26/7/2016, Dmitri Orlov, Club Orlov
[ru. НеT, “nyet“]
“Ainda hoje sou capaz de visualizá-lo – palidamente limpo, tristemente respeitável, incuravelmente pobre! Era Bartleby. (…) Imagine minha surpresa, ou melhor, minha consternação, quando, sem se mover de sua privacidade, Bartleby respondeu num tom de voz singularmente suave e firme: – ‘Prefiro não fazer’. (…) – ‘Prefere não fazer?!’ – repeti, levantando-me alterado e cruzando a sala a passos largos. ‘O que você quer dizer com isso? Você está maluco? Quero que você me ajude a comparar esta folha aqui, tome, empurrei o papel em sua direção. É uma ordem.’ – ‘Prefiro não fazer’ – disse.” (p. 15-18)
MELVILLE, Hermann [1819-1981], Bartleby, o Escrevente – Uma história de Wall Street e Outras Histórias, pp. 7-53, trad. Cassia Zanon, Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, s/d inhttps://leidsoncvsenac.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/miololivro.pdf *
Traduzido pelo Coletivo Vila Vudu
|Putin: “Oh, coitado desse idiota. Não é capaz de compreender que vamos dizer ‘nyet’ outra vez.”|
The way things are supposed to work on this planet is like this: in the United States, the power structures (public and private) decide what they want the rest of the world to do. They communicate their wishes through official and unofficial channels, expecting automatic cooperation. If cooperation is not immediately forthcoming, they apply political, financial and economic pressure. If that still doesn’t produce the intended effect, they attempt regime change through a color revolution or a military coup, or organize and finance an insurgency leading to terrorist attacks and civil war in the recalcitrant nation. If that still doesn’t work, they bomb the country back to the stone age. This is the way it worked in the 1990s and the 2000s, but as of late a new dynamic has emerged.
In the beginning it was centered on Russia, but the phenomenon has since spread around the world and is about to engulf the United States itself. It works like this: the United States decides what it wants Russia to do and communicates its wishes, expecting automatic cooperation. Russia says “Nyet.” The United States then runs through all of the above steps up to but not including the bombing campaign, from which it is deterred by Russia’s nuclear deterrent. The answer remains “Nyet.” One could perhaps imagine that some smart person within the US power structure would pipe up and say: “Based on the evidence before us, dictating our terms to Russia doesn’t work; let’s try negotiating with Russia in good faith as equals.” And then everybody else would slap their heads and say, “Wow! That’s brilliant! Why didn’t we think of that?” But instead that person would be fired that very same day because, you see, American global hegemony is nonnegotiable. And so what happens instead is that the Americans act baffled, regroup and try again, making for quite an amusing spectacle.
The whole Edward Snowden imbroglio was particularly fun to watch. The US demanded his extradition. The Russians said: “Nyet, our constitution forbids it.” And then, hilariously, some voices in the West demanded in response that Russia change its constitution! The response, requiring no translation, was “Xa-xa-xa-xa-xa!” Less funny is the impasse over Syria: the Americans have been continuously demanding that Russia go along with their plan to overthrow Bashar Assad. The unchanging Russian response has been: “Nyet, the Syrians get to decide on their leadership, not Russia, and not the US.” Each time they hear it, the Americans scratch their heads and… try again. John Kerry was just recently in Moscow, holding a marathon “negotiating session” with Putin and Lavrov. Above is a photo of Kerry talking to Putin and Lavrov in Moscow a week or so ago and their facial expressions are hard to misread. There’s Kerry, with his back to the camera, babbling away as per usual. Lavrov’s face says: “I can’t believe I have to sit here and listen to this nonsense again.” Putin’s face says: “Oh the poor idiot, he can’t bring himself to understand that we’re just going to say ‘nyet’ again.” Kerry flew home with yet another “nyet.”
What’s worse, other countries are now getting into the act. The Americans told the Brits exactly how to vote, and yet the Brits said “nyet” and voted for Brexit. The Americans told the Europeans to accept the horrendous corporate power grab that is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the French said “nyet, it shall not pass.” The US organized yet another military coup in Turkey to replace Erdoǧan with somebody who won’t try to play nice with Russia, and the Turks said “nyet” to that too. And now, horror of horrors, there is Donald Trump saying “nyet” to all sorts of things—NATO, offshoring American jobs, letting in a flood of migrants, globalization, weapons for Ukrainian Nazis, free trade…
The corrosive psychological effect of “nyet” on the American hegemonic psyche cannot be underestimated. If you are supposed to think and act like a hegemon, but only the thinking part still works, then the result is cognitive dissonance. If your job is to bully nations around, and the nations can no longer be bullied, then your job becomes a joke, and you turn into a mental patient. The resulting madness has recently produced quite an interesting symptom: some number of US State Department staffers signed a letter, which was promptly leaked, calling for a bombing campaign against Syria in order to overthrow Bashar Assad. These are diplomats. Diplomacy is the art of avoiding war by talking. Diplomats who call for war are not being exactly… diplomatic. You could say that they are incompetent diplomats, but that wouldn’t go far enough (most of the competent diplomats left the service during the second Bush administration, many of them in disgust over having to lie about the rationale for the Iraq war). The truth is, they are sick, deranged non-diplomatic warmongers. Such is the power of this one simple Russian word that they have quite literally lost their minds.
But it would be unfair to single out the State Department. It is as if the entire American body politic has been infected by a putrid miasma. It permeates all things and makes life miserable. In spite of the mounting problems, most other things in the US are still somewhat manageable, but this one thing—the draining away of the ability to bully the whole world—ruins everything. It’s mid-summer, the nation is at the beach. The beach blanket is moth-eaten and threadbare, the beach umbrella has holes in it, the soft drinks in the cooler are laced with nasty chemicals and the summer reading is boring… and then there is a dead whale decomposing nearby, whose name is “Nyet.” It just ruins the whole ambiance!
The media chattering heads and the establishment politicos are at this point painfully aware of this problem, and their predictable reaction is to blame it on what they perceive as its ultimate source: Russia, conveniently personified by Putin. “If you aren’t voting for Clinton, you are voting for Putin” is one recently minted political trope. Another is that Trump is Putin’s agent. Any public figure that declines to take a pro-establishment stance is automatically labeled “Putin’s useful idiot.” Taken at face value, such claims are preposterous. But there is a deeper explanation for them: what ties them all together is the power of “nyet.” A vote for Sanders is a “nyet” vote: the Democratic establishment produced a candidate and told people to vote for her, and most of the young people said “nyet.” Same thing with Trump: the Republican establishment trotted out its Seven Dwarfs and told people to vote for any one of them, and yet most of the disenfranchised working-class white people said “nyet” and voted for Snow White the outsider.
It is a hopeful sign that people throughout the Washington-dominated world are discovering the power of “nyet.” The establishment may still look spiffy on the outside, but under the shiny new paint there hides a rotten hull, with water coming in though every open seam. A sufficiently resounding “nyet” will probably be enough to cause it to founder, suddenly making room for some very necessary changes. When that happens, please remember to thank Russia… or, if you insist, Putin.
How the United States presumes to possess the authority to determine the fate of a sovereign nation thousands of miles from its own shores in the Middle East is never explained by US Secretary of State John Kerry when he recently announced a new ultimatum leveled at Damascus. Nor is it explained why Syria should capitulate to US demands to begin a political transition that has demonstrably left other nations across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) divided, destroyed, and safe-havens for state-sponsored terrorism years after “successful” US-backed regime change has been achieved – Libya most notably.
Yet despite all of this, according to the Associate Press (AP) in their article, “Kerry warns Assad to start transition by Aug. 1 or else,” the United States fully expects Damascus to concede to a “political transition” engineered by Washington, leaving the nation in the hands of verified terrorists linked directly to the political and militant forces currently laying waste to Libya and those nations that put them into power.
The article reports:
Secretary of State John Kerry warned Syria’s government and its backers in Moscow and Tehran on Tuesday that they face an August deadline for starting a political transition to move President Bashar Assad out, or they risk the consequences of a new U.S. approach toward ending the 5-year-old civil war.
AP would also claim:
…it’s unlikely that the Obama administration, so long opposed to an active American combat role in Syria, would significantly boost its presence beyond the 300 special forces it has authorized thus far in the heart of a U.S. presidential election season. More feasible might be U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia giving the rebels new weapons to fight Assad, such as portable surface-to-air missiles.
Again, the US is making demands of “Syria’s government and its backers in Moscow” while it is openly allied with Saudi Arabia who is admittedly backing US State Department-listed foreign terrorist organizations including the Al Nusra Front – quite literally Al Qaeda in Syria and Iraq.
This point has inconveniently surfaced even across the West’s own media, including the Independent in an article titled, “Turkey and Saudi Arabia alarm the West by backing Islamist extremists the Americans had bombed in Syria.” In it states that:
Turkey and Saudi Arabia are actively supporting a hardline coalition of Islamist rebels against Bashar al-Assad’s regime that includes al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, in a move that has alarmed Western governments.
The two countries are focusing their backing for the Syrian rebels on the combined Jaish al-Fatah, or the Army of Conquest, a command structure for jihadist groups in Syria that includes Jabhat al-Nusra, an extremist rival to Isis which shares many of its aspirations for a fundamentalist caliphate.
Despite superficial attempts to portray Al Nusra at “arms length” from Saudi Arabia, and thus from Saudi Arabia’s closest and most valuable ally, Washington, the inseparable nature of those the US and Saudi Arabia are supporting and those they claim not to support is documented fact.
America Essentially Demands Syria’s Surrender to Al Qaeda
Considering the verified nature of the so-called “opposition” in Syria and the verifiable nature of what US foreign policy has done to Libya – leaving it to this day in the hands of state-sponsored terrorist organizations including the notorious “Islamic State” or ISIS – what the US is essentially demanding of Syria and its allies is capitulation to Al Qaeda.
It is a surreal full-circle US foreign policy has made, from first creating Al Qaeda in the late 1980’s jointly with Saudi Arabia and elements within the Pakistani government, then claiming to have been struck egregiously by the terrorist organization on September 11, 2001 triggering over a decade of very profitable war, before finally arriving in Libya and Syria beginning in 2011 where once again US politicians found themselves standing shoulder-to-shoulder with literal commanders of Al Qaeda and its affiliates, waging proxies wars against their collective enemies.
Indeed, US Senator John McCain would find himself in a Libya utterly devastated by NATO at the end of 2011, shaking hands with the commander of US State Department-listed foreign terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) – literally Al Qaeda in Libya. The LIFG commander, Abdelhakim Belhadj, had at one point been arrested by the US before being handed over to the Libyan government and imprisoned for his terrorism.
Syria’s Clear Course of Action
Syria is undoubtedly being overrun by heavily armed and extremely dangerous terrorists backed by foreign powers. These are terrorists that have proven already in Libya, that upon coming to power, they will first carry out genocide against their ethnic and political enemies, then transform Syria into a devastated wasteland and springboard for terrorism and proxy war elsewhere in the region – likely Iran and then southern Russia.Syria’s only clear course of action is to resist and defeat these terrorist factions and restore order within the nation’s boundaries. It must do this by interdicting terrorists and their supplies along the Turkish-Syrian border in the north, and the Jordanian-Syrian border in the south. It is abundantly clear that the terrorists operating within Syria cannot sustain their fighting capacity without significant and constant logistical support from their foreign sponsors beyond Syria’s borders. This fact alone, undermines the legitimacy of the so-called “uprising” and “civil war” in Syria that upon closer examination is clearly a proxy invasion.
The US’s Clear Course of Action
The US itself, in its own military manuals (MCWP 3-35.3) regarding combat operations, states in reference to defeating terrorism that:
In countering this threat, [it should be determined] whether it is internally or externally directed terrorism. Terrorism rooted externally must be severed from its roots. Against internal terrorism, [attempts should be made] to penetrate the infrastructure and destroy the leadership of the terrorist groups.
The US has already boasted of having struck hard at the leadership of various terrorist groups in Syria it claims to be at war with, yet these groups appear unfazed. This is precisely because the terrorism is being direct externally, from Turkey and Jordan where the US itself has based its forces for its ongoing Syrian operations. The clear and obvious course of action for the US is to identify the “roots” of this externally directed terrorism and “sever” them.
However, the US refuses to do this. Instead, even as it continues its feigned war against terrorism in Syria, it is doubling down on support for its proxies, including Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, who in turn, are harboring, arming, funding, training, and directly supporting the very terrorist groups the US claims to be fighting.
US Secretary of State John Kerry threatens a “new approach” by the US in Syria, if Syria does not capitulate to what is essentially the end of its existence as a functioning nation-state. The “new approach” is likely simply the continuation of existing plans to incrementally invade and occupy Syrian territory, particularly in the east through the infiltration of Iraq-based Kurds operating under US proxy Masoud Barzani, as well as to trigger a cross-border incident north of Aleppo by using their ISIS proxies to attack Turkish targets – reminisced of staged attacks Ankara had planned earlier during the war to justify the invasion and occupation of northern Syria.
Warning the world of the “success” America’s previous “political transitions” have wrought in Libya or Iraq, and raising awareness of the current nature of US-Saudi support for Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in Syria today, is essential in undermining the legitimacy and authority upon which the US is attempting to base its demands directed at Damascus. The demands are illegitimate and the authority they are made with constitutes not principles nor rule of law, but naked and unjust aggression that must be resisted today lest it succeed and set a precedent for further acts of injustice against other nations tomorrow.
On May 4th, Russia’s Sputnik news agency headlined:
“Lavrov: US Tried to Include Al-Nusra Front Positions in ’Silent’ Period”, and reported that Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, speaking in Moscow about the lengthy negotiations between himself and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to agree on conditions for a Syrian ceasefire and peace talks to take place between Syria’s government and Syria’s rebels, said, “During the negotiations, our US partners actually tried to draw the borders of this ‘zone of silence’ to include a significant number of positions occupied by al-Nusra [Front]. We managed to exclude this as it is absolutely unacceptable.”
Al Qaeda in Syria calls itself “Al Nusra.”
The “zone of silence” or “silent period” (and there are other phrases for it) refers to the areas in Syria that would be excluded from the ceasefire.
In other words: Lavrov was saying that whereas Russia’s President Putin refuses to stop military action in Syria to kill Syria’s Al Qaeda, America’s President Obama has been continuing, ever since the U.S.-Russian negotiations for a ceasefire in Syria started in January of this year, to insist that Russia must stop bombing those jihadists. Russia’s Foreign Minister was saying that Obama has been trying to protect Al Nusra.
Here is a chronological presentation of the reporting in the Western press, about U.S. President Obama’s efforts on behalf of Syria’s Al Qaeda (Al Nusra):
On 7 January 2016, Seymour Hersh reported in the London Review of Books,
Barack Obama’s repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are ‘moderate’ rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration’s fixation on Assad’s primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China. …
The military’s resistance dates back to the summer of 2013, when a highly classified assessment, put together by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria’s takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya. …
Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition. …
On 20 January 2016, the AP headlined “Kerry, Lavrov try to settle differences over Syrian talks”, and reported,
Differences over which Syrian opposition groups should be labeled terrorists and barred from the negotiations and the ceasefire have led to concerns that the talks may have to be postponed. Russia and Iran, which back Assad, have immense differences with Saudi Arabia, other Arab states, the United States and Europe over which opposition groups should be considered terrorists and therefore excluded.
On 12 February 2016, the New York Times bannered, “In Syria, Skepticism That Cease-Fire Will Stop Fighting”, and reported that,
With the proviso that the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, can still be bombed, Russia puts the United States in a difficult position; the insurgent groups it [i.e., the U.S.] supports cooperate in some places with the well-armed, well-financed Nusra in what they [i.e., the U.S. government] say is a tactical alliance of necessity [with Nusra] against [Syrian] government forces. So Russia can argue that many of them [by which the NYT journalist refers to anti-Assad fighters] are, in effect, Nusra affiliates.
On 16 February 2016, independent journalist Gareth Porter headlined “Obama’s ‘Moderate’ Syrian Deception”, and reported that,
Information from a wide range of sources, including some of those the United States has been explicitly supporting, makes it clear that every armed anti-Assad organization unit in those provinces is engaged in a military structure controlled by Nusra militants. All of these rebel groups fight alongside the Nusra Front and coordinate their military activities with it.
That reporter, unlike some others, assumes that Obama’s support of Syria’s Al Qaeda is due to Obama’s weakness in adhering to the desires of haters of Russia, both in the U.S. and among America’s allies abroad:
President Obama is under pressure from these domestic critics as well as from Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other GCC allies to oppose any gains by the Russians and the Assad regime as a loss for the United States.
Mr. Porter presents no evidence backing up his assumption that President Obama is reluctant to adhere to this obsession against Russia. Seymour Hersh had reported, in his 7 January 2016 LRB report, facts that contradict Mr. Porter’s assumption:
General Dempsey and his colleagues on the Joint Chiefs of Staff kept their dissent out of bureaucratic channels, and survived in office. General Michael Flynn did not. ‘Flynn incurred the wrath of the White House by insisting on telling the truth about Syria,’ said Patrick Lang, a retired army colonel who served for nearly a decade as the chief Middle East civilian intelligence officer for the DIA. ‘He thought truth was the best thing and they shoved him out.’
In other words: Despite the opposition by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Obama was determined to help Nusra replace the Assad government. Despite what Mr. Porter assumed, Barack Obama was not a weak President, but instead a very determined President, a President who fired people in his Administration who advised him against continuing his attempt to replace al-Assad by al-Nusra. Russia insisted on bombing them, and reluctantly — and in fits and starts — U.S. President Obama accepted Russia’s condition.
On 19 February 2016, the Washington Post bannered “U.S., Russia hold Syria cease-fire talks as deadline passes without action”, and reported that,
“Russia was said to have rejected a U.S. proposal to leave Jabhat al-Nusra off-limits to bombing as part of a cease-fire.”
That report even included an indication that President Obama’s current Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, who started his job on 17 February 2015, after the war against Syria was already well under way and Obama had replaced the people on his team who were opposed to it, is, if anything, even more obsessive against Russia than Obama himself is:
Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter was said to have opposed the high-level contact with the Russians, at least initially.
In other words: when Obama replaced Chuck Hagel by Ashton Carter, he was replacing someone whom he held to be insufficiently anti-Russian, by a person, Carter, who is so extremely hostile toward Russians, as to have since been restrained by Obama from pursuing this hostility as forcefully as he wishes to. The only Cabinet member mentioned there as having persuaded Obama not to follow Carter’s more aggressive stance against Russia was Obama’s second-term Secretary of State, John Kerry.
On 20 February 2016, Reuters headlined “Syrian opposition says temporary truce possible, but deal seems far off”, and, under the sub-head “Nusra Front in Spotlight,” reported that,
A source close to peace talks earlier told Reuters Syria’s opposition had agreed to the idea of a two- to three-week truce.
The truce would be renewable and supported by all parties except Islamic State, the source said.
It would be conditional on the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front no longer being attacked by Syrian government forces and their allies.
Of course, “Syria’s opposition” there included the United States; and so the U.S. President was, at that time, still insisting upon rejecting the Russian President’s demand that Nusra be included in the “zone of silence,” the locations where the war would continue uninterrupted during the otherwise-ceasefire.
That report went on:
The spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, said on Saturday: “Russia is sticking to its consistent policy of rendering assistance and aid to the armed forces of Syria in their offensive actions against terrorists and against terrorist organisations.”
The source close to peace talks described the opposition’s insistence on the Nusra Front no longer being targeted as “the elephant in the room”.
Obama, like King Saud, Emir Thani, Tayyip Erdogan, and the other enemies of Russia, still stood firm that Nusra not be destroyed.
Therefore, the issue of whether Putin would be allowed to continue bombing Nusra was a heavy topic of disagreement between Obama’s pro-al-Qaeda-in-Syria alliance, versus Putin’s anti-al-Qaeda-in-Syria alliance.
Seymour Hersh’s 7 January 2016 LRB article concluded:
Obama now has a more compliant Pentagon. There will be no more indirect challenges from the military leadership to his policy of disdain for Assad and support for Erdoğan. Dempsey and his associates remain mystified by Obama’s continued public defence of Erdoğan, given the American intelligence community’s strong case against him – and the evidence that Obama, in private, accepts that case.
Even though Obama accepts the case that Turkey’s leader, Erdoğan, is a dangerous man to be allied with, Obama moves forward with what is perhaps the most rabidly hostile toward Russia U.S. Administration ever. And this is after the USSR, and its NATO-mirror organization, the Warsaw Pact, were terminated by Russia in 1991, and after Al Qaeda perpetrated not only 9/11 but many other terrorist attacks, not only in the U.S., but in many of America’s allied countries — not to mention in Russia itself.
Furthermore, Seymour Hersh, in his 4 April 2014 article in LRB, “The Red Line and the Rat Line”, said that,
The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway [of weapons from Gaddafi’s stockpiles in Libya] into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida.
And, even prior to that, on 7 October 2013, Christof Lehmann at his site nsnbc.me, headlined “Top US and Saudi Officials responsible for Chemical Weapons in Syria”, and opened by summarizing:
Evidence leads directly to the White House, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, CIA Director John Brennan, Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Bandar, and Saudi Arabia´s Interior Ministry.
He said that, regarding the 21 August 2013 sarin gas attack, which Obama claims crossed his “red line” to launch an invasion of Syria to overthrow Assad, and which Hersh and others report to have been based actually on Obama’s and his allies’ “Rat Line” of weapons from Libya into Syria, the initial decision was made by the Saudi agent in Syria, Zahran Alloush:
The final decision, made by Zahran Alloush may in fact have been predetermined together with his U.S. – Saudi liaison officers.
Launching a chemical weapons attack would allow the USA, UK and France, to call for military strikes against Syria and to turn the tide.
Zahran Alloush was killed by a Russian missile on Christmas Day 2015, and his nephew and close associate Mohammed Alloush was chosen by King Salman al-Saud (actually by his son Prince Salman al-Saud) to lead the Syrian opposition in the peace talks on the Syrian war. Zahran Alloush, like the Saud family, favored extermination of Shiites (including Assad), and so does Mohammed Alloush, which (besides the Alloushes’ support of foreign jihad generally) is perhaps the main reason why the Sauds had selected him to lead the U.S.-Saudi-Qatari-Turkish side in these peace negotiations against Syria. However, the Alloushes also greatly admire Osama bin Laden, who founded Al Qaeda; and, so, in total, there can be little if any doubt that what Lavrov was reported on May 4th to have said about Obama’s support for Syria’s Al Qaeda makes sense, even though Obama himself had arranged for bin Laden to be killed.
It seems that, at least after Obama’s success at killing off many of Al Qaeda’s leaders, he is determined to support Al Qaeda’s original jihad, which had been against the Soviet Union, and which continues now against Russia and its ally Assad. Obama therefore protects, and helps to arm, Al Qaeda in Syria, so as to eliminate, if possible, yet another ally of Russia (after Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and Viktor Yanukovych): this time Bashar al-Assad.
Whereas the U.S. and its allies will not likely affirm what Lavrov said, the facts do — even some that have been reported in the Western press — not only in non-Western media.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
Would you be willing to defend your country against a foreign invasion?
That’s all Putin is doing in Syria. He’s just preempting the tidal wave of jihadis that’ll be coming his way once the current fracas is over. He figures it’s better to exterminate these US-backed maniacs in Syria now than face them in Chechnya, St Petersburg and Moscow sometime in the future. Can you blame him? After all, if Washington’s strategy works in Syria, then you can bet they’ll try the same thing in Beirut, Tehran and Moscow.
So what choice does Putin have?
None. He has no choice. His back is against the wall. He has to fight. No one in Washington seems to get this. They think Putin can throw in the towel and call it “quits” at the first sign of getting bogged down. But he can’t throw in the towel because Russia’s facing an existential crisis. If he loses, then Russia’s going to wind up on the same scrap heap as Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya. You can bet on it. So the only thing he can do is win. Period. Victory isn’t an option, it’s a necessity.
Do you think that Putin and his advisors have had their heads in the sand for the last 15 years, that they haven’t noticed the US rampaging around the globe bumping off one country after the other leaving behind nothing but anarchy and ruin? Do you think they don’t know that Russia is on the top of Washington’s hit-list? Do you think they haven’t noticed NATO inching closer to Russia’s borders while foam-at-the-mouth politicians in Washington wave their fists and growl about Hitler Putin and evil Russia?
Of course they’ve noticed. Everyone’s noticed. Everyone knows Washington is on the warpath and its leaders have gone stark raving mad. How could they not notice?
But all that’s done is focus the mind on the task at hand, and the task at hand is to whoop the tar out of the terrorists, put an end to Washington’s sick little jihadi game, and go home. That’s Russia’s plan in a nutshell. No one is trying to cobble together the long-lost Soviet empire. That’s pure bunkum. Russia just wants to clean up this nest of vipers and call it a day. There’s nothing more to it than that.
But what if the going gets tough and Syria becomes a quagmire?
That doesn’t change anything, because Russia still has to win. If that means sending ground troops to Syria, then that’s what Putin will do. If that means asymmetrical warfare, like arming the Kurds or the Yemenis, or the Taliban or even disparate anti-regime Shiites in Saudi Arabia, then he’ll do that too. Whatever it takes. This isn’t a game, it’s a fight for survival; Russia’s survival as a sovereign country. That’s what the stakes are. That’s not something Putin takes lightly.
Keep in mind, that Russia’s situation is entirely different than that of the US. The US is engaged in a vast “pivot” project to remove secular regimes that are hostile towards Washington, control vital resources from North Africa through the Middle East and across Central Asia, establish military bases wherever necessary, maintain the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency, and redraw the map of the ME in a way that best suits the commercial and strategic interests of its core constituents; the banks, the multinational corporations and the big weapons manufacturers.
Russia doesn’t have any grandiose plans like that. Putin just wants to sell oil, make money, raise living standards in Russia, and get on with life. He figured that if he played by the rules– Washington’s rules– joined the WTO, then he’d be okay. But that’s not the way it works. The WTO’s rules, like the IMF’s rules are only upheld as long as they suit Washington’s strategic objectives. And when they don’t, well, then they’re dumped like a hot potato just like they were when the US implemented its economic sanctions on Russia or when the IMF allowed Ukraine to stiff Moscow for $3 billion in loans. The point is, it’s a free market when Washington says it’s a free market, otherwise all bets are off.
The same rule applies to terrorism. For example, On Saturday, a group of terrorists detonated a car bomb near a hospital in the Syrian city of Homs. 22 people were killed and more than 70 were injured. So the Syrian government asked the UN Security Council to condemn the attack. Naturally, the Security Council said “Yes”, right?
Wrong. In fact, the UNSC refused to make any statement at all about the attack because, to do so, would be seen as supportive of the Syrian government that the US wants to topple. The bottom line: Blowing up civilians with car bombs is hunky-dory as long as the US benefits from it.
By the way, the Security Council is currently chaired by the US who made sure the draft was never even put to a vote.
Does that sound like a country that’s seriously committed to fighting terrorism or a country that is run by hypocrites?
The reason I ask this now is because, on Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to attend an emergency meeting in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to discuss issues that are too sensitive to reveal to the public. There’s a lot of speculation about what the two men will talk about, but the urgency and the secrecy of the meeting suggests that the topic will be one of great importance. So allow me to make a guess about what the topic will be.
When Kerry arrives in Moscow tomorrow he’ll be rushed to meeting room at the Kremlin where he’ll be joined by Lavrov, Putin, Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu and high-ranking members from military intelligence. Then, following the initial introductions, Kerry will be shown the evidence Russian intelligence has gathered on last Sunday’s attack on a Syrian military base east of Raqqa that killed three Syrian soldiers and wounded thirteen others. The Syrian government immediately condemned the attack and accused US warplanes of conducting the operation. Later in the day, Putin delivered an uncharacteristically-harsh and threatening statement that left no doubt that he thought the attack was a grave violation of the accepted rules of engagement and, perhaps, a declaration of war. Here’s what he said:
“Any targets threatening the Russian groups of forces or land infrastructure must be immediately destroyed.” This was followed shortly after by an equally disturbing statement by Putin to the Russian Defense Ministry Board:
Special attention must be paid to strengthening the combat potential of the strategic nuclear forces and implementing defense space programs. It is necessary, as outlined in our plans, to equip all components of the nuclear triad with new arms.
Why would an incident in the village of Ayyash in far-flung Deir Ezzor Province be so important that it would bring the two nuclear-armed adversaries to the brink of war?
I’ll tell you why: It’s because there were other incidents prior to the bombing in Ayyash that laid the groundwork for the current clash. There was the ISIS downing of the Russian airliner that killed 224 Russian civilians. Two weeks after that tragedy, Putin announced at the G-20 meetings that he had gathered intelligence proving that 40 countries –including some in the G-20 itself–were involved in the funding and supporting of ISIS. This story was completely blacked out in the western media and, so far, Russia has not revealed the names of any of the countries involved.
So, I ask you, dear reader, do you think the United States is on that list of ISIS supporters?
Then there was the downing of the Russian Su-24, a Russian bomber that was shot down by Turkish F-16s while it was carrying out its mission to exterminate terrorists in Syria. Many analysts do not believe that the Su-24 could have been destroyed without surveillance and logistical support provided by US AWACs or US satellites. Many others scoff at the idea that Turkey would engage in such a risky plan without the go-ahead from Washington. Either way, the belief that Washington was directly involved in the downing of a Russian warplane is widespread.
So, I ask you, dear reader, do you think Washington gave Turkey the greenlight?
Finally, we have the aerial attack on the Syrian military base in Deir Ezzor, an attack that was either executed by US warplanes or US-coalition warplanes. Not only does the attack constitute a direct assault on the Russian-led coalition (an act of war) but the bombing raid was also carried out in tandem with a “a full-scale ISIS offensive on the villages of Ayyash and Bgelia.” The coordination suggests that either the US or US allies were providing air-cover for ISIS terrorists to carry out their ground operations. Author Alexander Mercouris– who is certainly no conspiracy nut–expands on this idea in a recent piece at Russia Insider which provides more detail on the incident. The article begins like this:
Did Members of the US-Led Coalition Carry Out an Air Strike to Help ISIS? Russia Implies They Did. Russian statement appears to implicate aircraft from two member states of the US led coalition in the air strike on the Syrian military base in Deir az-Zor….This information – if it is true – begs a host of questions.
Firstly, the Syrian military base that was hit by the air strike was apparently the scene of a bitter battle between the Syrian military and the Islamic State. It seems that shortly after the air strike – and most probably as a result of it – the Islamic State’s fighters were able to storm it.
Inevitably, that begs the question of whether the aircraft that carried out the air strike were providing air support to the fighters of the Islamic State.
On the face of it, it looks like they were. After all, if what happened was simply a mistake, it might have been expected that the US and its allies would say as much. If so, it is an extremely serious and worrying development, suggesting that some members of the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition are actually in league with the Islamic State. (“Did Members of the US-Led Coalition Carry Out an Air Strike to Help ISIS?” Alexander Mercouris, Russia Insider)
So there it is in black and white. The Russians think someone in the US-led coalition is teaming up with ISIS. That should make for some interesting conversation when Kerry sashays into the Kremlin today.
Does Kerry have any clue that Putin and his lieutenants are probably going to produce evidence that coalition warplanes were involved in the bombing of the Syrian military base? How do you think he’ll respond to that news? Will he apologize or just stand there dumbstruck? And how will he react when Putin tells him that if a similar incident takes place in the future, Russian warplanes and anti-aircraft units are going to shoot the perpetrator down?
If I am not mistaken, Kerry is in for a big surprise on Tuesday. He’s about to learn that Putin takes war very seriously and is not going to let Washington sabotage his plans for success. If Kerry’s smart, he’ll pass along that message to Obama and tell him he needs to dial it down a notch if he wants to avoid a war with Russia.
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at email@example.com.
By Stephen Lendman
Global Research, December 12, 2015
Washington’s undeclared war on Russia (and China) is the greatest threat to world peace, risking the unthinkable – possible nuclear war.
Both countries stand in the way of unchallenged US global dominance – allied with NATO partners (mainly Britain, France, Germany and Turkey), Israel and the Middle East regimes led by Saudi Arabia, a metastasizing cancer masquerading as a nation-state.
Two major flashpoint areas risk igniting global war – Ukraine and Syria.
Washington transformed Kiev into a de facto Neo-Nazi regime (for the first time in Europe since WW II) – used as a dagger targeting Russia’s heartland, along with other Eastern European countries close to its border.
Preserving Syrian sovereign independence is the lynchpin of preventing Iran’s isolation and the entire region from becoming a US/Israeli colony, partnered with ruling Saudi tyrants using ISIS and other terrorist groups partnered with Washington to ravage Syria, Iraq and Yemen, ahead of what increasingly looks like an inevitable US/Russia clash.
On December 15, John Kerry will meet with Vladimir Putin and Sergey Lavrov in Moscow. Ongoing conflicts in Syria and Ukraine will be discussed – both countries at odds on resolving them.
Russia’s supports nation-state sovereignty, America wants all independent governments replaced by pro-Western ones it controls – using ISIS and other terrorist groups to achieve its objectives.
Next week’s meeting between US and Russian officials will resolve nothing, not as long as Washington’s hegemonic aims remain unchanged.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry called US/Moscow relations “difficult,” citing Washington’s “confrontational steps…under the pretext of the Ukrainian crisis.” They negatively “impacted cooperation between (both) countries.”
US support for ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere further exacerbated relations. Nothing in prospect suggests positive change.
“…Russia has been consistently stressing the necessity to observe the principles of equality, mutual respect and non-interference into (the) domestic affairs” of all nations, its Foreign Ministry said.
Moscow’s hope for better US/Russian relations furthered by Kerry’s upcoming visit is more pipe dream than reality.
Kerry heads to Moscow after a planned December 14 meeting in Paris with European and Arab foreign ministers. They’ll discuss ongoing Middle East conflicts, plotting strategy to continue them and ways to subvert Russia’s war on terrorism.
Separately, interviewed by Spanish EFE news on Friday, Bashar al-Assad stressed Washington, its NATO partners and regional allies aren’t serious about fighting terrorism. They’re the problem, not the solution.
Russia’s intervention alone achieved progress, Washington trying to subvert it. The struggle for Syria’s soul continues, along with Putin’s efforts to save humanity from the scourge of another global war. He deserves universal support against US-led pure evil.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
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The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2015
Kerry on live TV just publicly surrendered the US position on Syria to Russia
Fort Russ – op-ed
By: Joaquin Flores
The US Empire is truly its last days.
What was said on live television at the UN with the ”joint” statement made by Lavrov, and with Kerry at the conclusion, are “the things history is made from”. And what was said behind closed doors versus what was said publicly is more than likely to be oceans apart.
There are certain key phrases that were used that are the biggest indication that this wide-gulf exists, setting aside an objective assessment of the situation which also demands such a view. Any objective appraisal indicates the US has a vulnerable position.
The decision to make this statement jointly and in the language of collaboration is partly about not scaring the general public – or giving the stock market a shock, given the relationship between this and treasury bonds and other notes which are held by the Chinese. The largest foreign holder of U.S. debt is of course China, which owns about $1.2 trillion in bills, notes and bonds, according to the US Treasury. The Chinese and the CSTO are no doubt involved in this conflict.
But chiefly, this decision to imply consensus and collaboration is about giving the US a graceful exit, something which is not only strategic for Russia but reflects its manner of conducting foreign policy. It is done in a manner which least encourages, least corners, and least frustrates their adversaries.
Allowing one’s enemy a safe routing passage is an age old tactic, and a basic military maneuver which ensures the opponent does not have a necessary reason to fight to the bitter end.
It has allowed the US to make a hasty if somewhat tactical withdrawal without using the overt language of surrender.
Also, the language of collaboration has a legal meaning. While we live in a world where the US has tried to deconstruct the post-war order of law and precedent, and has abrogated any number of agreements and conventions, it is important to understand that this is not Russia’s aim.
At the very core of the US’s lawlessness is this: The post-war order created an international system of law, that while recognizing the supremacy of the victors of the war as evidenced in the structure of the UN Security Council, was also quite truly based in principles of equality between nations and the right to self determination.
In the several decades that followed the end of WWII the world saw a global anti-colonial and anti-imperialist uprising, primarily in the third world, which – despite some frustrations at the hands of US imperialism – was able to make good on the promises and values enshrined in the UN Charter. While the US continued to violate human rights and international law in some major instances; in South-east Asia and Central America in particular – its primary interaction with the world at large was not reliant on lawlessness as an operating system.
The US was agreeable to this post-war legal order, because through the international financial system of banks and parent structures like the IMF and WTO, they could dominate and control the third world countries economically even after they had won formal independence and sovereignty.
As many of these countries grew up, and in some ways surpassed the US, the method of maintaining hegemony through economic domination, that could counter the legal equality of nation-states, became less and less useful proportionally.
This explains in large part why the US has needed to defy international law as its primary operating system in order to hold on to or regain its once dominant position.
The combined forces of China, Russia, and Iran on the Eurasian continent cannot likely be defeated. The US is keenly aware of this, but for reasons of its own internal political and military culture, required ‘evidence’ in the form of a massively successful air campaign on the part of the Russians. This is what the Russians delivered today, and that was probably the main reason for it.
So what was said today behind closed doors?
What has probably in fact happened is a series of ultimatums were given by either side, but Russia is holding the cards. The US’s primary bargaining tactic is to overplay its hand, and to bluff. Russia being aware of this, and aware of the delicate and sensitive US position given its newly discovered mortality, probably politely nodded in agreement to the US’s threatening and outrageous claims and threats. All the while, however, it kept its focus on communicating their own final and unmoved position.
What has not happened is any sort of joint plan by the US and Russia to strike at ISIS targets. US media which hints at this are serving the primary role of running two kinds of interference: dissembling the reality that the US’s main creation cum ally is in fact ISIS, and to make it look like the US is still part of something which smells or sounds like ‘winning’.
What may have indeed happened is the US negotiating on behalf of Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to provide safe exit corridors for their foreign mercenary/extremist (hybrid) army groupments, and other important leaders, experts, and trainers. There is a growing view among many analysts that among the real refugees coming into Europe, are important leaders and trainers from ISIS/FSA/Al Nusra who got a bit ahead of the curve and made their exits a few weeks sooner.
What Kerry publicly said which is of critical importance – and what gives away the real nature of today’s talk – that is US capitulation militarily – was this:
“As Sergey said to you, we agreed on the imperative of a … as soon as possible, perhaps as soon as tomorrow, but as soon as possible – having a military to military deconflec .. deconfliction discussion, meeting, conference, whichever, whatever could be done as soon as possible, because we agree on the urgency of that deconfliction.”
A military deconfliction discussion is neutrally postured face saving language for something more adequately described as ‘disentanglement’ or perhaps even ‘terms of conditional surrender’.
To stare right in the face of the obvious – we must call it as it is. For two parties to have a deconfliction discussion – they must be in conflict. This is what was at the core of this last minute talk.
Another very significant thing that was not mentioned publicly was any talk of Syrian President Assad resigning from office.
There is little doubt who – between Kerry and Lavrov – begged for this emergency meeting to take place.
Outside of this more or less outright admission of defeat on the part of the US, is the similarity this has to the Debaltsevo situation and the Minsk Agreement.
This serves as a parallel to the Ukraine conflict where we saw the Debaltsevo cauldron, and the surrounding of what Motorola claimed publicly were NATO soldiers (whether in mercenary formations like Greystone/ Blackwater/ Xe/ Academi was not important), and the subsequent Minsk II Agreement built upon the defeat of the US proxy forces at Russian proxy force hands.
We also therefore must speculate as to whether combatants from the MI6, CIA, Mosssad and other secret military/special forces/ and/or the western mercenary outfits linked to these were among today’s casualties.
And like with the Minsk II agreement, we will see the US continually attempt to sabotage it or work contrary to its own stated commitments.
At the same time, Russia is well aware of this, and will rely more heavily on its primary strength in today’s emerging world: multi-polarity.
The US alliance is falling apart, and any wrong move which smells like a greater conflict could send the fragile US economy into shock mode. It has been difficult enough to use debt spending and an increasing debt-to-GDP ratio to simulate (not stimulate) growth. It has been difficult enough to shift numbers around to make a growing unemployment rate look like a shrinking one.
What Russia has essentially offered the US is also similar to September 2013 in Syria, but in heightened form, when Russia provided the US – as now – a very graceful and dignified official exit from the conflict. This came at the heels of a failed false flag attempt by the US to place the blame for a chemical weapons attack on the Syrian government.
What the US has threatened behind closed doors is that the it will double-down on its support for Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, or if you prefer ‘ISIS’. This dovetails nicely with what has emerged publicly from Kerry, which is that Russia will “be allowed” to fight ISIS on its own.
To really understand how these two fit together, we need only hear from US presidential candidates like Trump, whose job it has been to float this idea. The idea is to ‘let’ Russia handle this fight, but with the real aim being here to increase support to ISIS with the goal of creating an Afghanistan like entanglement for Russia.
Truly, what was just said on live television at this late hour – after a long day of Russia obliterating at least 8 ISIS targets in 20 sorties – must be at odds with what was said behind closed doors.
As Lavrov spoke in the clear and transparent language of Russian diplomacy, Kerry had no choice but to nod his head in agreement, as if Lavrov’s words were his own choosing.
Evidence that Kerry was forced into an agreement not to his liking behind closed doors, were his final public statements.
Conclusively and to summarize these; that while the two men had just tentatively agreed on points of principle – a Unified Syria, a Sovereign Syria, a Democratic Syria, a Secular Syria, and a Syria that is home to all ethnic and confessional groups – he would have to take this back to Obama and ‘his team’ for final approval.
In a diplomatic faux pas and incorrectly speaking for Lavrov, Kerry also included that Lavrov would likely be taking this back to Putin for approval. But it is not likely that Lavrov needs any further consultation given that what was agreed to were probably the full list of requirements from the Russian side. Victory does not typically require approval from above to accept – terms of surrender often do.
The difference is, Lavrov came, in standard Russian form, with the full authority of state to enter into the agreement of their own choosing, to begin with. Lavrov, like the gentleman he is, allowed the child-like Kerry to engage in a little more face-saving damage control.
Of course, Lavrov will not object publicly or correct Kerry. Russia’ position of strength is not based on what Kerry thinks or does not think, says or does not say, but rather on its position in the international community.
Russia’s strength lays with its partners in the region and on its actions founded firmly in principles of international law, and its military capacity – as resoundingly demonstrated today.
Russian strategy has been based upon its understanding between the relationship of actual power and support ‘in principle’ from the international community. As the US adventure has run out of gas, and run out of prospects for success – there has been an equal decrease in support from the international community. Filling the support vacuum, is Russia.
It is indeed very interesting to witness in real time the increased isolation of the US, and its decreased ability to make unilateral actions and demands upon the world. It is amazing to see that Kerry on live TV publicly surrendered the US position on Syria to Russia.
JOAQUIN FLORES, based in Belgrade, serves as director for the Center for Syncretic Studies. The center was founded in 2013 in Belgrade as an international ideological education organisation, a discussion forum, review of significant works and news items, and an advocacy organization developing proposal recommendations, as well a research facility for syncretic and inter-disciplinary social analysis. He is also the managing editor of Fort Russ news service, as well as the president of the Berlin based Independent Journalist Association for Peace.