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Syria, Hezbollah, and the Axis of Resistance

Syria was targeted for destruction because of its key role in the Arab world’s Axis of Resistance against Israeli and US expansion. That is why Hezbollah – the other part of the Axis – fights alongside the Syrian army in the Syrian conflict, whilst Syria supports Hezbollah’s struggle in Lebanon.

Afra'a Dagher

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In order to understand the war against Syria it is essential to understand Syria’s role in the resistance front of the Arab Nation against Israel.  I shall do so in this article, explaining in particular the connection between Syria and the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, and why the two are so closely bound to each other.

Hezbollah is a Lebanese Islamic movement of resistance against any aggression on Lebanese territory.  It has stood in the way of Israeli plans to establish a “Promised Land” of Israel (“Greater Israel”) stretching all the way from the Nile to the Euphrates, as desired by the early Zionist leaders and by current Zionist ideologues. It is also staunchly opposed to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.  Hezbollah has also been a consistent supporter of the Palestinians.  Hezbollah has never behaved in the disgraceful way of many Arab governments, whose policy towards Israel is by contrast one of acquiescence and surrender.

In 2000 Hezbollah successfully liberated the south of Lebanon from Israeli occupation.  In 2006, in a war that lasted 33 days, Hezbollah defeated the might of the Israeli military, repelling Israel’s attack on Lebanon.

Over the course of those 33 days Israel brought all its huge military power to bear,  expecting a quick and easy victory in just 2 to 3 days.  Instead Hezbollah stood its ground, defeating the Israeli attack on their country.

Israel’s defeat by Hezbollah in 2006 was for the Israelis a massive psychological blow, smashing the myth of Israel’s invincibility, and breaking the aura of fear that up till then had surrounded Israel.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s Secretary general, is fond of  this saying:

“Beirut was destroyed by Sharon  and rebuilt by Hafez Al- Assad. To Syria we say: Long life Syria Al- Assad.”

President Hafez Al Assad , the previous leader of  Syria, helped to create Hezbollah and was one of its earliest backers.  Syria, Hezbollah and Iran form together what Arabs call the Axis of Resistance.  This Axis is committed to resisting Israel and to defending the interests of the Arabs as against Israel and the US. 

The Axis of Resistance however has enemies in the Arab World.  Conservative, US-aligned Arab states oppose it.

Take the case of Egypt.  People in Egypt supported Hezbollah even during the period when Egypt was most closely aligned with the US, during the time when former President Hosni Mubarak  was at the helm of the country.  However the Egyptian intelligence apparatus  actually arrested Egyptians who supported Hezbollah during the 2006 war with Israel. Egypt also closed Rafah border crossing with the Gaza strip when Gaza was being attacked by Israel.

The Arab street in Egypt and elsewhere nonetheless supports Hezbollah.  Most Arabs consider Israel to be the enemy.  Hezbollah as a key part of the Axis of Resistance commands their support.

This puts the rulers of most of the Arab states in a very embarrassing position.  Most of them want to recognise Israel and achieve a normalisation of relations with Israel.  However that is not what their people want.  They see that as a sellout of the Arab interests and of Arab people and Arab land to Israel.  The result is that in most of the Arab world the people and the rulers are set against each other.

After the 2006 war Hezbollah’s popularity with the Arabs greatly increased.  This made the position of the Arab rulers even more difficult.  Their response, led by the reactionary autocratic monarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council, was to get the Arab League to declare Hezbollah a terrorist group.

The sad truth is that the dictator monarchies of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain essentially control the Arab League because of their money and power. The result is that they are able to use the Arab League to promote their own agenda in the Middle East – one which is aligned not with broader Arab interests or the wishes of most Arabs, but with those of the US and Israel.

The result is that the Arab League all but welcomed the war in Iraq, backs the Saudi aggression against Yemen and in 2013 even welcomed the US decision to bomb Syria, just as it had previously welcomed the US decision to bomb Libya.

This sets out the background to the war that is being waged against Syria.  Essentially it is part of a plan by the US and Israel and their reactionary Arab allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council to break the Axis of Resistance.  Ultimately the intention is to destroy Hezbollah, the key resistance movement resisting Israel, by depriving it of Syria’s support.

What this means is that the wars in Lebanon and Syria cannot be separated from each other.  The method used is to shred the region by spreading religious violence. Hezbollah is Shia. Syria’s President is Alawite. So the so-called “Islamic State” has been created, which is Sunni.

The “Islamic State” has been designed to attract  Takfiri fighters from all over the world to join the war against Syria.  That way the war to destroy Syria and break the Axis of Resistance is fought with no shortage of fanatical recruits. The war is sponsored and funded by Saudi Arabia, the true factory of Wahhabism, as well as by countries like Qatar and Turkey. 

The plan is to topple President Bashar al-Assad, who has followed his father’s Hafez Al-Assad’s policy of supporting Hezbollah and the Axis of Resistance, refusing to normalise relations with Israel or recognise Israel’s occupation of Arab and Palestinian land. The plan is to overthrow and replace Assad with a representative of the “moderate rebels” who will be more willing to work with Israel and who will not view Israel as the enemy, since he will be instead obsessed with the ideology of radical Islamism. In that way two objectives are achieved: the destruction of Hezbollah and the destruction of the Syrian Arab Army, the two major Arab military forces resisting Israel.

As for the Arabs, they need to understand the nature of the game that is being played with them.  Was Gaddafi overthrown in Libya because he was a Shia or an Alawite?  Hardly!  Or was he overthrown because he was just a piece in this game of dominoes?

As for democracy, can we trust any “democracy” brought to us by American tanks?  Recent history is not so far in the past that we cannot find in it a guide to the present. What about Iraq?  Did it become a “democracy” after the US invaded it?  Did they not execute Saddam Hussein, who was a Sunni leader, not an Alawite or a Shia?

And what alternative do they offer in place of these fallen leaders? Chaos. The so-called “Islamic State”. Destruction as a way of life. Suicide bombings.

It is all just a step towards what Condoleezza Rice once called “the new Middle East”: a fragile region, easy to control, whose resources are easy to pillage.

After resistance in Syria is eliminated, what the the US and Israel want is to eliminate the Syrian Army: the main defender of the Arabs from attack by Israel.  The US wants to shred Syria’s army, just as it once shredded Iraq’s army, and for the same reason.  It doesn’t want Arab states to have strong armies.  Moreover in order to achieve these destructive goals the US is prepared to do whatever it takes: play on sectarian differences or set ethnic groups like the Kurds off against each other. 

Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia, and Hezbollah are the only powers who are genuinely fighting terrorism in the Middle East.  In the Middle East “terrorism” is something created and used by the US to achieve its geopolitical objectives.  Breaking the Axis of Resistance is the overriding priority.  That is why Syria is at war.

Hezbollah and the Syrian Arab Army are not aggressors.  They have never wanted to attack anyone. They just defend their homeland and defend their people from aggression. 

This is a war for existence and it is a war by deception. But it is also a single war. It is not only a war against Syria or Lebanon, because there are other targets slated for destruction as well as them. No one can say Hezbollah is fighting just for Syria. Nor can anyone say Syria is defending Lebanon or Hezbollah. They are fighting together against a plan of imperialism that was organised even before 2006. Their fight – in victory or defeat – is inextricably linked.

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Understanding the Holodomor and why Russia says nothing

A descendant of Holodomor victims takes the rest of us to school as to whether or not Russia needs to shoulder the blame.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the charges that nationalist Ukrainians often lodge against their Russian neighbors is that the Russian government has never acknowledged or formally apologized to Ukraine for the “Holodomor” that took place in Ukraine in 1932-1933. This was a man-made famine that killed an estimated seven to 10 million Ukrainians , though higher estimates claim 12.5 million and lower ones now claim 3.3 million.

No matter what the total was, it amounts to a lot of people that starved to death. The charge that modern-day Russia ought to apologize for this event is usually met with silence, which further enrages those Ukrainians that believe that this issue must be resolved by the Russian acknowledgement of responsibility for it. Indeed, the prime charge of these Ukrainians is that the Russians committed a genocide against the Ukrainian people. This is a claim Russia denies.

To the outside observer who does not know this history of Russia and Ukraine’s relationship, and who does not know or understand the characteristics of the Soviet Union, this charge seems as simple and laid out as that of the Native Americans or the blacks demanding some sort of recompense or restitution for the damages inflicted on these societies through conquest and / or slavery. But we discovered someone who had family connections involved in the Holodomor, and who offers her own perspective, which is instructive in why perhaps the Russian Federation does not say anything about this situation.

Scene in Kharkiv with dead from the famine 1932-33 lying along the street.

The speaker is Anna Vinogradova, a Russian Israeli-American, who answered the question through Quora of “Why doesn’t Russia recognize the Holodomor as a genocide?” She openly admits that she speaks only for herself, but her answer is still instructive. We offer it here, with some corrections for the sake of smooth and understandable English:

I can’t speak for Russia and what it does and doesn’t recognize. I can speak for myself.

I am a great-granddaughter of a “Kulak” (кулак), or well-to-do peasant, who lived close to the Russia/Ukraine border.

The word “кулак” means “fist” in Russian, and it wasn’t a good thing for a person to be called by this label. A кулак was an exploiter of peasants and a class enemy of the new state of workers and poor peasants. In other words, while under Communism, to be called a кулак was to bring a death sentence upon yourself.

At some point, every rural class enemy, every peasant who wasn’t a member of a collective farm was eliminated one way or another.

Because Ukraine has very fertile land and the Ukrainian style of agriculture often favors individual farms as opposed to villages, there is no question that many, many Ukrainian peasants were considered class enemies like my great grandfather, and eliminated in class warfare.

I have no doubt that class warfare included starvation, among other things.

The catch? My great grandfather was an ethnic Russian living in Russia. What nationality were the communists who persecuted and eventually shot him? They were of every nationality there was (in the Soviet Union), and they were led by a Ukrainian, who was taking orders from a Georgian.

Now, tell me, why I, a descendant of an unjustly killed Russian peasant, need to apologize to the descendants of the Ukrainians who killed him on the orders of a Georgian?

What about the Russian, Kazakh golodomor (Russian rendering of the same famine)? What about the butchers, who came from all ethnicities? Can someone explain why it’s only okay to talk about Ukrainian victims and Russian persecutors? Why do we need to rewrite history decades later to convert that brutal class war into an ethnic war that it wasn’t?

Ethnic warfare did not start in Russia until after WWII, when some ethnicities were accused of collaboration with the Nazis and brutal group punishments were implemented. It was all based on class up to that time.

The communists of those years were fanatically internationalist. “Working people of all countries, unite!” was their slogan and they were fanatical about it.

As for the crimes of Communism, Russia has been healing this wound for decades, and Russia’s government has made its anticommunist position very clear.

This testimony is most instructive. First, it points out information that the charge of the Holodomor as “genocide!” neatly leaves out. In identifying the internationalist aspects of the Soviet Union, Ukraine further was not a country identified as somehow worthy of genocidal actions. Such a thought makes no sense, especially given the great importance of Ukraine as the “breadbasket” of the Soviet Union, which it was.

Secondly, it shows a very western-style of “divide to conquer” with a conveniently incendiary single-word propaganda tool that is no doubt able to excite any Ukrainian who may be neutral to slightly disaffected about Russia, and then after that, all Ukrainians are now victims of the mighty evil overlords in Moscow.

How convenient is this when the evil overlords in Kyiv don’t want their citizens to know what they are doing?

We saw this on Saturday – taken to a very high peak when President Petro Poroshenko announced the new leading “Hierarch” of the “Ukrainian National Church” and said not one single word about Christ, but only:

“This day will go down in history as the day of the creation of an autocephalous Orthodox church in Ukraine… This is the day of the creation of the church as an independent structure… What is this church? It is a church without Putin. It is a church without Kirill, without prayer for the Russian authorities and the Russian army.”

But as long as Russia is made the “problem”, millions of scandalized Ukrainians will not care what this new Church actually does or teaches, which means it is likely to teach just about anything.

Russia had its own Holodomor. The history of the event shows that this was a result of several factors – imposed socialist economics on a deeply individualized form of agrarian capitalism (bad for morale and worse for food production), really inane centralized planning of cropland use, and a governmental structure that really did not exist to serve the governed, but to impose an ideology on people who really were not all that interested in it.

Personal blame might well lay with Stalin, a Georgian, but the biggest source of the famine lay in the structures imposed under communism as a way of economic strategy. This is not Russia’s fault. It is the economic model that failed.

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Mueller Finally Releases Heavily Redacted Key Flynn Memo On Eve Of Sentencing

Alex Christoforou

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Via Zerohedge


Having initially snubbed Judge Emmet Sullivan’s order to release the original 302 report from the Michael Flynn interrogation in January 2017, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has finally produced the heavily redacted document, just hours before sentencing is due to be handed down.

The memo  – in full below – details then-national security adviser Michael Flynn’s interview with FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka, and shows Flynn was repeatedly asked about his contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and in each instance, Flynn denied (or did not recall) any such conversations.

The agents had transcripts of Flynn’s phone calls to Russian Ambassador Kislyak, thus showing Flynn to be lying.

Flynn pleaded guilty guilty last December to lying to the FBI agents about those conversations with Kislyak.

The redactions in the document seem oddly placed but otherwise, there is nothing remarkable about the content…

Aside from perhaps Flynn’s incredulity at the media attention…

Flynn is set to be sentenced in that federal court on Tuesday.

Of course, as Christina Laila notes, the real crime is that Flynn was unmasked during his phone calls to Kislyak and his calls were illegally leaked by a senior Obama official to the Washington Post.

*  *  *

Full document below…

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Don’t Laugh : It’s Giving Putin What He Wants

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself.

Caitlin Johnstone

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Authored by Caitlin Johnstone:


The BBC has published an article titled “How Putin’s Russia turned humour into a weapon” about the Kremlin’s latest addition to its horrifying deadly hybrid warfare arsenal: comedy.

The article is authored by Olga Robinson, whom the BBC, unhindered by any trace of self-awareness, has titled “Senior Journalist (Disinformation)”. Robinson demonstrates the qualifications and acumen which earned her that title by warning the BBC’s audience that the Kremlin has been using humor to dismiss and ridicule accusations that have been leveled against it by western governments, a “form of trolling” that she reports is designed to “deliberately lower the level of discussion”.

“Russia’s move towards using humour to influence its campaigns is a relatively recent phenomenon,” Robinson explains, without speculating as to why Russians might have suddenly begun laughing at their western accusers. She gives no consideration to the possibility that the tightly knit alliance of western nations who suddenly began hysterically shrieking about Russia two years ago have simply gotten much more ridiculous and easier to make fun of during that time.

Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the emergence of a demented media environment wherein everything around the world from French protests to American culture wars to British discontent with the European Union gets blamed on Russia without any facts or evidence. Wherein BBC reporters now correct guests and caution them against voicing skepticism of anti-Russia narratives because the UK is in “an information war” with that nation. Wherein the same cable news Russiagate pundit can claim that both Rex Tillerson’s hiring and his later firing were the result of a Russian conspiracy to benefit the Kremlin. Wherein mainstream outlets can circulate blatantly false information about Julian Assange and unnamed “Russians” and then blame the falseness of that reporting on Russian disinformation. Wherein Pokemon Go, cutesy Facebook memes and $4,700 in Google ads are sincerely cited as methods by which Hillary Clinton’s $1.2 billion presidential campaign was outdone. Wherein conspiracy theories that Putin has infiltrated the highest levels of the US government have been blaring on mainstream headline news for two years with absolutely nothing to show for it to this day.

Nope, the only possibility is that the Kremlin suddenly figured out that humor is a thing.

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself. The hypocrisy is so cartoonish, the emotions are so breathlessly over-the-top, the stories so riddled with plot holes and the agendas underlying them so glaringly obvious that they translate very easily into laughs. I myself recently authored a satire piece that a lot of people loved and which got picked up by numerous alternative media outlets, and all I did was write down all the various escalations this administration has made against Russia as though they were commands being given to Trump by Putin. It was extremely easy to write, and it was pretty damn funny if I do say so myself. And it didn’t take any Kremlin rubles or dezinformatsiya from St Petersburg to figure out how to write it.

“Ben Nimmo, an Atlantic Council researcher on Russian disinformation, told the BBC that attempts to create funny memes were part of the strategy as ‘disinformation for the information age’,” the article warns. Nimmo, ironically, is himself intimately involved with the British domestic disinformation firm Integrity Initiative, whose shady government-sponsored psyops against the Labour Party have sparked a national scandal that is likely far from reaching peak intensity.

“Most comedy programmes on Russian state television these days are anodyne affairs which either do not touch on political topics, or direct humour at the Kremlin’s perceived enemies abroad,” Robinson writes, which I found funny since I’d just recently read an excellent essay by Michael Tracey titled “Why has late night swapped laughs for lusting after Mueller?”

“If the late night ‘comedy’ of the Trump era has something resembling a ‘message,’ it’s that large segments of the nation’s liberal TV viewership are nervously tracking every Russia development with a passion that cannot be conducive to mental health – or for that matter, political efficacy,” Tracey writes, documenting numerous examples of the ways late night comedy now has audiences cheering for a US intelligence insider and Bush appointee instead of challenging power-serving media orthodoxies as programs like The Daily Show once did.

If you wanted the opposite of “anodyne affairs”, it would be comedians ridiculing the way all the establishment talking heads are manipulating their audiences into supporting the US intelligence community and FBI insiders. It would be excoriating the media environment in which unfathomably powerful world-dominating government agencies are subject to less scrutiny and criticism than a man trapped in an embassy who published inconvenient facts about those agencies. It certainly wouldn’t be the cast of Saturday Night Live singing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to a framed portrait if Robert Mueller wearing a Santa hat. It doesn’t get much more anodyne than that.

Russia makes fun of western establishment narratives about it because those narratives are so incredibly easy to make fun of that they are essentially asking for it, and the nerdy way empire loyalists are suddenly crying victim about it is itself more comedy. When Guardian writer Carole Cadwalladr began insinuating that RT covering standard newsworthy people like Julian Assange and Nigel Farage was a conspiracy to “boost” those people for the advancement of Russian agendas instead of a news outlet doing the thing that news reporting is, RT rightly made fun of her for it. Cadwalladr reacted to RT’s mockery with a claim that she was a victim of “attacks”, instead of the recipient of perfectly justified ridicule for circulating an intensely moronic conspiracy theory.

Ah well. People are nuts and we’re hurtling toward a direct confrontation with a nuclear superpower. Sometimes there’s nothing else to do but laugh. As Wavy Gravy said, “Keep your sense of humor, my friend; if you don’t have a sense of humor it just isn’t funny anymore.”

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