Connect with us

Latest

Analysis

Lifestyle

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.

Published

on

3,188 Views

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.

Advertisement
Comments

Latest

The End Of The US Unipolar Moment Is Irreversible

The United States is in the terminal phase of its unipolar moment.

Published

on

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The past weeks have shown how part of the American establishment is weighing the pros and cons of the Trump administration’s strategies around the world. I have a strong feeling that in the coming weeks we will see the destabilizing effects of American politics, especially towards its closest allies.

A disastrous flip of events appears to be on its way, in case Trump were to lose the November midterm elections (the House and Senate elections). If this were to happen, the Trump administration would probably exploit the Russia gate conspiracy claiming that Moscow had now acted in favour of Democrats. Trump could argue that Moscow was disappointed by the lack of progress in softening US sanctions against Russia; indeed, by Trump’s measures against Russia (expulsions, sanctions, property seizures) and its allies (China, Iran and Syria).

Trump would not hesitate to claim Russian interference in the midterms to aid the Democrats, citing intelligence reports. He would say that Russia aims to create chaos in the US by placing roadblocks in the way of attempts to “Make America Great Again” and handing the House and Senate to the Democrats. He would use the electoral defeat to blame his accusers of getting aid from Russia. In doing so, he would be accelerating the implosion of his administration in an all-out war with the establishment. The mainstream media would dismiss Trump’s accusations against the Democrats of collusion with Russia as a conspiracy theory of an unravelling presidency. All this, summed up, would lead to the Democrats having majority in both houses, easily proceeding to the impeachment of Trump.

Italy is piggybacking on the US, operating side by side with Washington to expand its role in North Africa, especially in Libya. However, Rome will have to offer something in return to please Trump. Evidence points to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) as the quid pro quo, the US encouraging Italy to complete it in order to put pressure on Germany’s North Stream II project and undermine Russian gas deliveries to the EU. I have the impression that the only card available for Italy to play (and which interests Trump) is an endorsement of Washington’s positions on Iran, given that Italy already shares in common with Washington differences with Paris and Berlin on many issues. In this sense, Conte’s words about US intelligence info on the JCPOA paves the way for further decisions:

“”I didn’t take a specific stand. I said we are willing to evaluate the necessity to take more rigorous stances if the (nuclear) accord is shown to be ineffective. We are waiting to have elements of intelligence, Italy would like to evaluate it with its EU partners”

As evidence of Washington’s failed strategy towards Iran, India continues to buy crude oil from Iran, increasing the amount in the last month by 52%. China is also increasing its importation from Iran. Meanwhile, Iran is working with other countries to circumvent the US dollar in order to sustain their mutual trade within a new framework of agreements. Washington is especially disappointment with New Delhi, with American officials continuing to reiterate that India’s intentions align with Washington’s. Since November, with the imposition of counter-sanctions on countries that continue to work with Iran, Washington’s bluff will become evident to everybody, much to the disappointment of the Trump administration.

In the meantime, relations between Canada and Saudi Arabia have almost completely broken down on account of human rights. Ambassadors have been expelled and there is a continuing war of words, with trade between the two countries being brought to a stop. This is the latest example of the divisions manifesting themselves within the Western elites, with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Trump administration being in opposition to the likes of France, Germany and Canada.

What is also clear is that the issue of energy is central to Washington’s strategy. Between criticism of the German Nord Stream II and invitations to Italy to finish the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, it is clear that both the Trump administration and the policy makers of the deep state are strongly concerned about what actions allies and enemies could take to overcome the pressure brought to bear by Washington on the issues of energy, Iran, and sanctions. This shows that the US is very fearful of de-dollarization, especially coming from its allies.

Bypassing sanctions with currencies other than US dollar, or creating creative finance structures that bypass the SWIFT payment system, are the only means of maintaining relations between countries in spite of Washington’s sanctions. The US strategy is limited in the short term and certainly harmful in the long term for US Dollar financial hegemony.

That Washington’s allies are even entertaining such possibilities places US financial hegemony at great risk in the long run. This worries the American deep state a great deal, even without Trump, who in any case will not be in charge past 2024 (should he be re-elected in 2020).

One of the points of greatest tension is precisely this strategic difference between the Trump administration and the policy makers in the deep state (AKA Langley and Foggy Bottom). While the former can increase the pressure on allies (through NATO, the JCPOA, TTIP and TPP) to obtain immediate solutions and benefits, the latter must above all consider the effects in the medium and long term, which are often harmful for US interests. The imposition of sanctions on Iran, and the obligation of European allies to comply with this directive, is a prime example.

Another of Washington’s strategies revolves around the price of oil. The United States would have no problem seeing the price of crude oil skyrocket. Secretly, many in the administration hope that Iran will take the first false step by closing the Strait of Hormuz (Teheran will not make this move as things stand now); some even hope that the crisis between Canada and Saudi Arabia will have some impact on the cost of crude oil.

Even trade war and tariffs should be seen as part of Trump’s short-term strategy to demonstrate to his base that something is being done against countries that he thinks are taking advantage of the United States. In reality, Trump knows, or should know, that there is no way of stopping China’s growth, a result of globalization that has been the engine of free-market capitalism, making the western elite richer than ever before. Trump deceives his base with trade wars and tariffs, but in the long run the costs will be borne by American consumers, many of whom are Trump’s voters.

Trump thinks in the very short term, constantly aiming to present himself before his electors with a list of ticked boxes ( Peter Lavelle of Crosstalk gets trademark of this definition), confirming that he is fulfilling his electoral promises. In this way he hopes to win the midterms in November. To succeed in this endeavor, the economy must pick up to a gallop (for now this is happening thanks to a series of tax cuts and the continuous pumping of easy money from the Fed) and he must put pressure on his allies as well as aggressively confront Iran, Russia and China through sanctions, cutting energy supplies and forcing Tehran to negotiate once again the nuclear agreement.

What many analysts struggle with when trying to analyse Donald Trump is that there is no overarching strategy uniting his actions into a coherent policy. Trump acts extemporaneously, often with a very short strategic outlook and for internal political motivations.

Nevertheless, if there is something that worries the deep state, it is the long-term impact of tariffs, trade war, sanctions and impositions on allies; or, to put it most simply, de-dollarization. If there is anything that scares the Trump administration, it is remaining entangled in a destabilizing war with Iran that would lead to the early end of the Trump presidency and destroying its legacy, as Bush’s legacy was destroyed by Iraq.

In all this uncoordinated and inconsistent behaviour, there is the hope of a major rise in the price of oil that would help slow down China’s growth and transform the US shale-gas industry into an ultra-profitable business, further boosting the US economy and allowing Trump to present further evidence to his base of his ability to improve their lives.

The United States is in the terminal phase of its unipolar moment and is struggling to come to terms with the downsizing of its role in the world. Its ruling elite cannot accept the prospect of sharing power, preferring to oppose by all means possible the transition to a world order involving more powers. If this situation is already complex for any superpower enough to manage, a president has been elected who has little regard for compromise and mediation.

Ultimately, in addition to an obvious problem in defining Washington’s role in the world over the next few years, the United States finds itself with a president who is in almost open warfare with an important part of the US establishment. The deep state is still living on the hope of impeaching Trump to halt the loss of US influence, deluding themselves that things can return to how they were at the height of the unipolar moment in the 1990s.

Continue Reading

Latest

America’s Lengthening Enemies List

17th years in Afghanistan and America’s list of enemies continues to grow.

Patrick J. Buchanan

Published

on

Authored by Patrick J. Buchanan


Friday, deep into the 17th year of America’s longest war, Taliban forces overran Ghazni, a provincial capital that sits on the highway from Kabul to Kandahar.

The ferocity of the Taliban offensive brought U.S. advisers along with U.S. air power, including a B-1 bomber, into the battle.

“As the casualty toll in Ghazni appeared to soar on Sunday,” The Wall Street Journal reported, “hospitals were spilling over with dead bodies, corpses lay in Ghazni’s streets, and gunfire and shelling were preventing relatives from reaching cemeteries to bury their dead.”

In Yemen Monday, a funeral was held in the town square of Saada for 40 children massacred in an air strike on a school bus by Saudis or the UAE, using U.S.-provided planes and bombs.

“A crime by America and its allies against the children of Yemen,” said a Houthi rebel leader.

Yemen is among the worst humanitarian situations in the world, and in creating that human-rights tragedy, America has played an indispensable role.

The U.S. also has 2,000 troops in Syria. Our control, with our Kurd allies, of that quadrant of Syria east of the Euphrates is almost certain to bring us into eventual conflict with a regime and army insisting that we get out of their country.

As for our relations with Turkey, they have never been worse.

President Erdogan regards our Kurd allies in Syria as collaborators of his own Kurdish-terrorist PKK. He sees us as providing sanctuary for exile cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan says was behind the attempted coup in 2016 in which he and his family were targeted for assassination.

Last week, when the Turkish currency, the lira, went into a tailspin, President Trump piled on, ratcheting up U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel. If the lira collapses and Turkey cannot meet its debt obligations, Erdogan will lay the blame at the feet of the Americans and Trump.

Which raises a question: How many quarrels, conflicts and wars, and with how many adversaries, can even the mighty United States sustain?

In November, the most severe of U.S. sanctions will be imposed on Iran. Among the purposes of this policy: Force as many nations as possible to boycott Iranian oil and gas, sink its economy, bring down the regime.

Iran has signaled a possible response to its oil and gas being denied access to world markets. This August, Iranian gunboats exercised in the Strait of Hormuz, backing up a regime warning that if Iranian oil cannot get out of the Gulf, the oil of Arab OPEC nations may be bottled up inside as well. Last week, Iran test-fired an anti-ship ballistic missile.

Iran has rejected Trump’s offer of unconditional face-to-face talks, unless the U.S. first lifts the sanctions imposed after withdrawing from the nuclear deal.

With no talks, a U.S. propaganda offensive underway, the Iranian rial sinking and the economy sputtering, regular demonstrations against the regime, and new sanctions scheduled for November, it is hard to see how a U.S. collision with Tehran can be avoided.

This holds true as well for Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Last week, the U.S. imposed new sanctions on Russia for its alleged role in the nerve-agent poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the British town of Salisbury.

Though the U.S. had already expelled 60 Russian diplomats for the poisoning, and Russia vehemently denies responsibility — and conclusive evidence has not been made public and the victims have not been heard from — far more severe sanctions are to be added in November.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is warning that such a U.S. move would cross a red line: “If … a ban on bank operations or currency use follows, it will amount to a declaration of economic war. … And it will warrant a response with economic means, political means and, if necessary, other means.”

That the sanctions are biting is undeniable. Like the Turkish lira and Iranian rial, the Russian ruble has been falling and the Russian people are feeling the pain.

Last week also, a U.S. Poseidon reconnaissance plane, observing China’s construction of militarized islets in the South China Sea, was told to “leave immediately and keep out.”

China claims the sea as its national territory.

And North Korea’s Kim Jong Un apparently intends to hold onto his arsenal of nuclear weapons.

“We’re waiting for the North Koreans to begin the process of denuclearization, which they committed to in Singapore and which they’ve not yet done,” John Bolton told CNN last week.

A list of America’s adversaries here would contain the Taliban, the Houthis of Yemen, Bashar Assad of Syria, Erdogan’s Turkey, Iran, North Korea, Russia and China — a pretty full plate.

Are we prepared to see these confrontations through, to assure the capitulation of our adversaries? What do we do if they continue to defy us?

And if it comes to a fight, how many allies will we have in the battles and wars that follow?

Was this the foreign policy America voted for?

Continue Reading

Latest

In Private Meeting, Facebook Exec Warns News Outlets to Cooperate or End Up Dying in ‘Hospice’

“Anyone who does care about news needs to understand Facebook as a fundamental threat.”

The Duran

Published

on

Via Common Dreams


During a closed-door and off-the-record meeting last week, top Facebook executive Campbell Brown reportedly warned news publishers that refusal to cooperate with the tech behemoth’s efforts to “revitalize journalism” will leave media outlets dying “like in a hospice.”

Reported first by The Australian under a headline which read “Work With Facebook or Die: Zuckerberg,” the social media giant has insisted the comments were taken out of context, even as five individuals who attended the four-hour meeting corroborated what Brown had stated.

“Mark doesn’t care about publishers but is giving me a lot of leeway and concessions to make these changes,” Brown reportedly said, referring to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “We will help you revitalize journalism… in a few years the reverse looks like I’ll be holding hands with your dying business like in a hospice.”

As The Guardian reported on Monday, Facebook is “vehemently” denying the veracity of the comments as reported by The Australian, referring to its own transcript of the meeting. However, Facebook is refusing to release its transcript and tape of the gathering.

Brown’s warning about the dire prospects for news outlets that don’t get on board with a future in which corporate giants like Facebook are the arbiters of what is and isn’t trustworthy news comes as progressives are raising alarm that Facebook’s entrance into the world of journalism poses a major threat to non-corporate and left-wing news outlets.

As Common Dreams reported in July, progressives’ fears were partly confirmed after Facebook unveiled its first slate of news “segments” as part of its Facebook Watch initiative.

While Facebook claims its initiative is part of an effort to combat “misinformation,” its first series of segments were dominated by such corporate outlets as Fox News and CNN.

Reacting to Brown’s reported assertion that Zuckerberg “doesn’t care about publishers,” Judd Legum, who writes the Popular Information newsletter,argued, “Anyone who does care about news needs to understand Facebook as a fundamental threat.”

“In addition to disputed quote, there are also Facebook’s actions, which are fully consistent with the quote,” Legum added. “We desperately need to develop alternative delivery mechanisms to Facebook.”

Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Advertisement

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...

Advertisement
Advertisements

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement

Advertisements

The Duran Newsletter

Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending