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Arab unity and Russian unity – the Donbass and Kurdistan case study

Peace will not come about through the creation of more states based on ethno-nationalism. Instead, peace will come to both the Arab and Russian worlds through increased political unity which embraces the freedoms of all minorities within a single unified realm.

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Imagine if a new regime formed in Kiev and then said to the Donbass Republics, you can have full cultural, economic, spiritual, linguistic and even immigration autonomy so long as you hold off on the issue of receiving international recognition for your Republics for the time being? One doesn’t actually need to imagine this, because the framework of the Minsk agreements allows for just such a thing. Furthermore, the Minsk agreements are supported by Russia in earnest while members of the so-called “international community” pay lip service to the agreements, albeit while continuing to arm and fund a genocidal Kiev regime.

The reason that the Donbass people voted to form independent republics was because an illegal, unconstitutional and criminal regime seized power in Kiev through force. It was and remains a regime which practices a fascist ideology that Russians and fraternal peoples remember fighting and defeating between 22 June 1941 and 9 May 1945. Russians throughout the world say “never again” to such fascism and this is why protests throughout what is currently Ukraine, broke out in the months after the Kiev coup of February 2014. In the case of Donbass, this resulted in a declaration of independence. In other places, such as Odessa, it resulted in the slaughter of innocent men and women, many of whom were in their teens and early 20s. In effect they were little more than children.

Remembering The Odessa Massacre: 2 May 2014

The situation in Iraq could not be more different. Ever since the late 1990s, even during the rule of President Saddam Hussein, Kurds in Iraq started to enjoy large amounts of legal autonomy. This was further enhanced after 2005. The Kurdish regions of northern Iraq were in a position that can rightly be described as enviable, certainly from the perspective of Donbass. Kurds in northern Iraq had their own economy that was totally de-centralised in respect of its relationship to Baghdad, they had linguistic and cultural autonomy, they issued their own visas and controlled their own international airports, they had surprisingly good relations with their Turkish neighbour and they were spared much of the violence of the brutal Iraqi civil war.

But this was not good enough and against the wishes of the entire international community and in violation of the Iraqi constitution which Baghdad continues to uphold,  Iraqi Kurds voted to secede from Iraq in a referendum that was boycotted by Arabs and Turkomen Iraqis. Making matters worse, Kurdish secessionist began waving flags of Iraq’s historic Israeli enemy throughout the process. In so doing, the Kurdish referendum became a de-facto attack on Arab human rights and the right of the Arab world to survive in peace.

One must also consider the security concerns of both Turkey and Iran which are very real and very pressing. In this sense, Kurdish nationalism is essentially a regional imperialist movement which threatens the territorial integrity of two major Arab states (Syria and Iraq) as well as Turkey and Iran. This is similar to how Albanian regional imperialism threatens the peace and unity of Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Montenegro.

Albania proves that failed states can also be imperial aggressors

Arab Nationalism versus Ethno-nationalism 

The 20th century witnessed the birth of Arab nationalism, a series of movements and political parties which aimed to restore independence and unity in the Arab world after centuries of Ottoman rule, as well as more recent decades of western imperialist occupation and aggression.

Arab nationalists were anti-tribal, progressive and anti-sectarian. Arab nationalists sought to retain the traditional harmony in which Arab Muslims lived with one another as well as with their Christian and Jewish neighbours. Likewise, Arab nationalist parties did not favour discrimination against ethnic minorities. In many cases, Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians welcomed Arab nationalism as a progressive respite against late Ottoman realities that were increasingly ethnocentric and genocidal.

The Armenian Genocide: 102 years later

The progressive realities of Arab nationalism contrast with the aggression of western imperialism, the backwardness of Wahhabism, the settler colonialism of Zionism and the ethno-nationalism of present day Kurdish secessionists.

In this sense, while the Kurds have spun a narrative that they are oppressed freedom fighters, the reality is rather different. Iraqi Kurds are attempting to break apart the unity of the Arab world and in so doing, threatening the survival of what remains of the Arab nationalist ideal. If the Kurds got their way, many Arabs and other minorities such as Turkomen would find themselves becoming refugees in their own country as a result of Kurdish ethno-nationalism. By contrast, in the modern Arab world, Kurds are not threatened. One could say that they are fact, in a privileged position.

Furthermore, with many Arab nationalist governments being the victims of neo-imperialism from the west, Wahhabi terrorism from Saudi Arabia and its allies, in addition to Israel occupation and intimation, one can easily see why Arab states like Iraq have clearly stated their opposition to a further dagger in the heart of the Arab world.

Russian unity 

Like the Arab world, the Russian world has experienced similar attempts by ethno-nationalist movements to destroy the unity of a peoples who traditionally lived peacefully among each other and with ethnic and religious minorities.

The Russian Empire, Soviet Union and Russia Federation were/are all multi-ethnic and multi-cultural states, wherein the Russian majority lived across vast united lands after years of uniting various Slavic and non-Slavic peoples. In the Russian Empire, mosques, churches and other places of worship co-existed. In the Soviet Union, Marxist-Leninism helped people aspire to a new kind of unity and in today’s Russian Federation, all religious and ethnic minorities have wide ranging cultural freedoms, all under the guiding force of the Russian constitution.

Like Kurdish regions of Iraq, Muslim Chechnya enjoys vast socio-economic autonomy under the Russian constitution.

This is not to say that any one system is perfect, but even an imperfect united state is preferable to the pangs and tumult that almost always accompanies violent ethno-nationalist secessionism. In this sense, Yugoslavia is a prime example of a successful, prosperous and peaceful state which was torn apart by largely foreign funded ethno-nationalism.

Western hypocrisy and the right to self-determination

However, like the Arab world after the Sykes-Picot agreement, the post-Soviet map of historic Russian lands have been artificially divided into states which do not correspond to real regional identities.

The problem of political geography 

In an attempt to appease nationalist movements and frankly because many Bolsheviks came to detest the idea of Russian culture, an internal map of Soviet republics was created in the 1920s wherein the local regions or gubernya (губе́рния) were eliminated in favour of states within a state.

Russia’s long history of resilience in the face of invasion and occupation

These Soviet republics did not often conform to the realities of regional identities. Whereas the internal map of the Russian Empire were largely in keeping with local traditions, the proto-nationalism of the Soviet map paved the way for disaster when the unifying ideology of Marxist-Leninism was killed off in 1991.

After 1991, peoples who had shared a fraternal cultural in a united state that nested multi-cultural sub-regions, was replaced by the kind of violent nationalism which tore Europe apart after the First World War, thus setting the stage for the Second World War.

Ukraine, which was perhaps the most artificial of all the Soviet republics, has been the greatest victim of this nationalist tendencies as a minority of people from former Polish regions have declared war upon the Russians of the historical Malorossiya region of the Russian state.

DONETSK: Alexander Zakharchenko declares new state of Malorossiya

In 1916, the secretive Sykes–Picot Agreement which was eventually exposed to the world by the young Soviet press, divided much of the Arab world into nation-states which continues to have the effect of dividing a peoples who like Russians, were once united peacefully among themselves and among the minorities of their wider civilisational realm.

However, while some seek to fight nation-state nationalism with more nation-state nationalism, this has only created problems for both Russians, Arabs and the minorities of each realm.

Freedom and reality  

The world has come to accept that the division of Germany after 1945 was unjust to the German people and likewise, while the political situation remains incredibly difficult, both Seoul and Pyongyang eventually seek the re-unification of the single Korean people.

Likewise, both Russians and Arabs can and should work to peacefully reunite with one another while retaining the political understanding of and compassion towards minorities of each realm which defined the great Russian states of the past as well as the pre-Ottoman Arab caliphates.

While Arab nationalists more or less settled on retaining the post-Sykes-Picot map, in practice, attempts at union and federation were continually made, most recently the Federation of Arab Republics which existed between Libya, Egypt and Syria between 1972 and 1977.

The failure of Arab unity has been due to a persistent combination of western corporate imperialism and military occupation (Iraq, Libya and partly Syria for example), the Zionist settler colonialism in Palestine and the inevitable, but not disastrous problems of political leaders who do not always share the same vision.

The problem with modern Russian unity is likewise that the great western powers have armed and funded ethnic minorities in historic Russian lands in order to encircle the Russian Federation and magnify the crisis of Russian refugees.

Russians: the refugees the world prefers to forget

The solution in both cases is not more micro-states, failed states and disputed territories, but more unity, more cooperation and more federation between existing states.

In Donbass, the goal of the anti-fascists is to eventually live in a confederate union between Malorossiya, Belarus and the Russian Federation. Others among the anti-fascist movement advocate for full immersion within the Russian Federation. The position of Moscow is to implement the Minsk agreements, restore constitutional rule in Kiev and live as separate states but with restored fraternal agreements, which prior to 2014 allowed for a common economic area which included freedom of movement with de-facto cultural and religious freedoms for all. In many ways the Eurasian Economic Union, Commonwealth of Independent States and the potential inherent in China’s multi-national One Belt–One Road, will allow Moscow to create a reunion of Russian and fraternal peoples, without needed to engage in the often tricky word of formally redrawing regional maps.

While many scholars focus on the differences between Ba’athism and Nasserism or between the Malorossiya plan and the Minsk agreements, the reality is that while the means differ, the desired end result is much the same, unity among peoples with or without having to redraw specific political borders.

Conclusion

Europe has been the most divided region of the world over the last 2,000 years. Countless small wars fought between sects and later nations stand out against the comparative placidity in the Arab caliphates, the Russian Empire, Soviet Union and pre-19th century Ottoman Empire.

And yet in spite of this, Europe, which incidentally also produced the most aggressive imperialist states in modern history, has formed a European Union which does not legally erase borders, but does create a single unified realm. While problems with the EU dominate the headlines, this again obscures the fact that most Europeans are happy to live in a single free trading area and are happy to have the right to travel across borders as if in a single state.

If a deeply divided Europe can unite, why cannot a formerly united Russian and Arab world reunite? The answer is that they can and that they must. Modern Arabism does not threaten Kurds, not least based on the models of autonomy in Iraq and full citizen rights in Syria. However, Kurdish secessionists like Israeli settler colonists do threaten Arab unity. The solution for the Arab world and the Russian world is therefore the same. Fewer states, not more, and the embrace of pan-nationalisms over ethno-nationalism.

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America the Punitive

What do Russia, Turkey and Iran have in common?

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


There has been a dramatic shift in how the United States government carries out its business internationally. Admittedly, Washington has had a tendency to employ force to get what it has wanted ever since 9/11, but it also sometimes recognized that other countries had legitimate interests and accepted there was a place for diplomacy to resolve issues short of armed conflict. The Bush Administration reluctance to broaden its engagement in the Middle East after it recognized that it had blundered with Iraq followed by Obama’s relaxation of tensions with Cuba and his negotiation of a nuclear agreement with Iran demonstrated that sanity sometimes prevailed in the West Wing.

That willingness to be occasionally accommodating has changed dramatically, with the State Department under Mike Pompeo currently more prone to deliver threats than any suggestions that we all might try to get along. It would be reasonable enough to criticize such behavior because it is intrinsically wrong, but the truly frightening aspect of it would appear to be that it is based on the essentially neoconservative assumption that other countries will always back down when confronted with force majeure and that the use of violence as a tool in international relations is, ultimately, consequence free.

I am particularly disturbed with the consequence free part as it in turn is rooted in the belief that countries that have been threatened or even invaded have no collective memory of what occurred and will not respond vengefully when the situation changes. There have been a number of stunningly mindless acts of aggression over the past several weeks that are particularly troubling as they suggest that they will produce many more problems down the road than solutions.

The most recent is the new sanctioning of Russia over the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury England. For those not following developments, last week Washington abruptly and without any new evidence being presented, imposed additional trade sanctions on Russia in the belief that Moscow ordered and carried out the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4th. The report of the new sanctions was particularly surprising as Yulia Skripal has recently announced that she intends to return to her home in Russia, leading to the conclusion that even one of the alleged victims does not believe the narrative being promoted by the British and American governments.

Though Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded with restraint, avoiding a tit-for-tat, he is reported to be angry about the new move by the US government and now believes it to be an unreliable negotiating partner. Considering the friendly recent exchanges between Putin and Trump, the punishment of Russia has to be viewed as something of a surprise, suggesting that the president of the United States may not be in control of his own foreign policy.

Turkey is also feeling America’s wrath over the continued detention of an American Protestant Pastor Andrew Brunson by Ankara over charges that he was connected to the coup plotters of 2016, which were allegedly directed by Fetullah Gulen, a Muslim religious leader, who now resides in Pennsylvania. Donald Trump has made the detention the centerpiece of his Turkish policy, introducing sanctions and tariffs that have led in part to a collapse of the Turkish lira and a run on the banking system which could easily lead to default and grave damage to European banks that hold a large party of the country’s debt.

And then there is perennial favorite Iran, which was hit with reinstated sanctions last week and is confronting a ban on oil sales scheduled to go into effect on November 4th. The US has said it will sanction any country that buys Iranian oil after that date, though a number of governments including Turkey, India and China appear to be prepared to defy that demand. Several European countries are reportedly preparing mechanisms that will allow them to trade around US restrictions.

What do Russia, Turkey and Iran have in common? All are on the receiving end of punitive action by the United States over allegations of misbehavior that have not been demonstrated. Nobody has shown that Russia poisoned the Skripals, Turkey just might have a case that the Reverend Brunson was in contact with coup plotters, and Iran is in full compliance with the nuclear arms agreement signed in 2015. One has to conclude that the United States has now become the ultimate angry imperial power, lashing out with the only thing that seems to work – its ability to interfere in and control financial markets – to punish nations that do not play by its rules. Given Washington’s diminishing clout worldwide, it is a situation that is unsustainable and which will ultimately only really punish the American people as the United States becomes more isolated and its imperial overreach bankrupts the nation. As America weakens, Russia, Turkey, Iran and all the other countries that have been steamrolled by Washington will likely seek revenge. To avoid that, a dramatic course correction by the US is needed, but, unfortunately, is unlikely to take place.

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NATO Repeats the Great Mistake of the Warsaw Pact

NATO expansion continues to drive the world the closer towards the threat of thermonuclear war.

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Authored by Martin Sieff via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Through the 1990s, during the terms of US President Bill Clinton, NATO relentlessly and inexorably expanded through Central Europe. Today, the expansion of that alliance eastward – encircling Russia with fiercely Russo-phobic regimes in one tiny country after another and in Ukraine, which is not tiny at all – continues.

This NATO expansion – which the legendary George Kennan presciently warned against in vain – continues to drive the world the closer towards the threat of thermonuclear war. Far from bringing the United States and the Western NATO allies increased security, it strips them of the certainty of the peace and security they would enjoy if they instead sought a sincere, constructive and above all stable relationship with Russia.

It is argued that the addition of the old Warsaw Pact member states of Central Europe to NATO has dramatically strengthened NATO and gravely weakened Russia. This has been a universally-accepted assumption in the United States and throughout the West for the past quarter century. Yet it simply is not true.

In reality, the United States and its Western European allies are now discovering the hard way the same lesson that drained and exhausted the Soviet Union from the creation of the Warsaw Pact in 1955 to its dissolution 36 years later. The tier of Central European nations has always lacked the coherence, the industrial base and the combined economic infrastructure to generate significant industrial, financial or most of all strategic and military power.

In fact the current frustrating experience of NATO, and the long, exhausting tribulations that faced Soviet diplomats and generals for so many decades was entirely consistent with the previous historical record going back at least until 1718.

From 1718 until 1867 – a period of a century and a half – most of Central Europe, including even regions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, were consolidated within the Austro –Hungarian Empire, However even then, the Habsburg multi-national empire was always militarily weak and punched beneath its weight. After Emperor Franz Josef recklessly proclaimed his famous Compromise of 1867, the effectiveness of the imperial army was reduced to almost zero. The autonomous and feckless conduct of the Hungarian aristocracy ensured a level of confusion, division, incompetence and ineptitude that was revealed in the army’s total collapse against both Russia and Serbia in the great battles of 1914 at the start of World War I.

Germany moved in to occupy and consolidate the region in both world wars. But far from making Germany a global giant and enabling it to maintain its domination of Europe, the Central European regions – whether as part of Austro-Hungary during World War I or as independent nation-states allied to the Nazis in World War II – proved miniscule and worthless against the alliances of Russia, the United States, Britain and France that the Germans fought against in both global conflicts.

After the Soviet Union militarily destroyed the genocidal military power of Nazi Germany in World War II, Russia’s Great Patriotic War, the political consolidation of East Germany and Poland were strategically necessary for Russia’s security. But occupying and organizing the rest of the region was not. Far from strengthening the Soviet Union, those nations weakened and distracted it. Today, NATO is repeating the Soviet Mistake and that fatal move is inexorably draining the alliance of all its strength and credibility.

NATO is also repeating the disastrous mistake that France made in 1920-21 when it created a “Little Entente” of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Romania to supposedly counterbalance the revival of Germany. The plan failed completely.

Today those very same nations – enthusiastically joined by Hungary, Poland and the three little Baltic states – are relentlessly distorting both NATO and the EU. They generate weakness and chaos in the alliances they are in – not unity and strength.

As I have noted before in these columns, the great British historian Lord Correlli Barnett drew the important distinction between militarily powerful nations that are generators and exporters of security and those, either tiny or disorganized, pacifist and weak nations that have to import their security from more powerful states.

One might call such small countries “feeder” or “parasite” states. They siphon off energy and strength from their protector partners. They weaken their alliance partners rather than strengthening them.

The consistent lessons of more than 300 years of Central European history are therefore clear: Leading and organizing the tier of Central European nations in the Warsaw Pact did not strengthen the Soviet Union: Instead, those activities relentlessly weakened it.

Incorporating most of the small nations in Central Europe into any empire or alliance has never been a cause or generator of military or national strength, regardless of the ideology or religious faith involved. At best, it is a barometer of national strength.

When nations such as France, Germany, the Soviet Union or the United States are seen as rising powers in the world, the small countries of Central Europe always hasten to ally themselves accordingly. They therefore adopt and discard Ottoman Islamic imperialism. Austrian Christian imperialism, democracy, Nazism, Communism and again democracy as easily as putting on or off different costumes at a fancy dress ball in Vienna or Budapest.

As Russia rises once again in global standing and national power, supported by its genuinely powerful allies China, India and Pakistan in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the nations of Central Europe can be anticipated to reorient their own loyalties accordingly once again.

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Why Russia will NOT fall victim to emerging markets financial crisis (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 81.

Alex Christoforou

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As the Turkish Lira collapses, sending emerging market economies into turmoil, Russia is being slapped with additional US sanctions dubbed the US Congress ‘bill from hell’.

The full text the newest sanctions bill has been released. The sanctions are deliberately designed to punish Russia’s economy for a Skripal poisoning hoax for which no evidence of Russian state involvement has been presented. The new bill even goes so far as to suggest designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The “sanctions bill from hell” officially entitled ‘Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2018’ was introduced by a group of Republican and Democratic senators on the 2nd of August.

According to RT, the bill would place restrictions on US cooperation with Russia’s oil industry, target Russian sovereign debt transactions as well as Russian uranium imports. In addition, the legislation calls for sanctions against “political figures, oligarchs, and other persons that facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris explain why, unlike the financial meltdown in Turkey, Russia is well equipped and properly prepared to weather the US sanctions storm… and may, in the end, come out of the latest emerging markets turmoil stronger and more independent from western petrodollar control than ever before.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via RT

The bill, which was recently published in full on Congress’ official website, also pledges full support for NATO and would require a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate if the United States ever wishes to exit the transatlantic alliance.

The legislation also declares that “the United States will never recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation” and that Washington, in conjunction with NATO, should “prioritize efforts to prevent the further consolidation of illegal occupying powers in Crimea.”

The pending ‘Kremlin Aggression Act’ decrees that Congress should also determine whether Russia “meets the criteria for designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.”

The bill also accused Russia of “enabling the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria to commit war crimes,” adding that Moscow has shown itself to be “incapable or unwilling” to compel Assad to “stop using chemical weapons against the civilian population in Syria.”

The Act calls for a congressional committee to investigate “alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity attributable to [Russia]” and resolves to “punish the Government of the Russian Federation for, and deter that Government from, any chemical weapons production and use through the imposition of sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and the use of the mechanisms specified in the Chemical Weapons Convention for violations of the Convention.”

The legislation is just the latest addition to a laundry list of sanctions and laws passed in the months following the 2016 presidential election.

Republican hawk Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) and Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), who both sponsored the bill, said in a joint statement that the legislation is designed to show that the US will “not waver in our rejection of [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] effort to erode western democracy as a strategic imperative for Russia’s future.” The Russia-obsessed Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) was one of the five co-sponsors of the bill.

Moscow has brushed off the new wave of accusations as a projection of internal US struggle. Some elements in the US government are trying to “keep afloat” the conspiracy that Russia meddled in the US elections, in hopes of derailing constructive relations with Moscow and using the issue “purely for internal American purposes,” Senator Konstantin Kosachev, who chairs the Upper House Committee for International Relations, has said in response to the latest sanctions.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned that the adoption of any US legislation that targets Russian banking operations and currency trade would be considered a declaration of economic war.

“If they introduce something like a ban on banking operations or the use of any currency, we will treat it as a declaration of economic war. And we’ll have to respond to it accordingly – economically, politically, or in any other way, if required,” Medvedev said last week. “Our American friends should make no mistake about it.”

Moscow has vowed to respond to any new sanctions. Russia’s Finance Ministry said it would continue to sell off its holdings of US Treasury securities, while some lawmakers have called for Russia and its allies to stop using the US dollar for mutual payments.

 

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