Tag Archives: Syria

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

Le Pen, Trump, Corbyn and the prospect of War

by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos (*)

Let me begin by expressing my profound and sincere admiration for the political instincts of the Islamic terrorists. They seem to possess a formidable sense of political timing.

For the last three weeks no serious and knowledgeable observer (unfortunately there are not many of them these days) could be in any doubt about our being thoroughly implicated in an accelerating momentum towards war.

Ostensibly against Islam, “radical” or otherwise, and against Korea. In reality against Russia, China and the rest of the world.

But also against ourselves! Becoming an empire, Rome has ceased to be a republic.


War and Peace

This is not just the opinion of the author of these lines. Mr. Leon Panetta, former US Secretary of Defense, has warned that Mr. Trump is risking a nuclear war in Korea. Former  acting CIA director Mike Morell has also characterized  Trump’s policies in East Asia as “provocative”.

The Russian Prime Minister has said that the world went one step away from a direct military conflict between the two nuclear superpowers that are present in Syria. His Minister of Defense thought it appropriate to recall, on the very day that Mr. Tillerson was in conference in Moscow, that his country’s entire nuclear arsenal is in a state of “combat readiness”. According to one of the best-known “Russologists” in the US, Professor Cohen of the University of Princeton, the United States and Russia are in their most dangerous confrontation since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Of course your newspapers and televisions are telling you that nothing very important is happening. Our politicians are either trying to hide the truth (if they understand it themselves) or are at a loss to know how to face this situation.

This race towards war in reality began much earlier but now,   with the election of Mr. Trump in the United States, which has already proven to be political history’s most egregious act of deception, it has entered a decisive phase, though the process is not linear and much further twisting and turning may still be in store.

Most people, including decision makers and those who are well-informed, are not psychologically ready or intellectually prepared to accept what we have just written. But one should bear in mind that this is exactly how things were on the eve of the First and Second World Wars, and it greatly facilitated their outbreak.

The possibility of a large-scale war, though the progress towards it is complicated by the existence of nuclear weapons, was already inscribed in the global economic crisis that made its appearance in 2008 and is still ongoing.  This crisis is profound, comparable in  its depth to the crisis of 1873-96 that led to the First World War, and the crisis of 1929 that led to the Second World War. It also explains the crisis of the European Union, clearly the most important in its history.


Donald Trump exposed

Over ten days in April we had the bombardment of Syria, threats against Russia, Iran and Korea, the reminder from Russia of the existence of its nuclear arsenal, the threat of nuclear war in Korea, the bombardment of Afghanistan with the most powerful bomb employed in war since the bombing of Hiroshima, and the test of a new atomic weapon in Nevada, destined to destroy the enemy leaders, even in their bunkers.

The world has never before seen this kind of thing in such a short space of time, even at the beginning of the two world wars. Not a bad harvest for just ten  days!

They are trying to tell us that everything that is happening is nothing more than business as usual, that this is not a project that has been under preparation for years but is a just a sudden inspiration from Ivanka Trump and her husband, who come into Daddy’s office every day and suggest that he should bomb this country or threaten that country, risk or not risk a nuclear war, test this or that weapon.

If this is true Ivanka and her husband seem to combine the ambition of an Alexander the Great with the strategic skill of a Napoleon,  of a Marshal Tukhachevsky and the generals of Hitler, who planned the blitzkriegs at the beginning of the Second World War, all together.

One might expect that the international press would raise some very serious issues and ask questions. But there has been nothing. The big newspapers have treated all this as banal routine. They have even hidden from their readers information of very great  significance, which would have made headlines if we were living in the sixties or the eighties of the last century. Such as for example the reminder by the Russian press agency Sputnik on 13th April (the same day that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was having talks in Moscow) of the Russian Defence Minister’s statements that almost all of his country’s strategic nuclear arsenal is “combat readiness” and that 96% of the missile launchers in a state of “immediate launching”.

One cannot find such information in these same newspapers. Nor can one find a debate on the possibility of a nuclear war that could eliminate life on earth. But one can find numerous articles on the atrocious treatment of homosexuals in Chechnya, published simultaneously in many different publications. If Goebbels were still alive in our day, he would be green with envy.

All of the newspapers that were criticizing Mr. Trump so severely   only two weeks ago are now quite happy with him. It seems that what Mr. Trump has achieved is very much in line with the expectations of those who control global information.


Prepare Europe for War

On the face of it the war is against Islam and Korea. But the “real adversary”, as Monsieur Hollande would say, the enemy that is lurking behind Islam and Korea is none other than Russia, China and the rest of the world.

If one is in such a situation it makes no sense to try to understand and analyse what occurs in France, Great Britain, the United States, without taking into account the international context.

If, as just postulated, we are well entrenched in the dynamic of preparation for a war in a different category of importance from those we have seen in recent decades, then Politics is called to prepare the War (its continuation) and War has to condition political choices.

Whether she is conscious of it or not (this is not the most important aspect), this is precisely what Madame Le Pen is doing, attacking Islam every second day. It is the war for which she is preparing the French people by centering everything in her discourse on the question of security, characterizing as “totalitarianism” not the extraordinary hold of finance over all mankind, but “Islamic Jihadism”, which is the political result of our own interventions in the Middle East and the “organizational” result of the work in the Middle East of the American secret services and their allies.

That said, it is remarkable that this “radical” Islam is bending over backwards to… help Mme. Le Pen, choosing to carry out its attacks at the moments that are most opportune for her, whether on the eve of the regional elections in November 2015, or on the eve of the first round of presidential elections in France.

And in fact there has been in these last days a perceptible current, weak but perhaps sufficient, of voters moving from “radical Lepenism” to the “Mélenchon radicalism”. This little  current   could perhaps have propelled M. Mélenchon into the second round, and subsequently into the presidency. But the attacks in Paris three days before the elections may well have had the effect of checking the rise in support for Mélenchon,  securing his exclusion from the second round and so contributing to the final victory of Marine Lepen in the first round and of M. Macron in th second. We shall see.


Eliminate Corbyn!

If politics paves the way for war, war also conditions political choices. We cannot go into a great war with Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of the Labour Party. But all attempts to overthrow him have failed. This is most likely the reason why Theresa May decided to call early elections in Britain, hoping to inflict a defeat on Labour and thus finally enable the British establishment to get rid of this Mr. Corbyn. (It is perhaps also the reason for the violent attacks on the former mayor of London Mr. Ken Livingstone).

A few weeks ago, the British Minister of Defense made a very rare visit to Cyprus, where there are British bases of vital importance for any intervention in the Middle East. He declared that these bases “are more important now than at any moment in history.”  Given that “history” includes the creation of the state of Israel, the Israeli-Arab wars, the Suez crisis and the 1974 crisis between Greece and Turkey, there are reasons to be worried.


Controlling Turkey and Cyprus

Since September 2015, Russia’s military intervention has changed the strategic configuration of the Middle East as a whole.

If one wants to reverse the situation, neutralizing the Russian military force that is installed now in the center of the region,  it is necessary to impose the strictest possible control on the actions of Turkey, which finds itself between Russia and the Russian forces in Syria. This could be an explanation of the very hasty coup prepared against Erdogan in July 2016, a coup that was openly encouraged and announced before it happens by the American neocons.

To completely encircle the Russians it is also necessary to achieve total command over the island of Cyprus, which controls all the Eastern Mediterranean. This could very well help to explain the enormous pressures applied recently to “resolve” the Cyprus problem, avoiding the obligation of a referendum and imposing as a solution the transformation of the Cypriot state into a kind of post-modern Western protectorate, the second, after Greece, inside the EU.


“Encircle” Germany

In 2003 opposition in Paris and Berlin to the invasion of Iraq  gave Washington some problems. Now that something much more serious seems to be under preparation against Russia and/or China, it is absolutely essential to control Europe.

Words are not innocent. It has always been through words that one has prepared the way for wars. Mr. Steingart, editor of the most important German economic journal, Handelsblatt, and one of the most original minds still existing in the European press, wrote an article in August 2014. He did not take a position for or against Russia. He simply said that the German press is dealing with Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin, in reference to the Ukrainian crisis, in the same way that it dealt with Russia and the Russians in August 1914, that is to say at the outset of the First World War.

Germany already supports the US line on Ukraine and the Middle East, contrary to its own interests. But how long can it continue on such a course, for which it risks having to pay the costs?

There is no way of being sure in advance. This is why it is necessary, for a start, to control France and Great Britain. Consequently, given Berlin’s isolation from all of Europe’s periphery because of the economic war it has launched against its own partners, Berlin will find itself totally alone if it wants to oppose any project of a major war.


Reappearance in France of the US electoral triangle

On the eve of the first round of the presidential elections the French political landscape resembles last year’s scenario in the United States.

  • the emergence of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, totally unexpected, as was the emergence of Bernie Sanders in the United States (or of Corbyn in Great Britain), of a radical left current authentically  hostile to the wars in the Middle East and the confrontation with Russia. What is at issue here is not the chances of success of this current given the demands of the objective situation. The fact is that it constitutes a certain progressive opening and a certain impediment to the push towards war.
  • the official representative of financial capital and globalization, the ex-banker and financial advisor to the Rothschilds: Emmanuel Macron, the French equivalent of Hillary Clinton.
  • Marine Le Pen, apparently corresponding to Donald Trump in the United States.

Le Pen says that she is against the attack on Syria, but all her declarations on Islam prepare the political ground for a great offensive in the Middle East. Trump also said that he was against the policies of overthrowing Assad, but he has just started a new war against him.

Mme Le Pen says that she is a friend of Russia. Mr. Trump also let it be understood that he wanted better relations with Russia, but he has already led relations with Moscow to their most dangerous point since the Cuba crisis of the sixties!

Donald Trump also intimated that he is an enemy of Goldman Sachs, multinationals, finance, globalization. And he ended up investing Mr. Gary Cohn of Goldman Sachs (one of the architects of Greece’s economic and social ruin) with all the powers over economic subjects.

The fact that the adversary of Mme. Le Pen is M. Macron suggests to electors that she is an adversary of Finance, and that facilitates victory for her in a duel with Macron. But probably M. Rothschild realizes that as well as anyone else. If he really wanted to eliminate Le Pen and have her lose the election, why didn’t he advise his banker not to stand against her and propose a personality less well-known for his relations with the world of finance and more likely to beat Le Pen?

Is Mme Le Pen really what she makes herself out to be? Or is she too an accessory to what looks like world history’s greatest act of deception, which started with the election of Trump on a platform that is the total opposite of what he is now implementing?

It is one thing to judge ideas, another to judge people. People should be judged on the basis of their own ideas, not ours. A nationalist,  a fascist, a liberal, a socialist, a Trotskyist: they are to be judged by comparing what they do with the ideas they announce themselves as defending, with their own supposed ideology and system of ethics, not with ours.

How can one explain that Mme Le Pen, given her origins, has become a friend of Israel or of homosexuals? Could a partisan of General de Gaulle defend France’s colonial heritage in Algeria?

Is it a question of run-of-the-mill political opportunism, which is so prevalent? Or is it a question of a quasi-Faustian “historical compromise” that she has already concluded with the Devil, as each of our readers might like to understand him?

None of this means that Mme Le Pen is necessarily aware of the role she will be called upon to play.  Prior to her, Mr. Trump, Mr. Tsipras, M. Hollande, played out the role that was required of them, not because they knew it in advance but because they didn’t.


Trump’s Election – the coup of the millennium!

The election of Donald Trump in the United States has already proved to be world political history’s greatest feat of deception.  Elected as an opponent of Financial Globalization, an opponent of the Middle East wars, a supporter of better relations with Russia (exactly what Marine Le Pen claims in France), Donald Trump (or rather the forces that control him and set him up) has already handed over all the economic power to Goldman Sachs.

To follow up on that he utilized the Idlib provocation (as Hitler used the Reichstag fire) to recommence the well-known and well-publicized  program of the neocons in its most dangerous previsions (overthrowing of the regimes of Assad and North Korea, wars – probably nuclear –  against Iran and North Korea). A program whose most dangerous previsions had been halted  because of the strong opposition, albeit not open and political, of Obama, of an important section of the armed forces and secret services of the United States and Israel and, above all, of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s  decision to intervene militarily in Syria.

Despite certain differences, what is involved here is a repetition sui generis of the historical trajectory of German National Socialism. Nazism was propelled to power through a display of opposition to big capital and the victors of the First World War. Hitler pretened to be a friend, and even an ally, of Soviet Russia.

He then eliminated those, like Roehm and his friends, who helped him take state power (as Trump eliminated Steve Bannon), put himself at the disposal of German big capital and, finally, launched Operation Barbarossa to destroy his friend and supposed ally.


Published in DefendDemocracy Press

First publisjed in DefendDemocrasy on April 22nd under the title 

Mélenchon (et Corbyn) ou la Guerre

 “Translated from French by Wayne Hall


(*) Journalist, writer, graduate in Physics. Advisor to Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou on East-West relations and Arms Control (1985-88). Greek Press Agency ANA chief correspondent in Moscow (1989-1999).  Collaborated with Michel Pablo to launch the international review for self-management  Utopie Critique. Secretary of the Movement of Independent Greek Citizens (2011-12), Member of Secretariat of SYRIZA (2012-2013).

You can also read the following articles written in March before the initiation of the United States’ new military campaign.

Détruire l’UE, aller à la guerre au Moyen Orient, abolir les droits démocratiques – Qui et pourquoi a besoin de la mi-réelle, mi-fausse extrême droite française?

The Hijacking of France (from Donald Trump to Marine Le Pen)

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




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

Read also:
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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.

Read also:
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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



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.

Turkey: Is a military coup possible?

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

Some hours before the Brussels terror attacks, on the other side of the Atlantic, a rather astonishing article was posted on the website of the ultra-hawkish and pro-Israeli American Enterprise Institute. It was written by a known neocon activist with strong ties (at least in the past, but probably also now) with Turkish Kemalists, Michael Rubin. Τhe article was entitled “Could there be a coup in Turkey?” In it, Turkish military are all but strongly advised to overthrow President Erdogan. The author assures them that they have nothing to fear from USA, NATO or Europe if they do it. He is also “describing”, for Erdogan and his closest advisors, a fate not so different than the fate of the overthrown Egyptian President Morsi.

This publication is not an isolated incident. On March 10th, two former US ambassadors in Turkey did not go as far as to suggest a coup against Erdogan, still they called him to “reform or resign”, as goes the title of their article published in the Washington Post. One of the writers, Mr. Edelman, belongs to the core of neoconservatism. He is believed to have contributed greatly, from the sidelines, to the emergence of Erdogan, when influential people in the USA were looking around for a more “accomodating” and “friendly” person to replace as head of the Islamists the ousted by the army PM Erbakan, too “original” and too “authentic”. As for the other co-author of the piece in Washington Post, Mr. Abravomitz, he avoided being identified too much with Neoconservatives, still his soul seems not to be very far from their positions.


Read the full article here:

Behind Terror and Anti-Terror

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

Stop discussing about the roots of terrorism, stop debating our policies in the Middle East (and all the Third World, but those are anyway not debated long ago), stop protesting the curtailing of civil liberties or the uncontrolled activities of the secret services, stop any self-critique in the West.

Now it is time for war. We are already at war. War against Islamists, if not against Islam itself. And we have to win this war. It is not the right time to discuss about freedoms and principles. It is time to fight. You want to demonstrate against policies leading to climatic change, like it happened recently in Paris? It is forbidden. Of course you have the right. It would be better to let governments take care of the survival of the planet. But if you insist, ok, you may demonstrate. But please, wait until the fight with terror is over!

But, of course, the war on terror will never end, it is not even meant to end. Except if we do something serious to uproot its causes.

This is the political atmosphere in Europe, in the aftermath of the terror attacks which made Brussels live, for one day, what half of the Middle East is living through most of the time, without provoking any … excessive emotion. But it is different when the unfortunate victims are Western Europeans!
A European September 11th?

What is happening now in the European political landscape is very much reminiscent of what has happened in the US after the 9.11 attacks. Let us hope it will not have the same results.

As for the refugees, who were in the center of international attention some days ago, they are already classified by some people as the Enemy No1, they are no more refugees. Forget about big international banks and other financial institutions, which dominate European Union, European governments and all the “globalization” structures. Forget about NATO, USA and Neoconservatives, who control, as never before, much of Europe and who are threatening with a war against Russia and, indirectly, China.

After all, it seems more promising and safe for European politicians to invest in “war with Islam”, than to find the courage needed to defy the real Masters of Globalization!

As far as it concerns refugees themselves, even before the terror attacks in Brussels, the shifting of the tone was evident. Ok, it is tragic, it was said. But, after all, it is not our problem. Our problem is to defend ourselves. A Member of Parliament, in a central European country, went as far as to describe refugees as “Neanderthal men”. He seems convinced that Homo Sapiens, like we call ourselves, is really better than the Neanderthal Man. Personally, I have strong doubts about the idea, especially every time I watch TV news.

Many European politicians and media are adopting now, with fifteen years of delay, the political discourse which prevailed in the United States after September 11th. “Forgetting”, by the way, the almost causal link between US political discourse after 9.11 and the terrorist attacks in Brussels! They know Europeans are deeply dissatisfied with their lives. They “bomb” now their minds with chaotic, disorganizing signals, including those about refugees and terrorism, probably hoping to exploit the confusion they themselves create and the deep emotional shock after the attacks.
Erasing the main Arab countries!

Fifteen years ago, on the aftermath of 9.11, Bush and the neoconservatives behind (and inside!) him and his government launched the so-called “war on terror”. The armed forces of USA and Britain, then of NATO, and, under Sarkozy, also the French forces, or their friendly countries in the Middle East and local proxies, have completely destroyed Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen. The situation in Afghanistan remains, 15 years after US, British and NATO intervention, absolutely disastrous. Not to speak about Bahrain, Egypt or the destabilization of a large part of sub-saharian Africa, as a result of the attack against Libya, orchestrated by Nicolas Sarkozy and Bernard Henri-Levy.

It was only because of the strong resistance by Presidents Obama and Putin (and also because of the opposition of a part of US and Israeli defense and services establishment, conscious of the extremely dangerous character of the neoconservative project), that a war with Iran was averted. Such a war could potentially lead to the first use of “tactical” nukes after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, because it was clear from the very beginning that western conventional forces had not the possibility to overcome Iranian defense (and also destroy underground bunkers).

The “campaign against terror” and “the axis of evil” in the Middle East has not many precedents in the history of imperialism and colonialism. It was not a war of conquest or control, like so many we know. It was a war of deliberate destruction reflecting a strategy of Chaos. It is not strange that it has provoked terror attacks in Paris, Brussels or elsewhere. What is rather strange is that it has not provoked much more terror and that fact seems to vindicate “theorists of conspiracies”. “war on terror” not only did nothing to stop it, it has greatly contributed to terrorism and extreme Islamism.

Behind terrorism

There is something even more deeply astonishing about what is happening. If you examine more closely the facts, you will often discover the footprint of the same forces behind both terror and anti-terror, behind both the refugee flows and the reactions to them!

Take for example ISIS. We have a lot of indications, sometimes even proofs, that it was created and supported with the help of western, Israeli and the secret services of Sunni, pro-western Middle Eastern countries. Even Iraqi Kurds seem to have somehow cooperated in this project, at least in the beginning (they have denied it, but, according to some publications they “took” full control of Kirkuk, “in exchange” for Mosul). Now we can argue if all “contributors” to ISIS have anticipated or not, from the very beginning, where this would lead. What we have to exclude in any case, is that these forces, which helped, funded and cooperated closely with ISIS, have no information on its operational planning. Attacks like the ones in Paris or Brussels are not so simple to commit. They are complex military operations requiring many months of careful planning. Why western anti-terrorist agencies did not do more to deter them?

By the way the fact that Sunnis resisting, very bravely, US aggression in Iraq, have finally acquired a “leadership” in the form of ISIS, may be considered one of the biggest triumphs of colonialism in history. The only comparable situations were probably in the Soviet Union, when the leader of “world communism” became fun of Reagan and Thatcher, believing they would help him reform his country, or in Greece, with a party supposedly of the “radical left”, accepting and trying to apply an economic policy that even serious neoliberals would consider an aberration. There is no more full victory than to be able to shape your own adversaries!
Preparing post-liberal order

Now, many European politicians and commentators are behaving like new-born babies, who opened their eyes last Monday and saw around them people exploding themselves and millions of refugees wondering. They don’t know anything about what was done in the Middle East, but they are ready to go to war with Islam (and also Russia or China if they are ordered to do it). They are also ready to support any authoritarian measure in Europe, in order to “fight against terrorism”, in spite of ample evidence that such measures are of a very limited capability to stop terrorism, but of great capability to harm seriously democratic and social rights.

We know, since a long time, that such measures probably will be needed for very different reasons than fight against terrorism, like imposing much more draconian economic and social policies in Western Europe and USA or wage cold or hot war against Russia or China. Only authoritarian regimes in Europe and the States can really wage such wars. But, anyone wishing to impose such measures, needs a serious pretext and a new ideology. Terror attacks can provide them.
This totalitarian “Globalization Empire”, emerging from the collapse of the USSR, from the Maastricht Treaty, the Washington consensus etc., is still defending the (neo)liberal post – Cold War new order. But, its motivation is not ideological. They are not bound by any ideology, their aim is just to keep and enlarge their power. They know they have to prepare from now on their post-liberal options, if the liberal ones cannot fulfill the “mission”.

It is like Churchill and the vice President of USA during the 2nd World War. They were fighting against Germany, they were fully collaborating with Soviet Russia, but, in the same time, they were fighting in such a way as to make possible a third world war against their ally immediately after. Unable to go on with a “hot”, they launched finally a “cold” war against Moscow, their yesterday’s ally.

The fact that somebody is profiting from a crime is not a proof that he has committed it or that he helped somebody else to commit it, by acts or omissions. Still, no policeman would be considered serious, if he did not begin the investigation of any crime by putting the question “who profits?”

Counter-terrorism officials and politicians would be better advised to look more closely behind the “international relations” of groups like ISIS. I am not sure they will like what they will find there. But if they don’t do it, we may be not far away from a chemical or other unconventional attack in a European city.


Athens, March 24th


The refugee crisis and what to do with it (geopolitics enter the EU crisis equation)

by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

European societies and EU governments are torn apart by the refugee crisis. On the one hand many people express in practical ways their solidarity with poor and persecuted people risking their lives and sometimes dying, in their effort to find a shelter in Europe. On the other, many are very anxious of the repercussions such a massive influx will have on European societies. Sometimes, this “anger” takes barbarian forms, like when German citizens celebrate the burning of a building for refugees. Or it translates, like in Denmark, into a state policy of robbing refugees.

Both currents of the public opinion have in reality some point (we don’t speak of course about criminal offenses against refugees and immigrants). Refugees and immigrants deserve all our solidarity, if we wish to remain humans. Especially as we supported, or did not oppose enough, military interventions in their countries which made them refugees (or the economic and “climatic” policies which turned them into immigrants). Still, is it really a solution, for them and for us, to have half of the Middle East and Africa emigrate into Europe, in order to avoid the consequences of the disasters we helped accumulate in their countries? We contributed very much to destroy them, are we going now to complete this process with the emigration of their best educated and more active citizens into Europe? What is the right solution to this difficult problem, which is already threatening cohesion and (more and more theoretical) principles, if not the very existence of EU?

It is obvious, in the same time, that both the refugee crisis and the terror threats, and also the generalized confusion about their roots and possible solutions, are used to influence in a radical way European politics, by the very totalitarian forces, like Neoconservatives and their allies, which are mainly responsible for creating them, especially by engineering military interventions in the Middle East, through their influence in the US, French, British and other states and governments. Who could have imagined, only some months ago, that a country like France, the motherland and the symbol of European Liberty, during the last few centuries, would enshrine martial law into its Constitution?

To face the situation, without being destroyed in its fundamentals and keeping its cohesion, unity, possibility of independence, but also its own democracy, Europe has to do two things in the short run. First, organize the accommodation for people having already crossed its borders and do it in an equitable and just way between EU members. Second, exert the necessary pressure on Turkey to stop the influx of more refugees into Europe through Greece. Measures should be taken to help refugees where they are now, waiting for conditions of safe return th their countries are established. Such a policy is now absolutely necessary, but not enough.

We need also to reverse radically course in the Middle East. We need to stop destabilizing any independent Middle Eastern power, we need to help immediately stop the war in Syria and help restore its territorial integrity, we need massive economic help to permit them the reconstruction of the countries we demolished or helped demolish. In the long run we need also to exert the necessary pressure for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Many people will say that all that is nice but unrealistic, “utopian”. Ok we can try to avoid such policies. But we should be conscious of the real, “realistic” alternative. And the real, “realistic” alternative is to import into Europe the Middle Eastern chaos, permitting, in the same time, to the very same forces they provoked it to continue their destructive work (and in reality to impose their regime) in our continent.

Athens, 25.2.2015

Turkey, Russia and the middle-eastern puzzle

Russian intervention in Syria has had huge strategic consequences. Without this intervention, the Assad regime would have already gone or at least it would be extremely weakened. If Russia had not intervened, a western intervention in Syria (which was stopped in the last moment two years ago), would be the most probable consequence of the terror attacks in Paris.

If followed, such a course would have excluded any Russian influence in the region of Eastern Mediterranean and any Iranian influence in Syria. Western control over Syria would follow and also the isolation or annihilation of Hezbollah in Lebanon. We should remind, at this point, that the control of Syria and Lebanon by forces not threatening Israel, is considered a critical precondition of a war against Iran. Such a war was very much on the agenda during a whole decade. It seems that it is not any more, after the agreement on the Iranian nuclear program. But there is no doubt that there are extremist circles, wishing the realization of such a “project”.

By intervening in Syria, Russia “saved” Assad (and Hezbollah indirectly), it has increased its influence on a very big “Shiite” zone from Mediterranean to Pakistan (!), nullifying the goal of the complete annihilation of any Russian presence in the Middle East.

The “reaction”, whoever organized it, was not late to come. It took the form of downing of the Russian jet, while the head of US Air Force was in Ankara. This incident destroyed the Russian-Turkish relations, of a strategic character, it created enormous problems for Erdogan and it opened the way for Kurdish advances in Northern Syria, finally pushing Ankara to an “alliance” with Netanyahu.

It was just a miscalculation by Turkey? Or Ankara had received, and by whom, assurances and encouragements? What had in mind Mr. Putin, when he remarked that even when one agrees with the present Turkish leadership, they answer by a stab in the back? Did Ankara received encouragements and assurances before proceeding to the downing of the jet, and if yes by whom?

There is not an obvious answer to such questions. Those questions become even more serious if one takes into account what Mr. Perinçek, the head of the small “Patriotic Party” in Turkey has declared during a press conference on the 4th of January. Mr. Perinçek is a rather controversial figure, still he entertains close relations with Kemalist forces in Turkey and various capitals abroad. According to him, the Russian leadership had accepted Turkish control of the western part of the “Kurdish corridor”, in northern Syria. All this planning was canceled after the downing. Such a scenario is, of course, very difficult to confirm or deny. But it has to be considered seriously, by anybody trying to decipher the Syrian puzzle, which is not but the most important part of a gigantic antagonism for control of the Middle East.


By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

A dramatic worsening of the conflict in the Middle East, in the immediate future, with unpredictable international consequences, should be considered one of the most likely scenarios, according to several international observers, although of course we should always avoid certainties in such situations.

If it is confirmed that the fall of the Russian aircraft over Sinai was caused by a terrorist operation, Moscow’s reaction is likely to be extremely tough.
For Kremlin it is vital to show that no one can hit Russia without suffering devastating retaliation.

The finding in Washington dead of a man who played a key role in the Russian communication effort internationally and was close to the Russian President himself, may be a coincidence, but it nonetheless makes heavier an already tense international climate. An atmosphere also burdened by the dispatch of American F-15 planes equipped with nuclear weapons to the Turkish base of Incirlik. Supposedly, everybody goes there to bomb Islamists. Bbut these airplanes are better for dogfights, rather than bombing.

President Obama also approved the dispatch of fifty men of the special forces to Syria. They are few, but the war in Vietnam began with few men too. At least, the presence of US troops on Syrian soil demonstrates Washington’s determination not to allow the Assad government, under Russian protection, imposing its control over the entire Syrian territory. Meanwhile some Israeli analysts bring again to the surface the scenarios for a split of Syria into three parts.

In turn, the Russians announced (something which can be seen as a warning) that they have already transferred to Syria some of their best anti-aircraft systems. As a minimum, their installation prohibits de facto the hitherto existing possibility of free action of American and Israeli aviation over Syria, if it is not “blinding” NATO air-control systems. The firing of missiles from Caspian, which Russian they claim that they are better than American Cruz missiles, also sent a “signal”, that any attempt of a Russian “exclusion” from the eastern Mediterranean, exploiting geographical factors, is of a limited use. Russian proved also again their military-technological capacities.

Behind the ‘Islamic State’

The issue has broader dimensions, because a series of publications and revelations from officials refer to the close links and support of “Islamic State” from Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. For the Russians, diplomatic sources say, there is no serious doubt about relations between IS and western services, as for the real attitude and role of Israel raises at least some serious questions, say the same sources.
Polyvolo & soldier in Syrian mountains 1a LLLL Photo TASS

Obviously, it is hardly credible that a single “chieftain” of the “Islamic State” took the decision to attack a Russian plane with over 200 passengers on board and told no one. The question is who knew what, who possibly made the decision, or rather who permitted such an operation to take place. On the response to be given by the Kremlin and Washington on this question, too much will depend on international relations in the near future.

Erdogan loses his temper and the West its mind

The President of Turkey, Tayip Erdogan, made the (unprecedented in the diplomatic annals) statement that he can’t condemn the shooting down of Russian aircraft, if it was a shooting down, since the Russians bomb Muslims in Syria too.

The Erdogan statement reveals a great loss of composure and complete, arrogant misconception of reality and correlation of forces. At the very least, it will burden significantly the Russian-Turkish relations. It is also very typical for the large lack of understanding of Russia, and the underlying strength of Russian national feeling, that characterises now most Western politicians. These politicians were formed in the period immediately after the sudden collapse of the USSR, the causes of which misinterpreted in the West as a sole product of weakness.

In fact, the deep crisis or any “weakness” that the USSR was facing, was unable by itself to lead to the overthrow of the regime, because otherwise the Cuban regime would not survive even a few months. Behind the “collapse-suicide” of the USSR there was an element of ‘accession’ of the Soviet elite, but also of a significant part of soviet public opinion in the world of “Western capitalistic values”. But what followed was that the Russian economy, state and society were destroyed in the 1990’s following, as closely as possible, the recipes of the IMF. NATO tends to come as near as possible to Moscow itself and the Russian border is today about where it was in the time of Ivan the Terrible. It makes sense that, some people in Russia, drew after all some conclusions from such an experience. This is not strange, what is really strange is rather that it took them so much time to draw those conclusions!

American-Russian “codes”

The current international situation and the lack of understanding of Russia by the West poses risks of a very big international crisis between the two nuclear superpowers, because in these days there are no codes and understanding, as they were developed after the conference of Yalta and after the crisis of the missiles in Cuba. There are also, in contrast to what was happening throughout the Cold War period, very limited forces in both western establishment and western societies, which could somehow offset the existence of strong currents, such as “Neo-conservatives”, who seem willing to take to “war” against Russia and China, to the very end, risking even the Apocalypse!

Obama and neoconservatives

Only President Obama (who was elected as a reaction to the extremist neoconservative Iraq policy) seems to have perhaps realized where the hawks lead him. These hawks that are everywhere in the American establishment itself, also inside the government and they are probably stronger than the American President himself (exemplified by the Deputy Secretary Nuland who was handing out sandwiches to the demonstrators in Maidan Square in Kiev and was proposing to “fuck the EU”). The President sometimes looks like he is making a kind of “guerrilla” war inside the “deep” American state. Not without significance since it managed, at least so far, to prevent military intervention in Syria and war against Iran.

It is not the first time this happens. From the minutes of the meeting on the crisis of missiles in Cuba, we know that the world war was averted only because there was President Kennedy and his brother. Both were distinguished for their self-confidence, their independence of opinion and their faith in America. Both were assassinated at a later stage.

Many people in the West are hoping that the fall of the Russian aircraft, attributed to a terrorist operation, will lead to a “revolt” of Russian public opinion against Putin’s policy in the Middle East. It is not at all certain. What is instead certain is that if the fall is due to terrorism, it will confirm the assessment of the Kremlin that Russia faces a dangerous encirclement by forces seeking, in the long term, either to subjugate it or to crush it. And it will lead to a hardening, no to a softening of the Russian policy.

The return of Russia (or how chaos became a boomerang)

The wars in Georgia and Ukraine were actually forced defensive moves of the Kremlin in the zone of its most vital interests, the former USSR.
Russian intervention in Syria raises in practice a serious obstacle to any intentions of a continuation of the Middle East wars with an attack against Iran. With this intervention, the Kremlin crossed its own Rubicon. By the very logic of things, and not by the deepest desire of the Russian elite, it is now pushed to take upon itself a part of the global role played by the USSR.

The strategy of chaos had thus a very unexpected result, as Moscow “saw light and entered” in a huge Shiite strategic area of global importance, that extends from the Mediterranean coast opposite Cyprus to the border of Pakistan, including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran!

And unlike even the leaderships of Stalin or Brezhnev, the inherent conservatism of whom made in fact quite predictable their behavior, despite their “revolutionary” rhetoric and ideology, we are dealing here with a new, under formation Russian leadership and Russian society, open to evolution in different directions. (A writer said about Cromwell’s soldiers, “if they knew where they would arrive, they would not make a single step!”).
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos has worked as an assistant on East-West relations and arms control in the office of Greek PM Andreas Papandreou from 1985 to 1988. From 1989 to 1999 he has been the director of the Athens News Agency office in Moscow

This article was published by ANA-MPA, on November 9th, 2015

Translated from Greek into English by George Moustakis