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Libyan leaders Sarraj & Haftar to hold talks in Moscow on Monday – Russian Foreign Ministry

RT | January 13, 2020

Libya’s two key political figures – Fayez al-Sarraj, the prime minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA), and Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar will take part in talks held under the auspices of the Russian and Turkish Foreign and Defense Ministries in Moscow on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS.

“In [the] context of implementing the initiative of the Russian and Turkish presidents announced following a summit in Istanbul, inter-Libyan contacts will be held today in Moscow,” the diplomats said. “The contacts are expected to be attended by Sarraj, Haftar and representatives of other Libyan parties.”

Moscow will host talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu with their Turkish counterparts, Mevlut Cavusoglu and Hulusi Akar. The main topics on the agenda are settlement in Libya, cooperation in Syria, and developments in the Middle East.

On January 12, a ceasefire entered into force between the conflicting sides in Libya.

January 13, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Libya’s warring parties vow to observe ceasefire without preconditions, stop all offensive military actions – draft agreement

RT | January 13, 2020

The Libyan National Army (LNA) and the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli have pledged to observe the ceasefire suggested by Russia and Turkey after negotiations in Moscow.

The draft document suggests that all parties would stop military actions and observe the ceasefire conditions. Meanwhile, a commission is to be established to determine a contact line between the warring sides. Russia and Turkey promised to support all sides in the conflict to help them implement the agreement.

Libya has been plunged into chaos for years after its longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed during a NATO-led bombing campaign. Following the years of devastation and chaos, the country became engulfed in a civil war.

Previous lengthy UN-backed talks on reconciliation, which led to the establishment of the GNA, eventually failed to bring peace to the war-ravaged land.

Haftar began an offensive against Tripoli last year and over the last few months the two sides were engaged in intense fighting. LNA controls most of Libya’s territory, but it is the GNA which is recognized by the international community.

Ankara became involved in the conflict in December promising to send troops to help the government in Tripoli as the international community called on all sides to enter negotiations.

January 13, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Iraqi Foreign Minister stresses need for withdrawal of foreign troops

Press TV – January 9, 2020

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali al-Hakim has stressed the need for US and other foreign troops to leave Iraq as a backlash grows over the recent American assassination of a top Iranian general in Baghdad.

The top Iraqi diplomat made the appeal during a joint press briefing with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Baghdad on Thursday.

Hakim and Cavusoglu strongly condemned the US assassination of Iran’s Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and senior Iraqi commander of the Popular Mobilization Units Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, both key figures in the fight against Daesh and other Takfiri terrorists in the Middle East.

“Iraq insists on maintaining its sovereignty and territorial integrity and the complete withdrawal of foreign forces,” the top Iraqi diplomat said.

He added that talks with his Turkish counterpart focused on the need to respect Iraq’s sovereignty from all sides.

“Iraq condemns the attacks on Iraqi land, which harms the sovereignty of our country as well the security of Iraqi people. They are against the international law,” the Iraqi minister said.

Hakim added, “”We have discussed with the minister that Iraq wants all foreign forces are removed out of the country through dialogue. We also discussed with the minister on cooperation areas. We have agreed to alleviate the Iran-US tension in the region.”

The two sides also discussed bilateral relations at all levels, including cooperation on fighting terrorism, al-Hakim said.

The top Iraqi diplomat said any escalation of tensions in the region could result in the re-emergence of Takiri terrorist groups.

The Turkish foreign minister, for his part, said Ankara does not want Iraq to become a battleground for foreign forces.

Cavusoglu added that Iraq was not alone and Turkey was there to overcome difficult days together.

Turkish foreign minister also spoke with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif Wednesday after Tehran fired dozens of missiles at two military bases hosting US troops in Iraq. The missiles were fired at the Ain al-Asad base in Anbar province and another base in Erbil.

PMU leader denies role in rocket attacks

In another development, Qais al-Khazali, the leader of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq movement, a subdivision of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, known by its Arabic name as Hashd al-Sha’abi, denied any involvement in the recent firing of rockets at Baghdad’s Green Zone where the US embassy is located.

Two Katyusha rockets struck Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone on Wednesday, landing near the US embassy but causing no casualties, according to the Iraqi military.

Al-Khazali also said it was time for an Iraqi response to the recent US assassination, adding the reaction will be “no less in size” than Tehran’s missile strikes on two American bases in Iraq.

On Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi called the US airstrike “a political assassination”. He also underlined the need for a timetable to withdraw all foreign troops “for the sake of our national sovereignty.”

January 9, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey, Russia, Iran officials discuss latest developments in region

Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu [Wikipedia]

Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu [Wikipedia]
MEMO | January 7, 2020

Senior officials from Turkey, Russia and Iran discussed the latest developments in the Middle East and North Africa region yesterday.

The Russian Ministry of Defence said the country’s Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu discussed the developments in the Middle East and Libya during a telephone conversation with the head of the Turkish intelligence organisation, Hakan Fidan. The two officials also discussed joint actions to reduce tensions in the region.

The statement added that Shoygu also spoke to Iranian Chief of Staff, Mohammad Bagheri, during which they discussed steps to reduce tensions in the region following Friday’s assassination of Iran’s Commander of the Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, in a US drone attack near Baghdad airport.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran escalated following Soleimani’s assassination, while, Tehran announced that it would respond “harshly” to the assassination.

January 7, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Wikipedia Beats Turkey, but It’s No Win for Free Expression

By Helen Buyniski | Helen of DesTroy | January 5, 2020

Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled the government’s decision to ban access to Wikipedia in April 2017 was a violation of freedom of expression, a constitutionally-protected right. The decision represents a reversal of a Turkish court ruling from 2017 and comes just a month before an expected ruling from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), a body which has ruled against Turkey more than any other country in its purview. No timetable has been put forth for when Turks might regain access to the online encyclopedia, which had been blocked as a “national security threat” under Turkish law.

The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that owns Wikipedia, is doing a victory lap, congratulating the Turkish people on being reconnected with what it never stops reminding the world is the largest online repository of human knowledge. The Foundation bragged that despite the two-year blackout, it never caved to Ankara’s request to remove negative information showing Turkey “in coordination and aligned” with ISIS and other terrorist groups, information the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced as a “smear campaign.” Wikipedia, it boasted, would never give in to governments trying to quash free speech.

But there are more than a few holes in the Foundation’s version of events, starting with its boast that it stands for freedom of expression against repressive governments. While the Foundation very rarely obeys requests to remove information, whether they come from governments or individuals, it admits to having done so once. In 2014, the newly-installed US-backed Ukrainian government made a request to take down content on the English-language Wikipedia, and the Foundation acquiesced (it’s not clear what the information was). Why obey the dictates of Kiev but not Ankara? The puppet government of Petro Poroshenko was certainly no friend to free expression – its launch of a Ministry of Information Policy in December 2014 was widely ridiculed as a ham-handed censorship effort heavy on the propaganda, no different from Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth.” Thousands of journalists were doxxed through a site called Mirotvorets, declared “terrorist collaborators” for nothing more than obtaining accreditation from the separatist eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. As a result, at least 14 journalists had been killed by 2016, and many more were threatened and attacked. While some politicians advocated punishing the publishers of Mirotvorets, others called for revoking the press accreditation of the doxxed journalists and declaring them enemies of the state, and the Ministry of Information Policy itself praised the site for its “principled stance concerning defending national security.”

This is not the behavior of a government that supports free speech. Yet Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales and the Foundation made no secret of their support for the coup that replaced Russian-sympathetic Viktor Yanukovych with the neo-Nazi Poroshenko government. Not only had Wales nominated a Ukrainian Wikipedia editor shot to death during the Maidan Square riots for ‘Wikipedian of the Year’ (without explaining how or by whom he came to be shot), but he would go on the record during the Yalta European Strategy conference of December 2014 calling on Ukrainian editors to skew the narrative in the Russian-language Wikipedia to retroactively whitewash the color revolution (and demonize Crimea’s reunification with Russia). Russian Wikipedians, Wales said, deserved to be bombarded with “alternative views, alternative statements” – a.k.a. Trumpian “alternative facts” – through the supposedly-neutral encyclopedia.

Additionally, Turkish editors determined to circumvent Ankara’s ban on Wikipedia never really lost access to the site – it was a simple matter to use a VPN or other location-spoofing tools to read and edit to their heart’s content. Indeed, by blocking the average Turk’s access to Wikipedia, the government only ensured that whatever slander against Erdogan and his administration already existed on the site would metastasize, reproducing without interference by pro-Erdogan editors who might otherwise have pushed back against negative portrayals of the country. If anything, the ban handed control of Turkish Wikipedia to dissidents – a self-sabotaging move that may explain why the Turkish court was willing to reverse course on the ban. Others have speculated that the ruling by the Turkish court was meant to preempt yet another negative ruling from the ECHR, which never misses a chance to censure Turkey.

Turkey’s reasons for banning Wikipedia – the site wouldn’t remove information about government officials being involved with ISIS in trading oil, or about Turkey’s sponsorship of ISIS and other terror groups – are somewhat petty, as the information is true, no matter how negatively it reflects on Turkey. For all that Wikipedia is positively bristling with libel about any government that has gotten on the bad side of the US, UK or Israel, the relationship between Turkey and ISIS is real. While Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the US provide funding, weapons, protection, and PR, Turkey assists in the movement and protection of people and supplies – and oil. If Turkey didn’t want the world learning about their support for terrorists, they might have thought of that before getting into bed with the governments that have done more than anyone else to unleash chaos upon the region.

Even if Turkey is in the wrong, however, for the Foundation to cry “freedom of expression” is disingenuous when it is willing to give other countries a pass on their own human rights violations, even working with them to oppress their populations. The case of Wikipedia in Kazakhstan is an instructive example of what a repressive government can do when it cooperates with the encyclopedia, instead of kicking it to the curb. In March 2011, a month before Kazakh dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev changed the country’s official language from Russian to Kazakh, a group of Kazakhs bankrolled by the ruling family operating under the name WikiBilim began transferring material from the government-sanctioned Kazakh encyclopedia into the Kazakh-language Wikipedia. WikiBilim soon arranged with the Wikimedia Foundation to have all 15 volumes of the encyclopedia piped in, overwriting the work of any Kazakh Wikipedia editors who might have thought they were entitled to something more than the government-approved version of reality.

Wales didn’t merely allow the Nazarbayev regime – which has been repeatedly sanctioned by the ECHR for human rights violations and which has a lengthy track record of jailing and even killing journalists critical of the government – to seize control of the Kazakh Wikipedia. He declared Rauan Kenzhekhanuly, director of WikiBilim, Wikipedian of the Year and awarded him a $5,000 prize. Wales for years insisted WikiBilim was an independent organization, but when it later emerged that he had discussed the project with the group’s government patron at Davos the previous year, he was left scrambling for excuses. When Kenzhekanuly, a former government official, was appointed governor of the Kyzylorda region in 2014, Wales finally gave up on pretending everything was kosher in Kazakhstan, implying in a Reddit Ask Me Anything the following year that he’d been tricked into assisting the repressive regime.

Kazakhstan is only one of the countries that has received the Foundation and Wales’ stamp of approval despite (because of?) an adversarial relationship with freedom of expression. Wales is married to the former diary secretary of Tony Blair, who has followed up his warmongering stint as British PM with a lucrative lobbying career, hopping from one despot to another to help them whitewash their human rights records and reposition themselves as ripe for foreign investments. The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Azerbaijan, and Israel have all fostered friendships with the Foundation to various extents, despite atrocious track records in human rights. For the Foundation to cry foul in Turkey’s case is hypocritical in the extreme – Erdogan’s crime, in their eyes, is not jailing journalists but failing to work out a lucrative agreement that would allow him to whitewash his human rights record by lining the Foundation’s pockets. Wikipedia no more supports free expression than Turkey fights terrorism.

[need more information about what Wikipedia is? start here…]

January 5, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 2 Comments

How the Pro-War “Left” Fell for the Kurds in Syria

By Max Parry • Unz Review • December 22, 2019

The October decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to withdraw American troops from northeastern Syria did not only precipitate the Turkish offensive, codenamed ‘Operation Peace Spring’, into Kurdish-held territory which followed. It also sparked an outcry of hysteria from much of the so-called “left” that has been deeply divided during the 8-year long conflict over its Kurdish question. Despite the fact that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were objectively a U.S. proxy army before they were “abandoned” by Washington to face an assault by its NATO ally, the ostensibly “progressive” politics of the mostly-Kurdish militants duped many self-identified people on the left into supporting them as the best option between terrorists and a “regime.” Apparently, everyone on earth except for the Kurds and their ‘humanitarian interventionist’ supporters saw this “betrayal” coming, which speaks to the essential naiveté of such amateurish politics. However, there is a historical basis to this political tendency that should be interrogated if a lesson is to be learned by those misguided by it.

Turkey initially went all-in with the West, Israel, and Gulf states in a joint effort to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by stoking the flames of the country’s Arab Spring in 2011 into a full blown uprising. With Istanbul serving as the base for the opposition, Kurdish nationalists hoping to participate were not at all pleased that the alliance had based its government-in-exile in Turkey and naturally considered Ankara’s role to be detrimental to their own interests in establishing an autonomous ethnonationalist state. Likewise, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not bargain on the conflict facilitating such a scenario, with the forty year war with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey still ongoing. When the PKK-linked People’s Protection Units (YPG) militias took control of northern Syrian towns and established a self-governing territory after boycotting the opposition, it was done only after negotiations between Damascus and Kurdish leaders. The Syrian government willingly and peacefully ceded the territory to them, just as we were told that the Baathists were among their oppressors.

The Rojava front opened up when the Kurds came under attack from the most radical jihadist militants in the opposition, some of which would later merge with the Islamist insurgency in western Iraq to form ISIS. Yet we now know for a fact that the rise of Islamic State was something actually desired by the U.S.-led coalition in the hopes of bringing down Assad, as revealed in a declassified 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report. Shortly after clarifying that the opposition is “backed by the West, Gulf countries and Turkey”, the memo states:

“If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

Meanwhile, it was the Kurds themselves who divulged Ankara’s support for Daesh, frequently retrieving Turkish-issued passports from captured ISIS fighters. Even Emmanuel Macron said as much at the recent NATO summit in London, prompting a row between France and Turkey that took a backseat to the more ‘newsworthy’ Trump tantrum over a hot mic exchange between the French President and his Canadian and British counterparts. Then there was the disclosure that the late Senator John McCain had crossed the border from Turkey into Syria in mid-2013 to meet with leaders of the short-lived Free Syrian Army (FSA), dubbed as “moderate rebels”, which just a short time later would decline after its members joined better armed, more radical groups and the ISIS caliphate was proclaimed. One of the rebel leaders pictured with McCain in his visit is widely suspected to be the eventual chosen leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was allegedly killed in a U.S. raid in Idlib this October. Ironically, many of the Turkish-backed FSA militias are now assisting Ankara in its assault on the Kurds while those who supported arming them feign outrage over the US troop removal.

Henry Kissinger reportedly once remarked, “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.” Given that the U.S. was at the very least still using Daesh as a strategic asset, it seems inexplicable that the Kurdish leadership could trust Washington. The SDF had only a few skirmishes with the Syrian army during the entire war— if they wanted to defeat ISIS, why not partner with Damascus and Moscow? To say nothing of the U.S.’s long history of backing their oppression, from its support of Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s to the arming of Turkey’s brutal crackdown against the PKK which ended with the capture of its cultish leader, Abdullah Öcalan, in 1999. Did they really think after enlisting them for its cosmetic ‘fight’ against ISIS that the U.S. would continue to side with them against Ankara? Even so, Kurdish gains against Daesh would pale in comparison to those by the Syrian army with Russian air support. More perplexing is why anyone on the left would choose to back a group being used as a cat’s paw for imperialism, regardless of whatever ideals they claim to hold.

Perhaps the U.S. would not have reneged on its implicit pledge to help with the foundation of a Kurdish state had their “Assad must go” policy been successful, but the U.S. pullout appears to be the final nail in the coffin for both Washington’s regime change plans in Syria and an independent Kurdistan. The YPG’s makeover as the SDF was done at the behest of the U.S. but this did nothing to to diminish the objections of Ankara (or many ‘leftists’ from supporting them), who insisted the YPG was already an extension and rebranding of the PKK, a group Washington itself designates as a terrorist organization. Any effort to create a buffer state in the enclave was never going to be tolerated by Turkey but it nonetheless enabled the U.S. to illegally occupy northern Syria and facilitate the ongoing looting of its oil. Unfortunately for Washington, the consequence was that it eventually pushed Ankara closer toward the Kremlin, as Turkey went from shooting down Russian jets one year to purchasing the S-400 weapon system from Moscow the next. After backing a botched coup d’etat attempt against Erdoğan in 2016, any hope of Washington bringing Turkey back into its fold would be to discard the Kurds as soon as their usefulness ran out, if it wasn’t too late to repair the damage already.

Why would the U.S. risk losing its geo-strategic alliance with Turkey? To put it simply, it’s ‘special relationship’ with Israel took greater precedence. Any way you slice it, Washington’s foray into the region has been as much about Zionism as imperialism and its backing of the Kurds is no exception. Despite the blowback, the invasion of Iraq and destruction of Libya took two enormous sources of support for the Palestinian resistance off the chessboard. It may have strengthened Iran in the process, but that is all the more reason for the U.S. to sell a regime change attempt in Tehran in the future. Regrettably for Washington, when it tried to do the same in Syria, Russia intervened and emerged as the new peace broker in the Middle East. It comes as no surprise that following the Turkish invasion of northern Syria amid the U.S. withdrawal, the Kurds have finally struck a deal with Damascus and Moscow, a welcome and inevitable development that should have occurred years ago.

One of the main reasons for the Kurds joining the SDF so willingly has the same explanation as to why Washington was prepared to put its relationship with Ankara in jeopardy by supporting them: Israel. The cozy relationship between the Zionist state and the various Kurdish groups centered at the intersection of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria goes back as far as the 1960s, as Jerusalem has consistently used them to undermine its enemies. It is not by chance that their respective interests overlap to a near tee, between the founding of a Kurdish protectorate and the Zionist plan for a ‘Greater Israel’ in the Middle East which includes a balkanization of Syria. Mossad has openly provided the Kurds with training and they have learned much in the ways of the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from the Jewish state in order to carve out a Syrian Kurdistan. One can certainly have sympathy for the Kurds as the largest ethnic group in the world at 40 million people without a state, but the Israel connection runs much deeper than geopolitical interests to the very ideological basis of their militancy which calls all of their stated ideals into question.

The ties between the YPG and the PKK are undeniable, as both groups follow jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan’s teachings which merge Kurdish nationalism with the theories of ‘democratic confederalism’ from the influential Jewish-American anarchist philosopher, Murray Bookchin. While the PKK may have been initially founded as a ‘Marxist-Leninist’ organization in the early 70s, a widespread misconception is that it still follows that aim when its ideology long-ago shifted to that of a self-professed and contradictory ‘libertarian socialism’ theorized by Bookchin who was actually a zealous anti-communist. Not coincidentally, the Western anarchist icon was also an avowed Zionist who often defended Israel’s war crimes and genocide of Palestinians while demonizing its Arab state opponents as the aggressors, including Syria. Scratch an anarchist and a neo-conservative will bleed, every time.

Many on the pseudo-left who have pledged solidarity with the Kurds have attempted to base their reasoning on a historically inaccurate analogy comparing the Syrian conflict with the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. You would think ISIS would be the obvious first choice for the fascists in the Syrian war, but journalist Robert Mackey of popular “progressive” news site The Intercept even tried to cast the Syrian government as Francisco Franco’s Nationalists in an article comparing the 1937 bombing of Guernica by the Condor Legion to the 2018 chemical attack in Douma which remains in dispute regarding its perpetrator. One wonders if Mackey will retract his absurd comparison now that dozens of inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have dissented in emails published by WikiLeaks showing that the OPCW engaged in a cover-up with the Trump administration to pin blame for the attacks on the Syrian government instead of the opposition, but don’t hold your breath.

In this retelling of the Spanish Civil War, the Kurds are generally seen in the role of the Trotskyite Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) and the anarchist trade union National Confederation of Labour (CNT). In the midst of the conflict between the Nazi-supported Nationalists and Soviet-backed Republicans that was a prelude to World War II, the mobilization effort of all anti-fascist forces into a unified Popular Front was obstructed by the ultra-left and intransigent POUM and CNT who were then expelled from the coalition for their sectarianism. While the government was still fighting the Francoists, the POUM and CNT then attacked the Republicans but were put down in a failed insurrection. Although this revolt did not directly cause the loyalist defeat, it nevertheless sapped the strength from the Popular Front and smoothed the path for the generalissimo’s victory.

In the years since, Trotskyists have attempted to rewrite history by alleging that a primary historical text documenting the POUM’s sabotage of the Republicans — a 1938 pamphlet by journalist Georges Soria, the Spanish correspondent for the French Communist Party newspaper L’Humanite — is a forgery. On the Marxists Internet Archive website, an ‘editor’s note’ is provided as a preface to the text citing a single quote from Soria with the claim he admitted the work in its entirety was “no more than a fabrication”, but his words are selectively cropped to give that impression. While the author did admit accusations that the POUM‘s leadership were literal agents of Franco were a sensationalized exaggeration, the source of the full quote states the following:

“On the one hand, the charge that the leaders of POUM, among them Andrés Nin, ‘were agents of the Gestapo and Franco’, was no more than a fabrication because it was impossible to adduce the slightest evidence. On the other hand, although the leaders of POUM were neither agents of Franco or agents of the Gestapo, it is true that their relentless struggle against the Popular Front played the game nolens volens (like it or not/willingly or unwillingly) of the Caudillo (General Franco).”

In other words, Soria did not say the whole work was counterfeit like the editor’s note misleadingly suggests and reiterated that the POUM’s subversion helped Franco. (The Marxists Internet Archive does not hide its pro-Trotsky bias in its FAQ section.)

Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm summarized the inherent contradictions of the Spanish Civil War and the role ultra-leftism played in the demise of the Republic in one of his later essays:

“Of course, the posthumous polemics about the Spanish war are legitimate, and indeed essential — but only if we separate out debate on real issues from the parti pris of political sectarianism, cold-war propaganda and pure ignorance of a forgotten past. The major question at issue in the Spanish civil war was, and remains, how social revolution and war were related on the republican side. The Spanish civil war was, or began as, both. It was a war born of the resistance of a legitimate government, with the help of a popular mobilisation, against a partially successful military coup; and, in important parts of Spain, the spontaneous transformation of the mobilisation into a social revolution. A serious war conducted by a government requires structure, discipline and a degree of centralisation. What characterises social revolutions like that of 1936 is local initiative, spontaneity, independence of, or even resistance to, higher authority — this was especially so given the unique strength of anarchism in Spain.”

Murray Bookchin also wrote at length about the Spanish Civil War but celebrated the decentralized anarchist tactics which incapacitated the Popular Front. The anarcho-syndicalist theorist championed the ‘civil war within the civil war’ as a successful example of his antithetical vision of ‘libertarian socialism’, while his emphasis on the individualist aspects of the former half of his oxymoronic and anti-statist theory often bears a striking resemblance to neoliberal talking points about self-regulating free markets. This would explain why he actually regarded right-wing libertarians to be his natural allies over the the socialist left, whom he considered ‘totalitarian’ as he told the libertarian publication Reason magazine in an interview in 1979. His reactionary demonization of the Soviet Union and dismissal of the accomplishments of all other socialist revolutions was recalled by Michael Parenti in Blackshirts and Reds:

“Left anticommunists remained studiously unimpressed by the dramatic gains won by masses of previously impoverished people under communism. Some were even scornful of such accomplishments. I recall how in Burlington Vermont, in 1971, the noted anticommunist anarchist, Murray Bookchin, derisively referred to my concern for “the poor little children who got fed under communism” (his words).”

Like the International Brigades consisting of foreign volunteers to assist the Spanish Republic in the 1930s, there is an ‘International Freedom Battalion’ currently fighting with the Kurds in Syria. Unfortunately, its live-action role playing ‘leftist’ mercenaries missed the part about the original International Brigades having been backed by the Comintern, not the U.S. military.

Meanwhile, Western media usually hostile to any semblance of radical politics have heavily promoted the Rojava federation as a feminist ‘direct democracy’ utopia, particularly giving excessive attention to the all-female Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) militia while ignoring the female regiments fighting for the secular Syrian government. As a result of the media’s exoticized portrayal of the Kurds and their endorsement by prominent misleaders on the left, from Slavoj Žižek to Noam Chomsky, many have been fooled into supporting them.

If the Spanish Civil War was a dress rehearsal for WWII, it remains to be seen if Syria proves to be a run-through for another global conflict. Then again, what has emerged from its climax is an increasingly multipolar world with the resurgence of Moscow as a deterrent to the mutually assured destruction between the U.S. and China.

Leftists today wishing to continue the legacy of those who fought for the Spanish Republic should have thrown their support behind the Syrian patriots bravely defending their country from terrorism and imperialism, not left opportunism. Thankfully, this time the good guys have prevailed while the Kurds have paid the price for betraying their fellow countrymen. Liberals shedding crocodile tears about Rojava should take comfort in the fact that they can always play the latest Call of Duty: Modern Warfare video game featuring the YPG fighting alongside the U.S. military if they need to fulfill their imperial fantasies.

Yes, that’s right, the latest installment of the popular first-person shooter franchise features a storyline inspired by the SDF. It’s too bad for them that in real life all of Syria will be returned to where it rightfully belongs under the Syrian Arab Republic.

Max Parry is an independent journalist and geopolitical analyst. His writing has appeared widely in alternative media. Max may be reached at maxrparry@live.com

December 22, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Turkey vows to retaliate if US imposes sanctions on Russian gas pipeline

RT | December 20, 2019

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hit back against US threats to impose sanctions on the TurkStream pipeline that is set to deliver Russian gas to Turkey and further to southern and southeastern Europe starting next year.

“Now they [the US] say ‘we will impose sanctions on TurkStream,’” Erdogan told reporters on Friday in Malaysia. “This is a complete violation of our rights,” he said, adding that Ankara would retaliate against such a step.

The TurkStream project was created as an alternative to the South Stream pipeline. The project to deliver Russian gas to southern Europe was blocked by Bulgaria in 2014 under pressure from the US.

TurkStream is a two-string pipeline that will go from Russia along the bottom of the Black Sea to the European part of Turkey and will have a throughput capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters. The official launch of the pipeline is scheduled for January 8, when Russian President Vladimir Putin comes to Turkey to met Erdogan.

Earlier this week, the US Senate adopted the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which stipulates sanctioning vessels that engaged in pipe-laying for the TurkStream project as well as punitive measures against companies working to complete the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. The bill is now on the way to the White House where President Donald Trump is set to sign it into law.

The bill also sanctions Turkey for its acquisition of the Russian-made S-400 air defense system and implies prohibiting the transfer of F-35 jets to the country​​​. Addressing the matter, the Turkish leader said these issues are “closed” and warned against treating Ankara as a “tribal nation.”

December 20, 2019 Posted by | Economics, War Crimes | , | 4 Comments

Turkey denies UK news report attacks against Israel planned on its soil

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh informs Hanna Nasser, head of the Palestinian Central Election Commission, that Hamas agrees to the plan for holding Palestinian elections [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh informs Palestinian Central Election Commission head Hanna Nasser that Hamas agrees to Palestinian election plans [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
MEMO | December 18, 2019

The British newspaper the Telegraph has accused Turkey of allowing Hamas to conduct terror attacks on Israel from Istanbul, claims Ankara has denied.

In a report published today, which cited information allegedly gained by Israeli police and security sources from interrogations of the group’s detained suspects, the paper claimed that Hamas’ operations in Jerusalem and the West Bank are being plotted from Turkish soil with authorities there turning a blind eye.

One such operation was a plot to assassinate the mayor of Jerusalem and the national police commissioner.

The report was released only days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in Istanbul as part of the latter’s foreign tour.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reported to have reassured the Hamas official that “We will keep on supporting our brothers in Palestine.” Haniyeh and his party then praised the president for his continued support and “positions vis-a-vis the Palestinian people and their just cause”.

The report also cited accusations by Israeli officials that Turkey has broken a commitment made in 2015 between it and the US, which forbade the country from allowing Hamas to plan operations against Israel as a result of the latter’s continued occupation of Palestinian territories.

According to the report, Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated that “Israel is extremely concerned that Turkey is allowing Hamas terrorists to operate from its territory, in planning and engaging in terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.”

The accusations levelled at Turkey and Erdogan add to the Jewish State’s long-time criticism of the Republic’s hosting of figures associated with Hamas, the political party which runs the besieged Gaza Strip, and its ties to the Palestinian cause as a whole. While Turkey perceives talking with Hamas as a viable option to provide solutions to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, Israel sees it as accommodating a “terrorist group” which fights against its continued occupation of Palestinian territories.

The accusations by the Telegraph and its report have been strongly denied and refuted by Turkey, with a diplomatic source saying that Hamas is “not a terrorist organisation”.

The Palestinian movement has slammed the report as “baseless” due to the fact that “Hamas’ resistance activities are conducted only in the land of occupied Palestine.”

December 18, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Turkey calls US ending of Cyprus arms embargo ‘dangerous escalation’

Press TV – December 18, 2019

Turkey has warned that the United States’ decision to end a decades-old arms embargo on Cyprus would be a “dangerous escalation.”

In a statement issued late Tuesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the US decision “will have no outcome other than hampering efforts toward a settlement on the island and creating a dangerous escalation.”

The US Congress voted Tuesday to lift the arms embargo on Cyprus, which has been in place since 1987. The measure has passed both chambers of Congress as part of a massive defense spending bill, with President Donald Trump likely to sign it.

The bill comes at a time of tensions between Turkey and the US over such issues as Ankara’s purchase of the Russian S-400 system and Washington’s support for Kurdish-led militants in Syria.

Cyprus has been divided into Turkish Cypriot-controlled northern and Greek Cypriot-controlled southern territories since a brief war in 1974, which saw Turkey intervene militarily in response to a military coup on the island sponsored by the Greek military junta of the time.

Greek Cypriots run the island’s internationally recognized government, while Turkish Cypriots have the breakaway territory in the north — only recognized as a “state” by Turkey.

Turkey and the Greek Cyprus, which do not have diplomatic ties, are also involved in a dispute over offshore resources. Ankara says some areas of Cyprus’s offshore maritime zone fall under what it calls the territory of the Turkish Cyprus.

Turkey already has two drilling vessels in the Eastern Mediterranean despite the threat of European Union sanctions.

December 18, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Genocide, Sanctions and Incirlik: Erdoğan Will Not Kick Out NATO From Its Bases Despite Threats

By Paul Antonopoulos | December 18, 2019

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has dropped a bombshell by announcing that he could shut down the NATO-controlled Incirlik airbase that hosts U.S. nuclear bombs and the U.S. missile warning radar at Kurecik military base, in response to Washington’s threats of sanctions against Turkey. These nuclear bombs are of course placed purposefully close to Russia. The Incirlik air base in the southern Turkish province of Adana is used by the U.S. Air Force while the U.S. military also maintains a missile warning radar in the Kurecik district in Turkey’s southeastern Malatya province, which is part of NATO’s missile defense system in Europe.

“If it is necessary for us to take such a step, of course, we have the authority… We will close down Incirlik if necessary,” Erdoğan said on A Haber TV on Sunday.

Last week, the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Senate of the United States Congress approved the “Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act” bill that directly targets Turkey’s military and economic apparatus. According to the draft bill, the Turkish acquisition of the powerful Russian S-400 missile defense system gives grounds to impose sanctions against this country, under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), including against the Minister of National Defense of Turkey, the Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces, the Commander of the 2nd Army of the Turkish Armed Forces, the Minister of Treasury and Finance of Turkey, the Halkbank and a whole host of other senior officials.

This action could further isolate Turkey from NATO, especially after the latest blow against the Eurasian country came last Thursday when the U.S. Senate finally passed S.Res.150 that recognizes the Turkish perpetrated genocide(1915-1923) against Turkey’s Christian minority that saw millions of Greeks, Armenians, and Assyrians exterminated. There is no doubt the long-awaited U.S. recognition of the genocide is politically motivated, and Erdoğan understands this, threatening to recognize the U.S. genocide against Native Americans.

However, there are key differences between a potential Turkish recognition of the U.S. genocide against the Native Americans and the Turkish genocide against the Christians of Anatolia. There are hundreds of thousands, if not over a million, Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians living in the U.S. who have direct ancestry to genocide survivors who lost their entire lives including houses, farms, shops and other associated wealth. These descendants could pressure Washington to seek compensation from Ankara and could intensify sanctions against Turkey if they refuse too. Although the likelihood of compensation is extremely low, it could be used as a justification to strengthen sanctions against Turkey, which in turn will only push Turkey further away from the U.S./NATO and potentially closer to Russia.

On the other side, although Turkey may acknowledge the genocide against Native Americans, I would imagine there are no Native Americans, or maybe just a few, living in Turkey. Ankara could reciprocate sanctions against the U.S., but they would be virtually ineffectual as the world’s monetary system is still overwhelmingly dominated by the U.S. Dollar, despite efforts by Russia and China to de-Dollarize the international economy.

Turkey’s potential closure of the Incirlik and Kurecik bases from the U.S. military would effectively mean freezing relations with NATO. Even a Turkish reclamation of its military bases poses problems however – the obvious being political, but also the military and budgetary costs. However, discussions of Turkey closing the bases are not new. Ankara believes the Incirlik base was a staging point for the 2016 coup attempt against Erdoğan and has already contemplated kicking NATO out of there.

Despite the threat from Erdoğan, Washington will likely not be fazed by the threat for a number of reasons:

1) Washington has already turned Greece into its Plan B option in case Turkey leaves NATO.

2) Turkey leaving NATO could mean the U.S. backing a number of issues that have been frozen because of Washington’s policy of appeasing Turkey for geostrategic reasons, such as the unresolved status of Cyprus.

3) The Incirlik base is also used by other NATO states at times such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy, and a Turkish reclamation of the base could see Turkey further souring its relations with the European Union.

Although removing the U.S. military from the Incirlik Airbase would be a huge blow to NATO, Erdoğan is unlikely to do this despite Ankara’s strengthening relations with Moscow. Even if this were the case, the most important question still remains, would U.S. President Donald Trump accept this? It is highly unlikely that Trump will want to surrender the base that is critical for U.S. interests and aggression in the Middle East. Although Greece is a Plan B, it is a Plan B for a reason – it is not as strategically placed as Turkey towards the Middle East, and therefore the U.S. will not surrender such a great advantage it has so easily.

Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies.

December 18, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Saudi Arabia reads the riot act to Imran Khan

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | December 17, 2019

The Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 hosted by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on December 18-21 was originally conceived as a landmark event in the politics of the Muslim world. It still is, albeit on a wet wicket struggling to tackle a nasty googly that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan threw at the event at the last minute.  

To recap, the idea of the KL Summit was born out of a trilateral pow-vow between Turkish President Recep Erdogan, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed and Pakistan’s Imran Khan in September on the sidelines of the UN GA session in New York.

The common perception of the three countries was that the Muslim World failed to react forcefully enough to the emergent situation affecting the Kashmiri Muslims. Pakistan actively promoted the perception that the leadership of the ummah was not reacting forcefully enough over Muslim issues such as Kashmir.

On November 23, while announcing his decision to host the KL Summit, Mahathir said that the new platform hoped to bring together Islamic leaders, scholars and clerics who would propose solutions to the many problems facing the world’s 1.7 billion Muslims. He disclosed that dignitaries attending the KL Summit would include Erdogan, the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and Imran Khan.

The role of politics in development, food security, preserving national identity, and redistributing wealth were listed as other topics to be discussed, alongside the expulsion of Muslims from their homelands and the categorisation of Islam as the “religion of terrorism”.

In poignant remarks, Mahathir bemoaned that no Muslim country was fully developed, and that some Islamic nations were “failed states”. He said,

“Why is there this problem? There must be a reason behind this. We can only know the reason if we get the thinkers, the scholars, and the leaders to give their observations and viewpoints.

“Perhaps we can take that first step … to help Muslims recover their past glories, or at least to help them avoid the kind of humiliation and oppression that we see around the world today.”

Importantly, Mahathir described the summit as a meeting of minds that had the “same perception of Islam and the problems faced by the Muslims”.

From among the list of invitees, it now turns out that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will be attending tomorrow’s summit, but King Salman of Saudi Arabia has regretted that the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) is being bypassed.

Mahathir disclosed that King Salman  conveyed to him in a phone conversation that it was better that the Muslim issues were discussed in a full-fledged OIC meeting. Mahathir said laconically,

“He (King Salman) wanted to tell me the reasons why he couldn’t make it. He’s afraid that something not good will happen to the Muslims. He has a different opinion from us. He feels that matters like these (Muslim issues) shouldn’t just be discussed by two or three countries, and there should be an OIC meeting and I agreed with him.”

The testy exchange signalled that the Saudi regime sees the KL Summit as a calculated challenge to its leadership of the ummah and as an initiative about laying the foundations for an Islamic alliance.

Mahathir is outspoken but what is less noticed is that his positions actually align closely with those of Turkey and Pakistan. These include the Palestinian question, the situation in Jammu & Kashmir and the persecution of the Rohingya community in Myanmar.

According to the Malaysian news agency Bernama, the KL Summit “aims to revive Islamic civilization, deliberate (over) and find new and workable solutions for problems afflicting the Muslim world, contribute (to) the improvement of the state of affairs among Muslims and Muslim nations, and form a global network between Islamic leaders, intellectuals, scholars, and thinkers.”

In sheer brain power, Saudi Arabia cannot match such an agenda. A sense of frustration has been building up over the past decade or so among the Muslim countries that the OIC is reduced to an appendage of the Saudi foreign policies. Saudi Arabia’s rift with Qatar, its rivalries with Iran, the brutal war in Yemen, the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, etc.  also seriously dented Riyadh’s image in the most recent years.

Of course, Saudis hold a big purse and that still translates as influence but the new Islamic forum is poised to move in a direction that is progressive and far more inspiring, with plans to pursue joint projects, including, eventually, the introduction of a common currency.

Mahathir is on record that this mini-Islamic conference could turn into a much grander initiative down the road. Such optimism cannot be disregarded since a growing number of Muslim-majority countries harbour great unease over the near-term prospect of the ascendancy of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the Saudi king and the next Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

Saudi Arabia, anticipating the gambit being thrown down by Mahathir has reacted viciously to undercut the KL Summit. It tore into the summit’s ‘soft underbelly’ by reading the riot act to Imran Khan,  which put the fear of god into Imran Khan and how it happened we do not know, but the great cricketer panicked and has since called Mahathir to regret that he cannot attend the KL Summit.

No doubt, it is a big insult to Mahathir’s personal prestige but as the old adage says, beggars cannot be choosers and Imran Khan is left with no choice but to obey the Saudi diktat like a vassal.

With Imran Khan staying away, Mahathir is left to host his counterparts from Turkey, Iran, Qatar and Indonesia. The fizz has gone out of the KL Summit. Nonetheless, Mahathir is not the type of person to forget and forgive. His initial reaction to Imran Khan’s cowardly behaviour shows studied indifference, betraying his sense of hurt.

Pakistan is ultimately the loser here, as its credibility has been seriously dented. Imran Khan was the original promoter of the idea of the three-way axis of Turkey-Pakistan-Malaysia. But to be fair, his modest agenda was to create an exclusive India-baiting regional forum that he can use at will, whereas Mahathir turned it into an unprecedented Islamic forum that is independent of Saudi influence. Perhaps, Mahathir can only blame himself for the overreach.

December 17, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Turkish ships chase Israeli vessel out of Cypriot waters

Press TV – December 15, 2019

Turkish navy ships have intercepted an Israeli research vessel in Cypriot waters, over which Ankara claims jurisdiction, forcing it to leave the area in a move that could negatively impact an ambitious Israeli project to pipe natural gas to Europe.

Quoting unnamed senior Israeli officials, Israel’s channel 13 news reported Saturday that the rare incident occurred two weeks ago when Turkish vessels approached Bat Galim.

Turkish navy officers radioed the Israeli ship and demanded to know its business in the area, and then ordered it to leave. The Israeli vessel had no choice but to comply and depart, said the report.

According to the report, the Israeli ship was conducting research in coordination with Cypriot officials and the Cypriot government.

Over the past year, Turkey has sent military ships as well as drilling ships to search for crude oil in the waters.

Recently, tensions have risen between Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus regarding gas fields discovered in the eastern Mediterranean.

In an interview with Reuters in September, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused Greek Cypriots of trying to deprive Northern Cyprus of its rights.

EU member Cyprus and Turkey have argued for years regarding the ownership of fossil fuels in the eastern Mediterranean, where Ankara says Turkish Cypriots are entitled to a share of the resources.

Tensions rose again last month when Turkey signed agreements with Libya on maritime boundaries and military cooperation in the Mediterranean.

Erdogan said the maritime deal with Libya — which maps out a boundary between the two countries in the energy-rich eastern Mediterranean close to the Greek island of Crete — was in line with international law.

Israel’s Channel 13 said tensions could negatively affect an Israeli project to pipe natural gas to Europe. The pipeline is set to pass through Cyprus and Greece’s territorial waters.

According to the report, an Israeli embassy official in Ankara was summoned last week to be warned that the pipeline would require Turkey’s approval since it has to pass through Turkey’s economic waters.

“The Turks are trying to establish themselves as the ones running the show, and that is very worrying,” an Israeli official told Channel 13.

The media in Tel Aviv have reported that the UAE has invested as much as $100 million in an ambitious Israeli project to pipe natural gas to Europe.

Turkey, which does not have diplomatic ties with the Greek Cyprus, has vowed to prevent what it sees as a unilateral move by Greek Cypriots to claim offshore resources. It says some areas of Cyprus’s offshore maritime zone fall under what Ankara calls the territory of the Turkish Cyprus.

The island has been divided into Turkish Cypriot-controlled northern and Greek Cypriot-controlled southern territories since a brief war in 1974, which saw Turkey intervene militarily in response to a Greek-backed military coup on the island to annex Cyprus to Greece.

Greek Cypriots run the island’s government in the south, while Turkish Cypriots have a breakaway state in the north and say offshore resources belong to them, too.

Israel has signed a multilateral deal for the Eastern Mediterranean Pipeline Project with Greece, Italy and Cyprus. The European Union also supports the project.

Israel is already locked in a bitter dispute with Lebanon over tapping Mediterranean energy resources.

Last February, Israel described as “very provocative” a Lebanese tender for projects in two of the Arab country’s 10 offshore blocks in the Mediterranean Sea.

Israel itself has long been developing a number of disputed offshore gas deposits in the Mediterranean Sea, with the Tamar gas field with proven reserves of 200 billion cubic meters already producing gas, while the larger Leviathan field is expected to go online in the coming months.

December 15, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | 2 Comments