Category Archives: Daesh

Syria and the S-300s: Re-Centering the People in the Global Struggles for Power

The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world [….] No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity, much less dissent.
— Gore Vidal, A View from the Diner’s Club, 1991

One of the most amusing elements of the current anti-Russian hysteria produced by U.S. state/corporate propagandists is the notion that Russia is this bold, aggressive challenger to “U.S. and Western interests” when the reality has always been the opposite. In the tumultuous period after the Soviet Union disintegrated, the Russian Federation emerged as the dominate power under the leadership of the clownish Boris Yeltsin.

The Russian capitalist oligarchy that developed during that period and expanded under the leadership of Vladimir Putin has always just wanted to be part of the global capitalist game. They had demonstrated on more than one occasion their willingness to cooperate with the agenda of Western powers.  However, they wanted to be respected with their regional interests recognized.

But as result of greed, hubris and just plain incompetence, U.S. policy-makers, especially the amateurs running foreign policy during the Obama years, pushed the Russians out of their preferred zone of caution in international affairs, with Syria being exhibit A. Forcing the Russians hand in Syria was followed by the Ukraine when the U.S. sparked a coup in that nation as the second front against Russian “intervention” in Syria.

So it was quite comical to see how the announcement that Russia will deliver the S-300 air defense system to the Syrian government was met with feigned horror by U.S. and NATO forces. This decision was taken after the U.S. allowed or didn’t stop the Israeli Air Force from playing games that resulted in a Russia cargo plane being shot out of the air by Syrian ground defenses who mistook the Russia plane for an Israeli aircraft.

Without an adequate air defense system capable of covering the entire nation and strategic territories within Syria, the Israeli Air Force has had almost unimpeded access to Syria air space during the Syrian war to attack military forces associated with the Syrian government, Hezbollah and the Iranian state.

Yet in their zeal to push out anti-Russian propaganda, the state/corporate propagandists in the U.S.  exposed once again Russia’s conservatism and acquiensce to the global colonial U.S./EU/NATO agenda. While the headlines screamed traitor at Turkish President Erdogan for concluding a deal for the Russian S-400, the most advanced system the Russians are selling on the open market, very few seemed to have noticed that those wily, evil Russians that were propping up their partner in Syria hadn’t even delivered on the S-300 sale to the Syrian state that had been concluded five years ago!

The Russians said that they failed to deliver the system that the Syrians purchased due to a request from the Israeli government in 2013. This decision took place a year after the debacle of Geneva I, the United Nations sponsored conference to resolve the Syrian War, where the Russians appeared ready to abandon Assad as long as the Syrian state was maintained, and their interests protected.  Getting rid of Assad but maintaining the Syrian state was also U.S. policy at the time.

However, instead of a negotiated settlement in which the Russians would play a role, the Obama administration rejected Geneva I believing that it could topple the government in Syria through its jihadist proxies. The U.S. knew that those elements were never going to be allowed to govern the entire nation but that was the point. The Syrian state was slated to be balkanized with its territory divided and a permanent presence by the U.S. directly on the ground. Those forces in Syria would be bolstered by the thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq that had been reintroduced as a result of the U.S. reinvasion supposedly to fight ISIS – that it helped to create.

Although the Russian position on Assad came out just a year after the Chinese and Russians gave the green light to the U.S. and NATO to launch a vicious war on Libya is old news, it points out how in the global game of power relations the peoples of the former colonial world continue to lose. The Russians, like the Chinese, have demonstrated repeatedly their willingness to collaborate with the U.S. and the “Western colonialist alliance,” even as successive U.S. administrations have singled them out, along with Iran and Venezuela, as geostrategic threats to U.S. global hegemony.

This observation is not meant to be another Russia and China bashing that plays into the hands of the reactionaries driving U.S. policies who see military conflict with those two nations as inevitable. Instead what is being argued here is the absolute necessity for African/Black people and oppressed peoples and nations to be clear about the international correlation and balance of forces and competing interests at play so that “we” the people are not confused regarding our objective interests.

Russian intervention in Syria was not as cynical as the U.S. and Western European powers, which knew from the beginning that “progressive” forces in Syria could not win a military conflict. Nevertheless, they encouraged those forces to engage in military opposition while the U.S. and its allies decided to back various Islamist forces – not for democratic change – but to destroy the Syrian state.

Maintaining an independent, critical perspective on the national and global dispensation of social forces means not having any illusions about the world and the national, class and racial politics in play. We need to be clear that supporting Syria’s attempt to assert full sovereignty over its territory was only a secondary concern for the Russians. The back seat given to the Syrian government in the negotiations between Russia, Iran, and Turkey regarding Idlib confirms that. Protecting Russian interests in Syria and the Mid-East was and is the driving force for Russian military and diplomatic activity, nothing else!

The delivery of the S-300 anti-aircraft system to Syria resembles the Russia cooperation with the U.S., Israel and Turkey on the Turkish Afrin operation, which was basically an invasion of Syria by Turkey in order to establish a “buffer zone”.  These are all decisions based on the objective interests of Russia and secondarily the interests of the Syrian government.

It remains to be seen how the deployment of the S-300’s will alter the situation on the ground in Syria. It would not be surprising if the deployment was limited and only covered the territory around Latakia, the site of the Russian air base and close to its warm-water port. It may not be in Russia’s interests to allow the Syria government the means to block Israeli intrusions into Syrian air space. If the Syrian government had the ability to really ensure the security of its national territory from Israeli intrusions, it could mean that Russia would have less leverage over the Syrian government to force a withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria. Additionally, the land corridor and security of the “Islamic pipeline” between Iran, Iraq and Syria could be secured that may not be necessarily conducive for maintaining Russia’s share of the energy market in Europe.

The U.S. and Israel overplayed their cards and made a strategic blunder by precipitating the shooting down of the Russian cargo plane. Although National Security Adviser John Bolton claims that the decision to supply Syrian forces with the S-300 is a “significant escalation,” the escalation really took place in 2012 when the Obama administration decided to allow U.S. vassal states to significantly increase military support for radical Islamic forces. Michael Flynn revealed this as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency – something the Obama forces never forgot.

Syria has been a difficult object lesson for the left that has had a devastating consequence for the people of that embattled nation. Hundreds of thousands have died, and millions have been displaced primarily because left and progressive forces lacked the organizational, but more importantly, the ideological, political, and moral clarity to mount an opposition to the machinations of their national bourgeoisie in Europe and the U.S.  The very idea that the bourgeois leadership of their respective states might have some benevolent justifications for military intervention in Syria revealed a dangerous nationalist sentimentality that is driving the left version of white supremacist national chauvinism.

Before the dramatic rightist turn of the left in the U.S. and Europe over the last two decades, the left – at least much of the Marxist-Leninist left – opposed Western imperialist intervention out of a theoretical and principled commitment to the national-colonial question in the global South. As citizens in “oppressor nations,” opposing their own bourgeoisie’s interventions into oppressed nations was seen as a responsibility for the left and indeed was a measurement of what was actually an authentic left position.

That stance has virtually disappeared.

The first response by the Western left to plans or actual interventions by their nation’s ruling class is a strange conversation regarding rather or not the intervention is justified or not based on the nature of the government being toppled by the intervention.

For those of us who are members of oppressed peoples and nations, it is quite obvious that without independent organizations and global solidarity structures buttressed by the few progressive states that exist on the planet, we cannot depend on any bourgeois state to really care about our humanity or on the radical or left forces in Northern nations to put a brake on repression and intervention against non-Europe states and peoples.

The bloodletting will continue in Syria. Candidate Trump raised some serious questions about the wisdom of U.S. policies in Syria and indicated that he might be willing to reverse U.S. involvement. But President Trump surrendered to the pressure from the foreign policy establishment and the warmongering corporate press. Instead of extricating the U.S., the administration announced a few weeks ago that the U.S. will essentially engage in an illegal and indefinite occupation in Syria.

There is reasonable doubt that Israel and the U.S. will allow the deployment of the S-300s even if the Russians followed through with the delivery. Which means the possibility of another dangerous escalation in the conflict at any moment. It also means why despite one’s opinion about the nature of any government’s internal situation, it is important to reaffirm and defend the principles of national sovereignty and international law in opposition to the arbitrary and illegal interventions to effect a change in government by any outside forces.

The people’s movements for social justice and human rights around the world must not allow the people to be drawn into the machinations and contradictory struggles and conflicts between essentially capitalist blocs, which include the Russians and the state-capitalism of China. This is not to suggest a moral or political equalization between the emergence of capitalist Russia and China and the systematic degradation unleashed on the world by the Pan-European colonial/capitalist project that emerged in 1492 with the invasion of the “Americas.” That would be a perversion of history and divert us from the primary global contradiction and target: The Western capitalist alliance and the corporate and finance oligarchy at its center.

In the competition between blocs and the real possibility of global conflict, we must be vigilant not to repeat the tragic mistake made before the first world war when workers enthusiastically signed up as cannon fodder in the clash of capitalist empires. Imperialist war really is a class issue!

Totalitarian capitalist domination is not a figment of our imaginations, it is real. Penetrating the ideological mystifications that divert us away from the matrix of power that distorts consciousness and renders the people as collaborators in their own subjection is the task of the moment.

The global order is changing, the only question is what will emerge. Will the new order be a multipolar one dominated by emerging capitalist states or will a new transitional order develop that is oriented toward an association of states and people’s movements moving toward authentic de-colonization, ecological rationality, and socialist construction?

There is still time for the people to choose.

WMD in Syria just like Iraq in 2003?

Introduction

In early 2003 it was claimed that Iraq was a threat to other countries. Despite ten years of crushing economic sanctions plus intrusive inspections, supposedly Iraq had acquired enough “weapons of mass destruction” to threaten the West. It was ridiculous on its face but few people in power said so. Establishment politicians and media across the U.S. promoted the idea. In the Senate, Joe Biden chaired the committee looking into the allegations but excluded knowledgeable critics such as Scott Ritter. This led to the invasion of Iraq.

Today we have something similarly ridiculous and dangerous. Supposedly the Syrian government decided to use a banned chemical weapon which they gave up in 2013-2014. Despite advancing against the insurgents, the Syrian government supposedly put sarin in a Russian chemical weapon canister and dropped this on the town of Khan Shaykhun which has been under the control of Syria’s version of Al Qaeda for years. To top off the stupidity, they left paint markings on the canister which identify it as a chemical weapon. Supposedly the Syrian government did this despite knowing there are many “White Helmet” activists in the town along with with their cameras, videos, computers, internet uplinks and western social media promoters. Supposedly the Syrian government did this despite knowing that neo-conservatives, neo-liberals and zionists are keen to prolong the conflict and drag the US and NATO into it. Supposedly the Syrian government did this despite knowing the one thing that could trigger direct US aggression in the conflict is the use of chemical weapons …. the “red line” laid down by Barack Obama.

If the above sounds unlikely, it is. But even if these accusations should be laughed out of the room, as they should have been in 2002, let’s take the claims about the event at Khan Shaykun in Syria on 4 April 2017 seriously. Certainly the consequences will be serious if the trend is not reversed.

What Happened at Khan Shaykhun?

The report titled “Seventh report of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism” was provided to select governments and media on Thursday 26 October. Media announced the key finding without criticism or question. They highlighted the sentence that the committee is “confident that the Syrian Arab Republic is responsible for the release of sarin in Khan Shaykhun on 4 April 2017”.

About 36 hours later, the report was leaked via the internet.  But the die was already cast as establishment media had “confirmed” Syrian guilt.

Following are key contradictions and inconsistencies in the report produced by the Joint Investigative Mechanism of the UN and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

(a) The Investigation Ignores the Essential Element of Motive

The three essentials in criminal investigation are Motive, Means and Opportunity. All three must be present. Yet the investigation team ignores the question of motive. The Syrian government has every motive to NOT use proscribed weapons. On the other side, the armed opposition has a strong motive to implicate the Syrian government. They have been calling for US and NATO intervention for years. They are losing ground, recruits and allies. Yet these facts are never considered.

(b) The Investigation Relies Primarily on Biased Sources

On page 1 the Joint Investigative Mechanism claims they have conducted a “rigorous independent examination”. But most experts and witnesses are biased toward the “regime change” policies of western governments.  On page 4 the report saysThe Mechanism engaged several internationally recognized forensic and specialist defense institutes… to provide forensic and expert support to the investigation.”

Any “defense institute” connected or contracting with France, UK or USA will have inherent assumptions and bias since these governments have actively promoted the overthrow of the Syrian government.

(c) The Investigation Ignores Credible But Critical Analyses

The Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) team makes no mention of the published analysis and findings of numerous researchers, investigative journalists and scientists. For example:

  • MIT Professor Theodore Postol has analyzed the Khan Shaykhun incident. He persuasively challenges the main theory about the crater site and munition.
  • American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has also written about the incident. His information from U.S. military and intelligence officers reveal that the American military knew about the forthcoming attack in advance.  He reports the Syrian jet attack was “not a chemical weapons strike …. That’s a fairy tale.”
  • Investigative journalist Gareth Porter has written an expose titled “Have We Been Deceived over Syrian Sarin Attack? Scrutinizing the Evidence in an Incident Trump Used to Justify Bombing Syria.” Porter presents a devastating critique of the sarin-crater theory. He documents how easily false positives for sarin could have been created and how the OPCW has violated their own investigation protocols.
  • Researcher Adam Larson has written an expose titled “Syria Sarin Allegation: How the UN-Panel Report Twists and Omits Evidence.” After closely inspecting the photographs and videos, he questions whether the victims are civilians kidnapped from a nearby village five days previously. Larson’s site “A Closer Look at Syria” has a good index of videos and articles on this and other events.

The above “open source” analysis and information was published well before the current report but apparently not considered. A “rigorous, independent examination” needs to evaluate investigations such as these.

(d) Victims Appear Before the Attack

On pages 28-29 it is reported that “Certain irregularities were observed in elements of information analyzed. For example, several hospitals appeared to start admitting casualties of the attack between 0640 and 0645 hours…. in 57 cases patients were admitted in five hospitals before the incident in Khan Shaykhun….in 10 such cases, patients appear to have been admitted to a hospital 125 km away from Khan Shaykhun at 0700 hours while another 42 patients appear to have been admitted to a hospital 30 km away at 0700 hours.”

It is reported that “The Mechanism did not investigate these discrepancies and cannot determine whether they are linked to any possible staging scenario, or to poor record-keeping in chaotic conditions”. Given the importance of determining whether this incident was caused by the Syrian government or staged by elements of the armed opposition and their supporters, why were these discrepancies not investigated further? Clearly it is not possible that victims were transported 125 kms and delivered to a hospital in 15 minutes. This is potentially powerful evidence of a staged event.

(e) ‘White Helmets’ Were Warning of a Chemical Weapons Attack Before the Attack

On page 20 it says “The Mechanism collected information from witnesses to the effect that a first warning of a possible upcoming chemical attack was received by “Syrian Civil Defense” (also known as the “White Helmets”) and spotters in Kahn Shaykun…. The witness stated that the alert advised residents to be careful as the aircraft was likely carrying toxic chemicals.”

It seems reasonable to ask: Was the advance talk of “toxic chemicals” a signal to get ready for a staged event? How would a plane spotter know there was a one-time chemical bomb aboard? This is another area that needs more investigation.

(f) Were Syrian Planes Over Khan Shaykhun at the Critical Time?

The basic question of whether or not there were Syrian jets over Khan Shaykhun is unanswered. The Syrian military says they did NOT fly over Khan Shaykhun in the early morning.

Page 21 documents that the Syrian pilot and log books record that the Su-22 jet was executing attacks at other nearby towns and not closer than 7 – 9 kms from Khan Shaykhun. Radar track data from the U.S. appears to support this, indicating the Syrian jet path was 5 kms from Khan Shaykun.

On page 7 it says “SAAF aircraft may have been in a position to launch aerial bombs” (underline added).  On page 22 it says, “the witness reported waking up at around 0700 hours on 4 April 2017 to the sound of explosions. The witness stated that there had been no aircraft over Khan Shaykhun at the time and that aircraft had only started launching attacks at around 1100 hours.” (underline added)

There are conflicting testimonies on this issue but curiously no video showing jet fighters at the time of the explosions in Khan Shaykun. It is unconfirmed how the ground explosions occurred.

(g) The Investigation Team did not try to Visit the Scene of the Crime

On page 3 the report says “The Mechanism did not visit the scenes of the incidents…. While the Leadership Panel considered that a visit to these sites would have been of value, such value would diminish over time. Further, the panel was required to weigh the security risks against the possible benefits to the investigation.”

While it is certainly appropriate to consider security, the actual scene of a crime provides unique opportunities for evidence. The OPCW has previously stated the necessity of having access to a crime site then taking and transferring samples to a certified lab with a clear chain of custody.

If the insurgents still controlling Khan Shaykhun have nothing to hide, they should welcome the investigation.

Furthermore, Russian authorities offered to guarantee the safety of the inspection team. Yet the investigation team apparently made no effort to visit the site. Why? In an investigation of this importance, with potentially huge political consequences, visiting and analyzing the scene of the crime should be a requirement if at all possible.

(h) The Material Evidence Comes from Insurgents with no Verifiable Chain of Custody

On page 23 it says “Samples taken from the crater and its surroundings were found by the Fact Finding Mission to contain sarin.” On the day of the event, insurgents took soil samples and victims to Turkey where they were received and subsequently tested. Without verified origins and “chain of custody”, this data cannot be verified and must be considered skeptically.

As indicated in the report, one theory about the 4 April 2017 event is that it was staged to implicate the Syrian government. If that theory is correct, it is predictable that the plotters would have samples prepared in advance, including sarin samples with markers matched to the Syrian stockpile. The Syrian sarin was destroyed aboard the US vessel “MV Cape Ray”. Given the heavy involvement of the Central Intelligence Agency in the Syrian conflict it is likely they analyzed and retained some portion.

(i) The Report Repeats Discredited Claims about Bomb Fragment and Filler Cap

On page 26 it is reported that “two objects of interest … were the filler cap from a chemical munition and a deformed piece of metal protruding from deep within the crater. According to information obtained by the Mechanism, the filler cap, with two closure plugs, is uniquely consistent with Syrian chemical aerial bombs.”

This information may come from a Human Rights Watch report which has been discredited. The “filler cap” was supposedly a match for an external plug for a Russian chemical weapon bomb but was found to not match and to be based on a 1950’s era museum photo. An insightful and amusing critique of the HRW report is here.

The authenticity of the fragments in the crater is also challenged by the lack of a tailfin or any other bomb fragments. A chemical weapon bomb is designed to release and not burn up the chemical and therefore the munition casing should be on site.

(j) Strange Actions Suggesting a Staged Event 

On page 28 the report notes methods and procedures “that appeared either unusual or inappropriate in the circumstances.”  For example, they observe that a Drager X-am 7000 air monitor was shown detecting sarin when that device is not able to detect sarin, and “para-medical interventions that did not seem to make medical sense, such as performing heart compression on a patient facing the ground.”

On page 29 it is reported that one victim had blood test showing negative for sarin and urine test showing positive. This is an impossible combination. Also on page 29 it is noted that some of the rescue operations were inappropriate but might have been “attempts to inflate the gravity of the situation for depiction in the media.”

The report does not mention the video which shows “White Helmet” responders handling victims without any gloves or protection. If the patients truly died from sarin, touching the patients’ skin or clothing could be fatal. Incidents such as these support the theory that this was a contrived and staged event with real victims.

(k) The Team is “Confident” in their Conclusions Yet Basic Facts are in Dispute

On page 22, the report acknowledges that “To date the Mechanism has not found specific information confirming whether or not an SAA Su-22 operating from Al Shayrat airbase launched an aerial attack against Khan Shaykhun on 4 April 2017.”

How can they be “confident that the Syrian Arab Republic is responsible for the release of sarin at Khan Shaykhun on 4 April 2017” when such basics have not been confirmed?

Conclusion

The report of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) gives the impression of much more certainty than is actually there. Seizing on the false “confidence”, the White House has denounced the “horrifying barbarism of Bashar al Assad” and “lack of respect for international norms” by Syria’s ally Russia. International diplomacy is being steadily eroded. .

Most western “experts” were dead wrong in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Are these same “experts”, institutes, intelligence agencies and biased organizations going to take us down the road to new aggression, this time against Syria?

In contrast with the JIM report, Gareth Porter reached the opposite conclusion: “The evidence now available makes it clear that the scene suggesting a sarin attack at the crater was a crudely staged deception.” That is also more logical. The armed opposition had the motive, means and opportunity.

French Minister of Defense: “French Citizens who Joined Jihad Should Die on the Battlefield”

French Minister of Defense, Florence Parly, told Europe 1 radio last week, “If the [French] jihadis perish in this fight, I would say that’s for the best.”

AP reported in The New York Post of 21 October 2017, that during ISIS heydays, it is estimated that about 30,000 citizens from around the world traveled to the Middle East, mostly Syria and Iraq, to join ISIS/Daesh as jihadi fighters.  This included an estimated 6,000 Europeans, mostly from France, Germany and Britain, many with immigrant backgrounds. A study found that less than 10% converted to Islam.

After ISIS’ defeat in Syria’s northern city of Raqqa, the former ISIS stronghold and artificial capital of the Islamic State’s Caliphate, about a third of the European jihadists have returned home, where many are awaiting trial in prison. Others are free and under surveillance. They are easy fodder for western secret services to blow themselves up, as jihadists, leaving always an ID behind; False Flag acts of ‘terror’, immediately claimed by ISIS, through the Islamic State’s news agency, Amaq. No surprise, though, in case they were contracted by CIA, Mossad, MI6 et al, to do so.

Other European jihadi fighters are still left on defeated battlefields, hiding in Raqqa’s ruins, some captured – and facing immediate death by execution. They are not wanted back in their European home countries. These countries had then and have now no time, nor interest to care for these people, their desperate, rudderless citizens. “Let them die on the battlefield” we don’t want them back.

While most European Governments didn’t dare express it in such blunt words, the French Minister of Defense, Florence Parly, told Europe 1 radio last week, “If the [French] jihadis perish in this fight, I would say that’s for the best.”

US orders were similar, “Our mission is to make sure that any foreign fighter who is here, who joined ISIS from a foreign country and came into Syria, they will die here in Syria,” said Brett McGurk, the top U.S. envoy for the anti-IS coalition, in an interview with Dubai-based Al-Aan television. “So, if they’re in Raqqa, they’re going to die in Raqqa,” he said. This is as much as saying, no prisoners are taken, they are all to be neutralized, a euphemism for murdered.

Imagine, this comes from the very countries that have created, trained and funded ISIS. Then they have nurtured ISIS for their purposes of spreading destruction, chaos, and assassination throughout the Middle east with focus on Syria and Iraq. These are the NATO governments who have left their young rudderless people without hope, seeking a ‘raison d’être’, a purpose in life.

Desperate without hope and guidance, many with zero income, zero chance in our western ultra-competitive merciless society – that’s what they were then, when they joined the Jihad and that’s what they are today – at the point of being slaughtered with the permission of their governments who created the army they volunteered to fight for – out of despair.

These European governments were and are in the first place interested in NATO, war and in pleasing their masters in Washington, but not in providing jobs or social safety nets for the young, the jobless, the desperate. These governments must destroy the world as a priority for their own elite’s greed and satisfaction, for the war industry’s profit. They do not care for the generations of young people either killed or without a future in Syria, Iraq, or even at home – and now they are ordering, yes, literally ordering to kill their own citizens, who left because their warmongering neoliberal – neofascist – economies had no space and interest in helping their hapless and hopeless citizens finding a purpose in life, a decent job, a roof over their head – and most important, inclusion in society. Feeling as outcasts, they felt inspired by the western initiated jihad propaganda – and left to fight a purposeless horrible western financed war.

This is the same Europe – directed by a nucleus of unelected white-collar criminals in Brussels, called the European Commission, the same Europeans, rather than caring for the well-being on their home-turf, they are colluding with their transatlantic financial mafia pals of Wall Street, FED, the Bretton Woods Institutions, planning on how to rob more poor countries of their natural resources, by indebting and blackmailing them into austerity and privatization of their public services. The same NATO-chained Europe with hundreds of years of history of brutal colonialism throughout the world.

Madame Parly’s statement must have been approved by president Macron, who stayed silent at the condemnation to death of French jihadi citizens by his Minister of Defense. Macron has just managed to put a ‘permanent state of emergency’ – basically Martial Law – into the French Constitution, entering into effect on 1 November 2017 – the first European country to do so.

The State of Emergency was in effect in France – permanent police and military surveillance throughout France – since the Charlie Hebdo murders in January 2015. Despite this law, 43 terror attacks causing hundreds of deaths, occurred in France to this day. – No doubt other EU countries will follow Macron’s lead. There is clearly no space for French ex-jihadists in France.

An anonymous Kurdish YPG official said, foreigners who fight until the end will be ‘eliminated’. In other words, we don’t take prisoners – following the dictate of the French Minister of Defense, and the US envoy, McGurk. The YPG is a powerful Kurdish secessionist militia, financed and supported by Washington.

The anonymous source also said that for the few prisoners they had captured, they, the Kurds, tried to reach out to the prisoners’ home countries, “We try to hand them in. But many would not want to take their (detainees).” He added these were sensitive issues not to be discussed with reporters.

“The general sentiment in northern Europe is we don’t want these people back, but I don’t think anyone has thought about the alternatives,” said Pieter Van Ostaeyen, an expert on the Belgian jihadists. He insinuates the complications on prosecuting the returnees, and how to track them if and when they leave custody.

“You can see why almost the preferred resolution is that they don’t return,” said Bruce Hoffman, head of Georgetown University’s security studies program and author of “Inside Terrorism.” – What worries me is I think it’s wishful thinking that they’re all going to be killed off,” he added.

Wishful thinking or not, French Minister Parly said it’s the best outcome.

“We cannot do anything to prevent their return besides neutralize the maximum number of jihadis in this combat,” she said.

Shamefully, all sense of Human Rights, of the Geneva Convention of War Prisoners, has been erased from the witless, immoral brains of western politicians.

No country openly admits refusing to let citizens who joined the Islamic State return, including women and children. Germany and Russia are exceptions to this sinister rule. German diplomats state that all German citizens “are entitled to consular assistance”.

Russia actually goes out of its way to repatriate its citizens who want to come home, with a special effort on orphaned children and wives of killed Russian jihadists. It is again just wonderful to see the difference in human approach between the east and the decadent west. In his final words at the closing ceremony of the Sochi Youth Festival, Mr. Putin warned that worse than nuclear bombs are the loss of ethics and moral values in society.

The Terror Next Time: The Daesh Story Is Not Ending

Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, has been reduced to rubble. It has been finally conquered, snatched back from the notorious group, Daesh, after months of merciless bombardment by the US-led war coalition, and a massive ground war.

But ‘victory’ can hardly be the term assigned to this moment.  Mosul, once Iraq’s cultural jewel and model of co-existence, is now a ‘city of corpses’, as described by a foreign journalist who walked through the ruins, while shielding his nose from a foul smell.

“You’ve probably heard of thousands killed, the civilian suffering,” Murad Gazdiev said. “What you likely haven’t heard of is the smell. It’s nauseating, repulsive, and it’s everywhere – the smell of rotting bodies.”

Actually, the “smell of rotting bodies” can be found everywhere that Daesh has been defeated. The group that once declared a Caliphate – an Islamic state – in Iraq and Syria in 2014, and was left to freely expand in all directions, is now being hurriedly vanquished.

Such a fact leaves one wondering how a small group, itself a spawn of other equally notorious groups, could have declared, expanded and sustained a ‘state’ for years, in a region rife with foreign armies, militias and the world’s most powerful intelligences?

But should not such a question be rendered irrelevant now, considering that Daesh is finally being routed, in most violent and decisive methods?

Well, this is what almost everyone seems to agree on; even political and military rivals are openly united over this very objective.

Aside from the city of Mosul in Iraq, Daesh has also been defeated in its stronghold in the city of Raqqa, in the east of Syria.

Those who astonishingly survived the battles of Mosul and Raqqa are now holed in Deir ez-Zor, which promises to be their last major battle.

In fact, the war on Daesh is already moving to areas outside large population centers where the militant group had sought safe haven. Yet, Daesh militants are being flushed out of these regions as well, for example, in the western Qalamoun region on the Syria-Lebanon border.

Even the open desert is no longer safe. The Badiya Desert, extending from central Syria to the borders of Iraq and Jordan, is now witnessing heavy fighting, centered in the town of Sukhnah.

Brett McGurk, US special envoy for the ‘Global Coalition to Counter ISIS’, recently returned to the US after spending a few days the region. He talked to CBS television network with palpable confidence.

Daesh forces are “fighting for their life, block-by-block,” he said, reporting that the militant group had lost roughly 78 percent of areas it formerly controlled in Iraq since its peak in 2014, and about 58 percent of its territories in Syria.

Expectedly, US officials and media are mostly emphasizing military gains they attribute to US-led forces and ignore all others, while Russian-led allies are doing just the opposite.

Aside from the numerous humanitarian tragedies associated with these victories, none of the parties involved have taken any responsibility for the rise of Daesh, in the first place.

They have to, and not only as a matter of moral accountability. Without understanding and confronting the reasons behind the rise of Daesh, one is certain that the fall of Daesh will spawn yet another group with an equally nefarious, despairing and violent vision.

Those in mainstream media, who have attempted to deconstruct the roots of Daesh, unwisely confront its ideological influences without paying the slightest heed to the political reality from which the group was incepted.

Whether Daesh, Al-Qaeda or any other, such groups are typically born and reborn in places suffering from the same, chronic ailment: a weak central government, foreign invasion, military occupation and state terror.

Terrorism is the by-product of brutality and humiliation, regardless of the source, but is most pronounced when that source is a foreign one.

If these factors are not genuinely addressed, there can be no ending to terrorism.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that Daesh was molded, and thrived, in countries like Iraq, Syria, Libya and regions like the Sinai Desert. Moreover, many of those who answered Daesh’s call also emerged from communities that suffered the cruelty of merciless Arab regimes, or neglect, hate and alienation in western societies.

The reason that many refuse to acknowledge such a fact – and would fight tooth and nail to discredit such an argument – is that an admission of guilt would make many responsible for the very creation of the terrorism they claim to fight.

Those who are content in blaming Islam, a religion that was one of the main contributing factors to the European cultural renaissance, are not simply ignorant; many of them are guided by sinister agendas. But their mindless notion of blaming religion is as stupid as George W. Bush’s ill-defined ‘war on terror.’

Wholesale, uninformed judgments can only prolong conflict.

Moreover, generalized notions prevent us from a narrowed-down attempt at confronting specific, and clearly obvious links, for example, between Al-Qaeda’s advent in Iraq and the US invasion of that country; between the rise of the sectarian-brand of al-Qaeda under Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the sectarian division of that country under US administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, and his allies in the Shia-led government in Baghdad.

It should have been clear from the start that Daesh, as notoriously violent as it is, was one of the symptoms, not the cause. After all, Daesh is only 3-years-old. Foreign occupation and war in the region predates its inception by many years.

Although we were told – by Daesh itself, but also media pundits – that Daesh is here to stay, it turned out that the group is but a passing phase in a long, ugly montage, rife with violence and bereft of both morality and the intellectual courage to examine the true roots of violence.

It is likely that the victory over Daesh is short-lived. The group will surely develop a new warfare strategy or will further mutate. History has taught us that much.

It is also likely that those who are proudly taking credit for systematically and efficiently annihilating the group – along with whole cities – will not pause for a moment to think of what they must do differently to prevent a new Daesh from taking form.

Strangely, the ‘US-led Global Coalition to Counter ISIS’ seems to have access to the firepower needed to turn cities into rubble, but not the wisdom to understand that unchecked violence inspires nothing but violence; and that state terror, foreign interventions and collective humiliation of entire nations are all the necessary ingredients to restart the bloodbath all over again.

Syria and Lebanon Defeating the ISIS Terrorists

Whatever the West may think, and no matter what the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri may say publicly, the Lebanese army, in clear coordination with Hezbollah (which is outlawed in many Western countries) as well as with the Syrian army, is now pounding the positions of deadly ISIS/Daesh, right at the border region.

The army began the operation on August 19, 2017, at 5 in the morning, by firing at the terrorists’ positions in Jaroud, Raas Ba’albak and al-Qaa’ using rockets and heavy artillery. It all has an emotional twist: the army commanders declared that the operation was launched in honor of the country’s kidnapped military men and martyrs.

Apparently, Lebanon has finally decided: that, enough is enough! First Al-Nusra Front and now ISIS have to go.

Ignore the fact the Lebanese government went out of its way to say that the Lebanese army is actually not coordinating with Syrian forces, or with Hezbollah. After all, Mr. Hariri just recently returned from Washington, where he met the US President who is treating Syrian President Assad as his personal enemy, and Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Personally, Mr. Hariri likes the West, and he is very close to its loyal ally, Saudi Arabia, where he was born.

But Mr. Hariri was never elected. Lebanon is using a complex and obscure “confession system”, ‘distributing political and institutional power proportionally among confessional communities’. President has to be a Maronite Christian; Speaker of the Parliament is Shi’a Muslim and Prime Minister has to be a Sunni Muslim.

Therefore, one thing is what Mr. Hariri says, and other what most of the people of Lebanon think or do.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese resistance, political and social movement Hezbollah has also declared a joint anti-Daesh  (ISIS) offensive with the Syrian army, at the other side of the border. The gloves are suddenly off.

Unlike one month earlier, when Al-Nusra Front was almost totally wiped out by the same coalition but in the end its fighters were spared and offered a transfer to a  ‘safe zone’ inside Syria (Idlib), this time there is not going to be any preliminary negotiation with the most venomous of all terrorist groups in the region. The message is clear: either the unconditional or at least irreversible surrender of all ISIS terrorists, or their total destruction.

By the evening of August 20, the Lebanese army was already holding around 80 square kilometers (roughly 30%) of the area that was previously controlled by Daesh (ISIS).

*****

Before I departed from the Lebanese capital for Cairo, Egypt, I drank a few cups of coffee with my good friend, an intellectual from Syria. We were sitting in the middle of Beirut’s Christian neighborhood, Achrafieh.

“Let’s take a ‘selfie’ together,” he said. I was surprised; before he was known to despise social media.

“We are winning,” he said, “and that’s great… But you never know what happens next… There will be, surely, some terrible retaliation. Who knows whether we’ll see each other again, you know… Something may happen to me, or to you, on the way to the airport.”

I knew what he was talking about, and I have written about the situation many times before. Lebanon, in some of the non-Muslim neighborhoods of Beirut, has been literally saturated with so-called “dormant cells”, of various terrorist organizations, particularly ISIS. At any moment they can get ‘activated’, destroying hundreds of lives in this beautiful but long-suffering city.

Beirut is nervous, edgy. Great victories in the mountains liberated tormented local people, and Lebanon is finally regaining its territories. But the terrorists will not disappear from the country overnight. They may be losing big territorial battles, but they are still capable of inflicting terrible casualties on the civilians and even the military.

But so far, everything is moving rapidly, in Lebanon and across the border. The once astonishing number of almost 2 million refugees on its territory has gradually been reduced to 1.5 million, and then adjusted further down to 1.2 million. Soon it may drop well under one million.

Syrians are going back, confident that peace is returning to their scarred land.

The Syrian forces, as well as Russians, Iranians and Hezbollah, are clearly determined to stop the insurgency of several terrorist groups on the Syrian territory, while China is now also playing an increasingly important and positive role.

Most of the terrorist armies are directly or indirectly supported by the West or by its close allies in the Gulf. Turkey is also playing dangerous and deadly games in the region.

*****

Almost no one is talking about the final collapse of the Middle East, anymore. Entire nations have been damaged; some went up in flames. Implanted militant Islam served well both the West and much of the Gulf. But Syria survived; it fought bravely and determinedly, supported by its allies and at an enormous cost, it has managed to stop the imperialists and their brutal extremist local offshoots.

While no one is celebrating, yet, the mood in Syria, Lebanon and in several other parts of the region is suddenly upbeat.

The West is now fully discredited, while Russia has gained great respect.

As Lebanese and Syrian armies are, with Hezbollah support, conducting offensive against the ISIS, Russian jets, it is reported, killed some 200 terrorists heading for a region of Deir ez-Zur in Syria. In the same period of time, US-led strikes killed at least 17 civilians in Raqqah.

President al-Assad has no illusions about the motives of the Western involvement in the region. As reported on August 20 by SANA Syrian Arab Agency, he recently gave a powerful speech:

…This conflict is a valuable opportunity for the West to ‘settle the account’ with so many countries and subjugating countries which have refused to bow to the West’s hegemony during the past years or decades, including Syria, Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Belarus among others, even Russia.

President al-Assad continued:

Today the West is facing an existential conflict….living in a state of hysteria whenever there is a state that wants to take part with it in the international decision-making in any field and in any place in the world.

*****

By August 27 2017, it was clear that Daesh (ISIS) fighters were cornered, if not completely defeated. The Lebanese Army agreed to a cease-fire in its offensive, after terrorists decided to lay down arms. Negotiations began. It appears that the ISIS may soon pull out of Lebanese territory to Syria, to a designated zone.

Victory came at a heavy price: the Lebanese Army helicopters were flying helicopters with body bags containing remains of the soldiers, over the capital – Beirut.

Across the border (as was reported by Press TV on August 27), helicopters were used for totally different goals:

For the second time this week, a helicopter operating under the US-led coalition has transferred members of the Daesh terrorist group in Syria’s eastern Dayr al-Zawr Province, a UK-based monitoring group says… Syrian sources said that the operation was accompanied by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces’ artillery fire… The sources speculated that the airlift was possibly meant to transfer US mercenaries fighting alongside Daesh or the terror outfit’s ringleaders who sought to defect…

 *****

Tiny Lebanon is tied to Syria with an umbilical cord. It is a rocky, often extremely complex relationship, but during the historic moments like this it is clear that both countries can and choose to act in unison. The Prime Minister of Lebanon may like to flirt with Donald Trump in Washington and with Saudi Arabia, but the armies of both countries are clearly together, fighting the same enemy. And so is Hezbollah.

To both the Syrian and Lebanese people, it is clear who the real enemies of the region are. And they are definitely not Hezbollah or President al-Assad.

• First published in New Eastern Outlook

Lebanon: Hedonism and War

Palestinian refugee camps are up in flames across the country, a result of the disputes between the rival factions, but also of ‘unsavory’ influences from abroad. As everyone knows here, there are, for instance, the Al Qaida-affiliated militants hiding in the South.

In Palestinian Refugee Camp, South Lebanon

There are Israeli incursions into Lebanon, both by land and by water. There are also drones, flying habitually from Israel into and through the Lebanese airspace.

Lebanon-Israel border

There is great tension between Israel and Hezbollah, over Syria, but not only.

Lebanese forces are fighting DAESH, mainly in the Northeast of Lebanon, on the mountainous border with Syria. Hezbollah is fighting DAESH, too, but ‘independently’.

Syrian refugees in Lebanon

In the 7th year into the war in Syria, there are still more than 1 million Syrian refugees living on Lebanese territory, some in awful conditions and many with an extremely uncertain future. The exact number is unknown (UNHCR stopped the registration of all new arrivals approximately 2 years ago), but is believed to fluctuate between 1 and 2 million.

There is mounting tension between the Syrian and the Lebanese communities, as they are now competing for already sparse jobs and public services (including such basic utilities like water), while Palestinian refugees have been stranded in Lebanon already for decades, with very little social, political and economic rights.

There is a drug epidemic, from its production (mainly in the Bekaa Valley), to its unbridled consumption in Beirut.

A new government has finally been formed in December 2016, after more than 2.5 years of absence of any functioning administration. However, the Prime Minister is a Sunni Muslim, Saad Hariri, who is openly hostile to Syria and has directly expressed support for the recent US attacks against the neighboring country. Mr. Hariri has long been accusing Hezbollah and Syria of assassinating his father, Rafik Hariri, in February 2005. Mr. Hariri has dual citizenship, that of Lebanon and also of Saudi Arabia where he was born (in Riyadh). On the other hand, the President of Lebanon is now a Maronite Christian, 83-years old Michel Aoun, who came to power thanks to the unfailing support given to him by Hezbollah, the fact that puts him at odds with the Prime Minister.

Invader’s Grave, Israeli tanks in Hezbollah museum

There is an ongoing struggle, even deadlock, amongst the ‘political parties’ (in Lebanon often synonymous with sectarian divisions), over such varied issues as the electoral law, waste management, international political alliances, foreign military funding, gender-based discrimination, employment as well as all basic social services (or acute lack of them).

*****

Lebanon is literally surrounded by perpetual conflicts. Syria, the country in great agony, is right ‘next door’, north and east of tiny Lebanon, while mighty and aggressive Israel is threatening the country from the south. The United Nations troops are patrolling the so-called “UN 2000 Blue Line” or the de facto border between Lebanon and Israel. In fact, UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon) has for years been ‘covering’ a large part of the country’s territory. It all feels like a war zone.

Hezbollah flag over Israeli border

In fact, the region consists of a series of temporarily dormant conflicts that are ready to explode again, at any moment, with destructive, murderous force.

The occupied and devastated Golan Heights is just across the borderline, too. Officially, The Golans are still part of Syria, but the Israelis have already purged most of its population, resettling it with their own citizens. During my visit, some 4 years ago, the situation was already dire, the area scarred by barbed wires, with Israeli military posts and vehicles everywhere. Many local houses were destroyed, as ‘punishment’. If you drive to the geographical extreme, you can see the Golan Heights from Lebanon. You can also see Israel, while Syria is ‘always there’, right behind the majestic and bare mountains.

UNIFIL vehicle parked in front of Hezollah poster

The UN peacekeepers come from all parts of the world, including South Korea, Indonesia and Europe. Right before the Coastal Highway ends, near the city of Tyre, the motorists pass through the last Lebanese checkpoint. The UNIFIL protected area begins, with armored vehicles, sandbags and watchtowers. It reads, on the concrete blocks intended to slow down the traffic: “Peace to Lebanon, Glory to Korea!”

Palestinian refugee camps are overflowing. Syrian refugees (some in awful conditions) are working like slaves in the Bekaa Valley, begging for money in Sidon and Beirut, or if they are wealthy, renting lavish seafront condominiums on the Corniche of the capital city.

*****

Despite all the bravado, Lebanon is scared; it is petrified.

Everybody knows that Israel could hit at any moment, again. It is said that Israelis are already stealing Lebanese oil from the seabed, but the weak and almost totally defenseless country can do almost nothing against one of the mightiest military forces on Earth.

All over the country, there are ‘dormant cells’ of ISIS (DAESH) and of other extremist militant groups, overflowing from war-torn Syria. The ISIS is dreaming about a ‘caliphate and the access to the sea’. Lebanon is right there, a ‘perfect location’.

Both Russia and China are keeping a relatively low profile here, not too interested in operating in this divided and uncertain political climate. In Lebanon, there are very few permanent loyalties left; allegiances are often shifting and are frequently dependent on outside ‘funding’.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are always present here, and so is the West. Hezbollah (on several ‘lists’ of the terrorist organizations of the West) is the only pan-Lebanese force capable and willing to provide at least some basic social services for the poor, as well as determined military and ideological defense against Israel.

Many political analysts are predicting that Lebanon will collapse, totally, and soon. But it is still here, determined and defiant. How, nobody knows. For how long, is a total mystery!

Louis Vuitton in Beirut

Patrolled by the UN, overflowing with refugees, Lebanon is shining into the night. Its Ferraris are roaming through its streets, without mufflers, until early morning hours. Its nightclubs are seducing hedonist visitors from the Gulf. Its art cinemas are as good or even better than those in Paris. At the AUB Medical Center, the best Middle Eastern surgeons are treating the most horrid war injuries from the area.

Here, war and self-indulgence are living side by side. Some say it is nothing else other than a bare cynicism. Others would argue: “No, it is life! Life of the 21st century world; exposed, brought to the extreme, but in a way honest.”

• First published in NEO

When Daesh is Defeated: Who Will Fill the Intellectual Vacuum in the Arab World?

Back in the Middle East for a few months, I find myself astounded by the absence of the strong voices of Arab intellectuals.

The region that has given rise to the likes of Michel Aflaq, George Habash, Rached al-Ghannouchi, Edward Said and numerous others has marginalized its intellectuals.

Arab visionaries have either been coopted by the exuberant funds allocated to sectarian propaganda, been silenced by fear of retribution, or are simply unable to articulate a collective vision that transcends their sects, religions or whatever political tribe they belong to.

This void created by the absence of Arab intellectuals (reduced to talking heads with few original ideas, and engaged in useless TV ‘debates’) has been filled by extremist voices tirelessly advocating a genocidal future for everyone.

It is no secret that Arabs and Muslims are by far the greatest victims of extremism.

Strange as this may sound, religious scholars seem more united in countering the voices that hijacked religion to promote their dark political agendas.

Yet despite repeated initiatives, cries of Muslim scholars who represent majority of Muslims worldwide have garnered little media attention.

For example, in June 2016, nearly 100,000 Muslim clerics in Bangladesh signed a religious decree (Fatwa) condemning the militant group, Daesh.

Such Fatwas are quite common, and many thousands of Arab Muslim scholars have done the same.

Although hardly popular among Muslims in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the rest of the world, somehow Daesh came to define Islam and all Muslims in the eyes of the West.

The debate in Western media and among academics remains futile, yet pervasive – while the Islamophobes are eager to reduce Islam to Daesh, others insist on conspiracy theories regarding the origins of the group.

Much time is wasted in this demoralizing discussion.

The roots of extremism cannot be found in a religion that is credited with uplifting Europe from its Dark Ages to an era of rational philosophy and the ascendency of science.

Thanks to Muslim scientists during the Islamic Golden Age, Alchemy, mathematics, philosophy, physics and even agricultural methods were passed from the Arabs – Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Persian scholars – to medieval Europe beginning as early as the 12th Century and lasting for hundreds of years.

The developed Arab Muslim city states in Al-Andalus, Spain, was a major gate through which Muslim knowledge gushed into western Europe, affecting a continent then sustained by endless wars and superstitions.

Fortunes had indeed turned with the fall of Granada in 1492. Massacres of Arabs and Jews in Spain ensued, extending for hundreds of years. It was then that many Jews sought a safe haven in the Arab world, continuing a period of relatively peaceful co-existence that remained in place until the mid-20th Century.

While times had changed, the essence of Islam as a religion remained intact.

In the hands of scholars and intellectuals, Islam influenced much of the world. In the hands of Daesh ‘scholars’, Islam has become exploited, offering bloody fatwas and humiliating and enslaving women.

Islam has certainly not changed, but the ‘intellectual’ has.

Most of the answers we continue to seek about Daesh often yields little meaning simply because the questions are situated in American-Western priorities.

We insist on discussing Daesh as a question of Western security, and refuse to contextualize the emergence of Daesh in US-Western interventions in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen.

It seems that extremists (whether Daesh, al-Qaeda or others) are almost always linked to Western military ‘areas of operations’ in the Middle East. Extremism thrives in places in which strong central powers are lacking or have no political legitimacy and popular support, leaving the door wide-open for foreign interventionists.

Yemen had no strong central power for many years, neither did Somalia, nor recently, Libya and Mali. It was no surprise that these places are dual victims of extremists and interventionists.

Foreign interventionists often cite ‘fighting extremism’ to further justify their meddling in other countries’ affairs, thus empowering extremists, who use interventions to acquire more recruits, funds and self-validation.

It is a vicious cycle that has occupied the Middle East since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

That relationship – between foreign interventions, ensued chaos, and extremism – is often missing in Western media discourses.

But here in the Arab world the challenge is somewhat different.

In recent years, the ‘marketplace of ideas’ has shrunk to the point that what remains is an alternative marketplace in which the ‘intellectual’ is bought and sold for a negotiable price.

It is quite common that an editor of a newspaper can use his publication to serve as a mouthpiece for a Middle Eastern party, before he changes his loyalty to other competing parties.

It all depends on who pays more.

Many once-promising intellectuals are now victims too, acting as mere mouthpieces.

There were times in which Arab intellectuals fought to articulate a unique narrative – a combination of nationalist, socialist and Islamic ideologies that had tremendous impact on the Arab individual and collective.

Even if the offshoots were sometimes populist movements centered around an individual, or a ruling party, the Arab intellectual movement that emerged during the anti-colonial and post-colonial struggles remained relevant, vibrant and massively consequential.

The setback following the upheaval of the 2011 revolts, uprisings and civil wars, has led to massive polarization. Many Arab intellectuals fled to the West, were imprisoned or opted to remain silent.

Pseudo-intellectuals, however, were readily co-opted, selling their allegiances to the highest bidder.

This intellectual vacuum allowed the likes of Daesh, al-Qaeda and others to fill the space with their agendas.

True, their agendas are dark and horrific, yet they are rational outcomes at a time when Arab societies subsist in despair, when foreign interventions are afoot, and when no homegrown intellectual movement is available to offer Arab nations a road map towards a future free from tyranny and foreign occupation.

Even when Daesh is defeated on the ground, its ideology will not disappear; it will simply mutate, for Daesh is itself a mutation of various other extremist ideologies.

Neither the Westernized Arab intellectual, nor the co-opted local one is capable of filling the empty space at the moment, leaving room for more chaos that can only by filled by opportunistic extremism.

This is not a discussion that can be instigated by Western universities or state-sponsored Arab media for these platforms will impose a self-serving narrative doomed to prejudice the outcomes.

It is fundamentally an Arab discussion that must be generated by free Arab thinkers – Muslim and Christians alike. It is the birth of that movement that will begin to imagine an alternative future for the region.

Seemingly wishful thinking? I think not. Without such intellectual renaissance, the Arabs will remain hostage to two choices: to remain lackeys to Western powers or hostage to self-serving regimes.

And both options are not options at all.

US airstrike on Daesh Poison Gas Depot leaves Many Civilians Dead

Reports coming out of Syria suggest that hundreds of people, including civilians, have lost their lives after an airstrike by the US-led coalition hit poison gas supplies belonging to Daesh terrorists.

The General Command of the Syrian Army and Armed Forces, in a statement released on Thursday, announced that the airstrike had taken place in the eastern village of Hatla, near the city of Dayr al-Zawr, at around 5:30 p.m. local time (1530 GMT) the previous day.

The statement, published by Syria’s official news agency, SANA, added that a cloud of thick white smoke covered the area after the strike, before it turned yellow. The assault also caused a fierce blaze, which continued until late in the evening on Wednesday.

According to the Syrian Army statement, hundreds of people, including a large number of local villagers, were killed after inhaling high volumes of toxic fumes spread in the targeted area.

The statement further noted that the attack was evidence to the close coordination that exists between terrorist groups operating inside Syria and their sponsors to level accusations of chemical weapons use against the Syrian government forces, and also proved that the militants were in possession of chemical warfare.

A handout grab image from a video made available by the Russian Defense Ministry’s press service on the official website of the Russian Defense Ministry shows a hangar at the Shayrat air base after it was hit by a US strike on April 8, 2017.

The Syrian Army statement went on to say that terror outfits, particularly Daesh and al-Nusra Front, were able to acquire and transport chemical weapons through the assistance of certain regional powers, emphasizing that the Damascus government had repeatedly warned that terrorist groups would use chemical weapons against civilians and Syrian army forces.

It also highlighted that the Syrian army neither possessed chemical munitions, nor would ever use them, arguing that terrorist groups continued to use chemical weapons against Syrian civilians with impunity.

The development came less than a week after a suspected chemical attack in the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria’s Homs Province reportedly left over 80 people dead on April 4.

Following the attack, the US Defense Department, Pentagon, said 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles had been fired from two US warships in the Mediterranean Sea at the Shayrat airfield in the same Syrian province on April 7. US officials claimed that the suspected Khan Shaykhun attack had been launched from the military site.

In this image provided by the US Navy, the USS Ross fires a tomahawk land attack missile on Friday, April 7, 2017, from the Mediterranean Sea, aimed at a Syrian air base in Homs Province. (Via AP)

SANA reported that at least nine people had been killed in the early morning strike on the Syrian airfield.

Syria’s Foreign Ministry condemned the US strike as “a flagrant aggression” against the Arab country, saying that Washington’s real objective was to “weaken the strength of the Syrian army in confronting terrorist groups.”

The ministry described the Khan Shaykhun attack as a “premeditated action that aimed to justify the launching of a US attack on the Syrian army.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry also censured the attack as an act of aggression against a sovereign state.

The War on Islam: Irrational U.S. Behavior or Calculated Zionist Plan?

Is the belligerent U.S. enmity toward Islam an expression of the Jewish Zionist control of the United States? The second question is equally as pertinent as the title’s question. Recalling the Crusades, is it not legitimate to question whether we are witnessing a replay of Pope Urban II and over two centuries of pillaging European wars on the people of the Eastern Mediterranean under the pretext of liberating the “holy land” from Muslims? Is the analogy of a replay true or false?

To debate this issue, the hating of Islam could never be separated from the political and ideological conditions that allow it to happen. This means rational factors rooted in the politics of U.S. imperialism are orchestrating the anti-Islam campaign and using it as a tool of war against the Arabs. Proving this point, with the exception of Afghanistan, no other predominantly Muslim country has become a theater for U.S. wars except the Arab states.

There is something literally sinister about the Hating Islam Phenomenon and all this deafening noise seeking to perpetuate America’s destruction of the Arab nations under the guise of war on “islamic terror”.1 Who created this criminal type of war and why? Who turned it into a catchphrase to the point that when uttered alone, the word “terrorism” means violence by Muslims and Muslims only? Far more important, it is time to acknowledge a straight fact. There is no “war on terror”. Also, there is no war between the United States and its erstwhile and current mercenaries (“islamic militants”). Unassailable evidence can confirm that the United States has been, by proxy and directly, financing, arming, and training these mercenaries to serve its plans in the Arab World.

Today, wars are everywhere in the Arab World. We have American wars, Russian wars2, French wars, British wars, and we have Saudi wars against other Arab states. But these are not wars in the classical sense. What we have here is the systematic destruction of the Arab nations mainly at the hands of the United States, as well as by means of organized criminals whom the U.S. and the West cynically call “muslim terrorists”.

In the incessant anti-Arab and anti-Muslim campaigns, the West has produced mountains of “evidence” to support its “war on islamic terror”, and claims on the perfidy of Arabs and Islam could fill entire stadiums. Biased essays, faked documentaries, outlandish books, and stereotyped films on the “evils” of Islam have inundated all corners of the earth. To what end did the United States and the West unleash all this anti-Islam pandemonium knowing it is only a religion?

Wait! But when we cross-reference the war on the Arabs to the long-term objectives of American, European, and Israeli imperialisms, we begin to see the emergence of a relation between the war on Islam and the war on the Arabs.

So how should we describe the U.S. war on Islam? Is it a product of irrational thinking? Is it a result of rational political processes? Do these processes find justification in objectives of hegemonic U.S. imperialism and Zionism?

Earlier I stated, “Rational factors rooted in the politics of U.S. imperialism are orchestrating the anti-Islam campaign”. Axiomatically this validates the premise that irrationality does not apply in this type of war. For one, it is not typical of advanced imperialist states whose open culture and stable political systems developed over a long period. As for the United States, it is universally known that its domestic politics, foreign policy, and state decisions are a product of deliberation. Meaning, decisions are not happenstance. To be sure, they are a rational consequence of agendas. Conclusion: U.S. decision‑making is articulate, lucid, rational, and consistently supported by game theories and managerial sciences (Robert McNamara’s data model of the US war on Vietnam is just one example).

Accordingly, the worldwide crimes of the United States are products of deliberate and sanctioned policies. Examples of such policies abound in American history. Take Andrew Jackson, for example; his visceral hatred of the Original Peoples was a state policy that resulted in their mass extermination. However, the expected outcome of his hate was rooted in the design to empty the land of its natural inhabitants thus to expand the emerging American continental empire. So too was the forced relocation of the Cherokee tribes from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and other southern states. In the same vein, McKinley’s colonization of the Philippines (a spoil of the Spanish-American war) was not in response to a dream where God whispered in his ears to colonize that nation. To be sure, McKinley was executing a definite expansionist colonialist plan.

There should be no assumptions on how the U.S. government runs the business of the imperialist state. It is true that the White House appears to exercise control over vital processes leading to decisions—especially in foreign policy. However, the reality is quite different. The complex structure of the American power is such that neither the White House nor the Congress are independent from the gargantuan and capillary institutions, agencies, financial centers, civilian-military connections, think tanks, and advisory boards, etc. that, de facto, direct the American state. Within this context, when interventionist policies are made by the few in the top tier of power, the one thing that follows is a string of justifications.

In a system thusly conceived, the hating of Islam paradigm is a rehash of previously tested rationalizations to elicit acceptance. Repeatedly, when the drive for intervention is underway (e.g., the invasions of Panama, Afghanistan, and Iraq), the phase that comes after is already set to begin. In the current phase of U.S. hyper-imperialism, it is impossible to conceal the aim of the Hate Islam policy. Taking notice of U.S. announcements and active interventions, this cannot be but the complete fracturing of all the Arab States to control their strategic and geopolitical assets, as well as to crown Israel as the master of the region.

To see the Hate Islam Policy in its Zionist dimension, we need to look at a number of things. First off, it is relevant to mention that the anti-Islam American mindset predates the installation of Israel. This seems to suggest that Zionists has nothing to do with what is going on. In reality, the connubial ties between Western ideological attitudes and ideological Zionism have become so interwoven that we have to read them carefully and in multiple contexts. In addition, attributing the American hostility to the aftermath of 9/11 is not a credible suggestion because U.S. policy, since Harry Truman, is essentially based on antagonizing the Arabs and on supporting Israel in all matters. Such support is neither coincidental nor contingent upon circumstances. Meaning, it is unconditional because those who decide on giving it—American Jewish and non-Jewish Zionists—are in control of how the U.S. government must act in relation to the settler Zionist state.

Second, does the charge that the U.S. anti-Islam war is a Zionist initiative hold any truth? Based on empirical observation of American politics and the distribution of power inside the system, the answer is intuitively yes. It is YES because of the fact that American Jewish Zionists are the primary advocates for a militarily strong Israel, as well as for the use of U.S. military power against the opponents of the Zionist state.

Discussion

First, one hundred years after Arthur James Balfour donated Palestine to the Zionist movement as if it were the property of his mother, the Arabs are still rejecting the Jewish Zionist colonization of Palestine. Second, the Palestinians are still resisting, until this very day, the Zionist occupation of their lands. Arguably, this firm rejection has a consequence. It entailed that in order for American Jewish Zionists (epicenter of U.S. power structures) to perpetuate the existence of Israel, the Arabs must be turned into the declared enemies of the United States.  Enmity to Islam, therefore, is an ideological expedient to fight the adversaries of the Zionist state. As such, it is the means to destabilize, overpower, and destroy the Arab nations in the name of Zionism and the fortunes of American imperialism.

The following citations do not cite Islam by name. But the connection is evident. When American Jewish Zionists call for the destructions of the Arab states that oppose Israel, the unstated proposal to fight Islam is implicit because Islam is the soft belly of the Arabs due to its historical, cultural, and emotional values.

The first citation is “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” by known anti-Arab Jewish Zionists including Richard Perle, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and others. It is noteworthy that this group had prepared this study for Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996. In the report, this group of Jewish Zionist ideologues and conspirators called for the destruction of Iraq and Syria by toppling their regimes. Both objectives have been achieved through United States. The report was published by the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies. This observation is of capital importance. The Institute chaired by another Jewish Zionist, Anthony Cordesman, presents itself as an advisor to the United States in matters of military strategies. So when Cordesman and associates published the report, the implication is unmistakable: Israel’s strategic thinking on destroying the Arab system of nations opposing Israel is being carried out in the United States by American Jewish Zionists.

The second is “The Project For The New American Century,” a manifesto conceived mostly by American Jewish Zionists in 1997. The PROJECT had for a focus not only the general idea of imposing U.S. imperialist power on the world, but also the specific targeting of Iraq, Iran, and other states opposing Israel. It is, therefore, axiomatic to conclude that the actual target of the PROJECT is the Arab states—knowing that submitting the world to U.S. dictatorial bent is not that easy to achieve. For the record, key figures of the PNAC held prominent positions in the George W. Bush regime. The PNAC achieved its first success when Wolfowitz, Cheney, Feith, Libby, and Bush propelled the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Again, has the Hate Islam institution become a manifest Zionist enterprise? And, where do we fit this institution in the anti-Islam mentality attitudes of the United States? The argument that established mentality attitudes could play a significant role in the anti-Islam campaign is credible. Still, credibility is insufficient to prove that such campaign could actually morph into fighting wars just because hate is driving it.

Does the anti-Islam project have any affinity with the purpose of the Crusades, which is conquest? The answer is yes—although methods may differ. That is, the marauding nature of the West has not changed a bit for the past nine centuries. When Donald Trump exhorts “Take their oil”, in reference to the Iraqi oil, he simply confirmed that U.S. imperialist piracy is not driven by religion but by America’s original concept of banditry, thievery, and lust for expropriating other’s wealth and lands.

Consequent to this argument, is there any parallel between the Crusades of the 11th-13th centuries and the crusade of today? Does this reflect anti-Islam attitudes as developed historically? Otherwise, how would we define them?

As reminder, the Crusades happened originally because of the Seljuk Turks’ territorial expansion into Europe. Pointedly, though, the Pope and marauding European warlords and kings did not conduct their wars in response to the Seljuk as distinct people in expansionist mode. Instead, they used religion as a cry of battle and characterized their invasion of the Greater Syria region as struggle between “good” Christianity and “infidel” Islam.

Analogies aside, as we should not use distant historical events to substantiate events in the present, we should attempt to capture the meaning of the same in relation to what unscrupulous ideologues of empire and clash of civilizations tyrants are trying to accomplish with their criminal wars. Having stated that, the Hating Islam phenomenon cannot be explained by pointing to terroristic acts by some Muslims. If such an approach is valid, then it is very easy to point to American and European acts of military terror everywhere in the world, and indict the religion of those who ordered them.

After the manufactured attack against the World Trade Center in 1993 (attributed to Muslim Fundamentalist), something odd happened. The Zionist administration of Bill Clinton opened the gates for war against Arabs, Muslims, and Islam. An early indication of this war was the steady appearance of the phrase “war on terror”. After the suspicious event of 9/11, U.S. wars and interventions against the Arab nations (starting with Eisenhower sending the marines to Lebanon in response to the Iraqi Revolution of 1958; Reagan sending the marines to Lebanon in 1982; Reagan’s attack on Libya in 1986; and George H. W. Bush’s war on Iraq in 1991 acquired an added configuration: The war on Islam. Explanation: While the rational foundation of the wars against the Arab states are all rooted in the U.S. and Israeli imperialist designs, the war on Islam, as a cultural war meant to destabilize the Arab psyche were intentionally couched with what seems irrational behavior like urinating on the Quran or calling the Muslim prophet Mohammad, pedophile and terrorist. It is my argument that such apparent irrationality was consciously conceived and systematically implemented. Consequently, U.S. political and ideological decision-making and imperialism is a product of rational deliberation and clear objectives.

The march to hating Islam was long. From the time when Truman succumbed to the Zionist pressure to install Israel in Palestine until present, the veiled anti-Islam mentality gradually coalesced with the world objectives of the Jewish Zionist establishment. With their gigantic propaganda machine, hating Islam and Muslims has become a joyful fixation. To know more about the spasmodic infatuation with hating Islam, visit the Islamophobia Network website. It provides a list of internet websites mastered by Jewish Zionist specializing in denigrating Arabs, Islam, and Muslims).

Does the United States have valid reasons to declare an ideological war on Islam? The answer is a resolute NO. Ideological wars, per se, are of no consequence if no fighting wars follow because this type of wars is normally fought with words, opinions, and propaganda—example: the U.S.-Soviet cold war. In the case of the United States vs. Islam, however, it is important to mention that the hyper-imperialist superpower declared active wars only on pre-selected Arab states. The pretext, as they say, is to eradicate “islamic terror”—of course, other pretexts centered on invented threats to the U.S. exist as well. This implies that the United States wants to convey the impression that Islam is not the target but its theological references to “violence” are. This further implies that the United States has politically decided to attribute “islamists attacks” in the West to those expressions of the Islamic Quranic culture.

Two peculiar aspects distinguish U.S. wars against the Arab nations. First, all Arab states that the U.S. attacked and destroyed were active opponents of the Zionist state. Second, all U.S. vassals including the terrorist Wahhabi state of Saudi Arabia were spared the Israeli-American war. Now, considering the caustic hostility of the United States toward Islam, it is imperative to question whether such hostility is normal to the American system.

Because the hate of a religion is not applicable to the birth of the American state (as evidenced by George Washington’s toleration of religions), adaptation, acculturation, and indoctrination to hate Islam is the answer. I propose, therefore, that the origin of this hate must be the rise to power of Jewish Zionists and their support of the planned Zionist state in Palestine. Dialectically, this hate is related to the cause of Israel. In this context, the United States of the 20th century has developed uninterrupted hostile postures toward Arabs and Muslims that culminated in today’s wars against them.

Furthermore, the rise to power of American Jewish Zionism meant something else. It established Israel as an important player in American politics. With AIPAC and sisters in control of the White House and Congress, Israel has become, by words and deeds, the director of America’s foreign policy. Given the strength of such power assets, unleashing any kind of war against the Arabs under the accusation of “terrorism” is a strategic Israeli quest. An example is Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that the Palestinian Resistance Movement of Hamas is an extension of “al‑Qaeda” (read “Netanyahu: ISIS, Hamas, al-Qaida all branches of the same poison tree“).

Daniel Pipes, an Arab and Muslim hater, and a fascist ideologue of American Jewish Zionism, epitomized how Zionists spread the war on Arabs by implying that Islam and terrorism are the same.  In his article, “Sorry Mr. President, ISIS Is 100 Percent Islamic“, Pipes says:

In the end … neither U.S. presidents nor Islamist apologists fool people. Anyone with eyes and ears realizes that the Islamic State, like the Taliban and al-Qaeda before it, is 100 percent Islamic.

Comment

Copious evidence—factual and political—proves that the Taliban and al-Qaeda are American creations. It also proves the United States and Saudi Arabia have armed and trained both. As for the newest “islamic state”, ironclad evidence proves a number of things. First, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates financed and armed them. Second, Turkey provided logistics, transit, and training. Third, the United States provided the entire strategy, indirect proxy training, and direct military intervention to avoid their defeat. Now, the fact that the United States is behind the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and “islamic state” (or DAESH) proves beyond the sturdiest shadow of doubt that:

  1. America created them to serve its geopolitical plans in Central Asia and the Middle East, and
  2. that al-Qaeda and “islamic states” are American in essence, spirit, and other birth traits, and they are all intent, as are the United States and Israel, on destroying (as has happened so far) the Arab nations that oppose Israel while sparing the Gulf regimes.

Second, the adjective “Islamic” used by Pipes is both deceptive and demagogic. This adjective may be used in reference to attributes such as architecture, arts, philosophy, etc. Since both Taliban and al-Qaeda that Pipes mentioned, and DAESH that I added, owe their existence to U.S. imperialist planning and financing by the Wahhabi state of Saudi Arabia, then a number of conclusions follow:

  1. Wahhabism, not Islam, is the core ideology of these groups, and
  2. Wahhabism, which the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel are trying to pass as Sunni Islam, is neither Islam nor Sunnism. The Islam of Mohammad, for example, does not call for beheading of people in public squares. Briefly, Wahhabism should never be construed as a rigid “islamic Sharia”. Judged from its edicts and ways of thinking, Wahhabism is an aberrational form of islamized thought. As such, it is alien to the Muslim Doctrine. To prove this, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and Libya, for example, are mostly Sunni, but their Sunnism has absolutely NOTHING to do with so-called “sunnism” of the Saudi Wahhabi state. Consequently,
  3. when Pipes calls the creed of all terrorists groups that the United States founded “Islamic”— with a capitalized first letter—it is a flagrant attempt at confounding names, denominations, and purposes.

To close, Islam, being a cultural superstructure and a universally venerated religion, it is highly improbable that the United States would consider it a real target for one good reason: No one could ever vanquish religious beliefs. Consequently, if Islam is not the target, then what and who is in the bulls eye?

In the next part, I shall wrap-up my particular discussion on Islam, and move to discuss Theodore Roosevelt’s view of Islam, a view that paved the road for the Zionist power in the United States. Afterwards, I will move to address the Zionist presidency of Donald Trump.

Next:

Part 4
Part 5
Part 6: Interview with Francis Boyle
Part 7: Interview with James Petras
Part 8: Interview with Kim Petersen

Read Part One here; Part Two here.

  1. My usage of lowercase in words referring to Islam and Muslims is political. It is my opinion that in the U.S. written media, the capitalization is intentional. When the noun and qualifier are capitalized, the message is that we are dealing with politically accepted qualities. So, when the media writes “Islamic State (DAESH)”, for example, why capitalize the words if this organization is neither Islamic nor a standard political state? Consequently, writing “islamic state” is appropriate.
  2. Russia’s war in Syria must be looked at with a specific lens. In our series on the Imperialist Violence in Syria, Kim Petersen and I discussed Russia’s role in Syria in Part 6 of 7 “Russia in Syria: White Knight, or Imperial Conspirator?