to let Libya manage the conflict on its own, Gaddaf al-Dam says the international community does not really want the crisis to end, seeing the war in Libya as only a part of the West’s bigger plot to destabilize all the Muslim states of the Middle East and North Africa.

“Ever since the 1980s Muammar Gaddafi warned of an existing conspiracy of Western countries against Libya. In fact, the plot was directed not only against Libya, but against all Muslim states. The implementation of this plan began with Afghanistan. Then came the destruction of Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya […]

“This hell, which was organized by Western countries in the region, aims to split the countries, and it is not only about Libya. […] Gaddafi in this regard was not an astrologist – he had the information and facts on his desk. He knew the history and was a revolutionary figure who tried to carry the values and principles of the 1969 revolution through the years. The aim of the revolution was to unite the Muslim Ummah [religious community] and the entire African continent, but as Gaddafi knew about [the West’s] plot and fought with it, he was killed,” Gaddaf al-Dam said.

The Libyan revolution of 1969, known as the al-Fateh Revolution or the 1st September Revolution, was a military coup that led to the overthrow of King Idris. It was carried out by the Free Officers Movement, a group of rebel military officers led by Colonel Gaddafi.

February 21, 2017 Posted by | War Crimes, Wars for Israel, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

US Claims of Russian Support for Taliban in Afghanistan False

Sputnik – 10.02.2017

09e8c882-efdb-479f-9f13-0509b5fc24d7MOSCOW — Claims in the United States of Russian support for Taliban militants in Afghanistan to erode Washington’s influence there are false, the Russian Foreign Ministry told Sputnik on Friday.

“This is a simple lie… This is nonsense,” Zamir Kabulov, director of the ministry’s Second Asian Department, said.

Kabulov’s remarks came in response to US Senator John McCain accusing Russia of “meddling in Afghanistan in an apparent attempt to prop up the Taliban and undermine the United States” in a Thursday hearing.

“All of these are attempts to justify their own failures and the inability to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan. There is no other explanation to this,” Kabulov said.

On February 9, top US commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson made a statement during a hearing at the Senate Armed Services Committee accusing Russia of working to “legitimize and support” the Taliban in Afghanistan, declining to say in the open hearing in what way, he believes, Russia could be providing support for the terrorist organization.

February 10, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

Thousands of US airstrikes unaccounted for in Syria, Iraq & Afghanistan – report

RT | February 6, 2017

US Central Command has been misleading the public in its assessment of the overall progress in the war on terror by failing to account for thousands of airstrikes in Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria, a Military Times investigation reveals.

The investigation revealed that open source data of US Air Force strikes does not contain all the missiles fired. That incomplete data, however, continues to be used by the Pentagon on multiple occasions in official reports and media publications.

The publication says that in 2016 alone, American aircraft conducted at least 456 airstrikes in Afghanistan that were not recorded in the database maintained by the US Air Force.

The investigation also revealed discrepancies in Iraq and Syria where the Pentagon failed to account for nearly 6,000 strikes dating back to 2014, when the US-led coalition has launched its first airstrikes against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS,ISIL) terrorist targets.

According to the Air Force, coalition jets conducted 23,740 airstrikes through the end of 2016. The US Defense Department, however, puts the number at 17,861 until the end of January 2017.

“The Pentagon routinely cites these figures when updating the media on its operations against the Islamic State and al-Qaida affiliates in Iraq and Syria,” the publication says.

Military Times remains especially puzzled by a statement made by an Air Force official in December who assured the publication that its monthly summary of activity in Iraq and Syria “specifically” represents the entire American-led coalition “as a whole, which is all 20-nations and the US branches.”

“It’s unclear whether this statement was intentionally misleading, or simply indicative of widespread internal ignorance, confusion or indifference about what’s contained in this data,” Andrew deGrandpre, Military Times’ senior editor and Pentagon bureau chief, said in the article.

Military Times says that the “most alarming” aspects of the investigation are that the discrepancies in numbers go back as far as 2001, when the US, under George W. Bush’s administration, struck Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attacks on American soil.

The publication reveals that the unaccounted-for airstrikes in all three war zones were allegedly conducted by US helicopters and armed drones which are overseen by US Central Command.

“The enormous data gap raises serious doubts about transparency in reported progress against the Islamic State, al-Qaida, and the Taliban, and calls into question the accuracy of other Defense Department disclosures documenting everything from costs to casualty counts,” deGrandpre wrote.

The Pentagon and Army did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“Those other key metrics include American combat casualties, taxpayer expense and the military’s overall progress in degrading enemy capabilities,” the publication added, wondering whether the military wanted to mislead the American public.

READ MORE:

US report on civilian casualties in Iraq & Syria: ‘Figures plucked out of thin air’

Pentagon acknowledges just 5-10% percent of actual civilian casualties in Syria – Amnesty to RT

February 5, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Trump’s Muslim ban is insulting but sheikhs will adapt

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | January 29, 2017

The US President Donald Trump has hit Pakistan and Saudi Arabia hard where it hurts most – making things difficult for their elites to travel to America or get a Green Card — by subjecting the visa applicants to ‘extreme vetting’.

To societies such as Pakistan (or India for that matter), the ultimate insult that Washington can give is to deny the elites the privilege to visit America. Pakistani elites were willing to eat grass if necessary for making atom bomb, but if restrictions are put on their travel to America, it hurts. The bottom line is seamless freedom to criticize America and alongside unhindered right to visit America. Unsurprisingly, the Pakistani elites are livid with anger. The reaction ranges from embarrassment to indignation. In an editorial comment, the Pakistani newspaper The Nation advised the government that “its attempts to befriend the Trump administration might be altogether pointless.”

But Trump won’t retract. He knows it is an immensely popular move, as the average American thinks that the Muslim is a troublemaker and best kept away at arm’s length.

How do the European countries see Trump’s move? Will they emulate him? The fact of the matter is that anti-Muslim feelings are widespread in the countries of western and central Europe too. However, Europe may dither, because it damages their self-esteem as the ‘civilized world’ if primeval passions mutate as state policies. Besides, western companies make a lot of money in the CGG markets.

How will India look at Trump’s Muslim ban? The government will probably find it expedient to take an evasive stance by keeping mum or choosing to take a stroll on the sidewalk. A ‘senior MEA official’ probably did that by observing,

  • India is not really worried at the moment as the religious radicalization has not been a big problem in the country and it has not been a source of refugees. So far no Indians have been arrested abroad for being involved in acts of terror.

Will India’s political parties voice opinions? This is, after all, election time in Uttar Pradesh. Indeed, the hardliners among our elites may (quietly) draw some vicarious satisfaction. One of them has blamed Trump for being not hard enough on Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Trump’s detractors in America allege that he made an exception of those Muslim countries where he has business interests. Bloomberg illustrated the point with graphics. Take a look, here. In reality, though, it is a weak argument. With the solitary exception of the UAE, whose sheikhs have had a dismal record of promoting radical Islamist groups as instruments of foreign policies, Trump’s business empire overwhelmingly spans the non-Muslim world – Argentina, Brazil, Bermuda, Canada, China, Ireland, UK and US.

Will this sort of discriminatory attitude of viewing Muslim countries as plague-ridden regions colour Trump’s policies toward the Muslim Middle East? These are early days. Trump is courting Israel, but then, he could be calculating that it pays to keep the Jewish lobby in America (which controls the Congress, media and think tanks) happy. In Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump has a cabinet minister who extensively cultivated Middle eastern elites. But the US has no more reason to covetously eye the Middle East’s oil. The US is not only energy self-sufficient but will likely be a major exporter in a conceivable future. Having said that, petrodollar recycling still continues to be of relevance to US industry and banking system.

Trump could be betting that the sheikhs have no option but to swallow the humiliation. A trace of contempt was probably discernible in his pugnacious remark calling for ‘safe zones’ for Syrian refugees, during a post-election thank-you trip in December:

  • We’ll build safe zones in Syria. When I look at what’s going on in Syria, it’s so sad. It’s so sad. And we’ve got to help people. And we have the Gulf States. They have nothing but money. We don’t have money. We owe $20 trillion. I will get the Gulf States to give us lots of money, and we’ll build and help build safe zones in Syria, so people can have a chance. So they can have a chance.

So, in the mother of all ironies, Trump is bullish he’d get King Salman to cough up the money to put up Syrian refugees who have been rendered stateless in a bloody conflict that Saudi Arabia in the first instance promoted.  And, furthermore, he now expects that Salman would counsel his princes and princesses to patiently queue up for ‘extreme vetting’ to get American visas. It’s no more possible for them to succumb to the sudden itch to board their private jets and head for America to do shopping or indulge in fun and frolic.

To add insult to injury, Saudi Arabia has been bracketed with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Trump promised: “We’re going to have extreme vetting in all cases. And I mean extreme. And we’re not letting people in if we think there’s even a little chance of some problem… we’re gonna have extreme vetting. It’s going to be very hard to come in. Right now it’s very easy to come in. It’s gonna be very, very hard. I don’t want terror in this country.” By the way, Trump’s Muslim ban is not applicable to any country other than Saudi Arabia within the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The wheel has come full circle since the Faustian deal between FDR and King Abdul Aziz at their fateful meeting in 1945 in Egypt whereby in lieu for secure access to supplies of Saudi oil, US guaranteed the military security of the Wahhabi regime.

January 29, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Afghanistan: Obama Sends Marines to Take Part in America’s Longest Ever War

By Peter KORZUN | Strateic Culture Foundation | 16.01.2017

President Obama has decided to send 300 US Marines back into Afghanistan’s Helmand Province – the first time in three years that the US military has been sent into that conflict zone.

Almost all of Helmand’s districts, except for the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, are either heavily embattled or fully controlled by the Taliban. The province is the leading opium producer in the country.

Despite all the promises to withdraw, 8,400 US troops will remain in Afghanistan as the president leaves office on January 20. If the US pulls out, the Afghan government will hardly be able to hold power.

American forces have been engaged in combat action there for over 15 years – the longest war waged by the United States – without end to hostilities in sight.

Around 200 NATO soldiers, mainly Italians, have also been deployed to Afghanistan’s volatile western province of Farah after attempts by Taliban fighters in recent months to overrun its capital city.

About a third of the country – more territory than at any time since 2001 – is either under insurgent control or in risk of coming under it. The Taliban forces have challenged Afghan security forces for a number of key cities in 2016. With fighting under way in 24 of the 34 provinces, the government’s ability to control the country is questioned.

Last December, General John Nicholson, the chief US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, said the government directly controls about 64 percent of the population of 30 million, down slightly from 68 percent earlier in 2016.

According to Robert Grenier who served as CIA’s top counter-terrorism official and was the station chief in Islamabad, Pakistan, from 1999 to 2002, there are significant parts of the country, particularly in the south and the east, where it seems inevitable that the Taliban will further consolidate their control. The Afghan forces had more than 15,000 casualties in the first eight months of 2016, including more than 5,500 deaths.

The administration in Kabul lacks unity while the clout of regional leaders and warlords is growing. The UN says 7 million people in Afghanistan need aid. 2.2 million of them suffer from malnutrition. Poverty and unemployment prompt young Afghans to join extremist groups.

After the Russian forces in Syria struck the oil infrastructure under the control of Islamic State (IS), the issue of controlling heroin routes in Afghanistan became even more important for the group. According to the Russian Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN), the IS militants make $1 billion a year from Afghan heroin. The possibility of alliance between the Taliban and IS is a real nightmare.

Afghan officials have approached Russia asking it to resume cooperation. Its representatives believe that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has a role to play in managing the crisis in the country. NATO officials have also made statements in support of resuming Russia-NATO cooperation in Afghanistan. The cooperation was suspended after Crimea became part of the Russian Federation in 2014.

Moscow allowed land transit though its territory of non-military freight from NATO and non-NATO ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) countries. NATO used the transit center near Ulyanovsk. The parties implemented a program of common training for the prevention of drug trade in Central Asia.

Russia sold military equipment and ammunition to support the NATO operations in Afghanistan. For instance, in 2010 NATO bought 31 Russian Mi-17 helicopters to refurbish them for the Afghan army.

Against the background of ballyhoo raised in the United States regarding the “threat” coming from Moscow, Washington has partially lifted sanctions against Russian cooperation with Afghanistan on helicopter maintenance. It was not the only time. The US has broken its own sanctions regime allowing the acquisition of Russian technology for its space program.

The Afghan government badly needs more Russian helicopters to repel Taliban and IS attacks. In 2016, it formally asked the Russian government to start the deliveries.

If Russia delivers its aviation equipment to Afghanistan, it will need to train Afghan personnel. Formally, that’s what US and NATO are doing in Afghanistan now- they are in the country on advising and training missions. In fact, it will mean the resumption of cooperation while carrying out the same mission.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently expressed concern over the situation in Afghanistan and called for taking urgent steps to tackle the problem. The instability in that country spreads to Central Asia posing a direct threat to Russia’s security. Roughly, 2,000 militants operating in the Afghan northern provinces come from the countries of the post-Soviet space.

There is a growing risk of extremist attacks on the states allied with Moscow. Fighters with combat experience received in Syria have already been spotted in the Uzbek Fergana Valley. The infiltration of Islamic State (IS) into Afghanistan threatens the Russian North Caucasus and the Volga region. Besides, Afghan heroin kills 25,000 Russians annually.

Afghanistan is a burning issue – a problem that only an international effort can solve. This is an issue of common interest for Russia and the Alliance. The situation in the country could be discussed within the framework of Russia-NATO Council. On January 4, the Russian Foreign Ministry made a very important statement saying Russia was ready to restore the relations with NATO. Afghanistan could become a starting point on the way of rebuilding the broken relationship.

January 16, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Beatification of Barack Obama

obama-breaks-law-violates-constitution-gitmo-swap-550x324
By Kit | OffGuardian | January 15, 2017

As the eight-year term of America’s first black President draws to a close, the media are already in the process of myth-making. There’s room for an honest autopsy of a man who promised a new kind of world, and delivered merely warmed-over soundbites and a few fake tears.

“With Barack Obama’s exit the US is losing a saint.” writes Simon Jenkins in the Guardian, whilst Ann Perkins praises his “grace, decency and defence of democracy”. Lola Okolosie rhapsodises on his legacy of “warmth, love, resilience”.

Already the storyline is set – Obama was a good man, who tried to do great things, but was undone by a Republican senate, and his own “sharp intelligence”.

These people, as much as anybody, reflect the cognitive dissonance of the modern press. “Liberals”, to use their own tortured self-descriptor, now assign the roles of good guy and bad guy based purely on aesthetics, convenience and fuel for their vanity. Actions and consequences are immaterial.

For the sake of balance, here is a list of Saint Obama’s unique achievements:

  • Obama is the first President in American history to be at war for every single day of an 8 year presidency.
  • Obama has carried out 10x more drone strikes than Bush ever did. Every Tuesday a military aide presents Obama with a “kill list”, and the “decent, gracious” Obama picks a few names off a list…and kills them. And their families. And their neighbours. These illegal acts of state-sanctioned murder have killed hundreds of civilians in 5 different countries in 2016 alone. The only reason that number isn’t higher, is that the Obama administration re-classified all males over 18 as combatants, regardless of occupation.
  • After declaring he wanted to build a “nuclear free world”, Obama committed to spending $1 TRILLION dollars on rebuilding America’s nuclear weapons.
  • Under Obama, the NSA et al. were able to spy on, essentially, the whole world. When this was revealed, not a single intelligence officer or government official was prosecuted. Instead…
  • Obama’s administration declared a “war on whistleblowers”, enacting new laws and initiating what they call the “Insider Threat Program”. Manning was prosecuted, Snowden sent into exile and Assange was set-up, discredited and (they hoped) extradited. It has never been more dangerous to be a government whistle-blower, than under Barack Obama
  • In terms of foreign policy, despite his press-created and non-sensical reputation as a non-interventionist, American Special Forces are currently operating in over 70% of the world’s 138 countries. The great lie is that, where Bush was a warmonger, Obama has sought to avoid conflict. The truth is that Obama, in the grand tradition of the CIA and American Imperial power, has simply turned all America’s wars into covert wars.
  • Before Obama came into office, Libya was the richest and most developed nation in Africa. It is now a hell-hole. Destroyed by war, hollowed-out by corruption. The “liberal” press allow him to agonise over this as his “greatest mistake”, and then gently pardon him for his good intentions. The truth is that Libya was not a mistake, or a misjudgment, or an unforeseen consequence. Libya is exactly what America wanted it to become. A failed state where everything is for sale, a base to pour illegal CIA weapons south into Africa and east into the ME. When war is your economy, chaos is good for business. When secrecy is your weapon, anarchy is ammunition. Libya went according to plan. A brutal plan that killed 100,000s and destroyed the lives of millions more. Libya, like Iraq, is a neocon success story. Syria on the other hand…
  • Syria, probably the word that will follow Obama out of office as “Iraq” did his predecessor, is a total failure. Both of stated intent and covert goals. Where the press will mourn Obama’s “indecisive nature” and wish he’d “used his big stick”, the real story is one of evil incompetence, so great that it would be almost comical… if it hadn’t destroyed an ancient seat of civilisation and killed 100,000s of people. Syria (along with Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Iran and Sudan) was on the list of the 7 countries America intended to destroy, famously “leaked” by General Wesley Clark. After the fall of Libya, Syria was (essentially) surrounded by American military on all sides. Iraq, Israel, Turkey and America operating out of Libya could pour “freedom fighters” into Syria to bring down “the regime”. When that didn’t work they deployed the trusty “WMD” method, to demand “humanitarian intervention”… the Russians saw that off. Then “ISIS” was created by the CIA, as al-Qaida were before them, and their manufactured barbarism was used as a pretext for invasion. The Russians, again, saw to it that this would not happen.
  • Perhaps in the hope of distracting Russia from the ME, or perhaps merely as a short-sighted punitive measure, the Obama administration’s next foreign policy target was Ukraine. Victoria Nuland’s own voice proves how much that “color revolution” was an American creation. Ukraine is broke, even more broke than it was, its people starve and freeze through the winter. The new “democratic government” has shelled 10,000 people to death in the East of the country…. using American weapons.
  • In Yemen, the poorest country in the ME is being bombed to shreds by the richest…. again, using American (and British) weapons. Obama’s “defense of democracy” doesn’t extend to criticising, or even discussing, the abhorrent Human Rights record of America’s Saudi Arabian allies, and in an act of brazen hypocrisy, even supported their chairing of the Human Rights Council of the UN.

This is the world Saint Obama has created. Guantanamo is still open, and terrorist “suspects” are still held there without trial or charge (they are probably still tortured). Other “suspects” can be simply declared guilty, and unilaterally executed… anywhere in the world. The NSA and CIA are illegally monitoring the communications of half the world. If any other leader in the world claimed even 1% of this power, they would be decried as “autocratic”, and their country denounced as a “pariah state”.

The Middle-East is ablaze from Libya to Afghanistan, and from Yemen to Turkey. Relations with Russia are as precarious as at any time since WWII, thanks to America’s efforts to break Russia economically and shatter their global influence. There is no sign that America intends to back-down (see the recent red-scare style hysteria in the American press). Likewise America has positioned itself to have a massive conflict with China in the South China Sea. Obama is, in terms of influence, nothing more than a used-car salesman. His job is not to create policy, but to sell neocon ideas to the general public, but his lack of agency cannot excuse his lack of vision or morals. Under Obama’s notional leadership the world has moved to the very brink of self-immolation in the name of protecting American hegemony. Domestically America still crumbles.

He had a nice smile, and a good turn of phrase. He was witty, and cool, and looked good in a suit… but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t just more of the same. He could say the right things, and sound like he meant them, but he was still a monster. As he moves out to pasture, the press will try to spit-shine Obama’s tarnished halo, to try to convince us that he was a good man at heart and that, as politicians go, we can’t do any better.

But yes, we can.

January 15, 2017 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will Obama’s ‘Good War’ in Afghanistan Continue?

By Ron Paul | January 8, 2017

Last week, as the mainstream media continued to obsess over the CIA’s evidence-free claim that the Russians hacked the presidential election, President Obama quietly sent 300 US Marines back into Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. This is the first time in three years that the US military has been sent into that conflict zone, and it represents a final failure of Obama’s Afghanistan policy. The outgoing president promised that by the end of his second term, the US military would only be present in small numbers and only on embassy duty. But more than 8,000 US troops will remain in Afghanistan as he leaves office.

When President Obama was first elected he swore that he would end the US presence in Iraq (the “bad” war) and increase US presence in Afghanistan (the “good” war). He ended up increasing troops to both wars, while the situation in each country continued to deteriorate.

Why are the Marines needed in the Helmand Province? Because although the foolish and counterproductive 15-year US war in Afghanistan was long ago lost, Washington cannot face this fact. Last year the Taliban controlled 20 percent of the province. This year they control 85 percent of the province. So billions more must be spent and many more lives will be lost.

Will these 300 Marines somehow achieve what the 2011 peak of 100,000 US soldiers was not able to achieve? Will this last push “win” the war? Hardly! The more the president orders military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, the worse it gets. In 2016, for example, President Obama dropped 1,337 bombs on Afghanistan, a 40 percent increase from 2015. According to the United Nations, in 2016 there were 2,562 conflict-related civilian deaths and 5,835 injuries. And the Taliban continues to score victories over the Afghan puppet government.

The interventionists in Washington continue to run our foreign policy regardless of who is elected. They push for wars, they push for regime change, then they push for billions to reconstruct the bombed-out countries. When the “liberated” country ends up in worse shape, they claim it was because we just didn’t do enough of what ruined the country in the first place. It’s completely illogical, but the presidents who keep seeking the neocons’ advice don’t seem to notice. Obama – the “peace” candidate and president – has proven himself no different than his predecessors.

What will a President Trump do about the 15 year failed nation-building experiment in Afghanistan? He has criticized the long-standing US policy of “regime-change” and “nation-building” while on the campaign trail, and I would like to think he would just bring the troops home. However, I would not be surprised if he accelerates US military action in Afghanistan to “win the war” once and for all. He will not succeed if he does so, as the war is not winnable – no one even knows what “winning” looks like! We may well see even more US troops killing and being killed in Afghanistan a year from now if that is the case. That would be a terrible tragedy.

January 9, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | 1 Comment

US withdrawal, the only hope for peace in Afghanistan: Scholar

Press TV – January 7, 2017

The best case scenario for peace in Afghanistan is US withdrawal of forces from the country and multilateral negotiations between main stakeholders to establish a national unity government, according to Professor Dennis Etler, an American political analyst who has a decades-long interest in international affairs.

Etler, a professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Saturday while commenting on a US military announcement which says the Pentagon will deploy a new task force of approximately 300 Marines to Afghanistan’s restive Helmand Province, marking the return to a region where hundreds of troops were killed in fierce combat.

The forces with a unit called Task Force Southwest will deploy this spring to advise the Afghan army and police, senior Marine officers said Friday. The deployment will last nine months and is expected to evolve into a series of similar rotations for the Marines, officials said.

us-military-bases-surround-iranThere are approximately 8,500 US troops in Afghanistan, with most being located at major installations in the capital, Kabul, and at the US airfield in Bagram.

Professor Etler said, “With the lame duck Obama administration quickly coming to an end the question of the US/NATO presence in Afghanistan comes to the fore.”

“The Afghan war which began in 2001 has been the longest that the US has fought. After thousands of casualties and billions of dollars Afghanistan is less secure than any time since the US invasion with one third of the country under Taliban control and a plethora of Takfiri terrorist groups infiltrating the territory,” he stated.

“As things now stand the interminable US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan appears to be headed for another round of escalation,” the analyst noted.

Will Trump follow through on his vow to leave Afghanistan?

Professor Etler said that “there is a new administration set to be installed in Washington.”

“Trump has vociferously stated time and time again that Afghanistan is a rat hole into which the US has heedlessly sent thousands of US soldiers and spent billions of dollars to little if any effect. Trump in a tweet from 2013 succinctly said, ‘Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA,’” he stated.

“The question is will Trump once he’s in the White House live up to his words? And if he does what will happen to Afghanistan? Will it become a hot bed of Takfiri terrorism like Iraq and Syria? The Taliban are an indigenous force motivated by nationalist fervor to expel foreign occupiers of whatever sort. They have demonstrated that they will unrelentingly persist in their resistance no matter how long it takes,” he said.

“The only way out is multinational negotiations in which the Taliban participate as fully vested members. Russia and China, hoping to stem the tide of Takfiri terrorism gaining a foothold on their borders, have already stepped into the breach,” he said.

“Late in 2016, Russian, Chinese and Pakistani officials met in Moscow calling for a flexible approach towards working with the Taliban to foster a peaceful dialogue,” the researched argued.

“The Taliban have also maintained strong links to China, having sent a delegation to discuss the situation in Afghanistan in July 2016 and declaring that they will protect Chinese interests in a $3 billion copper mining project in the northern part of the country,” he stated.

“The best case scenario for peace in Afghanistan is multilateral negotiations between the Afghan government, the Taliban, Pakistan, Russia and China to establish a government of national unity in which the Taliban are full participants,” the analyst noted.

“As with the recently brokered ceasefire in Syria there is no need for US/NATO involvement. In fact, as Trump has previously stated, it’s time for the US to get out and go home. Let the adults resolve the issues that the US and its NATO allies have only exacerbated,” he advised.

“But will Trump do as he says? Will he let others succeed where the US has failed? Only time will tell,” he concluded.

January 7, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Historic Moment for Iran and Russia

gorbachev_putin_447a0

By Eric Walberg | American Herald Tribune | December 31, 2016

On January 1, 1988, just a year and a half before he passed away on June 3, 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini made a historic move, reaching out the Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, in a gesture of anti-imperialist solidarity, despite the long hiatus in relations with communist Russia. This was at a time of war against Iraq and continued subversion of Iran by the US and Israel.

Ayatollah Khomeini made other prescient gestures in his short and difficult decade as the leader of the Islamic revolution in Iran; in the first place, the transfer of the Israeli embassy to Palestinian representatives, the canceling of recognition of Israel, and the inauguration of al-Quds Day as an annual international holiday on the last Friday of Ramadan. He met with Fidel Castro and other third world leaders, encouraging solidarity against the imperialist foe.

The unprecedented visit of the Iranian delegation to Moscow was a sincere offer of support to the faltering Soviet leader, who had rejected the atheism of the Soviet past. It contrasts with the treatment of the supposedly friendly US to Russia, which was at the same time conspiring to subvert the Soviet Union, even as Gorbachev was sincerely reaching out to the hawkish Reagan, offering a generous plan of world nuclear disarmament. The Ayatollah’s warning not to trust the West was being brought home to Gorbachev graphically as the last Soviet troops were retreating into Uzbekistan in 1988. Despite the unilateral withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan, the US was continuing to arm the insurgents, killing those doomed soldiers as they crossed the Afghanistan-Uzbekistan Friendship Bridge, built in 1982. Imperialism takes no prisoners.

Iran played no part in the US-backed ‘jihad’ in Afghanistan in the 1980s that brought the collapse of the Soviet Union. Iranian leaders knew that nothing good would come from working in alliance with America.

The Ayatollah knew this well, and was alarmed at the naiveté of Gorbachev. The Ayatollah warned in his letter that the western world was an “illusory heaven”, that appeared seductive. But the truth lies elsewhere. “If you hope, at this juncture, to cut the economic Gordian knots of socialism and communism by appealing to the center of western capitalism, you will, far from remedying any ill of your society, commit a mistake which those to come will have to erase. For, if Marxism has come to a deadlock in its social and economic policies, capitalism has also bogged down, in this as well as in other respects though in a different form.”

Gorbachev was offended and objected. “This invitation is an interference in the internal issue of a country. Because every country is free for selecting its school of thought.” He took the Ayatollah’s sincere advice as interference, rather than friendly concern. “Imam Khomeini invited us to Islam; do we have to invite him to our school of thought?”

History has proved the fears that the Ayatollah expressed justified. Gorbachev was standing on the edge of the abyss. Sadly, he scoffed at the ability of the Ayatollah to see the danger and to want to help him. But it was too late by then. Gorbachev had lost control, thinking he was handing power to the people, not recognizing that such a wish was an illusion. The disaster of the collapse of the Soviet Union will reverberate for generations to come, as the Ayatollah predicted.

Gorbachev was operating on a different wavelength when he received the letter from the Ayatollah, trying to cozy up to Israel and the US, again, naively thinking goodwill gestures would be reciprocated. He opened the doors to the emigration of Soviet Jews in 1988 and prepared to renew full diplomatic relations with Israel. At the same time Gorbachev promised Arafat during a state visit that year that the Soviet Union would recognize an independent Palestinian state if proclaimed, naively hoping that Israel would show gratitude for his generosity by negotiating a genuine peace with the Palestinians. Arafat declared independence in November 1988 and got Soviet recognition the next year, but it was not much consolation. Israel was busy setting up consular offices in Moscow and elsewhere, issuing eventually a million visas to Soviet Jews to come to Israel.

Hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews got instant Israeli citizenship and emigrated, many of them settling illegally in the Occupied Territories, nominally part of a Soviet-recognized Palestinian state. By the end of 1991 when full diplomatic relations with Israel were restored, over 325,000 Soviet Jews had emigrated. Gorbachev’s hope to bring a quick peace to the Middle East were dashed as he was ousted from power, leaving the PLO abandoned and Israel stronger than ever. Just as the Zionists had hoodwinked Stalin into recognizing Israel, they once again hoodwinked a Soviet leader into re-recognizing it. Instead of increasing Soviet/Russian influence by this dual recognition, all influence was lost, the Palestinians were hurt by the Soviet betrayal, while the Israelis welcomed a million new Jewish immigrants.

Gorbachev’s trust was betrayed by both the US and Israel; the Soviet Union collapsed as Soviet Jews fled to the illusory western heaven. The world logically expected a new era free of the threat of war, a peace dividend that would improve the lot of people everywhere, ensuring that the material imperative behind war was eliminated. But the triumph of empire has never led to an end to empire, and strengthening empire has never led to improving the lot of the periphery.

This was clear in the centuries of imperialism, where the periphery was impoverished at the expense of the center. There was no reason to believe a new Great Game of empire could be any different, even Bush I’s postmodern variant, with the US firmly in control. Indeed, the impoverishment of all who are not part of the center/periphery elite has only accelerated.

Today, the US continues to work with the Saudis to destabilize the Iran-Iraq ‘Shia arc’ replaying the endgame against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, this time with clandestine operations being carried out by the US, Saudis and Israelis—all jealous of Iran’s increasing influence in the Middle East.

US support for Islamists continues to haunt the region, notably Syria and Iraq, even as US power ebbs. Following the uprisings in the Arab world in early 2011, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev suggested that the revolts in the Arab world were sparked by outside forces scheming to undermine Russia. “I won’t call any names but a whole range of countries, even those we have friendly relations with, have nevertheless been involved in terrorism in the [Russian] Caucasus.”

In the ideological vacuum created by the collapse of communism, two Russian ideologies have arisen—Atlantism and Eurasianism, both with roots in the nineteenth century, the latter, a geopolitical reaction to the decadence of the West, articulated persuasively by Nikolai Trubetskoi and Lev Gumilev in the mid-1920s and today by Alexander Dugin. Russia and Iran are already playing key roles in establishing this new reality, building on the first step taken by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1988. The world’s problems will only be solved based on a new geopolitical reality with Russia and Iran at its heart, the kernel of truth in the Ayatollah’s historic gesture in 1988.

December 31, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Pentagon to deploy 2,300 more US troops to Afghanistan

Press TV – December 9, 2016

The United States military says it will deploy an armor brigade and an aviation brigade totaling about 2,300 soldiers to Afghanistan this winter.

The Pentagon made the announcement in a statement released on Thursday, saying 1,500 soldiers will be sent to Afghanistan this winter, in addition to another 800 troops that will be deployed in support of a training mission known as Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

“This deployment is part of a regular rotation of forces in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel,” the press release stated, adding that the soldiers were “well-trained, well-led and fully prepared for the challenges this mission will bring.”

No exact date was given in the announcement for when the US troops will leave for the deployment to Afghanistan.

The United States — under Republican George W. Bush’s presidency — and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban regime from power, but after about one and-a-half-decade, the foreign troops are still deployed to the country.

After becoming the president in 2008, President Barack Obama, a Democrat, vowed to end the Afghan war — one of the longest conflicts in US history – but he failed to keep his promise.

US President-elect Donald Trump, who speaks against the Afghan war, has dubbed the 2001 invasion and following occupation of Afghanistan as “Obama’s war”.

Obama has ordered the military to take on the Taliban more directly and enable Afghan forces battling the militant group.

In October last year, Obama announced plans to keep 9,800 US troops in Afghanistan through 2016 and 5,500 in 2017, reneging on his promise to end the war there and bring home most American forces from the Asian country before he leaves office.

According to US officials, Washington would also maintain a large counter-terrorism capability of terror drones and Special Operations Forces to fight militants in Afghanistan.

There are now about 10,000 American troops in Afghanistan, as well as some 6,000 NATO service members, to “train and advise” Afghan security forces fighting Taliban.

Over the past several months, Taliban militants have intensified their pressure with numerous offensives on other key Afghan provinces, including Kunduz and Takhar.

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | Leave a comment

NATO’s Rear-Guard Actions

euro-nato-collapse

By Brian CLOUGHLEY | Strategic Culture Foundation | 29.11.2016

In the military a rearguard action is defined as ‘a defensive action carried out by a retreating army’ and it is an appropriate description of the desperate scrabbling by NATO to convince the rest of the world — and especially Donald Trump — that its existence is justified.

President-elect Trump has never said that the US should actually leave NATO. Certainly Hillary Clinton declared that he ‘wants to pull out of NATO’ but this was just another of her lies, and what he said back in April was that it is ‘obsolete’ which is a gentle way of indicating that it’s hopeless. He did, after all, tell a town hall meeting in Wisconsin: «Maybe Nato will dissolve and that’s OK, not the worst thing in the world», but although that may have sent shivers up the supple spine of NATO’s Secretary General Stoltenberg, it was by no means a definitive statement of intention.

The fact remains that The Donald is unhappy with NATO, and he’s perfectly right to consider that it’s a vastly expensive and largely ineffective military grouping that indeed should be disbanded. On the other hand, the massive propaganda campaign waged against Russia has convinced much of the world that Moscow has expansionist plans and that the only way to counter its supposed ambitions is to spend more money — lots and lots more money — and deploy troops and aircraft and ships all over the place to make it look as if gallant little NATO is defending the so-called Free World against the might of an illusory aggressor.

Trump may not have examined the minutiae of the NATO shambles, but in spite of being a bit of a blowhard whose knowledge of international affairs is modest, he’s not a fool, and even he can perceive that NATO has a record of catastrophe.

The Financial Times reported him as saying «Its possible that we’re going to have to let Nato go. When we’re paying and nobody else is really paying, a couple of other countries are but nobody else is really paying, you feel like the jerk». He said that if elected president he would contact many of the other 27 NATO members and put pressure on them to make a larger financial contribution or leave. «I call up all of those countries… and say ‘fellas you haven’t paid for years, give us the money or get the hell out’», he said, to loud cheering.

This may have been populist rhetoric, but it played to the people who matter to him — to the people who elected him. When he becomes President he might well think that he owes them a lot more than he does to NATO.

In March Stoltenberg told NATO countries that «the time has come to invest more in defence» but his motives for doing so were not those of Mr Trump, because Trump, like any businessman, wants to look carefully at expenditure and go on to make a profit, while Stoltenberg wants to spend money — including a great deal of American money — to justify existence of the costly monolith that has grown larger, more expensive and less effective over the past twenty years.

Stoltenberg sought to vindicate NATO’s record by writing an article for Britain’s Observer newspaper to say that NATO had strongly supported the United States following the 9/11 atrocities by joining it in its war in Afghanistan. ‘This,’ he declared, ‘was more than just a symbol. NATO went on to take charge of the operation in Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of European soldiers have served in Afghanistan since. And more than 1,000 have paid the ultimate price in an operation that is a direct response to an attack against the United States.’

The truth differs from what Stoltenberg claims. He is correct in saying that NATO became heavily involved (and lost a thousand troops for no reason at all), but gives the impression that NATO was there, poised and ready to take the leap into action when the US and Britain invaded Afghanistan in October 2001. Certainly the forces of the US and the UK were joined by troops from other countries — but it wasn’t until August 2003 that NATO itself managed to become involved, when, as the BBC reported, it ‘assumed control of peacekeeping in Afghanistan – the alliance’s first ever operational commitment outside Europe.’ And things went screaming downhill from that time.

There was no need for NATO, as such, to become involved, because there were plenty of alliance countries with contingents already in Afghanistan (for example, the Germans had been there since January 2002 and Canadians and Italians since December 2001). All that NATO added to the foreign military machine in Afghanistan was yet another layer of military bureaucracy. The result was described in, among other histories, ‘The Good War’, an excellent account of the catastrophe by Jack Fairweather who describes the reaction of President Bush’s National Security Adviser, General Douglas Lute, who saw the map of NATO operations in 2008 and was of the opinion that «each nation was fighting its own private war. Nobody was running the show, and there was no common purpose».

In present-day NATO there are far too many people «running the show» and the purpose of the show itself is far from clear. Stoltenberg and other champions of the continuing existence of the expensive farce claim that there’s a threat from Russia — but if they genuinely believe that Russia is going to invade a NATO member country they belong in a lunatic asylum.

To be blunt, had Russia wanted to invade Ukraine at the time of the US-engineered coup in 2014 (recollect Obama’s admission that the US ‘brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine’), it could have done so with ease. It would have taken about three weeks to defeat the Ukrainian military and occupy the country right up to the border with Poland. But why on earth would it have wanted to do that?

Russia would have been extremely unwise to take such action, because once you invade a country you have to occupy and pacify it, which is extremely difficult — as US-NATO has found to its enormous cost in lives and money in the Afghanistan debacle.

Similarly, for what possible reason would Russia attempt to invade Estonia or Latvia, or any other country for that matter? It would be insane to do so, yet this totally imaginary threat is trotted out as the reason for NATO’s present posture of confrontation. There is never explanation for the US-NATO expansion up to Russia’s borders that took place from 1999 to 2009, which is rightly regarded as confrontational by the Russian people. (And remember that it’s not correct in the west to refer to ‘the Russian people’. Rather, it is mandatory to call the country ‘Putin’s Russia’.)

Stoltenberg’s message to President-elect Trump is that the US-NATO military grouping must continue to confront ‘Vladimir Putin’s Russia’, but Trump has other priorities, not the least being the appalling economic circumstances in regions where he received most support. He’s no fool, and he’s going to pay attention to these voices rather than the plaintive wailing of Stoltenberg who rests his case for US expenditure on the foundation that ‘our proud history is one of common challenges overcome together’.

One thing that Secretary General Stoltenberg had better bear in mind is that President-elect Donald Trump does not care about history, and most decidedly not the history of Europe. He cares about the hard facts of here and now. Not intellectually, but practically. He is devoid of sentiment. Europe and NATO mean nothing to him in terms of nostalgia and all that sob-stuff.

And he’s not going to forget the volume of insults delivered by European political leaders and media, such as ‘loudmouth’ and ‘hatemonger’. In the British parliament he was described as a ‘buffoon, demagogue and wazzock’. The British foreign minister, Boris Johnson (who really is a buffoon), said in June that ‘the only reason I wouldn’t visit some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump’. French President Hollande (another fool) declared that Trump’s ‘excesses’ made him ‘want to retch’ and in one particularly amusing reaction to Trump’s election, Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, said ‘We hope that Donald Trump will respect the fundamental rights and rules of the European Union,’ in which, be assured, Mr Trump has not the slightest interest.

President-elect Donald Trump might not be the ideal person to enter the White House in January (although Clinton would have been a disaster), but he’s going to try to look after America. NATO’s wellbeing comes way down on his priorities. NATO Secretary General and confronter-in-chief Stoltenberg will continue fighting his rearguard action to keep his wobbly and mega-expensive military circus in existence, but it’s possible that Mr Trump might make the world a safer place by letting the whole thing collapse.

November 29, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Stability Battles Chaos: From London to Aleppo

ccwfv8uusaaucv_

By Caleb Maupin – New Eastern Outlook – 17.11.2016

For over five years the leaders of the United States, Britain, France, and Germany have been working to topple the Syrian Arab Republic. In their efforts to remove the independent nationalist government led by the Baath Arab Socialist Party, the western imperialist powers have enlisted their collection of petroleum vassals and despots in the nearby area. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Dubai; absolute monarchies that routinely behead, torture, and deny their populations even basic rights like freedom of speech are all sending weapons and training foreign fighters to destabilize Syria in what western leaders still pretend is a fight for “democracy.”

300,000 people are dead. Millions have become refugees. Among the fanatical colossus of anti-government forces in Syria, vile ISIL terrorist organization has emerged, unleashing horrors in Lebanon, Belgium, France, and elsewhere. Yet, western leaders do not end their mantra of “Assad Must Go!” and continue efforts to make the country less stable. It seems not to matter how many innocent people have to die, or how strong the dangerous terrorist “opposition” gets, western leaders seem unwilling to abandon their goal of regime change.

If the Syrian government were to fall, the results would be grim. The Al-Nusra Front, ISIL, and even a number of the forces the US has called “moderate” are devoted to establishing a Sunni caliphate. Syria’s religious minorities, the Christians, the Alawites, and others could face either forced deportation, or even outright extermination.

Russia, along with Iran, China, and Venezuela, have come to the aid of the secular, internationally recognized Syrian government, in the hopes of holding back the wave of extremism. The Syrian city of Aleppo is now divided, with the eastern section of the city under the control of various anti-government factions, including the US backed so-called “moderate” rebels, as well as the Al-Nusra terrorists, who were directly linked to Al-Queda until recent months.

Russia repeatedly requested that a humanitarian corridor be created so that civilians could flee Aleppo and escape the fighting, as the Iraqi forces did when fighting in Mosul. Neither the Al-Nusra terrorists, the US backed “moderate rebels”, or the United Nations, or the western powers would comply with Russia’s request. The call for a humanitarian corridor in Aleppo was denied. When speaking of the citizens of Aleppo, John Kirby of the US State Department insisted “they shouldn’t have to leave.”

Despite their efforts to protect innocent life, Russia and the Syrian government have been forced to fight against the Al-Nusra terrorists and their allies in close proximity to civilians. As Russia fights to retake the city from anti-government extremists, the US media suddenly has developed a concern for the civilian casualties of war. Allegations of Russian war crimes in Aleppo have filled the airwaves and the speeches of western leaders. Meanwhile, anti-government forces continue to shell civilian areas in the western side of the city. Western media ignores the cries of these civilians, while doing everything to demonize the Syrian government and Russia. The hypocrisy shouldn’t be missed by anyone. Some of very same individuals that backed the US invasion of Iraq which caused hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians to die, now voice “humanitarian” outrage about Aleppo. The leaders of NATO, who reduced Libya, then the most prosperous African country, to rubble, now bemoan the impact of war on civilian populations. The very same voices that long dismissed civilians killed by airstrikes, have now discovered that what they once called “collateral damage” indeed has human rights.

At the same time that Russia works with the Syrian government to retake Aleppo, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is conducting a relentless bombing campaign against the people of Yemen. There is no dispute that the Saudi attack on Yemen is violating human rights. The UN has documented that civilian targets are being intentionally hit. But no pressure whatsoever is being placed on Saudi Arabia to end its slaughter of Yemeni civilians. The western governments continue to actively assist their Saudi “allies” as they violate international law in Yemen, while demonizing Russia’s cooperation with Syria against terrorism.

When speaking of Aleppo, western leaders employ language that is quite similar to the kind often used by left-wing anti-war activists. The British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, even called for anti-war protests targeting Russia when speaking before parliament on October 11th.

The November 3rd Provocation

cwx3burxeaam7ft-300x200On November 3rd, a group of 25 people wearing “Save Aleppo” T-Shirt presented themselves outside of the Russian embassy in London, and appeared to be following Johnson’s directive. They brought with them a truck full of manikin arms and legs. They proceeded to dump these arms and legs in pile in front of the embassy, effectively blocking its doors and preventing anyone from leaving or entering.

The manikin arms and legs were said to symbolize the innocent people of Aleppo, whose deaths they blamed on Russia. The police did not halt this demonstration, which appeared to have barricaded a foreign mission. As the protest continued, some of the provocative individuals in “Save Aleppo” T-shirts are reported to have chained themselves to the fence surrounding the embassy’s perimeter. Yet, it appears that not a single arrest was made. The police, who were on hand, apparently did not stop the individuals.

So, who were these individuals? The money for the protest was supplied by “Syria Campaign.” This is a non-profit organization funded by a Syrian billionaire named Ayman Asfari, in addition to other anonymous sponsors. It makes sense that a billionaire of Syrian descent, residing in Britain, would want to topple the “Baath Arab Socialist Party” that has run his country for many decades. Parallels between Asfari and the many wealthy Cuban residents of Miami are easy to make. The Syrian government, like the Cuban government, has provided housing, healthcare, and education to its population, achieving this with policies that make the richest people quite uncomfortable.

But beyond Asfari’s well-funded “Syria Campaign” that uses its huge endowment to spread propaganda against the Syrian government and its allies, who were the individuals in the T-shirts? Very few of them appeared to be of Syrian origin, but one cannot assume they were merely hired stooges either.

The answer to this question can be found in the name of an organization that co-sponsored the malicious provocation. The organization “Syria Solidarity UK,” which took credit for the action on its website, is well known to be a front group for the Socialist Workers Party of Britain. This “socialist” organization follows the teachings of Tony Cliff and Leon Trotsky, has its grip on Britain’s “Stop The War Coalition” as well. It is safe to surmise that a decent percentage of those who barricaded the Russian embassy’s entrance were Trotskyites.

Two Currents of Communism

So, who are the Trotskyists? To answer this question we must begin to examine the anatomy of the political left throughout the course of the 20th century.

Within the mass movements associated with Marxism, there are a wide variety of sects, ideologies, and interpretations. However, among the individuals who envision and work toward the overthrow of capitalism there are two distinct personal or psychological categories. These two trends often work in concert with each other. The two trends often do not even intentionally dissociate with each other, and can often be found within the same political parties and movements, despite the huge differences between them. The differences are found in motivation.

Among the political left, the primary and constant current is an extremely alienated minority from within the privileged sectors of society. In Russia it was a current among the children of the aristocracy, as well as from within the emerging bourgeoisie, who made up much of the cadre of the Bolshevik Party in its early years. While they were born in relatively comfortable positions, they knew that things in society at large were deeply wrong. They saw the suffering of the poor, and the many other injustices that existed, and were filled with anger and motivation to correct them. While other members of their social caste could be at peace with society, they could not.

Whether it is due to their unique access to education, or the fact that they are encouraged to ponder political and philosophical questions while other strata are not; regardless of the reason, a section of the most privileged people always seems to be drawn to revolutionary anti-capitalist politics. The trend is not restricted to pre-revolutionary Russia. One can think of the young French radicals depicted in Victor Hugo’s novel Les Miserable, or even the radicals of Students for a Democratic Society or the Weather Underground in the United States, who came from some of the prestigious Universities. No matter how strong or weak the leftist current is in society at large, a certain sector of the privileged classes exists as a kind of “radical intelligentsia.” This is true even in under the most repressive anti-communist dictatorships.

The second current, which constitutes a very solid majority of those attracted to leftist and anti-capitalist currents around the world, are those among the working and impoverished classes. While in times of prosperity they are less politicized, as they see their conditions deteriorating, they become motivated to take action and embrace anti-capitalist and revolutionary ideology.

Unlike the first current, their motivation is not a moralistic impulse based on alienation, but rather the basic desire to see their lives improve. This does not mean that such people do not have political depth or brilliance. Often these forces are actually much more politically effective and ideological. However, their introduction to revolutionary politics originates in a basic material need.

While these two distinct political currents espouse the same phrases and philosophies, they seem to crave two different things. The privileged children of the wealthy who embrace revolutionary politics often have a deep desire to create chaos. They see the world as unjust and cruel. They want it to be smashed, shattered, burned to the ground, and rebuilt anew.

The second current, while espousing the same political line, tends to crave the opposite. They are motivated to take political action as society is becoming less stable. The economic crisis has made their lives more painful and unpredictable, intensifying the suffering all around them, pushing them toward a desperate need for radical change. They embrace anti-capitalism because it offers stability beyond the “anarchy of production.” The revolutionary left is for them, not the road to chaos and revenge, but the path toward a new order with a centrally planned economy, in which justice is created and the chaos is ended.

The Origins of “Trotskyism”

Lenin’s book “What Is To Be Done?,” which laid the foundation for the Bolshevik project of a Central Committee and a “Party of a New Type,” was largely directed at members of the first, moralistic, and privileged group. It urged them to look past their own motivations, abandon terrorism and tailism, and build an highly disciplined organization that could push the broader masses of Russian workers and peasants toward a full revolution.

The October Revolution of 1917 was successful because it merged the two trends. In a time of crisis, the revolutionary intelligentsia who longed to smash the old order, were able to mobilize the workers and peasants who were suffering and desperately wanted “Peace, Land and Bread.” The effective convergence of these two currents created a new political and economic system.

However, almost immediately after the Soviet Union was founded, political space began to develop between the two trends. Lenin banned factions in the Bolshevik Party during the early 1920s in order to hold an increasingly divided ruling party together. Despite the ban on factions, the two trends did not cease to exist. After Lenin’s death, the two poles became personified in Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin.

Trotsky, the son of wealthy landowners in Ukraine, who had lived in exile most of his life and was beloved among the world’s cosmopolitan intellectuals, called for “Permanent Revolution.” The Soviet Union, in his view, should exist simply as a temporary hold out in a global revolutionary explosion. In his view, Soviet society should be organized around the military, and focus primarily on seizing the western financial centers of Germany, Britain, and France for the global socialist project to remake all humanity.

Stalin on the other hand called for “Socialism in one country.” He advocated for the Soviet Union to focus on building a good society for the people of Russia and the surrounding countries, while offering limited support to revolutionary forces around the world. “Socialism in One Country” would require signing treaties with the western countries, restoring the traditional family, and eventually even legalizing the Russian Orthodox Church. For Stalin and the majority of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, socialism did not mean an endless global crusade to behead every last king and capitalist, but rather, building a peaceful, prosperous society with a planned economy in Russia and the surrounding countries.

When Stalin was victorious, the world communist movement began to shed the most adherent members of the first revolutionary category. The Communist parties began building unemployment councils, trade unions, and other organizations dedicated to aiding working people and fighting for direct material gains as capitalism collapsed into a “great depression.” Eventually the “Stalinists” built a People’s Front of anti-fascists that played a decisive role in the Second World War.

Meanwhile, Trotsky took a significant number of western intellectuals out of the Communist International and into his “Fourth International.” The Trotskyists worked to antagonize and isolate the Soviet aligned Communist Parties, while at the same time presenting a negative perception of the Soviet Union as a “totalitarian” and “repressive” society that did to live up to the utopian dreams of middle class radicals.

Trotsky saw the USSR as a “degenerated workers state,” socialist in its economic foundations but “bureaucratized” in its politics. In the final years of his life, a number of Trotsky’s followers disagreed with this assessment and argued that the USSR was capitalist. Max Shachtman, Irving Kristol, and a number of the more middle class elements broke with Leon Trotsky, arguing that the USSR was not a “worker’s state” but rather “bureaucratic collectivism”, “state capitalism”, or fascism. These elements called themselves “Third Camp” or “Neo-Trotskyists.” The International Socialist Tendency, of which the British Socialist Workers Party is aligned, along with the US International Socialist Organization, is the largest group continuing these politics. It is “Third Camp Trotskyists” in Britain who have built the organization called “Syria Solidarity UK” which conducted the recent protests against the Russian embassy.

Interestingly, it is from within the “Trotskyists” who broke with Trotsky, and completely denounced the USSR, that one can find the origins of Neo-Conservative thought in the United States. James Burnham, Edmund Wilson, Max Eastman, and many of the leading right-wing intellectuals of the Cold War were era were originally Trotskyists.

Brzezinski’s Permanent Revolution

Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of the leading CIA strategists during the Cold War, can largely be credited for defeat of the Soviet Union. Brzezinski’s career involved fomenting dissent and unrest in Soviet aligned countries. The gap between revolutionary intellectuals who crave chaos and revolution, and the pragmatic approach of Soviet leaders who wanted a stable, planned economy was a great asset to his activities. The CIA launched the “Congress for Cultural Freedom” to fund anti-Soviet leftists and artists, and further the space between them and the USSR.

In Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and many other socialist countries, the US Central Intelligence Agency enflamed and exploited the grievances of artists and intellectuals, who felt stifled by the Marxist-Leninist political set up, and longed for the “freedom” of the west. It has become almost cliché to talk about the role of Beatles music and other western counter-cultural icons in “the fall of Communism.”

Brzezinski openly bragged that he was “giving the USSR its Vietnam War” in Afghanistan. When the People’s Democratic Party took power in 1978, the CIA worked with the Saudi monarchy to launch a global campaign of Wahabbi Muslims against it. The USSR sent its forces into Afghanistan to protect the People’s Democratic Party.

In the global media, it was a different story. The press painted the Taliban and other forces organized by Osama Bin Laden as romantic guerilla fighters, battling against the USSR, portrayed as a crude, repressive invading force. The “Trotskyists” of the world embraced the Mujahadeen Wahabbi fanatics in much the same manner that such forces now embrace the Free Syrian Army and the Al-Nusra Front. Among the organized left, pro-Soviet sentiments were left only to a small minority, dubbed “Stalinists” and “Hardliners.” The long-haired, counter-cultural “New Left” bought into the CIA narrative, and believed that Osama Bin Laden was some kind of Che Guevara.

In the 21st century, Anti-imperialist governments, even those who completely reject Marxism-Leninism, have a lot in common with the political and economic system developed by Stalin during the 1930s. Anti-imperialist countries tend have five year economic plans or other mobilizations of the population toward raising the living standards. They tend to have a ruling party with a very complex and specific ideology, that sits at the center of a tightly organized and politicized population. The strength of the various anti-imperialist regimes is their ability to control the centers of economic power, raise the standard of living, and provide a comfortable life for the majority of their people.

In China, each child is given a red scarf when they begin their education. They are told that this red scarf is their own piece of the Chinese flag, and that it represents a political project toward building a prosperous society, which they are automatically part of it. Similar rituals exist in the Bolivarian countries, the Arab Nationalist states, and almost every other country where the government can trace its origin to an anti-capitalist revolution.

Meanwhile, the primary strategy of Wall Street for toppling these governments has been to employ the rhetorical style of Trotskyists, and appeal to the alienation and anxiety of the privileged elite. The CIA and its network of aligned NGOs has discovered key methods of manipulating and unleashing the desire for chaos among the middle class. Figures like Samantha Power talk about “mobilizing” for human rights around the world.

The primary way the US has attacked independent countries in recent years has been fomenting revolts such as Euro-Maiden in Ukraine, the “Green Movement” in Iran, the “revolution” in Libya. These uprisings are supported by Non-Governmental Organizations and carried out to serve the interests of the western financial elite. While they effectively maintain the global status quo, they are decorated with the most Guevara and Trotsky-esque propaganda on social media and western television. It seems pretty clear that the vaguely emotional lust for revolution and unrest among the alienated middle class has been effectively harnessed as a mechanism for defeating “Stalinism” and ensuring the rule of western capitalists.

Foreign Affairs: “Open International System” vs. “Populism”

The Council on Foreign Relations, the CIA-linked think tank, shed light on its worldview and strategy in the latest issue of their publication Foreign Affairs. In an essay by Anne-Marie Slaughter, one of the primary architects of the US backed regime change operation in Libya, she described her prescription for the ailments of the global situation.

“The people must come first,” she tells us, like a soap-box agitator. “When they do not, sooner or later they will overthrow their governments.” According to Slaughter, the job of western countries is to facilitate the free flow of information through social media, in order to allow these uprising to come about.

Furthermore, Slaughter argues that the Treaty of Westphalia, and the concept of the nation state is out of date. Rather “responsibility to protect” or R2P has replaced it. The NATO states and their military must intervene in order to strengthen these revolutions, and topple regimes that get in Wall Street’s way. The strategy is global revolution, endless destruction and chaos until “open governments, open societies and an open international system” can be erected. We can almost hear echoes of Trotsky’s fantasy of “permanent revolution” in Slaughter’s writing, though Trotsky’s stated goal was to overturn capitalism, not secure its grip on the planet.

And who are the villains in the CFR narrative? They are “Populists.” The entire issue of “Foreign Affairs” is titled “The Power of Populism.” Listed among them are Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, the Supreme Leader of Iran, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. According the analysis, it is these dangerous “demagogues” who reject the “open international system” of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, but instead mobilize their populations and preside over centrally planned economies that must be smashed. With the word “Populism”, the CFR seeks to link these governments to racism and anti-immigrant bigotry in western countries, and urge “progressive” and “enlightened” people to oppose them in the same manner.

Indeed, political navigation in the 21st Century can be quite difficult. The compass by which analysts have long determined left and right is broken. The defenders of free market capitalism and the rule of internationalist bankers have embraced the revolutionary blood-lust which was long a staple of the political left. Meanwhile, the anti-imperialists and advocates of planned economies now often position themselves as social conservatives and defenders of stability, morality, religion, and tradition.

While it is no longer exactly clear which way is “left” or “progressive,” it is blatantly obvious which way is better for the human race. The NATO regimes, despite mouthing left-sounding rhetoric in the process, have reduced Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria to civil war and chaos. The fruits of their imposed vision of an “open society” with “free markets” is not prosperity and freedom but poverty, chaos, and endless civil war.

However right-wing and conservative the governments of China, Russia, and Iran may seem, the societies they have created are ones in which profits are not in total command, and providing a decent life for the masses of people remains a priority. In the anti-imperialist regimes, the state is independent of market forces, and has the ability to restrict and control their actions. Meanwhile, a sense of collective vision and obligation exists, and people are not left isolated to fend for themselves.

Yes, the CFR’s vision of a clash between the “open international community” and the “populists” is certainly accurate as it is playing out before the world. Syria is simply the most visible battlefield.

Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

November 17, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment