Thursday, October 31, 2013

Barak Obama: hated, despised and humiliated both at home and abroad

These are bad times for Barak Obama, and humiliations seems to fall upon him every day.  Yesterday it what a double-whammy: first NBC and the WSJ announced that Obama's approval rating were at a historical low and then Forbes announced that Obama's most hated adversary, Vladimir Putin, had displaced him in the Forbes world's most powerful person list and was now the most powerful person on the planet, followed by Obama and right after him Xi Jinping.

Of course, these are pure "media events" or, more accurately, non-events.  Nothing really happened.  But to a image and media centric politician like Obama these are very, very bitter pills to swallow because the send him a double message: both the people and the elites see you as a loser, in sharp contrast to Putin who is viewed as *the* big leader with whom everybody has to deal to get anything done.

Even the always hyper submissive and unconditionally subservient European leaders are taking some wholly symbolic, ambiguous and oblique steps to express their (wholly hypocritical and fake) dissatisfaction with the USA.  Another non-event, and yet its also a real humiliation: since when do US colonial satraps get to voice criticisms, even indirect ones?!

In many ways, Obama has proven to be even more incompetent that Dubya because while under (Bush) "Junior" most of the planet did hate the USA, there still was a small list of countries which remained loyal to the USA no matter what: Israel, the KSA and the EU.  Obama has managed to alienate even those.

Obama is now hated and despised everywhere, at home and abroad, while his most determined adversary is praised for his strength.  I can't say I am sorry for him because while I personally never believed a word he said, I know of many good and decent people who really believe that Obama represented "change we can believe in".  Obama betrayed these people and he deserves every bit of the humiliation he is now subjected to.

The Saker

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, October 28, 2013.

I take refuge in Allah from the stoned devil. In the Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Most Merciful. Peace be on the Seal of prophets, our Master and Prophet, Abi Al Qassem Mohammad and on his chaste and pure Household and on his chosen companions and on all messengers and prophets.

Peace be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings.

First, I welcome you all and thank this dear audience for their participation in marking this valued occasion that honors precious fighters and persons who make great sacrifices, and highly esteems a developed, advanced, generous institution on which great hopes were linked and which lived up to these expectation. More hopes are linked to it, and it is also fit of all these expectations.

Today indeed we are before this achievement, development, and level that the Arrasoul Al Azam (Peace be upon him and his Household) Hospital reached which was established under the sponsorship of Shaheed Institute. We have sensed all what it offered over all of these years.

Today I personally and on behalf of all of my brothers and sisters in this resistance - in this faithful, struggling, striving track - express our pride and high estimation of what these brothers and sisters have achieved in the domain of humanitarian and medical services as well as in administration, wisdom, plotting, intellect, faithfulness, and incessant sense of responsibility and constant presence in all the hard times since 1980s. This is one of the resisting institutes. It is rather one of the resisting institutes which followed up the resistance action, jihad, wounds, pains, sacrifices as well as the pains and wounds of the families of martyrs and injured over all the years of the resistance.

We thank Allah Al Mighty for the blessing of the existence of such gentlemen and ladies and brothers and sisters who work hard and offer sacrifices and on the blessing of the existence of this dear, generous, kind institute which was really loyal to the teachings and the will of the Master of our Islamic resistance martyrs – Sayyed Abbass Mussawi – as it serves people in every way possible.

Here too, we must show high esteem, respect, and admiration to the establisher of this edifice. This man has many good deeds in more than one region and on more than one level. I mean dear brethren His Eminence Allameh Sayyed Issa Tabatabai (May Allah guard him). We thank him for all the industrious efforts he exerted and generous sacrifices he offered. He had spent his youth and is now living his elderliness in serving Lebanon, the people of Lebanon, and the resistance in Lebanon. We all know his loyalty, faithfulness, and great love to Lebanon and its people and resistance especially to the families of martyrs and the injured. No words can even partially reward this solemn Sayyed and his right on us, our track, and our people. We ask Allah Al Mighty to accept his deeds and to reward him abundantly as He rewards the faithful, industrious, struggling, fighters and to prolong his blessed life and guide him to more kindness and benevolence.

Moreover, we recall all the brothers and sisters who are honored in this occasion especially those who followed this institute since its early days 25 years ago up to this very day. They are always ready, industrious, hardworking, helpful, and faithful.

We also show our admiration to the current administration which has been exerting faithful and great efforts over all the past years to make this institute achieve its current status with the blessing of Allah Al Mighty. Special thanks to the struggling brethren, the wounded, the alive martyr, Dr. Ibrahim Atwai from among all the brethrens. He is the doctor of the resistance and the beloved and lover of the resistance at a time. We are proud of such ideals. He has always been present next to the fighters especially during the first operations years near the fire lines along with other doctors too. However, Allah Al Mighty destined him to hold this honor and the medal for these wounds which afflicted him and which aimed at his life. Allah Al Mighty destined him to remain alive for more giving. These wounds did not make him stop giving as is the case of many wounded in this track and this resistance and this homeland whose wounds did not make them refrain from carrying on their work in the entire available space and on the spiritual, intellectual, and physical levels. May Allah reward them abundantly and grant them success to carry on working to serve this dear people, this great victorious, triumphant resistance, and this nation that deserves all sacrifices and all aspects of benevolence and kindness especially serving our dear people – the families of the martyrs, the wounded, the liberated captives and this group of people who offered solemn sacrifices and owe the homeland and the nation many services and trusts which must be paid back.

I would like to tackle the general affairs in the available time and I will not take much time pursuant to the nature of the occasion contrary to what takes place at times in popular celebrations.

I would like to tackle two topics: The first topic is close to the nature of the occasion. It is a humanitarian topic and this is what it shares with the occasion. The second topic is the political affair.

Concerning the first topic, I will start with the cause of Aazaz captives. This cause had reached its desired happy ending. I will seize this opportunity to felicitate these dear persons for their freedom and return to their homeland and families. I also congratulate their patient, faithful, and courageous families who had assumed the responsibility over all the time. I also thank all those who supported this cause and worked for it since the very beginning and for all those who contributed to reach these happy ending and consequently, the return of these dear ones. There is one point concerning Aazaz captives which I will return to by the end of this point.

It goes without saying that the return of these dear men to their families and the welcome they had in the airport and in the neighborhoods had evoked the hopes of the rest who share similar cases. They also evoke in all of us many humanitarian and emotional feelings towards those whom we feel responsible for and they are many.

Today, making use of the experience of following up the case of Aazaz captives, we must assert on following up the other files. This exists in the speeches and words of the Lebanese officials on the various levels whether official or popular. I believe that all files must be present, and officials must be charged and frameworks must be set to follow them.

Indeed, we as Lebanese along with our Syrian brethrens are concerned and hope and aspire and work to set the two bishops _Yaziji and Ibrahim – free. As Lebanese, we too feel responsible towards the Lebanese citizens who were missed or kidnapped especially during the latest events taking place in Syria starting with Hassan Miqdad and the Lebanese from the town of Maaroub and the various Bikai towns - indeed, I will not go into details because some of them need inquiry to verify whether they are really kidnapped or not or whether they are lost – and ending up with the Lebanese photographer Samir Kassab.

In fact, in Lebanon and on the official level, someone must be charged – whether the General Security or another side – to follow up specifically with all this kind of causes so as to know what might take place or happen. As such, we will all know that so and so or the such and such side is in charge. Consequently, everyone who can offer help or a suggestion or an idea or exert an effort, he may resort to the person in charge of this file who is following it from the very beginning to the very end. He will be helped by everyone; as such this file and this responsibility will not be lost amid the Lebanese daily events, developments, preoccupations, and shouts. Amid all of this, there would always remain someone who is concerned and following the details, making contacts, getting acquainted with the developments, receiving ideas, seeking help, and offered assistance. This must take place. As such the door will be opened before the ancient files. I noticed that when the dear brethrens – Aazaz captives – returned, some families of the missed in Lebanon and some families of the prisoners in Syria, and the families of some persons whom it is thought that they were missed in Lebanon and were transferred to Syria nurtured hopes of reunion, and this is something very natural. The Lebanese must stop getting involved in overbidding in this topic – because there are always overbidding in this topic – that means that a definite side writes statements and delivers speeches and curses in all directions. That does not restore the prisoners and reveals the fate of the lost. That does not lead anywhere.

It is also efficient in this framework to charge a side or to form a serious framework to be in charge of this file. I remember that years ago, they were working in the cause and lists were handed in and names were exchanged. There were official Lebanese demands and official Syrian demands. At that time, it was called on some of the participators in the dialogue table to help. We were among those concerned in offering help. However, this issue was not completed. I believe that it is possible to reach somewhere as far as this issue is concerned. However, ours is a caretaking government. If some believe that this is one of the issues which must be postponed – though it is not a topic of discord – that would be catastrophic. The new government which would be formed must charge someone or set a framework to follow up this file.

If we are a country which respects itself, a state which respects itself, and a people who respect themselves, it is supposed that all of these files be opened. Here I am talking on the humanitarian level. We have several files which come under this humanitarian perspective which must be reopened apart from political considerations. They must be reopened in a responsible way. One of the conclusions we draw from demanding and working industriously to restore Aazaz captives is that we are a country which respects its citizens and a people who respect their individuals despite all the problems in the country.

Well, apart from those who worked hard and assumed responsibility and those who were neglectful and who worked harder, what is important is the outcome. The result is that 11 Lebanese citizens were kidnapped but they were not kept in the hands of their kidnappers. So true we are a state from the third world, however, we are a respectful state and people because the Lebanese captives were not abandoned. No their case was followed up – apart from the nature of the follow up and the shouting that takes place in the country. The same applies to the case of the ferryboat in Indonesia. They restored the prisoners held by the Indonesian authority and all those who were rescued and are still alive. They are also working industriously to restore the corpse of the victims. That means that we are a country which respects its citizens and human being. This is the school of the resistance which did not accept to leave the captives in the enemy's prisons. This is the school of the resistance which does not accept to keep even the remains of martyrs with the enemy. We used to say: True our youths and children are buried in the soil of Palestine – and this is a source of pride and honor –; however, we want to restore them to the soil of Lebanon to assert that we are a respectful country, state, and people. If we are so, then these files must be reopened. There are files pending with the Israeli enemy. There are files pending locally. There are file pending with the Syrian brethrens.

Well, we are saying that there are pending files. For example, there are many files which are still pending on the Israeli level: Prisoner Yahya Skaff, Abdullah Alayyan, Mohammad Farran, as well as thousands of Lebanese who were missed during the Israeli enemy invasion to Lebanon in 1982. Under the occupation, many were kidnapped or missed. Who was behind their kidnap? The Lebanese militias? Antoine Lahd Army? Saad Hadad? Did the Israelis kidnap them? According to the international law, the occupation country and the occupation army is held responsible. Well, these thousands are still missed. This file is still dormant. Nobody tackles it; nobody follows it. After all, the issue is not only that of prisoners and those missed in Syria. We have thousands of missed. We are before a large number. According to those who furnished me with this number, there are 17000 persons – mostly Lebanese but there are also Palestinians and perhaps Syrians too. Among these files, there is also the file of the four Iranian diplomats who were accredited in Lebanon. They were missed in the Lebanese territories. Well, who is following these files? Is it acceptable to leave them to the resistance or to a faction in the resistance as was the case in the past?

The same applies to the files of those missed in Lebanon. Well, these files need to be resolved. True one day, I remember that the government of PM Salim Hoss – May Allah grant him recovery and prolong his life span – took a very great decision concerning these files; however, after all the families did not give up to this decision. Well, this needs to be tackled again. Someone must assume their responsibility. It is important that a serious framework be set to follow up these files. Perhaps they would be two or three frameworks. There is no problem in that. However, what is important is that someone is charged of these files.

On the Syrian level, I believe that a chance was lost in the past years when this issue was being followed up. Now this chance is still valid via previous contacts and previous meetings with the Syrian leadership. I have heard a direct clear word on incessant Syrian readiness to take these files to their actual possible endings. Indeed, this needs being responsible, courageous, industrious, and decisive after all.

However, along with all the files and topics which I mentioned, there remains a file of a very high degree of importance, seriousness, and sensitivity. I believe that many Lebanese – including me – who when we were welcoming the prisoners coming back from Israeli prisoners or days ago when I and others were watching the return of the kidnapped from Aazaz and the welcome of the people and in every occasion of this kind, we recalled the memory and cause of His Eminence Imam Sayyed Mussa Assader and his two dear senior brethrens – His Eminence Sheikh Mohammad Yaqoub and Mr. Abbass Badriddine. Here we are talking about the imam of the resistance. We are talking about the resistance, about the imam of struggling and striving against deprivation and negligence. We are talking in an occasion that has to do with an institute which has a humanitarian, serviceable, social, healthcare nature. In all cases, I believe this cause concerns not only a family or a sect or a resistance or a people; it is rather a cause that concerns the dignity of this homeland and the honor of this nation as I was saying about respect a while ago. It is an absolutely national cause.

Multiple efforts might be exerted. Here the state must assume responsibility. Frankly speaking, this cause must not be tackled on the official level by burdening Speaker Nabih Berri or the foreign minister. Now I beg your pardon but is it because the foreign is Shiite, then the Shiites are to assume the responsibility of this cause and find a way out for it? Is it that the Shiite head or the Shiite minister is to be concerned in this cause? Or is it the responsibility of the family of Imam Assader? This is a national cause that concerns all the Lebanese: the Lebanese state and the Lebanese people.

We do not hide that we have lately sent messages to our brethren officials in the Islamic Republic. We also called on them to interfere again and contact the new Libyan officials so as to exert special and double efforts. The state must exert multiple efforts in addition to the exerted efforts.

Not to remain talking in general, today there are two persons: the first is called Abdullah Sanousi, and he is in prison in Libya, and the other is roaming the hotels in Arab – especially Gulf – capitals. He started working for Arab intelligence bodies. His name is Moussa Koussa. Both worked for the Libyan intelligence under Moamar Ghaddafi, and both can indicate or lead to the place of the imam – the place where the Imam is detained. So we want to talk as we talk and as we believe. Well, what are the officials waiting for? This does not require addressing the crisis in Libya and the regime in Libya or the authority in Libya to be resolved. A person is in prison waiting to be interrogated. So far the current Libyan authorities are crippling that.

Well, there is a person who is not in prison, and there are countries who claim are friends to Lebanon and to the Lebanese people. Moussa Koussa is their guests, and they pay for him and for his staying in hotels. Why don't they help us to end this cause and reach its happy ending?

Anyway, under this humanitarian topic, I wished to evoke files which are at times forgotten amid the Lebanese detailed preoccupations and the preoccupations of the region and the existing chaos and at times the cries in lanes in Lebanon which do not lead anywhere. I wanted to evoke these files that have humanitarian, national, and moral aspects to say that the state must assume full responsibility towards them on the first hand. It must also charge specialized officials to follow these cases and to offer all their time to serve these causes, and consequently, we must all be in the supporting position.

Before moving to the political affair, I only want to wrap up this topic with the cause of Aazaz. I do not want to go into the details of this cause. You know, that on the first day when it was said that these brethrens were to be set free when the kidnapping first took place, airplanes were dispatched and people waited in the airport for long hours and we made a speech in which we offered thanks for everyone. However, another thing took place. We were all disappointed. Thus we avoided to tackle this topic even in the media. We considered that industrious and serious work is more beneficial because the nature of the kidnapping group is unknown: What is the nature of the kidnapping group? Is it a political group? Is it a struggling group - as they call themselves? Is it an opposition group? Are they a group of robbers? Are they working to their own interest? Are they linked to regional sides? All of that is unclear. Thus we are always worried in fact on the lives and souls of these dear ones. We used to believe that any approach might be seized to harm them.

Anyway, I have a call on the Lebanese Judiciary, the official sides in Lebanon, as well as the popular sides. This cause must be reserved and examined somewhere. Why were these men kidnapped? Who kidnapped them? What are the reasons behind the kidnapping? What are the goals of kidnapping? Indeed, at the end they said swapping and liberating female prisoners. As for liberating female prisoners, we got them a promise for that a year ago but they did not inquire about it. There is something else. Some say it had to do with money. So some say money, and others say liberating female prisoners. However, it is most likely that the issue is political more than having to do with female prisoners and money.

Anyway, we do not want to open the door before accusations as far as this issue is concerned. However, those who were oppressed and kidnapped and their families, and all of the Lebanese have the right to have these facts revealed especially what took place in the first days. Who crippled their release? Who kept them later on? How things came to this denouement? Somewhere this work must be done and this file must be examined. It must not be deserted at all because there are rights which must be restored and reserved, and a moral must be drawn and benefited from. Masks must fall too if there are masks and deception.

Moving to the political affair, I will also say a couple of words and God willing, I will not keep you waiting a long time.

Allow me to start briefly with Syria first because it is preoccupying the region and the world and second because what is taking place in Syria has a great influence on what takes place in Lebanon - everything in Lebanon whether on the security, social, humanitarian, emigrating, economic, financial, and political levels. That is the case indeed because there is a group in Lebanon who had linked everything to what takes places in Syrian. They crippled everything while waiting for what would take place in Syria. Indeed they are waiting for what would take place in Syria on the basis that the regime would fall and that Syria would fall. Some even live on the dreams of returning via Damascus Airport. They do not want to return via Beirut Airport. They believe Syria would shift to the other axis and the other front what would boost the power and the chances and capabilities of this Lebanese group to impose their conditions and even to impose their exclusive and eliminating approach in the Lebanese arena. This is the truth now.

Indeed, in all what I will say, I will not go into the formula or you crippling or we crippling. This has become something hectic and I believe that the people are bored of it.

After all, the Lebanese themselves evaluate and judge who is crippling the parliament and who is crippling even a session for the caretaking government. There are fateful and elapsing issues which do not tolerate postponing and which I will tackle again in a while. Who is crippling legislation? Who is crippling the dialogue table? Who is even crippling the formation of the government? We are bored with saying you or we. I believe that everything which might be said concerning this issue has been said. The Lebanese people must judge and act according to their judge and convictions in an objective way as far as this issue is concerned.

Well, as for Syria, in the past few months, great developments happened in Syria, in the region, and in the world concerning the Syrian affair which made things move towards a clear and definite direction which I will tackle now.

On the field level:

The course in the field has developed to the interest of the Arab Syrian Army and all the popular Syrian forces that stand by its side.

The failure of the armed groups to make any change in the field or change in the balance of force which they set as a condition to go to Geneva.

Preponderance of the regime.

The conflicts among armed groups what let to the killing, injuring, and imprisonment of thousands men and women besides the destruction of many regions and conflicts sprouting in more than one region so far.

The change in the internal Syrian opinion as a result of the performance of the armed groups and their conduct in the field as a result of the developments in the region and in the world.

The failure of the opposition to unite its lines despite the world interference to unite its lines politically.

Internal renunciation of external intervention.

The disintegration of the opposing front due to the events in Egypt and their internal and regional repercussions.

The preoccupation of several of these states with their internal affairs and challenges.

The fall of the foreign military aggression against Syria supposition.

The political, popular, and military steadfastness of the regime and its capability to confront challenges with patience and wisdom.

All of these elements in addition to other factors had led to the following result or conclusion which no one needs to contend stubbornly against:

There is no military solution in Syria. Still some people are contending stubbornly against this fact. There is no need for that. Now the entire world with one exception which I will return to in a while reached somewhere which says there is no political solution in Syria.

The available and reasonable solution is the political solution. The way to a political solution is political dialogue without preconditions. Whoever sets preconditions is crippling dialogue as is the case in Lebanon. Now people must have dialogue and through dialogue reach a political solution, and today political dialogue and political solution enjoy international, regional, and internal support.

What is said today about Geneva II – apart from conditions and details – opens the horizons for a solution after all. I believe that Lebanon and all the regional states and peoples who are inevitably influenced and will be inevitably influenced by the crisis in Syria – if the crisis continues, they are influenced negatively, and if it is resolved, they will be influenced positively and in all domains – must push towards a political solution in Syria.

Indeed, there is a regional state which is very wrathful. I do not want to attack or make a problem. I am describing and not revealing a secret. The name of the regional state is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is well known. It is still wrathful because things did not move as they want in Syria.

Tens of thousands of fighters were summoned from all around the world – Chechnya, Caucasia, the Arab world, the Islamic world, and even Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Britain, and America itself. They were armed and financed. They talk about 30 billion dollars so far. This is in addition to media pressure, political pressure, isolation, siege, sanctions, and media instigation. I can say that up to this very moment the other front which was aiming at toppling the regime in Syria to control and lay its hands on Syria had done everything that may be done and on all perspectives and still things did not move as they want.

This is the world of the possible. After all, these people are concerned to find a way to heal the wounds and address the crisis. It is impossible that the region remains on fire because a state is wrathful or because a state is acting with another background. It is now seeking to cripple any political dialogue. It is seeking to cripple Geneva II and to postpone Geneva II.

See what is taking place now in Syria. For example, you watch every day in the news that a group of brigades split from the others and joined another group or formed a new brigade or a new army. I call this phenomenon "splitting and regrouping" or "disintegrating and reconstructing". Now this is what is taking place in Syria and still all say: "we reject Geneva II", "we reject dialogue", "we reject a political solution", and "the opposition coalition does not represent us". All of these drink from the same well – it is the well of those who want to cripple a political solution in Syria.

What does crippling the political solution in Syria mean? That means more fighting, more victims, more destruction, more devastation of Syria, more humanitarian, security, political, and economic repercussions on Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, and all the states in the region, as well as on Palestine and the Palestinian cause as we used to say from the very first day. This is stubborn contend which is absolutely hopeless. I rather tell them that seizing the opportunity of dialogue and the current dialogue conference is better for them because the coming time is not for their interest in the field or internally or regionally or internationally. On the contrary, according to the current given, it is better for them to head towards political dialogue and a political solution in Syria.

In fact, all those who care for the Syrian people – whether those living inside Syria or those who immigrated – and all of those who feel pain for what is taking place in Syria – bloodshed, wounds, displacement, destruction, demolition, and loss – must at this moment more than at any time in the past finger point at all of those who are crippling and preventing political dialogue and a political solution in Syria. They are known. We do not want special information or tapping or US espionage to know that. They are disclosed and they announce that. This is the responsibility of the nation.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation was calling for a political solution. The Arab League is calling for a political solution. If you are faithful, then please lift the obstacles before moving towards political dialogue and a political solution.

I will wrap up before moving to Lebanon. The international, regional, and internal front which mustered power to control Syria flopped. This is the end of the story. This is an irrefutable truth.

Now they are expressing that through some satellite channels. They say here we were not able, here we failed, here we did not plot properly, here we did not know what we want. No dear! You knew what you wanted, you plotted properly, and you exploited all the available capabilities and still you flopped. This is the truth.

Hereof, they must move on and be more realistic and not more stubborn. They must make use of the open horizon to heal the wounds of Syria and to guard it, reconstruct it so as it restore its role. This is the responsibility of the Syrians on the first hand as well as the responsibility of the Arabs and all of the peoples and states in the region.

This is the outcome unless our partners in the homeland – March 14 Bloc and especially the Future Movement – have another reading. Perhaps they had another dream or have other information. Perhaps they have another reading for the international status quo, the regional status quo or see that things are not as such. This is another issue then. It would be a true problem in reading events.

Here off, and based on this result, I usher into the Lebanese affair and say: O people! Enough is enough. Put this issue aside. Do not delay and postpone things. On the contrary more delay and postponement will – unfortunately we have to talk as such at this moment in which the country is crippled – better the conditions and position and status of the other bloc.

When brethren MP Mohammad Raad (Abu Hassan) tackled this issue, he was not threatening you. On the contrary, he was advising you saying that there are political facts. Well now we accept this (9-9-6) formula; however, if circumstances changes people might not accept it anymore. So seize the opportunity.

No one is threatening anyone. We are advising each other based on our care for the interest of the country. We advise each other. We are telling you that things in Syria are not as such. He who wants to come back only via Damascus Airport means he will remain where he is. It is better for him to reconsider things and return via Beirut Airport. Beirut Airport is open for all Lebanese. It is Beirut International Airport. Martyr PM Rafiq Hariri Airport welcomes all the Lebanese coming back to Lebanon. There is no problem in that. Consequently, let's postpone this issue and talk directly in a responsible way.

I would like to remind you that a couple of years ago – perhaps a little less or a little more – I was delivering a speech in one of the occasions in Sayyed Ashuhada (Peace be upon him) Compound. I then said that you – March 14 Bloc – since 2005 until a couple of years ago had bargained on a group of turning points (five or six sensitive turning points) in the history of Lebanon. Since 2005 until this very day, all your bargains lost. I told you then that now you are bargaining on the situation in Syria and this bargain will lose too. Today I will tell you that this bargain lost. Let's talk on the Lebanese level. Let's talk on the local level. Let's put our feet on the ground. Let's stop fluttering in the skies and in dreams. Let's look at the crisis of our country, our people, and our causes starting with the ranks and salaries system, oil, security, Electricite du Liban contractors, development, politics, elections law, the presidential elections among all the pending files.

I would like to add something from this perspective. I said at the beginning of my word that I do not want to compete in saying who is responsible and who is held responsible. I would like to approach the issue from another perspective. Today Lebanon has two choices. The first is the true, existing, comprehensive, and absolute crippling. Do I have to give evidence that the country is crippled? We do not need that. This exists. Everyone feels it. Taking this general crippling that exists in the country, apart from whose responsible for that, March 14 Bloc has a prelude to put an end to this crippling. As for us, there is no need for all of this crippling and there is no need to link the dialogue table to the formation of the government or the legislation sessions to forming a new government. There is no need for all of that. However, we will move along with them. What is this prelude then? If we want to go for dialogue table, a government must be formed beforehand. For the parliament to make legislations, they want a government. To address all the pending files, they want a government. They want and put conditions. The entire country is crippled, and according to their convictions and conditions, the only way to confront this crippling is forming a government. Now we want to head towards points which both of us might agree on. Well to form a government our bloc is saying that we accept the (9-9-6) formula. You refused saying that giving the other bloc 9 means that we are giving it a crippling third. That means that there might be crippling in the government that will be formed. Well if a government was formed based on the (9-9-6) formula, what would that lead to?

What would the results be? First the atmosphere in the country will be relieved. People will reunite together. There is a place where we may sit and talk together. Second, we will go back to the dialogue table as this too is your condition. Third the parliament would address all the drafts that have to do with the interests of the people and their life. This too would work again. Fourth, all the decisions in the government that do not need the approval of two thirds of the ministers can't be crippled by any side – neither the 9 in our bloc nor the 9 in your bloc. What remains then? There remains the decisions that need the approval of two thirds of the ministers and which might be crippled by either sides. However, these decisions too might be discussed and addressed. This cripple is only possible. It is not an absolute certain crippling. That crippling might take place, and it might not. However now all the Lebanese – as I am addressing everyone: the Lebanese politicians as well as the Lebanese people - are before two cases or assumptions. The first assumption is moving on in the current crippling. The entire country is crippled apart from exchanging accusations of who is responsible for that because that does not earn bread. Amid the vertical division in the country, these in the middle might lean to this side or to that side according to the public opinion campaign which only few work in. That means that if our bloc remained shouting for a hundred years and holding you responsible, and if your bloc remained for a hundred years shouting and holding us responsible under the division taking place in the country, that would not lead anywhere. We will only lose the country, the state, and the people. This is the first assumption.

The second assumption is otherwise. You must show some humbleness. We have already been humble when we said we accept having nine ministers. This is so that no one says why you don't show humbleness. Nine ministers are in fact less than the normal volume of representation of our political forces. So you should show some humbleness and accept the (9-9-6) formula, and then three quarters of the country will work again. The fourth quarter of the country which comprises the decisions which need the approval of two thirds of the ministers might be disagreed on and might be agreed on. Before these two assumptions, what does the mind say? Shall we prefer to go in with the first assumption which is hopeless or choose the second assumption and work according to it? What does the mind say? What does logic say? What does nationality say? What does the sense of responsibility towards the Lebanese people and their political, security, economic, and social fate as well as towards their life, future, and wealth say? They all say that we go for the second assumption.

If you – March 14 Bloc – are accusing our bloc of crippling the country and consider yourselves the national, the loyal, and the faithful for the country, well doesn't this country deserve from you few sacrifices?

You might ask: Why don't you offer sacrifices? We do not want to offer sacrifices anymore. We have made all the necessary and sufficient sacrifices. Doesn't this country deserve this humble attitude and not sacrifice? This would be giving part of the right to the right owner. When the government would be formed according to the (9-9-6) formula part of the right of these forces would be given back to them. This is not a sacrifice. This is not a favor or something you begrudge others for. Which of the two choices, the mind, the logic, nationality, and the sense of responsibility choose? They choose the second choice.

If you still insist on that, in all ways there is a least possible. As I am about to wrap up my speech, I too am delivering a speech and I want to hold others responsible. If it is not possible to form a government, then let the caretaking government work. Is it acceptable to cripple the caretaking government for unconstitutional considerations? This is incorrect. I know that in your private sessions you acknowledge and confess to each other – and not only to yourselves – that it is constitutional that the parliament meet and make legislations. However, for political reasons which I do not want to tackle you are crippling the parliament. Well, why are you practicing all of this pressure to cripple the government?

There are too the elapsing causes which do not bear postponement. You know that I say things frankly. The overwhelming majority of the ministers agree that the government meet especially for discussing the oil issue. Here I want to add the issue of the city of Tripoli – the security file in general and the issue of the city of Tripoli in particular. The ministers agree on that. As far as I know the ministers in the caretaking government agree on that. There remains the Premier and His Eminence the President of the Republic. In fact, I don't know clearly and decisively the stance of the President on calling for a session of this kind. However, why is the Premier hesitant? He is hesitant because there is great political pressure since the resignation up to this very day. In fact, there was a great political pressure that led to the resignation. However, if only those whom he resigned for are loyal to him and at least show respect to him only in form. If only they do not offend him daily. We all know why PM Najeeb Mikati resigned. There is pressure practiced by Saudi Arabia against the convention of the government. The Future Movement and March 14 Bloc are practicing pressure on the Premier and the President of the Republic. However, I don't know the level of pressure on the President of the Republic. However, I know that there is great pressure on the Premier. They also instantly resort to the sectarian and factional issue. Dear brothers, this is a constitutional issue.

In this occasion, I call on the President of the Republic, the Premier, the ministers, and the political forces partaking in the government to meet, and I call on the political forces outside the government to have a little mercy on the country and stop their pressure and not to make a problem of this. There are two elapsing urgent files which do not bear postponement at all. The first file is oil.

Here we back every call for discussing this file in the government without preconditions. How many blocks? All of them or some of them? Half of them? Three quarters of them? Keep all of this aside. Let's go without preconditions. Then we will meet in the cabinet and discuss this issue.

Time is elapsing from Lebanon. Lebanon's wealth is being robbed by the Israelis who are working day and night while we are drowned in our inability to form a government and our inability to let the government meet. This is a true catastrophe.

I do not want to use terms that describe the failure to assume this responsibility. I do not want to use any term. However, at least this is wasting the rights of the Lebanese and their future and wasting a promising horizon before the Lebanese and before the financial, economic, social, and developmental status. This is first.

Second there is the security file in general and not only the security of Tripoli. Indeed Tripoli is in the forefront. What is taking place in Tripoli is painful and sorrowful to all of us and it must not continue at all. The only solution does not need much sessions and meetings. It rather needs a decisive decision by the Lebanese government and the cooperation of the various political, religious, and popular forces in Tripoli. The decisive decision is that the Lebanese Army gets fully charged of the security of the city of Tripoli and its suburbs. The army must be backed and supported by the other security forces and bodies. The Lebanese Army must be assisted not only with power but with the ability to spread over all points and regions and to take all the necessary procedures. When the army takes any decision, everyone must protect and defend it, and not hit the streets and block roads. This is the only solution. It is summoning the Lebanese Army and the official security forces and to cooperate with them. It is not through summoning Daesh and Nusra. Daesh and Nusra complicate the situation in Tripoli and the situation in Lebanon. Now tell me where did Daesh and Nusra go and bring along security? Syria is an example. Did they go there and make peace prevail? Are we to hail the sample Daesh is presenting on the level of the situation in Syria? The Lebanese Army must be summoned. The Lebanese state must be summoned and helped. The roads must be opened before it. It must be enabled to address the security issue in Tripoli through a true, serious, political stance. It is not that we take a political stance while on the ground we push things towards tension and escalation and fighting under a religious cover and not only a political cover. Mosque imams and religious men in all neighborhoods in Tripoli – whether in Tabbaneh or in Jabal Mohsen or in the other neighborhoods in the Friday prayers must forbid fighting; they must forbid opening fire too. They must call for respecting the army and underline that it is forbidden to open fire on the soldiers and the security forces. This is the solution. This is an internal, Lebanese auto-solution. However, it needs a great political decision to guard this institution which is required to go there.

This file has been pressing lately due to the fighting and sniping and the fall of martyrs and wounded. Anyway, the security file in Lebanon is very difficult and critical: there are booby-trapped cars, and these nets must be pursued. Here I am telling you that the state – its various apparatuses - knows these nets. It knows that there are booby-trapped cars in this and in that town. Still it did not take any action. When is it going to take any action? We condemn any bombing whether in Dahiyeh or in Tripoli or in any other place in Lebanon. The bombers must be punished by the judicial authorities. There must be no political cover for these perpetrators. The judicial authorities must assume this responsibility.

However, the state can't handle this file in retail or in the spare time or according to its mood because the blood and the fortunes of people are at stake at any moment or time in all the Lebanese regions. This wasn't something easy. True the media did not tackle this issue lengthily, but there are booby-trapped cars in some regions in Lebanon now. The state is concerned. Well to avoid attacking each other in the media, let the government meet. Then names of people and places would be announced. It is not that when the explosive device is detonated that we investigate to find out who caused the explosion and refer them to the courts and try them. National responsibility requires preventing the explosion from taking place and undertaking all the decisive steps and necessary measures to prevent any explosion from taking place in any region or place in Lebanon.

These two files do not tolerate postponement or delay according to any rational, religious, legal, moral, national, and constitutional logic. Here I am telling you that the obstacle is merely political besides political considerations, and political rivalry.

In this occasion in which we are hailing the sacrifices and offerings and the development of a humanitarian institute which has one and only one goal – serving man and his health, psyche, moral, and happiness and offering him help and support, we hope that we establish a humanitarian institute at the level of the nation as a whole so as to bring our homeland, people, country, and institutions from this state of illness, rivalry, vacuum, disorder, and risks that threaten this country and its existence.

Brothers! Today not only the Christian existence is threatened in the Orient. The Christians have the right to be worried and afraid and to hold conferences. However, today all the peoples of the region are threatened. The Muslims and the Christians are threatened alike. All the followers of all religions and sects are threatened. Sunnites are threatened as well as Shiites, and Muslims are threatened as well as Christians and Druze and the followers of the other sects and factions.

The region is now heading towards more chaos, conflict, loss, and grudges. What are we to do to rescue this patient? When a patient is in such a state – doctors know more than we do – he is instantly submitted to the intensive care room. Are we acting with the logic and feeling that our country needs emergent and intensive care? As such we can rescue this country and transcend this critical stage.

May Allah guide and support you. Peace be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessing.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Has Saudi spy chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan gone completely insane?

(Originally written for the Asia Times)

All signs are showing that the otherwise secretive Saudi regime is angry.  Very, very angry.  Not only did the KSA refuse to take a seat at the UNSC, but now the Saudi spy chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, appears to be threatening the USA with a "major shift" in "relations with the United States in protest at its perceived inaction over the Syria war and its overtures to Iran".  The WSJ provides some further details:
In the run-up to the expected U.S. strikes, Saudi leaders asked for detailed U.S. plans for posting Navy ships to guard the Saudi oil center, the Eastern Province, during any strike on Syria, an official familiar with that discussion said. The Saudis were surprised when the Americans told them U.S. ships wouldn't be able to fully protect the oil region, the official said.

Disappointed, the Saudis told the U.S. that they were open to alternatives to their long-standing defense partnership, emphasizing that they would look for good weapons at good prices, whatever the source, the official said.

In the second episode, one Western diplomat described Saudi Arabia as eager to be a military partner in what was to have been the U.S.-led military strikes on Syria. As part of that, the Saudis asked to be given the list of military targets for the proposed strikes. The Saudis indicated they never got the information, the diplomat said.
Bandar (aka Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud)  spent most of his career in Washington DC where he was the Saudi ambassador from 1983 to 2005 where he was considered exceptionally close to the Bush family.  Not only that, he could observe, as no one else could, how the US went to war against Iraq not once, but twice, in 1991-1992 and, again, in 2003-2005.  So he, of all people, should now that a) the USA does not have the physical capability to "fully protect" the entire oil region of the KSA and b) that the US would only share a critical proposed strike list with close Anglo allies (the UK and, maybe, some other Anglo country).  Not even the Israelis or the French would be given that kind of access.

So what in the world is Bandar upset about?!

Sure, there are other good reasons for him to be angry: the entire Saudi strategic plan to defeat the Shia in the Middle-East has fallen apart.

The Saudis wanted to trigger an insurrection in Syria, then execute a "false flag" chemical attack, then have the USA take out the Syrian regime and replace it with a Saudi puppet regime of Wahabi liver-eaters.  That would isolate both Hezbollah and Iran.  The Saudis would let the Israelis deal with Hezbollah while they would then push the USA into a confrontation with Iran.

As strategic plans go, this was a pretty good one too but it was based on a fundamental misunderstanding the of Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah determination to defeat it.  We know that Russia sent a very powerful naval task force to the Syrian coast, we have pretty good information showing that Iran covertly sent both equipment and combatants to Syria and Hezbollah publicly admitted that it sent several thousands of its combatants into Syria.  These combatants are really those who turned the tide of the war on the ground (especially around al-Qusayr).  What we don't know (but what must have happened for sure) is what Russia, Iran and Hezbollah told the USA through their back-channel communications.  I personally have a very strong feeling that some very serious threats were made by one or several of these parties and that these threats were taken very seriously by the White House.  Yes, of course, we then had Kerry's "rhetorical point" about Syria giving up chemical weapons, but there are plenty of indicators that the US had already decided to "fold" 2-3 days before this actually occurred.  Whatever may be the case, it is clear that the US took the only possible sane decision and decided that it did not want to start a major war in the Middle-East.

Did the Saudis really think that the USA would take on Syria, Hezbollah, Iran and Russia on their behalf?

Now let's look at the Saudi reaction.  First, they refused to take their seat at the UNSC.  So what?!  With the predictable exception of Kuwait and Bahrain, who is going to be heartbroken at not having the Saudis sit at the UNSC?!  Kosovo?

And now comes this threat of a "major shift" in the US-Saudi alliance.

What in the world is Bandar talking about again?!

First, does Bandar really believe that the USA vitally needs the KSA?  Does he not realize that the USA be self-sufficient in energy pretty soon?  Or does he not realize that the days when ARAMCO was the key to the strength of the dollar are long gone and that now the strength of the dollar depends mostly on US military and financial power?  And even if the KSA was vital to the strength of the dollar, does Bandar really think that he can threaten US vital strategic interests with impunity?

Second, if Bandar wants to shift away from the alliance with the USA, where does he think he could shift to?!  Most definitely not China which has a very serious "Islamic problem" on its hands in its western provinces, not the EU which is faithfully committed to its colonial status in the US Empire, and nobody in Africa - even less so after the recent carnage in Kenya.  Nobody in Latin America for sure, if only because of its long history of anti-US struggle and its large Arab population which know what kind of sick ideology Wahabism is.  In Asia, maybe the desperate rulers of the DPRK or Burma would want to explore options, but that's about it.  So unless Bandar thinks he can punish the US by shifting its alliance to some "heavyweights" like Kuwait or Bahrain, one can only be left wondering of what Bandar has in mind.

Think about it: first he threatens Putin with terror attacks during the Sochi Olympics and now he threatens the USA with "dumping" it?!  This would be comical if the House of Saud was not sitting on a huge amount of money which they have - and will - use to spread terror and Wahabi extremism all over the planet.

Which brings me to my last question: does Bandar really not understand how fragile his regime is?  

Does he seriously believe that he can threaten both the US and Russia and get away with it?

Maybe the poor man believes that the Bush clan will do something about it, but if so, then that hope misplaced.  Sure, the Bush family and the House of Saud are old accomplices in all sorts of ugly deals, but not only are the Bush people currently not in power, but they will always love their money more than they will love their friends.  And the truth is, neither the Bush family nor even the USA need the Saudis all that much.

The reverse, however, is not true.  The Wahabi house of Saudi is sitting on top of a treasure trove of Shia oil (the oil rich regions of the KSA are also the ones where a repressed Shia minority lives).  Both Bahraini and the Saudi regimes have held on to power only thanks to a ruthless and systematic repression against its population, especially the Shia.  For the Wahabis, to stay in power means killing Shia, lots of Shia.  And to do that, one needs a "protector" at the UNSC.  In the case of the KSA, this protector has always been the USA.  But just imagine what could happen if the USA withdrew its protection of the KSA at the UNSC.  Imagine what kind of signal that would send to the repressed Shia in these two countries?  Without even going into a R2P situation, it is pretty obvious that the Saudi regime only serves "at the pleasure of the US President" and that it could be summarily dismissed.

But Bandar seems to be completely oblivious to that.

My personal feeling is that Bandar must have gone clinically insane.  Either that or it is the entire House of Saud has gone mad, maybe as a consequence of its degenerate lifestyle.  Who knows?

If Bandar is "retired: - administratively or physically -  sooner rather than later, then its option one.  If not, then its option two.  But either way, the writing is on the wall for the House of Saud.

The Saker

Friday, October 18, 2013

This has been a really amazing week for me - many thanks to you all!!

Wow!  This has been quite a week for me.  It all began soon after I published my rather long analysis "1993-2013: is the twenty years long "pas de deux" of Russia and the USA coming to an end?" which I wrote last Friday and published on Saturday morning.  The funny thing is that I had originally only intended to deal with the issue of "Putin and public opinion at home and abroad" but before I realized what was going on I ended up spending an entire afternoon writing.

But what then truly astounded me was the response to the article:

Not only was the piece pick-up by Information Clearing House and Tlaxcala (which also translated it into Portuguese), it was also noticed and recommended by Pepe Escobar on his FB page and soon published in the Asia Times Online.  Even better, the kids folks at the Asia Times offered me to write an "occasional column" for them.  I immediately accepted their offer as I have a great deal of respect for the Asia Times Online (and, of course, Pepe really rocks!).

But most amazing of all, what the outpouring of support which I have receive in the past week from, literally, all over the world (one email from as far as Tasmania!).  I never expected that this piece would generate such interest or such enthusiasm.  Clearly, I had totally underestimated the amount of people which were interested in understanding the complex phenomena which occurred in Russia and the USA over the past two decades!

So, first and foremost, I want to give everybody a huge and heartfelt THANK YOU!! for all your expressions of support.  Though I think I have answered every email I got, I want to repeat here again that I am very touched and grateful for all your kind words and that this deluge of support is a huge encouragement for me.

Second, I have been inundated with requests to be included in my mailing list.  Here I want to explain something basic:  this is a *very* low volume mailing list which I use for only three purposes:

a) to draw the attention to a specific article/post which I think could elicit an interesting and lively conversation
b) to send out some article/document which I don't want to publish on the blog
c) to send out a personal announcement of some kind.

That's it.  Please do not expect much more from this really very humble and low key mailing list.

Lastly, I want to say that I am becoming cautiously optimistic about the future of the resistance to the Empire.  If anything, the past week has showed me that there are far more people who care than I had ever imagined.  I guess that the cracks in the Empire - be in it Syria or at the Fed - are becoming more and more apparent.  Equally apparent is the steady rise in power and coordination of the BRICS, SCO and CSTO countries.  Real and profound  changes will probably yet require another couple of decades, and the Empire still has a lot of power left in itself, but the general trend has now reached an irreversible momentum.  In that we can all rejoice and find hope.

Many thanks to you all, kind regards and peace,

The Saker

Sunday, October 13, 2013

1993-2013: is the twenty years long "pas de deux" of Russia and the USA coming to an end?

The latest tensions between the EU and Russia over Greenpeace's stunt in the Arctic only confirmed a fact which nobody really bothers denying anymore: Western political and financial elites absolutely hate Vladimir Putin and they are appalled at Russia's behavior, both inside Russia and on the international scene.  This tension was quite visible on the faces of Obama and Putin at the G8 summit in Lough Erne where both leaders looked absolutely disgusted with each other.  Things got even worse when Putin did something quite unheard of in the Russian diplomatic history: he publicly  said that Kerry was dishonest and even called him a liar.

While tensions have reached some sort of climax over the Syrian issue, problems between Russia and the USA are really nothing new.  A quick look at the recent past will show that the western corporate media has been engaged in a sustained strategic campaign to identify and exploit any possible weaknesses in the Russian "political armor" and to paint Russia like a very nasty, undemocratic and authoritarian country, in other words a threat to the West.   Let me mention a few episodes of this Russia-bashing campaign (in no particular order):
  • Berezovsky as a "persecuted" businessman
  • Politkovskaya "murdered by KGB goons"
  • Khodorkovsky jailed for his love of "liberty"
  • Russia's "aggression" against Georgia 
  • The Russian "genocidal" wars against the Chechen people
  • "Pussy Riot" as "prisoners of conscience"
  • Litvinenko "murdered by Putin"
  • Russian homosexuals "persecuted" and "mistreated" by the state
  • Magnitsky and the subsequent "Magnitsky law"
  • Snowden as a "traitor hiding in Russia"
  • The "stolen elections" to the Duma and the Presidency
  • The "White Revoluton" on the Bolotnaya square
  • The "new Sakharov" - Alexei Navalnyi
  • Russia's "support for Assad", the (Chemical) "Butcher of Damascus"
  • The Russian constant "intervention" in Ukrainian affairs
  • The "complete control" of the Kremlin over the Russian media
This list is far from complete, but its sufficient for our purposes.  Let me also immediately add here that it is not my purpose today to debunk these allegations one by one.  I have done so in this blog many times the past, so anybody interested can look this up.  I will just state here one very important thing which I cannot prove, but of which I am absolutely certain: 90% or more of the Russian public believe that all these issues are absolute nonsense, completely overblown non-issues.  Furthermore, most Russians believe that the so-called "democratic forces" which the Western elites support in Russia (Iabloko, Parnas, Golos, etc.) are basically agents of influence for the West paid for by the CIA, MI6, Soros and exiled Jewish oligarchs.  What is certain is that besides these small liberal/democratic groups, nobody in Russia takes these accusations seriously.  Most people see them exactly for what they are: a smear campaign.

In many ways, this is rather reminiscent of how things stood during the Cold War where the West used its immense propaganda resources to demonize the Soviet Union and to support anti-Soviet forces worldwide, including inside the USSR itself.  I would argue that these efforts were, by and large, very successful and that by 1990s the vast majority of Soviets, including Russians, were rather disgusted with their leaders.  So why the big difference today?

To answer that question, we need to look back at the processes which took place in Russia in the last 20 years or so because only a look at what happened during these two decades will allows us to get to the root of the current problem(s) between the USA and Russia.

When did the Soviet Union truly disappear?

The official date of the end of the Soviet Union is 26 December 1991, the day of the adoption by the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union of the  Declaration № 142-Н which officially recognized dissolution of the Soviet Union as a state and subject of international law.  But that is a very superficial, formal, view of things.  One could argue that even though the Soviet Union had shrunk to the size of the Russian Federation it still survived within these smaller borders.  After all, the laws did not change overnight, neither did most of the bureaucracy, and even though the Communist Party itself had been banned following the August 1991 coup, the rest of the state apparatus still continued to exist.

For Eltsin and his supporters this reality created a very difficult situation.  Having banned the CPUS and dismantled the KGB, Eltsin's  liberals still face a formidable adversary: the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation, the Parliament of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, elected by the Congress of People's Deputies of the Russian Federation.  Nobody had abolished this *very* Soviet institution which rapidly became the center of almost all of the anti-Eltsin and pro-Soviet forces in the country.  I cannot go in all the details of this legal nightmare, suffice to say that the Supreme Soviet presented itself as the "Russian Parliament" (which is not quite true) and that its members engaged in a systematic campaign to prevent Eltsin to implement his "reforms" (in hindsight, one could say that they tried to prevent Eltsin from ruining the country).  One could say that the "new Russia" and the "old USSR" were fighting each other for the future of the country.  Predictably, the Supreme Soviet wanted a parliamentary democracy while Eltsin and his liberals wanted a presidential democracy.  The two sides presented what appeared to be a stark contrast to most Russians:

1) The Russian President Eltsin: officially he represented Russia, as opposed to the Soviet Union; he presented himself as an anti-Communist and as a democrat (nevermind that he himself had been a high ranking member of the CPSU and even a non-voting member to the Politburo!).  Eltsin was also clearly the darling of the West and he promised to integrate Russia into the western world.

2) The Supreme Soviet: headed by Ruslan Khasbulatov with the support of the Vice-President of Russia, Alexander Rutskoi, the Supreme Soviet became the rallying point of all those who believed that the Soviet Union had been dissolved illegally (which is true) and against the will of the majority of its people (which is also true).  Most, though not all, the supporters of the Supreme Soviet were if not outright Communists, then at least socialists and anti-capitalists.  A good part of the rather disorganized Russian nationalist movement also supported the Supreme Soviet.

We all know what eventually happened: Eltsin crushed the opposition in a huge bloodbath, far worse than what was reported in the Western (or even Russian) media.  I write that with a high degree of confidence because I have personally received this information from a very good source: it so happens that I was in Moscow during those tragic days and that and I was in constant contact with a Colonel of a rather secretive special forces unit of the KGB called "Vympel" (more about that below) who told me that the internal KGB estimate of the number of people killed in the Moscow Oblast was close to 3'000 people.  I can also personally attest that the combats lasted for far longer than the official narrative clams: I witnessed a very sustained machine gun battle right under my windows a full 5 days after the Supreme Soviet had surrendered.  I want to stress this here because I think that this illustrates an often overlooked reality: the so-called "constitutional crisis of 1993" was really a mini civil war for the fate of the Soviet Union and only by the end of this crisis did the Soviet Union really truly disappear.

In the days preceeding the tank assault against the Supreme Soviet I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with supporters of the President and the Supreme Soviet.  I took the time to engage them in long conversations to try to find out for myself what each side stood for and whether I should side with either party.  The conclusion I came to was a rather sad one: both sides were primarily composed of ex- (or not ex-) Communists, both sides claimed that they were defending democracy and both sides accused each other of being Fascists.  In reality both sides were in reality very much alike.  I think that I was not the only person to feel that way in these days and I suspect that most of the people of Russia deeply felt this and ended up being  really disgusted with all of the politicians involved.

I would like to share one more personal anecdote here: these tragic days were personally quite amazing for me.  Here I was, a young man born in a family of rabidly anti-Soviet Russian emigrés, who has spent many years fighting to Soviet system and, especially, the KGB.  And yet, ironically, I ended up spending most of my time in the company of a Colonel of a special forces unit of the KGB (how we met is a long story for another post).  Even more amazing for me was the fact that for all our differences, we had the exact same reaction to the events taking place before our eyes.  We both decided that we could not side with either party engaged in this conflict - both sides were equally repugnant to us.  I was in his apartment when he received a call from the KGB headquarters ordering to show up at a location downtown to prepare a special forces assault against the "White House" (that was the street nickname of the Russian Parliament building) - he refused to obey, told his bosses to get lost, and hung up.  He was not alone in that decision: just as in 1991, neither the Russian paratroopers nor the special forces agreed to shoot at their own people (others, supposedly "democratic" forces showed no such scruples).  Instead of obeying his bosses orders, my new friend took the time to give me some very valuable advice about how to safely get a relative of mine out of Moscow without getting shot or detained (being a native Russian speaker with a foreign passport was not a very safe thing in these days).

I wanted to retell this story here because it shows something very important: by 1993 a vast majority of Russians, even exiled emigrés and KGB special forces Colonels, were deeply disgusted and fed up with both parties to this crisis.  In a way, one could say that most Russians were waiting for a THIRD force to appear on the political scene.

From 1993 to 1999 - a democratic nightmare

After the crushing of the opposition by Eltsin's thugs, the gates of Hades truly opened for Russia: the entire country was taken over by various Mafias and the vast natural resources were pillaged by (mostly Jewish) oligarchs.  The so-called "privatization" of the Russian economy created both a new class of multi-millionaires and many tens of millions of very poor people who could barely survive.  A huge crime wave overtook every city, the entire infrastructure of the country collapsed and many regions of Russia began actively planning their secession from the Russian Federation. Chechnia was allowed to secede from the Russian Federation after a grotesque and bloody war which saw the Russian military back-stabbed by the Kremlin.  And throughout these truly hellish years, the Western elites gave their fullest support to Eltsin and his oligarchs.  The only exception to this love-fest was the political, economic and military support given by the Anglosphere to the Chechen insurgency.  Eventually, what had to happen did happen: the country declared bankruptcy in 1998 by devaluing the Ruble and defaulting on its debt.  Though we will never know for sure, I firmly believe that by 1999 Russia was only a few steps away from completely disappearing as a country and as a nation.

The legacy left by the liberals/democrats

Having crushed the opposition in 1993, the Russian liberals acquired the complete freedom to write a new constitution which would perfectly suit their purpose, and with their typical short-sightedness they adopted a new Constitution which gave immense powers to the President and really very little to the new Parliament, the Russian Duma.  They even went as far as abolishing the post of Vice-President (they did not want another Rutskoi to sabotage their plans).

And yet, in the 1996 Presidential elections the liberals almost lost it all.  To their horror, the Communist Candidate Gennadi Zuiganov won most of the votes in the 1st  round, which forced the liberals to do two things: first, of course, they falsified the officials results and, second, they passed an alliance with a rather popular Army General, Alexander Lebed.  These two moves made it possible for them to declare that they had won the 2nd round (even though in reality Ziuganov won).  Here again, the West fully supported Eltsin.  Well, why not?  Having given Eltsin full support for his bloody crackdown on the supporters of the Supreme Soviet, why not also support Eltisin in a stolen election, right?  In for a dime, in for a dollar.

Eltsin himself, however spent most of his time drinking himself to death and it soon became rather clear that he would not last very long.  Panic seized the liberal camp which ended up committing a huge mistake: they allowed a little-known and rather unimpressive bureaucrat from Saint Petersburg to replace Eltsin as Acting President: Vladimir Putin.

Putin was a quiet, low key, competent bureaucrat whose main quality appeared to be his lack of a strong personality, or so did the liberals think.  And, boy, was that one big miscalculation!

As soon as he was appointed, Putin acted with lightening speed.  He immediately surprised everybody by becoming personally involved the the 2nd Chechen war.  Unlike his predecessor, Putin gave all the freedom to the military commanders to wage this war as they wanted.   The Putin surprized everybody again when he made a truly historic deal with Ahmad Hadji Kadyrov to bring peace to Chechnia even though the latter had been a leader of the insurgency during the first Chechen war.

Putin's popularity soared and he immediately used that to his advantage.

In an amazing twist of history, Putin used the Constitution developed and adopted by the Russian liberals to implement a very rapid series of crucial reforms and to eliminate the power basis of the liberals: the Jewish oligarchs (Berezovksy, Khorodkovsky, Fridman, Gusinsky, etc.).  He also passed many laws destined to "strengthen the vertical power" which gave the Federal Center direct control over the local administrations.  This, in turn, not only crushed many of the local Mafias who had managed to corrupt and  infiltrate the local authorities, it also rapidly stopped all the various secessionist movements inside Russia.  Finally, he used what is called the "administrative resource" to create his United Russia party and to give it the full support from the state.  The irony here is that Putin would never have never succeeded in these efforts had the Russian liberals not created a hyper-Presidential Constitution which gave Putin the means to achieve his goals.  To paraphrase Lenin, I would say that the Russian liberals gave Putin the rope to hang them.

The West, of course, rapidly understood what was going on, but it was too late: the liberals had lost power forever (God willing!) and the country was clearly being taken over by a third, previously unseen, force.

Who really put Putin into power?

That is the $10'000 question.  Formally, the official answer is straightforward: Eltsin's entourage.  Still, it is rather obvious that some other unidentified group of people managed to brilliantly con the liberals into letting the fox inside their hen house.

Now remember that the pro-Soviet forces were comprehensively defeated in 1993.  So this was not the result of some nostalgic revanchists who wanted to resurrect the old Soviet Union.  So no need to look to the this camp who, in fact, has mostly  remained opposed to Putin to this day.  So who else then?

It was an alliance of two forces, really:  elements of the ex "PGU KGB SSSR" and a number of key industrial and financial leaders.  Let's take then one by one:

The first force was the PGU KGB SSSR: the foreign intelligence branch of the Soviet KGB.  It's official name was First Chief Directorate of the Committee of State Security of the USSR.  This would be the rough equivalent of the British MI6.  This was beyond any doubt the most elite part of the KGB, and also its most autonomous one (it even had its own headquarters in the south of Moscow).  Though the PGU dealt with a number of issues, it was also very closely linked to, and interested by, the the world of big business, in the USSR and abroad.  Since the PGU had nothing to do with the KGB's most ugly activities such as the persecution of dissidents (that was the role of the 5th Directorate) and since it has little to do with internal security (that was the prerogative of the 2nd Chief Directorate), it was not high on the list of institutions to reform simply because it was not hated as much as the more visible part of the KGB.

The second force which put Putin in power was constituted by young people coming from key ministries of the former Soviet Union which dealt with industrial and financial issues and which hated Eltsin's Jewish oligarchs.  Unlike Eltsin's oligarchs, these young leaders did not want to simply pillage all the resources of Russia and later retire in the US or Israel, but they did want Russia to become a powerful market economy integrated into the international financial system.

Later, the first group would turn into what I call the "Eurasian Sovereignists" while the second one would become what I call "Atlantic Integrationists" (please see here and here for an explanation of these terms).  We could think of them as the "Putin people" and the "Medvedev people".

Lastly, it should not be overlooked that there is, of course, a third force which threw its full support behind this Putin-Medvedev tandem - the Russian people themselves who have, so far, always voted to keep them in power.

An absolutely brilliant formula but which has now outlived its shelf life

There is no doubt in my mind that the idea to create this "tandem" has been nothing short of brilliant: Putin would cater to the nationalists, Medvedev to the more liberally oriented folk.  Putin would get the support of the "power ministries" (defense, security, intelligence) while Medvedev would get the support of the business community.  Putin could scare the local authorities into compliance with the orders from the federal center, while Medvedev would make the US and EU feel good at Davos.  Or, let's put it this way: who would be against the Putin & Medvedev duo? Diehard supporters of the Soviet Union, rabid xenophobic nationalists, rabid pro-US liberals and Jewish exiles.  That's pretty much it, and that ain't much.

By the way - what do we see in today's opposition?  A Communist Party catering to those nostalgic of the Soviet era, a Liberal-Democratic Party catering to the nationalists, and a pretty small "Just Russia" party whose sole purpose appear to be to take votes off the other two and coopt some of the rabid liberals.  In other words, Medvedev and Putin have basically eliminated any type of credible opposition.

As I have mentioned in past posts, there are now clear signs of serious tensions between the "Eurasian Sovereignists" and the "Atlantic Integrationists" to the point that Putin has now created his own movement (the "All-Russia People's Front", created by Putin in 2011 (again, for background on that please see here and here). 

Having looked at the complex processes which ended up creating the Putin Presidency in Russia, we need to look at what took place in the USA during the same time period.

In the meantime - the US gets Neoconned

Unlike the Soviet Union which basically disappeared from the map of our planet, the USA "won" the Cold War (this is not factually quite true, but this is how many Americans see it) and having become the last and only real super-power the US immediately embarked on a series of external wars to establish its "full spectrum dominance" over the planet, especially after the events of 9/11 which deeply transformed the nature of the US society itself. 

Sill, the post 9/11 society has its roots in a far more distant past: the Reagan years.

During the Presidency of Ronald Reagan a group which later become known as the "Necons" made a strategic decision to take over the Republican Party, its affiliated institutions and think tanks.  While in the past ex-Trotskyites had been more inclined to support the putatively more Left-leaning Democratic Party, the "new and improved GOP" under Reagan offered the Neocons some extremely attractive features:

1) Money: Reagan was an unconditional supporter of big business and the corporate world.  His mantra "government is the problem" fitted perfectly with the historical closeness of the Neocons with the Robber Barons, Mafia bosses and big bankers.  For them, de-regulation meant freedom of action, something which was bound to make speculators and Wall Street wise guys immensely rich.

2) Violence: Reagan also firmly stood behind the US Military-Industrial complex and a policy of intervention in any country on the planet.  That fascination with brute force and, let be honest here, terrorism also fitted the Trotskyite-Neocon mindset perfectly.

3) Illegality: Reagan did not care at all about the law, be it international law or domestic law.  Sure, as long as the law happens to be advantageous to US or GOP interests, it was upheld with great ceremony.  But if it didn't, the Reaganites would break it with no compunction whatsoever.

4) Arrogance: under Reagan, patriotism and feel-good imperial hubris reached a new height.  More than ever before, the US saw itself as not only the "Leader of the Free World" protecting the planet against the "Evil Empire", but also as unique and superior to the rest of mankind (like in the Ford commercial of the 1980s: "we're number one, second to none!")

5) Systematic deception: under Reagan lying turned from an occasional if regular tactics used in politics to the key form of public communication: Reagan, and his administration, could say one thing and then deny it in the same breath.  They could make promises which were clearly impossible to keep (Star Wars anybody?).  They could solemnly take an oath and than break it (Iran-Contra).  And, if confronted by proof of these lies, all Reagan had to do is to say: "well, no, I don't remember".

6) Messianism: not only did Reagan get a huge support basis amongst the various crazy religious denominations in the USA (including all of the Bible Belt), Reagan also promoted a weird can of secular Messianism featuring a toxic mix of xenophobia bordering on racism with a narcissistic fascination with anything patriotic, no matter how stupid, bordering on self-worship.

So let's add it all up:

Money+violence+illegality+arrogance+deception+Messianism equals what?

Does that not all look very, very familiar?  Is that not a perfect description of Zionism and Israel?

No wonder the Neocons flocked in greater and greater number to this new GOP!  Reagan's GOP was the perfect Petri dish for the Zionist bacteria to grow, and grow it really did.  A lot.

I think that it would be reasonable to say that the USA underwent a two-decades long process of "Zionisation" which culminated in the grand 9/11 false flag operation in which the PNAC-types basically used their access to the centers of power in the USA, Israel and the KSA to conjure up a new enemy - "Islamo-Fascist Terror" - which would not only justify a planetary war against "terrorism" (the GWOT) but also an unconditional support for Israel.

There were also losers in this evolution, primarily what I call the "old Anglo camp" which basically lost control of most of its domestic political power and all of its foreign policy power: for the first time a new course in foreign policy gradually began to take shape under the leadership of a group of people which would in time be identified as "Israel Firsters".  For a short time the old Anglos seemed to have retaken the reigns of power - under George Bush Senior - only to immediately loose it again with the election of Bill Clinton.  But the apogee of Ziocon power was only reached under the Presidency of George W. Bush who basically presided over a massive purge of Anglos from key positions in government (especially the Pentagon and the CIA).  Predictably, having the folks which Bush Senior called "the crazies in the basement" actually in power rapidly brought the USA to the edge of a global collapse: externally the massive worldwide sympathy for the USA after 911 turned into a tsunami of loathing and resentment, while internally the country was faced with a massive banking crisis which almost resulted the imposition of martial law over the USA.

In comes Barak Obama - "change we can believe in!"

The election of Barak Obama to the White House truly was a momentous historical event.  Not only because a majority White population had elected a Black man to the highest office in the country (this was really mainly an expression of despair and of a deep yearning for change), but because after one of the most effective PR campaigns in history, the vast majority of Americans and many, if not most, people abroad, really, truly believed that Obama would make some deep, meaningful changes.  The disillusion with Obama was as great as the hopes millions had in him.  I personally feel that history will remember Obama not only as one of the worst Presidents in history, but also, and that is more important, as the last chance for the "system" to reform itself.  That chance was missed.  And while some, in utter disgust, described Obama as "Bush light", I think that his Presidency can be better described as  "more of the same, only worse".

Having said that, there is something which, to my absolute amazement, Obama's election did achieve: the removal of (most, but not all) Neocons from (most, but not all) key positions of power and a re-orientation of (most, but not all) of US foreign policy in a more traditional "USA first" line, usually supported by the "old Anglo" interests.  Sure, the Neocons are still firmly in control of Congress and the US corporate media, but the Executive Branch is, at least for the time being, back under Anglo control (this is, of course, a generalization: Dick Cheney was neither Jewish nor Zionist, while the Henry Kissinger can hardly be described as an "Anglo").  And even though Bibi Netanyahu got more standing ovations in Congress (29) than any US President, the attack on Iran he wanted so badly did not happen.  Instead,  Hillary and Petraeus got kicked out, and Chuck Hagel and John Kerry got in.  That is hardly "change we can believe in", but at least this shows that the Likud is not controlling the White House any more.

Of course, this is far from over.  If anything the current game of chicken played between the White House and Congress over the budget with its inherent risk of a US default shows that this conflict is far from settled.

The current real power matrix in the USA and Russia

We have shown that there two unofficial parties in Russia which are locked in a deadly conflict for power, the "Eurasian Sovereignists" and "Atlantic Integrationists".  There are also two unofficial parties in the USA who are also locked in a deadly conflict for power: the Neocons and the "old Anglos imperialists".  I would argue that, at least for the time being, the "Eurasian Sovereignists" and the "old Anglos" have prevailed over their internal competitor but that the Russian "Eurasian Sovereignists" are in a far stronger position that the American "old Anglos".   There are two main reasons for that:

1)  Russia has already had its economic collapse and default and
2)  a majority of Russians fully support President Putin and his "Eurasian Sovereignist" policies. 

 In contrast, the USA is on the brink of an economic collapse and the 1% clique which is running the USA is absolutely hated and despised by most Americans.

After the immense and, really, heart-breaking disillusionment with Obama, more and more Americans are becoming convinced that changing the puppet in the White House is meaningless and that what the US really needs is regime change.
The USSR and the USA - back to the future?

It is quite amazing for those who remember the Soviet Union of the late 1980 how much the US under Obama has become similar to the USSR under Brezhnev: internally it is characterized by a general sense of disgust and alienation of the people triggered by the undeniable stagnation of a system rotten to its very core. A bloated military and police state with uniforms everywhere, while more and more people live in abject poverty.  A public propaganda machine which, like in Orwell's 1984, constantly boasts of successes everywhere while everybody knows that these are all lies.  Externally, the US is hopelessly overstretched and either hated and mocked abroad.  Just as in the Soviet days, the US leaders are clearly afraid of their own people so they protect themselves by a immense and costly global network of spies and propagandists who are terrified of dissent and who see the main enemy in their own people. 

Add to that a political system which far from co-opting the best of its citizens deeply alienates them while promoting the most immoral and corrupt ones into the positions of power.  A booming prison-industrial complex and a military-industrial complex which the country simply cannot afford maintaining.  A crumbling public infrastructure combined with a totally dysfunctional health care system in which only the wealthy and well-connected can get good treatment.  And above it all, a terminally sclerotic public discourse, full of ideological clichés an completely disconnected from reality.

I will never forget the words of a Pakistani Ambassador to the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva in 1992 who, addressing an assembly of smug western diplomats, said the following words: "you seem to believe that you won the Cold War, but did you ever consider the possibility that what has really happened is that the internal contradictions of communism caught up with communism before the internal contradictions of capitalism could catch up with capitalism?!".  Needless to say, these prophetic words were greeted by a stunned silence and soon forgotten.  But the man was, I believe, absolutely right: capitalism has now reached a crisis as deep as the one affecting the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and there is zero chance to reform or otherwise change it.  Regime change is the only possible outcome.

The historical roots of the russophobia of the American elites

Having said all of the above, its actually pretty simple to understand why Russia in general, and Putin in particular, elicits such a deep hatred from the Western plutocracy: having convinced themselves that they won the Cold War they are now facing the double disappointment of a rapidly recovering Russia and a Western economic and political decline turning into what seems to be a slow and painful agony.

In their bitterness and spite, Western leaders overlook the fact that Russia has nothing to do with the West's current problems.  Quite to the contrary, in fact: the main impact the collapse of the Soviet Union on the US-run international economic system was to prolong its existence by creating a new demand for US dollars in Eastern Europe and Russia (some economists - such as Nikolai Starikov -  estimate that the collapse of the USSR gave an extra 10+ years of life to the US dollar).

In the past, Russia has been the historical arch-enemy of the British Empire.  As for Jews - they have always harbored many grievances towards pre-revolutionary Tsarist Russia.  The Revolution of 1917 brought a great deal of hope for many East-European Jews, but it was short lived as Stalin defeated Trotsky and the Communist Party was purged from many of its Jewish members.  Over and over again Russia has played a tragic role in the history of the Ashkenazi Jews and this, of course, has left a deep mark on the worldview of the Neocons who are all deeply russophobic, even today.  Somebody might object that many Jews are deeply grateful for the Soviet Army's liberation of Jews from the Nazi concentration camps or for the fact that the Soviet Union was the first country to recognize Israel.  But in both cases, the country which is credited with these actions is the Soviet Union and not Russia which most Ashkenazi Jews still typically associate anti-Jewish policies and values.

It is thus not surprising that both the Anglo and the Jewish elites in the US would harbor an almost instinctive dislike for, and fear of, Russia, especially one perceived as resurgent or anti-American.  And the fact is that they are not wrong in this perception: Russia is most definitely resurgent, and the vast majority of the Russian public opinion is vehemently anti-American, at least if by "America" we refer to the civilizational model or economic system. 

Anti-American sentiment in Russia

Feelings about the USA underwent a dramatic change since the fall of the Soviet Union.  In the 1980 the USA was not only rather popular, it was also deeply in fashion:  Russian youth created many rock groups (some of them became immensely popular and still are popular today, such as the group DDT from Saint Petersburg), American fashion and fast foods were the dream of every Russian teenager, while most intellectuals sincerely saw the US as "leader of the free world".  Of course,  the state propaganda of the USSR always wanted to present the USA as an aggressive imperialistic country, but that effort failed: most of the people were actually quite fond of the US.  One of the most popular pop group of the 1990s (Nautilus Pompilius) had a song with the following lyrics:
Good bye America, oh
Where I have never ever been
Farewell forever!
Take your banjo
And play for my departure
la-la-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la-la-la
Your worn out blue jeans
Became too tight for me
We’ve been taught for too long
To be in love with your forbidden fruits.
While there were exceptions to this rule, I would say that by the beginning of the 1990 most of the Russian people, especially the youth, had swallowed the US propaganda line hook and sinker - Russia was hopelessly pro-American.

The catastrophic collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the West's total and unconditional backing for Eltsin and his oligarchs changed that.  Instead of trying to help Russia, the USA and the West used every single opportunity to weaken Russia externally (by taking all of Eastern Europe into NATO even though they had promised never to do so).  Internally, they West supported the Jewish oligarchs who were literally sucking out wealth out of Russia live vampires suck blood, while supporting every imaginable form of separatism.  By the end of the 1990s the words "democrat" and "liberal" became offensive curse words.  This joke of the late 1990s is a good example of these feelings (Notice the association between liberalism and Jews):
A new teacher comes into the class:
- My name is Abram Davidovich, I'm a liberal. And now all stand up and introduce yourself like I did ...
- My name is Masha I liberal ...
- My name is Petia, I'm a liberal ...
- My Little Johnny, I'm a Stalinist.
- Little Johnny, why are you a Stalinist? !
- My mom is a Stalinist, my dad is a Stalinist, my friends are Stalinists and I too am a Stalinist.
- Little Johnny, and if your mother was a whore, your father - a drug addict, your friends - homos, what would you be then in that case? !
- Then I would be a liberal.
Notice the association between being a liberal and Jews (Abram Davidovich is a typical Jewish name).  Notice also the inclusion of the category "homosexual" in between a whore and drug addicts and remember that when evaluating the typical Russian reaction to the anti-Russian campaign waged by western homosexual organizations.

The political effect of these feelings is rather obvious: in the last elections not a single pro-Western political party has even managed to get enough votes to make it into the Parliament.  And no - this is not because Putin has outlawed them (as some propagandists in the West like to imagine).  There are currently 57 political parties in Russia, and quite a few of them are pro-Western.  And yet it is an undeniable fact that the percentage of Russians which are favorably inclined towards the USA and NATO/EU is roughly in the 5% range.  I can also put it this way: every single political party represented in the Duma is deeply anti-American, even the very moderate "Just Russia".

Anti-Russian feelings in the USA?

Considering the never ending barrage of anti-Russian propaganda in the western corporate media one could wonder how strong anti-Russian feelings are in the West.  This is really hard to measure objectively, but as somebody born in Western Europe and who has lived a total of 15 years in the USA I would say that anti-Russian sentiment in the West is very rare, almost non-existent.  In the USA there have always been strong anti-Communist feelings - there still are today - but somehow most Americans do make the difference between a political ideology that they don't really understand, but that they dislike anyway, and the people which in the past used to be associated with it.

US *politicians*, of course, mostly hate Russia, but most Americans seem to harbor very little bad feelings or apprehension about Russia or the Russian people. I explain that by a combination of factors.

First, since more and more people in the West realize that they are not living in a democracy, but in a plutocracy of the 1%, they tend to take the official propaganda line with more than a grain of salt (which, by the way, is exactly what was happening to most Soviet people in the 1980s).  Furthermore, more and more people in the West who oppose the plutocratic imperial order which impoverishes and disenfranchises them into corporate serfs are quite sympathetic to Russia and Putin for "standing up to the bastards in Washington".  But even more fundamentally, there is the fact that in a bizarre twist of history Russia today stands for the values of the West of yesterday: international law, pluralism, freedom of speech, social rights, anti-imperialism, opposition to intervention inside sovereign states, rejection of wars as a means to settle disputes, etc.

In the case of the war in Syria, Russia's absolutely consistent stance in defense of international law has impressed many people in the USA and Europe and one can hear more and more praise for Putin from people who in the past has deep suspicions about him.

Russia, of course, is hardly a utopia or some kind of perfect society, far from it, but it has taken the fundamental decision to become a *normal* country, as opposed to being a global empire, and any normal country will agree to uphold the principles of the "West of yesterday", not only Russia.  In fact, Russia is very un-exceptional in its pragmatic realization that to uphold these principles is not a matter of naive idealism, but a sound realistic policy goal.  People in the West are told by their rulers and the corporate media that Putin in an evil ex-KGB dictator who is a danger for the US and its allies, but as soon as these people actually read or listen to what Putin actually says they find themselves in a great deal of agreement with him.

In another funny twist of history, while the Soviet population used to turn to the BBC, Voice of America or Radio Liberty for news and information, more and more people in the West are turning to Russia Today, Press TV, or Telesur to get their information.  Hence the panicked reaction of Walter Isaacson,  Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the US outfit overseeing US media directed at foreign audiences, who declared that “we can't allow ourselves to be out-communicated by our enemies.  You've got Russia Today, Iran's Press TV, Venezuela's TeleSUR, and of course, China is launching an international broadcasting 24-hour news channel with correspondents around the world".  Folks like Isaacson know that they are slowly but surely loosing the informational battle for the control of the minds of the general public.

And now, with the entire Snowden affair, Russia is becoming the safe harbor for those political activists who are fleeing Uncle Sam's wrath.  A quick search on the Internet will show you that more and more people are referring to Putin as the "leader of the Free World" while other are collecting signatures to have Obama give his Nobel Prize to Putin.  Truly, for those like myself who have actually fought against the Soviet system it is absolutely amazing to see the 180 degree turn the world has taken since the 1980s.

Western elites - still stuck in the Cold War

If the world has radically changed in the last 20 years, the Western elites did not.  Faced with a very frustrating reality they are desperately trying to re-fight the Cold War with the hope of re-winning it again.  Hence the never ending cycle of Russia-bashing campaigns I mentioned at the beginning of this post. They try to re-brand Russia as the new Soviet Union, with oppressed minorities, jailed or murdered dissidents, little or no freedom of speech, a monolithic state controlled media and an all seeing security apparatus overseeing it all.  The problem, of course, is that they are 20 years late and that these accusations don't stick very well with the western public opinion and get exactly *zero* traction inside Russia.  In fact, every attempt at interfering inside Russian political affairs has been so inept and clumsy that it backfired every single time.  From the absolutely futile attempts of the West to organize a color-coded revolution in the streets of Moscow to the totally counter-productive attempts to create some kind of crisis around homosexual human rights in Russia - every step taken by the western propaganda machine has only strengthened Vladimir Putin and his the "Eurasian Sovereignists" at the expense of the "Atlantic Integrationist" faction inside the Kremlin.

There was a deep and poignant symbolism in the latest meeting of the 21 APEC countries in Bali.  Obama had to cancel his trip because of the US budget crisis while Putin was treated to a musically horrible but politically deeply significant rendition of "Happy birthday to you!" by a spontaneous choir composed of the leaders of the Pacific Rim countries.  I can just imagine the rage of the White House when they saw "their" Pacific allies serenading Putin for his birthday!

Conclusion: "we are everywhere"

In one of his most beautiful songs, David Rovics sings the following words which I want to quite in full, as each line fully applies to the current situation:
When I say the hungry should have food
I speak for many
When I say no one should have seven homes
While some don't have any
Though I may find myself stranded in some strange place
With naught but a vapid stare
I remember the world and I know
We are everywhere

When I say the time for the rich, it will come
Let me count the ways
Victories or hints of the future
Havana, Caracas, Chiapas, Buenos Aires
How many people are wanting and waiting
And fighting for their share
They hide in their ivory towers
But we are everywhere

Religions and prisons and races
Borders and nations
FBI agents and congressmen
And corporate radio stations
They try to keep us apart, but we find each other
And the rulers are always aware
That they're a tiny minority
And we are everywhere

With every bomb that they drop, every home they destroy
Every land they invade
Comes a new generation from under the rubble
Saying "we are not afraid"
They will pretend we are few
But with each child that a billion mothers bear
Comes the next demonstration
That we are everywhere. 
(you can listen to the song by clicking here)

These words are a beautiful expression for the hope which should inspire all those who are now opposing the US-Zionist Empire: we are everywhere, literally.  On one side we have the 1%, the Anglo imperialists and the Ziocons, while on the other we have the rest of the planet, including potentially 99% of the American people.  If it is true that at this moment in time Putin and his Eurasian Sovereignists are the most powerful and best organized faction of the worldwide resistance to the Empire, they are far from being central, or even less so, crucial, to it.  Yes, Russia can, and will, play its role, but only as a normal country amongst many other normal countries, some small and economically weak like Ecuador, other huge and powerful like China.  But even small Ecuador was "big enough" to grand refuge to Julian Assange while China seems to have asked Snowden to please leave.  So Ecuador is not that small after all?

It would be naive to hope that this "de-imperialization" process of the USA could happen without violence.  The French and British Empires collapsed against the bloody backdrop of WWII, while did the Nazi and Japanese Empires were crushed under a carpet of bombs.  The Soviet Empire collapsed with comparatively less victims, and most of the violence which did take place during that process happened on the Soviet periphery.  In Russia itself, the number of death of the mini civil war of 1993 was counted in the thousands and not in the millions. And by God's great mercy, not a single nuclear weapon was detonated anywhere.

So what will likely happen when the US-Ziocon Empire finally collapses under its own weight?  Nobody can tell for sure, but we can at least hope that just as no major force appeared to rescue the Soviet Empire in 1991-1993, no major force will attempt to save the US Empire either.  As David Rovic's puts it so well, the big weakness of the 1% which rule the US-Ziocon Empire is that "they are a tiny minority and we are everywhere".

In the past 20 years the US and Russia have followed diametrically opposed courses and their roles appears to have been reversed.  That "pas de deux" is coming to some kind of end now.  Objective circumstances have now again placed these two countries in opposition to each other, but this is solely due to the nature of the regime in Washington DC.  Russian leaders could repeat the words of the English rapper Lowkey and declare "I'm not anti-America, America is anti-me!" and they could potentially be joined by 99% of Americans who, whether they already realize it or not, are also the victims of the US-Ziocon Empire.

In the meantime, the barrage of anti-Russian propaganda campaigns will continue unabated simply because this seems to have become a form of psychotherapy for a panicked and clueless western plutocracy.  And just as in all the previous cases, this propaganda campaign will have no effect at all.

It is my hope that next time we hear about whatever comes next after the current "Greenpeace" campaign you will keep all this in mind.

The Saker