Links – Russia in Syria – Medieval and Absolute Dictatorship


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Despite strong denials from Moscow, Russian airborne troops are preparing to land in Syria to fight Islamic State forces. The surprise attack on Monday, Aug. 31, by ISIS forces on the Qadam district of southern Damascus, in which they took over parts of the district – and brought ISIS forces the closest that any Syrian anti-Assad group has ever been to the center of the Syrian capital – is expected to accelerate the Russian military intervention.

Location: Syria’s Theater of the Real.

Producers: Putin, Assad, Khamenei.

Title of the Show: “Assad vs The Terrorists”.

Cast of extras, dead and alive: 250,000 dead; 9 million displaced or refugee.

Most Memorable Set Design: Homs, fashioned by barrel bombing to look like Hiroshima the day after.

Casting Dilemma: Getting Baghdadi’s fighters and other al-Qaeda-type elements to play their parts without knowing it.

Method: Bomb the al-Qaeda units less than ordinary Syrians.

Why: For Putin, post-Soviet Russia becomes neo-feudal Russia, and he’s the boss; for Assad, in the age of the “War on Terror” no spectacle could be more glorious than playing the lead in “Assad vs The Terrorists”; for Khamenei, a grand and sustained Shiite vs Sunni Battle perpetuates the medieval justification for his authority, however much he may care to abuse it.

CAUTION: From the Second Row Seat to History

Journalists in-country have an observation deck limited to their eyes and ears, but they may with accuracy report what they see and what they hear; journalists scouting the web for opinion and news in any area of interest necessarily receive all information one step removed from Being There and may be vulnerable to disinformation, in this instance information intended to change the character of the Syrian Tragedy — AKA either “Assad vs The Terrorists” or “Assad vs A Good Portion of the Syrian People” — and draw opposed powers into the field.

That noted, the world has seen also its share of barrel bombing videos and stills, read multiple reports involving at least one period of chemical warhead deployment — and seen Russia agree to neutralize and remove those munitions — and followed either the development of large Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon or Turkey, or, this week, witnessed the aftermath of drownings of ordinary people and their children, real people, Syrian refugees.

The world may also recall watching another production — the $52 billion Winter Olympics at Sochi during February 2014.  However, probably overlooked by the public at large that month (February 10, to be exact) was the headline and lede in The New York Times: “Russia and China Skip Security Council Meeting on Humanitarian Aid to Syria”:

UNITED NATIONS — The morning after an aid convoy came under fire when it tried to reach a besieged Syrian city, a meeting here on a draft resolution that would force all parties in the bloody conflict to allow access for humanitarian organizations fell apart when representatives from Russia and China failed to show up, United Nations Security Council diplomats said.

Perhaps Syrians would do well to borrow some mid-20th Century Jewish wisdom: Never Forget.

New evidence proves Russian military directly engaging in Syrian Civil War

The regime’s offensive in the Lattakia Governorate continues to reveal previously unknown details about Russia’s involvement in the Syrian Civil War. Apart from the sighting of recently delivered Russian BTR-82A infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), new evidence now confirmes Russian military personnel has a key role in leading the offensive on the ground.

“We are aware of reports that Russia may have deployed military personnel and aircraft to Syria, and we are monitoring those reports quite closely,” said spokesman Josh Earnest.

“Any military support to the Assad regime for any purpose, whether it’s in the form of military personnel, aircraft supplies, weapons, or funding, is both destabilizing and counterproductive.” – “Syria conflict: How far is Russia prepared to bolster Assad?”  — 9/2/2015.

On August 22, the Bosphorus Naval News website showed the Alligator-class Russian ship Nikolai Filchenkov, part of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, two days earlier passing through Istanbul’s famed waterway en route to an unknown location in the Mediterranean (hint, hint).

But what was remarkable about the Filchenkov was that military equipment was visible on deck . . . . – 9/1/2015.,7340,L-4696268,00.html “Russian jets in Syrian skies” – 8/31/2015. – 9/3/2015 – (by Elliott Abrams).

Sideways Related on BackChannels – 12/2/2014. – 5/20/2015.

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Tough, Scrappy, Independent! _The Golden Veil_ – An Interview and Trailer

Posted to YouTube 9/2/2015

Posted to YouTube 8/3/2015


If it’s promotion, it’s unrequested and unpaid.

Disclosure: the editor of BackChannels has been a social networking acquaintance (a better word is needed for many remote personalities with whom we feel affinity if not complete agreement, and with whom share interests even if from different and often changing stances or circumstances), with producer, actor, and director Bahman Nassiri for some years and has watched him refuse to give up on his project, his vision, and his opinion of the regime Tehranasaurus medievalistas.

A Nassiri video has appeared once before on BackChannels: “Khomeini on Islam as ready by Film Producer Bahman Nassiri” (July 27, 2015).

The 41-minute indie film may be launched for $1.99 from this location: (proceeds go to benefit California’s mountain lions).

For all intents, Iran has quietly divided into two states, albeit perhaps not of equal proportion: a fanatical and piratical regime and a constituency that bears its burden to the side of it.  While as much may be said of democracies for the period of any incumbent president’s stay (because the other voters didn’t like him), noting the same where the leader installed is supreme and permanent until God flips the lever makes the situation quite different.

In this blog’s analysis, post-Soviet neo-feudal Russia, Syria, and Iran have produced a piece of theater that could be titled “Assad vs The Terrorists” and a look at the horrifying dimensions of that, from the incubation of ISIS (by bombing the al-Qaeda types less frequently than more politically moderate units and noncombatant targets early in the shaping of the war) to images of drowned children washing ashore, may be accessed for free in media worldwide.

The Oryx Blog and its article “New evidence proves Russian military directly engaging in Syrian Civil War” (August 29, 2015) and others on that site may help frame the Syrian Tragedy as a post-Soviet but still KGB-like piece of work.

Related in the News – 9/3/2015.

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FTAC – Syria – A Terrible Puzzle


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The world has been dealt a terrible puzzle: Syndicate Red Brown Green (Shiite) has through “Red” (post-Soviet neo-feudal Russia) a nuclear armed block to its ability to impose its better nature; “Brown Green” — national socialist, Islamist (Sunni side) promotes a program unpalatable most to those whose humanity, sense of justice, and sentiment could motivate intercession despite a nuclear armed Russia and an Iran positioned to acquire a similar capability if given about a year’s lead surreptitiously. Change those politics. I think Putin-Assad-Khamenei cannot get off their track by way of their investment in a medieval world view intended to keep themselves in power to the end of time. Baghdadi is about in the same place, but others might not be.

The God (concept) intended by the Jews was thrown out beyond the universe, made greater than even the universe, and with finality separated from humans, even Moses — and not even Moses parts the waters — and this is why. Somewhere between Assad and ISIS, the middle must pioneer its way, cast off the medieval, reach for something more human, more kind, more modern, more present, more survivable, more evolving, more progressing.

Perhaps when Syrians involved in fighting perceive their jihad as one involving the middle against the extremes, they will be on their way to peace.

For this day, dependence on the medieval concentration of power in one dictator, dynasty, junta, or nobility masks off the potential for a greater future.  “Syndicate Red Brown Green” appears to be playing — by having other people die for its privileges –for the feudal mode and the perpetual war needed to keep the criminally powerful and wealthy in business for generations.

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FTAC – Soviet to Syria – Now


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Blame Berezovsky (the wealthy man who effectively upgraded Putin’s political clout —…/how-boris-berezovsky…). The Russians, as a people, and Afghanistan as a financial black hole for military expansion, managed to derail the Soviet (dissolved December 26, 1991); however, hardline privileged had already produced a plan to outlive the Soviet (reference: Karen Dawisha –…/cultural…/putins-russia/ – and the results of that today plus the Islamist stance of the opposition (Assad needed “the terrorists” for his play, “Assad vs The Terrorists”) has led to today’s mass murder and destruction in Syria.

Compression and distillation matter.

The ability of the average victims of fascist and feudal sociopaths may depend on a quick pickup on critical information — accurate, clear, complete (delivered honesty and with the highest integrity) — and the independent discernment and both personal and public political decision making it enables.

A good telegraphy should open on to new worlds, truth revealing and trustworthy.

For those with the necessary time and resources (and intellectual freedom), the Russian Section of the Library of this blog provides ample reference for seeing the Putin machinery as it worked across the president’s years in power and across the arc of the impositions of the Soviet Era.

For those horrified by the destruction wrought by Assad in Syria and determined to address it, BackChannels suggests addressing first endemic Syrian anti-Semitism and anti-westernism, which may contribute to blocking greater western intercession — actually, at the moment, any intercession — in Syria.

For a look at the Russian contribution to man’s inhumanity to man as overseen by President Putin, Oryx, a blog oriented to military tactics, provides a look through such articles as “New evidence proves Russian military directly engaging in Syrian Civil War” (August 29, 2015) and “Captured Russian spy facility reveals the extent of Russian aid to the Assad regime” (October 6, 2014) — and there’s more between those dates.

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Link – Orton on Saddam’s Fedayeen


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Saddam had begun Islamizing his foreign policy as early as 1982-83, making alliances with all manner of Islamist terrorists, thousands of whom came to Iraq for training in the 1990s, where they attended camps run by the Fedayeen. In the Fedayeen—connected to the global Islamist terrorist movement, combining elements of Ba’athism with an increasingly-stern Salafism—is a microcosm of the Saddam regime’s mutation into the Islamic State (ISIS).

Orton, Kyle.  “A Case Study of the Islamic State as the Saddam Regime’s Afterlife: The Fedayeen Saddam.”  Baghdad Invest, August 30, 2015.

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FTAC – On Conflict and “Nominal Affiliation”


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“Humanity” is between or in the middle in tragically real ways and should not be divided “nominal affiliation” and core moderate belief, Shiite or Sunni (eastern or western; Christian, Jewish, or Muslim; northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere). The malignantly narcissistic, whatever other adjectives and labels might apply, believe themselves born to rule — to lord over others — by birth, and in their quest to do that or sustain their positions, they refer to birth or affiliation as exclusive and privileged: and then they relentlessly manipulate their friends (flattery, pandering, patronage will do it) and subjugate and plunder their critics and rivals. In that regard, all dictators are the same. Their labels and causes matter much less than key aspects of their lost personalities. Those listed above: no compassion; no empathy; no generosity with others if not in the name of their own glory. A question naturally follows: who else?

The prompt appeared in a forum on Syria in which, as BackChannels itself might have it, Putin, Assad, and Khamenei (also Nasrallah and an illustrated figure I didn’t recognize) were presented as a Shiite axis of evil.  That realpolitik model holds.  The producers and actors have put on the play, “Assad vs The Terrorists” — but what about the opposition: does it too wish to sustain its feudal and medieval perception of others?

Let the question stand.

Bigots, bullies, cowards, and liars take note: there may be more and less in a name when it comes to carrying around contempt for others on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, or, at times, the coast, desert, mountain, plain, or valley of origin, or the name of clan, family, or tribe.

Where is the enmity located?

No one minds a little competition, but conflict on the basis of “the other”  — actually, the name of the other — appears to BackChannels to become self-destructive and self-defeating.


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FTAC – Conflict, Graphic Images, Social Sharing – A Comment



All I might suggest is “cultural updating” throughout the . . . what do we want to call them? “Unmodern”? — and no modern nuclear blast will be pretty either — world plus some shift in rules of engagement, including photography and communications, in the field.

I’ve been an accidental viewer of “war porn” — not always accidental: I “clicked” to see my first beheading, firing squad, mass execution, combat helicopter footage (all on YouTube), and so on, and then as a casual blog editor — no connections, no revenue — I found myself posting forensic outrages:…/ftac-on-war-porn…/ The start of the worst was a photo of two children hanging from rafters in a Burmese hut. I was writing about the Rohingya Muslims. That photograph, which I had downloaded and republished, changed my statistics, and I eventually deleted it from my blog’s library and provided the LiveLeak URL in its place. We’re an f-ing wild and ghoulish species, apparently. And “porn”, which I interpret loosely as “exceptional explicit display” of anything, sells. When it’s pretty and waxed, it sells cars and cameras and guitars (“guitar porn” — ask a musician). When it’s conflict and sex, countless thousands to millions want to see spilled blood and sperm.

I don’t like sensationalized conflict shock images because they’re used to mask other political, social, and psychological realities. They make us angry when we see them — those children hanging from rafters, this young man to the left, infants washing up out of the water in Libya after their attempted migration by boat fails. We know what’s happening; we need to leave the dead to the grace of God; and we need to better focus on the politics (and psychology and language behavior — if you’re like me) that produced the horror.

Prompt: a discussion about visual propaganda.

BackChannels decided some time ago to demur on reposting sensational images of death and tragedy.  If it had a photographer in the field sending live data?  Perhaps it would go with the feed . . . I don’t know; however, promoting cause with shock — humans burnt alive (seen it in stills and videos — what is done to “witches” in Africa); hangings from cranes (who hasn’t seen that obscenity from out of the Ayatollah’s Iran?); stonings (at least the Soroya movie version); chemical gassing (thanks, Assad); barrel bombing (thanks, Assad); etc. — seems to me a particularly egregious practice (look at me! look at me! look at me!) and one that should undermine the publisher’s argument and cause.

Partisan causes — Christian missionary publications, for example; ISIS on display in the media, for another — turn death into art (like Nazis turning skin into lampshades) frequently, and I, and I hope others, abhor them for doing that to us.

Related: DiLonardo, Mary Jo.  “What are thought viruses?”  Mother Nature Network, August 27, 2015.

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