October 5, 2015

State, Church, and National Identity in Putin's Russia

"Irina Papkova is a Research Fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkeley Center For Religion, Peace and World Affairs. She received her Ph.D. from Georgetown University and has previously taught at Georgetown and George Washington Universities. Her book, “The Orthodox Church and Russian Politics,” was published by Oxford University Press and Woodrow Wilson Center Press in 2011. Irina’s current research includes Lebanese politics and the Secular Lebanon movement." (Source).

An excerpt from, "Russian Orthodox church backs ‘holy war’ against Isis" The Times, October 1, 2015:
Russia’s influential Orthodox Church declared yesterday that airstrikes against Islamic State targets ordered by President Putin were part of a “holy war” on terrorism.

Vsevolod Chaplin, an archpriest, said that the church supported the decision to attack Isis targets.
The Russian intervention in Syria should be supported by the international community because ISIS is a threat to peace, freedom, and humanity. But, Russia's leaders made a major rhetorical misstep early on by injecting the language of religion and talk of "holy war" into this fight. This was a stupid, unnecessary, and counter-productive move. There is no need for a Russian priest to legitimize Russia's actions against ISIS. Say what you want about U.S. interventions in the Middle East, but it has wisely never depicted its wars as "holy wars" against Islam. Russia should've followed this road map and refrained from using the church to justify its airstrikes in Syria.

Video Title: State, Church, and National Identity in Putin's Russia. Source: BYU Kennedy Center. Date Published: June 5, 2015. Description:
Irina Papkova
Research fellow, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs

What kind of society should post-Soviet Russia be, and what is the place of the Orthodox church within it?

Assad Takes A Clear-Eyed Approach To Fighting Terrorism, Saying "We Should Fight The Thought" That Creates Groups Like ISIS

"President Assad: These terrorist organizations, whether ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra or al- Qaeda are mere manifestations of a long and deep perversion in our region and our society. This perversion is at least five decades old; but it practically started two centuries ago with perverse interpretation of Islam. The main manifestation of this perversion is the Wahhabi movement which interpreted Islam in a perverted and, in most cases, contradictory manner with the import of Islam itself. So, these are mere manifestations.

Dealing with this short term damage, which is related to the terrorist acts, the destruction and killing they are carrying out, is not easy, but certainly possible. Dealing with it will constitute a victory for society, an important victory because it protects it against a disease and a real epidemic.

The big danger is for this treatment to take a long time and for these organizations to become entrenched within society. In that case you will be dealing with a very dangerous, cultural and intellectual situation. You will be before a new generation of ideological terrorists who believe in killing, takfir and discrimination as a basic method for building an Islamic State, as they believe. Then, the whole region will face a huge dilemma. This type of thought has no boundaries. It does not recognize political borders. It spreads, through contagion, very quickly in our region, and even in Europe, as we see today. That is why these organizations are extremely dangerous, but it is not enough to fight them as organizations. More importantly, we should fight the thought which led to the creation of these organizations, the states which promoted this type of thought and the institutions which provide funds for this thought through religious schools and foundations which promote extremism in the Islamic world." (Source).
There is no question that the governments of the U.S. and Europe have contributed to the growth of the ISIS cancer and other variations of Islamic terrorism by allowing the Saudi government and other Arab monarchies to build radical mosques and religious schools in their societies.

Do these governments ask what type of teachings will be taught in these places before permitting them to be built? Do they know that immigrant Muslims are being radicalized in these places? Do they know that these Wahhabi mosques and religious schools are having an effect on the spread of terrorism? Do they care?

Assad made lots of good points in the interview posted above. In one part, he said that most of the leaders of terrorist organizations like ISIS come from northern Europe, whereas the rank and file come from Arab countries and other Muslim nations. This speaks to the fact that Wahhabi mosques that are funded by Saudi Arabia and other Arab monarchies have played a fundamental role in the growth of ISIS.

These Western-supported monarchies, whose support since 1979 has been increasingly dependent on the backward Wahhabi clergy, have penetrated the immigrant Muslim communities in Europe, and other regions as well.

What is the response from Western governments and politicians to this reality? Silence.

Bill Bailey on Alfred Russel Wallace | Natural History Museum

Video Title: Bill Bailey on Alfred Russel Wallace | Natural History Museum. Source: Natural History Museum. Date Published: July 3, 2013. Description:
Comedian Bill Bailey shares his huge admiration for Alfred Russel Wallace who died 100 years ago in 1913. Not only did Wallace co-discover natural selection, the driving force for evolution, he also founded a new field of biology - the study of the geographical distribution of animals.

Webster Tarpley On Russian Airstrikes In Syria

Video Title: Russia Bombing ISIS in Syria, Washington Must Coordinate with Moscow to Avoid Dangerous Incidents. Source: Webster Tarpley Radio. Date Published: October 4, 2015.

"They will defend themselves. This is not the Afghan army, it's not the Iraq army. This is the Syrian one, and they fight." - Webster Tarpley.

October 3, 2015

Afghanistan Redux? Turkey To Play Role of Pakistan In Deranged U.S.-Saudi Plot To Humiliate Russia In Syria

There's a twist. This time, Putin is Rambo.

An excerpt from, "'Shut out': Turkey finds itself 'in a very difficult position' with the Russian moves in Syria" by Natasha Bertrand, Business Insider, October 2, 2015:
Turkey's plans for a safe zone may be scuttled for now, but Ankara will most likely compensate by doubling down on its support for anti-Assad rebel groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al Sham as the situation escalates.

"Ankara would be extremely concerned if the Russians took their campaign into Aleppo, because it opens up the possibility of another massive refugee flow into Turkey, which is already at its limits," Stein said.

There are over 1 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, about 30% of whom live in 22 government-run camps near the Syrian-Turkish border.

To prevent another refugee surge, "there will be considerations of providing the rebels with surface-to-air missiles to blunt the efficacy of Russian aircraft," Stein said.

In any case, the Russian intervention will lead to a hardening of battle lines on all sides.
"The Russian intervention could prompt a new phase in this conflict that could make things even bloodier," said Schanzer. "We ignore that possibility at our peril."
In the wake of the increased Russian intervention in Syria there has been a lot of dangerous talk coming out of the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other countries in the pro-ISIS coalition.

The most extremist elements in this evil coalition such as the editorial board of The Washington Post, Saudi princes, and Senator John McCain want to provide ISIS terrorists with anti-aircraft missiles in order to give Putin a black eye. Here are articles in Reuters and The Washington Post that are advancing this very dangerous course of action.

Why would anyone want to give Putin a black eye for taking on terrorists? Putin should be commended for his heroic, though late, decision to intervene in Syria on the side of civilization against the savage forces of Salafist and Wahhabi terrorism that have laid waste to many diverse communities from Afghanistan to Libya. 

Since the U.S. doesn't want to strike ISIS, why shouldn't Russia? They are closer to their neighbourhood. Plus, the U.S. was given a year to "degrade and destroy" ISIS, and nothing has happened. No degrading has gone on.

Syria and the world cannot play with time. The clock is ticking. The next Osama bin Laden is right now in US-Saudi-Turkish training camps in Syria. Each day they are allowed to operate under NATO's umbrella, ISIS gets stronger.


A lot of people are drawing comparisons between Syria today and Afghanistan in the 1980s, especially with Russia getting involved so aggressively. And there are a lot of similarities, but this time the CIA-backed warlords and savage terrorists will lose.

Why is Washington so upset at Putin? The reason is obvious to many of us who have been paying attention to events in Syria and Libya. ISIS, as the embryo of the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UK, France, and Israel, has to be protected and nurtured. Putin is disrupting ISIS's development from a terrorist group into a Caliphate. This is one abortion that the leaders of America don't want.

In the eyes of the criminal leaders of these nations, ISIS is still in its infancy and has to be allowed to grow and mature into a large transnational state with vast territories and numerous Arab capitals under its control. President Obama, Erdogan, King Salman, and Prime Minister Netanyahu would like nothing more than to see ISIS be victorious in the battlefields in Syria and Iraq. 

The plan of the pro-ISIS coalition is for the Muslim Brotherhood to rule Damascus, and ISIS, as the ruthless and barbaric foot soldiers, are helping to accomplish that goal. If they win their terrorist crimes and atrocities will be erased in history's books, while Assad will be put on a show trial at the ICC for war crimes.

The many falsehoods that are being pushed in the Western media are helping to universalize the narrative that Assad is responsible for everything that has gone wrong in Syria in the last four and a half years.

But Assad has managed to survive the onslaught from ISIS, the depletion of his army's resources, and the exodus of millions of refugees out of his country because his main allies, Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, have not buckled.

If Gaddafi had the allies that Assad is fortunate to have then Libya wouldn't be the catastrophe it is now. If Russia and China had stood firm against NATO's aggression then Libya would be more stable today. Right now it's a jungle without a Caesar so there is no order, no peace, no law, and definitely no prosperity.

But a collapsed Syria would be a whole different level of crazy. If Assad were to be overthrown or assassinated, leading to the collapse of his regime, then the number of refugees going to Europe will triple overnight. That's a disaster that Russia will hopefully avert by hitting ISIS as often as it can.

If that disaster is not averted, if ISIS comes to rule the majority of Syria in the wake of a military victory under NATO's guidance then the possibility of genocide and even greater mass exodus in Syria is not far off.

The reality is that only five to ten percent of Syrians want to live under strict sharia ISIS rule because Syrians are naturally a multi-cultural and multi-religious people who embrace a diversity of faiths. So without government protection from ISIS's barbarism they will flee.

That's the truth that countries like the UK, France, US, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Israel who are all supporting ISIS don't want to admit to because they want to overthrow Assad so badly. They don't want to admit mistakes, and they don't care about the humanitarian costs of their reckless, misguided, and criminal policies.

October 2, 2015

"Wishful Thinking"

An excerpt from, "UK policy in Syria hampered by 'wishful thinking'" by Mark Urban, BBC, October 2, 2015:
UK policy in Syria has been hampered by "wishful thinking", says a former top military adviser in the Middle East.

Lt Gen Sir Simon Mayall said the UK had underestimated the staying power of President Bashar al-Assad.

In an interview with BBC Newsnight, he painted a picture of a UK being in a strategic muddle over Syria and described Russia's intervention as "hugely significant".
Lt Gen Mayall spent much of his career in the Arab world - including as deputy commanding general of coalition forces in Iraq 2006-2007, and Defence Senior Adviser Middle East 2011-2015.

It has emerged recently that during discussions in 2012 of possible plans to hit Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces, General David Richards, now Lord Richards, chief of the general staff asked rhetorically whether the prime minister was sure Britain was about to bomb the right people.
Lt Gen Mayall says he argued at that time, "that the Assad regime would fight to the last", but that policy makers had got caught up in the excitement of the Arab spring and hoped the Syrian leader would be swiftly overthrown.

The Russians, he believes were, "in many ways more realistic about the staying power of Assad".
Russian President Vladimir Putin has argued in recent weeks that his country's operation in Syria is designed to prevent the type of state implosion that took place in Libya after Nato's intervention there in 2011.

The British general's remarks show there is some sympathy for this objective among senior officers in the West, particularly after Western experiences there, in Iraq following the 2003 invasion, and in Afghanistan.
Video Title: Russia intensifies air strikes in Syria for third day. Source: CCTV America. Date Published: Oct 2 2015.

September 30, 2015

Desperate Western And Gulf Media Falsely Accuse Russia of Targeting Invisible Moderate Forces In Syria

Marvel at the propaganda and lies. And then laugh at it.

An excerpt from, "Russia begins Syria air strikes in its biggest Mideast intervention in decades" Reuters, September 30, 2015:
Russia launched air strikes in Syria on Wednesday in its biggest Middle East intervention in decades, plunging the four-year-old civil war into a volatile new phase as President Vladimir Putin moved forcefully to stake out influence in the unstable region.

Moscow's assertion that it had hit Islamic State militants was immediately disputed by the United States and rebels on the ground. The attacks also raised the dangerous specter of Washington and Moscow running air strikes concurrently and in the same region, but without coordination.
An excerpt from, "Russia unleashes first wave of airstrikes in Syria" Al Arabiya News, September 30, 2015:
Areas of the Syrian province of Homs struck in Russian air strikes on Wednesday are controlled by an array of rebel groups including several operating under the banner of the “Free Syrian Army," activists, locals and rebels said.

None of the sources named ISIS as one of the groups operating in the areas hit on Wednesday.
Additionally, a French diplomatic source told Reuters that the Russian strikes appear to target Syrian opposition, not ISIS.
An excerpt from, "Syria: Thoughts On The Russian Air Support" Moon of Alabama, September 30, 2015:
Immediately after news of the first Russian strike the U.S. payed "Syrian Civil Defense" organization "White Helmets" posted propaganda claims of killed children. The picture it used to prove its claims had also been used on September 25, before the Russians started to bomb.

Next came claims that the Russian had hit "moderate rebels" which the U.S. says are its good guys.

To which Mark Adomanis snarked:
The US couldn't find "moderate" rebels in 3 years. Apparently the Russians did in 24 hours
Indeed. Even back in 2012 the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency found:
"Moderates"- my ass.