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Netanyahu meets with Putin. Warns that Iran’s influence in Syria will come with conflict

“Let the Sunni evil prevail,” they say.

Alex Christoforou

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From the onset of the Syrian war, various outside forces have been diligently working to tear the country apart by any means necessary (even it meant raising an ISIS black flag).

Russia’s entrance into the theater of conflict in Syria stabilized the Assad government, and has lead to the now, seemingly inevitable victory that the Syrian people have fought so hard to earn.

Syria’s preservation, safeguarded by Russia, may have alarmed many bad actors in Syria, who were covertly pushing ISIS forward (the United States comes to mind), but it is Iran’s helping hand in Syria that has now moved Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to hold discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the very deep concern that Iranian influence in Syria would be considered by Israel as a security threat, that would be meet with force if necessary.

Zerohedge analyzes the situation in a complicated, post ISIS Syria…a Syria which is inching ever closer to winning the battle against ISIS, but not winning the war against the outside forces who will continue to view Syria as nothing more than a pipeline route, a Wahhabi satellite, or in the case of Israel, a buffer zone against Iranian expansion.

For Netanyahu and other Israeli officials the chief concern was never the black clad death cult which filmed itself beheading Americans and burning people alive.  “Let the Sunni evil prevail,” they say.

Israel is threatening to escalate military action in Syria against perceived Iranian interests. This week Netanyahu declared“we will act when necessary according to our red lines” while hinting he prefers ISIS presence in Syria as opposed to Iran aligned fighters at his border. This comes as ISIS is now crumbling, and at a time when most world leaders of nations driving the external proxy war in Syria have toned down their rhetoric regarding the future fate of the Assad government.

After years of a regular drumbeat of bellicose statements emanating from the West and repeat talk of “Assad must go”, “red lines”, and years of constantly failed predictions that “regime demise is imminent,” there now seems a general acceptance that the Syrian government has emerged victorious in the 6-year long conflict. Not only did Trump this summer order the closure of the CIA’s regime change program which targeted Assad, but it appears even Gulf nations – lately embroiled in their own inter-GCC political civil war and airing of dirty laundry – have been forced to temper their rhetoric. Turkey also has reluctantly shifted its priorities in Syria after its well-known and documented regime change machinations – which included facilitating the transfer of tens of thousands of foreign jihadists (the core of which joined ISIS) across its southern border – have largely backfired. International media too, generally reflecting undeniable geopolitical realities, have bluntly headlined stories with “And the winner is: Assad” and “We have to accept that Assad will win in Syria” and “How Assad is Winning”.

But it appears Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t get the memo. On Wednesday the Israeli Prime Minister told Russian President Putin that Israel would not tolerate an Iranian presence in Syria and further signaled willingness to go to war in Syria to curtail Iranian influence. “Iran is already well on its way to controlling Iraq, Yemen and to a large extent is already in practice in control of Lebanon,” Netanyahu told Putin, adding further that, “We cannot forget for a single minute that Iran threatens every day to annihilate Israel. Israel opposes Iran’s continued entrenchment in Syria. We will be sure to defend ourselves with all means against this and any threat.”

The two leaders met for three hours in the Black Sea resort of Sochi – their sixth such meeting since September 2015. Putin did not respond publicly to the provocative words on Syria during the portion of the meeting open to reporters. Netanyahu later told Israeli reporters covering the meeting that:

Bringing Shi’ites into the Sunni sphere will surely have many serious implications both in regard to refugees and to new terrorist acts. We want to prevent a war and that’s why it’s better to raise the alarm early in order to stop deterioration.

Netanyahu’s reference to “the Sunni sphere” came after he summarized the closed door part of the discussion as dealing with “Iran’s attempt to establish a foothold in Syria in the places where ISIS was defeated and is leaving.” Netanyahu’s comments are a reflection of an extremely disturbing view which has become so prominent within Israeli defense circles as to be considered establishment: that ISIS is ultimately preferable to Iran and Assad. This is to say that continued ISIS presence in Syria and Iraq is a viable option and possibly better than pro-Iranian or even Russian spheres of influence in the Israeli prime minister’s mind. Of course, this “lesser evil is ISIS” view is nothing new. In Israel, for example, there are even “respected” think tanks tied in with major public universities which openly call for allowing ISIS to thrive in Syria.

The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies, for example, which is one of Israel’s most internationally visible and influential think tanks (and located on the campus of Israel’s second largest university), published a policy paper last year which made a direct appeal to Israel’s Western partners with the unambiguous message contained in the essay’s title: “The Destruction of Islamic State is a Strategic Mistake.” Author and Director of the Begin-Sadat Centre, Efraim Inbar, argued against a Western military campaign to destroy ISIS while envisioning the group as an effective tool in sowing terror and chaos in Iran and Syria, with the added benefit of keeping Russia bogged down in defense of the Assad government. Inbar spelled this out clearly:

The continuing existence of IS [Islamic State] serves a strategic purpose. The American administration does not appear capable of recognizing the fact that IS can be a useful tool in undermining Tehran’s ambitious plan for domination of the Middle East.

While acknowledging the Islamic State’s utter genocidal brutality, the paper concluded:

The Western distaste for IS brutality and immorality should not obfuscate strategic clarity.

policy paper published by an influential Israeli think tank which contracts with NATO argues that ISIS is a “useful tool” for Israel’s strategic defense. 

Various current and former Israeli defense officials have echoed this point of view over the years, including former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren, who in 2014 surprised the audience at Colorado’s Aspen Ideas Festival when he said in comments related to ISIS that, “the lesser evil is the Sunnis over the Shias.” Oren, while articulating Israeli defense policy, fully acknowledged he thought ISIS was “the lesser evil”. Likewise, for Netanyahu and other Israeli officials the chief concern was never the black clad death cult which filmed itself beheading Americans and burning people alive, but the possibility of, in the words of Henry Kissinger, “a Shia and pro-Iran territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut” and establishment of “an Iranian radical empire.”

Of course, such a perspective also tends to assume that Syrian and Iraqi sovereignty is non-existent (but instead seen as a mere extension of Iran and Russia), even as both countries now stand in better position in terms of operational sovereignty with Syria having liberated Aleppo and Iraq having regained Mosul. And that’s perhaps why there’s increasingly uninhibited truth-telling in Israel, the Gulf, and D.C. these days: the party is over in terms of the hoped for regime change in Syria. Perhaps now there’s simply more blunt and open talk wherein assumptions are laid bare as introspective strategists realign their talking points while still eyeing the ultimate neocon prize of regime change in Iran.

Though still rarely acknowledged in international reports, Israel has engaged in overt acts of war in Syria since at least 2012 and 2013, when it launched a massive missile attack against a Syrian defense technology facility in Jamraya outside of Damascus. In 2016 Israel went so far as to target Damascus International Airport, killing a well-known Hezbollah commander. In a significant admission last week, the head of Israel’s air force acknowledged nearly one hundred IDF attacks on convoys inside Syria over the course of the past 5 years. Earlier this summer Netanyahu himself was caught on a hot mic bragging that Israel had struck Syrian targets at least “a dozen times”. And this is to say nothing of Israel’s covert support to al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria’s south, which has reportedly involved weapons transfers and treatment of wounded jihadists in Israeli hospitals, the latter which was widely promoted in photo ops involving Netanyahu himself. As even former Acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell once directly told the Israeli public, Israel’s “dangerous game” in Syria consists in getting in bed with al-Qaeda in order to fight Shia Iran.

Perhaps the biggest blow to Israeli plans for rolling back Iranian presence in Syria came mid-summer of this year, when Trump agreed to a southwest Syria ‘de-escalation zone’ with Russia, which would necessarily involve Iranian cooperation. The agreement implicitly acknowledges Iran’s troop presence in Syria as legitimate, and as reported at the time further “ignored Israel’s positions almost completely.” But analysts are in general agreement that the US-Russia brokered deal has been relatively successful and a step in the right direction. Even the Reuters report on this week’s Netanyahu-Putin meeting seemed to acknowledge the deal’s effectiveness:

Russia has so far shown forbearance toward Israel, setting up a military hotline to prevent their warplanes or anti-aircraft units clashing accidentally over Syria.

But given that Israel has already invested itself so heavily in the push to remove Assad while routinely launching attacks on Hezbollah with impunity, it is unlikely to disengage from Syria anytime soon, even as close Western allies publicly change their tune. Netanyahu’s brazen words to Putin that ‘preventative’ escalation in Syria to destroy what Israeli defense officials commonly call the “Iranian land bridge” (or the so-called ‘Shia crescent’) may in reality be empty diplomatic posturing, yet it does reveal increased Israeli desperation as even the West is seeming to ignore Netanyahu’s repeatedly declared “red lines”.

Regardless, Netanyahu remains the Syria regime change lobby’s best hope. Already, within less than 24 hours of Netanyahu’s Russia visit, neocon columnists are calling for him to unilaterally “take action”:

If he really expects others , especially Putin, that he means business this time, he will have to go beyond words and into actions, as clearly Israel could not and should not allow Iran to turn South Syria into another South Lebanon.

With ISIS foldingrefugees returning to their homes, stability taking root over large swathes of Syria, and successful de-escalation zones holding over parts of the country, it appears that only Netanyahu (along with terror groups like ISIS) is left unhappy in the region. Yet Syria continues on its current hopeful trajectory and path to recovery.


Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren: “Let the Sunni evil prevail.”

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Avramijevdan
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Avramijevdan

All of the meetings have purpose and somebody’s plotting behind it, but 6 times in 2 years?!? It looks to me someone is delivering messages.

Mr. Evil-Eye forgot what Russians are saying all along about Golan Heights that have to be returned to Syria. So beyond delivering messages Mr. Evil-Eye probably thinks by “escalating words” he might gain on Golan heights. He should have thought twice.

Kentus
Guest
Kentus
tapatio
Guest
tapatio

I see the eyes of a shark – dead/predatory/sociopathic.

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

He’s like Allen Dulles in that he’s a psychopath faking an avuncular veneer.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

Now, Dulles did appear avuncular. Bibi’s visage might be compared to the uncle who’s waiting for the pretty niece’s parents to leave so he can rape the child.

To me, he always appears treacherous and predatory.

thnkfryrslf
Guest
thnkfryrslf

Creepy!

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

Look up the YouTube videos where this evil thug is all sweetness and light to the young British Jews he is trying to seduce into coming to Israel. See how so many of them look very wary and suspicious. They’ve seen con jobs before, and Nutty is oozing con job.

stevek9
Guest
stevek9

Can we go back to 1948 and not do this?

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

Go back another year, to 1947, when the UN gave legitimacy to the Khazarian plague infesting Palestine.

Guy
Member
Guy

It would be better to go back to when the Balfour declaration was signed , which led to the creation of the zionist state.

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

We could keep going back – how about preventing Rhodes, Milner, Grey, Salisbury, Balfour, Rothschild just to name a few, from ruthlessly engineering, their murderous WW1 and Bolshevik revolution to murder the Russian royal family and enslave the Russian people? It goes on and on. The problem is, how to inform enough people, because this knowledge of the few is powerless.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

Best, of course, would be if George III had hanged Mayer Rothschild and expelled the Talmudic/future-ZionistFascist cult, instead of selling England to Satan just to win a war – which he lost anyway. That would have saved how many hundreds of millions of lives and how much horror?

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

George was probably getting a kickback into the Royal estates. That’s customary Rothschild business.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

George got the funds he needed to fight against the American colonies and deal with some other issues. Mayer Rothschild got the British economy.

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

And yet after 1776 George never got enough to finish the job, while the other George got enough through Gouverneur Morris and Hayim Solomon to keep him going, until the French won it for him.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

Once the Rothschilds get their claws into a country, the cash flow is in ONE direction – from the country to the Rothschilds. Who do you think is the vampire sucking everyone from here to Greece dry? They don’t call them vampires for nothing.

you’re right about Washington. But, numerous statements of his indicate that he despised the Jews as blood-sucking parasites.

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

Maybe a year before that when the British turned down the German offer of peace, because the Khazar banksters offered to bring America into the war on the British side in return for Palestine, which the British didn’t own.

Isabella Jones
Guest
Isabella Jones

Netanyahoo can say what he likes, throw whatever tantrum he wants – President Putin will do whatever he deems is essential for Syrian integrity and security, and with it – Russian. Period.

samo war
Guest
samo war

putin is mosad agent ?

Anja Boettcher
Guest
Anja Boettcher

I know what I think of altrgihtist platforms like zerohedge. The same I think about bloody neocons: It’s just the other bunch of genocidal USAdists who fight each other solely about how to distribute profit from US global exploitation among them. To quote another article, voicing a loud pathetic hymn on Mr Dumb’s presidency, making use of USAmerican abuse of misinterpretig other people’s culture. Starting with Trump’s press record, they interpret his idiocies and inaccountability as sign of secret superiority: “But what if I were to tell you that the Donald is, in actuality, the most capable man to lead… Read more »

Guy
Member
Guy

“Trump will soon call all-in holding a royal straight flush.”
You must be the eternal optimist .I wish I could feel the same but after seeing him cave in to the military generals who now run foreign policy for the US , I am afraid that anyone that thinks he will come out on top and surprise everyone is just ,well , pi$$ing in the wind.
Sorry if I sound pessimistic , as a rule I do like to think positive , but you know that old saying ,fool me once ,shame on me…………………

Cheers.

Anja Boettcher
Guest
Anja Boettcher

This line was a quotation of a zerohedge article. Appriciation of Trump was definitely not mine, but that of an altrightist journalist I have characterised as foolish.

Gio Con
Guest
Gio Con

Iran wouldn’t have any interest or influence in the region if it weren’t for the US and Israel’s regime change wars in the first place. Israel and the US created the conditions for Russia and Iran to step in. Furthermore, Iran has never shown any interest in expanding its borders, so the “Shia Crescent” excuse is just that — an excuse for Israel to continue hostilities. Israel is the only country in the region who has been on a land theft and imperialist rampage for over 70 years.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

Iran and Russia have very valid reason for interest in Syria. The Khazar colonists in Palestine and Americans, on the other side of the world, have no right or reason…………..other than their incessant lust for power and money.

Larchmonter445
Guest
Larchmonter445

The Israelis were in Sochi to ask for permission to continue to strike. If they thought it was safe for them, they wouldn’t be there in Putin’s house, asking. The reality is tough for them. They are used to flying and killing anyone they want to. The day of local hegemony for Tel Aviv is over. Most importantly, Israeli has shown in the last two months, along the Lebanon border and along the Jordanian border and the US-Russian de-escalation zone in the SW corner, they have zero influence with any outcome. The US could not help them influence Russia, and… Read more »

Guy
Member
Guy

Iran needs a few of the best deterrents that Russia has to offer and I do believe that it is in the offing .

spoint
Guest
spoint

When Russia got the safe zone in Syria, Israel (america) initially went along and then said, “Uh-Oh.” Then a unanimous (less 5 votes) jew controlled congress voted new sanctions on Russia. So what can the jews do to Russia to top that? And what can Russia do back?

Freethinking Влади́мир
Guest
Freethinking Влади́мир

So far Israel has engaged Syria 100 times media says. Russia can’t do much and the reason is that Israel and the Russian Jewry has quite a hold on Russia. It’s probably nothing compared to the west especially the USA, but it’s not kosher either.

The above statement got me banned from Fort Russ by the way. The proof is in the pudding. You can complain about the US being influenced by the Zio-sphere which happens daily, but not about Russia.

Guy
Member
Guy

You could be right but I question the motives of the Russian Jewry .You see it is not necessarily , a Jewish issue ,but a zionist issue IMHO and so if you could elaborate please.

Freethinking Влади́мир
Guest
Freethinking Влади́мир

Well, one is colluded with the other. It’s not different from the USA. There’s Jewish interests and there’s Zionist interests, and often they are lumped together though not always in line with each other.

Bente Petersen
Guest
Bente Petersen

and who is behind Israel but UK and USA… !!!! all insane !!!!

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

Can I just add, UK and USA elite, global mafia? Please remember, they have already subjugated us, with their filthy wars and robbery through taxation; and now, the destruction of our culture through organised illegal immigration. From the UK. I haven’t yet ceased to be amazed and horrified, the more I learn about real history.

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

You can get big, repeated doses of that from Howard Zinn’s, A People’s History of the United States.

Also, Hidden History: The Secret Origns of the First World War. Here’s an overview.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/hidden-history-the-secret-origins-of-the-first-world-war/5600090

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

I’ve been loudly promoting Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War since last Christmas, on here! Some of the old regulars must be sick of reading about it, but have been patient and polite enough not to say so. Seriously, I’ve felt like The Ancient Mariner, pinning the unsuspecting wedding guest to the wall, while I tell my tale. Yes, Docherty and Mcgregor’s book is a stunning revelation and so well researched and cited – I even bought several of the widely cited books to thoroughly double-check them and they were spot on.

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

Great!

How about Carroll Quigley?

Quigley’s book as a pdf

http://www.wanttoknow.info/war/tragedy_and_hope_quigley_full1090pg.pdf

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

You’re kidding! That’s the other book I bang on about. It was the main one I bought to check all the references used by Docherty and Mcgregor.

I happened across the late Professor Antony C Sutton on You Tube the other day and will order some of his books. The Best Enemy Money Can Buy looks like a good start. Interestingly, he seemed to cover both geopolitical history and global economics, which is rare.

It’s unbelievable how almost everything we have all been taught and told is a lie. Truly shocking. And so difficult to dig out the truth.

TecumsehUnfaced
Guest
TecumsehUnfaced

Here’s something else that frightening… the sayanim. Israeli Operatives in the U.S. By Jeff Gates July 20, 2010 “Veterans Today” — Americans know that something fundamental is amiss. They sense—rightly—that they are being misled no matter which political party does the leading. A long misinformed public lacks the tools to grasp how they are being deceived. Without those tools, Americans will continue to be frustrated at being played for the fool. When the “con” is clearly seen, “the mark” (that’s us) will see that all roads lead to the same duplicitous source: Israel and its operatives. The secret to Israel’s… Read more »

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

Yes, Israel is somewhere deep in the mix but I understood that Rothschild and co owns Israel and that’s the real puppet master. Israel serves the purpose of the Anglo American elite. They don’t care about the Israeli population anymore than they do any other population. Israel seems to be useful as the means to achieve the Rothschild’s third World War, in the middle east. There wouldn’t be much left of Israel after that, I shouldn’t think. Netanyahu thinks he’s so clever but I suspect he’s just another useful tool to these people. Unfortunately, Rothschild and co use American men… Read more »

permopin
Guest
permopin

Putin paying tribute to the Zionist thug for the Russian successes in Syria? Send the “rat off” with the middle finger gesture.

Guy
Member
Guy

I don’t think that Netanyahoo’s visit should be interpreted as “Putin paying tribute”.Putin will talk to anyone that wants to talk and that is the Putin style .Probably what makes him the man he is ,very well respected and obviously sought after given the visits that he receives from heads of state from all over the world.

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

It’s more likely that Putin is being his usual, diplomatic self. His diplomacy and patience are his winning cards. No wonder he is popular in his own country. Can we have one like that?

Guy
Member
Guy

Netanyahoo never gets the memo or he always refuses to read it.Always playing the victim is his forte and invading the Palestinians for trumped up reasons , reasons that he is guilty of formulating and fooling the world or so he thinks.
Israel will continue on this path until the US cuts it’s support for this oppressive nation .BDS is the only solution .Non violent but hits where it hurts the most , in the pocket book.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

And one more who doesn’t pass up a chance to stir up trouble.

Norman
Guest
Norman

Netanyahu, you’re not dealing with stupid American dopeheads here. What can you put on the table for Russia to consider listening to you and don’t think for a minute you can use the Golan Heights as a bargaining chip since you really don’t have a leg to stand on. You assume a lot making threats against others but piss your pants when they glance your way? You’re worse than your best buddy that’s deaf and dumb even on your way to defeat. Get out of Syria moron.

Ithamer
Guest
Ithamer

Until the Palestinian Jews realize their conduct in Palestine is unacceptable therefore their existence will remain in peril.

Latest

BREXIT storm deepens, as parliamentary coup may be forming against May and Corbyn

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 166.

Alex Christoforou

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Emboldened by Theresa May’s lack of leadership and will to deliver the Brexit that UK citizens voted for in a democratic referendum, remain MPs are now mobilizing to do the EU’s bidding in forcing Britain to nullify the Brexit process and eventually stay a part of the European Union.

After yesterday’s thumping of May’s Brexit plan in parliament, The Times’ Matthew Parris is now openly floating the idea that “it’s time for parliament to wrest control from the zombies, stating that “Theresa May isn’t any good” and “Jeremy Corbyn is equally useless”…

There exists no leadership in either the government or the opposition capable of taking us through this mess. No hidden strengths, no unexpected qualities; no whizzbang new thinking, no magic. Forget May. Forget Corbyn. Salvation is not coming from these directions.
So it’s up to parliament. MPs are coming to understand that they have to act. It has been stealing on parliamentarians for months now and close contacts between leading members of both parties have been made and have been deepening.
From within the Commons a shadow executive must emerge, and is beginning to. Labour’s Yvette Cooper talks to the Tories’ Dominic Grieve. Around them is a cluster of senior parliamentarians who are getting used to talking.
A common purpose unites them: rescuing the country from a no-deal Brexit that only a small minority actually want. Whether this is to be done by seeking a better deal than May’s or by a new referendum, or both, they need to find a way soon. An “indicative” vote of the House of Commons may help guide them.
And however speedily the House can find its leadership and direction, it’s hard to imagine this can be done without an extension to the Article 50 negotiating period.
Overwhelmingly, the conclusion to be drawn from last night’s vote is that parliament must wrest control from a zombie prime minister, a zombie cabinet and a zombie opposition. I heard in May’s response to the result the hint of the straw at which she may now clutch: a Labour-style Brexit under a Tory nominal prime minister. I would be amazed if her party would accept it.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the turbulent and uncertain road ahead in the Brexit saga as a March deadline looms.

Shifting sands, and betrayal at the highest level is now crystallizing, as hints of a possible parliamentary coup against May and Corbyn is being floated as a possible solution to the impasse that will ultimately steer the UK back under EU control, and cancel the Brexit referendum.

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

Follow The Duran Audio Podcast on Soundcloud.

Via Straits Times

The words “humiliated” and “crushed” featured prominently in British newspaper headlines following Parliament’s massive rejection of a divorce deal with the European Union on Tuesday (Jan 15).

Dailies said Prime Minister Theresa May’s grip on power was waning after the huge vote against the agreement struck between her government and Brussels, as she prepared to fight a no-confidence motion on Wednesday.

“May humiliated by 230 votes,” The Daily Mirror tabloid said.

The Daily Telegraph wrote: “Humiliation for Prime Minister as MPs overwhelmingly reject deal and Labour tables no confidence vote.”

The broadsheet’s parliamentary sketchwriter Michael Deacon said Mrs May had somehow defied the odds by making a historic event an anticlimax.

“Her speech had all the brio of a mouldy gym sock,” he wrote.

“She sounded as winningly persuasive as a mother snapping at her children to eat up their cabbage or go to bed hungry.”

The vote itself “was as if Agatha Christie has allowed Miss Marple to solve the murder half way through and spend the rest of the novel pottering about in the garden”.

‘ZOMBIE PM’

The Times columnist Matthew Parris said it was time for senior MPs to take over the Brexit process.

“There exists no leadership in either the government or the opposition capable of taking us through this mess,” he wrote following the vote.

“Theresa May isn’t any good; she doesn’t have a fiendish, secret strategy; she’s careless with the truth and will say anything to get her through another week. She doesn’t know what to do.

“Overwhelmingly, the conclusion to be drawn… is that Parliament must wrest control from a zombie Prime Minister, a zombie Cabinet and a zombie opposition.”

The Daily Mail said the defeat left Mrs May’s power “hanging by a thread”, calling it a “devastating result, which threatens to plunge the Brexit process into chaos”.

The Sun, Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper, said: “Crushed PM dares MPs to vote for general election after record Brexit defeat.”

“The crushing defeat – which saw 118 Tories turn against the PM – is the worst since the advent of full democracy and suggests Mrs May will never win enough support for her strategy,” said the tabloid.

The Financial Times newspaper ran a headline reading: “May’s defeat spells trouble for the EU’s Brexit approach.”

“Huge loss leaves PM in race against time,” the broadsheet said.

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Latest

Ukraine’s Cult of Stepan Bandera: Not a Detail, but a Cornerstone

Unlike Poroshenko with his aerial bombings of the Russian-speaking Donbass in 2014 and 2015, Bandera killed the “wrong” victims, the representatives of those nations that are valued even by the modern Western media.

Dmitry Babich

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Authored by Dmitry Babich via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


During the recent years of the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine, there has been one issue where the Western mainstream press simply cannot fully ignore or reject the Russian arguments. This issue concerns the life and actions of Stepan Bandera (1909-1959) and his followers from what is known as the “Banderite” faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN, a far-right organization that took terrorist actions against Polish and Soviet officials from the 1920s to the 1950s and which is now legally protected from any criticism in Ukraine).

THE “WRONG” AND “RIGHT” VICTIMS

Because Bandera was born on January 1, 1909, celebrations of his birthday have become disgusting New Year’s rituals in Ukraine in recent years, with thousands participating in Nazi-style torch-lit marches that include shouted protests against “Putin’s Russia” and rants such as, “Jews out!” which are heard by everyone except the police. This New Year was no exception, since the current Ukrainian government under President Petro Poroshenko (who publicly identified himself as a Banderite after taking office in 2014) officially added Bandera’s 110th birthday to the list of Ukraine’s most important anniversaries. This time, there were several quiet voices of condemnation heard in Poland, Israel, and even the US. Why? In truth, torches, masks, political murders, and mob attacks against “pro-Russian” public figures are nothing new in post-Maidan Ukraine. And these things usually pose no problem for the mainstream press of the US and its allies. So, why is Bandera an exception?

The answer is ethnic, as awful as that may sound. Unlike Poroshenko with his aerial bombings of the Russian-speaking Donbass in 2014 and 2015, Bandera killed the “wrong” victims, the representatives of those nations that are valued even by the modern Western media, with its double and triple standards. In the 1930s Bandera killed Polish officials, in the 1940s his people killed civilian Jews and Polish peasants, and these are groups whose plight even the New York Times cannot ignore today. If Bandera’s infamous slogan “Death to enemies!” had been directed only against “disloyal” Russians and anti-Banderite Ukrainians (the groups currently persecuted by Poroshenko), Bandera would have been no different from his modern admirers in the Ukrainian government. But Bandera’s followers from the OUN decimated the Jewish population of Lvov and Kiev in 1941, trying to curry favor with the advancing Germans. And between 1943 and 1944, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), taking its orders from Bandera’s OUN officers, ethnically cleansed his native Western Ukraine of ethnic Poles, killing from 70,000-100,000 of them (the infamous “slaughter of Volhynia”). The aim was to create an “ethnically pure” Ukraine before the arrival of the Red Army in late 1944. Documents published by the Polish historian Grzegorz Motyka indicate that Bandera and the OUN hoped that the Red Army would soon be replaced by Anglo-American domination. “His strategy was to clean up the house before the arrival of the real master,” Motyka concludes in his book.

THE LADY OF THE RADA VS. ISRAEL’S PRESIDENT

The American domination took another 70 years, but it did come. And now the Banderites’ (and Poroshenko’s) only historic disagreement with the West is over the infamous “ethnic cleansing,” to which Bandera’s “glorious heroes” subjected Ukraine in 1941-1944. When Israeli President Reuven Rivlin dared to raise the issue during his visit to Ukraine in 2016, he got a scolding from the vice speaker of the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada), Irina Gerashchenko: “The Israeli president allowed himself some incorrect and undiplomatic words about the OUN’s tragic history,” Gerashchenko said at the time. “It was highly inappropriate, especially now, when Ukraine is fighting for its independence.” Gerashchenko forgot to mention the fact that Babi Yar, the burial site of some 30,000 Jews killed by German and Ukrainian Nazis in Kiev in 1941, was vandalized nine times between 2015 and 2016, according to data provided by the Ukrainian Jewish Committee.

WHY THE WEST WANTS TO FORGET, BUT CANNOT

In the immediate aftermath of the Maidan coup in 2014, the mainstream press was ready to forget even that, since an honest account of Bandera’s activities between 1939 and 1959 could rekindle memories of the undesirable parallels to the “resistance to Russian occupation” by Poroshenko’s army in the Donbass in 2014 and 2015. Between the summer of 2014 and the winter of 2015, about 10,000 people died there, victims of the aircraft and tanks sent by Poroshenko (just months earlier, the US and the EU had been unable to abide the use of truncheons by the police of the ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych). At the time, the NYT called Bandera the “Ukrainian nationalists’ hero.” Obviously, the NYT’s authors were taking their cues from the Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum, with her Banderite headline, “Nationalism is exactly what Ukraine Needs” in the once-glorious New Republic.

But here the mainstream press tried to kill off a memory that will never die — the memory of how Hitler’s East European Nazi allies participated in the destruction of the region’s Jewish population in the early 1940s. This was something not even Anne Applebaum could make people forget.

In his articles in the American press, the director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, Eduard Dolinsky, tried to explain to the American public that Bandera’s cult is not an isolated, unpleasant phenomenon: Stepan Bandera never acted alone, he represented a crudely nationalist ideology. Unfortunately, this ideology reigns triumphant in modern Ukraine behind the “liberal” façade displayed for the West. For example, Dolinsky notes that Poroshenko’s hypocritical speeches memorializing Jewish victims can be heard next to, say, a memorial to OUN activist Ivan Rogach, whose newspaper called Jews “the greatest enemy of the people” in 1941. “The Ukrainian leadership set itself on the course of rehabilitating anti-Semitism and introducing censorship of history,” concludes the official statement of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human-rights group, famous for its work to bring Nazi criminals to justice.

THE RUSSIAN QUESTION BEHIND THE JEWISH ONE

If the West cannot afford to be completely silent about Bandera’s participation in the Holocaust, it is willingly ignoring another huge injustice that is inseparable from Bandera’s cult in modern Ukraine — the erasure of the Russian and anti-Banderite component of Ukraine’s historic memory. In 2017, Kiev’s Vatutin Avenue was renamed Bandera Avenue, resulting in an outcry in Russia and complete silence in the West. This avenue, a major thoroughfare in the Ukrainian capital, had originally been named in honor of General Nikolai Vatutin, who liberated Kiev from Nazi occupation in 1943 and died in a shootout with the OUN’s guerillas in 1944. At the time, there was no question about where America’s sympathies lay: the fight against Hitler was not yet over, and Vatutin, born in 1901 to a peasant family living immediately adjacent to the future Russian-Ukrainian border, was a useful ally for the United States. Will Bandera and his modern followers be a good replacement? Only someone with Poroshenko’s plans for Ukraine or with Anne Applebaum’s views on history could agree.

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Entering a Major Regional Re-set – The Syria Outcome Will Haunt Those Who Started This War

It should be obvious now that we are entering a major regional re-set.

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Authored by Alastair Crooke via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The Middle East is metamorphosing. New fault-lines are emerging, yet Trump’s foreign policy ‘hawks’ still try to stage ‘old movies’ in a new ‘theatre’.

The ‘old movie’ is for the US to ‘stand up’ Sunni, Arab states, and lead them towards confronting ‘bad actor’ Iran. ‘Team Bolton’ is reverting back to the old 1996 Clean Break script – as if nothing has changed. State Department officials have been briefing that Secretary Pompeo’s address in Cairo on Thursday was “ slated to tell his audience (although he may not name the former president), that Obama misled the people of the Middle East about the true source of terrorism, including what contributed to the rise of the Islamic State. Pompeo will insist that Iran, a country Obama tried to engage, is the real terrorist culprit. The speech’s drafts also have Pompeo suggesting that Iran could learn from the Saudis about human rights, and the rule of law.”

Well, at least that speech should raise a chuckle around the region. In practice however, the regional fault-line has moved on: It is no longer so much Iran. GCC States have a new agenda, and are now far more concerned to contain Turkey, and to put a halt to Turkish influence spreading throughout the Levant. GCC states fear that President Erdogan, given the emotional and psychological wave of antipathy unleashed by the Khashoggi murder, may be mobilising newly re-energised Muslim Brotherhood, Gulf networks. The aim being to leverage present Gulf economic woes, and the general hollowing out of any broader GCC ‘vision’, in order to undercut the rigid Gulf ‘Arab system’ (tribal monarchy). The Brotherhood favours a soft Islamist reform of the Gulf monarchies – along lines, such as that once advocated by Jamal Khashoggi .

Turkey’s leadership in any case is convinced that it was the UAE (MbZ specifically) that was the author behind the Kurdish buffer being constructed, and mini-state ‘plot’ against Turkey – in conjunction with Israel and the US. Understandably, Gulf states now fear possible Turkish retribution for their weaponising of Kurdish aspirations in this way.

And Turkey is seen (by GCC States) as already working in close co-ordination with fellow Muslim Brotherhood patron and GCC member, Qatar, to divide the collapsing Council. This prefigures a new round to the MB versus Saudi Wahhabism spat for the soul of Sunni Islam.

GGC states therefore, are hoping to stand-up a ‘front’ to balance Turkey in the Levant. And to this end, they are trying to recruit President Assad back into the Arab fold (which is to say, into the Arab League), and to have him act, jointly with them, as an Arab counter to Turkey.

The point here is obvious: President Assad is closely allied to Iran – and so is Moscow and Turkey. To be fashionably Iranophobic – as Pompeo might wish the GCC to be – simply would spoil the GCC’s anti-Turkey ‘play’. Syria indeed may be (justly) skeptical of Turkey’s actions and intent in Syria, but from President Assad’s perspective, Iran and Russia are absolutely crucial to the managing of an erratic Turkey. Turkey does represent an existential Syrian concern. And trying to lever President Assad – or Lebanon or Turkey – away from Iran, would be absurd. It won’t happen. And the GCC states have enough nous to understand this now (after their stinging defeat in Syria). The Gulf anti-Iranian stance has had ‘the burner’ turned sharply down, (except when their need is to stroke US feathers).

They can see clearly that the Master of Ceremonies in the Levant – putting together the new regional ‘order’ – is not Mr Bolton, but Moscow, with Tehran (and occasionally Ankara), playing their equal part ‘from behind the curtain’.

Presumably, America’s intelligence services know, (and Gulf states certainly are aware), that in any case, Iranian forces are almost all gone from Syria (though of course Syria’s ‘Iranian connection’ remains as firm, as ever) – even as Pompeo and Israel say the precisely the opposite: that they are pushing-back hard at the ‘threatening’ Iranian military ‘footprint’ in Syria. Few in the region will believe it.

The second notable emerging regional fault line then, evidently is the one that is opening between Turkey and the US and Israel. Turkey ‘gets it’: Erdogan ‘gets it’ very clearly: that Washington now deeply distrusts him, suspects that Turkey is accelerating into Moscow and Beijing’s orbit, and that DC would be happy to see him gone – and a more NATO-friendly leader installed in his stead.

And it must be clear to Washington too ‘why’ Turkey would be heading ‘East’. Erdogan precisely needs Russia and Iran to act as MCs to moderate his difficult relations with Damascus for the future. Erdogan needs Russia and Iran even more, to broker a suitable political solution to the Kurds in Syria. He needs China too, to support his economy.

And Erdogan is fully aware that Israel (more than Gulf States) still hankers after the old Ben Gurion ideal of an ethnic Kurdish state – allied with Israel, and sitting atop major oil resources – to be inserted at the very pivot to south-west and central Asia: And at Turkey’s vulnerable underbelly.

The Israeli’s articulated their support for a Kurdish state quite plainly at the time of Barzani’s failed independence initiative in Iraq. But Erdogan simply, unmistakably, has said to this ‘never’ (to Bolton, this week). Nonetheless, Ankara still needs Russian and Iranian collaboration to allow Bolton to ‘climb down his tree’ of a Kurdish mini-state in Syria. He needs Russia to broker a Syrian-led buffer, vice an American-Kurdish tourniquet, strapped around his southern border.

It is unlikely however, that despite the real threat that America’s arming of the Kurds poses to Turkey, that Erdogan really wants to invade Syria – though he threatens it – and though John Bolton’s ‘conditions’ may end by leaving Turkey no option, but to do it. Since, for sure, Erdogan understands that a messy Turkish invasion of Syria would send the delicately balanced Turkish Lire into free-fall.

Still … Turkey, Syria, Iran and Russia now all want America gone from Syria. And for a moment, it seemed it might proceed smoothly after Trump had acquiesced to Erdogan’s arguments, during their celebrated telephone call. But then – Senator Lindsay Graham demurred (against the backdrop of massed howls of anguish issuing from the Beltway foreign policy think-tanks). Bolton did the walk-back, by making US withdrawal from Syria contingent on conditions (ones seemingly designed not to be met) and not tied any specific timeline. President Erdogan was not amused.

It should be obvious now that we are entering a major regional re-set: The US is leaving Syria. Bolton’s attempted withdrawal-reversal has been rebuffed. And the US, in any event, forfeited the confidence of the Kurds in consequence to the original Trump statement. The Kurds now are orientated toward Damascus and Russia is mediating a settlement.

It may take a while, but the US is going. Kurdish forces (other than those linked with the PKK) are likely to be assimilated into the Syrian army, and the ‘buffer’ will not be directed against Turkey, but will be a mix of Syrian army and Kurdish elements – under Syrian command – but whose overall conduct towards Turkey will be invigilated by Russia. And the Syrian army will, in due time, clear Idlib from a resurgent al-Qaida (HTS).

The Arab states are returning to their embassies in Damascus – partly out of fear that the whipsaw of American policy, its radical polarisation, and its proclivity to be wholly or partially ‘walked-back’ by the Deep State – might leave the Gulf unexpectedly ‘orphaned’ at any time. In effect, the GCC states are ‘hedging’ against this risk by trying to reconnect a bifurcated Arab sphere, and to give it a new ‘purpose’ and credibility – as a balance against Turkey, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood (Syria’s old nemesis).

And yet – there remains still another layer to this calculus, as described by veteran Middle East journalist, Elijah Magnier:

“Indeed the Levant is returning to the centre of Middle East and world attention in a stronger position than in 2011. Syria has advanced precision missiles that can hit any building in Israel. Assad also has an air defence system he would have never dreamed of before 2011 – thanks to Israel’s continuous violation of its airspace, and its defiance of Russian authority. Hezbollah has constructed bases for its long and medium range precision missiles in the mountains and has created a bond with Syria that it could never have established – if not for the war. Iran has established a strategic brotherhood with Syria, thanks to its role in defeating the regime change plan.

NATO’s support for the growth of ISIS has created a bond between Syria and Iraq that no Muslim or Baathist link could ever have created: Iraq has a “carte blanche” to bomb ISIS locations in Syria without the consent of the Syrian leadership, and the Iraqi security forces can walk into Syria anytime they see fit to fight ISIS. The anti-Israel axis has never been stronger than it is today. That is the result of 2011-2018 war imposed on Syria”.

Yes. This is the third of the newly emergent fault-lines: that of Israel on the one hand, and the emerging reality in the Syrian north, on the other – a shadow that has returned to haunt the original instigators of the ‘war’ to undermine Syria. PM Netanyahu since has put all the Israeli eggs into the Trump family ‘basket’. It was Netanyahu’s relationship with Trump which was presented in Israel as being the true ‘Deal of the Century’ (and not the Palestinian one). Yet when Bibi complained forcefully about US withdrawal from Syria (leaving Syria vulnerable, Netanyahu asserts, to an Iranian insertion of smart missiles), Trump nonchalantly replied that the US gives Israel $ 4.5 billion per year – “You’ll be all right”, Trump riposted.

It was seen in Israel as an extraordinary slap to the PM’s face. But Israelis cannot avoid, but to acknowledge, some responsibility for creating precisely the circumstances of which they now loudly complain.

Bottom line: Things have not gone according to plan: America is not shaping the new Levantine ‘order’ – Moscow is. And Israel’s continual, blatant disregard of Russia’s own interests in the Levant, firstly infuriated, and finally has provoked the Russian high command into declaring the northern Middle East a putative no-fly zone for Israel. This represents a major strategic reversal for Netanyahu (and the US).

And finally, it is this repeating pattern of statements being made by the US President on foreign policy that are then almost casually contradicted, or ‘conditioned’, by some or other part of the US bureaucracy, that poses to the region (and beyond) the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question. The pattern clearly is one of an isolated President, with officials emptying his statements of executive authority (until subsequently endorsed, or denied, by the US bureaucracy). It is making Trump almost irrelevant (in terms of the setting of foreign policy).

Is this then a stealth process – knowingly contrived – incrementally to remove Trump from power? A hollowing out of his Presidential prerogatives (leaving him only as a disruptive Twitterer) – achieved, without all the disruption and mess, of formally removing him from office? We shall see.

And what next? Well, as Simon Henderson observes, no one is sure – everyone is left wondering:

“What’s up with Secretary Pompeo’s extended tour of the Middle East? The short answer is that he is trying to sell/explain President Trump’s “we are leaving Syria” policy to America’s friends … Amman, Jordan; Cairo, Egypt; Manama, Bahrain; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE); Doha, Qatar; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Muscat, Oman; Kuwait City, Kuwait. Wow, even with his own jet and no immigration hassles, that’s an exhausting itinerary … The fact that there now are eight stops in eight days, probably reflects the amount of explaining that needs to be done.”

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