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Meet Paul Ehrlich, Pseudoscience Charlatan

corbettreport | June 5, 2018

Renowned scientist Paul Ehrlich has been in the public spotlight for half a century now. But there’s a question at the heart of the story of Ehrlich’s unlikely rise to prominence. A question that must be answered. Why is it that this entomologist has become such a superstar of science, received so many accolades and awards, and wielded such influence over the public conversation on population despite being so remarkably, consistently, staggeringly wrong about the issues he presumes to lecture the public on?

TRANSCRIPT AND MP3: https://www.corbettreport.com/ehrlich/

June 6, 2018 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

US using ‘ethnic cleansing’ to set up compliant state in Syria – Vanessa Beeley to RT

RT | June 6, 2018

The US is trying to ethnically cleanse Syria in order to kill off Syrian nationalism and create an obedient state, journalist Vanessa Beeley told RT following a damning report on the US coalition’s military activities in Raqqa.

Beeley, an independent journalist who has covered the war in Syria extensively, told RT that the US, UK and French coalition is using proxy forces to cleanse certain areas of land in the war-torn country in an effort “to replace them with a proxy that will essentially create a US controlled state.”

She was responding to a new Amnesty International report that strongly criticizes the actions of the US-led coalition in its campaign to liberate the previously Islamic State (IS, ISIS/ISIL)-controlled city of Raqqa.

The Amnesty report accused the coalition and its Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) proxies of creating “a level of destruction comparable to anything we’ve seen in decades of covering the impact of wars,” and it says that the coalition’s claims that the bombings were “precise” and caused few civilian casualties do not stand up to scrutiny.

Beeley said that the Amnesty report put “meat on the bones” of previous analysis from on-the-ground journalists and some Russian analysts and commentators. She said that despite the US-led campaign ostensibly being about ridding the area of IS terrorists, it was the terrorists “who were evacuated as priority over the civilians.”

“Civilian property and infrastructure, essential infrastructure like water taps, like water supply units that were keeping civilians alive during the campaign were also being targeted,” she said, adding that it was the SDF forces designating the targets for the US coalition.

“So there’s a degree of collusion here between the US coalition and its proxies forces on the ground,” she said.

Beeley also criticized the reluctance of the British government, in particular, to admit to causing civilian deaths during its military campaign. The UK Ministry of Defense, she said, “did not even admit one civilian death as a result of their “precision” bombing — and then they only reluctantly admitted that they believe one civilian was killed by one of their drone strikes.”

Comparing the American-led military campaign in Raqqa to the Russian and Syrian-led military campaign to liberate east Aleppo, Beeley said that there were different standards set and attempts were made to protect Aleppo civilians.

“What we saw there were the provision of humanitarian corridors for civilians to be able to leave under the cover of the Syrian Arab Army and with the help of the Russian reconciliation teams negotiating with the terrorist and militant extremist factions to allow civilians to leave,” Beeley said. “What we’ve seen in Raqqa is civilians paying smugglers to try and leave during the military campaign, having to cross minefields, being unable to afford the cost of those smuggling groups.”

Beeley also said that Syrian civilians were being forced to return to buildings and areas of Raqqa that had not yet been cleared of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), booby traps and mines left by IS militants.

In contrast, the journalist said that Russian forces “cleared thousands of hectares of those IEDs and booby traps” following their campaigns to liberate Aleppo and Ghouta from IS.

“What we’re seeing here is a disgusting despicable disregard for human life both during the military campaign and even more importantly after the military campaign by the US coalition,” Beeley said.

Watch Vanessa Beeley’s full interview with RT.

‘Yemen killings may be even bigger’

In a separate interview, Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle-East studies at the University of Oklahoma, told RT that the Amnesty report made it clear that there were “massive violations of human rights.” An investigation was unlikely given that the US, Britain and France sit on the UN Security Council, he said.

Landis said he believed the US did make efforts to avoid killing civilians, but that, ultimately, the US-led coalition was “in a hurry.”

“The UN asked them [US coalition] multiple times to give breaks so civilians could get out, but they didn’t want to negotiate with IS, they said they were gonna kill them on the battlefield. They didn’t want them as prisoners in another Guantanamo and this led to a situation where the US was eager to finish it off, did not want to allow a break, did not want UN workers to go into Raqqa because they were going to see the devastation,” he said.

Landis compared the destruction to that caused by the US-supported, Saudi-led coalition in Yemen: “What’s taking place in Yemen may be even bigger, but we don’t even know because reporters aren’t being allowed in there – but an entire population is being starved.”

“Half a million Yemenis have gotten cholera and there isn’t the proper medicine to fix them and heal them and this is a terrible, devastating war crime because it’s voluntary. It doesn’t have to happen. People don’t have to be starved. There’s a blockade going on,” he said.

“We know that US special forces are helping the Saudis now in Yemen. Is the killing in Yemen more clean than the killing in Syria? It’s hard to believe it is – and we’ll find out the ultimate body count, I guess in the end,” Landis added.

June 6, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holding Hope Hospital Accountable: How the Western Public Was Led to Aid Islamist Terrorists in Syria

By Steven Sahiounie | OffGuardian | June 6, 2018

On April 29 of this year, the Guardian published a ‘feel good’ story about a Syrian refugee chef in London, who is cooking to support Hope Hospital in Aleppo. The claims in the article bear scrutiny.  For example, there’s the claim that “… Hope Hospital […] has saved tens of thousands of lives in Aleppo.” Another claim is that “It is the only pediatric hospital in the Aleppo region, serving more than 250,000 people.”

From these details, the readers will come away with the impression that Hope Hospital is a worthwhile charity, which is located in Aleppo, Syria and which is the only children’s hospital in the area. However, those claims are not supported by facts.

Hope Hospital is not located in the city of Aleppo. The mainstream media covered the battles of East Aleppo for months in 2016, culminating in the December 2016 evacuation of all armed fighters and their families from East Aleppo, and the evacuation of most besieged civilians to West Aleppo, as a result of the Syrian Arab Army’s taking control of East Aleppo after it had been occupied by armed fighters for years.

Aleppo is the most populous city in Syria: during the Syrian conflict, one section was overrun by armed fighters, who occupied the area and subjugated the citizens under Radical Islam. These various armed groups were Jaysh Islam, Nouriddeen Al-Zinki, Jabhat Al-Nusra, Ahrar Al-Sham, Jibhat ansar al-din, Army of Mujahadeen, Sham Legion and Levant Front.

These armed militias were sponsored by USA, NATO, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. All of these groups had the same goal: to defeat the Syrian government and establish an Islamic State in Syria. These groups were numerous and bore different names; however, they were all basically the same type of armed fighters which would be commonly termed terrorists. These groups did not only target Syrian government personnel, but often their target was the unarmed civilian population in Western Aleppo: their neighbors.

The Syrian government made a decision to fight the armed groups in order to liberate the civilians and to restore peace and order to the city. It was a very long and difficult military campaign, which cost the lives of hundreds of unarmed Syrian civilians and armed military personnel, as well as armed fighters. The battle culminated in December 2016, and since then peace and order of the city have been restored; however, it will take years to rebuild all the homes and buildings which were destroyed in the process of liberating the area.

The vast majority of those who had been held captive in East Aleppo by the armed groups poured out in streams of humanity during the last days of December 2016. Only a very small number of the total involved chose of their own free-will to leave Aleppo and take the offered option of going to areas under the occupation of armed groups, as opposed to remaining in the areas administered by the Syrian government. In the terms of a brokered deal, the armed fighters and their families, and others who adhered to their ideology, left in a convoy of 10 buses to their chosen destination of Idlib. Idlib is the largest area in Syria under armed opposition control. It sits on the Turkish border and receives aid and protection from Turkey as well as from a host of international charities.

Hope Hospital is located in the Syrian city of Jarabulus, which is now under the military occupation of Turkey. If you pull out a map of Aleppo and the region, you will see that Jarablous is 60 miles from Aleppo. Hope Hospital does not serve any patients in Aleppo. The article appeals for the charity of Guardian readers, who associate that location, i.e. Aleppo, with suffering civilians who deserve help, especially medical assistance.

In reality, when you dig through the news articles, and look at the map, you see that Jarabulus is the location of Hope Hospital, and Aleppo is a misleading name used to grab the attention and purse strings of the uninformed Western reader. Jarabulus belongs to the Aleppo province. In the 2004 census, the city had a population of 11,570. However, the Guardian article claims Hope Hospital will serve 170,000 patients. The location and numbers concerning Hope Hospital do not correspond. Why are the charities and news articles misleading the public that Hope Hospital is in Aleppo, when it is located in Jarabulus? Why are they inflating the numbers, and using misinformation and subterfuge in appealing to the public for charitable contributions?

Jarabulus is the destination of the terrorists and their families who were in the evacuation deal in many areas in Syria. For example, the Jaysh al-Islam group with their wives, families and supporters left Douma and went to Jarabulus. They could have chosen Idlib; however, the armed groups numbering in the hundreds of thousands who already live in Idlib hate Jaysh al- Islam and have been vocal about it, so the latter had to opt for Jarabulus or face death at the hands of their ‘brothers-in-arms’.

The western charity market in Europe and North America would not be so inclined to send their hard-earned donations to a hospital which caters to the armed fighters, their wives and children, and supporters. Some might not mind: thinking that to save the life of a wife or child of a terrorist is worth a donation. A life is a life, in humanitarian terms. However, there is another school of thought, which says that by helping armed fighters you are playing the global role of their ‘enabler’. You are sending these groups a clear message: that no matter how brutal and savage you may be, in the end we will come to your rescue, and save your wives and children; you can count on us. There is also the accusation of child abuse: aren’t armed fighters and their wives responsible for the health and safety of their children? Some people would call it child abuse to subject children to a life of violence and destruction, especially as such a life was not thrust upon the parents but reflects their own choice driven by a political ideology.

In reality, the city of Aleppo is now populated by about 1,602,264. Prior to the conflict, Aleppo had 112 hospitals, of which 14 were state hospitals providing health care free of charge. Some the hospitals were destroyed during the conflict. Aleppo still had more than 20 hospitals which were operating during the conflict, even though the Western media and charities were telling unwitting donors that the ‘last Doctor in Aleppo’ was gone, and the ‘last Hospital in Aleppo was destroyed’. Aleppo University Hospital was never closed during the conflict. The children living in Aleppo, the city and countryside, are being well served between a network of state hospitals and state clinics, which are smaller and scattered in rural areas, and still offer free health care, especially for all the existing children’s vaccinations and routine pediatric visits.

Hope Hospital was equipped and supplied in part by “The People’s Convoy”, set up in December 2016 to transport hospital equipment and supplies from Chelsea & Westminster Hospital to Turkey; a journey covering over 2,600 miles by land, through Europe. These supplies were not sent to Syria legally, or efficiently. This was an illegal international smuggling operation, crossing borders without any passport controls or any visas. The legal route would be to load the equipment on a ship in England and off-load it in the Port of Latakia legally, as a humanitarian shipment, and then truck the shipping container to Jarabulus.

Turkey is one of the main supporters of the armed fighters in Syria. They have acted as the hosting country for international terrorists, flying them in to Turkish airports and passing through Turkey unhindered. In fact, Turkish merchants have made money off the terrorists on their way to Syria. The Turkish government officially transported weapons and supplies for use by the terrorists in Syria. The Obama administration used the Port of Iskanderun, Turkey to offload weapons and supplies stolen from the Libyan government to be given to the terrorists in Syria.

The funding behind “The People’s Convoy” was the charity “CanDo”, which was founded by Dr. Rola Hallam, who now serves as its CEO.

Robert Stuart, formerly a newspaper reporter, has been forensically investigating the apparent fabrication of the BBC Panorama documentary “Saving Syria’s Children”. A recurring character throughout Saving Syria’s Children” is Dr. Rola Hallam, a British doctor representing the charity Hand in Hand for Syria. She immediately jumped out to Robert due to the manner of her introduction — taking time out during the apparent mass casualty scenario to conduct a calm and coherent to-camera interview.”

Stuart presents evidence this footage was staged. Experts have examined the footage and declared the portrayed burn victims are actors and not victims. Dr Hallam’s claims were edited and her words changed between different versions of the video.

The Guradian and BBC ‘feel good’ stories don’t feel so good after all. They feel like they were designed to ‘pimp’ for the support of Hope Hospital. The people of Syria have suffered 7 years of an international proxy-war against them. There will continue to be the need for charitable and humanitarian donations.  However, there are some charities which have remained connected exclusively to areas occupied by the defeated armed fighters, and in refugee camps which are not on Syrian soil. Those charities have taken sides in the war and will only help those who are committed to the Radical Islamic ideology of the various armed groups. The charities are free to choose to support their cause; however, uninformed Western donors may not share that ideology.

June 6, 2018 Posted by | Deception | , | Leave a comment

Poll: 61% of Israel support military response to Gaza protests

MEMO | June 6, 2018

The majority of Israelis support Israel’s military response against the Great Marches of Return, a new poll revealed.

The poll was conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University between 28-30 May and included a sample of 600 people.

According to the monthly Peace Index a majority of respondents believed the Israeli military’s use of force against unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza was “proportionate”.

The poll revealed that 61 per cent of Israeli Jews believe “the Israeli army’s handling of the Palestinian protests near the border fence is correct, and that the force used against the demonstrators is also correct” however, 92 per cent of Arabs in Israel believe the Israeli army used excessive force.

A majority of Israelis, 68 per cent, believe the demonstrations were planned by Hamas, while 62 per cent of Arabs believe the protests resulted from “despair”.

Asked about the living conditions in the Gaza Strip, the index showed that half of Israelis believe the authorities should work to alleviate the hardship in Gaza by facilitating the freedom of movement and the entry of goods.

Of those surveyed, 43 per cent believe there is a possibility of a full-scale war with Iran, while more than half think Israel is ready to protect its citizens if such unrest broke out.

June 6, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli occupation forces ‘execute’ 21-year-old Palestinian ‘wanted for stone throwing’

Palestine Information Center – June 6, 2018

RAMALLAH – The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Wednesday morning shot and killed a Palestinian youth in Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health, quoting the Palestinian Civil Liaison, announced in a brief statement the death of a Palestinian youth who was shot by IOF soldiers in Nabi Saleh.

Local sources said that the IOF soldiers opened fire at Izz al-Tamimi, 21, injuring him with three live bullets, one of which to the head.

Al-Tamimi has been long chased by the IOF before he was killed during a raid into Nabi Saleh, Quds Press reported.

According to locals, the IOF left al-Tamimi to bleed for more than half an hour and threatened to shoot anyone who would provide him medical treatment or take him to the hospital.

Al-Tamimi’s family said in a statement that the IOF opened fire at their son at very close range, stressing that what happened was a “deliberate execution”.

They affirmed that the Israeli Intelligence had repeatedly threatened to kill their son on several occasions.

Palestinian sources said that the IOF handed over al-Tamimi’s body to the Palestinian Civil Liaison before it was transferred to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah in preparation for the funeral later in the day.



Ma’an :

… According to locals, Tamimi has been wanted by Israeli forces for alleged stone throwing, and soldiers have allegedly attempted to detain him on several occasions.

Another Palestinian whose identity remained unknown was also reportedly wounded with live ammunition on Wednesday morning in the village.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that the killing took place during “riots” in Nabi Saleh, during which 10 youth threw stones at soldiers who were conducting “detention operations.”

“During the riot, one Palestinian flanked the troops and hurled a rock at a soldier, hitting him in the head. The soldier then responded with live fire, injuring the Palestinian, who was was injured and treated by Israeli forces at the scene, but later died,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that they would look into reports of a second Palestinian being injured with live ammunition during the clashes.



IMEMC :

… Palestinian medics were called to the scene, but the soldiers also attacked them, preventing them from approaching the seriously wounded young man, who succumbed to his injuries.

Eyewitnesses said the soldiers assassinated the Palestinian, directly and repeatedly firing at him, in addition to attacking dozens of Palestinians.

The soldiers also shot another Palestinian with a live round and caused many others to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, during protests that took place after the soldiers killed Tamimi.

The Palestinian worked as a car mechanic, and was chased and wanted by the army for 18 months, in which he managed to escape numerous attempts to arrest him.

He was also shot and injured by Israeli army fire several times when the soldiers were trying to abduct him, and the army abducted his brother to pressure him into turning himself in to the army.

A few weeks ago, the army called one of his brothers, and told him that “Ezzeddin will face the same fate of Ahmad Nasr Jarrar, who was killed by the soldiers on February 06, 2018, if he does not surrender.

After the soldiers killed Ezzeddin, they invaded many homes, including his home, and occupied their rooftops.

June 6, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 2 Comments

Palestinians thank Argentina for cancelling match with Israel

MEMO | June 6, 2018

Palestinians have thanked the Argentinian football team and star forward Lionel Messi for cancelling their friendly match with Israel scheduled for Saturday, according to the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

Football fans and Palestinian human rights supporters had urged the Argentinian team to cancel the match, set to take place in an Israeli stadium built on the ethnically cleansed Palestinian village of Al-Maliha in response to Israel’s violent response to peaceful protesters on the Gaza border that left over 120 dead.

Initially set to be held in Haifa, the Israeli government moved the match to the Jerusalem village, offering the organisers $760,000 in compensation. Israel was reportedly already paying Argentina $3 million to play the match as part of its celebrations to mark 70 years of its independence, when it forcibly expelled more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homes.

“This was all part of the Israeli apartheid regime’s sports-washing policy to use international sporting events to cover up its war crimes and egregious human rights violations against Palestinians. The fact that Argentina fans and human rights activists around the world succeeded in thwarting it gives us a lot of hope,” Omar Barghouti of PACBI said.

In a video message, the football team from the Palestinian town of Nabi Saleh, in the occupied West Bank, thanked Argentina and Lionel Messi. Nabi Saleh is home to Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian minor serving months in an Israeli prison for slapping a heavily-armed Israeli occupation soldier invading her property.

“You scored a goal for freedom, justice and equality,” the video states.

June 6, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 3 Comments

Putin: US, S Korea’s Military Drills Near Korean Peninsula Not ‘Easing Tensions’

Sputnik – June 6, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the China Media Group that Pyongyang was taking practical steps toward denuclearization, which is the common primary aim.

“It [North Korea] has announced termination of its nuclear and missile tests, first of all. Moreover, one of its major nuclear test sites was dismantled. These are, certainly, practical steps toward denuclearization, which is our common aim,” Putin said in an interview.

The president noted that Pyongyang’s demands for security were logical. The next step in settlement of the North Korean problem will be development of security guarantees by all the involved states, Putin added.

However, Moscow regrets that United States and South Korea did not halt their military drills which did not contribute to easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.”We regret that our western partners, the United States and, unfortunately, South Korea, continue their military drills and maneuvers, which do not contribute to easing tensions,” Putin said in an interview with the China Media Group.

In May, South Korean Defense Ministry’s spokeswoman Choi Hyun-soo said that Seoul had ruled out the possibility of halting or scaling down the annual joint military drills with the United States.

The next US-South Korean joint military exercises, the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, are reportedly set to be held in August.

June 6, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

NATO Sabre Strike Exercise: Scaring Russia with Multiple War Games of Unparalleled Scale

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 06.06.2018

This year, NATO has already organized about 100 exercises, 20 percent more compared to the same period in 2017. Saber Strike-2018, a large-scale US-led exercise involving 18,000 soldiers from 19 NATO members and partner nations, kicked off on June 3 to last till June 15. The scope of the exercise has been steadily expanding with every year. It was 11,000 troops in 2017, 9,000 in 2016, 6,000 in 2015, 4,700 in 2014 and 2,000 in 2013 – that’s how a relatively small drill turned into the regular deployment of substantial force in the proximity of Russia’s borders. Moscow expressed its concern about it at the NATO-Russia Council’s session held on May 31.

The annual multination training event organized every year since 2010 is being held across the training areas in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Non-NATO countries taking part are Finland and Macedonia. Air assault landings are part of the scenario to hone the skills for launching offensive operations.

Sabre Strike is timed with Swift Response airborne drill in Latvia to culminate on June 8. It involves 800 paratroopers from US, Latvia, Lithuania, Israel and Poland.

There will be more exercises held in 2018 near Russia’s borders, including Trident Juncture, a really big one to take place in late October-early November to involve 35,000 troops from 30 nations along with 70 ships and about 130 aircraft and Anakonda organized by Poland in November. The latter will involve 100,000 servicemen, 5,000 vehicles, 150 aircraft and 45 warships. The scale is mind-boggling. One can imagine how much it costs! The Anakonda scenario includes preemptive strikes. If it’s not an open preparation for war then what is? US Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley believes it is. According to him, “Having large-scale NATO forces in the Baltic States and Poland, as well as the lack of transparency – we see serious preparation for a great war.” He knows what is talking about.

In May, NATO held a large Siil (Hedgehog) exercise in Estonia and northern Latvia involving more than 15 thousand troops. The series of training events are conducted against the background of the proposal put forward by Poland to deploy US troops on its soil with Warsaw shouldering the financial burden of base construction. A NATO annual summit in July will consider the issues related to further reinforcement of forces in Europe, including the eastern flank.

It has been revealed recently that the alliance plans to create an addition to the NATO Response Force (NRF) increasing its strength from 20,000 to about 50,000 by creating a pool of 30,000 troops with organic aviation and ships ready to be operationally deployed within 30 days. The initiative belongs to the US with Germany to take the lead. The bloc’s defense chiefs will discuss the issue at their upcoming meeting on June 8-9 before putting it on the agenda of NATO summit to be held on July 11-12. NATO war preparations against Russia include the new crisis response command center in Ulm, southern Germany, and another one in the US state of Virginia.

This force as well as other units will become part of training events and the soldiers will be deployed on temporary basis but holding regular exercises presupposes the creation of infrastructure to be used by troops upon arrival for launching offensive actions. Correspondingly, logistics are being beefed up.

There is fresh news to hit headlines before the July summit. Discussions are underway to deploy US THAAD air defense system in Germany. The move would plug a radar gap that emerged as a result of postponing the deployment of a second Aegis Ashore system in Poland. The Polish government has announced plans to purchase US Patriot PAC-3 MSE air defense systems.

Both the THAAD and Patriot have rather limited capability against sophisticated ICBMs but Aegis Ashore is more effective.

Modernization will take place, advanced missiles and systems will be moved to the already existing sites. The main thing is that the infrastructure, the foundation to build ballistic missile defense and surface targets strike capability on, will be in place. And the only target is Russia. The Aegis Ashore can launch intermediate range surface-to-surface missiles against Russian territory in violation of the INF Treaty. In a couple of years, Poland will host it. The THAAD’s radar can greatly enhance the Aegis Ashore capabilities by relaying data to them. The AN/TPY-2 has an estimated range from 1,500km (932mi) to 3,000km (1,864mi). The maximum instrumented range is 2,000km (1242mi) to enable it to monitor large chunks of Russia’s territory.

The INF Treaty is teetering on the brink of collapse. If torn up, the infrastructure in question would be just the thing the US would need to station intermediate range forces in Europe with the means to protect them already in place. F-35s incorporating B61-12 nuclear precision guided munitions would also be under the umbrella of air defense systems in place formally deployed to counter the non-existent threat coming from Iran.

The NATO summit in July is to focus on the “Russia threat”. The extraordinary scale of military exercises conducted so intensively with scenarios that include bringing in reinforcements to advance, not take defensive positions, the creation of infrastructure at Russia’s door and preparing the logistical base to provide for offensive operations will be described as the least the bloc can do while facing the superior enemy. Provoking Russia to take steps it would not take otherwise is the sure way to return Europe to the Cold War days.

NATO could have chosen a different approach of solving the problems at the round table but it did not. The European Security Treaty (2009) and the Agreement on Basic Principles Governing Among NATO-Russia Council Member States in the Security Sphere (2009) proposed by Russia were rejected off the cuff without any attempts to seriously negotiate the proposals. The 2016 German initiative to launch talks on a new European security agreement was greeted to be swept under the rug afterwards. The May 31 NRC meeting was devoted more to the Skripal case than European security and arms control issues. Actually, NATO has not lifted a finger to dissipate tensions. Instead, it is rapidly increasing the tempo of military activities near Russia on an unprecedented scale, undermining whatever is left of European security. The alliance has made its choice, giving preference to the policy of provocations.

June 6, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Top Russian pundit calls for Palestine talks in Moscow

By M.K. Bhadrakumar | Asia Times | June 6, 2018

In an interview with the influential Russian daily Izvestiya, the well-known “Orientalist” scholar and establishment figure, Vitaly Naumkin, has floated the startling idea that Moscow must play a role in resolving the Palestinian problem. He said, “Moscow has long urged for [organizing] a top-level meeting between Palestinians and Israelis in Russia, on a Moscow platform. It is necessary to turn Moscow into a venue for such talks.”

Naumkin explains that Moscow has unique credentials to kickstart peace talks, since it is a veto-holding member of the UN Security Council with an obligation to pursue the implementation of relevant UN resolutions on Palestine and is also a member of the Middle East Quartet. Alas, US obduracy has stalled the Quartet, while Washington is stonewalling by casting its veto in the Security Council. He lamented that the US is hobnobbing with extreme right-wing elements in Israel who are not even representative of Israeli opinion.

The idea of Russia acting as a mediator in talks on the Palestinian problem dates back to the Soviet era. It’s been a non-starter due to the West’s dogged determination to keep the Soviets out of the strategic Middle East region. But although Cold War has ended, any Russian attempt to highlight the Palestine problem as the core issue in the Middle East will run into strong headwinds from Tel Aviv and Washington.

So, why is Naumkin, a top establishment pundit (who heads the Russian Academy of Science’s hallowed Institute of Oriental Studies), wading into the whirlpool? In a manner of speaking, he is actually using an “objective co-relative” to clarify the real state of play in the Russian-Israeli ties.

In the interview, Naumkin dispels any notion that Russia and Israel are in any “strategic alliance.” He prefers to call it a “normal trust-based relationship,” which enables the two countries to “fight terror together” and maintain excellent economic ties. Period. Quintessentially, as he puts it, the two countries “no longer see each other as enemies.”

Naumkin points out that Israel’s stance on Ukraine is helpful insofar as it refuses to join western sanctions against Russia, and, secondly, Israel is in harmony with Russia as regards attitudes toward World War II and fascism. But does it mean that Moscow and Tel Aviv have identical stance on everything under the sun? For heaven’s sake, no!

What makes Naumkin’s remarks very interesting is not only his subtlety of mind but that he belongs to the great Soviet tradition of scholar-diplomats who are on the frontline of Russian foreign policy. Quite obviously, Naumkin has marked some distance between Russia and Israel at a complicated juncture when the self-serving western narrative would be that the two countries have struck a deal at the highest level of leadership regarding the future of Syria, leaving Iran out in the cold.

Moscow feels that poison is being injected into Russia’s complex equations with Tehran and Damascus. Who else but Naumkin could provide the perfect antidote? The heart of the matter is that Russia has substantially improved relations with most countries in the Middle East in recent years after a decade of limited cooperation through the first decade following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russian diplomacy has shaken off the Soviet-era ideological baggage and is highly pragmatic. Thus, although Saudi Arabia and the UAE significantly contributed to the bleeding of the Red Army in Afghanistan in the 1980s and had covertly fostered “jihadism” in Chechnya in the 1990s, the Kremlin today is eager to build relations with them. In fact, Saudi Arabia is Moscow’s strategic partner in the so-called “OPEC+ deal” aimed at stabilizing the world oil market.

Again, Qatar, which has been called the “Club Med for terrorists” and was a latent ally of Chechen rebels, is currently negotiating the purchase of Russia’s advanced S-400 missile defence system.

Moscow’s diplomacy aims to convey the impression to its Middle Eastern interlocutors – be it Israel, Jordan, Iran or Saudi Arabia – that Russia keeps its end of a mutually beneficial bargain. But if anyone adds mystique to the bargain and elevates it to a Faustian deal, Moscow may be left with no option but to bring it down to terra firma.

Plainly put, Naumkin, (who, interestingly enough, also happens to be Russia’s advisor to the UN Special Envoy for Syria Steffan de Mistura) knows perfectly well what Russia is attempting in southern Syria – namely, to eliminate the remaining strongholds of terrorist groups ensconced in that region bordering Jordan and Israel. Indeed, if Israel could persuade Washington to shut down the base in Al-Tanf (which makes no sense from a military point of view anyway), it will help the overall Russian efforts. On the other hand, Israel has no reason to worry, because Iran does not intend to participate in the liberation of the provinces of Daara and Quneitra that straddle the Golan Heights.

Besides, it is no secret that Russia has nothing to do with Iran’s policy of resistance against Israel. But then, to put two and two together to shout and dance in jubilation that Russia is muzzling Iran is completely unnecessary – and can turn out to be counterproductive. Of course, if anyone tries to create confusion, Moscow will clarify. That is what Naumkin has ably done.

June 6, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 1 Comment