lunes, 5 de octubre de 2015

Fin de la “Primavera Árabe”. ¿Retirada? Del Imperio


Tenemos unas cuantas lecturas que proponerte el día de hoy, a ver si te gustan. El tema es el de siempre: el Imperio, sus antagonistas y los campos de batalla, en este caso Siria. 

La primera nota es de Counter Punch, a cargo de Mike Whitney:


Título: Putin's lightning war in Syria

Texto: For more than a year, the United States has been playing patty-cake with an army of homicidal maniacs who call themselves ISIS. On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he'd had enough of Washington's song-and-dance and was planning to bring a little Russian justice to the terrorist militias that had killed 225,000 Syrians and ripped the country to shreds. In language that could not be more explicit, Putin said to the General Assembly: "We can no longer tolerate the currents state of affairs in the world". Less than 48 hours later, Russian bombers were raining down precision-guided munitions on terrorist strongholds across western Syria sending the jihadi vermin scrambling for cover.

That's how you fight terrorism if you're serious about it. Bravo, Putin.

Putin's blitz caught the entire western political establishment flat-footed. Even now, three days into the air campaign, neither the administration nor the policy wonks at the many far-right think tanks in Washington have even settled on an approach, much less a strategy, to developments on the ground. What's clear, is that Putin's action has surprised everyone including the media which to-this-day hasn't even settled on it's talking points.

This is extraordinary. Ask yourself this, dear reader: How can our political and military leaders watch Moscow deploy its troops, warplanes and military hardware to a theater where the US is carrying out major operations and have absolutely no plan of how deal with those forces if they are sent into battle?

If you are convinced, as I am, that we are governed by numbskulls, you will certainly find confirmation of that fact in recent events.

But while the Obama administration is frantically searching for a strategy, Putin's air-squadrons are unleashing holy hell on the sociopaths, the head-choppers and the other assorted vipers that comprise the Islamic State. And Mr. Putin is getting plenty of help too, particularly from the crack-troops in the Iranian Quds forces and from the ferocious militia that defeated the IDF in two separate conflicts, Hezbollah, the Army of God. Check this out from Reuters:

"Hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria in the last 10 days and will soon join government forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies in a major ground offensive backed by Russian air strikes, two Lebanese sources told Reuters....

"The (Russian) air strikes will in the near future be accompanied by ground advances by the Syrian army and its allies," said one of the sources familiar with political and military developments in the conflict....

"The vanguard of Iranian ground forces began arriving in Syria: soldiers and officers specifically to participate in this battle. They are not advisors ... we mean hundreds with equipment and weapons. They will be followed by more," the second source said. Iraqis would also take part in the operation, the source said."

("Assad allies, including Iranians, prepare ground attack in Syria: sources", Reuters)


A military alliance between Moscow, Tehran and Hezbollah?

You're darn tootin', and you can thank Barack Obama and his lunatic regime change plan for that development.

Many critics of Putin's action have said that "He doesn't know what he's doing" or "He'll get bogged down" or "It'll be another Vietnam".

Wrong. The fact is, Putin is more a devotee of the Powell Doctrine than any of the morons at the Pentagon. And he is particularly mindful of Rule Number 5 which states: "Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?"

Has Putin thought about that or has he merely blundered ahead impulsively like US leaders are so apt to do? Here's what he said on September 30:

"We naturally have no intention of getting deeply entangled in this conflict. We will act strictly in accordance with our set mission. First, we will support the Syrian army only in its lawful fight against terrorist groups. Second, our support will be limited to airstrikes and will not involve ground operations. Third, our support will have a limited timeframe and will continue only while the Syrian army conducts its anti-terrorist offensive."

Bingo. In other words, he's going to bomb these jokers into oblivion and let Quds brigade and Hezbollah mop up afterwards. There will be no Russian boots-on-the-ground. The Russian airforce will get precise intelligence on ISIS locations from Syrian agents on the battlefield which will minimize civilian casualties and limit damage to critical infrastructure. It will also make mincemeat out of anyone on the receiving end of the bombardment. Does anyone seriously believe that ISIS and the disparate rabble of "moderate" throat-slitters that receive CIA funding are going to be able to withstand this impending onslaught?

No way. Putin's going to cut through these guys like a tornado through a trailer park. Yes, ISIS has had some success against the bedraggled Iraqi and Syrian armies. But now they're up-against the A Team where they are clearly out of their league. Rolling up these cutthroats is going to take a lot less time than anyone figured.

Russian bombers are already destroying ammo dumps, fuel depots, heavy military hardware, command posts, anything that enhances ISIS's ability to wage war. The new anti-terror coalition is going to cut supply lines and hang the jihadis out to dry. And the whole operation is going to be wrapped up before Uncle Sam even get's his boots laced. This is from Iran's Press TV:

"A senior member of Russia's parliament says an ongoing air campaign by Moscow against militants operating in Syria is going to intensify. Alexei Pushkov, who serves as the chairman of the Committee for International Affairs at the Russian State Duma, said Friday that Moscow will be intensifying its attacks against the militants in Syria while studying the risks associated with an extensive operation.

"There is always a risk of being bogged down, but in Moscow, we are talking about an operation of three to four months," Alexei Pushkov said, Reuters reported.

Russia started to launch coordinated airstrikes on the positions of militants in Syria on Wednesday. The move came shortly after members of the Russian upper house of the parliament, the Federation Council, authorized the operations in Syria." (Press TV)

There's not going to be any pussyfooting around. Putin's going to go straight for the jugular and then head for the exits.

Do you think they've figured this out at the White House yet? Do you think they understand that Iranian troops and Hezbollah are not going to distinguish between the "moderate" terrorists and the "extreme" terrorists; that they're simply going to "kill them all and let God sort it out". Do you think they realize that Washington's Middle East policy just collapsed and that the funding of jihadis and dreams of regime change just ended for good? Do you think they grasp that Washington's role as guarantor of global security has just been transferred to Vladimir Putin who has put himself and his country at risk to defend the fundamental principles of international law, national sovereignty and self determination? Here's Putin again:

"We are supporting the government of Syria in the fight against a terrorist aggression. We are offering and will continue to offer it necessary military-technical assistance. We must continue a dialogue for the sake of reaching consensus. But it's impossible to achieve real success as long as bloodshed continues and people don't feel secure. We won't achieve anything until we defeat terrorism in Syria."

Putin is leading a coalition in the fight against terror. We should all be grateful for that.


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Lo que sigue es de Zero Hedge:


Título: The Largest US Foreign Policy Blunder Since Vietnam Is Complete: Iran Readies Massive Syrian Ground Invasion

Texto: On Thursday, in “Mid-East Coup: As Russia Pounds Militant Targets, Iran Readies Ground Invasions While Saudis Panic”, we attempted to cut through all of the Western and Russian media propaganda on the way to describing what Moscow’s involvement in Syria actually portends for the global balance of power. Here are a few excerpts that summarize what’s taking shape in the Middle East:

Putin looks to have viewed this as the ultimate geopolitical win-win. That is, Russia gets to i) expand its influence in the Middle East in defiance of Washington and its allies, a move that also helps to protect Russian energy interests and preserves the Mediterranean port at Tartus, and ii) support its allies in Tehran and Damascus thus preserving the counterbalance to the US-Saudi-Qatar alliance.

Meanwhile, Iran gets to enjoy the support of the Russian military juggernaut on the way to protecting the delicate regional nexus that is the source of Tehran’s Mid-East influence. It is absolutely critical for Iran to keep Assad in power, as the loss of Syria to the West would effectively cut the supply line between Iran and Hezbollah.

It would be difficult to overstate the significance of what appears to be going on here. This is nothing short of a Middle Eastern coup, as Iran looks to displace Saudi Arabia as the regional power broker and as Russia looks to supplant the US as the superpower puppet master.

In short, the Pentagon’s contention that Russia and Iran have formed a Mid-East “nexus” isn’t akin to the Bush administration’s hollow, largely bogus attempt to demonize America’s foreign policy critics in the eyes of the public by identifying an “axis of evil.” Rather, the Pentagon’s assessment was an attempt to come to grips with a very real effort on the part of Moscow and Tehran to tip the scales in the Mid-East away from Riyadh and Washington.

Solidifying the Assad regime in Syria serves to shore up Hezbollah and presents Tehran with an opportunity to assert itself in the name of combatting terror. The latter point there is critical. The West has long contended that Iran is the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror, and the Pentagon has variously accused the Quds Force of orchestrating attacks on US soldiers in Iraq after cooperation between Washington and Tehran broke down in the wake of Bush’s “axis of evil” comment.

Indeed, Iran was accused of masterminding a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador at a Washington DC restaurant in 2011.

Now, the tables have turned. It is the US, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar who stand accused of sponsoring Sunni extremists and it is Iran, and specifically the Revolutionary Guard, that gets to play hero.

Of course this would be largely impossible without Moscow’s stamp of superpower approval. The optics around the P5+1 nuclear deal were making it difficult for Tehran to be too public in its efforts to bolster Assad. That doesn’t mean Tehran’s support for the regime in Syria hasn’t been well documented for years, it simply means that Iran needed to observe some semblance of caution, lest its role in Syria should end up torpedoing the nuclear negotiations. Now that Moscow is officially involved, that caution is no longer obligatory and Iran is now moving to support Russian airstrikes with an outright ground incursion (just as we’ve been saying for weeks). Here’s WSJ:

Iran is expanding its already sizable role in Syria’s multisided war in the wake of Russia’s airstrikes, despite the risk of antagonizing the U.S. and its Persian Gulf allies who want to push aside President Bashar al-Assad.

Politicians in the region close to Tehran as well as analysts who have been closely following its role in Syria say a decision has been made, in close coordination with the Russians and the Assad regime, to increase the number of fighters on the ground through Iran’s network of local and foreign proxies.

The support also could involve more Iranian commanders, military advisers and expert fighters usually assigned to these units, these people said.

Wiam Wahhab, a former Lebanese minister allied to Iran and Mr. Assad, stressed that Iran wouldn’t be dispatching troops in the conventional sense. Instead, they were likely to be officers and advisers from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, he said.

“I know there is a major battle upon us and everything needed for this battle will be made available,” said Mr. Wahhab, who has some members from his own political party fighting in Syria alongside the regime. “There is a plan to carry out offensive operations in more than one spot.”

Experts believe Iran has some 7,000 IRGC members and Iranian paramilitary volunteers operating in Syria already.

Separate from the regular army, the IRGC was founded in the aftermath of the 1979 revolution as an ideological “people’s army” reporting directly to the supreme leader, Iran’s top decision maker.

The more than 100,000-strong force controls a vast military, economic and security power structure in Iran and is in charge of proxies across the region. Its paramilitary organization, the Basij, was the lead force in the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in 2009.

Since late 2012 Iran has played a lead role in organizing, training and funding local pro-regime militias in Syria, many of them members of Mr. Assad’s Alawite minority, a branch of Shiite Islam. Experts believe they number between 150,000 and 190,000—possibly more than what remains of Syria’s conventional army.

What’s more, some experts estimate 20,000 Shiite foreign fighters are on the ground, backed by both Shiite Iran and its main proxy in the region, the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah.

About 5,000 of them are new arrivals from Iraq in July and August alone, said Phillip Smyth, a researcher at the University of Maryland. He said this figure was compiled through his own contacts with some of these fighters, flight data between Baghdad and Damascus as well as social media postings. “It looks like it was timed out to coincide with the Russian move,” Mr. Smyth said.

Yes, it certainly does "look like" that, and it wasn't hard to see this coming. Here's another excerpt from our recent analysis:

Back in June, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, Qasem Soleimaini, visited a town north of Latakia on the frontlines of Syria’s protracted civil war. Following that visit, he promised that Tehran and Damascus were set to unveil a new strategy that would “surprise the world.”

Just a little over a month later, Soleimani - in violation of a UN travel ban - visited Russia and held meetings with The Kremlin.

Make no mistake, this is shaping up to be the most spectacular US foreign policy debacle since Vietnam - and we don't think that's an exaggeration.

The US, in conjunction with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, attempted to train and support Sunni extremists to overthrow the Assad regime. Some of those Sunni extremists ended up going crazy and declaring a Medeival caliphate putting the Pentagon and Langley in the hilarious position of being forced to classify al-Qaeda as "moderate." The situation spun out of control leading to hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and when Washington finally decided to try and find real "moderates" to help contain the Frankenstein monster the CIA had created in ISIS (there were of course numerous other CIA efforts to arm and train anti-Assad fighters, see below for the fate of the most "successful" of those groups), the effort ended up being a complete embarrassment that culminated with the admission that only "four or five" remained and just days after that admission, those "four or five" were car jacked by al-Qaeda in what was perhaps the most under-reported piece of foreign policy comedy in history.

Meanwhile, Iran sensed an epic opportunity to capitalize on Washington's incompetence. Tehran then sent its most powerful general to Russia where a pitch was made to upend the Mid-East balance of power. The Kremlin loved the idea because after all, Moscow is stinging from Western economic sanctions and Vladimir Putin is keen on showing the West that, in the wake of the controversy surrounding the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Russia isn't set to back down. Thanks to the fact that the US chose extremists as its weapon of choice in Syria, Russia gets to frame its involvement as a "war on terror" and thanks to Russia's involvement, Iran gets to safely broadcast its military support for Assad just weeks after the nuclear deal was struck. Now, Russian airstrikes have debilitated the only group of CIA-backed fighters that had actually proven to be somewhat effective and Iran and Hezbollah are preparing a massive ground invasion under cover of Russian air support. Worse still, the entire on-the-ground effort is being coordinated by the Iranian general who is public enemy number one in Western intelligence circles and he's effectively operating at the behest of Putin, the man that Western media paints as the most dangerous person on the planet.

As incompetent as the US has proven to be throughout the entire debacle, it's still difficult to imagine that Washington, Riyadh, London, Doha, and Jerusalem are going to take this laying down and on that note, we close with our assessment from Thursday:

If Russia ends up bolstering Iran's position in Syria (by expanding Hezbollah's influence and capabilities) and if the Russian air force effectively takes control of Iraq thus allowing Iran to exert a greater influence over the government in Baghdad, the fragile balance of power that has existed in the region will be turned on its head and in the event this plays out, one should not expect Washington, Riyadh, Jerusalem, and London to simply go gentle into that good night.


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Del sitio del Peregrino, una nota de Ghassan Kadi:

Título: The World Disorder

Texto: The recent speech of President Putin at the UNGA has shown the rest of the world the extent of Western lies and inefficiency. Moreover, the Russian military initiative in Syria that almost immediately followed the speech has left all enemies of Syria in a bind, confused, and not knowing what to do.

In one moment, Foreign Secretary Kerry says that he wants to cooperate with Russia all the while other US officials express concern about Russia’s role and demand the military action to stop. Israel is very concerned about the Russian-imposed curfew imposed on its air-force in Syrian skies. To add to Israel’s woes, some leaked news indicate that Hezbollah has received from Iran the highly advanced SA-22 ground-to-air anti-aircraft missiles (1). Turkey is up in arms because Russia is allegedly attacking the FSA. The Saudis are demanding that Russia stops its “assault”, and all the covert would-be Islamists are wishing that Russians would be taken back to Russia in body bags in repeat to what happened in Afghanistan.

Russia is clearly showing that there is no distinction at all between any of the illegitimate armed forces operating in Syria and that Russia is there to support the Syrian Army and the legitimate government, irrespective of the West and its supporters say, want or think.

Lavrov could not put it more bluntly when he said that “if it looks like a terrorist, walks like a terrorist, if it fights like a terrorist, it’s a terrorist, right?” (2)

In fact, one can almost be certain that the first Russian strikes have deliberately hit as many different groups as possible in order for Russia to send a clear message that it does not see any distinction between the different terrorist groups and that it is intent to destroy them all.

President Putin also made a very subtle remark when he said that the foreign fighters in Syria should not be allowed to return home. Logic implies that he meant that they should all be killed or captured.

The Russian military intervention is undoubtedly an unprecedented move that heralds the actual beginning of a new geopolitical era. This is a much further step from the previous milestones that signaled the end of the NWO era.

The end of the NWO hegemony has been made clear earlier in Ukraine and in the East Mediterranean in September 2013, and which meant that America is no longer the unrivaled world leader.

The ancient nation of Syria was destined to be the place where this historic new phase in geopolitics has emerged and where the basic change has been enforced.

When we use the term “enforced”, we need to qualify the nature of the enforcement because Presidents Putin and Assad are “enforcing” international law and bilateral treaties; unlike the multitude of US-led coalitions which invaded countries to topple their legitimate governments and to pillage their infrastructures and resources and destroy their economies.

So the USA is now stuck between a rock and a hard place. For the first time in a very long time, it is coerced to accept that it is no longer the sole world super power. Furthermore, it finds itself having to accept that a major international development has eventuated in Syria against its will and that it is incapable of stopping it.

But America’s acceptance of the new status quo and the abolishment of the post-USSR NWO is not the main dilemma that America is facing now. In the eyes of hawkish American politicians, the main issue would be in dealing with its aftermath. If America were to sit back and watch Russia implement its own resolutions in Syria, then such an American position would be tantamount to conceding defeat.

Conceding defeat is something huge that America is not used to do. For America to concede defeat is a serious matter that may, just may drive hawkish politicians to make big gambles and dangerous maneuvers.

Not very long ago, I wondered what would a desperate America do, and I wrote an article titled “How Far Will A Desperate America Go?” (3). Some potential scenarios were hypothetically examined and reactions considered, but the Russian initiative in Syria has shuffled all cards in such a manner that have now put America in a situation in which it may find itself needing to fight not only for survival, not only for stature but to also fight for its impunity and its ability of independent decision-making.

As a matter of fact, many observers consider that America’s actions in Ukraine were intended to punish Russia for the role it played in Syria up till 2013. We have to keep in mind that if this is true, it would have been in retaliation to the Russian downing of two Syria-bound American missiles over the East Mediterranean. In comparison to what Russia is doing now, the downing of the two missiles becomes child’s play, dwarfed and insignificant.

So here’s the question, if America indeed stirred up the whole Ukraine issue in order to punish Russia for merely downing two American missiles that were intended to hit Syria, then to what extent will America be prepared to go in order to “punish” Russia for bombing the terrorist cells in Syria and for making America look totally powerless?

Such a scenario is frightening to say the least and this is perhaps the only concern as to how the Russian intervention in Syria can go pear-shaped.

Short of an open confrontation with Russia in Syria, America realistically cannot do much in way of curtailing Russia. America’s Middle Eastern regional cronies, including Israel, are not in a position to stand up against Russia. Erdogan has been rendered totally powerless and the Saudis are deep in mud. Furthermore, even before the Russian onslaught began, the “Anti-Syrian Cocktail” had already broken up and each of its fragments went on solo picking up its own pieces in the pursuit of its own interests and survival.

Washington must be abuzz with turmoil and confusion. Policy makers, military and political advisors, strategists and pundits would be looking at all alternatives, but they must be finding it very hard to choose what to do because they do not have too many options. If America opts to leave Russia do its bit in Syria, it may do this with the knowledge and intention that it can still easily stir up another potential hot spot and/or rekindle the Ukraine fire and cause trouble for Russia. But this only solves half the problem because unless America manages to stop the Russian initiative in Syria, it will be seen as a party who accepted defeat.

Russia is trying to restore the globally-accepted UN-based world order, but America still has the power to create a whole new world disorder. Whether American policy makers are foolhardy enough to go into this direction, will be decided by many factors; including who will be sitting at the helm in Washington after Obama. We can well criticize Obama and we do and should, but it is very possible that the new American President to be will make George W. Bush look like Mother Teresa. This is perhaps a good reason as to why Russia needs to act swiftly in Syria and before some conservative nut-case wins the next US presidential elections.

Russia is now calling the shots. The American-led conspiracy in Ukraine has already backfired in Crimea with more Russian gains down the pipeline.

President Putin understands well the American mentality. He knows that the Americans are bullies and he knows how to deal with bullies.

Bullies do not accept to be seen defeated. Americans may therefore have to accept their pride to be broken, with minimal damage, if Russian diplomacy can find them a face-saving sweetener.

After all, the Syrian surrender of chemical weapons back in 2013 was a Russian-brokered sweetener that America lapped up without hesitation. The difference between the 2013 events and those of today, is that the downing of the two American missiles by Russia in 2013 was kept behind the scenes and only known to a select few. America did not seem embarrassed to be seen backing down because in the eyes of the world, it didn’t. Currently however, it is all in the open and any magic panacea that is going to give the United States any face-saving will clearly look to the rest of the world that it is written in Cyrillic.

(1) http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2015/Oct-01/317283-iran-has-delivered-sa-22-anti-aircraft-missiles-to-hezbollah-in-lebanon-netanyahy.ashx

(2) http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/01/middleeast/russia-syria/

(3) http://intibahwakeup.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-far-will-desperate-radical-america.html?m=1


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Las notis que siguen son de Strategic Culture Foundation. La primera es de Igor Shumeyko:


Título: Autumn 2015: End of Arab Spring

Texto: In the speech Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, his conclusion regarding the misfortunes that have befallen Syria and the entire Middle East was extremely harsh: there is and has been aggressive foreign interference.

The residents of that region, who had naively expected constructive social and political changes, have been cruelly deceived: «Rather than bringing about reforms, aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions and the lifestyle itself. Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster. Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life», stated the Russian president.

An angry question has been unleashed on the world: «Do you realize now what you’ve done?» No, they don’t want to acknowledge anything... The president offered his warning, «I am afraid no one is going to answer that. Indeed, policies based on self-conceit and belief in one’s exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned».

Putin’s diagnosis was unsparing: «It is now obvious that a power vacuum was created in some countries of the Middle East and North Africa through the emergence of anarchy areas, which immediately started to be filled with extremists and terrorists. Tens of thousands of militants are fighting under the banners of the so-called Islamic State. Its ranks include former Iraqi servicemen who were thrown out into the street after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Many recruits also come from Libya, a country whose statehood was destroyed as a result of a gross violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1973. And now, the ranks of radicals are being joined by the members of the so-called moderate Syrian opposition supported by the Western countries».

No, this was not a verbal attack on the US and its European satellites. What’s more important today is to rid global politics of «color revolutions». After all, those who have awarded themselves the title of Victors of the Cold War have spent the last 25 years employing more than just crude military force... Soft power has been used too, and the banners of color revolutions that are flung out before the world have also become agents of that power (in addition to aircraft carriers).

«Velvet revolutions» in Eastern Europe... Then, an unremarkable coup in Tbilisi, Saakashvili overthrew Shevardnadze: the parliament was stormed by thugs with machine guns, and also... roses (they brought a few flowers from a market in Tbilisi). And so quickly the well-schooled global media paint a vivid picture for us: the «Rose Revolution»! Isn’t it beautiful?!

Now the challenge for the next few decades is to find just the right colored banner that can be used to characterize the next coup. But regardless of the color chosen, that banner will always turn blood red. The Arab Spring is the most vivid example.

And so it began... on Dec. 18, 2010 riots broke out in Tunisia, and there were protests against that «bloody tyrant» Ben Ali, whose only «bloody crime» had been to dispel the flash mobs. The cynical, trite marketing of the Arab Spring was fueled by the genuine grievances of the «Arab street» and the multitudes of ordinary people. And the Middle East will remember for many decades how the Arabs got sold down the river, when they were pitted against Gaddafi, for example. Tables have recently been published that compare the scope and depth of the social programs run by the «Libyan dictator» with those in the «developed» world. Those comparisons are damning for the West.

It seems ideologically telling to me that throughout a speech that was largely devoted to the dramatic consequences of the decimation of Arab sovereignty, the Russian president never said the words «Arab Spring» – never parroting this pathetic notion dreamed up by American political marketers! There was a comparison with the «export of revolutions» – there was the phrase «criminals who already tasted blood» – «the perversion of Islam... power vacuum... areas of anarchy... terrorists» – all that was said. But he did not utter the phrase «Arab Spring». Fastidiousness keeps one from yet again touching that bloody banner that has been transformed into an ad poster.

While reading the Russian president’s speech I was reminded of yet another event related to the Middle East. Exactly five years ago, in October 2010, at a meeting of the youth organization of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Potsdam, German Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged the complete failure of attempts to build a multicultural society in Germany. Precisely one day before, Horst Seehofer, the leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Bavarian state prime minister, had said, Multiculturalism is dead». And a month earlier, in September of the same year of 2010, a very public scandal erupted in Germany over the release of a book by Thilo Sarrazin, a former board member of the Bundesbank and a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) – Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab («Germany’s Self-Destruction»). Sarrazin wrote that the growing number of immigrants who do not assimilate culturally spells doom for Germany. And it does not matter who bears the blame for the fact that Germans and immigrants do not understand one another, the main problem is that this common ground does not and cannot exist!

Thanks to its location in Eurasia, in addition to many centuries of interaction with the East, Russia has an incomparably richer heritage when it comes to these issues, as well as far more formidable intellectual assets than those who have been forced to acknowledge the collapse of their multicultural experiment. Russia’s cultural and historical experience lies at the heart of Putin’s statement that «we know about all the problems and contradictions in the region».

The current refugee tragedy is forcing us to remember this. The words «collapse» and «Germany’s self-destruction» were being uttered even back when the Germans were for the most part only struggling with their Turkish Gastarbeiters, with whom they were quite culturally familiar. Iraq had already folded by then, but the flow of Middle Eastern refugees was still almost nothing in comparison with the current tsunami. And please note, these words – «collapse» and «self-destruction» – were said, as it were, «half an hour before the Arab Spring»: it would begin two months later, on Dec. 18, 2010, with riots in Tunisia...

So I want to say to the Germans: «You yourselves have acknowledged the failure of your multiculturalism and your inability to either understand or interact with Eastern culture... You have acknowledged that the peoples of the East remain as mysterious to you as Martians. But nevertheless you still teamed up with the Americans to explain to the Arabs that Mubarak was politically incorrect, Assad – a despot, and Gaddafi – a tyrant! Why?»


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Esta es de Alexander Mezyaev:


Título: Russian Operation in Syria: International Law

Texto: On Sept. 30 Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the commencement of Russian military operations in Syria. One of the most important premises of the president’s speech was found in his statement that Russia is taking part in this anti-terror operation with strict regard for international law. Let us take a closer look at the legal aspects of Russia’s actions.

First of all, we should say a few words about the legitimacy of the actions taken by Russia’s leaders in terms of Russian domestic law.

In accordance with Article 10 of the Federal law «On Defense» (1996), the armed forces of the Russian Federation may be utilized to carry out tasks in accordance with the Russian Federation’s international treaties. They may be deployed under the conditions and in the manner stipulated in those treaties and established by the legislation of the Russian Federation.

The involvement of Russia in military operations in Syria stems from the need to combat terrorism. This kid of operations are regulated by Article 4 of the Federal Law «On Countering Terrorism» (2006), and the Russian Federation is working in accordance with that law to counter terrorism, along with foreign states and their law-enforcement agencies and security services, as well as with international organizations. Article 5 of that law gives the President of Russia the right to make decisions in the prescribed manner to deploy units of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, as well as special operations detachments, outside the borders of the Russian Federation in order to prevent terrorist activities. This law couples the country’s national interests with the fight against terrorism beyond Russia’s borders.

While announcing the launch of operations in Syria, Putin emphasized that there are a considerable number of Russian expatriates in the ranks of the Islamic State (IS) and that «if they succeed in Syria, they will inevitably return to their own countries, including Russia». Vladimir Putin also noted that those fighting as part of IS include «thousands of people» from «Europe, Russia, and the countries of the former Soviet Union», and the President’s chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, has claimed that this number «is growing not by the day but by the hour». Hence the need for proactive steps. «Many may have forgotten», claimed Ivanov, «but in the early 90s, we did almost the same thing in Tajikistan».

According to the Russian Constitution, the Russian President may deploy the armed forces of the Russian Federation outside the borders of the Russian Federation only with the consent of the Federation Council. Such consent was given on Sept. 30 by a unanimous vote. We also note that the Chairman of the Federation Council has stated that not only were federal requirements obeyed, but also internal statutes – in particular, the issue received a preliminary discussion at a meeting of the three committees of the upper house – the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security, and the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Law. The meeting on the issue was held behind closed doors, but it is also explicitly stipulated by the Regulations of the Federation Council.

And both the request of the President of the Russian Federation, as well as the Federation Council’s decree, specify that any contingent of the Russian armed forces in Syria be deployed on the basis of universally recognized principles and norms of international law. This phrase means that not only the very decision to utilize the armed forces of the Russian Federation, but also the actions of the Russian forces, are bound by the provisions of such vitally important international legal documents as the Geneva Convention and other statutes of international humanitarian law.

All of the above applies to the domestic aspect of the legal basis for deploying the armed forces of the Russian Federation in Syria.

Second, Russia’s actions are in full compliance with the fundamental principles of modern international law and, above all, the principle of state sovereignty. Russian military assistance to Syria is provided based on a request received from the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic.

The launch of the Russian military operation in Syria coincided with a special session of the UN Security Council (UNSC) devoted to the fight against international terrorism. Preparations for that meeting were made in August, when Russia circulated its policy brief on the problems associated with the fight against terrorism. At the same time, Russia’s entrance into the fight against international terrorism in Syria should be evaluated within the context of that UNSC session, since it was during that meeting that Russia proposed a draft UNSC resolution on the establishment of an international coalition to battle the Islamic State in Syria. That draft was presented by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The Russian draft of the UNSC resolution contains three main ideas. First, there is the suggestion to unite the efforts of those who are able to make a real contribution to the fight against terrorism (Iraq, Syria, the Kurdish militia, armed detachments of the patriotic Syrian opposition, etc.). There is a particular emphasis that the UN Security Council should be responsible for coordinating these efforts. It is interesting to note that the Russian draft proposes the creation of an agency that has existed on paper since 1945, but which has still not been created – the UN Military Staff Committee. Second, the Russian draft stipulates that inter-Syrian dialog be revitalized, based on the Geneva Communiqué of June 30 2012. Finally, the third major idea in the Russian draft is the provision of inclusive and balanced external support for the political process, which would involve Russia, China, the US, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, the UAE, Jordan, Qatar, and the EU.

Russia’s opponents may point to the fact that the military operation began, not after its approval by the UN Security Council, but at the same time that the draft resolution supporting that operation was introduced within the UNSC. Here it is important to keep two factors in mind. First, the legality of the Russian operation is not based on a UNSC resolution (which can be adopted or not), but on a request received from the legitimate government of Syria. Second, Russia is trying to also steer the actions of Western countries in Syria onto a legal course. Today a number of countries (the US, Australia, and France) are already using their combat aircraft to attack IS positions.

The Russian President has clearly stated that the fight against international terrorism must be conducted solely in strict compliance with international law. This means – within the framework of UN Security Council resolutions or at the request of the country in need of military assistance. The Western nations that are currently in Syria have neither of those. Nevertheless, Russia has stated that it considers it possible and feasible to unite the efforts of all interested states in order to fight against international terrorism and to work together, based on the UN Charter.

Russian military assistance to Syria, which is in full compliance with domestic and international law, also represents an extremely important new phenomenon in international politics – namely, a daring attempt to halt the process of the destruction of the UN and to safeguard progressive international law.


***

Finalmente, la última nota de Paul Craig Roberts:


Título: Putin Calls Out Washington

Epígrafe: «We can no longer tolerate the state of affairs in the world».  President Vladimir Putin

Texto: Last Monday (28 September 2015) the world saw the difference between Russia and Washington. Putin’s approach is truth-based; Obama’s is vain boasts and lies, and Obama is running out of lies. 

By telling the truth at a time of universal deceit, Putin committed a revolutionary act. Referring to the slaughter, destruction, and chaos that Washington has brought to the Middle East, North Africa, and Ukraine, and the extreme jihadist forces that have been unleashed, Putin asked Washington: «Do you realize what you have done?»

Putin’s question reminds me of the question Joseph Welch asked witch-hunting Senator Joseph McCarthy: «Have you no sense of decency?»  Welch’s question is attributed with initiating the decline of McCarthy’s career.

Perhaps Putin’s question will have the same impact and bring the reign of «American Exceptionalism» to an end. 

If so, Putin has launched a revolution that will overthrow the world’s subservience to Washington.

Putin stresses the legality of Russia’s intervention in Syria, which is at the request of the Syrian government.  He contrasts Russia’s respect for international law with the intervention in Syria of Washington and France, governments that are violating Syria’s sovereignty with unrequested and illegal military action. 

The world sees that it is Washington and its vassals who «violate international norms» and not Russia.

The sanctimonious self-righteousness, behind which hides Washington’s self-serving unilateral actions, is revealed for all to see.

Washington relies on its arsenal of lies.  Washington’s media-based disinformation apparatus was too hot to trot.  Just as the BBC’s TV reporter announced the premature destruction of World Trade Center Building 7 with the building clearly still standing in the background, Washington’s lie service announced the first civilian casualties of Russian air strikes «even before our planes got in the air,» noted President Putin in his comments on Washington’s disinformation warfare.

As a consequence of their subservience to Washington, the puppet states of Europe are being overrun by refugees from Washington’s wars that Europe so mindlessly enabled.  As the cost of being Washington’s vassals comes home to Europeans, the standings of European political parties will be affected.  New parties and ruling coalitions are likely to follow more independent paths in order to protect themselves from the costs of the enormous mistakes that flow from Washington’s arrogance and hubris. 


The breakup of the Empire is on the horizon.


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