NB Commentary: This is a well researched article with links. A must read for anyone who is interested in what is really going on with the Selection of Hillary Clinton for the next President of the US. I have included direct links listed in this article at the bottom along with pics and videos.
“God has not been preparing the English-speaking and Teutonic peoples for a thousand years for nothing but vain and idle self-contemplation and self-admiration. . . . He has made us adept in government that we may administer government among savage and senile peoples.”— Senator Albert J. Beveridge of Indiana, during the US annexation of the Philippines, 1898.
A grotesque power-fest at the Democratic Party Convention in Philadelphia left me feeling about Hillary Clinton the way P. G. Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster felt about his Aunt Agatha—“the one who chews broken bottles and kills rats with her teeth.” There is something disquieting and secretively lascivious about her open-mouthed cackle. She doesn’t so much laugh as lusts. She reminded me, too, of the mythical basilisk in the bestiary at the convention—the queen among the serpents. The basilisk of legend, wearing a king’s crown on his head, is only twelve-fingers long, but his venom withers all living plants in his wake. His gaze is enough to kill, according to Pliny the Elder. Only the droppings of a weasel have the potent odor to kill him, but it didn’t work with this basilisk. Her weasel endorsed her, embraced her, kissed her. His odor and her venom neutralized each other and merged into the unity party of the Serpent and the Weasel.
Her party’s opponent is Charybdis, “a huge bladder of a creature whose face was all mouth and whose arms and legs were flippers” according to Jorge Luis Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings (1957). As if that were not enough, this Charybdis is reputed to be the troll of a foreign monster, Mandrake, the Demon in the Kremlin. Neither the basilisk’s party nor Charybdis’ own party, a sort of mollusk like the Kraken, likes him. See here and here.
I’m raving, you say? This is the Age of Empire, and empire breeds monsters. We live with them now. Imperialism is our political and economic reality. Nothing material or substantial can be reformed within this colossal juggernaut. Yet, we continue to pretend that this has no bearing on our lives. In 2003 alone, the Iraq invasion cost $60 billion, three times the yearly budget for education, yet, we wonder why schools are starving for funds. When we clamor for reforms without mentioning imperialism, it is as if we were told we would be dead in three weeks and reacted by scheduling an appointment for a facelift.
A facelift is exactly what elections have produced in the last two decades. Bill Clinton’s Nero, saxophone in lieu of harp; George Bush’s Claudius, malapropisms for stutters; Obama’s Titus, fortunate son, charm and treachery—they are all faces of imperialism, exceptionalism, hegemony, capital penetration, globalization, neoliberal recolonization, “full spectrum dominance,” “rebalance.” They are the CEOs of international capitalism in the White House. Their charge is to do away with the sovereignty of nations, economically when possible, militarily when necessary. They destabilize and destroy whole countries through open, economic, proxy, or clandestine wars; they organize and train terrorist organizations; they foment regime change; they privatize the public wealth; they impose deadly economic reforms on countries they in debt in perpetuity; they launch economic sanctions, often in tandem or in the run-up to war. The goal they serve is the domination of the planet to extract resources, secure markets, and depress wages. In Haiti, workers are paid 62 cents per hour. Why would any sane investor hire an American worker for $7 per hour when a Haitian, whose dependent country has stripped him/her of all workers’ protection rights, works for pennies?
We are the Lotus Eaters, if we don’t know the cost and suffering of imperialism.
In this predatory process, the masters of the world—the economic elite—have amassed mountains of money over tree decades, and are desperate for “opportunities” for investment. They know that money must move, or it dies. At this stage of disinvestment in industrialization in the capitalist centers because of diminished returns, money becomes the chief export commodity. To secure astronomical returns, lands and resources that belong to other people must be seized and controlled. To achieve this goal, they need a strong, autocratic, and authoritarian state and an appointed dictator. An imperator, head of the army, whose rule is characterized by weak legislative and judicial branches.
Ruthless, ambitious, violent, and conniving, Hillary Clinton’s Roman imperial analog is Agrippina, Nero’s mother and Claudius’ niece and murderous wife. Her ferocious chemistry makes her kindred by choice to the ferocity of the empire. The two are bound by “elective affinities”– Die Wahlverwandtschaften (1809) of Goethe’s third novel, which examines the possibility that human passions are ruled by chemical affinities , the preference of one substance for another. I am convinced that the imperial candidate with the most affinities with the ruling elite is Hillary Clinton. If Donald Trump is sincere in saying he wants peace with Russia, he would have to be a Titan to reverse a centenary robotic American foreign policy by 360 degrees. That would go against all the laws of political motion, including inertia, which were set down at the birth of the United States. The prize was always to be fabled Eurasia—“he who controls Eurasia controls the world,” wrote that other cobra-eyed basilisk, Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinsk, the veteran Zbiggus Dickus of foreign lunacy at the State Department and the NSA.
And so this woman, the Agrippina on the Potomac, will sit behind the “grand chessboard,” playing with human pawns. She will make a good empress, even though less than 40 percent of the country’s voters consider her “trustworthy.” But the people’s trust is irrelevant. They are themselves untrustworthy. Having come out from under the spell of “charming” Obama to realize that he was a magician’s trick, the people are spinning off center—the “extreme center,” as Tariq Ali wittily calls it. The people need whipping back into the herd. For that, a virago will do. She will ride rough-shod with Sin and Death, the moral allies of the empire, over hurdles of sovereignties and international law. She will further ravish the already enfeebled Constitution before eating it whole because the inevitable cost of an expansionist foreign policy is the loss of economic and political freedom at home.
They all trust her. She has affinities with them all.
The financial empire trusts Hillary Clinton. Top mega-financiers and hedge fund founders and managers who have contributed to her campaign since March 2015 include: George Soros, hedge-fund billionaire, $7 million; Haim Saban, Israeli hawk and entertainment mogul, $5 million; James Simon, founder, Renaissance Technologies, hedge fund billionaire and former code-breaker for the military, $ 3.5 million; Herbert Sandler, founder of Golden West Financial Corporation, the California savings and loan enterprise; Donald Sussman, hedge-fund manager, $2.5 million.
There was no way that the new world order of financial monopoly capitalism would consider for CEO of the neoliberal empire someone like Bernie Sanders, not because he was “progressive” but because he was “regressive,” and in their view no doubt an unrealistic fantasist. The idea of bringing back the New Deal, a liberal order they had been overthrowing since the 1980s, must have had them belly-laughing in private, but they saw no harm so long as the senator from Vermont fed the illusion in the people that capitalism could be reformed and become a good thing. Ditto for Donald Trump: his regression consists of offering the people another fantasy, a return to a long gone Fordist America, the industrial powerhouse of the planet, in which American workers were the “aristocrats” of labor. At one point in history, Detroit was the capital of this aristocracy, the best-paid white workers in the world. Thus, both candidates offer a spectacle to the voters of a quarrel with their respective parties, but not with their parties’ de-facto bi-partisan pursuit of economic world supremacy. All the same they were useful. They helped to deflect, diffuse, confuse, and veil that stark, existential reality that is the cause of our woes and those of the planet: American economic and military expansion—the weasel more so than Charybdis.
Hillary Clinton is not a retro-fantasist, apart from being a fantasist of the neoliberal order. Her fantasy is their fantasy. Thus they back her.
The Liberal Humanitarian Carnivores
The liberal humanitarians trust Hillary’s exemplary ability to sell a war crime as a service to humanity.
The modern idea of “humanitarian war” is as old as Columbus; as old as the conquistadores. White, civilized Europeans, arriving in the “New World,” killed “savages” in order to civilize whoever survived. And then worked them to death and took their lands. In that tradition, the modern liberal humanitarian must be a flesh-eater. “A liberal society cannot be defended by herbivores. We need carnivores to save us,” wrote Michael Ignatieff, former Professor of Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, in a New York Times magazine op-ed piece, May 2, 2004. There is no need to recite the litany of Hillary Clinton’s bloody deeds since 1990. Gary Leupp covers them comprehensively in a 2015 CounterPunch article but for carnivorism, who can forget her maenad-possessed laughter on watching the tearing apart of Qaddafi’s flesh on video—a scene reminiscent of Euripides’ tragedy, “The Bacchae”?
Bill Clinton’s administration in the 1990s disemboweled Yugoslavia on humanitarian grounds, after portraying it as the resurgence of the genocidal Third Reich and its president, Slobodan Milosevic, as the new Hitler. Milosevic, by the way, has just been exonerated of all crimes for which Clinton’s kangaroo International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia had formerly condemned him. In 2003, casting her vote for the invasion of Iraq, Hillary Clinton cited the persecution of Milosevic as the example to follow for removing Saddam Hussein. It’s worth listening to her self-assurance in demonizing a man she, and Bill Clinton’s administration, knew to be innocent of the charges—knew because they trumped them up:
“We and our NATO allies did not depose Mr. Milosevic, who was responsible for more than a quarter of a million people being killed in the 1990s. Instead, by stopping his aggression in Bosnia and Kosovo, and keeping on the tough sanctions, we created the conditions in which his own people threw him out and led to his being in the dock being tried for war crimes as we speak.”
But Bill Clinton didn’t just scrap Yugoslavia; he junked international law by removing from the Security Council the legal monopoly on authorizing war. He set a precedent in the Kosovo War by claiming Responsibility to Protect (R2P), which gives humanitarian intervention the pseudo-legal means to overthrow a sovereign state. The UN Charter specifically disallows humanitarian intervention for a very good reason: it was that responsibility Hitler’s rogue regime claimed for invading Poland—the protection of German minorities—to start WW II.
Never mind. The Kosovo precedent opened the gates to all the “humanitarian” wars that followed, including Hillary Clinton’s war on Libya in 2009, consistent with her approval of her husband’s intervention in Kosovo. During a meeting with Code Pink on 6 March 2003 at the US Capitol, defending her vote in favor of attacking Iraq, Senator Clinton applauded her husband’s war in Kosovo, claiming that he saved Kosovar Albanian from ethnic cleansing—a lie—while commending his initiative to go it alone, without the “international community’s” consent:
“With respect to whose responsibility it is to disarm Saddam Hussein, I do not believe that given the attitudes of many people in the world community today that there would be a willingness to take on very difficult problems were it not for United States leadership. And I am talking specifically about what had to be done in Bosnia and Kosovo, where my husband could not get a Security Council resolution to save the Kosovar Albanians from ethnic cleansing. And we did it alone as the United States, and we had to do it alone. It would have been far preferable if the Russians and others had agreed to do it through the United Nations — they would not. I’m happy that, in the face of such horrible suffering, we did act.”
She’s praising here her husband’s international crime, the interference with a country’s sovereignty for fictional humanitarian reasons. No, the goal of the war in Kosovo was not ethnic defense (Bill Clinton’s policy throughout the 90s in the former Yugoslavia was to foment and prey on ethnic anarchy) but the expansionist penetration of a foreign territory and the construction of one of the largest military bases in Europe, at Camp Bondsteel, costing the American people a good chunk of social services—possibly, his welfare “reform,” for example.
Liberal humanitarian warmongers peddle the ludicrous claim that “America is the essential country” (Madeleine Albright) for safeguarding liberal democracy throughout the world, sublimely indifferent to the evidence that the world can’t wait to get America’s essentialism off its back. Hillary Clinton’s belligerent foreign policy is notorious. She has promised to bomb Iran. She has managed and supervised the destruction of Libya. She has organized the coups in Paraguay and Honduras. Her neo-con team at the State Department funded and organized the coup in Ukraine, Nazified its political, military, and cultural life, triggering a civil war (while calling Putin “Hitler”).
There’s no reason to believe that her carnivorous humanitarian resources have been depleted since then. While Secretary of State for Obama, she authorized the sale of weapons to Qatar that she knew would go to the Libyan rebels to topple Qaddafi and then go to Syria to arm al Qaeda to overthrow Assad. She denied any involvement under oath. In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, her campaign foreign policy adviser, Jeremy Bash, former Chief of Staff at the Pentagon and CIA, said that she would work to get President Assad “out of there”:
Julian Assange says “1,700 emails in Hillary Clinton’s collection” proves she sold weapons to ISIS in Syria.
“A Clinton administration will not shrink from making clear to the world exactly what the Assad regime is. It is a murderous regime that violates human rights; that has violated international law; used chemical weapons against his own people; has killed hundreds of thousands of people, including tens of thousands of children.
If Assad is as guilty as she was sure at the time Milosevic was, we’re in for another international crime.”
On Russia, the Council on Foreign Relations reports that she’s calling for strengthening NATO and “tougher measures against Putin to punish him for invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea as well as for supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.” “I remain convinced,” they quote her, “that we need a concerted effort to really up the cost on Russia and, in particular, on Putin.” She considers that Russia’s intervention in Syria creates “chaos”:
“I think it’s important too that the United States make it very clear to Putin that it’s not acceptable for him to be in Syria creating more chaos, bombing people on behalf of Assad, and we can’t do that if we don’t take more of a leadership position, which is what I’m advocating.”
Russia Today blames Clinton’s outrageous Russophobia—“Hillary Clinton is the Bachman Turner Overdrive of US politics”–on Obama’s mistake for allowing the Neo-con contingent to dominate the State Department:
Obama’s other mistake was to allow Hillary, as Secretary of State, to retain neocon holdovers from the Bush administration on her Eastern Europe team. Even more incredibly, Kerry then inherited them for the second term. “Obama allowed US officials on the ground (in Ukraine and elsewhere) to pursue a grossly irresponsible and provocative anti-Russian policy,” Anatol Lieven recently told the Valdai Club. “What on earth, one may ask, was Victoria Nuland, a neo-conservative State Department official married to the arch neocon Robert Kagan, doing in the Obama administration at all, given that her attitudes run clearly counter to his?”Lieven also pointed out that “figures like Nuland are still favored by Hillary Clinton (Kagan is now moving into her political camp) and much of the US foreign and security establishment; and that with regard to Russia, that establishment is still conditioned to pursue what are in effect Cold War attitudes.”
The Neo-Cons and “New” Imperialists
Hillary Clinton represents the personification of rehabilitated imperialism, the overarching geopolitical focus of American politics. That is why she will be the establishment’s choice—tested and proven. She will press hard against the political independence of Russia and the economic rise of China, a pressure that encapsulates American foreign policy in the foreseeable future.
Neo-con and neo-liberal promoters of the “new imperialism” are Western regime intellectuals and historians such as Max Boot, Niall Ferguson, and Michael Ignatieff.
As a result, by 2003, the year of the invasion of Iraq, media pundits were busy domesticating the word “empire.” American propaganda had proscribed the word for decades on account of there being only one empire, which was “evil”: the USSR. With the Soviet Union gone, America congratulated itself on being #1, the sole super-power, the essential country, and, the old standby, the exceptional country. None of these brands resonated with the force that the scope of conquering the world required. To make matters worse, critics of the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, were floating the un-American term “imperialism.” Something had to be done. With the evil empire dead, the good empire could re-emerge. Max Boot, Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at Council on Foreign Relations, proposed “an American might to promote American ideals”–messianic political morality at the point of a gun. He explained.
“In the early twentieth century, Americans talked of spreading Anglo-Saxon civilization and taking up the ‘white man’s burden’; today they talk of spreading democracy and defending human rights. Whatever you call it, this represents an idealistic impulse that has always been a big part in America’s impetus for going to war.”
Soon after 9/11, 2001, Boot had already invoked this impetuous idealism to respond to the lament of suffering nations pining for the . . . return of a British-style imperial ministration.
Afghanistan and other troubled lands today cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets.
And in 2002, Boot wrote, “Imperialism used to be the white man’s burden. This gave it a bad reputation. But imperialism doesn’t stop being necessary because it is politically incorrect” (New York Times Magazine, July 28, 2002). Neoconservative William Kristol, of The Weekly Standard, said more tersely on Fox television at the time, “if people want to say we’re an imperial power, fine.”If there is a place on earth that is testy about Western imperialism, that place is China. If there is an American official who has sorely tested China’s anti-colonial sensibility, that person is Clinton. As First Lady, she rousingly declared that “women’s rights are human rights” in Beijing at the UN World Conference on Women in 1995. As
Secretary of State, in 2011, she denounced China’s “deplorable” record of human rights in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic. Again in 2011, she proposed a US policy toward China as one “of advancing democracy and human rights” in a Foreign Policy article, titled “America’s Pacific Century.”
To Chinese officials’ ear this aggressive insistence on human rights sounded suspiciously like a systematic call for color revolution in China. Her hostile intent, had already become apparent in 2010. At the ASEAN Regional Forum in Hanoi, she confirmed China’s suspicion that she advocated a US policy of containment by intervening in the territorial disputes of the South China Sea. Recommending a “rebalance” of power in the disputed areas, she asserted that the US had “a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia’s maritime commons, and respect for international law in the South China Sea.”
China’s Foreign Minister at the time, Yang Jiechi, at first walked out of the meeting, only to return an hour later with theominous reminderthat “China is a big country and other countries are small countries, and that’s just a fact.”
On the unpopular Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement, a pact China correctly perceives as economic containment, she said in her debate with Bernie Sanders on 4 February 2016 that she now opposes it after having strenuously and enthusiastically supported it as Obama’s Secretary of State until 2012 and beyond. Her flip-flops on the TPT are well documented here.
These three affinities—with finance, war, and imperialism—make Hillary Clinton the perfect mate for president of the financial-imperial White House. Picture her in jodhpurs and pith helmet astride the financial bull, taking on the “white woman’s burden,” and riding the humanitarian “savage wars for peace.” Stop worrying about Donald Trump “Charybdis” and learn to avoid where the Basilisk treads, which will be difficult. You can prepare by reviewing her record as “empire-slayer” here.
“I urged him to bomb.” – Hillary Clinton
In choosing between presidential candidates today, it’s best to stick to Bertie Wooster’s advice about aunts: “It is no use telling me there are bad aunts and good aunts. At the core, they are all alike. Sooner or later, out pops the cloven hoof.”
Okay, so somebody done pissed Putin off! Seriously, to say that the US should have known what was going on with the oil smuggling all the way across the water is a bit disingenuous to me. For surely them folks right there on that side of the world should have known about it as well. With Russia spilling the beans on the corrupted enterprise called “War On Terror” he is showing the hand of all the perps.
So why is Putin all of a sudden being “Mr. Tattle Spill the Beans” on the whole European NATO BS terrorist, kill job that they ain’t really trying to kill?
Could it be that Putin’s Russia is sick and tired of being pushed around, bossed around, threatened with sanctions, blamed for shit they didn’t do and seriously played like a punk? How about the line that has been used over and over again, Protecting our National interests” for certainly the interests of Putin’s Russia is much more endangered by Turkey’s Terrorist than anyone else over here.
Is Putin sick and tired of being sick and tired? And have you seen his approval ratings lately?? Personally, to me Putin is a Mobster who has finally got his time to shine. And the walls will come tumbling down cause last I heard mobsters don’t play. They will give you an offer you CAN’T REFUSE.”
Just change the Name from “Bill” to “Putin” and sing along…
And the questions remain as stated in this Counter Punch article by Vijay Prashad..
“The Europeans want to solve the refugee crisis. They believe that their bombing will advance their interests. It is likely to increase the displacement in Syria. The Turkish government’s demand for a “buffer zone” is of interest to the Europeans. They believe it is for refugees. But it could just as well be to protect the tankers from the Russian bombing raids. It is precisely what makes Corbyn’s demand so important – to hold a thorough investigation of the ISIS oil pipeline. Such an inquiry must ask the following questions:
1 Who is carting the oil from Mosul to the Turkish border? Who owns those trucks?
2 Who is carting the oil from the Turkish border to Ceylan? Who owns those trucks?
3 How does ISIS oil go through Ceylan, a port owned by the Turkish government?
4 Who owns the ships that cart the ISIS oil out of Turkey and to ports afield?
5 What banks handle the transaction between the sale of ISIS oil and the foreign buyers? Should they also be implicated in the smuggling of ISIS oil?
An investigation along these lines is overdue. It is not enough to accept or dismiss the Russian accusations. These should be used as an opportunity to clarify the actual pipelines for ISIS funding. Bombing the Omar fields in Syria – as the UK has done today – might not be sufficient. It might dust over the evidence of much greater complicity in ISIS oil.”
So why did Washington take virtually forever to not really acknowledge ISIS/ISIL/Daesh is selling stolen Syrian oil that will eventually find is way to Turkey?
Because the priority all along was to allow the CIA – in the shadows – to run a “rat line” weaponizing a gaggle of invisible “moderate rebels”.
As much as Daesh – at least up to now – the Barzani mob in Iraqi Kurdistan was never under Washington’s watch. The oil operation the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) runs to Turkey is virtually illegal; stolen state-owned oil as far as Baghdad is concerned.
Daesh stolen oil can’t flow through Damascus-controlled territory. Can’t flow though Shi’ite-dominated Iraq. Can’t go east to Iran. It’s Turkey or nothing. Turkey is the easternmost arm of NATO. The US and NATO “support” Turkey. So a case can be made that the US and NATO ultimately support Daesh.
What’s certain is that illegal Daesh oil and illegal KRG oil fit the same pattern; energy interests by the usual suspects playing a very long game.
What these interests are focused on is to control every possible oil asset in Iraqi Kurdistan and then in “liberated” Syria. It’s crucial to know that Tony “Deepwater Horizon” Hayward is running Ug Genel, whose top priority is to control oil fields that were first stolen from Baghdad, and will eventually be stolen from Iraqi Kurds.
The key reason why Washington always solemnly ignored Ankara’s array of shady deals in Syria, through its fifth column Turkmen jihadis, is because a key CIA “rat line” runs exactly through the region known as Turkmen Mountain.
These Turkmen supplied by Ankara’s “humanitarian” convoys got American TOW-2As for their role in preserving prime weaponizing/ smuggling routes. Their advisers, predictably, are Xe/Academi types, formerly Blackwater. Russia happened to identify the whole scam and started bombing the Turkmen. Thus the downing of the Su-24.
The Turkmen fifth column
Now the CIA is on a mission from God – frantically trying to prevent the rat line from being definitely smashed by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) on the ground and Russia in the air.
The same desperation applies to the Aleppo-Azez-Killis route, which is also essential for Turkey for all kinds of smuggling.
The advanced arm of the “4+1” alliance – Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, plus Hezbollah – is taking no prisoners trying to re-conquer these two key corridors.
And that explains Ankara’s desperation – with a little help from His Masters’ Voice – to come up with an entirely new rat line/corridor through Afrin, currently under Syrian Kurd control, before Damascus forces and Russia air power get there.
Once again it’s important to remember that a gaggle of Turkmen outfits are Ankara’s fifth column in northern Syria.
Most Turkmen live in Kurdish territories. And here’s the ultimate complicating factor; the majority happens to live in the Jarablus region, currently controlled by ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. It’s exactly this area that is cutting the geographic connection between the two Kurdish cantons, Kobani and Afrin.
So imagine a continuous Syrian Kurd control/autonomy/corridor all across the Turkish-Syrian border. For Ankara this is the ultimate nightmare. Ankara’s strategy is to move its Turkmen pawns, with added “moderate rebels”, all across the Jarablus region. The pretext: wipe Daesh off the map. The real reason: prevent the two Kurdish cantons – Afrin and Kobani – from merging.
And once again Ankara will be directly pitted against Moscow.
The Russian strategy rests on very good relations with Syrian Kurds. Moscow not only supports the Syrian Kurd canton merger, but qualifies it as an important step on the way to a new Syria rid of takfiris. Russia will even officially recognize the PYD (Democratic Union Party) and allow them a representative office in Russia.
Ankara regards the PYD and its paramilitary arm, the YPG (People’s Protection Units) as branches of the PKK. It gets curioser an curioser when we know that both Moscow and Washington are cooperating with the YPG against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.
The predictable All-Out Ankara Freak Out came in the form of Sultan Erdogan declaring the Euphrates a “red line” for the YPG. If they try to move westward to fight Daesh, sending them out of the Jarablus area, the Turkish Army will strike.
It’s absolutely key for Turkey to control this area between Jarablus and Afrin because here is the site of the would-be “safe zone”, actually a no-fly zone, which Ankara dreams of implementing using the 3 billion euros just extorted from the EU to house refugees but also control northern Syria. Turkmen would be in charge of the area – as well as the Azez-Aleppo line, assuming the SAA does not clear it for good.
The case for UEBA
So Ankara is looking at two very unpleasant Turkmen-filled scenarios to say the least.
Turkmen instrumentalized by Ankara to become gatekeepers against the Kurdish YPG; that means a nasty sectarian divide, orchestrated by Turkey, whose greatest loser is the unity of the Syrian nation.
Meanwhile, the SAA and Russian air power are on the verge of total control of Turkmen Mountain.
This will allow the “4+1” to go much deeper fighting against the so-called Army of Conquest and its twin-headed reptile, Jabhat al-Nusra (a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria) and Ahrar al-Sham, the whole lot “supported” and weaponized by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The “4+1” inexorable advance comes with extra benefits; the end of all rat lines in the region, and no more possible threats to Russia’s air base in Hmeimim.
Make no mistake that Moscow will inflict as much pain on Sultan Erdogan as possible.
As Turkish newspaper Radikal quoted him, Prof. Abbas Vali of Bogazici University confirmed, “The PYD was pleased about Russia’s intervention in Syria. An alliance between the PYD and Russia is inevitable. Russia’s bombardment of the radical Islamist groups on the ground will have a huge impact on the PYD operations.”
So no matter which way we look, Turkey and Russia are on a serious collision course in Syria. Moscow will support Syrian Kurds no holds barred as they push to link the three major Kurdish cantons in northern Syria into a unified Rojava.
As for Washington’s “strategy”, it now boils down to the CIA need of a new rat line. That could imply sitting on the – weaponized – sidelines watching Turkmen and Kurds slug it out, thus creating an opening for the Turkish Army to intervene, and the Russian Air Force to prevent it, with all hell guaranteed to break loose.
The fact remains that Sultan Erdogan badly needs a new CIA-secured rat line to weaponize not only his fifth column Turkmen but also Chechens, Uzbeks and Uyghurs. And Bilal Erdogan, a.k.a. Erdogan Mini Me, desperately needs new oil smuggling routes and a couple of new tankers; Russia is watching their every move. The latest news from Russia’s Defense Ministry has struck like a volcanic eruption; the Erdogan family mob was branded as “criminals”, with Moscow presenting only an appetizer of all the evidence it has in store.
So we have the Afghan heroin rat line. The Libyan oil racket (now over). The Ukraine fascist rat line. The Libya to Syria weapon rat line. The stolen Syrian oil trade. The northern Syrian rat lines. Let’s call them UEBA: Unregulated Exceptionalist Business Activities. What’s not to like? There’s no business like war business.
LOL, it’s all about the war, the fighting, the blood and the gore that makes the stocks rise and the blood boil in delirium. Funny how war makes the cash registers ring and the banksters happy, they don’t care who does it, just do it!! what a mad, mad, mad world we live in.
Not to mention this has gone on far too long and those folks are jumping ship, thousands at a time and finding their way into Europe.
And the reality is, when the war comes home, somebody says, wth??? We thought they would just kill them all off there, and have mass graves to bury them in, why are they escaping and why the hell are they coming here, hey wait a minute, nobody told us this would be the “blowback”!!! What the f*****k? And we all know they ain’t gonna go live with the Queen, nor is she gonna provide them a sovereign land to live on, even though she is the biggest land owner in the world, and she ain’t gonna roll over Beethoven and open up the Taj Mahal for them to hang out in, and forget it, tent cities all over Europe is an eyesore.
Forget the xenophobia, the antisemitism, the urban blight, the destruction of our way of life….? Keep they arses over thar where they belong (misspelling for emphasis). Hahahahah, I can’t stop laughing at this debacle. But funnier than that is the next stupid nation that sides with these war criminals, thinking they are gonna get more than crumbs from the pie. SMDH, when will they ever learn……???
Syrians waiting to cross into Turkey
Russian military operation in Syria bolsters oil market, domestic stocks
Oil prices have risen 12 percent in October to a two-month high. Rising crude coincides with Russia’s airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria which began on September 30.
The price of Brent in London increased over one percent to $53 per barrel on Friday. US benchmark WTI is trading higher than $50 per barrel for the first time in three months after hitting six-year lows in late August. Other factors contributing to rising oil prices include a weakened dollar and shrinking US production.
Crude prices can be particularly responsive to unrest or violence in the Middle East, one of world’s biggest oil-producing regions. While Syria does not have significant oil reserves, crude prices rise over fears the conflict could spread to the broader region.
An anti-government protester waves a flag in front of the seized office of the SBU state security service in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine April 14, 2014. (Reuters / Shamil Zhumatov)
I’m confused. A few weeks ago wewere told in the West that people occupying government buildings in Ukraine was a very good thing. These people, we were told by our political leaders and elite media commentators, were ‘pro-democracy protestors’.
The US government warned the Ukrainian authorities against using force against these ‘pro-democracy protestors’ even if, according to the pictures we saw, some of them were neo-Nazis who were throwing Molotov cocktails and other things at the police and smashing up statues and setting fire to buildings.
Now, just a few weeks later, we’re told that people occupying government buildings in Ukraine are not ‘pro-democracy protestors’ but ‘terrorists’ or ‘militants’.
Why was the occupation of government buildings in Ukraine a very good thing in January, but it is a very bad thing in April? Why was the use of force by the authorities against protestors completely unacceptable in January, but acceptable now? I repeat: I’m confused. Can anyone help me?
Pro-Russian activists gather outside the secret service building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on April 14, 2014. (AFP Photo / DimitarDilkoff)
The anti-government protestors in Ukraine during the winter received visits from several prominent Western politicians, including US Senator John McCain, and Victoria Nuland, from the US State Department, who handed out cookies. But there have been very large anti-government protests in many Western European countries in recent weeks, which have received no such support, either from such figures or from elite Western media commentators. Nor have protestors received free cookies from officials at the US State Department.
Surely if they were so keen on anti-government street protests in Europe, and regarded them as the truest form of ‘democracy’, McCain and Nuland would also be showing solidarity with street protestors in Madrid, Rome, Athens and Paris? I’m confused. Can anyone help me?
A thousand people gather in front of fences blocking the street leading to the Spain’s parliament (Las Cortes) during an anti-government demonstration in Madrid (AFP Photo / Javier Soriano)A few weeks ago I saw an interview with the US Secretary of StateJohn Kerry who said, “You just don’t invade another country on phony pretexts in order to assert your interests.” But Iseem to recall the US doing just that on more than one occasionin the past 20 years or so.
Have I misremembered the ‘Iraq has WMDs claim’? Was I dreaming back in 2002 and early 2003 when politicians and neocon pundits came on TV every day to tell us plebs that we had to go to war with Iraq because of the threat posed by Saddam’s deadly arsenal? Why is having a democratic vote in Crimea on whether to rejoin Russia deemed worse than the brutal, murderous invasion of Iraq – an invasion which has led to the deaths of up to 1 million people? I’m confused. Can anyone help me?
AFP Photo / Pool / Mario TamaWe were also told by very serious-looking Western politicians and
media ‘experts’ that the Crimea referendum wasn’t valid because it was held under “military occupation.” But I’ve just been watching coverage of elections in Afghanistan, held under military occupation, which have been hailed by leading western figures, such as NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen as a “historic moment for Afghanistan” and a great success for “democracy.” Why is the Crimean vote dismissed, but the Afghanistan vote celebrated? I’m confused. Can anyone help me?
An Afghan policeman keeps watch as Afghan voters line up to vote at a local polling station in Ghazni on April 5, 2014. (AFP Photo /Rahmatullah Alizadah)
Syria too is rather baffling. We were and are told that radical Islamic terror groups pose the greatest threat to our peace, security and our ‘way of life’ in the West. That Al-Qaeda and other such groups need to be destroyed: that we needed to have a relentless ‘War on Terror’ against them. Yet in Syria, our leaders have been siding with such radical groups in their war against a secular government which respects the rights of religious minorities, including Christians.
When the bombs of Al-Qaeda or their affiliates go off in Syria and innocent people are killed there is no condemnation from our leaders: their only condemnation has been of the secular Syrian government which is fighting radical Islamists and which our leaders and elite media commentators are desperate to have toppled. I’m confused. Can anyone help me?
AFP Photo / Amr Radwan Al-Homsi
Then there’s gay rights. We are told that Russia is a very bad and backward country because it has passed a law against promoting homosexuality to minors. Yet our leaders who boycotted the Winter Olympics in Sochi because of this law visit Gulf states where homosexuals can be imprisoned or even executed, and warmly embrace the rulers there, making no mention of the issue of gay rights.
Surely the imprisonment or execution of gay people is far worse than a law which forbids promotion of homosexuality to minors? Why, if they are genuinely concerned about gay rights, do our leaders attack Russia and not countries that imprison or execute gay people? I’m confused. Can anyone help me?
US President Barack Obama shakes hands with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)
We are told in lots of newspaper articles that the Hungarian ultra-nationalist party Jobbik is very bad and that its rise is a cause of great concern, even though it is not even in the government, or likely to be. But neo-Nazis and ultra-nationalists do hold positions in the new government of Ukraine, which our leaders in the West enthusiastically support and neo-Nazis and the far-right played a key role in the overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected government in February, a ‘revolution’ cheered on by the West. Why are ultra-nationalists and far-right groups unacceptable in Hungary but very acceptable in Ukraine? I’m confused. Can anyone help me?
Chairman of the far-right parliamentary JOBBIK (Better) party Gabor Vona (C) reacts for the result of the parliamentary election with his party members at Budapest Congress Center in Budapest on April 6, 2014. (AFP Photo / Peter Kohalmi)
We are told that Russia is an aggressive, imperialist power and that NATO’s concerns are about opposing the Russian ‘threat’. But I looked at the map the other day and while I could see lots of countries close to (and bordering) Russia that were members of NATO, the US-led military alliance whose members have bombed and attacked many countries in the last 15 years, I could not see any countries close to America that were part of a Russian-military alliance, or any Russian military bases or missiles situated in foreign countries bordering or close to the US. Yet Russia, we are told, is the ‘aggressive one’. I’m confused. Can anyone help me?
Let’s be real. It’s one thing to say that Russia’s takeover of the Crimean Peninsula “cannot be allowed to stand,” as many foreign policy sages have proclaimed. It’s quite another to do something about it.
Is it just me, or does the rhetoric about the crisis in Ukraine sound as if all of Washington is suffering from amnesia? We’re supposed to be shocked—shocked!—that a great military power would cook up a pretext to invade a smaller, weaker nation? I’m sorry, but has everyone forgotten the unfortunate events in Iraq a few years ago?
My sentiments, to be clear, are with the legitimate Ukrainian government, not with the neo-imperialist regime in Russia. But the United States, frankly, has limited standing to insist on absolute respect for the territorial integrity of sovereign states.
Before Iraq there was Afghanistan, there was the Gulf War, there was Panama, there was Grenada. And even as we condemn Moscow for its outrageous aggression, we reserve the right to fire deadly missiles into Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and who knows where else.
None of this gives Russian President Vladimir Putin the right to pluck Crimea from the rest of Ukraine and effectively reincorporate the historic peninsula into the Russian empire. But it’s hard to base U.S. objections on principle—even if Putin’s claim that Russian nationals in Crimea were somehow being threatened turn out to be as hollow as the Bush administration’s claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
The Obama administration has been clear in its condemnation of Putin’s operation. Critics who blame the Russian action on “weak” or “feckless” U.S. foreign policy are being either cynical or clueless.
It is meaningless to rattle sabers if the whole world knows you have no intention of using them. There is no credible military threat by the United States that could conceivably force Putin to surrender Crimea if he doesn’t want to. Russia is much diminished from the Soviet era but remains a superpower whose nuclear arsenal poses an existential threat to any adversary. There are only a few nations that cannot be coerced by, say, the sudden appearance of a U.S. aircraft carrier group on the horizon. Russia is one of them.
If the goal is to persuade Russia to give Crimea back—which may or may not be possible—the first necessary step is to try to understand why Putin grabbed it in the first place.
When Ukraine emerged as a sovereign state from the breakup of the Soviet Union, it was agreed that the Russian navy would retain its bases on the Crimean Peninsula. After Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, was deposed by a “people power” revolution, it was perhaps inevitable that Putin would believe the status of those bases was in question, if not under threat.
The new government in Kiev could offer formal reassurances about the Russian naval base in Sevastopol. More broadly, however, Putin may have decided that allowing Ukraine to escape Moscow’s orbit was too much to swallow. Seizing Crimea does more than secure a warm-water port for Russian ships. It implies the threat of further territorial incursions—unless the new government becomes more accommodating to its powerful neighbor.
This is not fair to Ukraine. But I don’t believe it helps the Ukrainians to pretend that there’s a way to make Putin surrender Crimea if he wants to keep it.
The question is whether there is any way to tip the balance of Putin’s cost-benefit analysis. The Russian leader has nothing to fear from the U.N. Security Council, since Russia can veto any proposed action. Kicking Russia out of the G-8 group of leading industrialized nations would be a blow to Moscow’s prestige, but probably would not cause Putin to lose much sleep.
Economic sanctions are more easily threatened than actually applied. The European Union depends on Russia for much of its natural gas—a fact that gives Putin considerable leverage. In a broader sense, there is zero enthusiasm in Europe for a reprise of the Cold War. Putin knows this.
If Putin really has lost touch with reality, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly speculated in a conversation with President Obama, then all bets are off. But if Putin is being smart, he will offer a solution: Russia gets sole or joint possession of Crimea. Ukraine and the other former Soviet republics remember that Moscow is watching, and we all settle down.
Sadly for Ukraine, but realistically, that may be a deal the world decides to accept.
By Eugene Robinson Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)washpost.com.
EUGENE ROBINSON uses his twice-weekly column in The Washington Post to pick American society apart and then put it back together again in unexpected, and revelatory, new ways. To do this job of demolition and reassembly, Robinson relies on a large and varied tool kit: energy, curiosity, elegant writing, and the wide-ranging experience of a life that took him from childhood in the segregated South—on what they called the “colored” side of the tracks—to the heights of American journalism. In a 25-year career at The Washington Post, Robinson has been city hall reporter, city editor, foreign correspondent in Buenos Aires and London, foreign editor, and assistantmanaging editor in charge of the paper’s award-winning Style section. He has writtenbooks about race in Brazil and music in Cuba, covered a heavyweightchampionship fight, witnessed riots in Philadelphia and a murder trial in the deepest Amazon, sat with presidents and dictators and the Queen of England, thrusted and parried with hair-proud politicians from sea to shining sea, handicapped all three editions of “American Idol,” acquired fluent Spanish and passable Portuguese, and even reached an uneasy truce with the noxious hip-hop lyrics that fester in his teenage son’s innocent-looking iPod. Eugene Robinson won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Judges complimented Robinson’s “eloquent columns on the 2008 presidential campaign that focus on the election of the first African-American president, showcasing graceful writing and grasp of the larger historic picture.