Syrian Blowback?

The attacks by  Islamist extremists  in Paris on 13th and 14th   November  are one of a long series of terrorist attacks in France. The characteristics of those supposedly involved are interesting:  young males in  their late 20s, association with  drug-dealings, one whose  recent  employment was  destroyed by  a Police decision to  shut down his part-owned café because of suspected drug-peddling, poverty and refugees- yet not a strong connection to  an Islamic tradition  of the extremist  Wahhabist  sect  that  espouses asceticism and the  hatred of other non Sunni sects.

As with  many other  civilian  targeted  terrorists attacks around the world , they occurred the same day  as a   major Paris medical response drill to a terrorist attack; coincidence? -probably…

We need to  acknowledge  that  Western intelligence  services, particularly those governments heavily involved in  destabilising Syria -eg France, have turned a blind eye to   young men   going to  Syria to fight in  the extremist  Takfiri    groups against  the Assad government regime there. Small  wonder then  that  France’s intelligence agencies were fully aware of the main perpetrators of the Paris attacks , and did nothing.

Despite  some attempts, particularly by  American mainstream  media, to portray  those joining ISIS and the other Al Qaeda offshoots in Syria as dedicated to  Islamic values and a return  to  a ‘golden age’ of a caliphate; the reality appears very  different.  These are predominantly  angry  young men, dispossessed,  poor with  few prospects to make money  or a career in  the West, lured by  promises of glory, violence and a new world where they  are the rulers of destiny.  Western Intelligence and Gulf State governments’ cynical manipulation of these dispossessed, has resulted in  the catastrophe  that  is the Middle East.  Over the past few years, the United States’ half-hearted attempts to   destroy  ISIS with  limited bombing runs  and a focus on destroying extremist leaders’ rather than  extremist  infrastructure, has led ISIS and the other Al  Qaeda affiliates in Syria and Iraq, to believe they  are impervious to  Western threats of force.

The recent  extremely intensive  aerial  bombardment by   Russian  air-force  and  missiles of  terrorist infrastructure in Syria,  has  changed the strategic balance. No  more is it likely, as the Americans would have it, are we in  for a ‘long war’ against  ISIS.  The militant groups are fast  approaching the point where  keeping  large concentrations of  militants  on  the ground and thereby  ‘hold ground’, will be impossible. A resort to guerrilla tactics is therefore likely, but with  vastly less impact  on the Syrian population and landscape.

Small  wonder the that  France and the other colonialist  governments in  the West  are concerned about the impacts of Russian attacks in  Syria. Where else do  the militants go;  but home?  We are likely therefore to  see many more attacks  in the West by  disenfranchised Muslim youth, skilled in  the use of explosives and  weapons, in the months to  come.


The shooting down  of a  Russian SU24 bomber  close to  the Syrian/Turkish  border  by  a Turkish  Airforce  F16 on November 24th, has been downplayed in most media as something that is kind of unfortunate and will  ‘blow over’.

The reality is somewhat  different. This is the first  time that  a state agency (the Ankara Erdogan government) has explicitly  supported its ISIS and Al Qaeda allies, along with  the Turkmen mujaheddin  allied with  Al  Qaeda: a state agency  that has apparently ‘pretended’ to  support the war  against  ISIS and now shows its colours- hence the ‘stab in the back ‘ statement by  President Putin

The   shooting down   in what  appears to  be Syrian airspace is a serious violation , along with the not unexpected violation of the Geneva Conventions by  the Turkmen ‘insurgents’ killing the parachuting ejected pilots in  the air.  NATO, while urging  caution in the Russian  response, clearly does not wish  to  see itself allied with  such  reckless actions by  President Erdogan of Turkey, and has indicated its belief that  the shootdown occurred in  Syrian air-space.

The ramifications of this act are enormous, and will  likely lead to  significant internal  rumblings by  the Turkish military  against  this further slide of  the Erdogan  government towards   Islamic extremism within  and without Turkey. There are also  clear lines of accountability to  senior Turkish politicians benefiting from  the sale of ISIS oil .

While the Russian government has requested the immediate discontinuation of Russian  tourists visiting Turkey, the trade  sanctions responses to  Turkey  are likely to be severe  in an already  vulnerable Turkish  economy. The ongoing deployment of S300  and S400  anti-air batteries by  the Syrians and Russians, along with the deployment of fighter air cover for Russian bombers is likely to  result in a shootdown of Turkish fighters if Erdogan is not restrained. How will  NATO respond?  Whatever happens, the  long term   outcomes of this reckless  action spell  disaster for Turkey.

Where next for Syria?

The recent  announcement  by  the Obama administration that it will  send 50  U.S.  military  advisers into  Syria  apparently adds another layer of complexity to  an already  viciously complex and violent  war in Syria, however in this analysis I will  argue that this U.S.  announcement simply attempts to  legitimise  what  already  exists on the ground.

Some media have portrayed this  “civil war’  as a sectarian one. However  the sectarianism is a one-side affair in this instance. Those who play  the  sectarian  card are invariably those of an extremist Sunni  Wahhabi   and takfiri persuasion – ie they  wish to  ensure that  Syria becomes  a completely  Sunni wahhabi dominated society where other  Syrian religions and Muslim sects  are either eliminated or marginally tolerated. Those who  fund and support these  extremist doctrines  are primarily those in the Gulf dictatorships- the Saudi and Qatar governments,  and the increasingly  sectarian  government of Turkish  president Erdogan (particularly after his  most suspiciously positive and unexpected electorate  win  a few days ago).

In part this takfiri  response can be explained as a fear of Shi-ite Iran, and to  a smaller degree, Shi-ite Iraq,  reasserting their  influence  and non Western-government alignment in  the Middle East. In part it  also symbolises the  hold that  the bigots of the Wahhabi sect have over the Gulf regimes.  In tandem  with this approach we have the United States ( and the U.K.  France and Italy)  actively supporting these extremist regimes in  the vain  hope that  destabilisation and balkanisation of the Middle East  will  serve their economic interests ( more weapons sales) and preserve the increasingly fragile Israeli  occupying power in Palestine.  The United States has been actively supporting destabilisation of the Syrian Assad government  since at  least  2004, with  supposedly non-lethal military  hardware and  ‘advisors’ to  what  are described by  the U.S.  as  “moderate’ anti-Assad groups, on  the ground in Syria.

The resultant avalanche  of Syrian  refugees into  Eastern  Europe and beyond, is  perhaps an unanticipated  impact  on already  vulnerable  European economies. However, in  all  of this, the U.S. remains largely immune to  the horrendous human impacts  and geopolitical  disaster its support for extremism has incurred across the Middle East and now, to a  vastly smaller degree, to Europe.

On the other “side” we have the SAA, the Syrian government army; which  despite the hype from  the opposition, is largely composed of non-Allawite  and non-Shi-ite  troops, but is increasingly supported by  Shi-ite Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon and  Iranian “advisers” from  their irregular army,  the IRGC, the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution.  The decision of Russia to  escalate its support for the Assad regime; (it has had a naval  base at  Tartus on the Syrian  coast for many years, and provided some military  resources and advisors to  the SAA  since the start  of the war) and begin  bombing  all  of the groups opposing the SAA, has shifted the military  balance on  the ground significantly in  favour of the Assad government. The fiction that  the Russians are in  fact only bombing the ‘nice guys’ opposing the Assad regime, belies the fact  that all  of  the opposition groups’ key aim is to  topple the secular Assad government and establish  a Sunni Wahhabi state  or caliphate . While the opposition groups  fight amongst  each  other  for dominance, and disagree on  the level  of intolerance and extremism   required to  achieve this goal, they also  increasingly collaborate on  the ground  in  the face of  threats of potential  extinction by  the resurgent Assad government forces and their allies.

As Wikipedia notes here, the number of factions fighting in Syria is  already  in the  forties  and the “civil war” environment  is growing increasingly complex day  by  day. What  the proportion of  foreign fighters  (whether mercenaries or jihadists) in the anti-Assad camp is  impossible to  verify  at  this point;  but  the reports of deaths caused by  the recent SAA resurgence,  indicate a substantial  proportion are non-Syrian.

As the U.S. knows well, a victory  for the anti-Assad (anti-Syrian  government) forces, will  result  in the total  breakdown of Syrian  infrastructure,  the destruction of Damascus,  the creation of a multitude of states within  states in Syria and Iraq, a bloodbath  for those remaining non-Sunni   sects  in Syria and a greater avalanche of refugees into  Europe. One can  only assume that this  is what  the United States and its Western  allies want.

Yet, when  we look  at  mainstream  Western media,  the Russian intervention is portrayed as  being caused by Putin’s megalomania,  Russian attempts to  reinstate themselves as  a global  power  or  an  attempt to  re-live the old glories of the Soviet empire , rather than  a fearful  response to  Western  destabilisation. Russia  Iran  and Hizbollah  are only too  familiar with   the ongoing destabilisation of their countries by  Western intelligence agencies and their proxies, to  not see  the export of Wahhabi extremism  to  Syria as a serious threat  to their own  long-term viability.

The announcement by  Obama of 50 U.S. “Special Forces” troops to  be deployed to  Syria, is therefore simply smoke and mirrors. In all  likelihood, those same 50  special  forces have been on the ground  (along with other Western  intelligence officers and  advisors from  the Gulf states, for at  least  the past 5 years in Syria; advising, training and channelling weapons to  their “moderate” jihadists. The announcement is an  attempt to  somehow legitimise the status quo, when in fact those men  are operating illegally inside a sovereign  state with  the sole  purpose of destabilising that state.

The other often mentioned U.S. response of a  ‘no-fly zone’ in Syria, is another rather transparent attempt to  ensure that  the Syrian air-force and helicopters cannot  engage the jihadists;  with the inevitable outcome being  a  full  collapse of the Damascus government and infrastructure and a massive increase in  human suffering and refugees..

The recent flurry  of diplomatic manoeuvering in Vienna between some, but not all of the key players, reflects in  part the concerns in Washington about the impacts of the recent active bombing of ISIS and other Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria by  the Russian airforce, and the consequent  apparently significant  military  successes on the ground by  the SAA and its  allies.



Israel: In the death throes of a racist dream: Susan Abulhawa, Middle East Eye

A haunting and wrenching account of the brutal  rascist occupation of Palestine by  an Israeli entity embued with  that  sense of “exceptionalism” which is the downfall  of all  empires.


The Russian Move: Syria

The recent decision by  Russia to  intensity its military  support to  the Syrian government in Damascus, highlights some interesting issues for Eastern  governments.

It comes at a time when the Syrian refugee influx via Turkey is reaching a peak  in Eastern European states and Germany/Austria with strident calls from  mainstream  Western  media  arguing the case for more arming of the anti-Assad  terrorist groups in Syria and naturally , a no-fly that can only benefit…. guess who?.

Interestingly, Turkish  President Erdogan, has now done an abrupt about-face in  declaring that President  Assad of Syria should now be part of the transition process in Syria; something that  Erdgan had opposed for  more than 4 years previously.  Is this, as Moon of Alabama proposes, because of the  potential threat of Russian  forces taking out his  Turkish  supplied terrorists in Syria and re-caslibrating the ?  I  have my doubts.  Erdogan is a wily political  player,and used to  navigating the whirlpool of political players in  the Middle East.  Is the Russian move , as Mike Whitney suggests, an attempt to  pre-empt the installation of  a Turkey  based  no-fly zone by  the United States, in Syria , which  would once and for all  eliminate any Syrian government threats to the jihadist  groups  fighting Assad?

However it  would appear  that  some Western  governments and intelligence agencies are perceiving a real  threat  to  the  destabilisation agenda they  have pursued since at  least  2011 in Syria, as a result of a shift in western public  opinion.

How to  rationalize  support for anti-Assad  military  groups who  are clearly  Wahhabist terrorists whilst maintaining a philosophical  stance that  Assad must  go  and is the root of the refugee problem and pretending that  you are fighting terrorism  globally? The information on the the vast  majority of groups opposing  the Ba’ath secular government and military   in Damascus is clear; their need and wish  is, like all  good salafists, to  exterminate those  sects of Islam which  doe  not fit with their  mediaeval  view of  what  Islam  should be- ie Sunni and Sharia.

Let me be clear,  Western  governments are actively supporting this genocidal   and mythical  view of the Middle East. In reality the Ba’ath  military  is largely Sunni  in composition, with elements of Christian and other Muslim sects, as well  as of course many secular Syrians. And useful  to note  perhaps, that the Iraqi equivalent Ba’ath  party of Saddam Hussein  was supposedly Sunni  in character. That is not to  say  that  Assad’s Ba’athist government is not a brutal one;  but in  comparison with the Saudis, with the salafists and other extremists in the Middle East, it is benign; and supported by  the vast  majority of Syrians  as the only alternative to  the vicious  brutal  alternative of chaos  that  Western governments are hoping for in Syria. But, one would never imagine that in your wildest  dreams, that  is the true state of affairs  by  reading Western mainstream media.

The weight of alternative press reports  which  articulate  the threat  from  Western  governments of  further direct  intervention in Syria to  complete their mission of balkanising the  region and  installing   tribal and  extremist  religious groups in Syria  and elsewhere in the middle east is becoming  hard for western public opinion to  ignore.

The apparently unexpected move by  the Russians to  bolster their  military  support and risk   boots on  the ground and potentially another  debacle like the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. This move  is in many respects,  a  mirror of that Soviet-Afghan war, with the Gulf States and the Americans, as before , supporting Al  Qaeda and its affiliates, and Russia supporting a secular dictatorship in the form of President Assad and the Ba-ath Party.  Has the Russian  military  learnt its lessons from  the Afghan  war and the wars of Chechnya?- time will  tell.

We have yet  to  see how Israel  will  respond to  this new front opening up  across the occupied Golan  Heights. Its dreams of a slow annexation of Syrian  territory beyond the Golan  Heights, and the  splitting of that  rump state into  splintered largely powerless  enclaves, with the active assistance of the United States , have now been  significantly compromised.

The difference this time around, may be the guerrilla fighting  skills of Hizbollah  and  Iran’s Revolutionary  Brigades.


The flurry  of  both   mainstream western  media and  Obama’s superlatively  hypocritical    and;  speaking bluntly,  speech  of  unadulterated  lies; at  the U.N. , expressing concern that  Russia was adding “fuel  to  the fire”  by its Syrian  air-strikes, and that  (bizzarely) chaos might ensue in Syria as a result of Russia actually wanting to   get  rid of the terrorists in Syria. Their messages  are   stretching the  cloth  of credulity to  breaking point, even  for those of  the Western public who  accept everything their politicians tell them.  We are, I believe, seeing the end-game in Western public’s placid acceptance of the   reality  and rationality of the “War  on Terror”.

Mainstream  media are now contorting themselves into  indecent positions to  “prove” that  Russia is not targeting ISIS, but is instead only targeting those “moderate”  anti-Assad groups. Despite the acknowledgement by  Western intelligence agencies that   secular moderate groups fighting the Assad government  are practically non-existent in Syria, we are led to  believe that  Russia is  deliberately leaving the ‘evil ones’,  ISIS, alone and targeting the “good guys”, Al Nusra and  other similar   Al Qaeda affiliate groups, funded and trained by  the US and the Gulf States. Given that all  those groups are fighting to bring down the Assad government  and the Assad military is by  far the greatest opponent of all of those groups; including ISIS ;  one might almost be forgiven  for thinking that the  US wants ISIS to  succeed and roll into  Damascus to bring its rein  of terror to  all  suitably non Sunni  members of that  population.

One is also  intrigued with  Brown  Moses ( or should that  be ‘Brown Nose’?) under his new pseudonym, Bellingcat ,  “proving”  that   the video  and pics of Russian  attacks  were deliberately being  edited by  the Russians to  ensure their “true” target  areas were not identified-again  the meme  that  the real  terrorists were in  fact not being targeted,  but instead targeting   some of the mythical   moderates on the ground.

And again   further  hype from  ” unidentified State Dept officials that   four of the 26 Russian cruise missiles fired from  the Caspian  Sea at Syrian  rebels had in  fact crashed in  Iran with loss of life. The Pentagon  appears considerably concerned  about these new previously unknown  Russian cruise missiles, because they  have much  longer trajectory  than  supposed and can be fired from  far smaller  ships  than the American  ones can, and are hence more mobile.

The decision by  the Obama administration to  supposedly pull  out of direct  involvement with  the  jihadist  groups in Syria  is more likely to  reflect  a concern that  Russian,Syrian, Iranian and Hizbollah groups may very  shortly, if not already, be killing Western intelligence operatives on  the ground in Syria, rather than  any  back-down of intent to overthrow Assad.

Also  expect  an  intensification of ‘independent’ human right s organizations  demanding  that  Assad  (and now the Russians) be tried for war crimes . This war is a tragedy and an  avoidable one, and  the civilian death  toll has been   immense and calamitous.However expecting the Assad government to  have precision guided ammunitions (only available to  the U.S. and its western  allies and Russia and China) rather than  ‘dumb’ bombs and barrel  bombs, does not a war crime make.

More incredibly, the Pentagon is clearly wishing desperately for Russian losses  in fighting  the rebels in Syria and that  they  will “begin to lose in Syria”. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Konashenkov also “lashed out” at a fresh statement from Pentagon head Ashton Carter, who predicted Russian losses in its Syrian operation.

Moscow’s air operation in Syria “will have consequences primarily for Russia itself,” Carter said at a press conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Such  provocative, foolish  and dangerous  statements  amount to  a  direct threat  to  use the United State’s proxy terrorists in Chechnya and other  Russian   muslim populated districts, in retaliation for the Russian  attacks on the United State’s ‘friendly terrorists’ in Syria. Carter added, “I expect that in the next few days the Russians will begin to lose in Syria.”. Should such  attacks come in the next few weeks on  Russian soil, Russia will be in  doubt of their source; with the added bonus of more certainly enlisting the help  of China in this war  against   the West’s terrorists; also  vulnerable to  American  involvement in  Uighur  attacks inside China.

We are seeing a desperate attempt  on multiple fronts to  discredit the Russian  war efforts  in Syria by  Western  powers .  One has to wonder why  do they  wish  ISIS and their favourite ‘moderate’ jihadist  to be  marching into  Damascus? – how important is it to  curry  favour with  Wahhabists in  power in the Arabian peninsula?. As  Gareth Porter notes, or  just maybe its simply a matter of propping up  the US and UK “defence”  Industries for a little longer…?


Jeremy Corbyn and ‘The Red Flag’

The recent election by  the British Labour Party  members of a new  person to head the party, may  foreshadow a new groundswell  of public opinion  to  negate the years of right-wing propaganda  that has  enveloped many Western  party structures in the past few decades. The Labour Parties and Social Democrats of Europe had become bought enterprises- vehicles for corporate business to make shady deals, rather  than political parties representing those who have been disadvantaged, and the factory  working class.

While the gap  between  rich  and poor across the Western  world has widened significantly  (none more so in my own  country  of New Zealand), as a result of these neo-con or “New Labour”  business policies, we have also  seen  a marked decline in  the industrial  bases  of all of those countries ( save Germany), with   industrial  output outsourced, or simply acquired by  businesses predominantly in China. That decline in western industrial production has resulted in a marked decline in the numbers of the “working class” (ie factory workers). Instead, the service industries (primarily tourism, the hospitality industry, and the provision of support to the disadvantaged) have blossomed, but the collective power of their respective trade unions, has not.  Thus the collective capacity to negotiate or confront the widening economic gap, has dwindled as the need has become greater.

Along with increasing disparity; perhaps even because of it, we have seen the power of media manipulators who represent the rich, consolidated. The media empires  controlled by  people like  Rupert Murdoch, Michael Bloomberg ,Ted Turner, and more recently the Qatari ruling dictatorship  via Al Jazeera,  now have the capacity to bombard the public day and night using multiple media. That barrage of media is unremittingly designed to favour the perspectives of the rich. While western democracies still retain some capacity to deliver independent and non-partisan news; that capacity is a minute proportion compared to the deluge of “news” delivered by the media moguls.   Thus the mogul’s news is seen by  the general  public  as “mainstream”, “orthodox” and not “radical”, and somehow because of that, the real legitimate news.

So, returning to Jeremy Corbyn: will he be able to withstand the certain onslaught of “mainstream” media condemning him as a ‘radical’, ‘communist’, ‘anti-semitic’, ‘terrorist’, ’crazy’, ‘neolithic’, ‘out-of-touch –with –reality’, ‘has-been’ politician. That  war has already  begun  in the U.K. media. See the Daily Mail’s most recent   diatribe  here . Or the U.K. Conservative Party’s  somewhat  bizarre atempt  at  scaremongering  below.

And will Mr Corbyn stick to his promises should be come to power in Britain? Or will he, like the Syriza Party in Greece, fold under the intense pressures of other more “business-friendly” governments?  If he can indeed keep to  his political  promises, and be elected  as Prime Minster of England in the UKs general election of Thursday 7 May 2020, and not be pulled to  pieces by  the mainstream media  dogs in the interim, he will  have done our international  democratic landscape a great  service; and potentially as service to  our environment and an end to senseless wars (senseless other than to line the pockets of politicians, war manufacturers and international  re-development agencies) . May he be one of the first  markers of a return  to true democratic pluralism rather than  oligarchy, along with  the  demoralised  Syrizas of Greece, the Podemos of Spain  and the other radical  truly left-wing groups re-forming all  over Europe.

I note with pleasure Mr Corbyn’s first political gesture on his election:- the singing of “The International” (completely tunelessly),  in a London pub before his foray out to greet his fellow celebrants of his victory outside Parliament.

The International (The Red Flag) (first chorus)
The people’s flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyred dead,
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their hearts’ blood dyed its every fold.

So raise the scarlet standard high,
Beneath its shade we’ll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We’ll keep the red flag flying here.“>[5]

However, this return to representation of the disadvantaged, the marginalised and the impoverished must be matched by  a new understanding of the urgent  need of our species to  co-exist  with all  the others on this planet. The old   fight over the means of production (capitalism versus socialism/communism) must be replaced by one which  questions at  every  turn, our need to  produce and “grow” countries’  economies. A sustainable world for all the remaining species on  this planet , along with an end to  all  wars, is an incredibly urgent goal  for humanity at  this late, late hour.


The Exodus: the Refugee Crisis

The swirl  of humanity across the globe has been  a constant since ancient times.

In my little corner of the world, the traversings and re-travsersings of the Polynesians across the wide Pacific,  travelling thousands of miles in their double hulled canoes  , was a constant  over hundreds of years , settling both inhabited and uninhabited islands .

In Eurasia and across Africa, the flow of humanity has ocurred for millennia. Our species has been wanderers from  our first  arrival  on this planet  as a specific  primate species, as the International Organisation for Migration website attests.

Having said that, we know that  wars  and natural  disasters create the necessity for families to  flee  to  safer ground, and safer countries. In addition the gross discrepancies in  living standards between  various populations across the globe creates a drive for those who  consider themselves disadvantaged to   travel  to more prosperous environments.

None of this would be unremarkable -indeed it is an obvious response for any human to    move to  a better place- we are indeed nomads on this planet. What  makes it remarkable at  this moment are the obvious drivers behind the disasters  and impoverished societies of those immigrants;  and the fact  that most of those drivers are created by  the very  countries the immigrants want to migrate to!

The devastation of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria – to name just  a few of the countries bombarded by  Western countries; predominantly the U.S.,  U.K., France , Italy, and to  some degree Germany,  with  a few tag-alongs from  other Western  European and  non-European western governments elsewhere, is the most significant cause for the huge influx of  refugees and migrants from  the Middle East  into  Europe. The  decision by  the West to  support  the anti-government groups   in Syria prolonged  what would likely have been  a short but brutal war by  the Syrian dictatorship against  a few western oriented  groups   and many more  salafist sunni  extremist groups. The decision by  the U.S., the U.K. France and its proxies in Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar  and Turkey (not to  mention Israel)  to  actively fund arm and train  these  terrorist  groups, has created a life of hell  for much of the Syrian  population. unfortunately for the population of Yemen, the sea and land blockades by Saudi  forces  and their “allies” means those desperate Yemen peoples have no chance of escape from  the  war hell imposed by  the Gulf dictatorships.

It is likely that,  just  as in Iraq and Libya  the creation of totally destabilized  middle east territories with  no  central  governing structure  and ripe for total  exploitation, was exactly the intent of these Western  governments. Now the chickens have come home to roost. While we know Western  “intelligence” agencies are in  fact  far from being “intelligent”, we can  anticipate that, even they,   after first  seeing the catastrophe that Iraq has become as a result of Western  sanctions and military  intervention,  would understand the implications of repeating that exact same  process  in Libya and Syria.  It is a supremely beautiful but vicious  irony that  those impoverished and desperate people from those brutalized countries  are  now “invading” the West . Well, that is what  mainstream  media would have us believe.  Recent reports query  for instance why suddenly, previously safe  refugees in Turkey  are now fleeing that country  to  Europe.

What  would seem  a just   response therefore, would be for those countries involved in  the defilement  of Middle Eastern countries  through  war and economic rapacity, to   take a commensurate  number of refugees into  their countries based on  their military  input into the ravagement  of those destroyed  environments. The United States will  of course have to  take many millions of refugees, as will  the U.K; followed next by  France, the Gulf dictatorships and Israel  and some of the other  western counties like Canada , Australia and New Zealand.

The BBC link here, gives a more detailed graphical  analysis of the  source, the routes and European destinations of refugees.

In addition,  those  western  corporations and their complicit governments  that  have despoiled the vulnerable economies and environments of Africa ad other developing countries around the globe , will  make corresponding redress to  those countries in the tangible  form of infrastructure development,  re-development of  sustainable agriculture  and  the return  of environments to their former natural states as directed by  the populations of those  developing countries.

Too much to  ask?-



The Saudi Created Hell in Yemen

Moon of Alabama in one of his most recent posts notes that  United Arab Emirate and Saudi  troops are  now heavily engaged on  the ground in  Yemen. This, as Moon of Alabama notes, and to  which  I concur, is the start  of the beginning of a military  disaster for Saudi   forces- and in  my belief preludes the  downfall (none too  son) of the Saudi  “monarchy”.

As happened to Egyptian forces when they involved themselves in  the horribly complicated  shifting  factions of the North Yemen Civil War in the 1960s; the commitment of ground troops signals a whole new ball game. One in  which  local Yemen forces have a considerable advantage -knowledge of local ( and in  many cases, very  difficult  mountainous)  terrain.

Wikipedia summarises it well when it says: Yemen is a continuously elevated country, with only the coastal plains being the lowest-lying areas. The range of elevation is from sea level to 3,666 metres (12,028 ft). Jagged peaks and plateaus cover most of Yemen, and the average elevation in the country is about 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). Among the countries in the Arab world, it is the one with the second highest high point, being the 3,666 metres (12,028 ft) high Jabal an Nabi Shu’ayb, after Morocco‘s 4,167 metres (13,671 ft) high Jbel Toubkal. The Yemenis used the elevation of their homeland to stay isolated for thousands of years with foreign trade conducted only when the Yemenis wished to go to the coastal areas.

That mountainous terrain  provides cover  for  ambush  and retreat, and just  as the Houthis are already  demonstrating in  their Saudi  attacks; quick  hit and runs can be very  effective in  demoralising and destabilizing   formal  troop placements.

While Moon of Alabama  notes that  Western media are not  reporting on  these military  incursions by  Saudi  and UAE forces, they  are also  minimally  reporting on the, at this stage minor military  successes by  Houthi forces in Saudi Arabia itself.

The ongoing western media reportage of the Houthis as “Iranian backed” carries no  substance,  but is nevertheless a convenient  line in the Saudi  propogated narrative of Shi-ite expansion across the middle east. The reality is the  exact opposite:  extremist Sunni  regimes like the Saudis , Qatar  and UAE are determined to forestall  the ongoing  rise of an  independent and powerful  Iran , by  training arming and funding  uncontrollable groups like Al Qaeda, Al  Nusra and ISIS, and in  the case of Yemen, sending in their own militaries.  As noted in an earlier blog, the Saudi  invasion of Yemen was specifically  designed to ensure the  survival  of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a useful ally to the Saudi dictatorship against  the shi-ites -despite their mutual animosities.

Map of Yemen - Courtesy of Moon of Alabama website origination)
Courtesy of Moon of Alabama website origination)


The way  forward lies in the destruction from  within  of these Sunni  dictatorships via the extremists they have cultivated,  along with  the resultant backlash from resident shi-ite and other  “deviant” sects within   Arabia as a result of Saudi  repression and brutality.  Their  fragile inept, corrupt  and isolated leadership  groups are  creating the very forces which  will  inevitably  turn on them.  As the United States found with Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and its terrorists agents in Syria ;  it is one thing to  fund and help establish  a terrorist group  to  hit your enemies; it is another thing to  control  such terrorist groups  in the long term. In addition, the Saudi  role in  lowering international oil prices may,  in  the longer term, have significant impact on  the stability of that country.

However in  all  of this we must not forget  those who   suffer now because of the political machinations  ( greed and power) . This huge humanitarian  crisis has been directly created by  the Sunni  Gulf states in Yemen. Health  services and food aid are being deliberately withheld from  areas controlled by  the Houthi,  while civilians are being deliberately targeted in  bombing runs, using U.S.  intelligence.  IN all  this seems like a re-run of the kind of brutality used for almost 80  years by the Saudi’s new-found ally,  the  Israelis, in  exterminating and terrorising  Palestinians.


The recent  bombing of the one remaining port access for humanitarian aid into Yemen by the Saudi “coalition” is just   one of the  evil and inhumane acts of this brutal  dictatorship that supposedly prides itself on its  adherence to  Muslin doctrines of humanity and respect.

The United States is fully implicated in  these horrendous war crimes by  the Saudi  regime, and will  in  time be held to  account   and indicted for these international  crimes against  humanity.

Nuremburg  Two-here we come!

And, interesting to  note the recent (October 2015) development of an internal  anti-Saudi  movement in   southern Arabia. The rise of Ahrar al-Najran,  a southern Arabian secessionist  movement, is one of a number of new groups that  will  inevitably begin to  eat  away at  the House of Saud   and its Wahhabi   reactionary  muslim sect; and steadily undermine its bigoted and destructive control  of the Arabian peninsula . As we might expect, the house of Saud itself begins to understand its nemesis is near, and the destructive undermining has already begun from within…

The U.K., Israel  and the United States, are left in  a very  difficult position, as their  king-pin for Middle East  control ( aside from  the supposedly “Western” oriented Israeli government)  begins its inevitable slide to  oblivion.  The only option left for them is the devil-incarnate, Iran….









The Delphi Declaration and Grexit

Michael Hudson, economist and historian, records the decision of those who  gathered at Delphi in Greece on 22nd June 2015. The Declaration makes it very clear which  way Greeks need to  vote in their referendum in a  weeks time: to  remain  with austerity and the Euro, or to  depart; to decide whether  to  continue down the dead-end street of community’s lives being ruled by  bankers and economists, or to  choose community collaboration, democracy  and consensus politics…

As Steve Keen  makes it very  clear, the Troika’s ambition is nothing less than the overthrow of an elected (Greek ) government by imposing impossible conditions  that have resulted ,  and will  continue to result, in  the total  impoverishment of all Greeks (barring the very  wealthy) . Leaked IMF documents show clearly that  even  the IMF acknowledges that  its proposed austerity measures will leave  Greece with unsustainable debt  by  2030.

And David Stockman argues, Prime Minister Tsipras’ stand against  the Troika may signal  a long overdue  restructuring of the financial markets globally.

Finally;  it may be useful  to  read William Polk’s very  short outline  of the modern  Greek  nation, to  put things into  some perspective along with  Michael Hudson and William Black’s extremely damning  analysis  from the University of Missouri of the financial situation in Greece leading up to   the Greek referendum on  Sunday July 5th  2015.


With more than 60% of the Greek  voting populatoin rejecting further EU imposed austerity, more economists and  political  advisors appear to be coming out of the woodwork  to  reject  the insanity  of further sausterity on  a country already  on its knees.

Read  this proclamation from  Professor Thomas Piketty  and others  here

And, subsequent to  the Greek Government’s further  round of capitulation to  the EU, we have Peter Tenebrarum’s likely accurate assessment of where the sudden EU push for Greek Debt Relief is coming from…

And, subsequent to  the draconian and childishly vindictive response by  the German austerity kings and queens on 14th July , we have Larry Elliott’s analysis of why this new round of debt relief is doomed to  fail.  And here is  a precis of the Greek ex-finance minister Yanis Varoufakis’  take on proceedings in Brussels.

In addition, as Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the Telegraph notes 15/7/15 , the IMF  ( and almost every  significant ecomomist) is again noting the complete implausability and craziness of the  ongoing austerity process imposed on Greece. The complete incompetence of the Eurozone leadership is revealed to  all.  What may  benefit Germany in the short-term, will  inevitably lead to  its downfall in the long-term. The German government is now  70  years later, once more a pariah state.  Total  childish  foolish arrogance and spitefulness once again  dominates the German political  landscape.

As Chris Hedges at Truthdig makes it clear in  the following powerful  paragraph;  the Greeks are not the only ones whose needs are subsumed to the madness of neoliberalism and the ultimate destruction of this planet as it becomes a commodity.

The Greeks and the U.S. working poor endure the same deprivations because they are being assaulted by the same system—corporate capitalism. There are no internal constraints on corporate capitalism. And the few external constraints that existed have been removed. Corporate capitalism, manipulating the world’s most powerful financial institutions, including the Eurogroup, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve, does what it is designed to do: It turns everything, including human beings and the natural world, into commodities to be exploited until exhaustion or collapse. In the extraction process, labor unions are broken, regulatory agencies are gutted, laws are written by corporate lobbyists to legalize fraud and empower global monopolies, and public utilities are privatized. Secret trade agreements—which even elected officials who view the documents are not allowed to speak about—empower corporate oligarchs to amass even greater power and accrue even greater profits at the expense of workers. To swell its profits, corporate capitalism plunders, represses and drives into bankruptcy individuals, cities, states and governments. It ultimately demolishes the structures and markets that make capitalism possible. But this is of little consolation for those who endure its evil. By the time it slays itself it will have left untold human misery in its wake.


Michael Hudson-The Delphi Declaration  –  Seamus Milne   – Keith Rankin

Greece: Only the ‘No’ Can Save the Euro– J. K Galbraith  – Michael  Hudson & William K Black

Mindfulness, Trauma and Suicide Ideation

Recent  emerging research  indicates a strong correlation between  Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) and  risk of suicide (see Links  below)

Current mainstream  interventions  often focus on counselling to  work  through  those childhood traumas  using CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapies) .

However, there is increasing evidence that  mindfulness programmes ( provided the practice is sustained after the initial training), is extremely effective in   reducing suicide ideation in young people at risk.  Part of its success is that  mindfulness training reduces the risk  of uninhibited (spontaneous) dangerous responses to  new adverse events . Research  has indicated that  young people  exposed to  ACEs have reduced inhibition  and higher anxiety, and are more likely to  “wallow” in  historical adverse circumstance, which  in turn increases the likelihood of responding to  further adverse events in  a negative and immediate way, as well  as increasing the likelihood of chronic alcohol  and drug use to   anaesthetise the  psychological  pain. Other researchers believe that  specific  traumatic responses to severe ACE  experiences- eg violence and sexual  abuse,  and the consequent flashbacks and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms  that  subsequently  impact  on  the victim,  are the primary   causes for suicide ideation risk.  Other research  indicates that simply damaging and  dysfunctional family dynamics are sufficient to  result in   brain changes in young children exposed to  that  trauma which  can  result in  increased suicide risk in later life.

Note also  that  exposure to  ACE decreases the capacity to   interact  in positive ways with  peers because of  fear of  further negative social  encounters, and also reduces the capacity to  interact  positively with  people in positions of authority ( those who  have been in  positions of authority with  the child in  the past may  have often been  damaging to  that young person’s physical  or emotional  wellbeing) .  People exposed to  ACE face a double whammy: increased social  isolation combined with increased internal  risks: (the extrinsic and intrinsic impacts).

Interventions that  improve parenting skills, reduce bullying and sexual  and physical  abuse and family violence are therefore  core preventive measures to  reduce suicide ideation in not just  our young people, but people of all  ages.

However, mindfulness training offers  an opportunity to   significantly reduce the risks once negative experiences have occurred.  The core component of mindfulness and meditation is extremely simple: a reduction in random  thoughts by  focusing on an  external  point. In the case of mindfulness, that might be  focusssing on the breathing or doing a body scan or  focussing on sounds or an image.

Meditation techniques tend to use words or phrases repeated repetitively to  increase the “strength” of the mind to  focus and also  the capacity  to  easily move away from negative thoughts or patterns. Meditation may for instance  use  repetitive prayer,  or a mantra  or koan.

While the principle is simple , the challenge is to  achieve that state of focus. Many people for instance say “I cant do  mediation”, which  is a bit like saying ” I cant exercise”.  What  is required is a commitment to  continue the practice in  a meaningful way- never forcing the focus  but always returning (without blaming oneself for the lapse!)-  to  the focus when the mind inevitably wanders . Just  like exercising the body, exercising the mind through  mindfulness  or meditation strengthens the mind to  stay clear and focussed more and more frequently, with  the added bonus that  it becomes possible to  “acquire” moments of simply being in the moment and experiencing that joy ( ‘wherever I go, that’s where I am’).

However  moving from  a state of anxiety to  a state of bliss or even just  a measure of occasional  tranquility, will  obviously be a harder and much longer journey , and require greater tenacity for one who  has come from  a childhood of trauma and anxiety than  a person  who  has come  from   experiences of peaceful  acceptance by  those  who  love them.

There is also  some preliminary evidence that mindulness practice substantially  improves outcomes for people bereaved by  suicide and other traumatic loss. The ATTEND  mindfulness bereavement  programme  is one such  model.

CBT and other similar therapies rely largely on  an assumption that  it is the persons thoughts (their cognition)  that  directly influences their emotions. Work  through  the cognitive processes say  CBT, and you can  change the persons emotions for the better. Mindfulness simply says, increase the capacity to  focus on  whatever the person  wishes to  focus on (rather than their negative mind chatter) and you immensely improve their mental wellbeing.  A  researcher recently quoted one of her   research  clients as saying ” I think  therefore I feel” ( a little ‘play’  on Descarte’s spurious statement  “cogito ergo sum” -“I think  therefore I am”) . What  she meant was; whatever I think  about ,  my emotions follow after.  And this is largely, but not completely true. Our bodies have  for instance  strongly imbedded physiological responses to  threat . In humans (as with other primates), that  imbedded threat  response is strongly correlated to  being alone. To  be part of the group, is to be safe. To  be part of the group  we must  therefore have a meaningful  role in  the group-otherwise we are an  outsider  and  an outlaw who  no-one cares to  protect  and keep  safe.

However , while no-one has as yet  established the  percentage , my guess is that  80% at  least  of all of our emotional  responses relate  to  the things we are thinking  at  that moment.  And the things we think  are entirely and directly related to  what  we have experienced in  the past. Our sense of self is simply  the accumulation of those experiences, and our interpretation of them  based on  earlier experiences!

Lastly  ( being a Buddhist –  but this is not about religion or theology – this is about the nature of our internal  realities);  I would like to  relate  a   simple Zen  metaphor….

Two  Buddhist  monks  come to  a river where a beautiful  young woman  stands, but cant get  across the river safely . These monks  have sworn never to ‘defile’ themselves with touching a woman; yet one of the monks  simply picks up  the woman in his arms and carries her across the river to  safety on  the other side and puts her down. Many many miles later the other monk finally says to  the  “pickup” monk  – ‘you have defiled our monastery and our names with your actions today by  touching that  woman”-and the other monk  turns to  him  and says ” are you still  carrying that young woman?- I put her down  2 hours ago”.

Steady   personal  application of mindfulness and meditation  will enable us all  to  leave aside  all  those memories and experiences    that  our thoughts  tell us defile us.

In summary: thoughts trigger feelings, and feelings communicate vital information on how to best live your life to survive—and thrive.  Developing a stronger mental  focus allows you to  build  your awareness of what emotions and sensations you experience in response to certain thoughts,  and you may develop a stronger understanding of  the intimate connection between your words or thoughts (self-talk) and your emotions and physical sensations and your consequent actions.


Suicide Prevention Links

Childhood predictors of lifetime suicide attempts and non-suicidal self-
injury in depressed adults. http://\

Childhood adversities and risk for suicidal ideation and attempts: a
longitudinal population-based study.

Incidence and course of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in the
general population.

Association between childhood adversities and long-term suicidality
among South Africans from the results of the South African Stress and
Health study: a cross-sectional study.

Effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on self-reported suicidal ideation: results from a randomised controlled trial in patients with residual depressive symptoms.

Mindfulness tempers the impact of personality on suicidal ideation

Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Reduces Anxiety, Depression, and Suicidal Ideation in Veterans

Between suicidality and self : effects of mindfulness on college students’ entrance into and progression along the continuum of suicidality

Mindfulness and the Aloha Response

Selah: A Mindfulness Guide Through Grief

ATTEND: toward a mindfulness-based bereavement care model

Suicide: Finding Hope/ Mindfulness

The Farcical “War on Terror”

Reports are now  coming thick and fast  from  both the Middle East  and from the  United Stated sources of the  role the United States  and its key allies have played in  first  establishing and  then maintaining   ISIS, Al Qaeda and numerous other salafist  affiliates, under the  flimsy  guise of them being  “moderate” jihadists.

As one more instance of this support, the  recent  debacle of a defeat for Iraqi troops against  ISIS in Ramadi points to  the clear decision by United States  forces not to  conduct  airstrikes  against  ISIS  positions, when there was every   opportunity to  do  so., and the US recommendation to  the Iraqi government not to deploy Shi-ite militias in Ramadi The United States is now  aggrieved that Iranian military players are now directly involved in  the re-taking of Ramadi for the Iraqi government .

The consistent intent  for   United States policy  since the Iranian revolution in1979,  has been to  contain and eliminate any potential threat from Shi-ite groups that might negatively impact on the US supported Persian Gulf (Sunni) dictatorships. The Gulf State dictatorships have consistently demonstrated  their unconditional  support  and loyalty  for  US and Israeli  imperial  policies  in  the region; unlike the Shi-ite  states of Iran, Syria and now Iraq, who  foolishly prefer a path of self-determination for their peoples.

The usual   pack of neocon  psychopaths , with John Bolton  snarling in  the lead, has been  to  attempt to  ramp up the non-existent Iranian nuclear weapon threat, to provide unconditional  support for Israeli genocide in  Palestine and to support   anything , regardless of international law or the rights of humanity, that  will extend the United State’s power internationally. If that means  using delusional  Saudi  and Qatari “princes”  to  find and resource even more psychotic ISIS military leaders,who  believe that  all Shi-ites must  be exterminated;  then so be it.

There is clear evidence of an ongoing policy by  the neocons to destroy secular Middle East  governments ( ie not specifically Sunni  oriented governments) like Saddam’s  Iraq, Libya, Syria, which  can lead  on to the ultimate goal  for the US, Israel  and the Saudis; the destruction of Shi-ite  Iran. The  Saudi bombardment of Yemen’s Houthi movement and all  Yemeni  civilians , is  just  a minor diversion  in  the larger game plan.

The recent public announcement by the US that  it wil  be funding training  and arming  “moderate” Syrian opposition forces to  fight the Syrian Assad regime , is one more step  in this bizarre and farcical journey of creating  monsters to  kill them. As has  been clearly demonstrated; there is in fact no  “moderate” opposition fighters. It is possible that  at  the beginning of the fight against  Assad in the “spontaneous” Arab Spring uprising against  him , that  there were a few  secular   and moderate voices, but they have long gone.  As this Department of Defence report for 2012 clearly indicates,   the US knew well  (even 3 years ago) that  the Syrian opposition  fighters that it supported and continues to  support, were  almost entirely composed of extremist jihadists and salafist ( anti-Shiite and anti  any other non-Sunni sect)

Additional  little snippets of the tight connection between Western governments and Middle East  terrorist  groups can  be  found in Seamus Milne’s account here.  Or the recent post  in  the Levant Report documenting how  the ISIS Leader Omar al-Shishani Fought Under U.S. Umbrella as Late as 2013

But even  in these accounts, Western  reporters are  extremely cautious in ascribing  a direct  linkage between  terror and the West ; one  which  now undoubtedly exists. Note how key Western governments are now happy to pay ISIS good prices for their stolen Syrian and Iraqi oil.

Or note ex-President of  Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai’s view that  the U.S is actively taking a two  sided approach  to  creation and  destruction of jihadist  groups to  serve its power interests.

Time and time again  we are seeing reports in  the mainstream U.S. and U.K. media that  ISIS is here to  stay  for  the long term; how hard it will be  to eliminate them; and really, things are such  a lot better for those people in Iraq, Libya and Syria now that  ISIS and its Western  subsidised offshoots are there.  After all  we have “law and order”-never mind that this “law” is an obscene  psychopathic one  As a “delightful ” example of this  obscene  Western view on  that”Isis isn’t really that bad” -read this article in the U.K. Independent by   Richard Barrett (who) was head of counter-terrorism at MI6 before spending nine years as the co-ordinator of the UN’s Al-Qaeda and Taliban Monitoring Team.

What  you sow, so  shall  you reap……


A great  article on where all  that wonderful  hardware comes from  that ISIS  uses at, which rather begs the question; who is training those little psychopaths in all  this new hi-tech  equipment?

And some additional information from  Andrew P Napolitano  at  antiwar. com brings to  the sunlight  at  least one war equipment  ratline managed by  Secretary  of State Clinton to  terrorists in Libya and Syria .

And from Sibel Edmonds, ex-American intelligence operative; a podcast  on  the role of the U.S. Black-ops community in  establishing and maintaining  various international   terrorist  groups