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Why Bashar al-Assad’s brand of Ba’athism is the right solution for Syria

Far from being a ‘dictator’ President Assad leads a progressive, modern, secular state which is being attacked because of its independence.

Nedka Babliku

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Ba’athism can be viewed from two different perspectives: firstly by its objective virtues, and secondly by its opposition.

Ba’athism, as a political theory, combines Arab nationalism with socialist ideas, high quality secular education, a mixed economy, and a strong central government that oversees a secular society in which all religions are treated equally and worship is freely allowed.

It was a philosophy adopted by several post-colonial Arab states. With the exception of a few occasions where Ba’athists argued over whether or not to pursue Nasserist Pan-Arabism, modern Ba’ath parties concentrate on a single state, although many still see Pan-Arabism as a noble ideal. This especially became the case after the Ba’athist party split in 1966 in Syria, where many of the new militant Syrian Ba’athists expelled the old guard, who fled to Iraq.

Iraq and Syria became enemies thereon, and relations between the two countries never fully recovered.

Young Syria was fraught with war and political instability. The joint Arab war against Israel in 1948 led to a military coup in Syria in 1949, followed by another coup in 1954. It was only when President Nasser formed the United Arab Republic in 1958, a country comprising Syria and Egypt, that Syria finally achieved some peace and stability. But shortly after, in 1961 and largely due to Syrian officials feeling dissatisfied that the majority of senior positions in the UAR being held by Egyptians, the union between Syria and Egypt was dissolved, leading once again to political instability in Syria.

However the March revolution of 1963 was the turning point in Syrian domestic affairs, as it set the precedent for the current Ba’athist model of governance led by Bashar al-Assad.

Syrians see 1963 as a huge step in introducing modernity to the country. Women were allowed access to higher secular education, big infrastructure projects were introduced as well as mass literacy programs. It is worth noting that one of the leading figures of the Syrian Ba’athist party was Orthodox Christian Michel Aflaq who many consider to be the Father of Ba’athism.

Life for Syrians continued to improve when moderate Ba’athist and strong leader Hafez al-Assad took power in 1970 in what was known as the ‘corrective movement’, establishing thereafter the Syrian Arab Republic. The developments under Hafez al-Assad brought a significant degree of peace and stability in spite of Syria joining in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war and policing certain parts of Lebanon during the Lebanese civil war. The Muslim Brotherhood was crushed during this period, making it possible for the Syrian people to live under a secular government.  Bashar al-Assad succeeded his father upon Hafez al-Assad’s death in 2000, and continues his father’s legacy of Ba’athism.

For a state that is surrounded by enemies and which has been under attack on all fronts from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Britain, the US, France and Belgium, and which has been under repeated attack from Israel ever since the 1967 Israeli occupation of Golan Heights, it makes sense for Bashar al-Assad’s government to take a tough line towards certain dissident elements, especially those entering the country from outside, who might be foreign agents threatening the safety and security of Syrians.

When looking at current events in Syria from this wider historical perspective, which is the only realistic perspective, it is clear that not only is the current secular Ba’athist model of governance which allows freedom and national sovereignty the optimal solution for Syria, but it is the only practical option delivering peace and prosperity when the only alternative is the Wahhabist theocracy of the Gulf states.  Importing that to very different society of Syria  would be a guarantee for more instability, destruction and violence.

Syria is a new state, especially when measured by the standards of ancient imperialist powers who for many centuries sought to colonise the Arab world.   Liberal north European models of democracy and governance have no relevance in a country still in the process of establishing its national identity, something it has only been over the last four decades.

Indeed, Bashar al-Assad has been a more moderate and tolerant figure than his father was. His government and parliament are comprised of all sects and religions: Alawites, Shi’as, Sunnis, Orthodox Christians and other varieties of Christianity.

While Saddam Hussein’s variant of Ba’athism was more distinctive, corresponding to the various existing factions in Iraq and containing elements of ancient Mesopotamian civilisations adapted to Arab nationalism, Syrian Ba’athism has remained consistent and true to its roots.

Syrians are first and foremost Syrians before identifying as anything else. It is for this reason that Bashar al-Assad’s government has granted equal rights to all, and privileges to none.

The independent Syrian writer Afra’a Dagher puts it thus

I don’t belong to any political party. However the Ba’ath Party led by Bashar al-Assad is the main and best one for most of us; the key point is this party’s priority is about the unification of the whole Arab Nation. Therefore it is careful about the plot of removing the ‘Arab’ feature from the political party as it would present the opportunity for federalization, partition and ultimately destruction of the United State. The other party, the SSNP The Syrian Socialist National Party removed the word ‘Arab’ and seeks only Greater Syria. But then Syria would lose its national identity. I believe in the Ba’ath party principles, which the US and its allies are trying to break apart.

Therefore one can say with confidence that those calling for the overthrow of President Assad and his government are either ignorant of the historical realities and dynamics of the country, or they have a vested interest in destroying the secular, independent Syrian Arab Republic.

Either way, they agitate for the violation of international law.

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Tape recorded evidence of Clinton-Ukraine meddling in US election surfaces (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a look at new evidence to surface from Ukraine that exposes a plot by the US Embassy in Kiev and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to leak Paul Manafort’s corrupt dealings in the country, all for the benefit of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Via Zerohedge


Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has launched an investigation into the head of the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly attempting to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump during the 2016 US election by releasing damaging information about a “black ledger” of illegal business dealings by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The Hill’s John Solomon, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said last week, according to The Hill

Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

A State Department spokesman told Hill.TV that officials aware of news reports regarding Sytnyk. –The Hill

“According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” said Lutsenko, speaking with The Hill’s John Solomon about the anti-corruption bureau chief, Artem Sytnyk.

“It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton,” Lutsenko continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine’s parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort‘s wrongdoing in Ukraine.

“This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter.” –The Hill

What The Hill doesn’t mention is that Sytnyk released Manafort’s Black Book with Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko – discussed in great length by former Breitbart investigator Lee Stranahan, who has been closely monitoring this case.

Serhiy Leshchenko

T]he main spokesman for these accusations was Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian politician and journalist who works closely with both top Hillary Clinton donors George Soros and Victor Pinchuk, as well as to the US Embassy in Kyiv.

James Comey should be asked about this source that Leshchenko would not identify. Was the source someone connected to US government, either the State Department or the Department of Justice?

The New York Times should also explain why they didn’t mention that Leshchenko had direct connections to two of Hillary Clinton biggest financial backers. Victor Pinchuk, the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation at a staggering $8.6 million also happened to have paid for Leshchenko’s expenses to go to international conferences. George Soros, whose also founded the International Renaissance Foundationthat worked closely with Hillary Clinton’s State Department in Ukraine, also contributed at least $8 million to Hillary affiliated super PACs in the 2016 campaign cycle. –Lee Stranahan via Medium

Meanwhile, according to former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, Leshchenko was a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.

Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.

“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. –Daily Caller

Also absent from The Hill report is the fact that Leshchenko was convicted in December by a Kiev court of interfering in the 2016 US election.

A Kyiv court said that a Ukrainian lawmaker and a top anticorruption official’s decision in 2016 to publish documents linked to President Donald Trump’s then-campaign chairman amounted to interference in the U.S. presidential election.

The December 11 finding came in response to a complaint filed by another Ukrainian lawmaker, who alleged that Serhiy Leshchenko and Artem Sytnyk illegally released the documents in August 2016, showing payments by a Ukrainian political party to Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The documents, excerpts from a secret ledger of payments by the Party of Regions, led to Manafort being fired by Trump’s election campaign.

The Kyiv court said that the documents published by Leshchenko and Sytnyk were part of an ongoing pretrial investigation in Ukraine into the operations of the pro-Russian Party of Regions. The party’s head had been President Viktor Yanukovych until he fled the country amid mass protests two years earlier.

-RadioFreeEurope/Radio Liberty (funded by the US govt.).

So while Lutsenko – Solomon’s guest and Ukrainian Prosecutor is currently going after Artem Sytnyk, it should be noted that Leshchenko was already found to have meddled in the 2016 US election.

Watch:

Meanwhile, you can also check out Stranahan’s take on Leshchenko being left out of the loop.

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‘I will take over as Brexit Party leader’: Nigel Farage back on the frontline

Nigel Farage says that if the UK takes part in European elections, he will lead his new Brexit Party.

RT

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Via RT


Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has announced that he will lead his new Brexit Party into the European elections if UK MPs decide to delay Brexit beyond May 22.

Farage, who has ostensibly appointed himself leader, told various media, including the BBC and Sky News on Friday morning: “I will take over as leader of the Brexit Party and lead it into the European Elections.”

It comes after the Brexit Party’s leader, Catherine Blaiklock, quit over a series of alleged Islamophobic statements and retweets of far-right figures on social media.

It is not yet thought that Farage has officially been elected as leader, as the party does not, as yet, have a formal infrastructure to conduct such a vote.

The right-wing MEP vowed to put out a whole host of Brexit Party candidates if the UK participates in the upcoming EU elections in May, adding: “If we fight those elections, we will fight them on trust.”

On Thursday night, the EU agreed to PM May’s request for a delaying to Brexit beyond the March 29 deadline. Brussels announced two new exit dates depending on what happens next week in the UK parliament.

The UK will have to leave the bloc on April 12 unless British MPs agree to May’s Brexit deal. If the withdrawal agreement is passed by next week, EU leaders have agreed to grant an extension until May 22.

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Baltics cannot rely on Germany any more

The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it is supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership blunders.

The Duran

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Submitted by Adomas Abromaitis…

On March 29 Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will celebrate 15 years of becoming NATO member states. The way to the alliance membership was not simple for newly born independent countries. They have reached great success in fulfilling many of NATO demands: they have considerably increased their defence expenditures, renewed armaments and increased the number of military personnel.

In turn, they get used to rely on more powerful member states, their advice, help and even decision making. All these 15 years they felt more or less safe because of proclaimed European NATO allies’ capabilities.

Unfortunately, now it is high time to doubt. The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership’s blunders. Every member state does a bit. As for the Baltic states, they are particularly vulnerable, because they fully depend on other NATO member states in their defence. Thus, Germany, Canada and Britain are leading nations of the NATO battle group stationed in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia respectively.

But the state of national armed forces in Germany, for example, raises doubts and makes it impossible not only defend the Baltics against Russia, but Germany itself.

It turned out, that Germany itself remains dissatisfied with its combat readiness and minister of defence’s ability to perform her duties. Things are so bad, that the military’s annual readiness report would be kept classified for the first time for “security reasons.”

“Apparently the readiness of the Bundeswehr is so bad that the public should not be allowed to know about it,” said Tobias Lindner, a Greens member who serves on the budget and defense committees.

Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-arms/germany-not-satisfied-with-readiness-of-submarines-some-aircraft-idUSKBN1QS1G7) the average readiness of the country’s nearly 10,000 weapons systems stood at about 70 percent in 2018, which meant Germany was able to fulfill its military obligations despite increasing responsibilities.

No overall comparison figure was available for 2017, but last year’s report revealed readiness rates of under 50 percent for specific weapons such as the aging CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters and the Tornado fighter jets.

Zorn said this year’s report was more comprehensive and included details on five main weapons systems used by the cyber command, and eight arms critical for NATO’s high readiness task force, which Germany heads this year.

“The overall view allows such concrete conclusions about the current readiness of the Bundeswehr that knowledge by unauthorized individuals would harm the security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he wrote.

Critics are sure of incompetence of the Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen. Though she has occupied the upper echelons of German politics for 14 years now — and shows no sign of success. This mother of seven, gynecologist by profession, by some miracle for a long time has been remaining in power, though has no trust even among German military elites. Despite numerous scandals she tries to manage the Armed Forces as a housewife does and, of course, the results are devastating for German military capabilities. The same statement could be easily apply for the Baltic States, which highly dependent on Germany in military sphere.

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