Saturday, November 30, 2013

The gates of Hell are opening for the Ukraine

written specially for the Asia Times 
Just as I have predicted in my last piece about the developments in the Ukraine, European politicians and Ukrainian opposition parties have gone into overdrive to attempt yet another color-coded revolution in Kiev.  The normally demure and low-key Eurobureaucrats have suddenly found it themselves to castigate Russia with irate statements about "unacceptable Russian interference" while their own diplomats actually went on stage to encourage the (illegal) demonstrations in Kiev.  As for the opposition, it used its formidable resources to bring people form all over the Ukraine, the Baltic states and Poland to Kiev to organize a mass rally and, just to make sure that enough people would show up, they began the rally with a free rock concert.  Finally the united opposition parties have declared that they are creating a "united headquarters of the resistance" which will have as its first task to coordinate a Ukrainian-wide general strike.

Finally, the opposition, lead by Yulia Timoshenko from her jail, is now openly calling for the overthrow of the Yanukovich government and new elections.

Very impressive.

And what about the "pro-Russian" Yanukovich government?

Just as I have predicted, it is already prepared to "zag" following its surprise "zig" of last week.  All Yanukovich & Co. have done is to send Prime Minister Azarov to explain the latest change of mind of President Yanukovich on a TV talkshow hosted by a notorious russophobic Jewish anchor "Savik Shuster" (his real name is "Shevelis Shusteris"- he first worked for the CIA-created Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, then for Russian "democratic" media outlets before joining the "Ukrainian" TV following the "Orange Revolution" in Kiev.  This true "cosmopolite" also holds Italian and Canadian citizenship, probably along with an Israeli one) where nobody listened to a word he had to say: for each economic figure Azarov mentioned in defense of his position, the nationalists responded with emotional slogans, promises of a bright tomorrow and the usual rabid anti-Russian rhetoric.   Still, Azarov explained that he had decided to show up because he hoped that at least on TV they would let him speak (that same day the opposition in the Ukrainian Parliament simply shouted Azarov down thereby successfully preventing him from taking the floor to explain the government's decision).

Yanukovich himself hinted that all that had happened was a "temporary delay" and that the Ukraine might sign after all, just a "little later", maybe in Spring.

Next, the government ordered their riot-cops to clear the Maidan square in Kiev at 4AM, which was done with the usual level of wanton violence (on both sides).  Azarov then denounced its own cops and announced that a special commission would be set up to investigate the violence and find out who was responsible (who else could it be besides him is unclear).

Finally, Yanukovich officially declared that he was "deeply outraged" by the violence and that all Ukrainians were united by, I kid you not, "our choice of our common European future".

Absolutely pathetic, if you ask me.

As for the so-called "Russian" folks of Donetsk, they organized an anti-EU/pro-Yanukovich rally were they displayed an immense sea of blue-yellow Ukrainian flags while playing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" form is 9th symphony (probably unaware that this was the official Anthem of the EU).

The contrast between two parties to this dispute could hardly be bigger, I think.  Let' compare them:

The Eurobureaucrats and the Ukrainian nationalists

The Eurobureaucrats and the Ukrainian nationalists are mad, really really mad.  They feel like just one man suddenly changed his mind, reneged on all his previous promises and suddenly single handedly stopped a process in which they had invested a huge amount of political capital.  And they are absolutely correct, this is exactly what happened.  Now the Eurobureaucrats and the Ukrainian nationalists are exactly in the same predicament: both feel extremely weak and both fear Russia, both sides are financially bankrupt and hope that a political victory will overshadow their economic failure, both sides hate Russia and feel that it is absolutely crucial to deny Russia any possible advantage (real or imaginary) it might gain from a union with the Ukraine.  Yes, these are purely negative, hate-filled, feelings of inadequacy mixed with self-delusion about a much hoped for but forever unachievable greatness.  But negative feelings, in particular nationalistic ones, can be very powerful, as Hitler has so clearly demonstrated the entire world.

The supposedly "pro-Russian" Eastern Ukrainians

They have no vision, no ideology, no identifiable future goal.  All they can offer is a message which, in essence, says "we have no other choice than sell out to the rich Russians rather than to the poor European" or "all we can get from the EU is words, the Russians are offering money".  True.  But still extremely uninspiring, to say the least.  Worse, this point of view reinforces, at least by implication, the key theses of the the Eurobureaucrats and the Ukrainian nationalists: that this is a sellout to Russia and that the Russians are blackmailing and interfering whereas, in reality, the blackmail was totally on the EU sides as clearly shown with the demand that Tymoshenko be freed (while Berlusconi in Europe is charged with exactly the same crime, so much for double-standards).

And what about Russia in all that?

I am beginning to fear that this will all explode into a real and very dangerous crisis for Russia.  First, I am assuming that the the Eurobureaucrats and the Ukrainian nationalists will eventually prevail, and that Yanukovich will either fully complete his apparent "zag" and reverse his decision, or lose power.  One way or another the the Eurobureaucrats and the Ukrainian nationalists will, I think, prevail.  There will be more joyful demonstrations, fireworks and celebrations in Kiev, along with lots of self-righteous back-slapping and high-fiving in Brussels, and then the gates of Hell will truly open for the Ukraine.  Why?

Well simply because joining one Titanic at the hip with another one will save neither.  The EU is sinking and so is the Ukraine.  Neither has any real vision of how to stop this disaster and both sides are absolutely dead-set to try to hide their bankruptcy by an increasingly strident and outright nasty political rhetoric.   Needless to say, neither empty promises nor nationalistic slogans will feed anybody and the already dying Ukrainian economy will collapse at which point the Russian priority will have to change from supporting it to protecting Russia from the chaos happening just across its 2300km long and mostly completely unprotected border with the Ukraine.  What are the risk for Russia?

The real risks for Russia

Being drawn into the inevitable chaos and violence with will flare up all over the Ukraine (including the Crimean Peninsula), stopping or, at least, safely managing a likely flow of refugees seeking physical and economic safety in Russia and protecting the Russian economy from the consequences of the collapse of Ukrainian economy.  Russia will have to do all that while keeping its hands off the developing crisis inside the Ukraine as it is absolutely certain that the Eurobureaucrats and the Ukrainian nationalists will blame Russia for it all.  The best thing Russia could do in such a situation would be to leave the Ukrainians to their private slugfest and wait for one side or the other to prevail before trying to very carefully send out a few low-key political "feelers" to see if there is somebody across the border who has finally come to his/her senses and is capable and ready to seriously begin to rebuilt the Ukraine and its inevitable partnership with Russia and the rest of the Eurasian Union.  As long as that does not happen Russia should stay out, as much as is possible.

Sarajevo on the Dniepr

Right now, all the signs are that the Ukraine is going down the "Bosnian road" and that things are going to get really ugly.  The explosive brew we now see boiling in the Ukraine is exactly the same one which so viciously exploded in Bosnia: local nationalist backed by foreign imperialists who are absolutely determined to ignore any form of common sense, nevermind a negotiated solution, to achieve their ideological goals.  To most sensible and rational people my doom and gloom scenario might seem too pessimistic.  I would encourage these skeptics to take a look at this well-known Polish joke:
A Pole walking along the road happens to spy a lamp. He picks it up, and as it is covered in rust he gives it quick rub. Out comes a genie.  “I’m the genie of the lamp and I can grant you three wishes,” the genie says.   “OK,” says the Pole. “I want the Chinese Army to invade Poland.”  Odd choice, the genie thinks, but nevertheless he grants the wish, and the Chinese Army comes all the way from China, invades, and goes back home.  “Right, second wish. Maybe something more positive,” says the genie.   “No,” replies the Pole, “I want the Chinese Army to invade again.”  So the Chinese come all the way from China, lay waste to more of Poland, and then go home.  “Listen,” says the genie. “You have one last wish. I can make Poland the most beautiful and prosperous place on earth.”  “If you don’t mind, I want the Chinese army to invade one more time.”  So the Chinese army comes again, destroys what’s left of Poland, and then goes home for the last time.   “I don’t understand,” says the genie. “Why did you want the Chinese army to invade Poland three times?”.  “Well,” replies the Pole, “they had to go through Russia six times.”
This is the kind of "humor" a deep-seated inferiority complex combined with a compensatory strident nationalism can produce.  Ask anybody who has ever met a Ukrainian nationalist and he will confirm to you - they make the Polish nationalists look outright mild-mannered and sober.

Needless to say, when the Ukraine explodes the Eurobureaucrats will look the other way and lock the borders of their respective countries as best they can while the leaders of the Ukrainian nationalists parties will cut and run to the West where they will get well-paid position in academia, various think-tanks and NGOs.  As for the people of the Ukraine, they will be left to fight each other against a background of hypocritical outpouring of crocodile-tears from the so-called "international community?

Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'entrate?

I sincerely hope that I am wrong and that some individual or movement will rise up from the current chaos to prevent the Ukraine from collapsing into the "Bosnian scenario" but, unfortunately, I don't see any sign of that happening.  Ukrainian politicians - all of them - are a disgusting sight.  Ditto for the EU politicians, by the way.  At the very best they are boring, uninspiring if marginally competent.  At their habitual worst, they are pathological liars, political prostitutes and delusional imbeciles which are too illiterate and too arrogant to ever see the writing on the wall, even when it is written in big, thick, block characters.

Full disclosure here: I am by training, by trade and by character a pessimist (have you ever met an optimistic military analyst?).  For example, ever since I published my very first post on this blog I have been predicting a US/Israeli attack on Iran, and that still has not happened (worse, I still think that sooner or later the Israelis and their Neocon sayanim colleague will provoke such a US attack, if need be by a false flag operation).  So I have been wrong, very wrong, in the past and I fervently hope that I am wrong again.  Alas, I see no facts or arguments even indirectly suggesting that there is another, hopefully better, scenario for the Ukraine in the future.

Does anybody else see any?

The Saker

Friday, November 29, 2013

CrossTalk: Winning Ukraine?

As always, an excellent show again:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The tip of the immense iceberg of US diplomatic stupidity now spotted off the Chinese Pacific coast

written specially for the Asia Times

Do you remember President Clinton ordered two US aircraft carrier battle groups into the Strait of Taiwan in 1996 to "send a message" to China?  Well, it appears that Barak Obama, the lame duck spineless multi-humiliated and multi-defeated President of the US of A just had a surge of testosterone and decided to provoke China yet again by mocking its decision to extend its air defense zone over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.  The way Uncle Sam sent his usual message of imperial contempt was to send two B-52 bombers to flout the Chinese air defense zone.  Not content to do something so mind-bogglingly stupid and irresponsible, the Americans also decided to make sure to add an inflammatory statement.  According to the BBC, (emphasis added)
US Colonel Steve Warren at the Pentagon said Washington had "conducted operations in the area of the Senkakus". "We have continued to follow our normal procedures, which include not filing flight plans, not radioing ahead and not registering our frequencies," he said. There had been no response from China, he added.
Brilliant, no?

The geniuses at the Pentagon sent two strategic bombers (capable of nuclear strikes) directly into an airspace which the Chinese have just declared "air defence identification zone" in which non-compliance with Chinese rules would trigger "emergency defensive measures" and to make sure to inflict the maximal amount of loss of face on China they have essentially mocked the Chinese for not taking any measure.

I would qualify all these actions as criminally reckless and phenomenally stupid.

First, imagine just for a second that the Chinese had shot down the two US bombers.  Then what?  Would the US which did not even have the balls to strike Iran or Syria attack China?  The US sure could not go to  the UNSC for support where they would be laughed out from the Council chambers by both Russia and China and, probably most other UNSC members too.  So did the Americans count on the Chinese doing the right thing?  If that is the case, then the only message sent to Beijing is "look, we are irresponsible and reckless, and we count on your sanity".  This is most unlikely to impress anybody in China.

Second, now that the Chinese did the smart thing and ignored the US stupidity, what has this move achieved beyond alienating China even further?  One really ought to know absolutely nothing about Asia to believe that you can impose a major loss of face on a superpower like China and not have to pay dearly for it.  The big difference between the US and China is that the former acts like a spoiled teenager brat with an attention and memory span in the 5-10 minutes range:  "The Chinese did not attack our bombers - that must mean that we taught them a good lesson!".  Wrong.  The Chinese will make you pay - dearly - for each such humiliation (and God knows there have been many such humiliations the past couple of decades -  remember the Chinese embassy in Belgrade?), but they will make you pay on their own time, when they decide, and that could take literally centuries.  Chinese diplomats and politicians have 4000 years of experience dealing with uneducated and uncivilized barbarians and they know how important it is not to act in haste but with slow focused determination.  And they will remember that humiliation for as long as it takes to avenge it.

Third, does anybody in the Pentagon, Foggy Bottom or the White House really think that US colonies allies in the region will be positively impressed?  Of course not!  Japanese, South Korean and Taiwanese diplomats will be horrified to be associated to a such a sorry bunch of nuke-wielding cowboys, but they will keep their mouths shut because they all know that their countries are simply vassal states of the USPACOM province of the US Empire.

Lastly, what has the US proven to the rest of the world.  That is is powerful?  Hardly.  Having lost the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, having lost control of Libya, and having been defeated by Russia and Iranian diplomats over Syria and Iran, the US is an obese and obnoxious giant, but hardly a powerful one.  Yes, it is reckless to send bombers literally into China's backyard (or doorstep - pick you metaphor), but recklessness is not a quality which impresses anybody in Asia and the Americans are deeply deluded if they think that they "scared" the Chinese.  Truly, the one thing that this latest US provocation has achieved is to prove to the world and, especially, Asia, the US simply does not understand the nature and purpose of diplomacy.

I am personally take no position whatsoever on the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands dispute itself.  What I am saying is that type of dispute can only be resolved with careful and time consuming diplomatic negotiations and measures and that if Japan truly wanted to get China to give up its claim on these islands the best way to do that would be to make sure that this does not involve any loss of face.  But for a country which has not had Administration capable of diplomacy since the years of George Bush (senior) the kind of provocation we have just witnessed is par for the course.

In conclusion, I would like to say here that US politicians are wrong to be ignorant of Hegel's dialectics and its rules.  Gradual quantitative changes (over time) do eventually result in qualitative changes and this very much applies to the Chinese military which is currently embarked on a huge program of deep modernization and reform which, when completed, will result in a profound strategic shift in the Asian-Pacific Ocean region.  In contrast to the aging and completely overstreched US armed forces, the Chinese armed forces are catching up and catching up really fast.  Yes, in the 1980s the Chinese military did look at lot like the Soviet military of the late 1950s, but the economic boom of China has deeply changed this and today the Chinese armed forces are gradually acquiring more and more 21 century characteristics and soon they will easily surpass the capabilities of the ROK and Japan.  Next,  and before the folks in the White House fully understand it, the US will be facing a large and technologically equal or even superior Chinese military.  China is also being very smart in forging and informal but truly strategic alliance with Russia which, unlike the USA, does every effort possible to show respect and support for its large neighbor.  Should it ever come to a shooting match between the US and China there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Russia will offer its fullest support for China short of actually attacking US targets.

In the meantime, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel that China's extension of its air defense zone was  "destabilising attempt to alter the status quo in the region" while the White House said it was "unnecessarily inflammatory".

Yeah, right.

Have these cowboys ever looked into a mirror?

The Saker

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ukraine's "civilizational choice" - a Pyrrhic victory for Russia?

The latest decision by the Yanukovich government to delay any decision about the possible signing of an association agreement with the European Union has been greeted by a mix of shock and outrage by the Western corporate press.  Unanimously, it was decreed that this apparent reversal by Yanukovich himself was the result of Russian blackmail, ruthless power politics and even not-so-veiled threats.  Finally, the media presented this latest development as a personal victory for Putin and a strategic victory for Russia.  In yet another triumph of form over substance western commentators offered lots of drama and hyperbole and very little explanations about what has really happened.  I propose to set aside all the ideological hype and begin with a few basic reminders.

What is "The Ukraine" really?

The Ukraine in its current borders is a completely artificial entity created by the Soviet regime whose borders have no historical basis at all.  In many ways, the Ukrainian SSR was a "mini-Soviet Union, only worse" whose population had suffered horrendously during most of the 20th century (and before).  Furthermore, it is often overlooked that during the early Bolshevik regime, the Nazi occupation, the Soviet regime after WWII and since independence after the fall of the Soviet Union the Ukraine has undergone a steady process of "West-Ukrainization": the language, political culture and even national myths historically associated with the Western Ukraine have been forced upon the rest of the country which has resulted in constant tensions between the generally pro-Western West and the generally pro-Russian East and South.  Finally, to say that the Ukrainian economy is in a deep crisis would be an understatement.  Not only did the Ukraine inherit a lot of very heavy and outdated Soviet industry, it has been completely unable to use any of it to begin a truly local production of goods and services.  The only segments of the Ukrainian economy which have done reasonably well are those providing goods and services for the much larger Russian economy.  In the process, however, these better segments have either become completely dependent upon Russian investments, or have actually been acquired by Russian companies.  None of the above, however, is enough to explain the absolute disaster which has befallen the Ukraine since its independence.  For that, we need to take a look at the Ukrainian political elites.

Who has been running the Ukraine since independence?

Formally, Presidents Kravchuk, Kuchma, Yushchenko and Yanukovich.  In reality, however, since its independence the Ukraine has been in the iron grip of Ukrainian oligarchs.  This is the single most important thing to keep in mind to understand the entire dynamic currently taking place between the EU, Russia and the Ukraine.  In Russia the Presidential regime defeated the oligarchs, in the Ukraine the oligarchs defeated the Presidential regime.  In fact, the Ukrainian oligarchs are very similar to their Russian counterparts of the Eltsin era.  The tragedy of the Ukraine is that there has been no "Ukrainian Putin" and what could have happened in Russia without Putin did actually take place in the Ukraine.

To say that the Ukrainian political elites are corrupt would be an understatement.  The reality is much worse.  All Ukrainian politicians are absolutely unprincipled political prostitutes who can be bought and sold and who have no personal values whatsoever.  None.  It is quite pathetic to read in the Western press that Yulia Tymoshenko is some kind of firebrand nationalist while Yanukovich is pro-Russian.  This is laughable!  Tymoshenko and Yanukovich and, frankly, all the rest of them (Klichko, Symonenko, etc.), are political chameleons who have changed their affiliations many times and who will gladly do so again.  And just as the Russian people were essentially manipulated, powerless and apathetic under the regime of the Eltsin's oligarchs, so are the Ukrainians today who are simply not given any decent person to vote for or support.

The Ukraine between the EU and the Russian-backed customs union

The reason why the association agreement between the EU and the Ukraine was presented by all the political parties (except the Communists) as a "civilizational choice", a "strategic decision" and an "inevitable step" is that it was highly beneficial to the Ukrainian oligarchy which is absolutely terrified of Putin and who wants to keep its current position of power at any cost.  True, a majority of Western Ukrainians want to join the EU but they never would have had the political clout and, frankly, the money to force Yanukovich and the Party of Region to initially appear to support this.  No, the real center of gravity of the pro-EU activism can be found in the Ukrainian oligarchy and its discrete but powerful "friends" in the West - the very same forces who threw their full support behind Eltsin between 1990 and 2000: the Anglo-Zionist empire and its European vassal states.  In contrast, the opposition to this association agreement with the EU was mainly found in the small to medium business circles in the Eastern Ukraine which is essentially dependent on Russia and who would have immediately collapsed into bankruptcy if Russia had reduced its investment in joint programs.   Regardless, the way the Ukrainian elites dealt with this issue made public opinion basically irrelevant.

A "civilizational choice" made by a small corrupt elite?

In trying to convince the Ukrainian people to support the association with the EU the Ukrainian oligarchs and their Western supporters very skillfully "framed" the issue to such a degree as to make it unrecognizable and to make it impossible for the people to express their opinion.  Think of it - if the choice between an association with the EU and a possible participation of the Ukraine into a customs union with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and others was truly a "civilizational choice" - would a popular referendum not be the only proper way to make such a dramatic decision?  Yet, in reality, the decision was made by one man only: Yanukovich.  Furthermore, is it even correct to speak of a "civilizational choice"?  Most polls ask the Ukrainians if they want to join the EU, but that is not at all what is being offered to them.  What is offered to them is only an association with the EU: a deal with was also offered to countries such as Chile, South Africa or Egypt (see here for more details).  This is not at all a first step towards a membership into the EU (Turkey signed such an association in 1964 and is still waiting; does anybody believe that Chile will join the EU?).  As for the entry into a customs union with Russia, it still has to be negotiated so at this point it is impossible to know for sure what the final terms of such a union would be (though the general outline is pretty clear).  And yet, poll after poll after poll, the same question is being asked: "do you want the Ukraine to join the EU?"  Here is an example of this in Wikipedia:

So what is really at stake here?

The short answer is  that what is at stake here is the future of the Ukrainian oligarchy.  The more complex answer is that what is at stake here is what the West can gain by co-opting the Ukrainian oligarchy into its sphere of influence.  In practical terms this means that as long as the West agreed to keep the oligarchs in power it could gain many very real advantages from the Ukraine such as a market for EU goods, cheap labor, the possibility to deploy NATO forces in the Ukraine (without necessarily offering the Ukraine to join NATO) and, first and foremost, the rock-solid guarantee to be able to dictate its terms to the Ukrainian oligarchy which would have no other option than to be hyper-compliant to any Western demands.  Furthermore, the West very much sees this as a zero-sum game, what the West gets - Russia looses.  While not catastrophic by any means, the severance of the current economic ties between Russia and the Ukraine would most definitely hurt Russia, at least in the short term.   Furthermore, the West also believes that an association with the EU would prevent any further integration of Russia and the Ukraine. That is, I believe, probably true, simply because no real integration between the Ukraine and Russia is possible as long as the Ukrainian oligarchs remain in power.

The real objective of the Anglo-Zionist empire in the Ukraine

Just before Barak Obama got rid of her, Hillary Clinton made an amazingly candid admission about the Empire's real goals in Eastern Europe.  Here is what she said:
There is a move to re-Sovietise the region.  It’s not going to be called that. It’s going to be called a customs union, it will be called Eurasian Union and all of that. But let's make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it.
Simple, direct and clear.  Even the use of the expression "re-Sovietise" shows that Hillary and, frankly, most of the Western elites are still completely stuck in a Cold War paradigm in which every Russian move is necessarily an evil one and the West and Russia play a zero-sum game.  In the logic of these people, any loss for Russia is by definition a good and highly desirable outcome for the West.

What better way for the Empire is there to "slow down or prevent" any integration of Russia and the Ukraine than to offer the Ukrainian oligarchy an association deal with the EU which would cost the EU nothing and which would inevitably trigger a trade war between the Russia and the Ukraine?

Russian objectives in the Ukraine

Russian objectives in the Ukraine are pretty straightforward.   First, Russia believes that a customs union with the Ukraine would be mutually beneficial.  Second, Russia also hopes that, with time, such a mutually beneficial union would serve to deflate anti-Russian feelings (which are always stirred up by the Ukrainian political elites) and that, with time, the Ukraine could become a member of the future Eurasian Union.  Third, judging by its bitter experience with Central European countries, the Baltic States and Georgia, Russia definitely hopes to prevent the Ukraine from becoming the next colony of the Anglo-Zionist Empire in Europe.  Finally, a majority of Russians believe that the Russian and Ukrainian people are either one nation or, at least, two "brother nations" who share a common history and whose natural calling is to live in friendship and solidarity.

Are the Russian objectives in the Ukraine realistic?

Ironically, Russia faces exactly the same problem in the Ukraine as the Anglo-Zionist Empire: the Ukraine in its current borders is a completely artificial creation.  Everybody pretty much agrees that the Western Ukraine and the Eastern Ukraine have almost exclusively opposite goals. On all levels - language, economy, politics, history, culture - the western and eastern parts of the Ukraine are completely different.  The center, and the capital city of Kiev is a mix of both east and west while the south is really a unique cultural entity, different from the rest of the country and which is even more diverse than the rest of the country.  An armchair strategist might suggest that the "obvious" solution would be to break up the Ukraine into two or more parts and let each part chose, but this "solution" has two major problems: first, breaking up an artificial country is an extremely dangerous thing to do (remember Bosnia or Kosovo!) and, second, there is absolutely no way that the West and its Ukrainian nationalist puppets are ever going to accept such a "solution" (they even insist that the Crimean Peninsula must forever be considered a part of the Ukraine, even though it was only donated by Khrushchev to the Ukrainian SSR  in 1954!).

Furthermore, I believe that an even deeper analysis of the consequences of an integration of the Ukraine into Russia should be made before jumping to conclusions.  If, indeed, the Ukraine is a "big Bosnia", does it make sense for Russia to want to bring this "big Bosnia" inside its otherwise very prosperous union with Belarus, Kazakhstan and others nations to the east?  I do not argue against the argument that history clearly shows that the Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and all parts of one historical/cultural body.  What I am saying is that the Ukrainian part of that body is suffering from a very dangerous form of gangrene and that I do not see how Russia and the rest of the (future) Eurasian Union could heal this member.

While some segments of the Ukrainian economy do have an interesting potential for Russia, most of it is a disaster with no chance at all for reform.  Politically, the Ukraine is a slow-motion disaster where corrupt politicians fight with each other for the chance to get money and support from the local oligarchs and their western patrons.  Socially, the Ukraine is a ticking time-bomb which must explode, sooner or later, and while Russia can continue to bail out the Ukrainian economy with loan after loan after loan, this cannot go on forever.  Finally, the western Ukraine is a Petri dish of the worst kind of Russophobic hysteria, often crossing into outright neo-Nazi propaganda, which will never accept any deal with the hated "Moskals" (Russians, or "Muscovyites" in the nationalist lexicon).

The frightening fact is that in its current configuration the Ukraine is headed for disaster no matter who prevails, Yanukovich or the opposition.   Just look at what the "liberals" and "democrats" achieved during the rule of Eltsin's oligarchs: Russia's economy completely collapsed, the country almost broke up into many small parts, Mafia dons ran the entire underground economy while Jewish oligarchs literally pillaged the wealth of Russia and relocated it abroad, while the media was busy feeding the Russian people absolute lies and nonsense.  Well, today, exactly the same type people are running the show in the Ukraine.  

The big difference

Looking back to what happened in the past 20 years or so it becomes immediately apparent why the Ukraine ended up in its current nightmare while Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan did so much better.  The answer has three words: Nazarbaev, Putin, Lukashenko.  I listed Nazarbaev first because he always was for an integration with Russia and its allies - Kazhakhstan never really wanted its independence in the first place and it was literally pushed out by Eltsin and his "democratic" allies Kravchuk and Shushkevich).  Putin only showed up on the political scene a full decade after Nazarbaev had tried to do his best to maintain a single post-Soviet country.  As for Lukashenko, he is a complex and eccentric personality who follows a rather bizarre policy towards Russia: he wants to integrate Belarus with the very market-oriented Russia while keeping Belarus and its economy and society in a "neo-Soviet" condition.  For all their differences, Nazarbaev, Putin and Lukashenko have emerged as three powerful figures who did get their local oligarchs under control and who have thereby prevented their countries from becoming Anglo-Zionist colonies.  In contrast, no real national leader has emerged in the Ukraine: every single Ukrainian politician is a joke and a puppet in the hands of private interests.

Ukraine's "civilizational choice" - a  Pyrrhic victory for Russia?

At this moment in time, the Western media is trying to present Yanukovich's decision to delay any further negotiations on the association with the EU as a huge strategic victory for Putin and Russia.  I personally disagree.  While it is true that by this decision Yanukovich has delayed the collapse of the Ukrainian economy this is only a delaying tactic, nothing in substance has changed.  Furthermore, while it is vital for the Ukraine not to sever its current economic ties with Russia, this is not true for Russia, especially in the long run.  Of course, an economic collapse of the Ukraine would be bad news for Russia too who really does not need its big neighbor to go down the "Bosnian scenario" lest Russia be pulled in, which it almost inevitably would.  But having avoided an immediate disaster in the Ukraine is hardly something I could call a "strategic victory" for Russia.  One could make the case that the best option for Russia would be to take some huge scissors, make a deep cut along the current border between Russia and the Ukraine and relocate the latter somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  This not being an option, the next best thing would be to make it possible for the Ukraine to break up into its natural components and integrate the Eastern Ukraine into the Eurasian Union.  Alas, at this moment in time, this option is as impossible as the first one.  What is then left for Russia?  What is the "least bad" option Russia can try to make the best of?  Exactly what it is doing today: try to prevent a complete collapse of the Ukrainian economy while hoping for a "Ukrainian Putin" to eventually emerge.  A "Ukrainian Putin" would be a real patriot whose first priority would be to get rid of the Ukrainian oligarchs, the second one would be to clearly indicate to the Anglo-Zionists that they are no longer welcome in their capacity as colonial overlords, and third to try to get the best deal possible for the Ukrainian people in a future Eurasian Union.  So far, there is absolutely no sign of such a figure emerging in the Ukraine.

So yes, Yanukovich's last minute change of mind is good news for the Ukraine and for Russia, but this is hardly a victory of any kind for Putin or Russia.  First, I would not put it past Yanukovich to change his mind yet again (the man has no principles or values to speak of).  Second, we already see that the Empire is going absolutely apeshit with rage over this latest development and that the US and EU will spare no efforts to orchestrate yet another revolution in Kiev.  Same thing for the Ukrainian opposition which now will get a huge influx of dollars from the West to create as much chaos as possible.  As for the Ukrainian people, they will be given no option at all other than to express their opinion in opinion polls asking the wrong question.  Finally, as long as the current Ukrainian oligarchy remains in power, there will be no reason at all to hope for any meaningful improvements in the plight of the Ukraine and its people.

The Saker

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah Muharram Speech 9th night (English Subtitles)

(Speech and subtitles begin at 3:05; press "cc" to turn on captions)

Note from the translator of this speech: 

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivers a very strong political message during the 9th night of Muharram. He touches on the point of espionage within Lebanon and the region Arab states being allied to Israel "under the table" Lebanese internal affairs and the delay of a government Hezbollah's telecommunication network The situation in Syria being in favour of Syria and its allies Much much more.. Very uplifting and strong speech. Please share !

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah Ashura Speech 2013 (English Subtitles) (UPDATED)

(Speech and subtitles begin at 3:14; press "cc" to turn on captions)

UPDATE: I have just received the transcript of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's speeches on November 12th, 13th and 14th.  You can download them at these links:

The Saker

Thursday, November 14, 2013

An amazing week has turned to an amazing month - heartfelt thanks for all those who made this possible (UPDATED 10x)

Dear friends,

A little less than one month ago, I published a small announcement here entitled "This has been a really amazing week for me - many thanks to you all!!" in which I mentioned that my article about Russia and the USA had been picked up and even translated by several websites and that I would now write an occasional column for the Asia Times.  To my absolute amazement the "tsunami of support" has not stopped since and an amazing week has now turned into an amazing month and letters of support have continued coming in each day.  The size of my mailing list has now more than doubled.  But the most amazing thing has been the number of translations of my articles which have been made.   Here is what has been happening over the past couple of weeks:

In French

The website Axe de la Resistance will translate into French and publish the full seven part series "Russia and Islam" (you can already find the first three installments of this series in French here, here and here).  Axe de la Resistance has also published my recent article about France which you can now find in French here.  To my greatest joy, the website of Alain Soral and his movement Egalite et Reconciliation have also made their own translation of my piece about France and published it here.

The website AlterInfo also published my article about the USA and Russia.

I owe a special debt of gratitude to a wonderful person in France - "S" - who has made great efforts to circulate my articles.  Thanks, my friend, Fi amanillah!

In Portuguese:

The website Tlaxcala not only published my article about Russia and the USA, they also translated it into Portuguese.  Likewise, they published my article about Bandar going insane and also translated it into Portuguese.

In Russian:

A group of people in Russia whom I do not know, but to whom I am immensely grateful translated my article about Russia and the USA and published it in Russian on their website which generated a lively discussion.

In English:

Well yes, my writing is so messy and full of typos that at least one person in India has corrected my article about Russia and the USA and turned it into proper English before circulating it in India (I have no further details). Finally, the Asia Times has confirmed to me that they will also publish the full series on Russia and Islam as a write-off posted on the front with a link to the original.

Needless to say, I am deeply honored and absolutely delighted by all these developments.  I have been writing this blog since May 2007 and I have gone through some difficult times.  I want to specially thank those of you who have been contributing your comments and stayed with me since many years already, including through the times when I felt rather lonely and isolated.

Finally, the big lesson of all this for me is that there is a real thirst out there for a different kind of thought.  That the old categories  Left vs Right, East vs West or Progressive vs Conservative are dying off and that many people are fed up with them.  Many people are also fed-up with the strict rules of political correctness imposed by *all* establishments.  I say that because even though I have published many highly politically incorrect opinions and even though I categorically refuse to get stuck in the Left vs Right categories, I have received comparatively little hate mail.  There is definitely something new brewing here.  In Russia this "something new" is incarnated by Putin, in France by Soral and Dieudo, in Latin America probably by Morales, in the Middle-East by Nasrallah.  The beginnings of a "post-capitalist consensus" maybe?

In what concerns me, I do not feel quite as alone anymore.  Instead I am feeling that I am a tiny part of a much bigger "something new" which I find very interesting and immensely inspiring.  I hope that a lot of you will also feel that sense of hope and direction.

Many thanks and kind regards,

The Saker

PS: I am taking all of next week off: my wife and I will spend a few days on a Florida Key celebrating my upcoming 50th birthday.  Yup, I am not getting any younger, but I am enjoying life more than ever before!  I will spend a few days sea kayaking, cross country mountain biking,  exploring small islands and generally relaxing.   I will resume blogging around the 25th of November.  Please use the comments sections to stay in touch with me  (I will have my smartphone and tablet with me) and with each other, post whatever you want, and I will do my best to moderate comments as fast as possible and reply to comments (probably in the evenings).  I should be able to reply to emails at least one a day.   "See you" all soon, The Saker.

UPDATE1: I have just been informed that translations my articles are also being circulated in Brazil:

O longo (20 anos!) “pas de deux” de Rússia e EUA está chegando ao fim?

Greenpeace “versus” Rússia – o que interessa e as questões reais

UPDATE2: I just have received the news that my article on Russia and the USA has been translated into Italian:

Italian translation available (2 parts):

UPDATE3: just got the news that my article about France was translated into Spanish:

¿Se está gestando una revolución en Francia?

UPDATE4:  Jiwan Kshetry has just informed me that my articles have been piked up in Kathmandu Nepal and that he will continue to publish them in the future:

UPDATE5: Cert has just informed me that my article on Russia and the USA has now been translated and published into Czech:

1993 – 2013: Končí dvacetiletí „pas de deux“ Ruska a USA?

UPDATE6: My recent series of articles about the Ukraine (first, second and third) has been translated into French and published by the Le Courrier de Syrie blog:

UPDATE7: My article "Saker's "man of the year 2013": the Syrian soldier" was translated into French and has been published by Axe de la Resistance, the French news service of the Iranian Radio, Palestine Solidarité and the blog of Philippe Delbauvre.

UPDATE8: My article on the Volgograd bombings has been translated into Portuguese and is now available on redecastorphoto, the blog of Castor Filho in Brazil.

UPDATE9: My article on the Volgograd bombings has been translated into French and is now available on the Axe de la Resistance website.

UPDATE10: The French text of my article about the Volgograd bombings has been published by the Iranian Radio, the Cercle des Volontaires, Palestine SolidarityLibertes d'Informer, Ce Que Les Medias Ne Nous Disent Pas, the Italian Osservatorio Internatzionale Per I Diritti, and Cameroon Voice.  My article on the Saker 2013 man of the year has been published by al-Moqawama.  Finally, the French website Interet General Info has published my articles about Russian non-intervention in the Ukraine, Russia-USA relations and about the Volgograd bombings.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Greenpeace vs Russia - the relevant context and the real issues

Last month I wrote an article about the real reasons behind the Greenpeace action in the Russian Arctic in which I mentioned several examples of the surge in Arctic related activities initiated under Vladimir Putin:
A few years ago, a Russian submarine placed a Russian flag on the North Pole as a clear sign that Russia was claiming its share of the polar resources. Needless to say, the US, Canada and the EU are not happy at all about it. But there is nothing much they can do, if only because Russian polar technologies are way ahead of what exists in the West. Not only are Russian submarines far better suited for polar operations than their western counterparts, the Russians also have unique nuclear icebreakers which make it possible for them to open routes in very thick ice (more are currently being build).  Western technologies have always been far more "equator oriented". For example, the US GPS navigation system is more accurate on the lower latitudes while the Russian GLONASS is more accurate in the polar regions. Most of the US Navy's power is centered on warmer regions of the globe. In contrast the most powerful and best equipped Russian fleet has always been the Northern Fleet which is used to operate in polar conditions. Under Putin, Russia has embarked on an ambitious plan to defend its interest in the Arctic: old abandoned polar bases are now being reopened and a special Arctic motor-rifle division is being created. The Russian Air Force has resumed an intensive program of Arctic operations while the Navy has embarked on a cycle of regular Arctic maneuvers involving its most advanced surface vessels (...) The fact is that the West has neither the know-how nor the money needed to try to match the Russian moves.
And I concluded by explaining that the West still has is some very useful Cold War era tools: the "independent" non-governmental organizations.

What I did not know at the time is that while I was writing this the Russian Northern Fleet was in the middle of a massive, truly unprecedented, mission to built an "arctic airport" in just one month.  A few days ago the Russian armed forces TV channel Zvezda released a very interesting report about this mission which shows a lot of the technologies I was referring to in my October article.  The video is in Russian, but it is also very self-explanatory.   I also will write a summary of the important points right under this video.  Check it out:

These are some of the key things shown or mentioned in the video:
In early September 10 ships sailed from Severomosrk to Kotelnyi Island.  The official goal of the mission was to:

1) maintain Russian military presence in the Arctic
2) defend Russian economic interests in the Arctic

As part of the mission, this task force was ordered to build a fully functional airport in less than one month and to finish the entire mission before the beginning of November.  Besides a few transport ships, the following ships were included in the task force:
  • The heavy nuclear missile cruiser Peter Velikii (the most heavily armed ship on the planet)
  • 2 Large Amphibious assault ships
  • The nuclear icebreaker Vaigach
  • The nuclear icebreaker Iamal
  • The nuclear icebreaker Taimyr
  • The nuclear icebreaker "50 years of the Victory"
This means that the full nuclear fleet of Russia was sent over the 73rd parallel to cross three arctic seas (the sea of Barents,  the sea of Karsk, and the sea of Laptev) which is over 2000 miles less than one week.  The task force was commanded by  Vladimir Korolev, C-in-C Northern Fleet and included the flagship of the Russian Navy, the heavy nuclear missile cruiser Peter Velikii under the command of First Captain Vladislav Malakhovskii.

In the course of its journey, the naval task force practiced beyond-visual-range missile interceptions, and also practiced helicopter reconnaissance missions as far as 200km away from the task force  

Once the task force arrived to Kotelnyi Island, Naval Infantry amphibious assault units began by securing the landing area.  More forces were then disembarked to clean up the area (which will be declared a natural preserve) and scouts were sent to locate sources of fresh water.  Special polar tents with powerful heaters were deployed.  Such tents are capable of maintaining an internal temperature of 25C-28C/77F-83F regardless of the conditions outside.

The task force began working 24 hours a day (a "day" lasts 4 hours here) and 13 living modules and 4 containers bought in by helicopters.  Tons of heavy gear was brought in with pontoon boats.  Soon satellite communications and the Internet were restored.  A hospital, including a full surgical suite, was built.
Satellite view of Kotelnyi Island
The building of the airport began with the creation of a fully paved runway.  Special transport means were then brought over from the cargo ship to assist in the mobility of the disembarked forces including tracked vehicles and hovercraft.

In less than a month, an airport capable of receiving aircraft year-long and 24 hours a day was built, including modern radar and air defense systems.  8500 tons of ground material had to be brought in to build the foundation for this modern airport.

The first aircraft to land at the "Temp" airport was an An-72.  Soon heavy-lift Il-76 transport aircraft began dropping even more supplies by parachuted palettes.  The airport also received its full complement of personnel (50 military specialists).

Eventually, the polar tents were replaced with solid modular living facilities which are built with advanced materials which naturally retain heat in conditions as severe as -40C/F.

Next, similar bases will be built on Franz-Joseph and Wrangel islands and then all along the northern coast of Russia.  These bases will serve to guide and protect commercial and civilian shipping throughout the "Northern Passage" of Russia.
Due to its very "public relations" nature this video is focused on equipment and technology, and what is only mentioned in passing is the huge, crucial importance of the experience of operating in Arctic conditions.  Only at one specific moment in the video do we see an officer commenting on the complexity of the landing operation in these circumstances saying "there is enough study material here to write a thesis" and he is correct.  There is much more to military operations in the Arctic than just dressing warm: the conditions are so dramatically different that it would be more accurate to think of this environment as a different planet.  This is the reason why the video shows the commander in chief of the Northern Fleet proudly commenting that "we could really be called the Northern and Arctic Fleet".

No other country in the world currently has the know-how and capabilities which Russia has in the Arctic, not even close, and Putin's Russia is pushing that advantage full steam ahead.

Take a look at the map to the right.  It shows the main advantage Russia has over other Arctic nations: Russia has a longer Arctic coastline and keep in mind that the Russian far north is inhabited.  While the US, Canada, Denmark or Norway will have Arctic bases, these are always far away from the rest of the country.  This is not the case for Russia where the outposts at the far north are organically linked to the "big land" as the Russians often call the more accessible part of their country.

Another map worth looking at one one developed by the International Boundaries Research Unit at Durham University which shows the potential maritime jurisdictions and exclusive economic zones if the Law of the Sea treaty was fully implemented.  Here is the map itself:

Click for legend
The Law of the Sea Convention was signed at the United Nations by 157 countries.  Looking at the map above can you guess which major country did not sign this document?  Yup!  The USA, of course, since all it gets from the big pie is a narrow slice over Alaska (for more on this topic click here and here).  So far, the US government itself has not made any aggressive claims, but several US politicians have and most experts agree that the combination of the effects of global warming and economic imperatives will make the Arctic a crucial arena of competing international interests very soon.

It is this context that the entire Greenpeace operation must be understood:  Russia has the geographical and technological advantage in the Arctic.  Russia is also the only country with a meaningful Arctic power projection capability.  Russia has the political will and financial resources to back up its rightful claims under the Law of the Sea.  Now Russia has also demonstrated that it also has unique military and technological capabilities.  The only option for the Anglosphere is to try to either block Russia politically or, at least, to slow it down as much as possible.

And Mother Nature in all that?  Let's just say that her importance is proportional to the wealth she offers in any one specific location.  As long as the North Pole was pretty much a no-go area, nobody gave a damn about how much pollution the USSR or Russia could potentially create there.  But now, all of a sudden, this is a top priority topic.

The really sad thing is that the Soviet legacy of pollution is particularly terrible in the Russian north and that we should not yield to the temptation of dismissing very real ecological issues in the Arctic with the antics of the hyper-politicized group like Greenpeace.  In other words, if Greenpeace is a joke, the preservation of the Arctic is not, and all the countries with access to the Arctic should be put under pressure to respect this unique ecosystem.  The fact that the Russian military operation in Kotelnyi Island began with a huge cleanup operation is good news, as is the fact that this island will now be declared a natural preserve.  Hopefully, this will not be a one time PR stunt and this model will be implemented for all the future Russian expeditions in the Arctic.

The Saker

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Is a new revolution quietly brewing in France?

Today I am beginning a series of articles about what I believe is the extremely deep crisis taking place in Europe and about the potential of this crisis to result in some cataclysmic events.  I will begin by taking a look at what has been going on in France, probably the country in Europe I know best, and also one which I think has be biggest potential to generate an explosion with far reaching consequences.

One could look at France's economic and financial situation (catastrophic) or at the many social problems plaguing an already very frustrated population, but I want to focus on one specific aspect of the current French crisis: the complete alienation of the majority of the people from the ruling elites which I will illustrate by one very telling example: the growing hysteria of the French elites about a brilliant philosopher - Alain Soral - and one stand-up comedian - Dieudonne M'bala M'bala.

I have already written about these to remarkable people (here, here and here) and I urge you to read these past articles to get a better picture of what is taking place now.  For those who are really not willing to read a few background pages, I will begin by the following mini-introduction.

Diendonne M'bala M'bala is a French-Cameroonian comedian which was by far the most popular comic in France until he made one short sketch about a religious Israeli Settler on French TV.  The sketch was not particularly funny, but it really enraged the French equivalent of the US AIPAC - called CRIF in France - which began a systematic campaign to smear, ban and silence "Dieudo" as he is known in France.  Dieudo refused to roll over and retaliated by making fun of those persecuting him which made him the darling of many of those who hated the financial elites running France since 1969.  Now completely banned from any public media, Dieudo is still the most popular comic in France.

Alain Soral is a French author and philosopher whose political career included a membership in the French Communist Party and the National Front.  He is credited with developing the concept of "gauche du travail - droite des valeurs" (literally "left of labor - right of values") which can be summarized as the simultaneous advocacy of  socialist/social ideas and measures in economic and social issues combined with conservative moral, ethical and religious values in ideological, ethical and cultural issues.  He is the founder of an extremely interesting movement called "Egalite et Reconciliation" which aims at reconciling native French people (called "Francais de souche" or "root French") with those French people who recently immigrated to France (called "Francais de branche" or "branch French") and to make them co-exist in complete equality.  Because of his numerous "politically incorrect" ideas and very overt statements, Soral is absolutely hated and feared by the French ruling class.  Even though Soral has also been completely banned from any public media,  He remains immensely popular with the general public and his books are all best-sellers.

Soral and Dieudo are very different people, they have very different backgrounds and they have very different personalities.  There even used to be a time when they were sharply critical of each other.  But when the French elites decided to basically destroy them they became closer together and now they are good friends, and they openly support each other, as a result we have this truly bizarre phenomenon: a White philosopher and a Black comedian have jointly become a kind of "two-headed Emmanuel Goldstein" of modern France: the elites absolutely hate them and the media as gone into a completely Orwellian "two minute of hate" frenzy mode trying to convince the French people that Soral and/or Dieudo are almost a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler.  Needless to say, this thesis is so stupid that Dieudo makes fun of it in his shows while Soral ridicules it in his books and uses it to show that France is run by a tiny elite of vicious and arrogant SOBs.

In truth, one has to admit that the French elites are facing two formidable enemies.  Dieudonne is truly one of the most talented French comedian ever while Soral is without any doubt the most original and brilliant philosopher France has seen since WWII.  Furthermore, French law makes it rather difficult to completely ban a show or a book.  God knows, the French elites have tried, and both Dieudo and Soral have been taken to court numerous times for "racism" and "anti-Semitism", both of them have been physically assaulted several times by the thugs of the "LDJ" (Jewish Defense League) and both of them are constantly harassed by the authorities (the French version of the IRS and the FBI).  Yet, this systematic campaign of persecutions has clearly backfired against its authors and given Dieudo and Soral a (well-deserved) martyr status.  Finally, Dieudo and Soral have shown that they are extremely sophisticated users of the Internet where their shows, special events, interviews, books, monthly news roundups have been extremely popular and are seen by many millions of people in France and abroad.

Gradually, Soral and Dieudo have built a real political movement which is active both on the internal front and on international issues.

As I mentioned, "Egalite et Reconciliation" or "E&R" stands for a full acceptance and integration of Muslim immigrants into the French society.  This is crucial because unlike the French National Front, E&R does not advocate the expulsion of immigrants out of France.  Not only that, but E&R even denies that immigrants are the real problem.  Of course, E&R does not deny that unemployment is huge in France, nor does it deny that a large percentage of crime and violence in France are committed by immigrants, but they see that as an effect of previous political mistakes and not as a cause of the problems of France.

Likewise, E&R is very openly pro-Muslim.  Not in a truly religious sense, most members of E&R are not deeply religious people, but rather in the cultural sense.  E&R primarily see Islam and French Roman-Catholicism as two sources of ethnics, morality and civilization as for whether one is religious or not and accepts the theology of these religions is left to the individual member.  This is quit different from the utterly sterile "ecumenical dialog" which seeks to find common teachings to Jesus Christ and the Prophet Mohammad while desperately trying to overlook the very real and deep theological disagreements between these two religions.  Instead, E&R advocates a common stance on most, if not all, issues faced by French Muslims and Christians.  And that makes sense.

Think about it: both Islam and Christianity are clearly opposed to the values of capitalism, profit maximization, speculation, usury, sexual immorality, the destruction of the traditional family, imperialism, etc.  While the theological roots of Islam and Christianity are different, most of their ethical philosophical teachings are very similar.  Frankly, I can think of only one big difference and that is the fundamentally different views Muslims and Christians have on the death penalty, but since the death penalty has been abolished in France in 1981 this hardly matters today.

Of course, both Christianity and Islam have their crazy perverted deviations such as the plutocratic and genocidal policies of the Papacy in the past or the liver-eating Wahabis the world is facing today, but E&R has no problems rejecting and condemning them.  On the Christian side, E&R advocates a type of popular Roman-Catholicism seen in the pre-1789 France which has little to do with some of the worst excesses of the Papacy. On the Muslim side, E&R is especially close to the teachings Sheikh Imran Hosein and Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.  They are also close to the Iranian supported Centre Zahra in Paris.  I would say that the type of Muslims attracted to E&R are exactly the same as the type Christians attracted to it: politically progressive, religiously strict, observant, but tolerant.  Needless to say, the potential of this radically new movement is absolutely huge because it unites Left and Right, Christian and Muslim, religious and secular (as long as they are not anti-religious), native and immigrant, White and Black, rich and poor.  But what seems to really trigger the panic of the French elites is the deep penetration of this movement into the notorious French "banlieues", the destitute suburbs which over the past decades were filled with immigrants from Africa and which have turned into no-go zones of lawlessness and crime.

To understand this phenomenon it It is crucial to understand the following: crime in France is not, repeat *not*, the product of recent immigrants or religious Muslims.  Recent immigrants and religious Muslims have strong roots in their culture, families and lifestyles which categorically prevent them form being criminal.  And poverty has nothing to do with this either.  I personally have lived for 20 years right next to a big mosque attended by huge crowds of dirt-poor Muslims from sub-Saharan Africa, the Maghreb, the Balkans and the Middle-East I can attest that never, I mean that literally, never, was any crime committed in my neighborhood by the folks who came to this mosque.  Quite to the contrary, these mosque attending Muslims were far better behaved, and more courteous, than the locals.  In fact, it was clear that these people were going out of their way to show the (initially rather frightened locals) that they had no cause to fear them.  The worst "crime" these Muslims regularly committed was to park their cars on the curb and that was because there were not enough parking places available.  Finally, at the end of each Holy Month of Ramadan, the Muslims invited the entire neighborhood to join in the celebrations, to sample the many delicious dishes offered, and to visit the mosque.  To say that these Muslims were perfect citizens would be an understatement.

The so-called "Muslim crime" in France is always linked second generation youth gangs who have lost their cultural and religious roots and who know little or nothing about them but who are also rejected by the local, native, population.  As Soral likes to say "nobody goes from the mosque straight into a gang-raping spree".  It's really either/or - but not both.  Soral calls these thugs "Islamo-racaille" which can be loosely translated as "Islamo-thugs" - a very nasty and dangerous type with no sense of right and wrong and who exteriorizes his alienation by abusing the natives whom he hates.  These are exactly the types who feel a deep attraction for the crude brutality of Wahabism and who end up killing cops in France or joining the liver-eaters in Syria.  Their "Islam" is really only a pretext, a pious justification, for their psychopathic thuggery.  I suspect most crusaders were exactly of the same psychological makeup.

Most young immigrants are, of course, somewhere in between the family-educated and observant type and the out of control lawless thugs.  And for the very first time a relevant political movement offers them a very attractive option: E&R.

In essence E&R tells them "instead of being neither, be both - be Muslim and be French, don't hate the natives who have the same oppressors as you do and who are your best friends and allies, our enemies are trying to turn us against each other to better rule over all of us, let us therefore unite and stand together".  This is an absolutely new and original message.

In the past, only two movements openly dealt with the immigration issue.  On one hand you had the National Front who advocated policies such as the "national preference" (better social and labor laws from the natives), the crackdown on crime (more police, stricter laws, more and bigger jails) and the expulsion of all immigrants (except, possibly, those with a French passport - and even that was debated).  On the other hand, you had an organization created by the Socialist Party called "SOS Racisme" which openly advocated the rejection of the native French culture by the immigrants who, under the nice-sounding slogan of "right to be different", were encouraged to hate the natives and demand a full acceptance of their cultures of origin by the French society.  Over the past twenty years the "tag-team" of the National Front and SOS Racisme has only served to make the issue of immigration in France infinitely worse.  The latest, and particularly ugly, development on this front has been the new political line  promoted by the French elites.

The very same elites who 20 years ago created and covertly financed SOS Racisme and its moronic slogan "Touche pas a mon pote" (don't touch my buddy) have now declared that Muslims are, after all, a serious problem.  While in the past these elites were systematically ridiculing Christianity, they are now saying that "Islam is not compatible with the Republic".  As for the youth in the "banlieues", they are now presented as potential terrorist or al-Qaeda sleepers.  As a result, when the French elites are not legalizing homosexual marriages they are busy banning the hijab in schools and complaining about too much halal meats in the stores.  And while only a tiny percentage of Muslim woman in France cover their faces, the French elites have now officially banned the burqa and the niqab in public places. Clearly, Muslim immigrants in France have now been downgraded from "buddies" to enemies.

It is against this background that more and more young immigrants are flocking to Soral, Dieudonne and E&R whose popularity is rapidly growing.  Recently, an absolutely incredible event took place, something unthinkable just a few years ago.

In one of his sketches Dieudo sang a song called "Shoananas" a rather basic play on the words 'Shoah' (from the Hebrew 'HaShoah' or 'disaster' - name by which the French Jews often refer to the "Holocaust") and  'ananas' (pineapple).  Sure enough, the CRIF, SOS Racisme and other organization sued Dieudo for "incitement to hatred".  Dieudo was sentenced to a 20'000 Euros fine and he appealed the decision.  On the day Dieudo's appeal was heard by the court, something absolutely extraordinary happened.  I found two YouTube videos which show the event and which I will both show because of the high probability that one, or both, of these videos will be banned (guys - download them now while you can!).  Here they are:

Short version:

Longer version:

For those of you who do not understand French, let me summarize what we see.

Members of the Jewish Defense League (LDJ) show up to scream insults at Dieudo and his supporters who, in turn, shout all types of abuse at the LDJ members and wave pineapples at them while sining "Shoananas".  The cops keep the two sides apart as best they can.  Then the supporters of Dieudo begin to chant "liberte d'expression" (freedom of speech) to which the LDJ members reply "am Israel hai" ("Israel is alive" in Hebrew) and begin to sing the Israeli national anthem.  At this point the supporters being to sing the French "La Marseillaise" from the top of their lungs totally drowning out the completely overwhelmed LDJ activists.  Now take a close look at the faces singing "La Marseillaise" - do you see that a lot of the people singing it are clearly Brown and Black?  These are precisely the type young people taken mostly, but not only, from the notorious 'banlieues'.  These could be the same people who in 2001 and 2002 booed the French national anthem during soccer matches (a big scandal at the time).

The Marseillaise is first and foremost a revolutionary song, and when it is not so much sung as it is shouted by a large crowd waving fists, this is a very very serious development.  Needless to say, none of that was ever shown on the French media.  But you can bet that the elites saw it all and one can only imagine the fear they felt as these images.

Coincidence or not, but the fact is that when the cops heard the crowd behind them singing the Marseillaise, they began pushing the LDJ activist out of the court-building.  This is not very surprising considering the immense popularity Dieudo and Soral enjoy in the various uniformed services (more about that below).

Something very important and very new is happening in France.  The traditional political paradigm of Right versus Left is falling apart if only because the official "Right" and the official "Left" have become indistinguishable from each other.  And in the meantime, the E&R phenomenon is becoming not only bigger, but deeper.  More and more young Frenchmen are looking back at the history of France since 1945 and they are gradually coming to the realization that the country has been rule by a arrogant cabal of plutocrats who overthrew de Gaulle in 1968 and who replaced this remarkable national leader with a protégé of the Rothschild family, Georges Pompidou, who began is career as a director of the Banque Rothschild and who was later by the French elites to replace de Gaulle.  The French plutocracy which, together with the CIA, had covertly orchestrated the "May 68" riots to achieve "regime change" in France, now had free reign to radically change the "sovereignist" political course chartered by de Gaulle.  Can you guess when the policy of mindless import of cheap foreign labor into France began? Under Pompidou, of course!  Now, thanks for E&R both native and immigrant French people are re-discovering their common history and are beginning to understand that they both were victims of the same politicians.

In the meantime, the regime in power commits one blunder after the other.  The latest one is both very funny and very serious.  This is the huge scandal surrounding the "quenelle".

Originally, the ""quenelle"" was a French dish which, if well prepared, could be quite delicious.  This is what a "quenelle" made with pike looks like:

The elongated shape of the "quenelle" has also given a 2nd, slang, meaning to this word.  Let's just say that the French expression to "put you a "quenelle"" would have a very similar meaning to the English "up yours!".

Dieudonne did probably not realize the far reaching consequences of his words when he began referring to each of his jokes mocking of the regime in power as a "quenelle".  To add some emphasis, Dieudo than began to show, with his arms, the various sizes of ""quenelle"s" which he, or his supporters, were "putting" to the elites.  The small ones were shown has having the length of about a hand, while the big ones, the really successful ones, where shown as having the full length of an outstretched arm.  This is a typical image of Dieudo showing a "big "quenelle"":

This gesture rapidly went viral and became an Internet meme and more and more people began making this gesture as  sign of something like "f*ck the system" , "screw the government" or "here is for you, Mr. President!".

To make things worse, it became something of a sport to approach well-known personalities and to have a photo taken next to them while flashing the "quenelle".  People were making "quenelle"s everywhere, especially when photographed next to regime officials.

Check this photo of the French Minister of the Interior, Manuel Valls, a rabid Zionist who has openly called for the repression of Dieudonne and Soral in a major speech in from the a congress of the Socialist Party:

Valls is the clueless grinning idiot in the middle, surrounded by a group of young Frenchmen flashing the "quenelle".  Needless to say, when this photo was published the entire country exploded in laughter, making the "quenelle" even more famous.

In the meantime, the League against Racism and anti-Semitism (the equivalent of the US ADL in France)  declared that the "quenelle" was an "inverted Nazi salute and a symbol of the sodomization of the victims of the Shoah", I kid you not!  Predictably, the French Internet exploded in laughter.  The regime did not find that funny at all and it reacted with the kind of paranoia which one would expect from dictators like Stalin or Saddam Hussein: it literally launched a witch-hunt to try to detect more or less overt ""quenelle"s" and when such a gesture was detected, it attempted to punish those responsible if they were civil servants, especially in the police and military.  And, sure enough, the Internet was flooded with all types of folks flashing the "quenelle" in defiance of the regime's wrath.

Dieudo, of course, invited uniformed officials to come to his theater in Paris to perform a "quenelle" onstage, with him.  He also created a website solely dedicated to photos of uniformed people defiantly flashing the sign:"quenelle"s.html

Now the regime is completely lost and confused.  On one hand, it is simply impossible to sanction all the people who flash such signs, even disciplining only those in uniform is impossible.  Initially, the French Chief of Staff had demanded "exemplary sanctions" against the first two soldiers who flashed a "quenelle" (in front of a synagogue they were ordered to guard), but now he have to punished entire crowds of defiant soldiers, most of whom hate the regime anyway.  On the other hand, how can the regime ignore the fact that it is being openly defied, mocked and ridiculed?

Here we are reaching a topic whose importance cannot be overstated: how can one achieve regime change in a democracy who has been completely bought and paid for by a plutocracy?  This is question which is as absolutely crucial for France, as it is for the USA, the UK or any other EU country and the reply to this crucial seems to have eluded most of the million of people in the West who are completely disgusted with the regime in power but who see absolutely no realistic way to change it.

Violence is clearly not an option.  The regime has been very clever to label any form of "direct action" as "terrorism" while creating a monstrous spy-state which would dwarf Ceausescu's Securitate.  If you try as much as throwing a brick at a politician, they will call you a terrorist and lock you up for many decades.

Playing the electoral game is futile.  The plutocrats own the media which, standing on the shoulders of folks like Edward Bernays has learned how to brainwash a population far more effectively that Hitler or Kim Il-Sung ever could.  Basically, as shown by yesterday's vote in the US state of Washington, elections are bought.  Period.  "One man one vote" has long been replaced by "one dollar one vote".

Trying to convince people by regular information campaigns has proven useless too.  If anything the double facts that the 9/11 Truth movement has proven far beyond reasonable doubt that the Twin Towers and WTC7 have been brought down by controlled demolition AND the fact that his has had exactly zero impact on the political process in the USA proves that most people have been either zombified beyond rescue or have given up hope in complete disgust and despair.

And yet we, the common folk, do have one formidable weapon left: we can demonstratively show our total lack of respect for this regime and its values.  Like Dieudo, we can do that through humor and laughter.  God knows we all need a reason to laugh nowadays!  And we can do it by showing our complete contempt for all the institutions the regime tries so hard to make us respect.  First and foremost, we need to "diss" the voice of the regime - the corporate media - and we need to "diss" the holy liturgy of the regime - the elections.  But we cannot do just that as this is only a first step.  Next, we need to follow the example of  Dieudo and Soral and use each opportunity to openly express our absolute contempt for every shill showing respect of this regime and its values.  Not only that, but we need to denounce these propagandists as "paid regime stooges" (which, of course, they are).  Lastly, we need to force the regime to show its true face by forcing it to take action against us.

Humor plays a crucial role here because - at least for the time being - it has not been declared illegal.  Humor is also a formidable weapon to attack a regime's legitimacy.  Here I think of the many sketches which the late George Carlin made about the regime in the USA, like these:

Carlin was brilliant, but he did not have the immense opportunity which Dieudo and Soral are now using with devastating effectiveness: a large percentage of the population which is already not only deeply alienated by the regime in power, but which has the cultural, religious and historical roots to dare look at another model: I am talking about the Muslim immigrants in France.

Sure, the USA has the Nation of Islam lead by a pretty interesting leader, Louis Farrakhan, but the problem with the NOI is that its teachings are not truly Islamic and that cuts them off from the rest of the much larger Islamic world.  Besides, ever since the murder of Malcolm X by two NOI activists I suspect that the NOI has been thoroughly infiltrated by FBI plants.

In France, however, the Islamic community has a much more organic link to the Islamic world, including to countries like Iran which fosters a far more refined and sophisticated look at the flaws of modern society than either the pro-regime mosques in France and abroad or the Wahabis.

It is, of course, ironical that the French who for many years have seen the Muslim immigration to their country as a curse are now coming to slowly realize that this might well have been a blessing.  I do not mean to paint a rosy picture of Islam in France: there are plenty of unsolved problems to tackle both for the natives and the immigrants, and certain forms of Islam are probably really not compatible with the original French traditions and culture.  And yes, there are many signs that the current social brew might explode sooner or later.  But the phenomenon of Dieudo, Soral and E&R gives me the hope that this explosion does not have to be a destructive one, that it could also be a liberating one.

What I am sure of is that some form of explosion will happen.  Not only if France ruined economically, but the regime in power is loosing its legitimacy literally day by day.  Should it come to a confrontation, and that is a very real possibility in France, it is by no means certain that the police and security forces will continue to remain loyal to the plutocracy in power which, after all, has only made the life of the regular cop much worse.  I can easily imagine a "bank holiday" turning into a violent uprising and after that, anything could happen.  One of the most knowledgeable observer of the French political scene - economist and author Pierre Jovanovic - believes that President Francois Hollande will not even be able to finish his current term in office.

Of course, I do not expect Dieudo or Soral to become President or Prime Minister, neither will E&R become a big political party anytime soon (not to mention that it's creators did not register it as a party).  That is not the point.  What I do hope for is that this movement will trigger a re-definition of the French political scene and create a force bold enough to take on the current power establishment head-on, something which has not happened since May of 1968 (the National Front, whose rise was secretly aided by the French Socialists in order to split the French right has long been fully co-opted into the system). Considering the many deep systemic and structural crises currently plaguing Europe, France could lead by example, if only because France's problems are not much different from those facing the rest of western Europe.

The Saker