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Americans constantly portray Russia as the enemy, but what do Russians do?

Russian people do not obsess about America at all now, nor did they while Russia was part of the Soviet Union.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Americans are immersed in a culture that is steeped with war dramas. If there is not a real war to depict, it is common to create a drama from a “what if?” style of fantasy. In that regard, American cinema is well-supplied with movies about Russia, the Soviet Union, the Cold War and possible alternate histories.

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Do these titles look familiar?

  • The Hunt for Red October
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Thirteen Days
  • Rocky IV
  • Crimson Tide
  • The Day After
  • Red Dawn (1984)
  • WarGames
  • Rambo
  • Threads
  • Dr Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

A similar sense exists in the American literary scene, with books like Red Storm Rising, 1984, Animal Farm, Brave New World, Cardinal of the Kremlin, Invader, Alas Babylon, On the Beach, Lord of the Flies, and many, many others. All of these books, some of them not American, but still Western, infuse the Western culture with one main basic idea:

Communism is an enemy ideology. Russia is / was the world’s largest and most powerful Communist nation. Therefore, Russia is an enemy of the West, and regardless of any different developments in history, Russia is not to be trusted.

Taken in this context, Russiagate and its associated controversies and sanctions are not anything new for the United States, because Russia has “never been trustworthy” and so this is “how we deal with these untrustworthy people.”

The news rhetoric has been almost 100% unanimous on this point, and American political figures appear to be either lost in the belief that this is true, or afraid to give any rebuttal or correction to it. All except Senator Rand Paul and President Donald Trump at this point.

But what about in Russia? Do the Russian people feel the same way about the Americans? Was there such a framework for literature and cinema in the Russian culture both in the Soviet times and since? This is a point whose answer is somewhat elusive to many Westerners, because one of the primary characteristics of Russian life is that the people read and speak Russian. Russian is a language that is difficult to “fit in” to anything commonly understood among Westerners. The letters are different, and the language often sounds to Americans like the Russian is speaking backwards. We can identify the language by its sound but, aside from words like “Da” and “Nyet” (Да, нет), most Americans have no idea what is going on when a Russian speaks.

However, some experience in Russia and discussions and pseudo-interviews on this topic reveal some surprising facts:

  • During the Cold War, Russians did not consider the Americans or the West to be a threat. Indeed, the response from Russian people who are now about fifty years old is pretty consistent. Russian citizenry did not consider the threat of nuclear war with the West.
  • Russian movie and literary themes rarely concerned themselves with Communism. From the period of the 1960’s until the end of the Cold War at least, this was true. Communism was an established fact of life, but it was not common to find real communist ideologues. The image of “Party Orthodoxy” that was portrayed in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four was a rare occurrence. Party membership advanced economic opportunity, so it was a calculated move for many in the Soviet Union or its satellite countries to be loyal Party Members. But that is usually about as far as things went.
  • Russian movies almost never focused on the ideology of Communism. Some classic movies in Russia during some of the most stressful moments during the Cold War were movies like “The Irony of Fate / Enjoy Your Bath! (Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!)“, a romantic comedy poking fun at the rigidly planned cities under Communism; “Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (Москва слезам не верит)“, a 1981 Academy-Award winner in the Foreign Film category, which was a profoundly deep life-story drama film. Other movies included moral comedies, such as “Sweet Woman (Сладкая женщина)” that delivered a funny and tragic message about the error of materialism. These movies and others evoked almost no references to the Communist style of government in place. In fact, the stories in all these movies take place at “ground level” – in the area of exploring personal and funny themes. IMDB’s website carries this list of the fifty best Soviet Era films. Of this group, only one film is about the October 1917 Revolution, “October: Ten Days that Shook the World”, and only one other film “The Sacrifice” made in 1986 by Andrei Tarnovsky as an expatriate from the Soviet Union, refers to World War III. Most movies on this list are dramas, comedies, a little bit of science fiction and war movies about WWII / The Great Patriotic War and World War I.
  • After the Cold War, Russian people got more interested in America and the West, but generally they preferred their own country, and still do to this day. A commonly held view in America includes the story of the Russian Bride who comes to America to escape the horrible conditions in her own country. This is simply not the case. While it is true that life in many small villages in Russia is in often quite primitive conditions, this is not always so. Further life in the large cities, where most Russian people live, is quite modern. It is not as uniformly luxurious as the expanse of the US, but it is far from desperate. Life in Moscow, Samara, St Petersburg, Irkutsk, Saratov, Sochi – all these and other places have most or all the creature comforts of the West, at lower prices and one is not required to leave the country to have a good life. However, it is also true that many Russians are quite curious about the West, and they come and many of them stay. But the fable of the greedy Russian woman who marries to use men for their money is mostly the result of a few bad actors.

This can be examined in two significant ways, though there are certainly other points of view. One would be to maintain that the reason there were no movies made about Communism was because the Communist government forbade it. This is a point of view that is popularly held in the West, and was especially expressed during the height of the Cold War during the 1970’s.

Another point of view is to note that the Soviet Union after the 1950’s was in a modification stage anyway. The glory of the Revolution was old and faded away, and most people were concerned with living daily lives. The victory of Communism was not as important as dinner for the family.

The causes for the differences between Russian and American viewpoints are debatable without end. But the result is very interesting as it bears on current times. In the majority, Russian people fear and despise war. They do not have any desire to invade other nations, though they support their military actions, and they have no desire for war with the West. President Vladimir Putin has maintained this point of view publicly on countless occasions.

The Russian social mindset is collective. Not just “collective” like in “collective farms” under Communism, but rather a principle known as:

Sobornost (Russian: Собо́рность, IPA: [sɐˈbornəstʲ] “Spiritual community of many jointly living people”)[1] is a term coined by the early Slavophiles, Ivan Kireyevsky and Aleksey Khomyakov, to underline the need for co-operation between people, at the expense of individualism, on the basis that the opposing groups focus on what is common between them.

The character in people that sobornost develops is that Russian people pretty much love Russia. They are interested in the welfare of the country, and they know the country’s success is their success. It is not very common to think of one’s own life as completely independent of the needs of others for Russians. This certainly developed through 1,000 years of Orthodox Christianity, which embraces the same view.

It also makes it less important for there to be an “enemy” to fight. 

The combination of rugged individualism and great prosperity in the United States may be two factors that create the need for an enemy to exist so that we have something to oppose and defeat. This is a topic worthy of further exploration in the future.

The Russian people’s reaction to the actions of the West, particularly the United States and England in recent years, has been a mixture of frustration and sadness. But it is also infused with faith, especially among the Orthodox Christians of the country. They know that when the Church is despised, the nation fails. They know this from experience, and they also know that as long as Russia remains true to the Church and its Lord, nothing will defeat it.

The frustration over the West is akin to the feelings a parent might have as they watch their teenaged son or daughter destroy themselves with drug-use and riotous living. They cannot stop it, but it is very sad to watch. More to come…

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Valeria NollantomtiredofthemedialiesAdrengSeán Murphy Recent comment authors
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Valeria Nollan
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Valeria Nollan

Excellent analysis. It will surprise many in the West that this part of the world is not the center of the universe for Russians (as I have written elsewhere). Russians deeply love their language, culture, and country. Many whom I know are saddened at the ways in which the West is destroying itself, while Russia keeps making improvements in the quality of life of its people and its national security. It was the West that invaded and brutalized Russia twice in the 20th century. If the West isn’t careful, it will become mostly irrelevant to Russia.

tom
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tom

Brave New World, Animal Farm and On The Beach have absolutely nothing to do with Russia, the USSR or communism. Let’s not go overboard in our desperation to throw together a grab-bag of titles.

tiredofthemedialies
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tiredofthemedialies

“The frustration over the West is akin to the feelings a parent might have as they watch their teenaged son or daughter destroy themselves with drug-use and riotous living.” what a silly article and above statement. The united snakes is diametrically opposed to anything Russian, and seeks to demonise, destabilise and then invade. (and both military-industrial complexes profit from this) Don’t the Russian folks know about the 26 or so united snakes bases which surround the Rodina, or the very many united snakes-funded chemical and biological weapons establishments ?? (Seven built in Banderastan in only 12 months) Gosh! I wonder… Read more »

Seán Murphy
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Seán Murphy

How is Lord of the Flies either communist or anti Russian? Has the author of this article actually read any of the books he lists?

Adreng
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Adreng

I agree that there are not many Soviet and Russian films with the United States as an enemy. This does not mean, however, that there are no films about wars against enemies. WWII (the Great Patriotic War) is a recurrent topic both in Soviet and post-Soviet times – the percentage of films about WWII is probably much higher in Russia than in Western countries. But these films have a different function. While Holliwood’s enemies are often matched to the ideological needs of the day, Soviet and Russian cinema dealt with the Nazis more often. These films about WWII do not… Read more »

slavko
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slavko

Interesting question that THE Durak poses here “… but what do the Russians do?”

For starters, the Russians invade the neighbors. And that’s a biggie.

Kenny Lee
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Kenny Lee

A country whose society embraces traditional Christian moral values is blessed.

Nexusfast123
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Nexusfast123

America is like a petulant child that has never grown up. After WW2 the US had everything – control of most of the worlds technologies and markets, trusted custodian of the world’s financial system, etc. They have this strange obsession with being warriors. Amusingly they are not particularly good at that and unlike other nations they have not experienced mass death and privation. They have pissed it all away to a point where the US will collapse economically or be turned into ash.

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Major Syrian Army Assault On Southeast Idlib As Sochi Deal Unravels

Though the Syrian war has grown cold in terms of international spotlight and media interest since September, it is likely again going to ramp up dramatically over the next few months. 

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Via Zerohedge


The Syrian Army unleashed a major assault across the southeastern part of Idlib province on Saturday, a military source told Middle East news site Al-Masdar in a breaking report. According to the source, government forces pounded jihadist defenses across the southeast Idlib axis with a plethora of artillery shells and surface-to-surface missiles.

This latest exchange between the Syrian military and jihadist rebels comes as the Sochi Agreement falls apart in northwestern Syria, and in response to a Friday attack by jihadists which killed 22 Syrian soldiers near a planned buffer zone around the country’s last major anti-Assad and al-Qaeda held region. The jihadist strikes resulted in the highest number of casualties for the army since the Sochi Agreement was established on September 17th.

Though the Syrian war has grown cold in terms of international spotlight and media interest since September, it is likely again going to ramp up dramatically over the next few months.

The Al-Masdar source said the primary targets for the Syrian Army were the trenches and military posts for Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham in the towns of Al-Taman’ah, Khuwayn, Babulin, Haish, Jarjanaz, Um Jalal, and Mashirfah Shmaliyah. In retaliation for the Syrian Army assault, the jihadist rebels began shelling the government towns of Ma’an, Um Hariteen, and ‘Atshan.

Damascus has been critical of the Sochi deal from the start as it’s criticized Turkey’s role in the Russian-brokered ceasefire plan, especially as a proposed ‘de-militarized’ zone has failed due to jihadist insurgents still holding around 70% of the planned buffer area which they were supposed to withdraw from by mid-October. Sporadic clashes have rocked the “buffer zone” since.

Russia itself recently acknowledged the on the ground failure of the Sochi agreement even as parties officially cling to it. During a Thursday press briefing by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova admitted the following:

We have to state that the real disengagement in Idlib has not been achieved despite Turkey’s continuing efforts to live up to its commitments under the Russian-Turkish Memorandum of September 17.

This followed Russia also recently condemning  “sporadic clashes” and “provocations” by the jihadist group HTS (the main al-Qaeda presence) in Idlib.

Likely due to Moscow seeing the writing on the wall that all-out fighting and a full assault by government forces on Idlib will soon resume, Russian naval forces continued a show of force in the Mediterranean this week.

Russian military and naval officials announced Friday that its warships held extensive anti-submarine warfare drills in the Mediterranean. Specifically the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s frigates Admiral Makarov and Admiral Essen conducted the exercise in tandem with deck-based helicopters near Syrian coastal waters.

Notably, according to TASS, the warships central to the drill are “armed with eight launchers of Kalibr-NK cruise missiles that are capable of striking surface, coastal and underwater targets at a distance of up to 2,600 km.”

Since September when what was gearing up to be a major Syrian-Russian assault on Idlib was called off through the Russian-Turkish ceasefire agreement, possibly in avoidance of the stated threat that American forces would intervene in defense of the al-Qaeda insurgent held province (also claiming to have intelligence of an impending government “chemical attack”), the war has largely taken a back-burner in the media and public consciousness.

But as sporadic fighting between jihadists and Syrian government forces is reignited and fast turning into major offensive operations by government forces, the war could once again be thrust back into the media spotlight as ground zero for a great power confrontation between Moscow and Washington.

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Trump Quietly Orders Elimination of Assange

The destruction of Assange has clearly been arranged for, at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, just as the destruction of Jamal Khashoggi was by Saudi Arabia’s Government.

Eric Zuesse

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On June 28th, the Washington Examiner headlined “Pence pressed Ecuadorian president on country’s protection of Julian Assange” and reported that “Vice President Mike Pence discussed the asylum status of Julian Assange during a meeting with Ecuador’s leader on Thursday, following pressure from Senate Democrats who have voiced concerns over the country’s protection of the WikiLeaks founder.” Pence had been given this assignment by U.S. President Donald Trump. The following day, the Examiner bannered “Mike Pence raises Julian Assange case with Ecuadorean president, White House confirms” and reported that the White House had told the newspaper, “They agreed to remain in close coordination on potential next steps going forward.”

On August 24th, a court-filing by Kellen S. Dwyer, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Alexandria Division of the Eastern District of Virginia, stated: “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure [than sealing the case, hiding it from the public] is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged. … This motion and the proposed order would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.” That filing was discovered by Seamus Hughes, a terrorism expert at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. On November 15th, he posted an excerpt of it on Twitter, just hours after the Wall Street Journal had reported on the same day that the Justice Department was preparing to prosecute Assange. However, now that we know “the fact that Assange has been charged” and that the U.S. Government is simply waiting “until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter,” it is clear and public that the arrangements which were secretly made between Trump’s agent Pence and the current President of Ecuador are expected to deliver Assange into U.S. custody for criminal prosecution, if Assange doesn’t die at the Ecuadorean Embassy first.

On November 3rd (which, of course, preceded the disclosures on November 15th), Julian Assange’s mother, Christine Ann Hawkins, described in detail what has happened to her son since the time of Pence’s meeting with Ecuador’s President. She said:

He is, right now, alone, sick, in pain, silenced in solitary confinement, cut off from all contact, and being tortured in the heart of London. … He has been detained nearly eight years, without trial, without charge. For the past six years, the UK Government has refused his requests to exit for basic health needs, … [even for] vitamin D. … As a result, his health has seriously deteriorated. … A slow and cruel assassination is taking place before our very eyes. … They will stop at nothing. … When U.S. Vice President Mike Pence recently visited Ecuador, a deal was done to hand Julian over to the U.S. He said that because the political cost of expelling Julian from the Embassy was too high, the plan was to break him down mentally…   to such a point that he will break and be forced to leave. … The extradition warrant is held in secret, four prosecutors but no defense, and no judge, … without a prima-facie case. [Under the U.S. system, the result nonetheless can be] indefinite detention without trial. Julian could be held in Guantanamo Bay and tortured, sentenced to 45 years in a maximum security prison, or face the death penalty,” for “espionage,” in such secret proceedings.

Her phrase, “because the political cost of expelling Julian from the Embassy was too high” refers to the worry that this new President of Ecuador has, of his cooperating with the U.S. regime’s demands and thereby basically ceding sovereignty to those foreigners (the rulers of the U.S.), regarding the Ecuadorian citizen, Assange.

This conservative new President of Ecuador, who has replaced the progressive President who had granted Assange protection, is obviously doing all that he can to comply with U.S. President Trump and the U.S. Congress’s demand for Assange either to die soon inside the Embassy or else be transferred to the U.S. and basically just disappear, at Guantanamo or elsewhere. Ecuador’s President wants to do this in such a way that Ecuador’s voters won’t blame him for it, and that he’ll thus be able to be re-elected. This is the type of deal he apparently has reached with Trump’s agent, Pence. It’s all secret, but the evidence on this much of what was secretly agreed-to seems clear. There are likely other details of the agreement that cannot, as yet, be conclusively inferred from the subsequent events, but this much can.

Basically, Trump has arranged for Assange to be eliminated either by illness that’s imposed by his Ecuadorean agent, or else by Assange’s own suicide resulting from that “torture,” or else by America’s own criminal-justice system. If this elimination happens inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, then that would be optimal for America’s President and Congress; but, if it instead happens on U.S. soil, then that would be optimal for Ecuador’s President. Apparently, America’s President thinks that his subjects, the American people, will become sufficiently hostile toward Assange so that even if Assange disappears or is executed inside the United States, this President will be able to retain his supporters. Trump, of course, needs his supporters, but this is a gamble that he has now clearly taken. This much is clear, even though the rest of the secret agreement that was reached between Pence and Ecuador’s President is not.

Scooter Libby, who had arranged for the smearing of Valerie Plame who had tried to prevent the illegal and deceit-based 2003 invasion of Iraq, was sentenced to 30 months but never spent even a day in prison, and U.S. President Trump finally went so far as to grant him a complete pardon, on 13 April 2018. (The carefully researched docudrama “Fair Game” covered well the Plame-incident.) Libby had overseen the career-destruction of a courageous CIA agent, Plame, who had done the right thing and gotten fired for it; and Trump pardoned Libby, thus retroactively endorsing the lie-based invasion of Iraq in 2003. By contrast, Trump is determined to get Julian Assange killed or otherwise eliminated, and even Democrats in Congress are pushing for him to get that done. The new President of Ecuador is doing their bidding. Without pressure from the U.S. Government, Assange would already be a free man. Thus, either Assange will die (be murdered) soon inside the Embassy, or else he will disappear and be smeared in the press under U.S. control. And, of course, this is being done in such a way that no one will be prosecuted for the murder or false-imprisonment. Trump had promised to “clean the swamp,” but as soon as he was elected, he abandoned that pretense; and, as President, he has been bipartisan on that matter, to hide the crimes of the bipartisan U.S. Government, and he is remarkably similar in policy to his immediate predecessors, whom he had severely criticized while he was running for the Presidency.

In any event, the destruction of Assange has clearly been arranged for, at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, just as the destruction of Jamal Khashoggi was by Saudi Arabia’s Government; and, just like in Khashoggi’s case, the nation’s ruler controls the prosecutors and can therefore do whatever he chooses to do that the rest of the nation’s aristocracy consider to be acceptable.

The assault against truth isn’t only against Assange, but it is instead also closing down many of the best, most courageous, independent news sites, such as washingtonsblog. However, in Assange’s case, the penalty for having a firm commitment to truth has been especially excruciating and will almost certainly end in his premature death. This is simply the reality. Because of the system under which we live, a 100% commitment to truth is now a clear pathway to oblivion. Assange is experiencing this reality to the fullest. That’s what’s happening here.

—————

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.

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Libya’s Peace Process Dies in Palermo

The best the Palermo negotiators could come up with at the end was a bland statement declaring their hope that sometime in the future all the Libyan forces will meet to sort out their differences.

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Authored by Richard Galustian for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity:


“Resounding flop” was the verdict of Italy’s former prime minister Matteo Renzi on this week’s Libya peace conference held in Palermo. He’s not wrong. The conference hosted by Italy’s new government achieved the remarkable feat of making Libya’s tensions worse, not better. Acrimony broke out between the parties, and Turkey’s delegation walked out, its vice president Fuat Oktay accusing unnamed States of trying to “hijack the process.”

Some sources in Palermo suggested, yet to be verified, that the US thought the Conference was not too bad: a joke if true.

Moreover the mystery we might ask is what “process” is there to hijack? Because the truth is, the peace plan the conference was supporting is already dead.

That plan was the brainchild of the United Nations, launched more than a year ago with the aim of ending Libya’s split between warring Eastern and Western governments with elections in December.

Even before the first delegates set foot in the pleasant Sicilian city of Palermo this week, the UN admitted the election date of December 10 they had decided to scrap.

The eastern government, led by the parliament in Tobruk, had made moves in the summer to organize a referendum on a new constitution which would govern the elections. But no referendum was held, and most Libyans agree it would be pointless because Tripoli, home to a third of the country’s population, is under the iron grip of multiple warring militias who have the firepower to defy any new elected government. Hours after the delegates left Palermo, those militias began a new bout of fighting in the Tripoli suburbs.

The best the Palermo negotiators could come up with at the end of the talks was a bland statement declaring their hope that sometime in the future all the Libyan forces will meet in a grand conference to sort out their differences – and this after four years of civil war. To say that chances of this are slim is an understatement.

Dominating the Palermo talks, and indeed Libya’s political landscape, was and is Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army, the country’s most powerful formation. In four years, the LNA has secured Libya’s key oil fields and Benghazi, its second city, ridding most of the east Libya of Islamist militias.

Haftar met reluctantly negotiators in Palermo, but insisted he was not part of the talks process. The Italian government press office said Haftar was not having dinner with the other participants nor joining them for talks. Haftar specifically opposed the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood champion, Qatar, at the event along with Turkey.

Haftar clearly only attended because he had a few days before visiting Moscow – which sent to Sicily Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev – and because also of Egyptian President Sisi’s presence along with his allies.

Possibly Haftar was simply fed up. Twice in the past two years he has attended previous peace talks, hosted each time in Paris, giving the nod to declarations that Libya’s militias would dissolve. Yet the militias remain as strong as ever in Tripoli.

Haftar is detested by the militias and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) but supported by a large segment of the population – 68 percent, according to an opinion poll by America’s USAID. His popularity is based on a single policy – his demand that security be in the hands of regular police and military, not the militias.

Not everyone is happy, certainly not Turkey, which is backing Islamist, MB and Misratan forces in western Libya who detest Haftar. Yet Turkey’s greatest statesman, the great Kamal Ataturk, was a champion of secularism: After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire following World War One Turkey faced the prospect of utter disintegration, and it was Attaturk who rose to the challenge, defending the country’s borders, while ordering that the mullahs, while responsible for spiritual welfare, have no political power.

Political Islam is not popular in Libya either. Libya is a Muslim country, its people know their faith, and most want government to be decided through the ballot box.

The problem for Libya is what happens next with the peace process broken. Haftar has in the past threatened to move on Tripoli and rid the militias by force if they refuse to dissolve, and it may come to that – a fierce escalation of the civil war.

The second possibility is that Libya will split. The east is, thanks to the LNA, militarily secure. It also controls two thirds of the country’s oil and operates as a separate entity, down to it banknotes, which are printed in Russia while the Tripoli government’s are printed in Britain. A formal split would be an economic boon for the lightly populated east, but a disaster for Tripolitania, its population losing most of the oil, its only source of export income.

Yet with the failure of peace talks, and no sign of Tripoli militias dissolving, military escalation or breakup seem more likely than ever.

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