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What ever happened to the Iraq war protesters?

The anti-war movement has not gone underground, it has gone online.

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Since George W. Bush’s illegal war on Iraq in 2003, the US has invaded further Arab states using a pattern that is eerily similar to that employed by the Bush White House in 2002/2003.

Whether lies about Libyan revolutionary leader “killing is own people” or more oddly yet, giving sexual stimulant drugs to soldiers, to the fallacy of Syrian ‘chemical weapons’–the US often employs the most crude and unsubstantiated mythology to attempt and justify brazen acts of aggression against sovereign states.

Just yesterday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley made some of the most outrageous claims yet, this time against Iran, saying that missiles had been sent by Iran, to Houthi fighters in Yemen, in the aftermath of the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal) coming into effect in the summer of 2015.

While protests continue to fill the streets of the Arab and Muslim worlds, following on from Donald Trump’s Jerusalem/Al-Quds declaration, western streets remain largely free of demonstrations over this issue, Syria, Iran, North Korea and other areas where western countries continue to lead or threaten to lead wars on sovereign states.

As I wrote yesterday,

“Haley’s position is that since the outbreak of the current crisis in Yemen, beginning in March of 2015, Iran has been supplying Yemen’s Ansar Allah Movement, more commonly known as the Houthis, with the missiles they have sporadically used to target Saudi Arabia and allegedly the UAE.

There is a fatal flaw in this line of thinking however. Saudi Arabia has, since the beginning of the conflict, controlled all air and sea traffic coming into Yemen, while monitoring the region with the latest US made technology.

 Yemen has subsequently been surrounded by a Saudi Naval blockade, Saudi borders through which nothing can pass and Omani borders through which there is no evidence of anything passing and which in any case, border areas which do not belong to Houthi fighters, but instead have fluctuated between the Hadi government based in Aden, al-Qaeda terrorists and ISIS terrorists.

Not only has the Saudi blockade caused a man made famine which itself has resulted in a mass outbreak of the disease Cholera, but even the UN has found it difficult to convince the Saudis to allow basic medicine, bottled water and dried foods into the always poor and now starving nation.

But for Nikki Haley, who gave her press conference standing in front of what appeared to be a rusty missile casing–it all makes perfect sense. In Haley’s parallel universe, an aid ship with UN flags cannot bring bottles of water and jars of medical pills to Yemenis, but somehow Iranian ships bearing humongous missiles have easily passed through the Saudi blockade undetected.

 There is simply no logic to the argument, no matter how it is interpreted”.
http://theduran.com/food-medicine-cant-get-passed-saudi-blockade-yemen-nikki-haley-thinks-missiles-can/

While many in the west are experiencing “war fatigue”, it would appear that they are also experiencing “protest fatigue” when it comes to the all important issue of peace.

February the 15th, 2003, is generally considered to be the biggest day of global protests in history. Anti-war marches and rallies took place on every populated continent, as millions came together to oppose George W. Bush’s war on Iraq, which ultimately broke out the following month.

In New York, upwards of 400,000 people gathered to try and stop the war while estimates of upwards of 1 million gathered in London, with two million marching in Madrid.

On that day, the streets of most major capital cities in the world staged events to reject war, with the most substantial demonstrations held in the large cities of Europe, North America, the Middle East and diverse parts of Asia ranging from Malaysia to India.

The protests did not stop the war, but they did help to set the stage for the failure of the war hawks to explain themselves out of the disaster that was and to an extent remains, the illegal 2003 war on Iraq.

Since that time, the US and its allies have successfully destroyed Libya while they continue to meddle in Syria after using proxy forces to instigate the present conflict in Syria starting in 2011.

Now, Iran is subject to much of the same defamatory statements that have been hurled at Iraq, Libya and Syria.

While many people are deeply opposed to the actions the US has taken to destroy sovereign states since 2003, there have been no repeats of the mass protests of that year.

In looking for an answer as to why this might be, there are some negative but also some positive answers.

Social Media 

Social media has come a long way since 2003. In fact, the first major western social media network, Myspace, only launched after the Iraq war. In 2003, the internet was powerful, but nowhere near as powerful as it had become by 2011.

Today, people “protest” and “demonstrate” on a daily basis across a wide variety of platforms including, Facebook, VK, Twitter, Telegram, Instagram, Youtube and many others. Crucially, many popular social media networks are owned by companies based outside of the US, helping to make the corporate governance of major websites and apps far more pluralistic than was the case in 2003.

The power of social media to galvanise public opinion against war should not be underestimated. The fact that so many western corporations and governments try and often succeed in silencing online protest, is clear sign that the powers that be in war hungry western governments, believe that such mechanisms are turning public opinion against mainstream pro-war political groups.

Protest Fatigue 

On the other side of the spectrum, seeing how the anti-Iraq War protests ultimately did not change the policies of the US and its war partners, it would appear that many have decided that the peaceful mobilisation of street protesters is not effective.

Since 2003, organic, big tent anti-war protests have largely been subsumed in the west by a combination of genuine protests over national or local matters and paid “protests” by sectarian foundations. When looking for an example of a genuine local protest, one can point to the frequent anti-economic austerity protests in countries like Greece. Examples of paid “protests” by sectarian foundations are typified by those organised by various bodies funded by and/or coordinated by George Soros. These protests never deal with broad unifying issues such as that of world peace.

Republican versus Democrat

While I believe that there is truth to a great deal of the previous two theories, the idea that anti-war activists are more likely to protest a Republican President in the White House going to war, rather than a Democratic one. seems to be an argument which has passed its use-by-date.

Donald Trump is a Republican US President who won an election based largely on an anti-war platform. The fact that in less than a year, he is creating as much global instability as his two war-mongering predecessors has not resulted in mass protests of the kind seen against Bush and his international partners in 2003.

While members of the political elite will always use party politics as a means of point-scoring against an opponent, the idea of a left-right divide in 21st century anti-war politics, is no longer apt.

Broken Promises 

While it seems to be largely forgotten now, George W. Bush first ran for President on a platform of opposition to “nation building”, as he called it in 1999 and 2000. He even once said that he wanted to avoid being known as the “ugly American” for trying to impose American style governance on sovereign states.

Watching Bush’s campaign clips makes for a surreal experience, as Bush continues to epitomise the arch pro-war neo-con in most people’s eyes. During his campaign though, he expressed a degree of scepticism about Bill Clinton’s illegal war on Yugoslavia which his opponent, then Vice President Al Gore continued to extol as a “success”.

In 2008, Barack Obama’s anti-war message was vocal and visible. The now infamous “change” and “hope” posters were as much about opposition to the Iraq War and the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, as they were about domestic issues.

Long before his campaign, Obama frequently spoke out against Bush’s war, as a rising star in the Democratic party.

Obama ended up going to war with more sovereign states than George W. Bush, while also antagonising Russia and China far more than Bush ever did. Hope soon turned into “nope”.

Donald Trump Tweeted endlessly through Barack Obama’s Presidency about the disastrous Middle Eastern wars pursued by Obama.

These online statements led Trump to eventually run for US President on a similar platform. Once in power, he escalated the war against Syria, threatened to destroy North Korea and is once again making threats against Iran.

In this sense, it seems apparent that people have grown numb from multiple US Presidents campaigning for peace and ruling through war. As such, few protesters seek to mobilise in order to hold lying leaders to account.

The peace is not meant to be won–it is meant to be continuous 

George Orwell once wrote that “the war is not meant to be won–it is meant to be continuous”.

Decades of US wars from the invasion of Philippines in 1899 to the wars of 2017, have proved that for modern America, peace is the exception and war is the rule.

As such, many peace activists and those with a conscience have concluded that a single day of protests is not enough to rally support against a cycle of wars that is a perennial phenomenon.

Because of this, the social media model of constant global, digital mobilisation may well prove to be more effective in the long-term than putting millions of anti-war demonstrators in the streets on a single day. It is also less time consuming and more cost effective.

As it is with all opposition groups, the use of platforms from foreign countries may prove to be invaluable as US owned social media networks continue to crack down on those who oppose war, occupation and inhumane conditions.

There is no guarantee that this will work, but it is certainly the most clear option that those opposed to war in the 21st century must utilise as much as possible.

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Vladimir Putin calls new Ukrainian church ‘dangerous politicking’

President Putin said creation of the “Orthodox Church in Ukraine” is against Church canon and that the West drove Constantinople to do it.

Seraphim Hanisch

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In an interview with the Serbian newspapers Politika and Vecernje Novosti ahead of his visit to Serbia, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted the creation of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”, a schismatic agglomeration headed by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists was “dangerous politicking.” He further noted that:

The establishment of the new religious entity in Ukraine is nothing but an attempt “to legalize the schismatic communities that exist in Ukraine under the jurisdiction of Istanbul, which is a major violation of Orthodox canons.”

“Yet, hardly anyone in the U.S. or in the Ukrainian leadership worries about this,” Putin said.

“Once again, this has nothing to do with spiritual life; we are dealing here with dangerous and irresponsible politicking,” he said.

President Putin had more things to say in the interview, and we present what he said in full here (emphasis ours), as reported on the Kremlin.ru website:

Question: The Serbian Orthodox Church has taken the side of the Russian Orthodox Church in the context of the ecclesiastical crisis in Ukraine. At the same time, a number of countries are exerting pressure on Patriarch Bartholomew and seek to ensure recognition of Ukrainian ”schismatics“ by Local Orthodox Churches. How do you think the situation will evolve?

Vladimir Putin: I would like to remind your readers, who are greatly concerned about the information regarding the split in the Orthodox community but are probably not fully aware of the situation in Ukraine, what it is all about.

On December 15, 2018, the Ukrainian leaders, actively supported by the USA and the Constantinople Patriarchate, held a so-called “unifying synod”. This synod declared the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, with Patriarch Bartholomew signing the tomos (decree) granting it autocephaly on January 6, 2019. Thus, it was attempted to legalize the schismatic communities that exist in Ukraine under the jurisdiction of Istanbul, which is a major violation of Orthodox canons.

Yet, hardly anyone in the US or in the Ukrainian leadership worries about this, as the new church entity is an entirely political, secular project. Its main aim is to divide the peoples of Russia and Ukraine, sowing seeds of ethnic as well as religious discord. No wonder Kiev has already declared ”obtaining complete independence from Moscow.”

Once again, this has nothing to do with spiritual life; we are dealing here with dangerous and irresponsible politicking. Likewise, we do not speak about the independence of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. It is de-facto fully controlled by Istanbul. Whereas Ukraine’s largest canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has never requested autocephaly from Patriarch Bartholomew, is absolutely independent in its actions. Its connection with the Russian Orthodox Church is purely canonical – but even this causes undisguised irritation of the current Kiev regime.

Because of this, clergymen and laymen of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are being persecuted and deprived of churches and monasteries, and attempts are made to deny the Church its legitimate name, which raises tensions and only leads to further discord in Ukrainian society.

Evidently, Ukraine’s leaders have to understand that any attempts to force the faithful into a different church are fraught with grave consequences. Yet, they are eager to put interconfessional concord in the country at stake in order to conduct the election campaign of the current Ukrainian President based on a search for enemies, and to retain power by all means.

All of this does not go unnoticed by Orthodox Christians.

Naturally, Russia does not intend to interfere in ecclesiastical processes, especially those happening on the territory of a neighboring sovereign state. However, we are aware of the danger posed by such experiments and blatant interference of the state in religious affairs.

The situation continues to degrade in Ukraine, and though the Orthodox faithful of the Autonomous but Moscow-based Ukrainian Orthodox Church are the hardest hit, worry over Ukrainian lawlessless-made-law has the Jewish community in that country nervous as well. This is perhaps to be expected as the Azov Brigade, a neo-Nazi aligned group that is hypernationalist, is a good representation of the character of the “hate Russia at all costs” Ukrainian nationalists. A parallel piece in Interfax made note of this in a piece dated January 17th 2019:

[A] bill passed by the Verkhovna Rada introducing a procedure by which parishes can join the new Ukrainian church makes it easier to seize places of worship, and supporters of autocephaly have already started doing this across the country, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said.

“They need this law to seize our churches. You can’t just come with a crowbar to someone else’s barn, but now the law allows you to do so. They aren’t creating something of their own, but are trying to steal what’s ours,” Ukrainian Orthodox Church spokesperson Vasyl Anisimov told Interfax on Thursday.

The religious entity set up in December with Constantinople’s involvement and called the Orthodox Church of Ukraine “in fact doesn’t yet exist in nature. It’s fake. It doesn’t have any parishes of its own or government registration,” he said.

However, “the supporters of autocephaly don’t have plans to create anything of their own at all, so they have chosen the path of takeover, and the authorities are helping them in that,” Anisimov said.

“Hence, the legislation passed by the Verkhovna Rada today is in fact absolute lawlessness,” he said.

“If you pass legislation affecting an industry, you should talk to industrialists, and if it’s legislation on the agricultural sector, talk to farmers. And here legislation on a church is passed, and moreover, this legislation is aimed against this church, it is protesting, and Jews are protesting, too, because this legislation may affect them as well – but nobody is listening, and they change the law for the sake of an absolutely absurd and unconstitutional gimmick. But, of course, it’s the people who will ultimately suffer,” Anisimov said.

 

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May survives ‘no confidence’ vote as UK moves towards March 29 deadline or Article 50 extension (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 168.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the ‘no confidence’ vote that UK Prime Minister May won with the a slim margin…meaning that though few MPs have confidence in her ‘Brexit withdrawal’ negotiating skills, they appear to have no problem allowing May to lead the country towards its Brexit deadline in March, which coincidently may be delayed and eventually scrapped altogether.

Meanwhile Tony Blair is cozying up to Brussels’ oligarchs, working his evil magic to derail the will of the British people, and keep the integrationist ambitions for the UK and Europe on track.

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Via RT


The UK government led by Theresa May, has survived to fight another day, after winning a no-confidence vote, tabled by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, following parliament rejecting the PM’s Brexit deal, earlier on Tuesday evening.

The no-confidence vote was defeated by 19 votes – the government winning by 325 to 306. It’s a rare positive note for May’s Tory cabinet after the humiliating Brexit defeat.

Speaking immediately after the vote, a victorious May said she was “pleased” that the House expressed its confidence in her government. May said she will “continue to work” to deliver on the result of the Brexit referendum and leave the EU.

May invited the leaders of parliamentary parties to meet with her individually, beginning on Wednesday evening.

“I stand ready to work with any member of this House to deliver on Brexit,” she said.

Responding to the vote, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that the House had “emphatically” rejected May’s deal on Tuesday. The government, he said, must now remove “clearly once and for all the prospect of the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit from the EU and all the chaos that would result from that.”

Labour will now have to consider what move to make next. Their official Brexit policy, decided by members at conference in September, states that if a general election cannot be forced, then all options should be left on the table, including calling for a second referendum.

Liberal Democrats MP Ed Davey also called on May to rule out a no deal Brexit.

The way forward for Brexit is not yet clear and May’s options are now limited, given that the Brexit deal she was offering was voted down so dramatically on Tuesday.

Gavin Barrett, a professor at the UCD Sutherland School of Law in Dublin, told RT that May will now have to decide if her second preference is a no-deal Brexit or a second referendum. Her preference will likely be a no-deal Brexit, Barrett said, adding that “since no other option commands a majority in the House” a no-deal exit is now “the default option.”

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Final Steps in Syria’s Successful Struggle for Peace and Sovereignty

The war of aggression against Syria is winding up, and this can be observed by the opening of a series of new embassies in Damascus.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The situation in Syria evolves daily and sees two situations very closely linked to each other, with the US withdrawal from Syria and the consequent expansionist ambitions of Erdogan in Syria and the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) takeover in Idlib that frees the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Russian aviation to liberate the de-escalation zone.

Trump has promised to destroy Turkey economically if he attacks the Kurds, reinforcing his claim that Erdogan will not target the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) once the US withdraws from the area. One of the strongest accusations made against Trump’s withdrawal by his opponents is that no Middle Eastern force will ever trust the US again if they abandon the SDF to its fate, that is, to its annihilation at the hands of the Turkish army and its FSA proxies. This, however, is not possible; not so much because of Trump’s economic threats, but because of Damascus and Moscow being strongly opposed to any Turkish military action in the northeast of Syria.

This is a red line drawn by Putin and Assad, and the Turkish president likely understands the consequences of any wrong moves. It is no coincidence that he stated several times that he had no problems with the “Syrians or Syrian-Kurdish brothers”, and repeated that if the area under the SDF were to come under the control of Damascus, Turkey would have no need to intervene in Syria. Trump’s request that Ankara have a buffer zone of 20 kilometers separating the Kurdish and Turkish forces seems to complement the desire of Damascus and Moscow to avoid a clash between the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the SDF.

The only party that seems to be secretly encouraging a clash between the SDF and Turkish forces is Israel, criticizing Ankara and singing the praises of the SDF, in order to try and accentuate the tensions between the two sides, though naturally without success. Israel’s continued raids in Syria, though almost constantly failing due to Syrian air defense, and the divide-and-rule policy used against Turkey and the SDF, show that Tel Aviv is now weakened and mostly irrelevant in the Syrian conflict.

In Idlib, the situation seems to be becoming less complicated and difficult to decipher. Russia, Iran and Syria had asked Erdogan to take control of the province through its “moderate jihadists”, sit down at the negotiating table, and resolve the matter through a diplomatic solution. Exactly the opposite happened. The HTS (formerly al-Nusra/al-Qaeda in Syria) has in recent weeks conquered practically the whole province of Idlib, with numerous forces linked to Turkey (Ahrar al-Sham and Nour al-Din al-Zenki) dissolving and merging into HTS. This development puts even more pressure on Erdogan, who is likely to see his influence in Idlib fade away permanently. Moreover, this evolution represents a unique opportunity for Damascus and Moscow to start operations in Idlib with the genuine justification of combating terrorism. It is a repeat of what happened in other de-escalation areas. Moscow and Damascus have repeatedly requested the moderates be separated from the terrorists, so as to approach the situation with a diplomatic negotiation.

In the absence of an effective division of combatants, all are considered terrorists, with the military option replacing the diplomatic. This remains the only feasible option to free the area from terrorists who are not willing to give back territory to the legitimate government in Damascus and are keeping civilians hostages. The Idlib province seems to have experienced the same playbook applied in other de-escalation zones, this time with a clear contrast between Turkey and Saudi Arabia that shows how the struggle between the two countries is much deeper than it appears. The reasons behind the Khashoggi case and the diplomatic confrontation between Qatar and Saudi Arabia were laid bare in the actions of the HTS in Idlib, which has taken control of all the areas previously held by Ankara’s proxies.

It remains to be seen whether Moscow and Damascus would like to encourage Erdogan to recover Idlib through its proxies, trying to encourage jihadists to fight each other as much as possible in order to lighten the task of the SAA, or whether they would prefer to press the advantage themselves and attack while the terrorist front is experiencing internal confusion.

In terms of occupied territory and accounts to be settled, two areas of great importance for the future of Syria remain unresolved, namely al-Tanf, occupied by US forces on the Syrian-Jordanian border, and the area in the north of Syria occupied by Turkish forces and their FSA proxies. It is too early to approach a solution militarily, it being easier for Damascus and Moscow to complete the work to free Syria from the remaining terrorists. Once this has been done, the presence of US or Turkish forces in Syria, whether directly or indirectly, would become all the more difficult to justify. Driving away the US and, above all, Turkey from Syrian territory will be the natural next step in the Syrian conflict.

This is an unequivocal sign that the war of aggression against Syria is winding up, and this can be observed by the opening of a series of new embassies in Damascus. Several countries — including Italy in the near future — will reopen their embassies in Syria to demonstrate that the war, even if not completely over, is effectively won by Damascus and her allies.

For this reason, several countries that were previously opposed to Damascus, like the United Arab Emirates, are understood to have some kind of contact with the government of Damascus. If they intend to become involved in the reconstruction process and any future investment, they will quite naturally need to re-establish diplomatic relations with Damascus. The Arab League is also looking to welcome Syria back into the fold.

Such are signs that Syria is returning to normality, without forgetting which and how many countries have conspired and acted directly against the Syrians for over seven years. An invitation to the Arab League or some embassy being reopened will not be enough to compensate for the damage done over years, but Assad does not preclude any option, and is in the meantime demonstrating to the Israelis, Saudis and the US Deep State that their war has failed and that even their most loyal allies are resuming diplomatic relations with Damascus, a double whammy against the neocons, Wahhabis and Zionists.

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