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Why the West is Failing to Defeat Islamist Terrorism

It is its ideologically blinkered geopolitically obsessed Neocon foreign policy that is preventing the West from defeating Islamist violence.

Alexander Mercouris

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Whilst there is no confirmation yet of the motives for the attack in Nice, all the facts point to it being another case of Islamist jihadi terrorism.

The method used – driving a large lorry into a crowd – was apparently discussed on jihadi websites.  What is known about the individual involved  – his North African background and his criminal record – also fits the profile of a jihadi terrorist. 

As is always the case following attacks of this kind, the intelligence and security services of the country involved – in this case France – are roundly criticised for not preventing it.  Though obviously it is impossible to reach any definite conclusions so soon after the massacre, in my opinion that criticism is unfair.  It is simply unrealistic to expect the intelligence and security services of any state, least of all one like France with a large immigrant population, to keep a constant track of every possible terrorist and to anticipate their every action.  Whilst it is both possible and necessary to take precautions – as is now routinely done in airports – there is a limit to what can be done in a modern state without making normal life intolerable.

Rather than criticise the intelligence and security services the focus should instead be on criticising the West’s political leaders.  Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks they have had 15 years to get on top of the Islamist jihadi terrorism problem and they have utterly failed to do so.  There are now many more jihadi terrorists than there were in 2001, those terrorists now control whole territories the size of countries, and they rule over tens of millions of people.  In Iraq and Syria some of the militant amongst them have even set up in the form of the Caliphate an imitation state.

All of this has happened despite the fact that the actual number of terrorists is very small, despite militant jihadism being attractive to only a small minority of Muslims, and despite everything the Western Alliance – supposedly the most powerful military alliance in the history of the world led by the US, the world’s first and only supposed “hyperpower” – has thrown at them.

A more catastrophic catalogue of failure it would be difficult to imagine, and if the Western powers really were as open to debate as they pretend to be the causes of that failure would now be the primary topic of discussion in the West.

It requires no great foresight to say that that discussion will not take place, and that in its absence nothing will change, and that after Nice the West will continue to fail in its ludicrously misnamed “War on Terror” as it has done before.

Moreover it is not difficult to see why.  It is because the leaders of the Western powers – and that includes people like US President Obama, French President Hollande and German Chancellor Merkel – refuse to deal with the world as it is.  Instead their actions are determined for them by a neocon ideology that has them all in its grip, and which is focused not on protecting Western publics from real threats such as Islamist terrorism but rather in pursuing fantastically overambitious geopolitical objectives as part of a grand strategy to make the world supposedly safe for what they call “liberal democracy” by imposing it and the unlimited hegemony of the US on the whole world.

That this is the problem was already obvious at the time of the 9/11 attacks.  Instead of doing what it said it would do – focusing all its efforts to destroy Al Qaeda – the US under the Bush administration instead invaded Iraq, sought to use Afghanistan as a base to extend its influence into Central Asia, extended NATO further into Eastern Europe and into the territory of the former USSR, scrapped the ABM Treaty, and fomented colour revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrghyzia, whilst attempting unsuccessfully to do the same in Belarus.

The same pattern continues to be followed by the US under the Obama administration.  Instead of focusing on defeating Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (Daesh), the US has attacked Libya, is trying to overthrow the government of Syria, is pursuing confrontations with Russia in Ukraine and with China in the South China Sea, is deploying troops closer to Russia,  is “pivoting” its navy closer to China, and is installing ballistic missile interceptors in Eastern Europe.

Nor is there any sign that any amount of terrorism by groups like Daesh or Al Qaeda will ever cause Western political leaders like Bush, Obama, Hollande or Merkel  to change their objectives or re examine their priorities. 

Contrast this disastrous record with the results achieved by the one country that has made defeating Islamist terrorism its priority.  That country is Russia.

It is now almost entirely forgotten but in the 1990s – as Putin has just pointedly reminded the French – on top of all the other immense problems Russia had to suffer, it was also the primary victim of jihadi violence. 

Violent jihadis for a time controlled Chechnya, one of Russia’s constituent republics.  They used Chechnya to expand their terrorist campaign throughout Russia.  Though their focus was the Northern Caucasus their terrorist actions reached as far as Moscow.  Moreover in conducting their terrorist campaign against Russia the jihadis used all the same methods of indiscriminate violence targeted at civilians they have repeatedly used since.  Russia was in fact the original testing ground for these methods.  One of these methods – the most terrible of all – the specific targeting of children as happened in Beslan, has so far not been used anywhere else. 

Not only was Russia the main victim of jihadi violence, but the well-nigh universal consensus of the Western “expert” community was that it would be unable to defeat it.

In the event, when following the political crisis of 1998-1999 Russia once again had a functioning government, it acted decisively to root out jihadi violence on its territory.  Jihadi terrorism in Russia today is reduced to a flicker.  This success – which is in such contrast to the abject failure of the West – goes completely unreported, though it is the only example of a non-Islamic state confronting and comprehensively defeating jihadi terrorism to date.

The Russians succeeded because the Russian government post 1999 – in contrast to the ideologically blinkered governments of the West – made defeating jihadi terrorism on its territory its overriding priority, single-mindedly bringing all the resources of the Russian state to bear on the problem. 

The Russians have brought the same clarity and singleness of purpose to the task of fighting jihadi terrorism in Syria.  That is why their intervention in Syria has been so effective whereas the actions of the West in the same region previous to the Russian intervention were so entirely unsuccessful – to the point where according to the West’s own intelligence agencies Daesh last year was on the verge of capturing Damascus before the Russians intervened.

As the Russians have shown it is possible to defeat jihadi terrorism.  What that however requires is realism, clarity of vision and singleness of purpose.  That is what the leaders of the West lack, which is why all their efforts have failed and why more atrocities like the one in Nice are bound to happen.

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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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