Connect with us
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Latest

The Art of the Deal and the Deal of Assad

America and Europe have dealt with far more erratic men than Bashar al-Assad. Assad is a learned, moderate and sensible man who ought to be a reliable partner for Donald Trump in a genuine war on terrorism.

Avatar

Published

on

One of the tragic ironies of history is that when George W. Bush declared a ‘war on terror’, such a thing was not necessary. In the early 2000s, the treat of Islamic terrorism to the world was relatively limited and logistically constrained in terms of size and scope. A quick phone call from Washington to Riyadh saying ‘STOP IT’, could have solved quite a lot.

However, given Saudi Arabia’s direct hand in helping to perpetrate the attacks of September 11th and the Bush family’s pathologically intimate relationship with the House of Saud, this was clearly not an option.

So instead, Bush and Blair invented enemies where there were none and in doing so, they created a real problem of widespread global Islamic terrorism that does require a thorough response. Today, there is a real war on terror, one brought tragically to fruition due to the original, phony war on terror.

Obama and Hillary have done more to augment terrorism than they’ve done to curtail it. Hillary Clinton like Bush before her, has a relationship with Saudi Arabia, the mother of all terrorist states, which eliminates her war on terror credentials on arrival.  It is now up to Donald Trump to realise that fighting Islamic terrorism in the Middle East without forming an alliance with secular Arab states and their partners, will be like trying to fry an egg on an iceberg.

This was one of the central themes of the first interview given by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the US election. Assad expressed a kind of subdued and intelligent caution about Trump, saying that because Trump has never been a professional politician, it is difficult for Syria to assess what a future relationship might hold.

However, his tone then became more positive when he said that if Trump is genuine about fighting terrorism, Syria will have no problems with considering the United States a full partner in the war against terrorism along with Russia, Iran and many others.

Trump campaigned on a platform of ending the disastrous US regime change policy. Assad, however, issued a warning to those who disagree with Trump on that,  saying that America is a sovereign country but not some sort of ideological global policeman.

And here is what he added:

West has its own culture, we have our own culture, they have their own reality, we have our own reality. So, our democracy should reflect our culture and our habits and our customs and our reality at the same time.

It’s deeply ironic that Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Francois Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl were all willing and able to conduct business with Saddam’s Iraq during his war with Iran and that George Bush and Tony Blair ended up doing deals with Gaddafi.

By any objective standard, both Saddam and Gaddafi were far more difficult men to deal with than Assad, one of the most moderate and learned leaders in the world.  I have always maintained that Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr was the finest leader of modern Iraq and that when Saddam assumed full control of the country in 1979 (some speculate by force), he did much to retard the progress of his noble country.

Whilst Saddam’s record on infrastructure and education remains very good, the zeal with which he went to war with the Islamic-Republic of Iran sowed the seeds of future misery for Iraq. It didn’t help that Baghdad was widely encouraged and armed by foreign powers against the revolutionary Islamic Republic. It also didn’t  help global public opinion,  when Saddam’s genuine concerns about the Arab Shi’a population of Iraq’s south, aligning with a country which espouses global revolution, is described as Saddam’s ‘war against his own people’.

The threat of a southern Iraqi rebellion was real and Saddam did his best to keep his country united. Yet by invading Iran, Saddam made his efforts to further unite Iraq more difficult. This was an unintended consequence of the war which he should have been wise enough not to instigate.

Saddam was a deeply flawed leader who twice predicted military triumphs when the opposite occurred. The war with Iran was one of the bloodiest stalemates in history and his war on the corrupt kleptocracy of Kuwait, however morally justified it was in many ways, was ultimately ill thought out and ended up hurting Iraq even more than the war with Iran.

Unlike Saddam, who made Iraq worse vis-à-vis his predecessor, Libya’s Gaddafi made his country unambiguously better. Gaddafi literally took a poor North African nation from the sands of simplicity and brought the country into a golden age of modernity where the population became the richest, healthiest and most educated in African history.

Gaddafi was a deeply philosophical man and his Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya was an example of a state governed on a profoundly philosophical basis which permeated every area of social life. Think North Korea with deeply higher levels of personal and religious freedom or Hoxha’s Albania without the poverty. Gaddafi’s Green Book still makes for a fascinating read, especially for students of anti-revisionist socialism.

The reason that I’ve devoted paragraphs to Saddam and Gaddafi in an article about Assad is to demonstrate the contrast of how easy it would be for any western power to deal with Assad. Prior to Syria’s war on terror (it isn’t a civil war, the majority of Syrians support their government more than ever), Syria was a placid place. It was not militarised like Saddam’s Iraq nor a philosophical state like Gaddafi’s Jamahiriya.

If one were to take someone from a southern European country, blindfold them and land them on a beach in Syria, they would not be able to tell if they were in Greece, southern Italy, Cyprus, Turkey or Lebanon. One would have to wait for someone to speak Arabic and see a Syrian flag atop a hotel before realising where one was. By contrast, if the blindfolded traveler were brought to the Jamahiriya, he would almost instantly realise he was in Libya.

This is all the more reason that Assad presents an opportunity for engagement, as a man and a politician, he is very easy to engage. Far from just being more moderate and easy going than Saddam or Gaddafi, I would say that he is a far more moderate, measured and polite man than Silvio Berlusconi, and no one ever talked about Italian regime change under his tenure. One could even go back to Charles De Gaulle who looked a bit like Assad, but was ultimately a far more stubborn man.

Russia’s redoubled efforts against ISIS and al-Qaeda strongholds in the last day, demonstrate that vast parts of Syria may be liberated from terrorists even before Donald Trump enters office.

Assad said the following about Russia:

Russians always base their policies on values, and these values are the sovereignty of other countries, international law, respecting other people, other cultures, so they don’t interfere in whatever is related to the future of Syria or the Syrian people… The Russians are fighting for us, for the world, and for their self.

By the 20th of January there will almost certainly still be some foreign terrorist elements in Syria that will need to be fought.  This is particularly true in the parts of Syria closet to Iraq. The man who wrote The Art of The Deal should be thankful that in the war on terrorism, he has in President Assad, a man who will be a very easy individual to make deals with.

Such deals will ensure the safety of Syria, the wider region, America and indeed many parts of the world. The ball is in Trump’s court, it is now up to him to make the best of the opportunity.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement //pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

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

Published

on

By

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

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

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

Published

on

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.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

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. 

Avatar

Published

on

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.”

 

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

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

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

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

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Videos

Trending