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Vladimir Putin met Assad, discussed Future of Syria, Syria to potentially rewrite constitution

Syrians will build their own future, a future which was saved by Russian brothers and sisters

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad met, in Sochi, Thursday, to discuss the future of Syria.

Vladimir Putin congratulated Assad for major successes in the fight against terrorism, noting that their military success has opened up the possibility for a political solution.

The Syrian Arab News Agency, a state-run media outlet has a transcript of much of the discussion, and reports that Putin greeted Assad as follows:

“Mr. President, I am very happy to receive you in Russia, and first of all I congratulate you on the coming of the holy month of Ramadan and congratulate you on the great successes achieved by the Syrian Arab army in the fight against terrorism. And due to the efforts of the Syrian soldiers, very important steps were gained during the latest period in order to boost the legislative authority in the country where terrorists were expelled from important regions in Syria, which paved the way to start reconstructing infrastructure in the country after expelling terrorists and putting an end to the threat against Damascus.”

Assad congratulated Putin on his re-election, noting that Putin’s policies and leadership, “satisfied the Russian people”, and gave Russia a bigger place in the international arena. 

According to Putin’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov, Putin, and Assad:

“have noted the necessity to create additional conditions for the resumption of full-format political process in Syria,”

Assad said he welcomed a political solution with enthusiasm, but noted, according to Sputnik, that:

…it will be difficult to restore the political process in Syria as there are countries that don’t want stability in the country, he added.

“The sides noted the successes of the Astana process and of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, held in Sochi… During these talks, the sides disused the next joint steps. Assad said that stability in Syria is improving, and this opens the door to the political process that started some time ago. According to him, he has repeatedly said at these talks that Damascus has always enthusiastically supported the political process, which should go along with the fight against terrorism,” Assad said at the meeting.

“We know that this will not be easy [to restore the political process], since there are countries that do not want stability to return to Syria. However, together with you and the other partners and friends, we will continue to move steadily toward the peace process and for the sake of peace,” Assad added.

Syria to rewrite the Consitution?

Numerous sources, including official Syrian state media (SANA), have noted that in a major development, Syria will be sending a delegation to the UN to discuss, and possibly amend the Syrian constitution. This, however, is not the first time this was discussed, as Middle East Eye notes this was planned in Sochi as far back as January.

According to Sputnik, “Assad voiced his decision to send representatives to the UN-Constitutional Committee.” Sputnik quotes Assad as saying:

“Today I confirmed to President [Vladimir] Putin that Syria will send a list of its delegates to the constitutional committee to discuss amendments to the current constitution. This will be done as soon as possible,” Assad said in a statement following Russian-Syrian talks.

Vladimir Putin said that Russia welcomes and will support the Syrian president’s decision to send his representatives to the UN constitutional committee.

“Russia welcomes this decision by the Syrian president and will support it in every possible way, bearing in mind the agreements reached at the Syrian people’s congress held a few months ago in Sochi,” Putin said at a meeting with Assad.

Vladimir Putin also congratulated the Syrian president on the victory in fighting against terrorism in Syria. “After the military success in Syria, additional conditions to resume a full-format political process have been created,” Putin said.

“Terrorists have laid down their arms at Syria’s key sites, which allows to rehabilitate Syrian infrastructure, push [terrorists] back, almost halt their activities near the Syrian capital,” Putin said.

Furthermore, RT noted that:

As the two presidents talked about the conditions that would facilitate the peace process development, the Syrian leader said that he had decided to send a delegation to a committee tasked to rewrite Syria’s constitution, which was championed by the UN.

Syrians themselves will build their own future.

Here follows some photos of Syria

The phrase “to rewrite Syria’s constitution” may understandably cause alarm to some people. People who care for the free and independent future of Syria, may worry that Putin and/or Assad are being pressured, and are finally giving into the deep state, in some way, should Syria rewrite their constitution. They may say “No! There is no need for a political solution. Syria should stay the way it is!”

Photo by Dmitri Vozdvizhenky

But I am afraid this statement, while good intentioned, is wrong when taken to its natural conclusion. Syria must not “stay the way it is”, she must stay the way the Syrian people choose her to be, using their God-given right to free will, and national self-determination. If the Syrian people choose to make changes to the Syrian constitution, this is the right of the Syrian people, and there is nothing to be alarmed about.

So long as they are not being pressured, there are no signs of a shadow take over, and everything appears to be following the norms of Syrian law, the Syrian people have the right to do whatever they please with the internal structure of the country. That is in fact what the entire war has been about, the right of Syrians to sovereignty over Syria.

If the majority of Syrians choose tomorrow, to establish a Monarchy, a Soviet Socialist Republic, or likewise, if they decided to preserve in its entirety, the current government structure, this is their right. The only concern the international community should have, is to ensure that the will of the Syrian people is being carried out, and the decision is not made by the proxies of foreign governments, like Israel and Saudi Arabia, or separatists like the Kurdish forces.

I know I’ve said this several times now, but the point must really be made: the entire reason the sane world has had their eyes and hearts fixed on Syria, (aside from her crucial positioning), is the entire war is being fought to that the people of Syria can choose their own destiny. It would be counterintuitive to support that, but then dictate to them that they can not change their constitution, even if they legally choose so.

Syria is not a dead fossil, that must be preserved in a museum. She is a vibrant, dynamic, modern, yet still ancient country, that is very alive, and her people have their own hope’s and dreams. It is their Syria, they can do whatever they want, and no true Syrians would ever betray her.

To this effect, it’s counterintuitive to use terms like “Assad’s Syria”, or “Assad’s government” or “Assad’s army” because it’s the Syrian Army, and the Syrian Government, of which Assad is the legal President chosen by the Syrian people. Syria is Syria, as she always was, and her people will decide her future. The purpose of the fight is not to dictate it to them, but to defend their ancient right to make the choices for themselves.

In the same light, there are many people that look at negative international events, and say things like “Why didn’t Putin stop X” or “Why didn’t Russia stop the West from doing X”, or “Russia didn’t stop X, did they give into the deep state?”.

Everyone (especially non-Russians or non-Russian speakers) always likes to impose their own vision of Russia, whether positive or negative. Everyone has their vision of Russia, and they often expect her to conform to it, for better or worse. It must be understood, that Russia is Russia, and Syria is Syria, they are not the Anti-US, or the Anti-West. Russia is not La Résistance.

Russia is not responsible to fix all the worlds problems, Russia is only responsible for the Russian people. Russians do NOT wish to be involved in the West’s culture wars. Please do not assume Russia has a responsibility to sacrifice herself in order to counter some nefarious forces in the world.

Our Russian Orthodox Faith does not teach hatred against any people, and for all the ancient history of Russian statehood, the Russian national consciousness was never directed against another people. Russia’s involvement in Syria has been to save the Syrian people from terror, which could threaten Russia as well. It was a Podvig (valorous deed) not unlike the Great Patriotic War. Russia entered the conflict in Syria to save a brotherly people, not to “counter” the West. People shouldn’t assume Russia is obliged to fight cultural wars or geopolitical battles that others assign to her. Russia is only fighting for Russia.

That being said, it’s important to understand that this is just a report. Let’s not exaggerate, or blow this report out of proportion. There is no guarantee the Syrian constitution will be changed as of now, it’s just important to understand that if Syrians choose to change it, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Syria has changed greatly in the last ten years before the war, building and modernizing.

While I am Russian Orthodox, I have family connections and history deeply rooted in the Antiochian (Syrian) Orthodox Church (it’s the same religion, different countries), and I can say from what I have seen, that Syrians do overwhelmingly support their government and the structure of their country, and do not want it to be changed by foreign powers. That said, the point, is that Syrians, like all peoples, have the right to make their own choices.

As a final note, if you are ever curious about Syria, and want to hear what her people think, you can always try and find an Antiochian Orthodox Church, somewhere near you, and get to know the people. You will learn far more than you can from western media, that is for sure.

You may be surprised how very similar Syrian culture is to yours. After all, Syria was a key part of the Greco-Roman World, and Syrians were a major part of the Eastern Roman Empire, from which Russia got her Orthodox religion. You may find you have closer connections to Syria than you think. As Andre Parrot, the Former director of the Louvre Museum, once said:

Every person has two homelands… His own and Syria.”


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Saudis Admit Khashoggi Killed At Consulate “In Fist-Fight”, King Salman Fires 5 Top Officials

Saudi Arabia confirmed tonight that Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at its consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

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Democrat Congressman Adam Schiff has weighed in on the Khashoggi murder admission from KSA claiming “the Saudi report of Khashoggi is not credible.”

The White House issue a statement…

Via Zerohedge


Saudi Arabia confirmed tonight that Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at its consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

In a statement put out on Saudi state television, citing an initial investigation by Saudi prosecutors, SPA said that:

“an argument erupted between him [Khashoggi] and others whom he met in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul leading to a fistfight which led to his death.”

Prosecutors said the investigation was still ongoing and that 18 people, all Saudi nationals, had so far been arrested, SPA reported.

“The Kingdom expresses its deep regret at the painful developments that have taken place and stresses the commitment of the authorities in the Kingdom to bring the facts to the public,” the statement said.

Additionally, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has removed a key royal adviser and a senior intelligence official..

King Salman issued an order to remove Saud al-Qahtani, an adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the state-run Ikhbariya television.

The monarch also relieved deputy intelligence chief Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri.

This follows the narrative reported by The New York Times on Thursday that Riyadh is looking to blame Assiri for the purported murder of Khashoggi in an effort to shield Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from the blame.

Saudi King Salman has also ordered the formation of ministerial committee led by crown prince Mohammad bin Salman to restructure the general intelligence agency.

As Ali Shihabi, Founder, The Arabia Foundation, tweets:

“The removal of two top officials, a cabinet ranking, very powerful and close advisor of MBS and the Deputy Head of Foreign intelligence + 4 other Generals in foreign intelligence (virtually its whole top leadership) cannot be written off as a cover up. This is unprecedented.”

This is not saying “rogue killers” but implicating virtually the whole top leadership of foreign intelligence. They carried out a mission that went sour very quickly and tried to cover it up initially. Bad news travels slowly to the top.”

We await President Trump’s “very severe consequences.”

 

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Pat Buchanan: Caravan Puts Trump Legacy on the Line

Unwanted mass migration is the issue of our time, as there is no foreseeable end to it before it alters America irremediably.

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org:


Our mainstream media remain consumed with the grisly killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and how President Donald Trump will deal with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Understandably so, for this is the most riveting murder story since O.J. Simpson and has strategic implications across the Middle East.

Yet far more critical to the future of our civilization is the ongoing invasion of the West from the Third World.

Consider the impact of the decision by Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2015 to throw open Germany’s doors to 1 million refugees from Syria’s civil war.

Last weekend, in a crushing blow to Merkel, the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party of her CDU, won its smallest share of the vote in half a century, 37 percent. Her coalition party, the SPD, saw its share of the Bavarian vote fall to a historic low of less than 10 percent.

The right-wing Alternative for Deutchland saw its support rise to 10 percent and has become a force in German politics. Some conservatives are urging the CDU to adopt the AfD hardline on illegal immigration.

The message sent by the Bavarian electorate is the message voters across Europe have been sending to their own capitals for years: You are failing in your first duty — defense of the homeland from foreign invasion. Mass migration of unassimilable peoples and cultures from a global South represents an existential threat to our Europe.

As Merkel’s chancellorship approaches its end, French President Emmanuel Macron, her progressive EU partner, has seen his approval fall to below 30 percent.

The U.S.-led NATO alliance may guard the Baltic and Black Sea regions against a Russian invasion from the east. But in Central, Southern and Western Europe, the more feared invaders are the peoples of Africa and the Muslim world, whose numbers are expected to triple or quadruple by this century’s end.

And as their numbers grow, so, too, does their desperation to escape, even at risk of their lives, the poverty, wars and repression of their homelands to cross the Med and fill the empty spaces left by a depopulating Europe.

It also now appears that the U.S. elections, not three weeks away, may be affected by another immigration crisis on the U.S. border.

As of Thursday, a caravan of 4,000 refugees without visas had crossed from Honduras into Guatemala and was heading toward Mexico. By Election Day, it will either have been stopped, or it will be here. And this caravan is a portent of things to come.

According to The Washington Post, during FY 2018, which ended last month, 107,212 members of “family units” crossed over into the U.S., “obliterating the previous record of 77,857 set in 2016.”

Citing DHS figures, the Post adds, “Border patrol agents arrested 16,658 family members in September alone, the highest one-month total on record and an 80 percent increase from July.”

When Trump, under intense political fire, ended his “zero tolerance” policy of separating refugees from their children, this message went out to Mexico and Central America:

Bring your kids with you when you cross the border. They will have to stay with you, and they cannot be held for more than 20 days. Thus, when they are released, you will be released to await a hearing on your claim of asylum. The odds are excellent that you can vanish into the U.S. population and never be sent back.

Enraged, Trump has threatened to cut off aid to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala if they do not stop the caravans and has warned Mexico he will use the U.S. military to secure our border.

Unwanted mass migration is the issue of our time, as there is no foreseeable end to it before it alters America irremediably.

As these migrants are almost all poor, not highly skilled, and do not speak English, most will join that segment of our population that pays no income taxes but qualifies for social welfare benefits like food stamps, medical care and free education in our public schools.

They are thus a net drain upon the resources of a nation that is already, at full employment, running a deficit of $779 billion a year.

These migrants, however, are a present and future benefit to the Democratic Party that built and maintains our mammoth welfare state, and which, in presidential elections, routinely wins 70 to 90 percent of the votes of people whose trace their ancestry to Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Not without reason, Democrats believe that if they can change the composition of the American electorate, they can control America forever.

If Donald Trump was elected on any one issue, it was immigration and his promises to secure the border, build the wall and halt the invasion.

How he deals with the impending crisis of the migrant caravan may affect both the fate of his party in November and his presidency in 2020.

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‘Mohammad bin Salman Must Go’, but US-Saudi Ties Are Here to Stay

Was it possible that Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was so arrogant that he could not imagine the consequences of such a heinous crime?

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Mohammad bin Salman is fully aware of the Western elite’s understanding of its own values. While he may be given a pass to bomb Yemen and kill thousands of innocent civilians, he should know better than to dare touch a Washington Post columnist – “one of ours”, as one MSNBC host said. Did he not realize there would be consequences?

As more information came out, many analysts began to confront the most obvious question. Was it possible that Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was so arrogant that he could not imagine the consequences of such a heinous crime? How could MBS betray Trump this way, not anticipating that the Democrats and the mainstream media would jump all over Trump’s friendship with him? Could he be so foolish as to place in jeopardy foreign investments planned at the Davos in the Desert conference on October 23? The answer to that question is apparently: yes, he could.

The only rational explanation for this behavior is that MBS thought he could get away with it. Remember that we are talking about someone who had Saad Hariri, the prime minister of Lebanon, kidnapped and carried off to the Kingdom, with his whereabouts unknown for days but with very little reaction from the mainstream media or Western politicians. It is possible that in this instance, MBS simply misjudged the level of Khashoggi’s popularity amongst neoliberals of the Washington establishment, provoking an unexpected response. Furthermore, the thesis that the Saudis understood that they had some kind of green light from Trump is not to be totally dismissed. Such a backlash is what you get from having a big mouthpraise your friends too much, and tweet all the time.

The rapidity with which the US media, and especially dozens of Republican and Democratic senators, attacked Saudi Arabia, blaming it for the atrocious crime, is rather unusual. After all, the Saudi elites have been inclined to behave in such a manner over the last 40 years. But it also highlights the ongoing inconsistency and double standards: nothing is said about Yemen, but the Kingdom is currently under the strongest censure for allegedly offing a journalist.

As I had already pointed out in my previous article, Khashoggi was clearly part of a faction opposed to the current ruling royal family in Saudi Arabia, headed by MBS. To understand this Saudi golden boy of the US mainstream media as well as military-industrial-spying complex, we have to go back to Mohammed bin Nayef. Bin Nayef has been under house arrest for almost two years, immediately purged by MBS as soon as he assumed power as crown prince. Bin Nayef has for decades been the CIA’s go-to man in Riyadh, helping the CIA & Co. pretend to “fight” al Qaeda in the Kingdom while using al Qaeda as a tool to inflict damage on US geopolitical adversaries.

The removal of bin Nayef by MBS was greeted with anger by a part of the US establishment close to Washington think tanks and the CIA and was never fully digested. MBS and his father, King Salman, needed to consolidate power around the throne at the time, and bin Nayef was certainly part of the faction opposing MBS, as was Khashoggi.

Naturally, these antipathies were set aside by the CIA, think tanks and neoliberals in the media due to to the importance of the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US, especially vis-a-vis the US Petrodollar. MBS even undertook a tour in the US to help smooth the relationship with the West, being hailed as a new reformer, if you can believe that.

Nowadays,the relationship between Riyadh, Tel Aviv and Washington is based on the strong friendship between Trump and MBS and Trump and Netanyahu. Furthermore, the strengthened link between Trump and MBS, facilitated by son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is close to Israel, served to create a new alliance, perhaps even hinting at the possibility of an Arab NATO. Israel is eager to see more Saudi and US engagement against Iran in the region, and the Saudis similarly praise Israel and the US for being engaged in a fight against Iranian influence in the region. In this way, Trump can please his Israeli friends and see Saudi money pour in as investments.

These agreements have led to a series of disasters in the Middle East that go against the interests of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the US. Israel’s recklessness has led to the deployment of a wide range of Russian state-of-the-art weapons to Syria, preventing Israel and the US from acting as freely as before. The disastrous Saudi war in Yemen, the almost diplomatic break with Canada, the kidnapping of the prime minister of Lebanon, and now the Khashoggi affair, have further weakened and isolated Saudi Arabia, MBS, and therefore Trump. The US is no longer able to influence events on the ground in Syria, and so the initial plans of Israel and Saudi Arabia have foundered, after having devoted hundreds of millions of dollars to arm and train terrorists to overthrow Assad.

The Khashoggi affair plays into this situation, exacerbating the war between elites in the US as their strategies in the Middle East continue to fail. The neoliberal mainstream media immediately used the Khashoggi story to pressure Trump into taking a firm stance against one of his last friends and financiers, trying to further isolate him as the midterms approach. Many in the US deep state are convinced – as they were convinced that Clinton would win the presidency – that the House and Senate will end up in Democratic hands in the November elections, paving the way for Trump’s impeachment and for Mike Pence to become president. Pence, a prominent figure of the evangelical right, would be the perfect president for Israel, placing Tel Aviv in the driving seat of US foreign policy as never before. In this scenario, it would certainly be preferable for certain parts of the elite to have a different figure at the helm in Saudi Arabia, seeing as MBS appears to be an unstable leader. Possibly they would prefer someone tied to the US secret services – someone like Mohammed bin Nayef. For these reasons, Democrats, some Republicans and the mainstream media have gone all out against MBS and Trump.

Turkey seems to be using the situation to further widen the fracture between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world. Since Doha is paying the bills for Erdogan these days, with the Turkish lira at a low, it is essentially the Al Thani family running the PR show in the Turkish media. It looks like the Qatari media are paying back with interests all the negative media they received from the Saudis over the past year. Despite this, neither Ankara nor Riyadh is intent on any kind escalation, both knowing that any suffering on their part is a boon for their enemies.

An interesting aspect related to the Khashoggi affair concerns the sources of the news about the investigation, all anonymous and coming from Turkish police or from people linked to the top echelons of the Turkish state. Knowing the odd state of relations between Ankara and Riyadh, and especially between Turkish ally Qatar and Saudi Arabia, all this news coming from one source should at least be taken with a grain of salt. What is certain is that the Turks had immediate knowledge of the matter regarding who, what, where, when and why. This means that they must have bugged the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, allowing the MIT, Turkey’s intelligence service, to know in real time what was happening to Khashoggi. The story concerning the Apple watch appears to be an attempt by the Turks to thrown off the scent Saudis who may be scratching their heads wondering how the Turks came to have such intimate knowledge of what transpired in their consulate.

For Turkey, the Khashoggi affair could be the occasion for a rapprochement with the US, following a deterioration in relations in the last two years. Turkey has few friends left, and after being cornered by Russia and Iran in Astana with regards to Syria,  it also has to deal with the tensions between Riyadh and Qatar as well as balance its relations with Iran and Israel. Erdogan would like to exploit this event as much as possible, and the release of Pastor Brunson seems to indicate Ankara’s willingness to extend an olive branch to Washington.

Russia, Syria and Iran have everything to benefit from this ongoing internal quarrel between elements within Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Qatar and the US. Whatever the outcome of the Khashoggi affair, Moscow, Tehran and Damascus can only benefit from any deterioration of relations between these countries.

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