Tag Archives: Libya

Stop the Wars to End the Refugee Crisis

By Ramzy Baroud

Europe is facing its most significant refugee crisis since World War Two. All attempts at resolving the issue have failed, mostly because those charged with doing so have ignored the root causes of the problem.

Furthermore, on June 11, Italy’s new Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, blocked the Aquarius rescue ship from docking in Italian ports. It was carrying 629 refugees and economic migrants. A statement by Doctors without Borders (MSF) stated that the passengers included 123 unaccompanied minors and seven pregnant women. Continue reading Stop the Wars to End the Refugee Crisis

A more dangerous world is probably coming after the US election!

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

The level of irrationality, confusion and negative energy is the most astonishing signal emanating out of the US presidential election.  It is a strong indication that, whatever the result, we should be prepared for an escalation in the already serious tensions dominating our world.

It is probably the first time, since the crisis of Weimar Germany, that such phenomena have appeared in the centre of the world, in its strongest country.

80% of the population of the USA do not trust and do not appreciate either of the two candidates. The strongest argument for voting Trump is not so much what he says as opposition to Clinton being elected. And the main argument for voting Clinton is not to have Trump elected!

The other day, as I was struggling to finish this article, I sent mails to some good friends in the USA, very critical, experienced and serious observers, telling them that I am a little confused by what I am reading about their elections and asking them for their opinion on the foreign policy Trump will really follow if elected.

From the answers I received, I realized that they too are not at all sure about what is at stake here and what the future course of the United States will be. One of them, a well-known economist with quite radical ideas, answered in this way: “YOU’RE confused? Ha ha ha. Nobody has a clue! Trump is such a narcissist that he may easily be manipulated. His intuitive policy is to pull BACK from war. At least a blind choice is better than Hillary’s push for war, definitely. But who knows?” Really, who knows?

Another one, also a leftist and a seasoned student of international realities, who had written an angry article last summer, protesting, in very strong terms about the kinds of attacks the US mainstream media have launched against the Republican nominee, was more sober than in his article: “Νothing is worse than Clinton. Trump will rely on the Republicans in Congress for foreign policy, which makes him very dangerous. If he breaks with the party elites he will mend ties with Russia and Syria, but it is a big if. If he sticks to a protectionist trade policy he will face problems with China and the West coast. Nothing positive will result from these elections”.

The simile of a political life

In his Republic Plato describes a cave inside which a group of prisoners is able to see only the shadows of beings and of their movements. But nowadays, to follow world politics, including US elections, one sometimes has the impression of looking merely at the shadows of the shadows! The real game is very far away from the scene of the drama between Clinton and Trump, and we are kept in the dark concerning the real object of the competition. Are different strategic lines really behind it, and if so which ones? At one level they seem to exist. At another, some conspiracy theorists would argue that, at a deeper strategic level, all this is about the same “establishment of the establishment” proposing different products to different sections of its clientele. Who knows? as my friend put it.

During the previous eight years the strategic image was quite clear, at least for those who wanted to see it. On the one hand we had President Obama and people like Brzezinski. Obama was elected on the basis of opposition to imperial overextension and a crazy program of wars in the Middle East which many people inside the US and international establishment, large sections of public opinion, the US Armed Forces, etc. believed to be extremist, dangerous and not corresponding to any US interest.

On the other hand we had Clinton and the neocons (strongly supported by Netanyahu, who was also opposed by forces inside his own establishment). This camp pushed for escalation in the Middle East (and Ukraine), in order to complete the program announced long ago by the most extremist forces of the international establishment, around the project for a “new American century”. Obama resisted these plans, albeit in a not always consistent and often unspoken way. He was reluctant to stop the wars in Libya and probably did not understand, until it was too late, what was at stake in Ukraine. His political alternative to the “extremely extremist”, but nevertheless more coherent, project of the forces behind neocons, such as “political Islam” or Erdogan, proved to be very weak. And you cannot have a very serious policy when Clinton and Nuland are following other  agendas than the President, nobody in the Administration is really sure what the CIA is doing, and senior military people rely on  Seymour Hersh to put a brake on extremism!

Brzezinski has also very strongly and consistently resisted extremist policies in the Middle East, but he was blind to the dangers of escalation in Ukraine. The forces behind neocons used his deep, near pathological hostility to Russia to undermine his opposition to their plans.

Obama is rightly criticized for Afghanistan, Libya and other things, but we should remember that the President of the United States opposed the extremists, and he could not do it otherwise, in the general context of pursuit of American imperial politics. History will credit him (and Russian intervention) for stopping military intervention in Syria and sealing a nuclear agreement with Iran. Under his presidency, international neocons had to use mainly the services of Sarkozy in Paris and Cameron in London to launch the war which destroyed  Libya. Clinton was helpful in this connection.

The fact that the President of the United States was unable to close Guantanamo for instance, something he obviously wished to do, says a lot about the kind of forces that all but hijacked US state after the collapse of the USSR. And about their strength: a veritable state within the state.

Deception, virtual realities and conspiracies

Bear in mind that we have been living internationally, especially since the supposed end of the Cold War, in a historic era of deception and virtual realities. And it could not be otherwise. The infinitesimal minorities of power, money and knowledge ruling our world cannot announce their program and the future they are preparing for us. If they did, they would provoke a revolution. They are also unable at this time to launch head-on confrontation with societies and nations. Conspiracies have existed throughout history, but now they are tending to become the norm. There is no more effective weapon than the kind of smart (and evil) power that enables you influence your own opponent and lead him into choices that will seal his defeat. Classic political, social and geopolitical analysis is still the key to understanding social and international phenomena, but it must be supplemented by a deep and not always straightforward understanding of the real strategies in play.

Look how many incredible things have happened in a period of  30 years and are continuing to happen. The leader of the Soviet Union and “world communism” himself destroyed his own country and system, in a way the most powerful foreign army could not dream of. In Iraq Sunnis who so bravely resisted the US invasion were provided with a Wahhabi ISIS leadership arranged by the CIA and other allied services laboratories. In Greece the (verbally) most radical of the European “radical Left” parties is now following a policy most neoliberals would regard as extremist. And in the USA we are following a presidential campaign which is merely the distorted reflection, the tip of the iceberg, of huge battles going on behind the scenes, among the main centres of Imperial Power such as  Wall Street, the CIA, the army, the lobbies, etc.

Not many sensible people would disagree with some of the ideas put forward by Trump on foreign policy, especially in relation to US-Russia relations and Syria, in his latest interview with Reuters. But does he mean them? Can we believe that he will do what he says? Is he speaking the truth or he is just performing a manoeuvre that Professor James Petras predicted as early as June , when he wrote that “Trump’s electoral victory will hinge on his capacity to cover-up his neo-liberal turn and focus voters’ attention on Clinton’s militaristic, Wall Street, conspiratorial and anti-working class politics” (http://petras.lahaine.org/?p=2086)

Trump has said too many contradictory things on various subjects, from Cuba to Korea and from Islam to Ukraine (which he visited after Maidan) for it to be easy for the uninitiated to know what star he will really follow if elected. He is a very intelligent man and everything he says can be read two ways. (For instance, he said he will not automatically defend the Baltics, which is music to Russian ears, but he explained that US allies have to do more for NATO defenses if they are to count on the US. The probability of Russia invading Baltics is near zero. The second part of the equation, the increase in military spending by NATO allies is what really remains from such declarations).

Generals do not win the same battles a second time: in order to win one must change tactics, always bearing in mind that war remains to a great extent a continuation of politics by other means. Clinton appears much more than Trump the war candidate. But let us remember that Clinton will be, politically,  a very weak president, if elected. Trump will be much stronger if elected “against the Establishment”.  His rise embodies the anger of the  popular and middle strata in the USA. The million dollar question is: in which direction will he channel their anger?

Globalization and Nationalism

After all, globalization is not only, or not as much, about subjugating and destroying nations, as nationalists claim. It is doing that, and nationalists are right to protest and oppose it. But, behind its amorphous surface and ideology there also lies the domination of some nations by others and, also, the domination of the strategically coherent wing of finance over everybody. As the decade of the 30s should have taught us, domination can be effected not only by crushing nations but also by exploiting their nationalism. Some smart unorthodox generals of globalization, such as the member of the steering committee of Bildeberg Peter Thiel, are drawing up their own plans on how to use Trump and the deep protest of the American demos to the service of the forces they provoked it, the classic example how such a turn around can be achieved, remaining again German history of the 20th century (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/21/peter-thiel-republican-convention-speech)

People in the USA, but also around the globe, are so fed up with the policies of the Western establishment, especially the US and the banking establishment and, also, so discouraged at their own capacity to stop these policies, that they are ready to believe blindly and follow uncritically any politician, of the Left or of the Right, promising a radical change, taking at face value whatever they say. As the tragic European experience of the 20th Century amply proves, this can be the road to disaster.

Isolationism, Interventionism, Militarism

Many people believe for instance that the election of Mr. Trump will lead to a sort of withdrawal of America from world affairs. This would be a very positive evolution, given the role America is playing in the world. But if Trump really wants to get America back, then why he is proposing an increase in military spending and why is he saying that America must be militarily stronger than any other power? What is the meaning of his slogan “America First”? Who will be the second, the third, the fourth, or the 100th in this hierarchy? By what means and through what policies, other than intervention, he will be able to deliver this result?

In fact, no one should give much credit to what US politicians say about the role of USA in the world. It is much wiser to see what they do.

President Wilson, for instance, proclaimed in 1917 that Americans would never become involved in the European slaughter. Two months later the United States intervened military in the First World War, sealing the defeat of Germany and initiating their own domination of Europe for a century! (*)

Ask any political scientist worldwide about the US Democrats and Republicans. You will invariably get the answer that Democrats are the interventionists, Republicans the isolationists. But how is it then to be explained that it was the Republican George Bush Jr. that invaded Iraq, inaugurating a “strategy of chaos” and jeopardizing peace around the globe?

Are political scientists stupid? Of course not. They simply don’t want to face the constant reality of US imperial policy since the Monroe doctrine was proclaimed in 1902. They don’t have any desire to uncover the deep roots of this phenomenon in the economic structure of the USA, the role of its multinationals, etc. This is why they prefer to focus on important but still secondary factors such as the personalities of presidents or the ideology of the two parties. The same is true of many politicians around the globe, who prefer not to look straight into the eyes of the monster and, instead, try to accommodate its existence, one way or another.

The phenomenon of US imperialism is not the result of the particular character of one president or another. It is deeply rooted in the economic structure of the USA and in the relationship they build with the outside world.

The USA was built as an empire during the 20th century. Only a very deep social, economic and cultural transformation could change the character and the role of this country.

If one wants to make predictions about future US policies, it is better to look at the military programs of the United States than to study various declarations and ideologies. US militarism emerged in a big way in 1914, first as a means of supplying Europeans with what they needed to kill each other and, after 1917, Americans with what they needed to dominate the world. It has been developing unabated since that time, even after the post-World War II enemy, the Soviet superpower, decided to commit suicide! The United States spend on weapons as much as all other countries together. They have troops and bases in more than 50 countries around the globe. They have renounced to the ABM treaty, which was the cornerstone of the arms control system during the Cold War. (And it was the Americans who insisted on, and finally secured, the agreement of the Soviets for this treaty).

Both Clinton and Trump are in favour of increasing military spending: (http://www.defenddemocracy.press/no-matter-wins-election-military-spending-stay/).  Only Sanders, during his  campaign, proposed to lower military spending , in order to provide more money for social needs. Doing this, he confirmed that only a strong popular movement and the existence of strong outside opposition to imperialistic plans (from Europe, Russia or China, or a combination of these) can really contain US imperialism and militarism. (The same is true of Keynesian politics, proposed by some western economists. Such politics would not have become the capitalist orthodoxy of their time if there had not been strong workers movement and if the USSR had  not existed at the time. Nobody would have forgiven Germany’s debt after the War, nor would there have been any thought of the  Marshall Plan if there had not been very strong Communist parties in Western Europe after the War and a very powerful Red Army in Berlin).

Only the emergence of a big popular peace movement such as the one existing in the West in the past can stop the descent to war that is rooted in the very structure of the prevailing economic and social system. And such a movement can have a chance only if combined with efforts to defend the achievements of Western societies after 1945 and to create a better order than the existing one.

More and more forces around the globe are emerging to resist the terrible aspects: social, ecological, military-geopolitical, of an emerging “totalitarian Empire of globalization”. But they still lack an alternative vision.

(*) Another classic example of “isolationist” talk preparing an interventionist policy is Yugoslavia. In 1990, as the USSR was collapsing, nobody seemed to need the USA in the Balkans. All the peninsula was looking to Europe for its future and, at the same time, it had strong economic, cultural and military ties with Russia. When Germany, Austria and the Vatican encouraged the war in Yugoslavia, Washington kept a distance, letting the Germans do the dirty job with the Serbs and provoke a lot of dissatisfaction with their own partners, especially the French, British, Greeks. From time to time US politicians were even saying that they would leave the Balkans, that they were not interested in Europe. Of course they had no intention of leaving, otherwise they would not at the same time have built one of their greatest military bases abroad in FYROM. Every time the Americans said they were leaving a kind of panic came over  European capitals. Berlin had inaugurated the destruction of Yugoslavia, but it could not finish the job. The war in Yugolsavia was meant in Berlin as a way of reaffirming the new international role of a reunited Germany. In the end Europeans were begging Americans to come back.

When Germany was sufficiently exposed and Europe had failed miserably, the Americans stepped in with NATO airplanes and Holbrook diplomacy to finish the job in two phases (the Dayton agreement and the Kosovo War). They sealed the defeat of Serbia, the exclusion of Russia (which failed to protect its Serbian brothers) and the end of any ambition of an autonomous European foreign and defense policy for the foreseeable future. Nobody needed them in 1990, but in 2000 they were again fully dominating the strategic landscape in the Balkans,  a region of capital importance for any future war with Russia and also a possible energy transit road  (by the way, what happened inYugoslavia has many similarities with the debt war against Greece and the Germany/IMF role).

First published in www.defenddemocracy.press

 

 

LEILA KHALED ON ISIS AND ISLAMISM, SYRIA AND THE PALESTINIANS

An Interview of Leila Khaled to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency

 

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

 

ISIS is a criminal organization which was created, and is used, by the USA. As for Syria, it

was not only the intervention of Russia, which in any case came after a number of years of

war. It was also the ability of the Assad government to defend itself, in particular by

securing the economic viability and nutritional sufficiency of Syria but also by forging an

army capable of defending its country. This is emphasized by Leila Khaled, leading cadre

of People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine, in an interview granted to the Athens

Press Agency.

 

The People’s Front (PFLP) is, after Fatah, the second most powerful grouping in the

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). It has its headquarters in Damascus and is the

most important organization of the Palestinian Left, with more combative positions than

those of Fatah. We took advantage of Leila Khaled’s recent visit to Athens, where she

participated in the festival “Resistance”, organized by the newspaper “Dromos tis Aristeras” (Left Road) to obtain for the Athens Press Agency, from first hand, the judgements of one of the centres of the Palestinian movement, on the dramatic developments that are now unfolding in all of the Middle East.

 

A terrorist for the Israelis, Khaled was a symbol throughout the world for the Palestinian

armed struggle, following her participation in one of the four simultaneous hijackings of

September 1970, inspiring songs, films and works of art internationally. These hijackings

were part of the Palestinian “response” to the ignominious defeat they suffered with the

occupation of their territories by Israel in 1967 and their massacre by Jordan in the “Black

September” of 1970.

 

Because the PFLP was a Marxist organization with an internationalist ideology it was feted

by the circles both of the European “anti-imperialist” Left (such as, for example, the

International Revolutionary Marxist Tendency [TMRI], an international organization headed

by the Greek Michaelis Raptis (Pablo) ) and by the “Third Worldist” groupings such as the

Sandinistas of Nicaragua. These forces also contributed practically to the international

(outside the Arab world) armed actions of the PFLP. Conversely, their cadres were trained

in Palestinian refugee camps. They included Greek opponents of the military dictatorship

and Cypriot socialists, who wished to prepare for similar forms of action for the liberation of

their island from Turkish occupation.

 

“I’m not interested in what they say about me. I know who I am and I know my people,”

Khaled replies when reminded of the accusations of terrorism that are levelled against her.

As for the repeated defeats suffered by the Palestinian and Arab national movement

(reflected, in her view, in the rise of Islamism among the Arab masses) they do not

represent a “definitive defeat” of the Palestinians. “We have internalized a culture of

resistance” she says, adding that “the Arab national question is not a matter of a single

generation” and emphasizing that the struggles and the experiences build upon each other

until the day that they yield the desired result.”

For Leila Khaled developments in the Middle East are the outcome of implementation of a

plan aimed at destroying the strongest armies of the Arabs (the Iraqi, the Libyan and the

Syrian) but also their countries, the site of great ancient civilizations. As for the differences

between neo-conservatives and the tendency of Brzezinski or Obama with Netanyahu,

 

she believes them to be tactical, with no bearing on major strategic objectives. Khaled

believes that the plan for federalization of Syria is part of a scheme for “fragmentation” of

the states of the Middle East. She says that the Kurds “are being used” and she maintains

that Israel is evolving towards a variety of fascism.

 

This is the complete text of the discussion we had with Leila Khaled:

 

D.K. Summarizing many decades of Palestinian struggle, it would be easy to conclude that

the Palestinian movement has been defeated. It waged a heroic struggle, but it did not

achieve its aims. What would you say in response to such a remark?

 

L.K. I don’t see it that way. The struggles of the peoples are not measured in terms of a

handful of years. They are cumulative and this aggregation leads, as Marxists say, to

qualitative change. The Arab movement needs more than one generation. We succeeded

in assimilating a culture of resistance, the conviction that we cannot continue living as we

live now, under occupation, that we cannot permit the continuation of this occupation. It is

for this reason that we are obliged to continue, with all the trials and tribulations, all the

pain, all the sacrifices. And despite all this we remain devoted to the dreams of our people,

to the goal of restoration and return to our homeland, liberated from the Zionists.

 

D.K. In the course of the past decades we have seen, within the Palestinian movement,

but also more generally in the Arab world, a turn from the predominance of nationalism to

the predominance of Islamism. Probably this was something preferred by Israel, so as to

secure the support of the West, something that was harder to achieve for as long as it was

confronted by national liberation movements and secular regimes. How do you interpret

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this turn?

 

L.K. Our region in any case has the culture of Islam, and I don’t mean just the religious

phenomenon but the culture in a broader sense, for the last 1,400 years. Even the

Christians of the region have been imbued with that culture. Dr. Habash, the founder and

historical leader of the PFLP, was born a Christian but he too believed that the Christians

as well have the culture of Islam because that, for 1,400 years, has been the culture of all

of Arabia. In Palestine there were Islamist movements but they dissolved when we were

faced by the Zionist invasion and everyone united to confront it. In Egypt the British had

founded the Muslim Brotherhood when they colonized the country. They were active in

Egypt but they were not leaders of the people and of the masses, though they maintained

sections in various parts of the Arab world. In 1952, when Nasser, with his comrades and

the army made their revolution in Egypt, they suppressed the Brotherhood because they

regarded them as an internal threat. But this changed with the war of 1967, when all of

Palestine, the Golan Heights and Sinai was occupied by Israel and in 1973 Israel’s

agreement with Egypt was signed, removing it from the conflict. Egypt is the dominant

power in the Arab world. As for the reactionary Arab regimes, they said they were with the

Palestinians, but they stabbed us in the back, despite financing the Palestinian resistance

and the PLO.

 

When the Palestinian armed resistance made its appearance after 1967 it was hit by

Jordan, in Lebanon and by Israel of course. The Palestinian revolution was hit by the Israelis and in 1982 it was forced to leave Lebanon. And before that it had taken a beating from Jordan, under the direction of Henry Kissinger and the US administration, who planned and

directed the whole process, following a strategy of splitting the Arabs and the Palestinians,

the better to deal with them. Kissinger’s first move was at Camp David (1973), to detach

 

Egypt from the conflict. There was popular resistance to the agreement in Egypt, because

the Egyptian people supported the Palestinians and the Egyptians, who had gone to war

three times against Israel, perceived it as an enemy. This gave the Islamists the

opportunity to resurface, giving expression to this opposition.

 

D.K. By the way some people believe that even today Israel has quite an influence with the Egyptian army.

 

L.K. That’s true to some extent, but it is not so effective today. To return to the Islamists,

Hamas, which is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, was founded in 1988,

to participate in the Palestinian popular insurrection, the Intifada. They were supported by

various countries and the international Muslim Brotherhood. But they didn’t join the united

Palestinian national resistance. They preferred to remain on their own. And of course the

Iranian revolution against the Shah played its part.

 

Look now at what happened. In 1982 we sustained a defeat. The PLO leadership was out

of the country. In 1990 the Soviet Union and the socialist countries collapsed. We lost the

support that we had had. The Arab national cause was defeated. So it was very easy for

the Islamist groups to rise up again.

 

D.K. So what is involved reflects the defeat of the Arab national cause.

 

L.K. Exactly. Seeing in our societies that everything was collapsing around them, they

went back to Islam. And they believed in the Islamists also because Hamas and El Jihad

were in fact putting up a resistance, apart from the split they were provoking.

 

D.K. Many people say that the Arabs themselves are at fault for what is happening to

them. They never unite, etc. etc.

 

L.K. That is true. It is not just our enemies. It is we ourselves. How we act against our

enemies and against our peoples. At the official level, the Arab regimes are not

democratic. They don’t do what they should do for their people. They don’t have democracy,

sustainable development. Their economies are linked to the imperialist centre. .

 

D.K. The Soviet Union played a role in the creation of the state of Israel, but later they

helped the Arabs. What was the effect of all this on the Arab Left?

 

L.K. The Soviets developed a good relationship with Egypt in Nasser’s time, with Syria

and with Iraq. They supported South Yemen in its struggle with the British. But

unfortunately all this collapsed with perestroika, glasnost, Gorbachev and Yeltsin. This

represented a great loss, at first, for theor people t5hemselves.

 

D.K. How do you see the role of Russia in the Middle East today?

 

L.K. First and foremost they want to defend their allies. They want a foothold in the region,

in accordance with their interests. Now they don’t base themselves on principles. They

base themselves on vested interests. And it is in their interest to defend their own country

in the Middle East. In reality they are defending themselves. This is why they intervened to

defend the Assad regime from ISIS and from foreign interventions. Because the Americans

are in Iraq but also in Syria, surreptitiously, employing other means.

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D.K. Do you judge the Russian intervention as positive or negative?

 

L.K. To some extent it has thwarted attempts to bring down the regime.

 

 

D.K. Recently we have seen very serious and quite unaccustomed differentiations within

the Israeli establishment, such as the declarations of the former Defense Minister and

senior officers of Mossad, against Netanyahu, using very harsh language. How do you

interpret this?

 

L.K. Israel is moving more and more towards extremism and is being transformed into an

apartheid state (of racial discrimination). But this is just one aspect of it. Another is that the

society is on the road towards fascism. All the polls indicate that this government is a

government of colonists and extremists. And a senior military man came out recently and

said it, that he was concerned about the course that both society and the army were on

and that we are seeing in society and in the army features comparable to what was seen

in the thirties in Germany. And he was denounced very vigorously by the government. But

he was telling the truth. Because more and more parties are appearing that, even in their

own name, regard Israel as a Jewish state. But when you say a Jewish state you are

saying apartheid, because 20% of the population of Israel are Palestinians.

 

D.K. Such a historic turn, if in fact confirmed, would be very impressive. Given the great

role played, at least by poor Jews, by their workers and intellectuals, a century ago, in the international socialist movement. But also the history of their persecution, particularly by the European far right. It seems as this people goes through a monumental “paradigm change”.

 

L.K. Look, they have placed the Holocaust as the founding stone for their demand to

have a country of their own in Palestine and now they are carrying out the Holocaust of the

Palestinians. But the Palestinians had no involvement in what happened in Europe with

the two world wars. We were under a mandate. We were under a colonial regime also.

 

D.K. In human psychology it is said that human beings behave as they are behaved to. I

wonder if the same applies with nations. One day, going to Ramallah with George

Papandreou where we were to meet Arafat, I saw written on a brick, next to the

checkpoint, the word “Achtung” (“attention” in German). Not even one German a year goes

through there. I thought I was entering symbolicall the Warsaw ghetto.

 

L.K. Fascists are in action there, against the Palestinians. .

 

D.K. Speaking of fascism, I have been impressed by the approach of many organizations

of the European far right to circles in Israel. Given the history of it and their ideology up to

now, it was the last thing anyone would expect.

 

L.K. It took us twenty years to educate our people that Judaism as a religion is one thing

and Zionism another. When we were kids and our mother wanted to punish us or frighten

us she would say: “I will tell the Jews.” Always the Jews were our enemy. But we changed

that. Our people does not equate the Jews with the Zionists. They understand that a Jew

is a human being. But of course with the Jews and Israel strange things happen. For example American presidential candidates usually highlight on their programs the security of Israel, not the security of the USA!

 

  1. What do you think of Trump?

 

  1. He is crazy (she laughs). But I will say this. At the beginning of his campaign he said “I

will solve the conflict with the Palestinians peacefully.” They all say that. Bush said it and

Obama said it. But they don’t do anything. There is a Lobby and they can’t get round it.

Later Trump laid emphasis on the security of Israel. I have the impression that if they elect

him it will be a disaster for the USA. He wants to have files on Muslims and stop

Muslim immigration, even though they need migrants for economic reasons. But of course

in the USA isn’t only the President that makes policy. It is a country with institutions. The

war industry and AIPAC (the most important pro-Israeli lobby in the USA) also have their

influence over the President. After Bush and the war in Iraq the USA’s image throughout

the world was ruined. So they brought Obama, the first black President in the history of the

US, an exceptional public speaker and went about examining the question that their own

media was continually presenting to them: “Why does everyone hate us?”

 

D.K. You present Obama as a simple changing of the guard. But he disagreed with

Netanyahu and stopped the plan for war with Iran. That is not insignificant.

 

L.K.. Between Israel and the USA there is a powerful bond of support from the latter to the

former: economic and military. Netanyahu wants more economic assistance and is

continually pushing for new wars. The Americans studied the case for making war in Iraq.

They went to war whose only result was to destroy Iraq. They destroyed that country and

left it in a state of civil war. They did this because they thought that this state was a threat

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to Israel. After that came Syria, in the context of the American plan for the new greater

Middle East, with Israel as the strongest power in the region.

 

D.K. Still, there were potent differentiations inside the American establishment. What you

describe was primarily the plan of the neocons.

 

L.K. These are tactical differences, not major disagreements. The American-Zionist plan

was for destruction of the three biggest Arab armies: the Iraqi, the Syrian and the Egyptian.

All three of these countries are also countries of great civilizational significance. Look what

they did in Baghdad when they occupied  it: the looting and the destruction of the museum.

Now they’re doing the same thing again, but using ISIS.

 

D.K. You think that the Americans founded ISIS?

 

L.K. Yes. They founded it in Iraq and they are using it. Even though they say that they are

fighting terrorism. There have been many appeals for a conference to define terrorism. But

they have never done this. Because they want to use the term “terrorism” as it suits them.

 

D.K. You are a terrorist for them, though I admit you don’t look very much like one.

 

L.K. I’m not interested in what they say. I know who I am and I know my people and that’s

enough as far as I’m concerned.

 

D.K. On a Russian site, Sputnik, I recently read an article saying that Russia could

replace the USA as Israel’s strategic ally. Could something like that happen?

 

L.K. No, it’s not possible. Their interests are different.

 

D.K. Look now, they’ve destroyed Iraq and Libya and in part Syria also. Those three

states were based on a specific balance between the national components in them, which

in part reflected the colonialist strategy. Do you think that it is possible for there to be a

 

return to the previous status quo, e.g. in Syria. Or a federation, for example?

 

L.K. The aim was for them to destroy Syria.

 

D.K. The Russian intervention prevented that.

 

L.K. Not only. The regime itself resisted. The army defended the regime and the country,

against the criminals from all over the world that they brought to Syria under the flags of

ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al-Nusra.. ..

 

D.K. But at the beginning of the troubles there was social discontent with the Assad

regime…

 

L.K. Of course, but it’s not the only country where there is unrest. Look, Syria was able to

resist because it was not in debt and was economically viable. Assad took the appropriate

measures. From the time that the Americans imposed sanctions on him, Assad took the

appropriate measures for farming and stockbreeding, before the war. Syria has enough

bread to feed the population. It doesn’t need to import it. It has secured its supply of meat,

for four years. It’s true that there is no democracy, just as there wasn’t in the USSR either.

This is one of its great failures. So to some extent the regime was able to stand up to the

pressure and didn’t collapse like Libya. The Russians came later, at the end.

With Syria, if you criticize the foreign intervention, they tell you that you are with the

regime. If you criticize the regime, they say you are part of the conspiracy against it. We,

the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, made our position clear from the outset.

We are not part of this crisis. We are refugees in Syria. The people of Syria has the right to

make decisions for its country. We support the popular demands for democracy and

freedom. It is the people of Syria who have the right to change its regime. It isn’t our task.

We have our hands full with Israel.

 

Neither the opposition nor the regime were happy with that stance and they openly

disapproved of it. But we didn’t leave Syria. We are going to stay here because we have

nowhere else to go. And they give us due respect as Palestinians in Syria. 600,000

Palestinians live in Syria, though many have left because of the crisis.

 

D.K. How do you see the role of the Kurds today?

 

L.K. They are using them now. Barzani is with the Israelis and the same applies for the

Kurds of Iraq. Israeli companies are now operating in Iraqi Kurdistan.

 

D.K. What about the Kurds in Turkey and Syria?

 

L.K. They have the right to autonomy in Turkey and in Syria. .

D.K. Autonomy or a state?

 

L.K. Look, the Kurds live in four countries: Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. If they want to

secede I don’t think it will work. These countries are not allies. But when it comes to the

Kurdish issue, all four of them ally with each other!

 

D.K. The plan for a federation in Syria?

 

L.K. I disagree with it. This plan is part of a project for fragmenting Syria into small states.