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Political Persecutions in Eastern Europe to prepare War with Russia (and a note on Hungary, Trump and the refugees)

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

We have witnessed during the last two years the multiplication of cases of political repressions in various Eastern European countries, like Poland, where Mateusz Piscorski, leader of the party Smena is detained illegally already for two years, without any accusations formulated against him! But this is not the only authoritarian action of the Polish authorities, which, by the way have been condemned by UN Human Rights Committee and by the Polish Ombudsman (Rzecznik praw obywatelskich) for their actions. Among them the process against the Polish Communist party, the harassment against the trotskyte group “Power to the Councils”, a pro-Palestinian conference and scientific conferences about Karl Marx! To all that you may add the massive expulsion to the streets of impoverished tenants due to the re-privatization process. Continue reading Political Persecutions in Eastern Europe to prepare War with Russia (and a note on Hungary, Trump and the refugees)


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.


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

The organic unity of the imperial (“globalization”) project: Middle Eastern wars, financial war against Greece, the new Cold War and the struggle for an independent Europe

Speech to the International Conferenece against War and NATO, Rome, 26.10.2015

The organic unity of the imperial (“globalization”) project: Middle Eastern wars, financial war against Greece, the new Cold War and the struggle for an independent Europe

Speech to the International Conferenece against War and NATO, Rome, 26.10.2015