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First rule of war: Know thy enemy

(An update to this article was added on 18 November.) 

Following the attacks in Paris on the weekend, there is little doubt that we – along with most of the rest of the Western world – are at war with ISIL. And at the risk of stating the obvious, the key to winning any war is knowing who the enemy is and correspondingly, who our allies are.

But understanding who’s an enemy and who’s an ally in this conflict seems to be something that many are struggling with. This is understandable – to some extent at least – as many still think of war as something that is fought between nations. But as I wrote last weekend, this is not a war which is defined by physical boundaries. You can’t point at a specific nationality – or even a specific religion – and say everyone of that nationality or religion is the enemy.

Jumping on the enemy bandwagon…

Unfortunately that hasn’t stopped some from using the tragedy of war to try and garner support for their own particular message of hatred and/or bigotry. Here’s some homegrown examples:

  • Tony Abbott – has been out and about, using this tragedy to push his stop-the-boats mantra, warning that terrorists are hiding in the ‘flood of refugees‘; and
  • Pauline Hanson – who has also grasped the opportunity to push her own particularly brand of bigotry, calling for a “Royal Commission into Islam” and demanding that Australia immediately cease all migration from “Muslim” countries.

The sad and tragic irony of this is that the likes of Abbott and Hanson have – albeit unwittingly – become voices for ISIL, pushing the very message that ISIL want them to push.

Pushing hatred and bigotry is exactly what ISIS want

Commentator Waleed Aly’s message on The Project yesterday evening made this very clear:

https://youtu.be/XXUZjyZVj6s

In Aly’s words:

“ISIL’s leaders would be ecstatic to hear that since the atrocity in Paris, Muslims have reportedly been threatened and attacked in America, England and here in Australia. Because this evil organisation has it in their heads that if they can make Muslims the enemy of the West, then Muslims…will have nowhere to turn but to ISIL…

We all need to come together, because it’s exactly what ISIL doesn’t want.”

But instead of coming together, many are being taken in by fear mongering – and as a result confusion reigns about who’s an enemy and who’s an ally.

Being French doesn’t make you a terrorist. Nor does being a refugee.

Just look at the response to the fact that a Syrian refugee passport was found next to one of the terrorists last weekend. Suddenly more than a dozen US states have said they will bar Syrian refugees and many countries in Europe are talking about putting up fences and barbed wire to protect their borders – as though this will somehow keep them safe.

The fact that at least five of the terrorists were French nationals and their leader was Belgian is just completely ignored in discussions around how to prevent terrorism – instead the focus is on refugees. Nobody is suggesting that we close our borders to all French and Belgian citizens – even though they were the bulk of last weekend’s terrorist cell – because we recognise that this would be absurd. Being Belgian or French doesn’t make you a terrorist. Nor does being a Syrian refugee.

Fighting the real enemy

The bottom line is that the very best way to fight ISIL at home is to fight racism, to fight bigotry, to welcome refugees, to support Muslims in their fight against extremism – because this is the exact opposite of what our enemy wants us to do.

If we don’t do this – if we allow the likes of Abbott and Hanson to divert our attention to their petty biases and bigotries – then instead of fighting the real enemy, we will be fighting our allies and doing ISIL’s work for them. And the outcome of this could be catastrophic.

In the words of Sun Tzu:

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will lose every battle.” (The Art of War)

UPDATE on 18 November 2016

Since I first wrote this article, authorities have confirmed that the Syrian passport found near the body of one of the terrorists was a fake, and that the terrorist attack was ‘homegrown’. It had absolutely nothing to do with any refugee from Syria or elsewhere. This suggests what many have suspected – that the terrorist may have been carrying a Syrian passport for the purpose of turning Westerners against refugees.

Unfortunately, the terrorists’ ploy appears to be working, as state after state in the US – undeterred by facts – confirms that it will no longer take refugees from Syria. Since I wrote this article yesterday, the number has more than doubled to 26 states. Further, conservative Republican candidates like Donald Trump are falling over themselves to support ISIS through their fear-based rhetoric – with Trump calling for the US to shut mosques and using the Paris Tragedy as an argument to support US gun laws.

This post was first published on ProgressiveConversation.

 

67 comments

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  1. Matters Not

    look at the response to the fact that a Syrian refugee passport was found next to one of the terrorists last weekend

    .

    Fakes! One and all.

    Syrian passports found near the bodies of two of the suspected Paris attackers were fakes that were likely made in Turkey, police sources in France told Channel 4 News on Sunday.

    http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syrian-passports-found-scene-paris-attacks-fakes-made-turkey-police-520642631

    And from a different source.

    Serbian police arrest man carrying Syrian passport with exact same details as document found on Paris bomber

    But the ‘myth’ will live on. Perhaps they all look the same?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/serbian-police-arrest-man-carrying-syrian-passport-with-exact-same-details-as-document-found-on-a6736471.html

  2. Kate M

    Agree Mars – although they do say they have matched the fingerprint to the person who entered Greece. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a fake passport OR that it wasn’t a deliberate plan by the terrorists to spread fear about refugees. K

  3. Kate M

    Yep. I think the Syrian passport will turn out at best to be a fake – and at worst a conspiracy.

  4. Matters Not

    if we allow the likes of Abbott and Hanson to divert our attention to their petty biases and bigotries

    Hanson wants a Royal Commission into Islam. Perhaps she could write the Terms of Reference?

    The fact that she gets more than one vote is an indictment on our education system. (Just jokin ..)

  5. mars08

    People desperately want to believe stories that reinforce their bigotry…

  6. Michael Taylor

    Some bloke on the BBC reckoned they were fake as soon as they were reported. He found it odd that someone going downtown to blow himself up would bother to take his passport. A picture of Allah, yes. Passport, unlikely.

  7. Wayne Turner

    The Children Overboard saga under dickhead lying Howard comes to mind mars08.

  8. Matters Not

    A picture of Allah

    Very, very risky. Although there is dispute among the Islamic scholars re photographs.

    Never seen one of Allah. And never will.

  9. mars08

    The hysteria… it’s so bizarre…. so irrational. In Australia, 198 people died from falling off a chair between 2003 and 2012. Shouldn’t our politicians be doing something about it?

  10. makeourvoiceheard.com

    The anti-Muslim sentiment is already heated, and getting warmer. I do think that a significant minority of people love any excuse to consider themselves superior to others, and are just loving this. They just don’t seem to be able to grasp the concept that they are doing exactly what ISIS want them to. I don’t remember the anti-Muslim sentiment being this bad after 9/11, but I was living in London then, not Australia…

  11. mars08

    I don’t remember the anti-Muslim sentiment being this bad after 9/11, but I was living in London then, not Australia…

    Oh rest assured, it was very nasty. But our lazy, cynical, self-serving, opportunistic politicians and clueless, irresponsible sensationalist media had a jolly old time!

  12. Kate M

    MakeOurVoiceHeard – I don’t remember the anti-Muslim sentiment being this bad after 9/11 either. It may have been – but I don’t recall it being quite this bad. I do think the fact that Islamic State – by name and intent – attempt to connect themselves so closely to the Muslim faith may make it more pronounced.

  13. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    Andrew Wilkie is taking a sensible view on this and he is actually semi-qualified to be advising about this.
    http://www.andrewwilkie.org/content/index.php/awmp/home_news_extended/pm_must_not_reinforce_failure_in_syria_iraq
    …..and he was right before and everyone now agrees with what he said at the time. He was willing to resign his job over it.
    There are Allah images. I’ve seen a veiled or curtained one and this one is usually claimed to be him http://www.warfare.altervista.org/Persia/14/Jami_al-Tawarikh-Mohammed_positions_the_Kaaba-Edinburgh-MsOr20.htm
    Partly why the Shia are considered ‘apostates’ as well as some other things.
    Oh here’s the other style of one https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splitting_of_the_moon
    All are Persian culture and Sunnis generally disapprove (if they care).

  14. corvus boreus

    Kate M,
    That is why I often call the arseholes in hiluxes waving the black flags with the white scrawl the “daesh”.
    The construct of the term daesh is basically the same as ISIS/L, only formed as an acronym from the Arabic
    This denies them and their atrocities immediate direct association with broader Islam when spoken of in western tongues.
    Apparently, the bloodthirsty, rapacious and mentally deranged primitivist anal polyps really hate being called ‘daesh’.
    https://www.freewordcentre.com/blog/2015/02/daesh-isis-media-alice-guthrie/

    Also, Isis denotes a traditional goddess of antiquity, and I would prefer not to see her name sullied by demeaning association with a rabidly murderous bunch of woman-haters.

  15. Kate M

    Thanks for the link Chris. I have a lot of time for Andrew Wilkie – he has proved his credentials and integrity time and time again.

    I think the following quote from his article is particularly insightful:

    “What we should be doing is better understanding the reasons behind Islamic State’s hatred of Australia and dealing with the threat as an extremely serious criminal matter warranting a robust police and intelligence response. This is now more important than ever because Islamic State is morphing into a global operation and their countries of origin are becoming less relevant.”

  16. Michael Taylor

    Matters Not, you took me too seriously.

  17. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    You’re in trouble now Michael…..Allah pictures in the comments section….; )

  18. Kate M

    Corvus – good and well thought out point about what to call daesh.

    K

  19. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    The whole point of images of Allah or people in Islam was to prevent the manipulation of people or the worship of graven idols type thing – that the Bible also says http://biblehub.com/exodus/20-4.htm . I don’t get why Islamic State doesn’t transpose that view on to newer technologies like video…..their videos are nothing but manipulation of the type that the Koran seems to warn about. I’d like to talk to an Islamic scholar about that. Statues were the mass media of the time….

  20. Matters Not

    Chris the Greatly Dismayed, I was referring to Allah not Mohammed.

    And Michael, I was taking the ‘piss’. A poor attempt at humour.

    Visit the Hagia Sophia and look at the ‘images’ which only survived because the Muslims ‘plastered’ (circa post 1453) over them (mosaics), ensuring they survived all those centuries protected from the ravages of time.

    Unintended consequences writ large!

  21. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    Yeah sorry my confusion. This hot weather is not great for me… : (

  22. corvus boreus

    The pictures posted by CtGS (sometimes Onceler) did, to me, look much more like Mohammad than Allah (who is, by account, much bigger, better hung, as well as being somewhat shiny/invisible).
    I wish the taliban (devolved ‘mujaheddin’) had merely plastered over the Bamiyan Buddhas.

  23. Matters Not

    Chris the Greatly Dismayed, there are any number of ‘images’ that were ‘plastered’ over and now ‘exposed’ It’s now a museum (neither a Church nor a Mosque) (all down to Ataturk and his determination to create a ‘secular state’ – now under attack by the incumbent) and is still being restored.

  24. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    I’ve visited with my kid in Assassin’s Creed Revelations…. but you only get to climb around the outside.

  25. Mark Filby

    GLOBAL FINANCE UNDER ROYALTY, BANKSTERS AND THE INSANELY GREEDY GIANT CORPORATIONS THAT RULE THE WORLD.

    THIS IS THE PROBLEM. ECONOMIC INSANITY. WARMONGERS WITH WEAPONS AND A SOCIETY THAT ACCEPTS IT.

    YOU ARE THE PROBLEM AND YOU ARE THE SOLUTION.

    GLOBAL PROBLEM REQUIRES A GLOBAL SOLUTION:
    Let me be blunt: as long as this planet has “privileged” elites, royalty, bankers, criminal politicians, insurance conmen,
    fraudulent courts and every bent spiv who games society, (us), for their “Profits”, fueled by a MONEY/BANKING SCAM
    that has entrapped the entire population of the planet, WE ARE DEAD.

    WE need a Global Non-Profit Bank that SERVES everyone on this planet, bar none.

    WE need a BANK that raises the bottom upwards and limits personal GREED.

    WE need ACCOUNTABILITY. OUR CURRENT BREED OF MONEY MASTERS HAVE NONE.

    WE need to ARREST the leaders and place THEM in prison for CRIMES AGAINST YOU.

    WE need a BANK that charges NO INTEREST, DOES NOT fund WARS.

    WE need a BANK that DONATES EVERY CENT OF PROFIT BACK TO SOCIETY.

    WE need a SOCIETY that can GROW past this FEUDAL RULING BANKING CABAL.

    WE need OUR lives to be OURS, just as GOD gave us ALL for FREE.

    WE need to sack the sATANS destroying OUR HOME.

    I NEED YOU ALL TO CHANGE YOUR MINDS BY CHOICE. WE CANNOT VIOLATE LAW. THE FINAL CHOICE IS LOVE OR MONEY? LIFE OR DEATH? GOD OR MAMMON.

    LOVE ALF. NB: I HATE NICOLAITANS!

  26. Matters Not

    Miglo, I think Mark Filby might be taking ‘advantage’.

    I thought you had a ‘spam’ filter’. (Just jokin ..) But I recognise the problems with same.

  27. Kate M

    I’ve added an update to this article to reflect the latest news on this. See the end of the article

  28. Kaye Lee

    It’s not just Trump that is supporting US gun laws. That moron Senator Leyonjhelm did an interview with that all powerful lobby group, the National Rifle Association of America (NRA), where he cautioned them to not go down the same path as Australia where we have become “a nation of victims” sitting around waiting for the bad guys to get us. This man is seriously deluded and quite dangerous.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-17/david-leyonhjelm-discourages-us-from-adopting-stronger-gun-laws/6948656

  29. Kaye Lee

    With the current makeup of the Senate, he is an empowered loon, which is truly scary. He wants to get rid of “nanny state” regulations about pool fences, bike helmets, and smoking but he wants wind farms banned because they make us sick. A quick look at his political history shows the man is the ultimate opportunist who is being paid to represent those lobby groups who no sane person, who anyone with any ethics, could possibly support.

  30. Michael Taylor

    A loon! That’s a mild description. 😉

  31. Kate M

    I do try to be relatively non-sweary in my web comments 🙂

  32. Kyran

    There is so much to ‘deconstruct’ when it comes to ‘rolling media coverage’, which seems to be a euphemism for blatant distortion of facts. The 9/11 coverage set the precedent but, as it was the first attack of that magnitude, the media went with a rolling coverage for nearly two days. My recollection was that Al Qaeda and Bin Laden weren’t that well known in the wider public so the opportunity for vilification was minimal.
    Co-incidentally, the coronial enquiry into the lunatic who went on a rampage in Martin Square is in the news again today with particular regard to ASIO’s actions, or lack thereof. That event was typical of the rolling media coverage. The public were subjected to over 16 hours of continuous reporting, with most of our rabid leaders declaring, before any evidence was gathered, that it was a terrorist attack.
    Every event that I can recall where there is constant, incessant ‘rolling’ reporting, eventually disintegrates into ‘journalists’ running around with cameras and microphones hyping up the gossip, suggestion, rumour and innuendo. Having heard about the Paris attack on RN, I was not surprised when various reporters started ‘stories’ that clearly had no foundation. One aspect that was played once but I have not heard since was a report the French police stormed the theatre as the attackers had taken hostages. I was immediately reminded of Martin Place.
    One of the attackers in Paris is described as a petty criminal.
    “Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Mostefai had been singled out as a high-priority target for radicalisation in 2010 but, before Friday, he had “never been implicated in an investigation or a terrorist association”.
    It seems the similarities in these ‘attacks’ are more about the incompetence of security agencies, who will never know their enemies. They are so busy looking for ‘chatter’ from ‘terrorists’ that they completely overlook the stupid or insane in their midst.
    Adam Hills had a post recently pointing out there are 1.6bil Muslims globally. There are about 500k in Australia. If Muslims are inherently given to violence, logically, the body count of westerners would be a lot higher. The nutters committing these atrocities are cowards hiding behind a flag of some sort. It seems those most terrified of them also like to wrap themselves in some sort of flag, whilst screaming the same hatred.
    Thank you, Ms Kate M. Take care

  33. mars08

    Kyran:

    They are so busy looking for ‘chatter’ from ‘terrorists’ that they completely overlook the stupid or insane in their midst…

    Oh I am not so sure!

    Seems that some agencies are well aware that stupid, angry., disillusioned, isolated young men can easily be encouraged to do something foolish. In fact it’s not unknown for those agencies to take advantage of such broken individuals…

    http://news.yahoo.com/fbi-pushed-muslims­-plot-terrorist-attacks-rights-report-16­0325158.html

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/07/21/us-t­errorism-prosecutions-often-illusion

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/ju­l/21/government-agents-directly-involved­-us-terror-plots-report

    http://progressive.org/news/2014/07/1877­98/fbi-using-dubious-entrapment-arrest-t­errorism-suspects

    I wonder if any of these silly schemes ever go horribly wrong…

  34. Kyran

    Good call, mars08. Local ABC radio had a session this afternoon on all sorts of technology subject to ‘agency’ oversight. There is, apparently, a lot of ‘chatter’ in games rooms associated with online interactive games. All of which are monitored on, at least, a casual basis. There are, apparently, a lot of ISP’s that have ‘back door’ access for the ‘agencies’, but more of them don’t.
    Apparently, texting is the most monitored form of communication.
    Guess what form of communication the idiots in France were allegedly using. Texting.
    The more I have read about this latest incident, which was horrific, the more I think it was “stupid, angry, disillusioned, isolated young men”. The freedoms we are allegedly fighting for became sacrificial a long time ago. Take care

  35. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    mars I totally believe you and know what you are saying but for some ‘strange’ reason none of those links are working except the yahoo one but it is just their general news page. It’s funny, I sometimes have the same problem finding books at home…. ; )

  36. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    @mars08 Its probably not your links. Things get removed from the internet all the time. Especially when they don’t fit the current narrative.

  37. mars08

    The problem is with my links. I hope they’re fixed now…

    http://news.yahoo.com/fbi-pushed-muslims­-plot-terrorist-attacks-rights-report-16­0325158.html

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/07/21/us-t­errorism-prosecutions-often-illusion

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/ju­l/21/government-agents-directly-involved­-us-terror-plots-report

    http://progressive.org/news/2014/07/1877­98/fbi-using-dubious-entrapment-arrest-t­errorism-suspects

    Can we try to image the emotions pounding at the family and friends of those “stitched up” by the cops?

  38. mark delmege

    Goebbels like rolling coverage means only one thing … it is propaganda.

    And as PC Roberts replied to me in an email

    ‘Why do you think the suicide bombers knew who organized the attack?

  39. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    mars08 they’re working now. : )

  40. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    Crazy stuff.
    Welcome to Spookapalooza.
    The non-stop anti-terror street party, coming to a city near you.
    The French anti-terror-dude on the BBC was just suggesting “That in people’s gut, they know that ‘What good is Freedom if no one is safe….” and that “There can be no more concerts if people are going to be attacked …” So I guess young people will have to head off to Russia to experience live entertainment…. Who would have thought ?
    And what happened to ‘showing them you are not scared and going about your everyday business’ ?
    ….and if I ever hear crazies saying global warming is all made up to fulfill some Agenda 21 conspiracy of world government and people control I will spontaneously combust. Employing all those fake scientists inventing bodgey data to fill spurious scientific papers…..Yeah that makes so much sense. NOT !
    It is so much easier than that. WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AT WAR WITH EASTASIA.

    FFS Resist this ultimate stupidity. Pay no attention to the cowardly crazies and hate mongering psychos.
    Humanity you have totally dropped your bundle.
    Resist.
    Be brave.
    Stop hurting each other and the planet for the sake of the greed of others.
    Do not co-operate with this.

    Big Black ~ The Hammer Party

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sggZu9tCYs

    ……I don’t know whether I feel any better yet…. : D

  41. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    mark delmege Interesting mark, although I’m always a bit suspicious of the motivations of the Quilliam Foundation. Tass mentioned an airlift of IS fighters out of Syria but there seems to be little mention of it anywhere else…..Not entirely unsurprising even if it was true i suppose. IS militants airlifted from Syria to Yemen, Saudi Arabia http://tass.ru/en/world/832207
    I’m not sure I agree with the assertion that Al Qaeda chose soft targets either. We tend not to find out if they got important people or what kind of important people they were. The Mumbai attack was an amphibious assault and fairly audacious for an attack on a soft target, by a group supposedly with connections to the Pakistani ISI. This claim gels strangely with a recent piece by the Brookings Institute. http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/markaz/posts/2015/11/14-paris-attacks-mumbai-isis-terrorism-riedel
    OBL is always quoted as saying to only target the main enemy, and Great Satan, the US.
    It does seem like some in the West are still hell bent on an invasion of Syria. What happens to the Syrian Army and family members of those who have died fighting this war. What will the avenging group they may instigate be called I wonder ?

  42. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    Why didn’t you like that dissection of that article ? What was not valid in what I said there, hey ?

  43. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    Not that independent really ? There were no legal issues in what I said. It was not anyone’s line or opinion but my own. I’d seriously like an explanation as to why that comment was pulled.

  44. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    mark delmege Needless to say I had some issues with that article but it was interesting…

  45. mark delmege

    issues are good. These are just perspectives of people who have an interest in the area. http://www.voltairenet.org/article189300.html Thierry Meyssan here has another take from his own experience. We can only guess what is happening by reading as many sources as possible. What they say will be better than the clouded and limited American prism offered up by MSM players like the ABC who will never get near the truth.

  46. Kate M

    Thanks for all the links everyone. Together they make quite disturbing reading from credible sources.

    What I’d like to understand is who is pulling the strings behind the MSM to make sure much of this doesn’t see the light of day? It’s not like this information is hidden – if you know where to look – these are credible sources. And yet we hear nothing of it. The Guardian is really the only semi-main-stream source that seems to publish these materials.

  47. mark delmege

    The Yanks run the terrorists and drone far too often civilians while the ABC drone us with bullshit. Its the same all over the western world the media is owned lock stock and barrel.

  48. mark delmege

    Kate M, 25 years ago I subscribed to two publications from Sheriden Square Press. There was ‘CAIB’ – Covert Action Information Bulletin – it was exceptional in revealing US foreign policy and another the aptly named ‘LOOT’, Lies of Our Times – a critical small magazine – questioning the content and editorial of The New York Times. Unfortunately SSP got put out of business after a court case which involved a player in the Iran Contra Gate affair.

    These days there is the OffGuardian which questions The Guardian. They do some great stories and remind you that The Guardian is limited.

  49. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    Thanks mark I do look at voltairenet sometimes….probably a good time to look now. I don’t at all understand what the moderator had a problem with. I can only think that they misread what I had said. : /
    But it is back now (I just noticed….so all good)…..That’s ok I’m used to be f****d with… : D

  50. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    mark, mars and whomever else – Here’s a couple of interesting articles that relate to knowing enemies…..
    Stratfor’s Third-Quarter Forecast 2015

    July 8, 2015: With government forces on the defensive on multiple fronts, Syria will be a focal point for regional competition going into the quarter. Iranian and Russian economic and military sponsorship of Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s government will endure, but the government is still unlikely to go on the offensive as long as it is stretched thin and lacking momentum. That said, a break point on the Syrian battlefield will not occur this quarter. Loyalist forces will be able to retain a weakening presence in the north in Aleppo while holding down a critical corridor running from Damascus up through Homs to the coast. Rebel forces will seriously threaten approaches to the government forces’ core, particularly around Hama and from the south in Daraa.

    Talk of a political arrangement after al Assad will gain momentum as the battle progresses. Russia and the United States appear to be working to identify ranking Alawite officers who would be part of such an arrangement — and critical to maintaining the institutions of the state — as well as rebel factions that would be willing to come to the negotiating table with al Assad’s removal as a precondition. As we noted last quarter, Russia will play a big role in the negotiating effort, not only to try to maintain its influence in the Levant but also to build up a U.S. dependence on Moscow in the Middle East that Russia can use as leverage in its standoff with the West.

    “The U.S. is at last facing the neocon captivity” http://mondoweiss.net/2015/05/facing-neocon-captivity
    “The Balfour Declaration binds Saudi Arabia to an Alliance with Israel” http://churchills-karma.com/2015/11/20/the-balfour-declaration-binds-saudi-arabia-to-an-alliance-with-israel-2/#more-433

    “To make more than symbolic contribution to the Syria campaign, France will have to remove fighter aircraft now supporting its more than 5,000 military personnel in Africa. Germany’s air force, I am told, will assist by picking up the slack in Africa so that French aircraft can redeploy to the Levant. Although Germany is not officially part of the Syria campaign, Berlin appears to be coordinating closely with Russia and France, although its own military air fleet is in notoriously poor condition.”

    Seems all the more pertinent with the developments in Bamaco, Mali.

    “Vladimir Putin, Leader of the Free World” http://atimes.com/2015/11/vladimir-putin-leader-of-the-free-world/

    The Guardian can be very limited….

  51. mark delmege

    Chris … Given that the whole point of the ‘West’ creating the ‘Arab Spring’ and backing Brotherhood types, al Qaeda and protecting IS (and NATO’s Turkey is still doing that) was regime change in places like Syria with the chant that al Assad must go – I cant for the life of me imagine that Russia Iran Hezbollah and those loyal in Syria will allow that to happen. Syria is just one more step towards destabilising Iran Russia and China and all points in-between and they will do all in their power to stop that from happening. A loss in Syria will only encourage more adventurism, war, terrorism, refugees and deaths. The fanatical Christians in Washington and the fanatical Muslims need a major loss to bring any sense to the world.
    Support in Syria is obviously considerable and far wider than the Alawite community – otherwise the State would have fallen long ago.
    For them (and frankly the world) the reign of terror must stop in Syria. This reserve army (brand al Qaeda, or brand IS etc) must be neutralised or it will be exported to other places – as it is in Yemen right now. Stability has to be restored.
    I have only seen the Opposition labor Party in Britain have anything close to an independent view on all this and Corbyn the only Western Political leader with any guts and sense. On our side of the Ocean the Libs and Labs and even the Greens have all shamefully buckled under but they are on the wrong side of history and humanity.
    On another level It seems to me Obama is running out of time to contain the deep state aka hawks in an around his government. I’m no Obama fan (he has failed nearly every test) – today releasing Pollard and the other day supplying Saudi Arabia with all the bombs necessary to decimate Yemen. This sort of appeasement wont work. He should be handcuffing more officials and putting in place cooler heads ASAP. Otherwise things can only get worse.

  52. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    Obama was always going to be a disappointment (I said) but he has outdone that expectation by almost all accounts. He seems to have even driven potentially sensible Americans a bit mad….. A bit concerning for their next election prospects.
    I was just reading that at one point Hafez al-Assad and Saddam Hussein had fairly serious plans to unite Iraq and Syria. There could be some value in reviving that for a ‘greater federated state’ option but outside of something fairly radical like that I’m not sure how this could be fixed/settled (I’m not sure what word would even fit). Why not join Jordan and Palestine in to this new state as well ? Just somehow you would have to stop it being a Greater Saudi Arabia……
    ‘No Saud family members need apply’ Did you read that Churchill’s Karma history of the Balfour declaration ? Worth a read I thought. Certainly a lot more in there than I knew about.
    It is a vicious problem and there are very few ‘honest brokers’ with any power to negotiate. European colonialist adventurism and the US seem to have well and truly spread the problems to Africa. And I’m not sure the West has any of the right kind of people with any influence to create conditions for a positive outcome any time soon…..not that anyone seems to be really trying (or at least ‘that we get to hear about’).

    It’s a Party In The CIA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gegAbdBHhZM

    They should at least do a deal with the Taliban before IS affiliates dominate there. I’m pretty sure that is beyond them too. FFS China and Russia look like the best source of any solution. That is not entirely ideal…..

  53. mark delmege

    I withdraw the comments on Pollard – he has been in prison for 30 years and his freedom is limited. Sure Chris not entirely ideal. I don’t care much for Russia promoting nuclear energy around the world. Historically though Russia (outside of Europe) has been on the side of progressive movements fighting neocolonialism (for whatever reason) – though of course it is never presented as such. And China is using mercantile might to spread its influence and that is preferable to destroying countries to take them over.

  54. mark delmege

    I wrote to Valentin Vasilescu, the author of the piece on Voltaire who said the Russian plane over Sinai wasn’t brought down with a bomb see (http://www.voltairenet.org/article189255.html) prior to the Russian claim that it was – asking if he had changed his mind. He sent me back this link

    http://reseauinternational.net/poutine-tente-de-prendre-le-controle-de-la-guerre-anti-terroriste-au-niveau-mondial/

    I guess to some degree that argument is still open but circumstances like the Paris bombing open up new possibilities in the fight against terrorism and pragmatism finds useful allies. If you can’t read French there will be an app available for free somewhere for you to translate. If you don’t have one yet you really do need one or two to read international articles.

  55. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    Mark – He doesn’t really clarify whether he thinks it was a bomb though(or did I miss something). I’m not in to gaoling people for 30 years or more either… My concern with Russia is as much for their economic stability while under sanctions and my concern with China is more about the domination of Han Chinese who are not always so accepting of difference (of course a generalisation and not always true but they can suffer from their own ‘exceptionalism’ issues).
    My federation idea was based on ‘if Assad is taken down’. Not because I think that is necessarily a good idea. I got the impression you didn’t like it…..I just think if anyone is going ‘crazy brave’ on that idea they may as well force a Palestine solution which makes Jordan ‘in the way’ (the King of Jordan is a Saud relative and partly involved in the de-stabilization of Syria – so stuff ’em…..). This idea also spreads the cost of re-building and increases the size of the economy, attracts more outside funding sources, etc.
    Sometimes my hands get in the way of typing everything I should say to explain….. : (
    This article was interesting in that it supports many of the things I had been saying for quite some time. (At least as far as Ollivant and Bowker) http://www.smh.com.au/world/can-islamic-state-terrorists-be-defeated-20151120-gl4802.html

  56. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    Thanks mark, very interesting update to the Turkish intel video story and appears to add weight. An interesting site really (except that Apache/Isis convoy video seems fairly fake). This Asia Times story is interesting on the source of the Paris attack http://atimes.com/2015/11/paris-made-in-libya-not-syria/
    With the lack of information on the recent arrest I was thinking the person is probably European and a ‘convert’, perhaps.
    “The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”
    Seymour Hersh 2007 http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection
    Lot’s of bushfiriness near here yesterday (dark as night during the day) and no power for most of the day so I feel a bit behind with things…..

  57. mark delmege

    it is staggering really. Turkey sponsors IS, Turkey is a NATO member. Everyone in Europe must know. But somehow this has to be hidden from the Australian people. Talk about a level playing field (of knowledge) or educating our children to be critical thinkers – yet we get treated like mushrooms.

  58. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    You only get to be an expert commentator or analyst if you are saying the things that powerful interests want to hear. The same goes for getting jobs as ‘consultants’ or ‘facilitators’ in most policy areas or ‘fields’.
    I tried to comment in ‘the conversation’ who are doing a series about chronic pain but what I had to say (based on my own experience) was not allowed……pissed me off enough to unsubscribe. I rarely read their stuff anyway…..simplistic or patronising academic guff, mostly.

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