Aletho News


Israeli Psychosis on Full Display

By Gilad Atzmon | December 29, 2017

In his attack on BDS activist Justine Sachs, Ynet writer Asaf Wohl performs every tribal morbidity. Sachs is apparently a Jewish pro-Palestinian woman who helped convince New Zealand singer Lorde to cancel her performance in Israel.  Wohl accuses her of inciting ‘violence,’ ‘auto-anti-Semitsm,’ ‘siding with terrorists,’ effectively everything except child molesting.

Among my sins I am critical of some aspects of cultural BDS, but to interpret BDS as a violent act is rather over the top. If anything, BDS was designed to dilute Palestinian militant resistance. Furthermore, boycotting is a very Jewish practice, known as excommunication or herem in Hebrew. You would expect Wohl, an ardent Zionist, to be slightly more familiar with his own culture.

If you ever wonder what is the meaning of Judeo-centrism, Wohl provides the full scope. The Israeli settler really believes that he is the centre of this universe. “The difference between you and me, Justine, is that I’m an Israeli Jew and you’re a Jew. That’s it. You have no nationality. You live in a negligible, insignificant sheepfold stuck somewhere at the end of the universe (New Zealand).” For Wohl, Israel is the world’s capital and Israeliness is the ultimate embodiment of human as well as of Jewish existence.

Sachs is accused of “auto-anti-Semitism” which in Wohl’s words is a “drive towards human self-destruction.” And I wonder whether Wohl really thinks that Sachs persuading a singer not to perform in Tel Aviv points at self destructive or even suicidal inclinations?

Wohl writes that he feels “no need to take the side of a culture which hasn’t brought anything to the world apart from terror. The confidence I am given by the Israeli nationality allows me to pick the democratic, free side.” For Wohl, so it seems, Arabs and Muslims contributed nothing to the world but ‘terror’ yet Israel pretty much invented democracy and the Western ethos in general. Someone should remind this Israeli caricature that democracy is from Athens while state terror against the indigenous people of the land is actually Israel’s official policy.

Wohl seems to believe that the Jewish state is an exponent of Western values. Seemingly, Wohl doesn’t grasp that loving your neighbours is at the core of the Western civilisation’s ethos. Look how Wohl refers to his Palestinian neighbours. They are “the side which hijacks planes, the side which hangs gay people on electric poles, the side which rips out girls’ throats in honor killings, the side which has failed to establish any state or society which isn’t totalitarian, chauvinist, primitive and/or murderous.” Not a lot of Western compassion on Wohl’s part. And you may be left wondering: which side is Wohl on? The side of ardent Zionist Harvey Weinstein? Or maybe the side of people who plundered other people’s land and dropped white phosphorus on schools in Gaza? Wohl clearly sides with the people who made that strip of land into the biggest open air prison known to man. It is easy to grasp why Justine Sachs and a few other Diaspora Jews side with the Palestinians and oppose Israel. It is far more depressing to admit that the  majority of them probably side with Wohl.

December 29, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , | 3 Comments

Making the 2018 Elections a Struggle for Peace, Jobs and Justice

Voters’ search for political revolution continues

By Wayne Nealis | Dissident Voice | December 28, 2017

As we head into a pivotal mid-term election year, it is clear the Democratic Party establishment has not learned a key lesson from the 2016 election. That is, that many of the party’s former and current constituents reject the party’s establishment leadership and its lackluster program. These voters are looking for alternatives. In 2016, en masse they deserted the party for a new kind of politics they found in Bernie Sanders and some saw in Donald Trump.

Voters passed judgment on the leading figures of both parties. Distrust and discontent disrupted politics as usual. The opportunity to fill this void with left-of-center electoral initiatives abound. It starts with building on the momentum of Bernie Sanders’s campaign that resonated with tens of millions. In some fashion or another, ready or not, the 2018 midterm elections must become an arena of struggle for peace, economic security and racial justice.

Sanders’ leadership in 2016, and still today, falls short in two key areas to meet this challenge. First, during his campaign he did not offer Americans a bold new foreign policy. To start with, a plan to end the war on terrorism and the foreign military adventures that have made us less safe and destabilized and laid waste to a dozen nations. Secondly, after November, instead of calling for discussion on forming a new political party he and his advisors chose to form yet another 501c entity, Our Revolution, primarily as a vehicle to move the Democratic Party to the left. It would behoove Sanders to reconsider both choices. The Democratic Party’s electoral structure is certainly a vehicle for advancing progressive and even left candidates, but the party’s owners are not likely to hand over its bank accounts to Sanders, labor unions and people’s organizations.

Months after the elections the Clinton-Obama-Pelosi centrists still hold the reins and drive a shameless hubris as they scramble to blame someone for the party’s declining appeal and its 2016 losses. No, it was not Obama and Clinton’s support of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) or Bill Clinton’s betrayal of labor unions on NAFTA.  It was not due to Hillary’s use of the term “super predators” in 1996 to describe black youth involved in criminal activity. No, it was not the shortcomings of the bureaucratic, insurer-friendly Obamacare.

No, it was the Russian television network Russia Today brainwashing its 8 million American viewers. No, it was Russian cyber meddling in the election, for which months later we have zero evidence. Same goes for alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. No, the loss was due to FBI director James Comey’s late in the game letter to congress about Clinton’s emails. No, it was WikiLeaks alleged release, in collaboration with Russia, of emails showing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) sought to derail Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Which, as we learned was the case.

After a full-court media campaign to convince Americans of Russian meddling, many remain skeptical. In a May 2017 CBS poll, 55 percent of Americans considered the allegations a distraction that “get in the way of getting things done.” In October, 41 percent still agree they were a distraction.1

Clinton again blamed Bernie Sanders in her post-election book tour, dubbed by some The Denial Tour.  “His attacks caused lasting damage, making it harder to unify progressives in the general election….” Not exactly the kind of message designed to heal and unify the party going into 2018 elections. Since polls show Bernie is the most admired politician in America, topping 70 percent, to say her grumbling is a political misstep for the party is an understatement.

Yet, even as Clinton’s own poll ratings dropped to 30 percent, she continued to maintain the loss was due to something other than an uninspiring campaign and the neo-liberal, anti-working class politics the Democratic Party’s centrist leadership has pedaled for 30-plus years. Clinton even blamed the Democratic National Committee (DNC), led by a loyal Clinton supporter, Debbie Wasserman Schulz, saying it “…was on the verge of insolvency. Its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong.”2

A crisis of legitimacy

Both Sanders and Trump’s campaigns rode on a crisis of legitimacy in the two parties. Today, only 18 percent of voters consider themselves strong Democrats. The no longer Grand Old Party is slightly worse off at 15 percent. So far, Trump maintains most of his loyal voter support, which we should keep in mind, is only around 25 percent of the total electorate.

The attendant political volatility arising from the 2016 election combined with numerous international crises, presents an opportunity for demagogic appeals to patriotism, xenophobia and racism to deepen and spread. At the same time, it is an opening to advance a working-class political and economic program to provide meaningful, concrete solutions to address people’s grievances and discontents. A program, we might call a Sanders plus program, the plus being a plan for peace.

The Sanders wing of the Democrats is hesitant, waiting. Will Sanders break with the party? Be sidelined? Clearly, Sanders is taking on the establishment, pushing his economic program of social benefits, but it appears his aim is to reform or take over the party. A tough job when those hanging on to power, did not mention Sander’s program until September, when 15 Democratic senators finally endorsed single-payer national health insurance. In the House, progressive Democrats have signed on Bernie’s program for free post-secondary education, paid parental leave and expanding social security. However, there is little evidence of serious actions being taken on the part of the leadership to rally Americans behind the legislation. After Sanders introduced his single-payer bill, Hillary Clinton and other Democratic leaders, notably Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, told voters they do not support single-payer. Again, the failure of the leadership to learn the lessons of 2016.

Understandably then, Americans give the leadership low marks when it comes to presenting alternatives to Trump’s reactionary program. A Washington Post – ABC News poll in late October this year found only 28 percent of voters thought the Democrats were offering real alternatives.3 Nearly one half of Democratic responders and 65 percent of independents said the leadership was just criticizing Trump. One attempt to launch an alternative program failed miserably.

The Democrats “Better Deal” falls flat

In July, a Pelosi–Schumer road show unveiled the party’s alternative to the Trump-GOP program: “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.” In a Washington Post, Op-ed, Pelosi said the Deal, “represents a renewed Democratic commitment to the hard-working men and women across the United States who have been left out and left behind for too long.” It rained hard in Berryville, Virginia that day, the site of show. Reviews rained even harder on the Democrat’s proposal. It made no mention of Sanders’ far-reaching social benefit program that would lift up the left out. Their effort to make a splash with the working class was drowned in empty words, rhetorical promises and contrived apologies for abandoning working-class voters.

If Schumer, Pelosi, Clinton et al wanted to rebuild the party they only need reach out to the millions who responded to Sanders program for expanding social benefits at the expense of the billionaire class. Instead all we hear is Russia, Russia, Russia. Some pundits allege the Democratic leadership is tone-deaf to political reality, but their silence is due to an unwillingness to break with their corporate sponsors any more than are the masters of the once Grand Old Party. Instead both parties, and institutions in their orbits, are worried Americans are losing faith in the long-standing institutions of the limited “democracy of the few” embodied by the two-party capitalist system.

In January, Linda Chavez, a former Reagan cabinet member turned media pundit, put it this way in her New York Post column: “Democracy can only exist as long as the people trust its institutions. The greatest calamity of this election cycle has been the weakening of that trust.” Another reading of her statement is both Sanders and Trump upset the well painted façade of democratic governance. Neither candidate could be trusted to be loyal administrators of the bi-partisan imperialist foreign policy and neo-liberal economic program of capitalism.

While Chavez may lament this decline, those seeking a more just, peaceful society have an opportunity to step into this vacuum and begin building a new political party responsive to, and with, our nation’s multi-national working class, white and blue collar, youth and students. The massive discontent with politics as usual offers fertile ground. The first step is to agree on a working-class program for economic security, peace and racial justice. The next is to bring it into the 2018 mid-term election and beyond.

Resolutions at the AFL-CIO Convention in October showed emerging sentiment among labor union leaders for independence from the two parties and for renewing the idea of a Labor Party. A resolution calling for a pro-worker agenda and “an independent political voice,” stated: “The time has passed when we can passively settle for the lesser of two evils.”4

According to the People’s World reporting from the convention, 50 delegates met for a discussion on the idea of a Labor Party.5 Postal Workers President Mark Dimondstein led a convention floor discussion and roused an applause when he said: “The Democratic Party was not delivering anything even when it had control of the White House, the Congress and the Senate.” This echoed the position of another resolution on electoral politics that concluded that: “continuing to follow the same model, expecting different results, is not an effective strategy for labor.”6

Help wanted: political leaders who stand for something

Propelling the urgency for bold alternatives in 2018 and beyond is that another capitalist economic crisis is looming on the horizon. Absent an alternative such a crisis will enlarge the opening for demagogic solutions like those offered by Trump’s GOP, as well as, austerity measures authored by the corporate allies of both parties. Might it be possible that Our Revolution will find an independent political footing to meet this challenge? Might progressive labor unions unite with people’s movements and Our Revolution to meet this challenge? These possibilities deserve urgent attention if we are to prevent Trump’s new GOP from consolidating power.7

Single-payer advocates welcomed senate Democrats finally getting behind Medicare for all legislation, but there is a steep hill to climb to win over skeptical workers fed up with just about every establishment Democrat. Democratic Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio said, in a New York Times interview in June, following the loss of Jon Ossoff in Georgia, that the party had become “toxic” in much of the country as voters see Democrats as “not being able to connect with the issues they care about.”8

In the same article D. Taylor, the president of the union Unite Here, representing hospitality workers across the country said, “Millions of Americans are desperate to be led by political leaders who stand for something, are willing to take risks, and are willing to tell the truth and engage Americans where they live. That just isn’t happening.” Labor unions and people’s movements who wait for the Democratic Party to make it happen will still be waiting in 2024. Now is the time to build and organize the mass sentiments revealed by the Sanders’ campaign. It’s no time to hesitate or go slow. It is time to take bold risks with confidence and trust that people will respond.

Although the Tim Ryans of the Democratic Party are not likely to call their own foreign policy “toxic,” 2016 showed millions of voters were concerned about Hillary Clinton’s aggressive support of military interventions. Sanders’ repeated criticism of her record resonated broadly with young people, progressives and among the working class. In the fall, Trump even told his voters at rallies that a vote for Hillary would be a vote for more war.

Yet, since the election the Democratic leadership has lent tacit support to Trump’s military budget increases and his ratcheting up of aggression against Venezuela, Iran, North Korea and China. Particularly egregious is the support of both parties’ leaders, for Saudi Arabia’s murderous war against the people of Yemen. Aggression that began with support from the Obama Administration. Not a word of criticism, except for a handful of progressive Democratic officials.

An electoral counter to such dangerous jingoism requires fielding dozens of congressional candidates on a program for peace. This is the glimmer of rationality that peace-loving, oppressed and war-torn peoples around world desperately await U.S. activists to initiate in the citadel of imperialism. Left and progressive organizations that avoid this work shirk their international responsibilities.

A good place to start is to press candidates and incumbents to support a new direction in foreign policy as advanced by AFL-CIO resolution: War is not the Answer.9 It calls on the president and congress “to bring the war dollars home and make our priority as a nation rebuilding this country’s crumbling infrastructure, creating millions of living wage jobs and addressing human needs such as education, health care, housing, retirement security and jobs.  Furthermore, it calls “for a foreign policy based on international solidarity of all workers, mutual respect of all nations and national sovereignty…”

If candidates won’t sign on, challenge them. Pressure them. Americans are tired of war. The AFL-CIO resolution reflects this sentiment. Make 2018 a struggle for peace. General election and primary challengers running on a plan for peace may not win, but such a presence is urgently needed to elevate the struggle for peace, economic security and racial justice.

  1. Americans worried about Russian influence on elections,” October 30, 2017. SurveyMonkey poll conducted from October 23 to October 26
  2. CNN, Chris Cillizza, Editor-at-large. “In election blame game, it’s time for Hillary Clinton to take her share,” June 1, 2017.
  3. Washington Post. “Trump’s approval rating remains historically low and confidence has declined.” Washington Post-ABC News poll, October 29-November 1, 2017. November 13, 2017.
  4. Resolution 2: “An independent political voice.” Resolutions, 2017 AFL-CIO Convention.
  5. John Wojcik and Mark Gruenberg. People’s World, “AFL-CIO calls for a break with “lesser of two evils” politics,” October 25, 2017.
  6. Resolution 48: “Exploring new directions for labor in electoral politics.”
  7. See my analysis of this danger in the December 2017, Adonde Press pamphlet, “The 2016 Election: Analysis, Lessons and Task Ahead.”
  8. Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin. New York Times. “Democrats Seethe After Georgia Loss: ‘Our Brand Is Worse Than Trump.’”, June 21, 2017.
  9. Resolution 50: “War is not the Answer.” Resolutions, 2017 AFL-CIO Convention.

December 29, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | | Leave a comment

Mattis: US will send more ‘diplomats’, contractors to Syria

Press TV – December 29, 2017

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says he is expecting to see a larger US civilian presence in Syria, where there are already 2,000 American troops without the authorization of the Syrian government.

Mattis said Friday that the US would deploy more contractors and diplomats to the war-torn country, with which Washington has suspended diplomatic relations.

“What we will be doing is shifting from what I would call an offensive, shifting from an offensive terrain-seizing approach to a stabilizing… you’ll see more US diplomats on the ground,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.

“Well when you bring in more diplomats, they are working that initial restoration of services, they bring in the contractors, that sort of thing,” he added.

“There is international money that has got to be administered, so it actually does something, it doesn’t go into the wrong people’s pockets.”

He also claimed that the diplomats and contractors might train local forces in parts of the country retaken from Daesh to clear improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and hold territory to help ensure that Daesh does not take back territory.

“It is an attempt to move towards the normalcy and that takes a lot of support,” said Mattis.

He did not give any specific information about the number of US diplomats who would serve in Syria and when.

Daesh unleashed a campaign of bloodshed and destruction in Syria in 2014, overrunning considerable expanses of territory.

The same year saw the United States launch a so-called campaign against the terrorists together with a coalition of its allies.

The military alliance had done little in the fight against Daesh, and has instead been repeatedly accused of targeting and killing civilians and hampering Syrian government operations against the Takfiri group.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on November 23 that 2,759 civilians, including 644 minors and 470 women, had been killed in US-led aerial attacks against civilian areas in Syria over the past 38 months.

The American forces support the anti-Damascus Kurdish militants in the north, who have, according to Syria, been seeking to gain more territory under the pretext of fighting terror.

December 29, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , | 8 Comments

2018 hotspots are in Eurasia and the Middle East

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

The leitmotif of the US foreign policy in 2018 is going to be a last-ditch attempt to “contain” Russia’s resurgence on the world stage. The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s “yearender” in the New York Times on Wednesday makes this abundantly clear. Tillerson singled out China, Russia and Iran but had the harshest words reserved for Russia. This is what he wrote:

  • On Russia, we have no illusions about the regime we are dealing with. The United States today has a poor relationship with a resurgent Russia that has invaded its neighbors Georgia and Ukraine in the last decade and undermined the sovereignty of Western nations by meddling in our election and others’. The appointment of Kurt Volker, a former NATO ambassador, as special representative for Ukraine reflects our commitment to restoring the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Absent a peaceful resolution of the Ukraine situation, which must begin with Russia’s adherence to the Minsk Agreements, there cannot be business as usual with Russia.

Tillerson was surprisingly laid-back regarding China. He mentioned the key issues – Beijing’s leverage on North Korea, trade, intellectual property rights, and “troubling military activities in the South China Sea and elsewhere”. But he viewed China’s rise from a long-term perspective, “carefully” managing the relationship “for the next 50 years.” In Tillerson’s words,

  • A central component of our North Korea strategy is persuading China to exert its decisive economic leverage on Pyongyang. China has applied certain import bans and sanctions, but it could and should do more. We will also continue to pursue American interests in other areas of our relationship, including trade imbalances, intellectual property theft and China’s troubling military activities in the South China Sea and elsewhere. China’s rise as an economic and military power requires Washington and Beijing to consider carefully how to manage our relationship for the next 50 years.

Of course, Beijing reacted nicely:

“China and the US share a wide range of common interests in spite of some differences. However, our common interests far outweigh our differences. China-US cooperation conforms to the fundamental interests of both countries and the world at large, and cooperation is the only right choice for us. When it comes to disagreements, we shall strive to resolve them in a constructive way on the basis of mutual respect so as to avoid disrupting the long-term development of bilateral relations. We hope that the US could work with China to focus on cooperation and manage differences on the basis of mutual respect so that bilateral relations can move forward in a sound and steady way.”

Ukraine will be the “hotspot” in US-Russia relations next year. 2017 is ending with the Trump administration removing restrictions on supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine. The Rubicon has been crossed. Russia will be closely watching how the US military aid to Kiev develops. Russia will resist any US attempt to shift the military balance in Donbass.

Meanwhile, the possibility cannot be ruled out that the US might impose punitive sanctions against Russia next year. Herman Gref, the chief executive of Sberbank and an influential voice among Moscow elites, told Financial Times newspaper this week that if such stricter sanctions – against Russian oligarchs and/or state-owned corporations – are imposed, it will “make the Cold War look like child’s play.”

In an interview with Interfax on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow relies on “pragmatic approaches and realistic assessments” vis-à-vis the US. “We do not entertain any illusions… We will respond to any hostile actions against Russia and our citizens in the way that is best for us… In fact, the sooner certain American politicians get rid of the illusions that Russia can be cowed by restrictive measures or a show of force, the better it will be for everyone, including themselves.”

The point is, the US has no leverage over Russia – or China and Iran for that matter. Tillerson’s essay conveys the impression of a ineffectual superpower. Even the reference to Pakistan betrayed weariness:

  • “Pakistan must contribute by combating terrorist groups on its own soil. We are prepared to partner with Pakistan to defeat terrorist organizations seeking safe havens, but Pakistan must demonstrate its desire to partner with us.”

The US has no credible road map. Indeed, the cool war with China will continue, but Indian pundits shouldn’t get excited that 2018 will be a “kinetic” year. The Trump administration has no control over shaping that cool war. Basically, the US has 3 options: contain China’s rise as a military power; roll back China’s economic influence through a US-led regional alliance such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement; or, accept China’s rise and share the liberal international order with it as participant. But Washington has no identifiable strategy.

Suffice to say, it will be in the Eurasian and Middle East theatres – the two are inter-related too – where the US will get bogged down. Make no mistake, Russia is determined to push through a settlement in Syria in 2018. And it will be a bitter pill for the Beltway establishment to swallow. Moscow announced this week that the Tartus naval base and the Hmeimim airbase in Syria are being expanded as permanent bases with the capacity to deploy nuclear ships and aircraft. It signals a power projection far beyond anything that the Soviet Union achieved in the Middle East.

With a renewed 6-year term as president after the 18th March election in Russia, Vladimir Putin will be an alpha male. By the way, the election date itself is hugely symbolic, dripping with strategic defiance of the US – 18th March is the date Crimea rejoined Russia four years ago!

December 29, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

The World’s Real Nuclear Menace Isn’t North Korea

By Joshua Cho | CounterPunch | December 29, 2017

With growing speculation of war with North Korea and familiar apocalyptic rhetoric in recent times, the United States and North Korea have participated in increasingly bellicose exchanges. These recent exchanges range from President Trump calling on other nations to stop financing and trading with North Korea because it’s a “very serious nuclear menace,” redesignating North Korea as an official state sponsor of terrorism, to more North Korean nuclear missile tests and American and South Korean joint war games.

In light of the nuclear brinkmanship with North Korea bringing frequent comparisons to the Cuban Missile Crisis and discussion of hypothetical worst-case scenarios, it’s worth reviewing the United States’ record and examining whether North Korea is really the belligerent nuclear menace the world needs to liberate itself from. As critics of American foreign policy have noticed, the United States’ leaders, its media and its citizens never quite seem to recognize the full consequences of their country’s actions in other regions, or investigate its long history of conflict with North Korea.

To begin in chronological order, touring around the globe, it’s been noted by international relations scholars and historians that the Korean War is partly known as “The Forgotten War” because Americans have largely forgotten “the utter ruin and devastation” the United States inflicted upon North Korea. It’s not widely known that the United States’ own leaders have admitted to have “killed off” approximately 20% of North Korea’s population throughout the war by targeting “everything that moved.” Or that the United States destroyed more cities in North Korea than it did in Germany or Japan during World War II by dropping more bombs than it did throughout the entire Pacific Theatre. When there were few urban targets left to bomb, the United States began to bomb dams that supplied water for the production of rice—one of the quintessential food commodities in Asia—which led to mass starvation during and after the war. While Americans may not remember the carnage across the other side of the world, North Koreans have never forgotten the destruction on its own peninsula, nor the American threats to use nuclear weapons during the war which first inspired Kim Il-Sung to obtain his own nuclear deterrent decades ago.

Looking at events throughout the next few decades, it’s apparent that American policymakers either fail to consider, or disregard, how their duplicitous dealings and illegal military interventions across the world could inspire smaller countries like North Korea to seek more cost-effective and credible deterrents to an American invasion than large standing armies, in the form of nuclear weapons.

While American officials compare the situation in North Korea with the 1960s Cuban Missile Crisis by depicting North Korea as an irrational and unpredictable adversary willing to initiate nuclear destruction, the real comparison lies in the United States’ refusal to live under the same threat it subjects to other countries, which forms a straight line of continuity to the present.

Historians have long known that John F. Kennedy lied to the American public by claiming that the Eisenhower-Nixon administrations had allowed a dangerous missile gap to grow in the Soviet Union’s favor, despite the opposite being the case. And that Nikita Khrushchev was inspired to equalize the balance of power by dispatching Soviet nuclear weapons to Cuba upon learning that the United States had stationed its nuclear weapons near the Soviet Union in Turkey, and to deter the United States from launching an invasion of Cuba. This fear of invasion was a justifiable concern considering the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in the previous year and the CIA’s ongoing Operation Mongoose at the time, which tried to undermine the Castro regime through assassination attempts and sabotage.

However, the United States found the mere perception of an even playing field intolerable as it dispatched a naval blockade, considered an act of war in international law, to prevent further missiles from reaching Cuba. All of this happened despite Kennedy’s own assessment that the blockade would increase the probability of war to climb as high as 50%. We now know that even top-level decision makers like former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara were rendered speechless decades later upon learning that both the United States and Cuba had severely underestimated the risk of nuclear war at the time.

In the end, nuclear war was barely averted by the heroism of Soviet submarine officer Vasili Arkhipov, who disobeyed orders to to launch a nuclear torpedo in response to his superiors’ panic over depth charges dropped by American ships during the blockade. The United States struck a deal with the Soviet Union to lift the blockade, provide a promise not to invade Cuba and to secretly remove the missiles in Turkey in exchange for the public removal of Soviet missiles from Cuba. The mere semblance of a rational quid pro quo was unacceptable to the United States, which insisted on the risky optics of humiliation in order to reinforce its hegemonic principles that Cuba had no right to possess a deterrent to what seemed like an imminent American invasion, and that the United States should enjoy an offensive nuclear capacity denied to the Soviet Union.

Later on during the Reagan era, the United States illegally invaded Grenada to enact regime change in 1983, while simultaneously ratcheting up the annual joint United States-South Korea war games simulating possible invasions of North Korea near its borders. Kim Il-Sung was reportedly unsettled by the idea that the United States could perceive the tiny spice island of Grenada as a threat, and feared that nothing less than a nuclear deterrent would be sufficient to keep Pyongyang outside the crosshairs of Washington. Three years after the invasion of Grenada, the North Korean regime established its Ministry of Atomic Energy Industry to formally declare its intent to develop a nuclear weapons program, which exists to this day.

Moving towards the twenty-first century, the Bush 43 administration’s illegal invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime in March 2003, which had long given up Iraq’s nuclear weapons despite the Bush 43 administration’s lies about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), would serve as one example of a dictatorship being toppled due to the lack of a credible nuclear deterrent. Another example would follow with Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who announced that Libya would also give up its biological and chemical weapons stockpiles in addition to its infant nuclear weapons program in December 2003. Even though George W. Bush celebrated Libya’s decision at the time, declaring that the world should take away the lesson that “leaders who abandon the pursuit of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and the means to deliver them, will find an open path to better relations with the United States and other free nations,” the succeeding Obama administration would go on to deliver the exact opposite lesson by assisting in the ouster of Gaddafi in 2011. Observing the situation in Libya, a North Korean official at the time explicitly remarked that the “Libyan crisis is teaching the international community a grave lesson,” claiming the West’s deal with Libya was “an invasion tactic to disarm the country.”

More towards the present, President Trump’s decision to “decertify” the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in October—despite worldwide acknowledgment that Iran has fully kept its side of the deal—has led some journalists to note that it’s more accurate to report that the United States was reneging on its JCPOA commitments, drawing parallels with its inconsistent foreign policy in Libya. The United States’ refusal to honor its agreement has bolstered the popularity of the hardline Iranian view that the United States and Saudi Arabia can’t be trusted.

There is remarkable irony in the United States betraying its JCPOA commitments considering the previous hysteria claiming that Iran was “the gravest threat to world peace,” despite not having invaded a single country in over 200 years. It’s a little known fact that Iran’s own Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, Javad Zarif, actually critiqued the JCPOA because it didn’t go far enough towards ensuring peace in the Middle East—calling on Israel to join Iran in establishing a Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East—which Iran incidentally first proposed to the UN General Assembly in 1974.

The irony is only heightened when we consider that the United States possesses an additional obligation to engage in good faith efforts towards establishing a NWFZ in the Middle East as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), as well as the Bush administration’s appeal to UN Security Council Resolution 687 to provide some pseudo-legal basis for its invasion of Iraq—claiming that Iraq had failed to live up to the resolution’s obligation to disarm itself of WMDs—when Article 14 of Resolution 687 called for the elimination of Iraqi WMDs for the explicit purpose of creating a NWFZ in the Middle East.

Aside from North Korea, another nuclear power the United States is presently antagonizing is Russia, which has led some observers to liken the current relationship to be that of a new Cold War for quite some time. One can recite a litany of American provocations against Russia ranging from the still unproven allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election to the United States’ proven interference in Russian elections, from the hypocritical accusations of war crimes in Syria that the American-backed rebel forces seeking regime change also committed, to the Obama administration’s use of deceit in persuading Russia not to veto a UN Security Council resolution permitting the use of force in Libya, which would teach Vladimir Putin the “lesson” that weakness and compromise would be exploited by the United States.

But these examples ignore the United States’ more direct contributions to heightened nuclear tensions with Russia. Despite the Bush 41 administration’s verbal “iron-clad guarantees” made to Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not expand “one inch eastward,” in exchange for the reunification of West and East Germany in 1990 and agreements to halt the arms race, ban chemical weapons and drastically reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles, succeeding administrations began to treat Russia as a defeated nation who “lost” the Cold War ever since.

The succeeding Clinton administration would proceed to illegally bomb Serbia and violate prior promises by expanding NATO to include former Warsaw Pact countries, tarnishing the Russian population’s perception of the United States. Currently, NATO’s eastern expansion has reached Russia’s borders with NATO troops deployed in Poland and the Baltic States, which would be analogous to the United States finding Mexico, Cuba, Canada and most of South America welcoming Russian bases and troops in a military alliance against it. Notwithstanding the barrage of propagandistic charges of “Russian aggression,” NATO’s expansion and the Obama administration’s support for a violent coup ousting pro-Russian Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych is responsible for provoking Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Crimea.

Adding insult to injury, the Obama administration’s placement of ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems near Russian borders was a continued reversal of the short-lived Nixon-Ford administrations’ policy of détente. It’s common knowledge among nuclear strategists around the world that BMD systems are offensive weapons by nature—designed to secure a nuclear first-strike advantage by neutralizing the threat of retaliatory nuclear strikes—and serve as a “Trojan Horse” for the militarization of outer space, as BMD systems depend on satellites that must be protected from the anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons readily available to other nations. The threat BMD systems pose to international stability was what led the United States and the Soviet Union to sign the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in 1972.

The ABM Treaty was promptly violated by the Reagan administration’s infamous Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) or “Star Wars” program—a large subsidy for American high-tech industry under the guise of its fantastical aims of constructing orbiting “battle platforms,” with uranium and plutonium powered hypervelocity guns, particle beams and laser weapons—with the ABM Treaty later being unilaterally abrogated by the Bush 43 administration in 2001. Concerns about the destabilizing effects of deploying BMD systems have already materialized with Russia recently testing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) designed to penetrate them.

But even critics of dishonest American foreign policy around the globe for fostering North Korea’s distrust often neglect to mention the history of the United States reneging on its commitments with North Korea itself. The Clinton administration was able to get North Korea to freeze its plutonium production for eight years (1994-2002) through the Agreed Framework of 1994, signed an additional agreement to mutually cease bearing “hostile intent,” and had indirectly worked out another deal to buy all of its medium and long-range missiles until the Bush 43 administration named North Korea as part of the “Axis of Evil,” threatening it with the possibility of “preemptive” war.

In spite of this setback, the Bush 43 administration was able to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons under the six-party talks in 2005—in return for a light-water nuclear reactor for its medical and energy needs and an end to aggressive rhetoric—only for the same administration to quickly undermine the agreement by renewing its threats of force, withdrawing its offer of a light-water reactor and freezing North Korean funds in foreign banks.

The succeeding Obama administration’s foreign policy wouldn’t diverge very much from its predecessors by continuing the United States’ aggressive rhetoric, and by enacting harsh and politically ineffective sanctions which punish the population for the actions of its insulated leadership. However, some differences include its State Department providing assistance in the production of a graphic film depicting Kim Jong-Un’s head exploding, increasing cyberattacks to sabotage North Korea’s missiles and simulating nuclear strikes with stealth bombers.

The situation has only deteriorated under the Trump administration with its destabilizing statements and policies around the world, which is increasing pressure on other nations to pursue nuclear weapons. President Trump and his fellow Republicans have illegally threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea and cause its “extinction.” Despite the corporate media’s frequent barrage of misleading headlines implying that the North Korean leadership won’t surrender its nuclear weapons under any circumstances—and refusal to report the timing of North Korea’s missile tests in the context of the annual joint American and South Korean war games simulating nuclear first-strikes, invasions, and assassinations of the North Korean leadership near its borders—the truth is that North Korea has repeatedly offered to give up its nuclear weapons program. The Trump administration has rejected China and North Korea’s numerous proposals to freeze North Korea’s nuclear and missile program in exchange for ceasing the threatening joint war games. It’s possible that the offers are insincere and that North Korea can’t be trusted to follow through on its commitments, but the point remains that diplomacy hasn’t been seriously pursued and that the United States’ own trustworthiness is hardly any better.

While there are some differences between the Trump administration’s foreign policy and its predecessors’, the United States’ general pursuit of overwhelming supremacy in all terrains of warfare including land, air, sea and outer space (also known as “full-spectrum dominance”), has remained largely intact. President Trump has called for a tenfold expansion of the United States’ nuclear stockpile in spite of the numerous arms reduction treaties the United States is committed to. His administration is also rushing to enact Obama administration programs to “modernize” the “nuclear triad,” estimated to cost over $1 trillion across three decades, to improve precision targeting and reducing blast yields to make nuclear first-strikes more thinkable.

The “Trojan Horse” for the militarization of space represented by the installation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) BMD system in South Korea—to secure a nuclear first-strike advantage against China and North Korea—is expected to trigger a new arms race in the region in addition to another arms race for space weapons. Despite virtually universal support for the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) Treaty in the UN since 1985, including Russia and China, the United States has continually refused to negotiate the PAROS Treaty in the UN’s Conference on Disarmament because of its large technical advantages in BMD systems and potential space weaponry.

South Koreans and American military officials, academics, and journalists are certainly correct to note that North Korea’s “realist” foreign policy has remained remarkably consistent and predictable in comparison to President Trump’s unpredictability and frequent commitments to keeping “all options on the table.” However, to imagine that the Trump administration’s unpredictable posture regarding nuclear weapons is a large deviation from the norm of past administrations is a mistake. The United States has consistently refused to adopt a “no-first-use” pledge in order to keep the option of a nuclear first-strike open. A 1995 STRATCOM report entitled the Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence during the Clinton administration mentioned that it would be detrimental for the United States to portray itself as “too fully rational and cool-headed,” and recommended that it project an “irrational and vindictive” national persona with some “potentially ‘out of control’” elements instead.

The hegemonic principles are consistent: the United States and its allies should possess an offensive nuclear capacity to destroy their enemies denied to other nations, and can flout international law and their foreign obligations on a whim.

The North Korean government is a contemptible and authoritarian regime that’s justly condemned for its numerous human rights violations, but as foreign policy critics like Noam Chomsky have pointed out, there’s no logical connection between a regime’s domestic brutality and the threat it poses abroad. Although the United States is increasingly degenerating into an impoverished and totalitarian society with its own internal human rights abuses, there’s no doubt that American citizens enjoy a greater degree of liberties than North Koreans. There’s also little question that the United States has unleashed far more violence and aggression abroad. The latest international poll found that the United States is considered to be the greatest threat to world peace, beating out all other competitors—including North Korea—by decisive margins. A casual examination of the United States’ record abroad can yield similar damning conclusions: the United States is the world’s nuclear menace, not North Korea.

Joshua Cho is a recent graduate of Boston College, aspiring journalist and former intern at Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting. 

December 29, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

MI5 plotted assassination of Irish PM in 1985 – Ulster Volunteer Force

Charles Haughey © Joost Evers / The Netherlands National Archive
RT | December 29, 2107

Former Irish Prime Minister Charles Haughey was warned by loyalist paramilitaries that they were once tasked with murdering him in an assassination plot purportedly dreamt up by the British secret service.

The sensational disclosure was sent in a letter to the Irish government, newly released under the Public Records Act, which requires documents of historical value to be published by the National Archives within 30 years.

Written on Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) signature paper, the warning claims the terrorist organization was asked by an MI5 operative about the prospect of carrying out an attack on Republic of Ireland leader Haughey in 1985.

At the time, Haughey would have been in opposition as head of political party Fianna Fáil, but details of the solicitation did not become known to Irish authorities until 1987.

“In 1985 we were approached by a M15 officer attached to the Northern Ireland Office and based in Lisburn, Alex Jones was his supposed name,” the letter reads, according to the Irish Times. “He asked us to execute you.”

Prominent during the period known as the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, the UVF operated on the loyalist side of the political divide, which also saw the Irish Republican Army, another illegal militant organization, carry out violent attacks.

The UVF letter claims it was given information on Haughey’s home, his modes of transport, as well as his holiday island Inishvickillane, off the southwest coast of Ireland. However, the person behind the letter, which is signed by a Capt W Johnston, says the request was declined.

“We refused to do it. We were asked would we accept responsibility if you were killed. We refused. We have no love for you but we are not going to carry out work for the Dirty Tricks Department of the British,” the letter continues, according to the Irish Mirror.

The tentative assassination plot appears to have been hatched in-between Haughey’s second and third terms in office. Haughey was known for his preference to broker an agreement with Britain that would bring about a united Ireland.

December 29, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | | Leave a comment

All Is Not Quiet on the Syrian Front: US to Launch Another War

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 29.12.2017

This is a classic example of flip-flop policy. In November, the US promised Turkey to stop arming Kurdish militias in Syria after the Islamic State was routed. Brett McGurk, the US Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat Islamic State, explained that after the urban fighting in Raqqa was over “adjustments in the level of military support” would be made. “We had to give some equipment – and it’s limited, extremely limited – all of which was very transparent to our NATO ally, Turkey,” he said during a special briefing on December 21. In June, the US told Turkey it would take back weapons supplied to the Kurdish the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia in northern Syria after the defeat of Islamic State.

But sophisticated weapons will continue to be sent to Syria in 2018, including thousands of anti-tank rocket launchers, heat seeking missiles and rocket launchers. The list of weaponry and equipment was prepared by US Department of Defense as part of the 2018 defense budget and signed by Trump of Dec. 12. It includes more than 300 non-tactical vehicles, 60 nonstandard vehicles, and 30 earth-moving vehicles to assist with the construction of outposts or operations staging areas. The US defense spending bill for 2018 (“Justification for FY 2018 Overseas Contingency Operations / Counter-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Train and Equip Fund”) includes providing weapons worth $393 million to US partners in Syria. Overall, $500 million, roughly $70 million more than last year, are to be spent on Syria Train and Equip requirements. The partners are the Kurds-dominated Syria Democratic Forces (SDF). The YPG – the group that is a major concern of Turkey – is the backbone of this force.

The budget does not refer to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) but instead says “Vetted Syrian Opposition”. According to the budget list, there are 25,000 opposition forces supported as a part of the train and equip program in Syria. That number is planned to be increased to 30,000 in 2018. The arming of Kurdish militants with anti-tank rockets is a sensitive topic because of Turkey’s reliance on its armored Leopard tanks in northern Syria.

Talal Sillo, a former high-ranking commander and spokesperson of the US-backed SDF, who defected from the group last month to go to Turkey, divulged details of the US arming the Kurdish group.

The list does not detail which vetted Syrian groups will receive certain pieces of equipment. In northern Syria, there is the SDF, including the YPG, and the Syria Arab Coalition — a group of Arab fighters incorporated into the SDF. The Maghawir al-Thawra and Shohada al-Quartayn groups are operating in the southeastern part of Syria. They are being trained by US and British instructors at the al-Tanf border crossing between Syria and Iraq.

Besides the SDF and the groups trained at al-Tanf, the US is in the process of creating the New Syria Army to fight the Syrian government forces. The training is taking place at the Syrian Hasakah refugee camp located 70 kilometers from the border of Turkey and 50 kilometers from the border of Iraq.

Around 40 Syria opposition groups on Dec. 25 rejected to attend the planned Sochi conference on Syria scheduled to take place in January. They said Moscow, which organizes the conference, was seeking to bypass the UN-based Geneva peace process, despite the fact that UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said that Russia’s plan to convene the congress should be assessed by its ability to contribute to and support the UN-led Geneva talks on ending the war in Syria. If fighting starts, these groups are likely to join the formations created by the US.

So, the United States not only maintains its illegal military presence in Syria and creates new forces to fight against the Syrian government, it appears to be preparing for a new war to follow the Islamic State’s defeat. The continuation of arming and training Kurdish militias will hardly improve Washington’s relations with Ankara, while saying one thing and doing another undermines the credibility of the United States as a partner.

December 29, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Clean Break II: Iran Hawks Decide to Burn It All Down

By Derek Davison and Jim Lobe | LobeLog | December 27, 2017

The 20th century was rife with partitions, many of them involving European powers carving up colonial possessions in Africa and the Middle East with what often appears to have been little or no concern for local realities. Perhaps the most famous of these free-hand attempts at state creation is the Sykes-Picot Line, whose legacy is very much still with us (and not for the better). But Sykes-Picot is far from the only example of European colonial borders that are still causing problems decades after they were drawn.

But who cares about all of that? It doesn’t seem to be an issue for at least some of America’s anti-Iran hawks. In response to Iran’s rising profile in the Middle East, fueled mostly by a war those neocons ardently championed and the striking ineptitude of the hawks’ new favorite Persian Gulf monarchy, the intellectual heirs to the men who drew those ill-fated borders are proposing, long after it might have done any good, to re-draw them.

Writing for Fox News on December 25, Michael Makovsky—who is no fringe figure, being CEO of the neoconservative Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)—suggests just such a strategy for countering Iranian influence in the Middle East:

Maintaining Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen in their existing forms is unnatural and serves Iran’s interests. There is nothing sacred about these countries’ borders, which seem to have been drawn by a drunk and blindfolded mapmaker. Indeed, in totally disregarding these borders, ISIS and Iran both have already demonstrated the anachronism and irrelevance of the borders.

Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen are not nation-states as Americans understand them, but rather post-World War I artificial constructs, mostly created out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire in a colossally failed experiment by western leaders.

With their deep ethno-sectarian fissures, these four countries have either been held together by a strong authoritarian hand or suffered sectarian carnage.

It is astonishing to read neoconservatives, who have done little else since the 1970s but lobby for exerting American hegemony in the Middle East, decry the results of the exertion of European hegemony in the Middle East. It reads like an artificial intelligence that just briefly verges on full self-awareness before pivoting and falling back to safer ground. It’s particularly rich for Makovsky, whose JINSA predecessors promoted the ouster of two of those “strong authoritarian hands” in former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, to bemoan one result of their ouster.

But let’s focus on the proposal Makovsky makes: redrawing borders in the Middle East, creating what he calls “loose confederations or new countries with more borders that more naturally conform along sectarian lines,” in order to counter Iran. The proposal strongly resembles recommendations found in “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” a 1996 publication of the Jerusalem-based Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies that was prepared in collaboration with several other neoconservative think tanks—including JINSA.

“A Clean Break,” the conclusion of a task force that included such Likudnik geniuses as Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and David Wurmser, argued in part that Israel should work with friendly governments in Turkey and Jordan to contain regional threats, particularly coming from Syria. It concluded, among other things, that Israeli leaders should pursue “removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq-an important objective in its own right-as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.” “Syria” in this context serves as a stand-in for “Iran.” Long-term, the report envisioned the formation of a “natural axis” of Israel, Turkey, Jordan, and a “Hashemite” Iraq serving as “the prelude to a redrawing of the map of the Middle East, which could threaten Syria’s territorial integrity.”

Even a cursory glance at the state of the Middle East since the end of the Iraq War shows that ousting Saddam Hussein achieved the opposite of the report’s stated goals. The idea of a Hashemite restoration in Shia-majority Iraq was ridiculously far-fetched, and Iraq’s democratically-elected government has–justifiably–greatly improved the Baghdad-Tehran relationship. Makovsky, who wants to reverse this trend, argues that the United States should “declare our support and strong military aid for an eventual Iraqi Kurdish state, once its warring factions unify and improve governance. We could support a federation for the rest of Iraq.”

In Makovsky’s imagination, the new Kurd-less Iraqi federation would presumably wish Erbil well and send it on its way. In reality, another serious Kurdish move toward independence would probably lead to a civil war, as it nearly did in October over the status of Kirkuk. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s first foreign trip after his dramatic capture of Kirkuk was… to Iran. If the United States were to come out in full support of an independent Kurdistan, it would almost certainly push the rest of Iraq more firmly into Iran’s orbit. Speaking of Kirkuk, does Makovsky imagine that independent Kurdistan would be given the city and its surrounding oil fields? If yes, then that only increases the chances of a war with Baghdad. If no, then there are serious questions about whether that hypothetical Kurdish state would be economically viable.

For Syria, Makovsky says that “we could seek a more ethnically coherent loose confederation or separate states that might balance each other – the Iranian-dominated Alawites along the coast, the Kurds in the northeast, and the Sunni Arabs in the heartland.” He might want to check a recent map of Syria, because while “heartland” is obviously a subjective term, by almost any definition Syria’s “heartland” now belongs to President Basher al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies. This includes the country’s five largest (pre-war) cities: Aleppo, Damascus, Homs, Latakia, and Hama. How does Makovsky propose any of that territory be taken from Assad so as to be turned over to “Sunni Arabs,” even in a confederate sense? If the answer is “war,” then his Fox News thinkpiece is burying the lede to say the least.

Makovsky then recommends that the U.S. strengthen relations with Shia-majority Azerbaijan, in order to “demonstrate we are not anti-Shia Muslim.” Yes, that should do the trick. Of course, that’s not the only reason:

An added potential benefit of this approach could be a fomenting of tensions within Iran, which has sizable Kurdish and Azeri populations, thereby weakening the radical regime in Tehran.

You might even say that it could threaten Iran’s territorial integrity. Make a Clean Break, if you will.

The dangers of the United States trying to redraw Middle Eastern borders—Makovsky graciously allows that America “cannot dictate the outcomes” but should instead “influence” them—should be obvious. For one thing, there’s the immediate likelihood that attempting to draw new borders would intensify regional instability. For another, there’s little reason to expect that the United States would get the new borders any more “right” than Britain and France did a century ago, particularly not when the process is being managed by the same people who brought us the invasion of Iraq. For still another, the most recent example of such Western “influenced” partitioning isn’t exactly a positive one.

But we can’t leave Makovsky’s piece without mentioning its most jaw-dropping paragraph (emphasis ours):

Artificial states have been divided or loosened before with some success, such as the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, which are all post-WWI formations. Bosnia and Herzegovina have also managed as a confederation.

Czechoslovakia divided peacefully of its own accord. The Soviet Union more or less did likewise, though that dissolution hasn’t been quite so peaceful in recent years. As for Yugoslavia—well, maybe Dr. Makovsky’s definition of “success” is a bit different from most other people’s. To be fair, though, if the breakup of Yugoslavia is his template for the future of the Middle East, this piece makes a lot more sense.

But if Makovsky believes in federalizing existing Middle Eastern states along “ethno-sectarian” lines, why not start with Israel and the Occupied Territories, a notion that would seem logical to any 21st century mapmaker? After all, occupation of one people by another via a “strong authoritarian hand”—in this case the IDF—would seem to be a prescription for a “colossally failed experiment,” no? Perhaps Makovsky’s experience as a former West Bank settler may make it difficult for him to see the relevance.

December 29, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment