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Arab unity and Russian unity – the Donbass and Kurdistan case study

Peace will not come about through the creation of more states based on ethno-nationalism. Instead, peace will come to both the Arab and Russian worlds through increased political unity which embraces the freedoms of all minorities within a single unified realm.

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Imagine if a new regime formed in Kiev and then said to the Donbass Republics, you can have full cultural, economic, spiritual, linguistic and even immigration autonomy so long as you hold off on the issue of receiving international recognition for your Republics for the time being? One doesn’t actually need to imagine this, because the framework of the Minsk agreements allows for just such a thing. Furthermore, the Minsk agreements are supported by Russia in earnest while members of the so-called “international community” pay lip service to the agreements, albeit while continuing to arm and fund a genocidal Kiev regime.

The reason that the Donbass people voted to form independent republics was because an illegal, unconstitutional and criminal regime seized power in Kiev through force. It was and remains a regime which practices a fascist ideology that Russians and fraternal peoples remember fighting and defeating between 22 June 1941 and 9 May 1945. Russians throughout the world say “never again” to such fascism and this is why protests throughout what is currently Ukraine, broke out in the months after the Kiev coup of February 2014. In the case of Donbass, this resulted in a declaration of independence. In other places, such as Odessa, it resulted in the slaughter of innocent men and women, many of whom were in their teens and early 20s. In effect they were little more than children.

Remembering The Odessa Massacre: 2 May 2014

The situation in Iraq could not be more different. Ever since the late 1990s, even during the rule of President Saddam Hussein, Kurds in Iraq started to enjoy large amounts of legal autonomy. This was further enhanced after 2005. The Kurdish regions of northern Iraq were in a position that can rightly be described as enviable, certainly from the perspective of Donbass. Kurds in northern Iraq had their own economy that was totally de-centralised in respect of its relationship to Baghdad, they had linguistic and cultural autonomy, they issued their own visas and controlled their own international airports, they had surprisingly good relations with their Turkish neighbour and they were spared much of the violence of the brutal Iraqi civil war.

But this was not good enough and against the wishes of the entire international community and in violation of the Iraqi constitution which Baghdad continues to uphold,  Iraqi Kurds voted to secede from Iraq in a referendum that was boycotted by Arabs and Turkomen Iraqis. Making matters worse, Kurdish secessionist began waving flags of Iraq’s historic Israeli enemy throughout the process. In so doing, the Kurdish referendum became a de-facto attack on Arab human rights and the right of the Arab world to survive in peace.

One must also consider the security concerns of both Turkey and Iran which are very real and very pressing. In this sense, Kurdish nationalism is essentially a regional imperialist movement which threatens the territorial integrity of two major Arab states (Syria and Iraq) as well as Turkey and Iran. This is similar to how Albanian regional imperialism threatens the peace and unity of Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Montenegro.

Albania proves that failed states can also be imperial aggressors

Arab Nationalism versus Ethno-nationalism 

The 20th century witnessed the birth of Arab nationalism, a series of movements and political parties which aimed to restore independence and unity in the Arab world after centuries of Ottoman rule, as well as more recent decades of western imperialist occupation and aggression.

Arab nationalists were anti-tribal, progressive and anti-sectarian. Arab nationalists sought to retain the traditional harmony in which Arab Muslims lived with one another as well as with their Christian and Jewish neighbours. Likewise, Arab nationalist parties did not favour discrimination against ethnic minorities. In many cases, Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians welcomed Arab nationalism as a progressive respite against late Ottoman realities that were increasingly ethnocentric and genocidal.

The Armenian Genocide: 102 years later

The progressive realities of Arab nationalism contrast with the aggression of western imperialism, the backwardness of Wahhabism, the settler colonialism of Zionism and the ethno-nationalism of present day Kurdish secessionists.

In this sense, while the Kurds have spun a narrative that they are oppressed freedom fighters, the reality is rather different. Iraqi Kurds are attempting to break apart the unity of the Arab world and in so doing, threatening the survival of what remains of the Arab nationalist ideal. If the Kurds got their way, many Arabs and other minorities such as Turkomen would find themselves becoming refugees in their own country as a result of Kurdish ethno-nationalism. By contrast, in the modern Arab world, Kurds are not threatened. One could say that they are fact, in a privileged position.

Furthermore, with many Arab nationalist governments being the victims of neo-imperialism from the west, Wahhabi terrorism from Saudi Arabia and its allies, in addition to Israel occupation and intimation, one can easily see why Arab states like Iraq have clearly stated their opposition to a further dagger in the heart of the Arab world.

Russian unity 

Like the Arab world, the Russian world has experienced similar attempts by ethno-nationalist movements to destroy the unity of a peoples who traditionally lived peacefully among each other and with ethnic and religious minorities.

The Russian Empire, Soviet Union and Russia Federation were/are all multi-ethnic and multi-cultural states, wherein the Russian majority lived across vast united lands after years of uniting various Slavic and non-Slavic peoples. In the Russian Empire, mosques, churches and other places of worship co-existed. In the Soviet Union, Marxist-Leninism helped people aspire to a new kind of unity and in today’s Russian Federation, all religious and ethnic minorities have wide ranging cultural freedoms, all under the guiding force of the Russian constitution.

Like Kurdish regions of Iraq, Muslim Chechnya enjoys vast socio-economic autonomy under the Russian constitution.

This is not to say that any one system is perfect, but even an imperfect united state is preferable to the pangs and tumult that almost always accompanies violent ethno-nationalist secessionism. In this sense, Yugoslavia is a prime example of a successful, prosperous and peaceful state which was torn apart by largely foreign funded ethno-nationalism.

Western hypocrisy and the right to self-determination

However, like the Arab world after the Sykes-Picot agreement, the post-Soviet map of historic Russian lands have been artificially divided into states which do not correspond to real regional identities.

The problem of political geography 

In an attempt to appease nationalist movements and frankly because many Bolsheviks came to detest the idea of Russian culture, an internal map of Soviet republics was created in the 1920s wherein the local regions or gubernya (губе́рния) were eliminated in favour of states within a state.

Russia’s long history of resilience in the face of invasion and occupation

These Soviet republics did not often conform to the realities of regional identities. Whereas the internal map of the Russian Empire were largely in keeping with local traditions, the proto-nationalism of the Soviet map paved the way for disaster when the unifying ideology of Marxist-Leninism was killed off in 1991.

After 1991, peoples who had shared a fraternal cultural in a united state that nested multi-cultural sub-regions, was replaced by the kind of violent nationalism which tore Europe apart after the First World War, thus setting the stage for the Second World War.

Ukraine, which was perhaps the most artificial of all the Soviet republics, has been the greatest victim of this nationalist tendencies as a minority of people from former Polish regions have declared war upon the Russians of the historical Malorossiya region of the Russian state.

DONETSK: Alexander Zakharchenko declares new state of Malorossiya

In 1916, the secretive Sykes–Picot Agreement which was eventually exposed to the world by the young Soviet press, divided much of the Arab world into nation-states which continues to have the effect of dividing a peoples who like Russians, were once united peacefully among themselves and among the minorities of their wider civilisational realm.

However, while some seek to fight nation-state nationalism with more nation-state nationalism, this has only created problems for both Russians, Arabs and the minorities of each realm.

Freedom and reality  

The world has come to accept that the division of Germany after 1945 was unjust to the German people and likewise, while the political situation remains incredibly difficult, both Seoul and Pyongyang eventually seek the re-unification of the single Korean people.

Likewise, both Russians and Arabs can and should work to peacefully reunite with one another while retaining the political understanding of and compassion towards minorities of each realm which defined the great Russian states of the past as well as the pre-Ottoman Arab caliphates.

While Arab nationalists more or less settled on retaining the post-Sykes-Picot map, in practice, attempts at union and federation were continually made, most recently the Federation of Arab Republics which existed between Libya, Egypt and Syria between 1972 and 1977.

The failure of Arab unity has been due to a persistent combination of western corporate imperialism and military occupation (Iraq, Libya and partly Syria for example), the Zionist settler colonialism in Palestine and the inevitable, but not disastrous problems of political leaders who do not always share the same vision.

The problem with modern Russian unity is likewise that the great western powers have armed and funded ethnic minorities in historic Russian lands in order to encircle the Russian Federation and magnify the crisis of Russian refugees.

Russians: the refugees the world prefers to forget

The solution in both cases is not more micro-states, failed states and disputed territories, but more unity, more cooperation and more federation between existing states.

In Donbass, the goal of the anti-fascists is to eventually live in a confederate union between Malorossiya, Belarus and the Russian Federation. Others among the anti-fascist movement advocate for full immersion within the Russian Federation. The position of Moscow is to implement the Minsk agreements, restore constitutional rule in Kiev and live as separate states but with restored fraternal agreements, which prior to 2014 allowed for a common economic area which included freedom of movement with de-facto cultural and religious freedoms for all. In many ways the Eurasian Economic Union, Commonwealth of Independent States and the potential inherent in China’s multi-national One Belt–One Road, will allow Moscow to create a reunion of Russian and fraternal peoples, without needed to engage in the often tricky word of formally redrawing regional maps.

While many scholars focus on the differences between Ba’athism and Nasserism or between the Malorossiya plan and the Minsk agreements, the reality is that while the means differ, the desired end result is much the same, unity among peoples with or without having to redraw specific political borders.

Conclusion

Europe has been the most divided region of the world over the last 2,000 years. Countless small wars fought between sects and later nations stand out against the comparative placidity in the Arab caliphates, the Russian Empire, Soviet Union and pre-19th century Ottoman Empire.

And yet in spite of this, Europe, which incidentally also produced the most aggressive imperialist states in modern history, has formed a European Union which does not legally erase borders, but does create a single unified realm. While problems with the EU dominate the headlines, this again obscures the fact that most Europeans are happy to live in a single free trading area and are happy to have the right to travel across borders as if in a single state.

If a deeply divided Europe can unite, why cannot a formerly united Russian and Arab world reunite? The answer is that they can and that they must. Modern Arabism does not threaten Kurds, not least based on the models of autonomy in Iraq and full citizen rights in Syria. However, Kurdish secessionists like Israeli settler colonists do threaten Arab unity. The solution for the Arab world and the Russian world is therefore the same. Fewer states, not more, and the embrace of pan-nationalisms over ethno-nationalism.

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French opposition rejects Macron’s concessions to Yellow Vests, some demand ‘citizen revolution’

Mélenchon: “I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.”

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Macron’s concessions to the Yellow Vests has failed to appease protesters and opposition politicians, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who called for “citizen’s revolution” to continue until a fair distribution of wealth is achieved.

Immediately after French President Macron declared a “social and economic state of emergency” in response to large-scale protests by members of the Yellow Vest movement, promising a range of concessions to address their grievances, left-wing opposition politician Mélenchon called on the grassroots campaign to continue their revolution next Saturday.

I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.

Macron’s promise of a €100 minimum wage increase, tax-free overtime pay and end-of-year bonuses, Mélenchon argued, will not affect any “considerable part” of the French population. Yet the leader of La France Insoumise stressed that the “decision” to rise up rests with “those who are in action.”

“We expect a real redistribution of wealth,” Benoît Hamon, a former presidential candidate and the founder of the Mouvement Génération, told BFM TV, accusing Macron’s package of measures that benefit the rich.

The Socialist Party’s first secretary, Olivier Faure, also slammed Macron’s financial concessions to struggling workers, noting that his general “course has not changed.”

Although welcoming certain tax measures, Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally (previously National Front), accused the president’s “model” of governance based on “wild globalization, financialization of the economy, unfair competition,” of failing to address the social and cultural consequences of the Yellow Vest movement.

Macron’s speech was a “great comedy,”according to Debout la France chairman, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who accused the French President of “hypocrisy.”

Yet many found Melanchon’s calls to rise up against the government unreasonable, accusing the 67-year-old opposition politician of being an “opportunist” and “populist,” who is trying to hijack the social protest movement for his own gain.

Furthermore, some 54 percent of French believe the Yellow Vests achieved their goals and want rallies to stop, OpinionWay survey showed. While half of the survey respondents considered Macron’s anti-crisis measures unconvincing, another 49 percent found the president to be successful in addressing the demands of the protesters. Some 68 percent of those polled following Macron’s speech on Monday especially welcomed the increase in the minimum wage, while 78 percent favored tax cuts.

The Yellow Vest protests against pension cuts and fuel tax hikes last month were organized and kept strong via social media, without help from France’s powerful labor unions or official political parties. Some noted that such a mass mobilization of all levels of society managed to achieve unprecedented concessions from the government, which the unions failed to negotiate over the last three decades.

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Soros Mimics Hitler’s Bankers: Will Burden Europeans With Debt To ‘Save’ Them

George Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas.

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Via GEFIRA:


After the Second World War, many economists racked their brains to answer the question of how Hitler managed to finance his armament, boost the economy and reduce unemployment.

Today his trick is well known. The economic miracle of Führer’s time became possible thanks to the so-called Mefo promissory notes.

The notes were the idea of the then President of the Reichsbank, Hjalmar Schacht, and served not only to finance the armament of the Wehrmacht for the Second World War, but also to create state jobs, which would otherwise not have been possible through the normal use of the money and capital markets, i.e. the annual increase in savings in Germany.

The Reich thus financed the armaments industry by accepting notes issued by the dummy company Metallurgische Forschungsgesellschaft GmbH (hence the name Mefo) rather than paying them in cash. The creation of money was in full swing from 1934 to 1938 – the total amount of notes issued at that time was 12 billion marks. The Reichsbank declared to the German banks that it was prepared to rediscount the Mefo notes, thus enabling the banks to discount them.

Because of their five-year term, the redemption of notes had to begin in 1939 at the latest. This threatened with enormous inflation. Since Schacht saw this as a threat to the Reichsmark, he expressed his doubts about the Reich Minister of Finance. But it did not help, and Schacht was quickly replaced by Economics Minister Walther Funk, who declared that the Reich would not redeem the Mefo notes, but would give Reich bonds to the Reichsbank in exchange. At the time of Funk, the autonomous Reichsbank statute was abolished, the Reichsbank was nationalized, and inflation exploded in such a way that Mefo notes with a circulation of 60 billion Reichsmark burdened the budget in post-war Germany.

George Soros also proposes such a money flurry in the style of Schacht and Funk.

Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas. He calls on the EU heads of state and governments to effectively deal with the migrant crisis through money flooding, which he calls “surge funding”.

“This would help to keep the influx of refugees at a level that Europe can absorb.”

Can absorb? Soros would be satisfied with the reception of 300,000 to 500,000 migrants per year. However, he is aware that the costs of his ethnic exchange plan are not financially feasible. In addition to the already enormous costs caused by migrants already in Europe, such a large number of new arrivals would add billions each year.

Soros calculates it at 30 billion euros a year, but argues that it would be worth it because “there is a real threat that the refugee crisis could cause the collapse of Europe’s Schengen system of open internal borders among twenty-six European states,” which would cost the EU between 47 and 100 billion euros in GDP losses.

Soros thus sees the financing of migrants and also of non-European countries that primarily receive migrants (which he also advocates) as a win-win relationship. He calls for the introduction of a new tax for the refugee crisis in the member states, including a financial transaction tax, an increase in VAT and the establishment of refugee funds. Soros knows, however, that such measures would not be accepted in the EU countries, so he proposes a different solution, which does not require a vote in the sovereign countries.

The new EU debt should be made by the EU taking advantage of its largely unused AAA credit status and issuing long-term bonds, which would boost the European economy. The funds could come from the European Stability Mechanism and the EU balance of payments support institution.

 “Both also have very similar institutional structures, and they are both backed entirely by the EU budget—and therefore do not require national guarantees or national parliamentary approval.“

In this way, the ESM and the BoPA (Balance of Payments Assistance Facility) would become the new Mefo’s that could issue bills of exchange, perhaps even cheques for Turks, Soros NGOs. Soros calculates that both institutions have a credit capacity of 60 billion, which should only increase as Portugal, Ireland and Greece repay each year the loans they received during the euro crisis. According to Soros, the old debts should be used to finance the new ones in such a way that it officially does not burden the budget in any of the EU Member States. The financial institutions that are to carry out this debt fraud must extend (indeed – cancel) their status, as the leader of the refugees expressed such a wish in his speech.

That Soros is striving to replace the indigenous European population with new arrivals from Africa and Asia is clear to anyone who observes its activities in Europe. The question is: what does he want to do this for and who is the real ruler, behind him, the real leader?

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The French People Feel Screwed

For the first time in his presidency, Macron is in trouble and Europe and America are looking on.

The Duran

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Authored by David Brown via The Gatestone Institute:


On December 4, French Prime Minister Édouard Phillipe told deputies of the ruling party, “La République en Marche”, that a proposed fuel tax rise, which had led to the largest protests France has seen in decades, would be suspended.

The protesters, called Gilets-Jaunes — “Yellow Vests,” because of the vests drivers are obliged by the government to carry in their vehicles in the event of a roadside breakdown — say that the fuel tax was the last straw from a president who took office with a promise to help the economically left-behind but instead has favoured the rich.

Even by French standards, the protests of the “Yellow Vests” during the weekend of December 1 were startling. Burning cars and vast plumes of grey smoke seemed to engulf the Arc De Triomphe as if Paris were at war. Comparisons were drawn with the Bread Wars of the 17th Century and the spirit of the Revolution of the 18th Century.

For more than two weeks, the “Yellow Vests” disrupted France. They paralyzed highways and forced roads to close — causing shortages across the country – and blocked fuel stations from Lille in the North to Marseilles in the South.

During protests in France’s capital, Paris, the “Yellow Vests” were soon joined by a more violent element, who began torching cars, smashing windows and looting stores. 133 were injured, 412 were arrested and more than 10,000 tear gas and stun grenades were fired.

One elderly lady was killed when she was struck by a stray grenade as she tried to shutter her windows against the melee.

There was talk of imposing a State of Emergency.

The “Yellow Vests” present the most significant opposition French President Emmanuel Macron has faced since coming to office in May 2017. Unlike previous protests in France, which have divided public opinion, these have widespread support – 72% according to a Harris Interactive Poll published December 1st.

Fuel tax rises — announced in November before being retracted on December — were intended to help bring down France’s carbon emissions by curbing the use of cars. Macron makes no secret of his wish to be seen as a global leader for environmental reform.

He forgets that back at home, among the people who elected him, fuel prices really matter to those outside big cities, where four-fifths of commuters drive to work and a third of them cover more than 30km each week.

The increases have incensed people in smaller communities, where they have already seen speed limits reduced to please the Greens and cuts to the local transport services.

These additional costs-of-living increases come at an extremely bad time for ordinary French people working outside of Paris. Lower-middle class families are not poor enough to receive welfare benefits but have seen their income flat-line whilst cost-of-living and taxes have risen.

An analysis by the Institut des Politiques Publiques think-tank shows that benefits cuts and tax changes in 2018 and 2019 will leave pensioners and the bottom fifth of households worse off, while the abolition of the wealth tax means that by far the biggest gains will go to the top 1%

This is tough to swallow. Macron is seen as being out of touch with ordinary people and is unlikely to escape his new title, “the President of the Rich.”

“People have this feeling that the Paris technocrats are doing complicated things to screw them,” said Charles Wyplosz, an economics professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

It is probably not as complex as that. The French people feel screwed.

As employment and growth are slowing, Macron, for the first time in his presidency, is under serious pressure. Unemployment is at 9%; his efforts to reform Europe are stalling, and his approval rating has plummeted to just 23% according to a recent opinion poll by IFOP.

Images of Macron at the Arc De Triomphe daubed in graffiti calling for him to step down, or worse, have done little to bolster his image abroad.

So far, Macron had said he would not bow to street protests. To underline his point, in September 2017, he called protestors against French labour-market reform “slackers”.

The political U-Turn on the fuel tax is a turning point for the Macron presidency. The question is : What next, both for Macron and the “Yellow Vests”?

Macron most likely needs to plough ahead with his reform agenda, and doubtless knows he has the support of a solid majority in the National Assembly to do so. France is crippled by debt (nearly 100% of GDP) and its grossly bloated public sector. There are 5.2 million civil servants in France, and their number has increased by 36% since 1983. These represent 22% of the workforce compared to an OCDE average of 15%.

Tax-expert Jean-Philippe Delsol says France has 1.5 million too many “fonctionnaires [officials]. When you consider that public spending in France now accounts for 57 per cent of gross domestic product. Soon the system will no longer function as there will be less and less people working to support more and more people working less”.

Macron’s mistake, in addition to a seeming inclination for arrogance, is not to have made national economic reform his absolute priority right from his initial grace period after his election. Lower public expenses would have made it possible to lower taxes, hence creating what economists call a virtuous circle. Instead, he waited.

Now, at a time when he is deeply unpopular and social unrest is in full sway he is looking to make further reforms in unemployment benefits, scaling them back by reducing the payments and the length of time beneficiaries can receive the money. The “President of the Rich” strikes again.

There is talk that he may also re-introduce the wealth tax to try to placate the protestors.

Macron’s presidential term lasts until May 13, 2022. Understandably, Macron will be focused on the elections to the European Parliament expected to be held May 23-26, 2019. Headlines have signalled that Marine Le Pen and the National Rally (formally National Front) are ahead in the polls at 20%, compared to Macron’s En Marche at 19%.

The shift is understandable, given the divide between the countryside, where Le Pen has solid support, and the cities, where Macron’s centre-left prevail.

In contrast, the “Yellow Vests” have galvanised support after standing up for the “impotent ordinary”, and seem much buoyed by the solidarity they have been shown by both fire fighters and the police. There are images online of police removing their helmets and firefighters turning their backs on political authority to show their support for the protestors.

Whilst Macron’s political opposition may be fragmented, this new breed of coherent public opposition is something new. Leaderless, unstructured and organised online, the “Yellow Vests” have gained support from the left and right, yet resisted subjugation by either.

Being leaderless makes them difficult to negotiate withor to reason with in private. The “Yellow Vests” seem acutely aware of this strength, given their firm rebuttal of overtures for peace talks from the Macron government.

Enjoying huge support from the public and with reforms to the social welfare system on the horizon, the “Yellow Vests” are not going away.

For the first time in his Presidency, Macron is in trouble and Europe and America are looking on.

After Macron rebuked nationalism during his speech at the armistice ceremony, Trump was quick to remind the French President of his low approval rating and unemployment rate near 10%. A stinging broadside from Trump on twitter suggests that Macron may well be relegated to Trump’s list of global “Losers“:

“Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two – How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!”

The “impotent ordinary” in the United Kingdom, who might feel betrayed over Brexit, and the nationalists in Germany, who have suffered under Merkel , are no doubt staring in wonder at the “Yellow Vests”, wishing for the same moxie.

The historian Thomas Carlyle, chronicler of the French Revolution, said the French were unrivaled practitioners in the “art of insurrection”, and characterised the French mob as the “liveliest phenomena of our world”.

Mobs in other countries, by comparison, he argued were “dull masses” lacking audacity and inventiveness. The blazing yellow vests of the French protest movement , however, have made Macron appear increasingly dull and weak too.

David Brown is based in the United Kingdom.

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