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Russia: moderate Islam’s new ally against an unstable West

Russia has a new role both as the ally of moderate Islam against Western aggression, and as a factor for reconciliation between Islam and the West

Shihan Sazid

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How will a future historian will define this present era of human civilisation?

Even though it is unusual to begin an article with a question, the present state of international affairs obliges it.

The occupation of Palestine and Kashmir, the endless war in the Middle East, the refugee crisis, the crisis of the fraudulent world monetary system, the unequal distribution of wealth, widespread poverty and malnutrition, the monster carbon footprint of the world’s developed economies, right wing extremism and the extremism of the far left, and last but not the least terrorism – will these be the topics that give titles to the chapters of the history of our present era ?

The West’s Democracy God

The post colonial world gave rise to republican states.  In the name of securing sovereignty and national security artificial borders were imposed, originally drawn up by the ex-colonial powers.

Developing and under developed nations are continuously pressured to meet the criteria of standard Western development. In the political arena the West assesses and defines the world according to its ideas of human rights, feminism, globalisation and most importantly democracy.   

On the one hand the West dictates to the world the parables of Western values – which it insists the world must adopt – whilst on the other hand they use war and economic sanctions to punish any deviation from any of these ‘values’.

Among all the values which the West is imposing, democracy has come to serve the purpose of God.

This God is a jealous God, who takes no partner. This new God only appears in suit and tie and dictates his revelations in English. The theology of this God has “enriched”  rituals of capitalism and of the free market economy. 

Which of course leads inexorably to the next step: in the name of this sacralised capitalism and free market economy big Western corporations exploit the national recourses of under developed and developing nations.

Nations who oppose this Western democracy commit blasphemy and must therefore sponsor terror.

The punishment for blasphemy against this new God is severe: bombing, sanctions, ‘nation building’ and ‘democracy promotion’.

So the result in the end of this Western superiority complex is the West’s constant threatening of the East and the invention of the idea of the ‘Clash of Civilisations’, leading to East and West being eternally divided from each other. 

In other words the end result of any US and Western dominated unipolar world is the division of humanity amidst ‘Clash of Civilisations’ rhetoric.

In reality any true democracy should make space for both true conservatives and true leftists.  That way genuine extremism can be avoided and replaced by valid and purposeful argument.

That of course is not the sort of democracy the West ‘promotes’ any more. 

The result is that in the West today, instead of the historic division between true conservatives and true leftists, there is dominance of neo-conservatism and radical neo-liberals.

The clash between what are in reality simply two extreme forms of the same political ideology has closed the space for moderate voices.  The result is the destruction of basic ideals of morality within the Western political establishment.

The role of the West in the Syrian war is a good example of what comes from this moral quagmire. In the name of arming the so called “moderates” the West has actually been arming and funding the throat and head cutting fanatics of ISIS/Daesh.    

Today however the global dominance of the United States is being challenged by the re-emergence of Russia.

The New Russia

This is not the first time that Russia has set out an alternative vision for the world.

After the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453 Russia became the centre of Orthodox Christianity, which helped Russia to develop its own identity as a separate civilisation different from the West.

Whilst the Vatican sponsored relentless wars in a crusade against the Muslim world to seize tiny pieces of land on the east Mediterranean coast, Russia preached the value of a completely different pacific non-crusading Christianity.  From east to west, the vast territory of the Russian empire welcomed people from all walks of life and all types of belief.

Russia’s identify was lost following the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. In the name of establishing the rule of the proletariat Russians were forced to reject the core of their own civilisation: Orthodox Christianity.  That gave rise to the Soviet Union, which however fought two world wars, saving Europe from its own hubris of colonial and self destructive racial pride, and facilitated the struggle of the colonially oppressed peoples for freedom and nationhood.

The current re-emergence of Russia as a superpower has finally come to the notice of the world community as a result of the Syrian War.  Russia’s bold stand in defence of the legitimate government of Syria challenged the entire system of chaos which the West’s unipolar world order has created.

But what is this Russian superpower which is now re-emerging?   This is obviously a vital question of huge importance in determining the shape of the modern world.

The answer to this question in my opinion highlights the sources of Russian strength, showing why the new re-emerging Russian superpower has been able to face down the US hyperpower, and why it will also succeed in sustaining itself.

The key to Russian strength is its return to moderate values.  As the Russians regain their faith a true conservatism now balances the former one sided extreme leftism of the Soviet Union.

As a result whilst the West has adopted a flawed neo-conservative/neo-liberalism model of fake democracy as its religion, Russia has become the beacon of true religion and true democracy for moderate faithful religious people everywhere.

The result is that the Western sponsored war in Syria has created a new window of opportunity for unity between two different world systems: Islam and Russia. 

The state of the Muslim World

Let us now turn to look at the Muslim world.

Divisions between Muslims are uncountable today.  The endless war in the Middle East gives grounds for feelings of hopelessness.  Muslims are betrayed by their own leaders in these most difficult times.  The plutocratic states of the Gulf and the House of Saud are in the pocket of the Western ruling elite. The extreme ideology of Wahhabism and Salafism wants to destroy every other sect of Islam.

These conditions create opportunities for the West to create more chaos, which ultimately results in even more wars.

The Syrian War

On the other hand, following the fall of the Soviet Union and Russia’s re-embrace of its Orthodox Christian roots, the political establishment in Russia has successfully reconciled moderate conservatism with the country’s leftist tradition.  We can see the positive impact of this reconciliation and adaption of the Russian nation’s two values in the rational and balanced method of contemporary Russian governance and policy making.

In the Syrian war we have observed for the first time in the history of Islam a Sunni majority population stand in support of a Shi’a led government to defeat a Western intervention.

Here it is important to stress the wisdom of the Syrian Arab Army, which grasped what the results would be if the Assad government were to fall as a result of the attack orchestrated upon it by the Western powers.   Perhaps the Syrian Arab Army learnt the lesson from the mistake the Iraqi Army when it abandoned Saddam Hussein during the US led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

There are some independent Western think tanks, which remain “relatively” free from the influence of the mainstream ‘warhawks’, but which still demand the removal of President Assad for various debatable reasons in order to achieve a political settlement in Syria.   However there are two fundamental problems with this approach.

Firstly, in light of the war going on in Syria, any effort to change the government of Syria at a time of existential crisis for the country would create a power vacuum, just as previously happened in Iraq and as is now the case in Libya.  Given the conditions on the ground in Syria, that would be bound to turn Syria into a safe haven for terrorist groups like ISIS/Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra.

Secondly, no matter what happens in Syria, it should be a fundamental principle that only the Syrian people have the right choose their government.  In the chaotic and violent environment which now exists, there is no chance of the Syrian people being able to express their view through nationwide election.

Russia’s intervention in Syria

Russia’s involvement in the Syrian war is strategically unique, and has been very effective in terms of achieving quickly a positive outcome.

President Putin extended Russia’s hand by providing Syria with military help in response to an official request from the Syrian government. Politically and diplomatically the fact that Russia was responding to a formal request for help from the legitimate government of Syria helped Russia counter Western propaganda that might have sought to portray Russian intervention in Syria as an invasion of Syria.

Russia also took the completely correct decision of not putting ‘boots on the ground’ in Syria.

If Russia had sent infantry brigades to Syria, then it would have created opportunities for the West to intensify the war into a broad regional conflict so as to trap the Russians into a never ending war; just as the US is trapped in precisely such a war in Afghanistan today.

So Russia maintained a controlled approach to help the Syrian Arab Army that kept the door open for Russia to withdraw.

Of course both the Russian military and the Syrian Arab Army must be given credit for the successful use they made of this controlled approach.  Accurate intelligence sharing between the Syrian Arab Army and the Russian Air force played the key role in achieving success, ensuring that the aerial bombing by the Russian Air force was effective, thereby creating the opportunities for the Syrian Arab Army to go onto the offensive and regain territory from ISIS/Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra.

The role of Iran

This controlled approach also created space for regional players like Iran to involve themselves in the conflict on the side of the Syrian government and share in the successful outcome of the war.

The Syrian Arab Army’s victory also makes the position of Iran stronger diplomatically and politically.  The result is that the West, especially US, can no longer ignore or overlook the role of Iran if they genuinely seek an end to the conflict.

The US along with its Western allies has already been forced to compromise with Iran in the recent Nuclear Deal. Now the West is being forced to compromise with Iran in Iraq and Syria because of Iran’s growing local influence as the regional superpower. 

Syria’s – not Russia’s – ‘Mission to Accomplish’       

Lastly Russia’s timing in scaling down its massive but successful bombing campaign was also strategically unique. 

The most important thing the Russians have never done in Syria is declare “Mission Accomplished”.  Accomplishment of the mission has to come from the Syrian government and the Syrian Arab Army, not from Russia, because it is the Syrian people who are the ones who are principally fighting this war, for their own and for Syria’s survival against Western backed terrorists.

The real accomplishment of the mission will anyway not be achieved after the end of the fighting because though it obviously has to include a military victory such a victory can only be firmly consolidated by a political and diplomatic settlement.

The battlefield victories of the Syrian Arab Army have created the opportunity to bring the other side to the table at the talks underway in the Kazakh capital of Astana. Right now in Astana the opposition has no option but to talk with the Syrian government directly, something it has always resisted doing until now. 

The role of Turkey

The positive role Turkey is playing in favour of a peaceful settlement is also a major development. Turkey is a major military power in this region and is Syria’s largest and most powerful neighbour.  The Turkish government can therefore be expected to play a decisive role in influencing the outcome of the negotiations which will bring an eventual end to the war.

The most important point to emphasise here is that the negotiations in Astana is the result of a joint Turkish-Russian diplomatic initiative.  Russia had to make a major political and diplomatic effort to achieve this.

When Turkey shot down the Russian SU24 bomber near the Turkish border in November 2015 Russia could have retaliated against Turkey in kind.  However that would have merely escalated the situation, bringing relations between Russia and Turkey to the point of crisis.

Instead President Putin showed great forbearance and patience, refusing to provide the West with a chance to trap Russia into a direct confrontation with Turkey which might have involved NATO and which might have threatened to turn the Syrian war into a global war for which Russia is unprepared and in which it would have been at a severe disadvantage.

President Putin also showed clarity and strength in decision making during the military coup in Turkey, giving support to the Erdogan government whilst the attempted coup was still underway.

For his part, after securing his government’s survival by defeating the coup, Turkish President Erdogan wasted no time visiting Moscow, where he gave the signal for a revision of Turkish foreign policy towards Russia.

This has had important consequences.  Despite being a member of NATO Turkey is refusing to participate in the recent military buildup by NATO around Russia’s eastern border.  Moreover the new Turkish-Russian relationship is becoming even stronger through the establishment of  joint economic projects like the Turk Stream pipeline, growing Russian investments in Turkey, and Russia’s phased withdrawal of the economic sanctions it had previously imposed on Turkey. 

Conclusion: the emerging alliance of Russia and Islam

Now let us review all these developments from a civilisational perspective.

In these dark times of internal division in the world of Islam,  the Syrian people – Shi’a, and Sunni, together with all the other sects of Islam living in Syria – united together to defend their country against foreign aggression.  They found their ally in moderate Russia.

The Muslim world is in fact edging closer to an alliance with Russia precisely because of its betrayal by its own self-appointed rich Gulf “leaders”, who have been trying to dominate the Muslim community through their version of pseudo Islam, which is destroying the image of Islam as a religion of peace, and which is destroying the voice of the moderate Islamic establishment.

The good news is that this alliance between Muslims and Russians is getting bigger and stronger.  The new role Turkey has adopted can only have a positive impact on the development of this new alliance.

Moreover the only nuclear powered Muslim nation, Pakistan, is also getting closer to this alliance.

In November 2016 Russia and Pakistan conducted their first ever joint military exercise despite huge objections from India. Further building up Pakistan’s confidence is the fact that Russia and China at the recent BRICS summit jointly rejected India’s effort to have Pakistan declared a terrorist state.

A possible rebirth for the West?

What impact will this new emerging alliance have on the West?

After fighting two world wars the West is still in crisis, having failed to develop a political philosophy that can embrace new emerging nations from the east as equal partners.  As a result the chances of new global conflicts are increasing in a way which could be suicidal for the whole of humanity.

Russia’s role in its new emerging alliance with the Muslim world will be not to fight this global conflict.  It will be to prevent it and by doing so to help the West in its quest to find a political soul that reflects humanity first, and which decisively rejects war, because in war there are no winners, war being first and foremost about the destruction of the human spirit.

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Is this man the puppet master of Ukraine’s new president or an overhyped bogeyman?

Smiling to himself, Kolomoisky would be within his rights to think that he has never had it so good.

RT

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Via RT…


It doesn’t actually matter if Ukrainian-Israeli billionaire Igor Kolomoisky is the real power behind Volodymyr Zelensky – the president elect has to get rid of the oligarch if he is to make a break with the country’s corrupt past.

The plots, deceits and conflicts of interest in Ukrainian politics are so transparent and hyperbolic, that to say that novice politician Zelensky was a protégé of his long-time employer was not something that required months of local investigative journalism – it was just out there.

Zelensky’s comedy troupe has been on Kolomoisky’s top-rated channel for the past eight years, and his media asset spent every possible resource promoting the contender against incumbent Petro Poroshenko, a personal enemy of the tycoon, who hasn’t even risked entering Ukraine in the past months.

Similarly, the millions and the nous needed to run a presidential campaign in a country of nearly 50 million people had to come from somewhere, and Kolomoisky’s lieutenants were said to be in all key posts. The two issued half-hearted denials that one was a frontman for the other, insisting that they were business partners with a cordial working relationship, but voters had to take their word for it.

Now that the supposed scheme has paid off with Zelensky’s spectacular victory in Sunday’s run-off, Ukrainian voters are asking: what does Kolomoisky want now, and will he be allowed to run the show?

‘One-of-a-kind chancer’

Born in 1963, in a family of two Jewish engineers, Kolomoisky is the type of businessman that was once the staple of the post-Soviet public sphere, but represents a dying breed.

That is, he is not an entrepreneur in the established Western sense at all – he did not go from a Soviet bloc apartment to Lake Geneva villas by inventing a new product, or even setting up an efficient business structure in an existing field.

Rather he is an opportunist who got wealthy by skilfully reading trends as the Soviet economy opened up – selling Western-made computers in the late 1980s – and later when independent Ukraine transitioned to a market economy and Kolomoisky managed to get his hands on a large amount of privatisation vouchers that put many of the juiciest local metals and energy concerns into his hands, which he then modernised.

What he possesses is a chutzpah and unscrupulousness that is rare even among his peers. Vladimir Putin once called him a “one-of-a-kind chancer” who managed to “swindle [Chelsea owner] Roman Abramovich himself.” In the perma-chaos of Ukrainian law and politics, where all moves are always on the table, his tactical acumen has got him ahead.

Kolomoisky’s lifeblood is connections and power rather than any pure profit on the balance sheet, though no one actually knows how that would read, as the Privat Group he part-owns is reported to own over 100 businesses in dozens of Ukrainian spheres through a complex network of offshore companies and obscure intermediaries (“There is no Privat Group, it is a media confection,” the oligarch himself says, straight-faced.)

Unsurprisingly, he has been dabbling in politics for decades, particularly following the first Orange Revolution in 2004. Though the vehicles for his support have not been noted for a particular ideological consistency – in reportedly backing Viktor Yushchenko, then Yulia Tymoshenko, he was merely putting his millions on what he thought would be a winning horse.

Grasp exceeds reach

But at some point in the post-Maidan euphoria, Kolomoisky’s narcissism got the better of him, and he accepted a post as the governor of his home region of Dnepropetrovsk, in 2014.

The qualities that might have made him a tolerable rogue on TV, began to grate in a more official role. From his penchant for using the political arena to settle his business disputes, to creating his own paramilitary force by sponsoring anti-Russian battalions out of his own pocket, to his somewhat charmless habit of grilling and threatening to put in prison those less powerful than him in fits of pique (“You wait for me out here like a wife for a cheating husband,” begins a viral expletive-strewn rant against an overwhelmed Radio Free Europe reporter).

There is a temptation here for a comparison with a Donald Trump given a developing country to play with, but for all of the shenanigans, his ideological views have always been relatively straightforward. Despite his Russia-loathing patriotism, not even his fans know what Kolomoisky stands for.

The oligarch fell out with fellow billionaire Poroshenko in early 2015, following a battle over the control of a large oil transport company between the state and the governor. The following year, his Privat Bank, which at one point handled one in four financial transactions in the country was nationalized, though the government said that Kolomoisky had turned it into a mere shell by giving $5 billion of its savings to Privat Group companies.

Other significant assets were seized, the government took to London to launch a case against his international companies, and though never banished, Kolomoisky himself decided it would be safer if he spent as long as necessary jetting between his adopted homes in Switzerland and Tel Aviv, with the occasional trip to London for the foreseeable future.

But the adventurer falls – and rises again. The London case has been dropped due to lack of jurisdiction, and only last week a ruling came shockingly overturning the three-year-old nationalization of Privat Bank.

Smiling to himself, Kolomoisky would be within his rights to think that he has never had it so good.

Own man

Zelensky must disabuse him of that notion.

It doesn’t matter that they are friends. Or what handshake agreements they made beforehand. Or that he travelled to Geneva and Tel-Aviv 13 times in the past two years. Or what kompromat Kolomoisky may or may not have on him. It doesn’t matter that his head of security is the man who, for years, guarded the oligarch, and that he may quite genuinely fear for his own safety (it’s not like nothing bad has ever happened to Ukrainian presidents).

Volodymyr Zelensky is now the leader of a large country, with the backing of 13.5 million voters. It is to them that he promised a break with past bribery, graft and cronyism. Even by tolerating one man – and one who makes Poroshenko look wholesome – next to him, he discredits all of that. He will have the support of the people if he pits himself against the puppet master – no one would have elected Kolomoisky in his stead.

Whether the oligarch is told to stay away, whether Ukraine enables the financial fraud investigation into him that has been opened by the FBI, or if he is just treated to the letter of the law, all will be good enough. This is the first and main test, and millions who were prepared to accept the legal fiction of the independent candidate two months ago, will now want to see reality to match. Zelensky’s TV president protagonist in Servant of the People – also broadcast by Kolomoisky’s channel, obviously, would never have compromised like that.

What hinges on this is not just the fate of Zelensky’s presidency, but the chance for Ukraine to restore battered faith in its democracy shaken by a succession of compromised failures at the helm.

Igor Ogorodnev

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Roger Waters – The People’s Champion for Freedom

In February 2019, Waters showed his support for the Venezuelan Maduro government and continues to be totally against US regime change plans there.

Richard Galustian

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Submitted by Richard Galustian 

Roger Waters is one of Britain’s most successful and talented musicians and composers but more importantly is an outstanding champion for freedom in the world, beyond compare to any other artist turned political activist.

By way of background, he co-founded the rock band Pink Floyd in 1965.

A landmark turning point of his political activism occurred in 1990, when Waters staged probably the largest rock concert in history, ‘The Wall – Live in Berlin’, with an attendance of nearly half a million people.

In more recent years Waters famously narrated the 2016 documentary ‘The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States’ about the insidious influence of Zionist Israel to shape American public opinion.

Waters has been an outspoken critic of America’s Neocons and particularly Donald Trump and his policies.

In 2017, Waters condemned Trump’s plan to build a wall separating the United States and Mexico, saying that his band’s iconic famous song, ‘The Wall’ is as he put it “very relevant now with Mr. Trump and all of this talk of building walls and creating as much enmity as possible between races and religions.”

In February 2019, Waters showed his support for the Venezuelan Maduro government and continues to be totally against US regime change plans there, or any place else for that matter.

Here below is a must see recent Roger Waters interview, via satellite from New York, where he speaks brilliantly, succinctly and honestly, unlike no other celebrity, about FREEDOM and the related issues of the day.

The only other artist turned activist, but purely for human rights reasons, as she is apolitical, is the incredible Carla Ortiz.

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ISIS Says Behind Sri Lanka Bombings; Was ‘Retaliation’ For New Zealand Mosque Massacre

ISIS’s claim couldn’t be confirmed and the group has been  known to make “opportunistic” claims in the past, according to WaPo. 

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Via Zerohedge…


Shortly after the death toll from Sunday’s Easter bombings in Sri Lanka climbed above the 300 mark, ISIS validated the Sri Lankan government’s suspicions that a domestic jihadi organization had help from an international terror network while planning the bombings were validated when ISIS took credit for the attacks.

The claim was made via a report from ISIS’s Amaq news agency. Though the group has lost almost all of the territory that was once part of its transnational caliphate, ISIS now boasts cells across the Muslim world, including in North Africa and elsewhere. Before ISIS took credit for the attack, a Sri Lankan official revealed that Sunday’s attacks were intended as retaliation for the killing of 50 Muslims during last month’s mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand.

However, the Sri Lankan government didn’t offer any evidence for that claim, or the claim that Sunday’s attacks were planned by two Islamic groups (though that now appears to have been substantiated by ISIS’s claim of responsibility). The group is believed to have worked with the National Tawheed Jamaath, according to the NYT.

“The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch,” State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene told the Parliament.

Meanwhile, the number of suspects arrested in connection with the attacks had increased to 40 from 24 as of Tuesday. The government had declared a national emergency that allowed it sweeping powers to interrogate and detain suspects.

On Monday, the FBI pledged to send agents to Sri Lanka and provide laboratory support for the investigation.

As the death toll in Sri Lanka climbs, the attack is cementing its position as the deadliest terror attack in the region.

  • 321 (as of now): Sri Lanka bombings, 2019
  • 257 Mumbai attacks, 1993
  • 189 Mumbai train blasts, 2006 166 Mumbai attacks, 2008
  • 151 APS/Peshawar school attack, 2014
  • 149 Mastung/Balochistan election rally attack, 2018

Meanwhile, funeral services for some of the bombing victims began on Tuesday.

Even before ISIS took credit for the attack, analysts told the Washington Post that its unprecedented violence suggested that a well-financed international organization was likely involved.

The bombings on Sunday, however, came with little precedent. Sri Lanka may have endured a ghastly civil war and suicide bombings in the past – some credit the Tamil Tigers with pioneering the tactic – but nothing of this scale. Analysts were stunned by the apparent level of coordination behind the strikes, which occurred around the same time on both sides of the country, and suggested the attacks carried the hallmarks of a more international plot.

“Sri Lanka has never seen this sort of attack – coordinated, multiple, high-casualty – ever before, even with the Tamil Tigers during the course of a brutal civil war,” Alan Keenan, a Sri Lanka expert at the International Crisis Group, told the Financial Times. “I’m not really convinced this is a Sri Lankan thing. I think the dynamics are global, not driven by some indigenous debate. It seems to me to be a different kind of ballgame.”

Hinting at possible ISIS involvement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a Monday press conference that “radical Islamic terror” remained a threat even after ISIS’s defeats in Syria.

Of course, ISIS’s claim couldn’t be confirmed and the group has been  known to make “opportunistic” claims in the past, according to WaPo. The extremist group said the attacks were targeting Christians and “coalition countries” and were carried out by fighters from its organization.

Speculation that the government had advanced warning of the attacks, but failed to act amid a power struggle between the country’s president and prime minister, unnerved citizens and contributed to a brewing backlash. Following the bombings, schools and mass had been canceled until at least Monday, with masses called off “until further notice.”

 

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