DDGD February 14, 2016
For speaking opportunities, interviews, op-eds, book-signings, art exhibitions and ways to support my work as a blogger, author, a budding digital artist, and a pro-democracy activist, please reach out to me through this contact form.
Today’s Post is brought to you by… The Urge & Slam: A tavern for the opposites that repel.
I castigate realists, Islamists and all ideologues with equal vigor, but at end of the day, I do realize that the great majority of them are just people like me with their own vision of the world to which they a right to express and advocate, a right that is no less legitimate than mine. Also, in many if not most cases, I would be willing to share a drink them, and would invite them home to meet my family. The claim I make that I judge their policies by assessing their actual impact on our world is matched by a similar claim on their part, and is, as such, quite irrelevant.
The policies I advocate are bound to lead to many deaths, just like theirs. Even when I advocated nonviolence, I did so knowing that people are bound to die and in droves. The regime’s nature and history made sure of that. Those who took part in the movement knew that the struggle was going to be tough, and that many of them were bound to will die. No one was acting under the illusion of perfect safety. But no one would have been able to predict how bad things will get.
So, after all is said and done, this world is fucked up despite the decency of the overwhelming majority of its peoples. It’s fucked up because we are all fucked up, even if differently so. Conversely, the world could be considered as mostly decent as well, since the overwhelming majority of its inhabitants are. But, there is no catharsis in this for me, and I actually don't have a specific point to make here. I am just babbling. Babble. Babble. Babble.
UmReeka: Bernie Sanders Is More Serious on Foreign Policy Than You Think. So, in brief, we now have both of the Democratic presidential candidates vying to claim the Obama Legacy on foreign policy, and vowing to do more of the same. How promising!
Syriosis: The illusionists clash – Kerry Says Will Make Syria Agreement Work. “We will make it work.” Assad 'deluded' to think he can win militarily in Syria, says US. But: Syrian army gains ground around Aleppo, looks to Raqqa. “Russia said on Saturday a Syria ceasefire plan was more likely to fail than succeed, as Syrian government forces backed by Russian air strikes took rebel ground near Aleppo and set their sights on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa province.” Ignore that last bit about Raqqah and IS, as it’s not likely to happen anytime soon by this set of actors. Russia sends brand new cruise missile ship to Syria: report. “The goals of the ship are not public but considering that it is carrying long-range cruise missiles, its participation in the military operation should not be excluded." Russian PM Medvedev equates relations with West to a 'new Cold War'. "NATO's policy with regard to Russia has remained unfriendly and opaque. One could go as far as to say that we have slid back to a new Cold War. Almost on an everyday basis we are called one of the most terrible threats either to NATO as a whole or to Europe, or to the United States." Vladimir Putin wants to destroy Nato: the Syria war may offer him the chance “The tragedy now unfolding in Aleppo poses a direct threat to European security, including the risk of conflict between Nato and Russia.”
Heavily damaged buildings in the Saif al Dawle neighborhood of Aleppo in 2012, when rebel groups seized its eastern half and the government responded with shelling
The encirclement of Aleppo continues – Syrian Troops Capture Village Near Northern City of Aleppo. But once again we have to note that the troops in questions are not “Syrian,” but Iran-funded Shia militias comprised of Iraqi, Lebanese, Afghan, and Iranian fighters, supported by pro-Assad Alawite militias and some Russian special forces. The move was supported by intensive indiscriminate Russian airstrikes on the region.
Signs of the things as they are about take a turn for the worse keeps emerging: Saudi Arabia Massing Troops In Turkey, On Verge Of Invading Syria … 'No Bashar al-Assad in the future', says Saudi foreign minister: report … Turkey strikes Kurd, regime forces in Syria, mulls ground attack … Then she strikes again: Turkey Shells Kurdish Positions in Syria for 2nd Day It should be noted that the Kurdish groups that were shelled, YPGs, were helping Russians take over the town of Azaz from rebels, not IS. So, in Hassakah the YPGs are cooperating with U.S., and avoiding conflict with few regime troops remaining, and some Arab clans, but in Aleppo, they are cooperating with Russia and the Assad regime … Russia warns of 'permanent war' in Syria. “ ‘All sides must be compelled to sit at the negotiating table, instead of unleashing yet another war on Earth,’ Dmitry Medvedev told Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper in an interview widely reported on Friday. ‘Any kinds of land operations, as a rule, lead to a permanent war. Look at what's happened in Afghanistan and a number of other countries. I am not even going to bring up poor Libya.’ ” Meanwhile, Zarif Says Iran Can Work with Saudis on Syria, IS. But Iran’s actions in Syria, Iraq and Yemen tell a different story. And Russia's new Syrian strategy: Ethnic cleansing “Analysis: Russia's new strategy to prop Assad up is to destroy rebels' power base through ethnic cleansing, forcing supporters to flee as refugees to neighboring countries and eventually Europe.” And Doubt Brews at Munich Conference Following U.S.-Russian Accord on Syria.
The critics speak out: Syria Truce Deal Makes Aid a Political Tool, Critics Say. “ ‘While we welcome any effort to improve the lives of Syrians in such desperate need of humanitarian assistance, the conflation of humanitarian issues with political agendas poses a serious threat to the independence, neutrality and impartiality of humanitarian action,” said Mathieu Rouquette, an aid worker with Mercy Corps, who belongs to a consortium of international agencies that works in both government and rebel-held areas of Syria.’ ” And cast doubts: Doubt Brews at Munich Conference Following U.S.-Russian Accord on Syria.
The realists offer more Kool Aide: On Syria: Thank you, Russia! Why does Stephen Kinzer want us to thank Russia? Because it apparently saved Syria from implosion and from an Islamist Sunni takeover. Or as he puts it: “The fall of Assad would create a catastrophic power vacuum like those that have turned Iraq and Libya into terrorist havens. This would be bad for the United States, and even worse for Russia and Iran. We should recognize this common interest, and work with countries that want what we want.” The fact that Assad’s rise to power and his subsequent policies and actions have proven catastrophic for Syrians so far, even those who support him, doesn’t seem to matter much. That fact that an Assad victory will further consolidate Iran’s growing regional hegemony – something that will not sit well with the Saudis and other Sunni powers in the region seems irrelevant here. For realists tend to examine their proposed policies as though they represented separate packages isolated from each other and thus unable to affect each other. This is why they seem so reasonable to them.
In reality, Obama’s inaction on Syria has encouraged more slaughter, and has allowed Russia and Iran to adopt more adventurous approaches in Syria, and elsewhere, paving the ground for a more direct Saudi response, first in Yemen, and now in Syria as well. So, how is this Russia saving the state from implosion exactly?
Kinzer ignores this connection in this article, but expect him or some other realist to write about it in the future in their usual way that compartmentalizes things in their unique neat manner, even when the reality is so messy. They will thus be able to blame and castigate Saudi Arabia without showing how their policies of enabling Iran and Russia have contributed to what the Saudis have decided to do. This is quite a dishonest approach, but if the realists have drunk their own Kool Aide, as many of them to have, they may not even be aware of that.
A momentarily vindicated Cock gloats: Syria: The winners and losers are becoming clear in this war. “The war is far from over, but the faint shape of an endgame is coalescing amid the bloodbath.” Patrick Cockburn can barely contain his glee over this: his beloved Assad regime, Russia and Iran are emerging as the victor, and the Sunni axis as the loser of this particular showdown. Or so, he thinks. As he himself admits: the war is far from over. And of course, the whole thing is examined as though it were a war on Assad, conveniently ignoring who the man happens to be, and what he has done to get us to this point. In fact, the Cock, true to form, ignores the whole protest movement ethos, and the fact that the pro-democracy movement has been crushed by his hero of the resistance. One has to be a Cock, not to mention a cocksucker, to stoop so low. I guess it’s in the cock where he feels his particular “burn.”
Meanwhile, back in Syria: ISIS Already Preparing Its Next Battleground - in Libya while conceding ground to Assad. “The Assad regime's attempt to choke of Aleppo has caused ISIS to shorten its lines and hand over territory to the regime's forces, which it regards as the lesser evil.” So, it seems that, after years of conflict, the U.S., Russia, Iran and the Islamic State itself have all in practice agreed on the same thing: the lesser evil in Syria is represented by none other than the Assad regime. And so it goes: Warmongering is peacemaking, terrorism is resistance, and genocide is but a footnote on victory.
But the rebels still want a say in all this: Syrian Rebels Vow to Wage a National Liberation Guerrilla War. The rebels are dreaming. There is nothing particularly wrong with that. But will they fight the Turks and the Saudis if they decided to invade? So, perhaps not all foreigners are alike. No one is fighting for Syria in practice, even those who think they are, perhaps even especially those who think they are.
Urging Obama: Obama urges Russia to stop bombing 'moderate' Syria rebels. See, what you did Putin, Khamenei, Assad? You got him urging, urging, so urgently.
Slamming McCain: McCain slams Russia: 'Mr. Putin is not interested in being our partner'. “He wants to re-establish Russia as a major power in the Middle East. He wants to use Syria as a live-fire exercise for Russia's modernizing military, he wants to turn Latakia province into a military outpost from which to harden and enforce a Russian sphere of influence -- a new Kaliningrad, or Crimea -- and he wants to exacerbate the refugee crisis and use it as a weapon to divide the trans-Atlantic alliance and undermine the European project.”