Also in Media – “Russia-Iran-Turkey Alliance Could Change Energy Dynamics For Good” |


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Turkey’s resentment towards the European Union is nothing new. Erdogan has been vocal about his negative reactions to some requirements in Turkey’s EU accession process. He is also in a position to pull the strings on much of Europe’s migrant policy, and is making good use of this position. What Turkey’s President has made even better use of is the anti-Western rhetoric and the visions of a “great-again” Turkey. The former has been instrumental in diverting public attention away from a lawsuit in Italy against his son for money laundering.

Apparently, the Greater Turkey vision cannot be realized with the EU constantly demanding things from Ankara that Ankara does not want to do, such as synchronizing its anti-terrorism policies with the EU, for example. It can, however, be realized if Turkey gets on the anti-West bandwagon driven by Russia and Iran, both survivors from Western sanctions, and both having their own regional ambitions.

Source: Russia-Iran-Turkey Alliance Could Change Energy Dynamics For Good | – 8/22/2016

Summer Reading – What’s Old Should Be New!


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Note: BackChannels’ editor will take reviewer’s copies in advance of publication.

However, this post is simply to pass along a few titles that promise to “entertain, educate, and delight” the reader who has found his way to the intersection of post-Cold War politics and contemporary “hybrid warfare” and terrorism.

As 2016’s production of a summer out of the 1960s enters its final month, BackChannels enjoyed these oldies but still very, very goodies.

Gaddis, John Lewis. The Cold War: A New History. New York: The Penguin Press, 2005.

Everything you wanted to know condensed.

Motyl, Alexander J.  Vovochka: The True Confessions of Vladimir Putin’s Best Friend and Confident.  Augusta, Georgia: Amphora Literary Press, 2015.

A “me and Vlad” story — and no President-for-Life ever had a better buddy or mirror!

Pomerantsev, Peter.  Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia.  New York: Public Affairs, 2014.  Nothing is true but Pomerantsev’s book, and at the end even Pomerantsev’s reality becomes a surreal impression left to fade in memory.  In between: criminals, state-managed happy media, a mind-control cult involved in an ill-fated model’s leaping boldly into suicide, and assorted men on the take and women on the make bagging “Forbes’s”.

How crazy surreal?

A man dials the serial number on his firearm, comes up with a woman’s voice, pursues, woos, and marries the dame — and it works out.

How crazy making?

If hesitating on the book, enjoy this sample of Pomerantzev’s perspective first: “Why We’re Post-Fact,” Granta, July 20, 2016.

Smith, Martin Cruz.  Stalin’s Ghost.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 2007.  When it comes to heroism and virtue — also combat, corruption, crime, and history — fate is funny — and Cruz, in the telling of a great tale, peerless.


Russia Flexes And Goes Hungry


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Posted to YouTube by Caspian Report Aug. 17, 2016.

For Moscow, perhaps more than ever, image drives perception and perception is reality.

Or not.

As Putin flexes Russia’s renewed international political and military presence, a brief look at the character of the same seems in order.

ISIL and Syria

As BackChannels has noted for some time, “ISIL” was going to be Moscow’s “gift” to itself and the world — and now it is.

Baghdadi’s organization has provided Assad with the excuse wanted for depopulating and leveling his state; it has given Putin something ugly to throw westward; and it serves now as a hornet’s nest somewhat defined in space and useful for demonstrating Moscow’s latest in military prowess and technology.

Russia’s stand in Syria — now that Iraq’s no longer a Russian client state and Libya has similarly disappeared in that regard — has become remarkable for the hardware, technology, and troops allocated to “The Terrorists” (while apparently hitting also hospitals — – 10/22/2015 | – 5/31/2016 | – 7/30/2016 | – 3/3/2016



Russophiles “rescued” by Russia’s incursions in Crimea appear to be learning about their true status as “protected” subjects: prices are soaring while their rubles lose value and their earnings remain flat.



Russia, having also and apparently won over Erdogan into fulfilling his destiny as Turkey’s next presumptive sultan and guardian of the Moscow-enabled “Turkish Stream” Gas-to-Europe energy delivery system, has also demonstrated the chutzpah of asking permission to use the airbase at Incirlik — as NATO forces now do — for running sorties against ISIL targets in Syria.  President Erdogan assented, not that Putin needs those runways at this moment.


European Union and BREXIT

It should be clear by now that every “Allahu Akbar Attack” prods a reflexive nationalism.

Add the refugees pouring out of Syria and flowing into Europe and other potential hosting space, and the backlash forms around a new xenophobia.

The gates and fences go up, first in the form of “defense leagues” and later in potential policy.  BackChannels credits the Soviet / post-Soviet style incubation and later “deployment” of ISIL with goading a brief majority of Brits into separating the island state from the main traffic in commerce and politics associated with the continent.

Russia’s New Nuclear Front

This excerpt comes from the Free Beacon article published last week and cited in the “Links” section of this post:

Russia is engaged in a major buildup of strategic nuclear forces, building new missiles, submarines, and bombers. A State Department report on Russian activities under the New START arms treaty stated in the spring that Moscow added 153 strategic nuclear warheads to its arsenal under the treaty.

The increase in warheads is said to be the result of the deployment of new SS-27 Mod 2 intercontinental ballistic missiles with multiple warheads and SS-N-32 submarine-launched missiles.

Cold War?  Cold Struggle?

We might haggle about missile defenses in Poland and Romania, but Russian efforts in the field may be focused on defeating NATO’s nuclear defenses, and that according to Putin’s own statements about related nuclear balance of power.

For all such statements made — fighting the terrorists in Syria; co-opting Turkey against its European and NATO interests; spooking the Brits out of the EU; and redeveloping the nuclear-obsessed Cold War mentality, Putin may nonetheless be working with a low stack of financial chips.  Even though he may offset that with appeals to blood-and-soil nationalism and related sacrifice, one wonders how much room for play he has with the oligarchs who may be expected to pay either for ambitions now or their aftermath later.

A glance at posts like this one and its sources also suggests that while Putin has indeed brought Russia to its feet with the immense theatrical prowess that produces both the Winter Olympics at Sochi and the spectacle of a ruined Syria, it’s the latter on which Russians, poor or wealthy, connected or well outside the system of patronage, and “Russophones” in the “Russian near abroad” may wish to dwell.



MOSCOW — Russia flexed its muscles again over Syria on Friday, for the first time launching cruise missiles at targets from warships in the Mediterranean Sea days after beginning bombing runs from a base in Iran.

Taken together, the new military moves appeared to be a demonstration that Russia has the ability to strike from virtually all directions in a region where it has been reasserting its power — from Iran, from warships in the Caspian Sea, from its base in the Syrian coastal province of Latakia and now from the Mediterranean. – 8/19/2016 – 4/20/2016 – 8/21/2016

“Russian doctrine states that tactical nuclear weapons may be used in a conventional response scenario,” Scaparrotti said on July 27. “This is alarming and it underscores why our country’s nuclear forces and NATO’s continues to be a vital component of our deterrence.”

Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon nuclear policy official, said Russia’s new national security strategy, which was made public in December, discusses increasing civil defenses against nuclear attack, an indication Moscow is preparing for nuclear war. – 8/15/2016

Ankara has given Russia the go-ahead to use its Incirlik air base for operations in Syria, though no official request from Moscow to use the strategic military facility has been made, Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Saturday. – 8/21/2016

More than two years after Russia annexed Crimea and promised its 2 million people a better life, residents say prices have soared, wages and pensions have stagnated and tourists have fled.

The sunny and mountainous Black Sea peninsula is back in the news, with Russian President Vladimir Putin accusing Kiev of sending infiltrators across the border to wreck its industry. But locals say the damage has already been done by Moscow’s neglect. – 8/21/2016.

Over the last week, the number of heavy weapons deployed near the front lines in eastern Ukraine has doubled, part of a pattern of Russia ramping up its military presence in the region throughout the summer. An estimated 40,000 soldiers have been stationed there, on top of aircraft and the anti-missile defense system.

All of this has been stoking fears Russia could be planning another invasion, two years after it formally annexed Crimea, as peace talks crumble. It’s Putin’s first visit to the territory since March. – 8/19/2016

The Russian military has test fired the short-range nuclear-capable 9K720 Iskander-M (NATO reporting name SS-26 Stone) ballistic missile during a large-scale military exercise in Russia’s Far East this week, according to local media reports. – 8/19/2016.


FTAC – A Compressed Note about “Assad OR The Terrorists”


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Keep in mind that “Daesh” was incubated (manipulated into existence) by Bashar al-Assad to serve for political blackmail (“Assad OR The Terrorists”), as a goad to the west (a nice present to pack along with refugees bound for NATO states), as a foil (for Russian, Syrian, and Iranian forces), and for target practice (Russia has been showing off).

BackChannels readers are more than welcome to independently research and review each claim.

BackChannels believes that the “Syrian Conflict and Tragedy” represents a complete theater of politics and war put on display by Putin, Assad, Khamenei and with Baghdadi’s organization their most useful villain.

Moscow’s own approach to terrorism, generally speaking, may be reflected in its hosting PFLP in Moscow (Nov. 2014) and refusing to designate either Hamas or Hezbollah as terrorist organizations.  Although its state interests may differ from those of Tehran, its relationship has proven friendly enough for flying sorties into Syria from out of an Iranian base.

BackChannels way of addressing this relationship between “political absolutists”: “Different Talks – Same Walk.”


Also in Media – From 2014 – Anton Shekhovtsov’s blog: “Pro-Russian network behind the anti-Ukrainian defamation campaign”


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3 February 2014

Pro-Russian network behind the anti-Ukrainian defamation campaign

Read this article in German, French, Russian and Ukrainian.

There has been a huge tide of false, incorrect and bloated reports that exaggerate or overemphasize the significance of the far right in the current Euromaidan protests in Ukraine. A Moscow-based journalist Alec Luhn writes in The Nation about “the Ukrainian nationalism at the heart of ‘Euromaidan’”, a leftist Seumas Milne argues in The Guardian that “in Ukraine, fascists, oligarchs and western expansion are at the heart of the crisis”, while a self-styled “independent geopolitical analyst” Eric Draitser, in his nauseatingly misleading piece for his own Stop Imperialism (later re-published by The Centre for Research on Globalization), even goes so far as to claim that “the violence on the streets of Ukraine […] is the latest example of the rise of the most insidious form of fascism that Europe has seen since the fall of the Third Reich”.

These and many other similar articles are all written according to the same pattern, and their aim is to discredit the Euromaidan protests as the manifestations of fascism, neo-Nazism or – at the very least – right-wing extremism.

Read More at the Source: Anton Shekhovtsov’s blog: Pro-Russian network behind the anti-Ukrainian defamation campaign – 2/3/2014

Remark – New Global Intelligentsia – New Emerging Global Business and Political Elite


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Always a little differently than expected: perhaps our New Global Intelligentsia has now to deal with a more visible and powerful Global Business and Political Elite.

The epigrammatic thought springs from yesterday’s wrestling with a draft about the “Black Led Movement Fund” and foundations flowing down from Henry Ford’s enterprise and George Soros’s success.

It also stems from about ten years of personal growth in the region of international affairs abetted by the uptake of broadband, social networking (Facebook), and blogging ability (a new artform) and the development by affinity of a pretty good and English chatyping “international club” online.  With that growth has come the recognition, at least on BackChannels’ part, that our “Awesome Conversation” has obscure nodes (like this one) and virtual public stars (too many to name) that comprises a still new and virtual thin band of global intelligentsia.

We’re thinking.  We’re talking.  We’re having a great conversation.  And perhaps by doing so, we’re changing our world.

Beside (and above, I’m sure) the thinker-talkers exists another connected community, altogether more institutional, more private in its outlooks and its workings, but at the head of so many enterprises and institutions are real people, and one may well wonder about their cultural and political ambitions and visions.

Now back to the Black Lives Matter movement and its chief financial enablers and enthusiasts . . . .

In his day, Henry Ford had developed the strongest reputation as an anti-Semite, and in this day George Soros appears to have developed an atheist’s contempt for the Jews and Israel as part of an anti-nationalist atheist-socialist globalization program.  Today, both Ford and Soros foundations have stepped in to fund the nostalgically Marxist Black Lives Matter movement and related Black Led Movement Fund with upwards (or beyond) a newsworthy $100 million.

While Americans and others in the world have been busy considering their election season options in the empowering of a next set of public of representative public leaders, the uber-wealthy have been applying money to political issues in their own way.

BackChannels wonders how much cultural and political “clout” the world’s wealthiest individuals exert and what kind of world are they fashioning (for the rest of us) as powers in their own right?

Note that George Soros with his portfolio valued at about $8 billion (but Forbes says “$24.9 billion”) has been estimated as being merely the 80th wealthiest person in the world: who are the 79 wealthier individuals ahead of him, and how are they involved with the world’s cultures and political themes?

On this post, BackChannels has certainly more questions than answers.

For an overview of the world’s top billionaires as perceived by Forbes:

At least we know who’s got the money.

What each wants — these are not beauty pageant youngsters — is a big other and open question.


Regarding Henry Ford, Anti-Semite

Hitler was very aware of Henry Ford, of Henry Ford’s writings, and praised them. He turned to the same documents. There’s a common thread. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was a cherished text for both. And there were certainly business connections between Ford Motors and the Nazi regime.

In the period from 1910 to 1918, Ford became increasingly anti-immigrant, anti-labor, anti-liquor and anti-Semitic. In 1919, he purchased a newspaper, the Dearborn Independent. He installed Charles Pipp as editor and hired a journalist, William J. Cameron, to listen to his ideas and write a weekly column, “Mr. Ford’s Page,” to expound his views.

Ford wanted to assert that there was a Jewish conspiracy to control the world. He blamed Jewish financiers for fomenting World War I so that they could profit from supplying both sides. He accused Jewish automobile dealers of conspiring to undermine Ford Company sales policies. Ford wanted to make his bizarre beliefs public in the pages of the Dearborn Independent. For a year, editor Pipp resisted running anti-Jewish articles, and resigned rather than publish them. Cameron took over the editorship and, in May 1920, printed the first of a series of articles titled “The International Jew: The World’s Problem.”

Regarding George Soros, “Anti-Semite”?  Or “Atheist Social Democrat”?

According to Connie Bruck of The New Yorker, George Soros told her that “I don’t deny the Jews their right to a national existence — but I don’t want to be part of it.” According to Joshua Muravchik, Soros has publicly likened Israel to the Nazis. According to the Jerusalem Post, “Soros and his wealthy Jewish American friends have now decided to aim their fire directly at Israel . . . to form a political lobby that will weaken the influence of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.”

Russia’s General Prosecutor’s Office essentially banned two branches of Soros’ charity network in November, placing the Open Society Foundations (OSF) and the Open Society Institute (OSI) on a “stop list” of foreign non-governmental organizations whose activities were deemed “undesirable” by the Russian state.

OSF first came into trouble with the Russian government in July 2015, when it hinted it might ban the foundation along with a number of other pro-democracy organizations accused of launching “soft aggression” in the country. – 1/14/2016.

Sussing George Soros as “narcissist / malignant narcissist” may take much greater time.  However, the early impression formed by BackChannels is that he’s trying to hybridize Red-tinted socialism away from Putin’s imperial and nationalist revanche while buying into the Green (Political Islamic) mythology driven by the Soviet KGB early in the middle east conflict (related on BackChannels:

Black Lives Matter – Funding

Regarding Borealis Philanthropy’s Magui Rubalcava Shulman

Magui Rubalcava Shulman, Director, Immigration — served as program director for Hispanics in Philanthropy; worked on an evaluation of the Grants for Schools program of the Mongolian Foundation for Open Society Institute.


FTAC – Muslims – “No to Hatred, No to Violence, No to Terrorism”


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On Monday, The Independent had run a piece online by Matt Payton titled, “More than 30,000 Muslims from across the world meet in the UK to reject ISIS and Islamic extremism” (August 15, 2016).  Some in the Awesome Conversation were pleased by the sight of women in full abaya holding placards reading


The things the “Islamists” do go against the grain of humanity — that’s just how I feel about that criminality — and the appropriate response by Muslims is repudiation.

What next?

Cultural blending, differentiation, and separation — there’s wisdom in recognizing and maintaining boundaries and margins in a world supporting about 7,000 living languages and what each represents. (Note that Putin plays the ethnolinguistic cultural defense and evolution card _against_ political boundaries, effectively violating margins. Also: Back-Channels credits Assad with the incubation of ISIS through deselection for bombing and combat earlier in Syria and also notes that Russia continues to maintain Soviet Era relationships with at least Hamas, Hezbollah, and PFLP. Muslims have not only to repudiate the fascist ambitions of the Muslim Brotherhood organizations — that’s in that “No” to hatred, violence, and terrorism — but also to grasp Moscow’s role in the grooming and manipulation of such organizations as weapons focused toward the modern democracies).

Posted to YouTube by the Daily Mail, Aug. 4, 2016.

BackChannels argument that Assad incubated ISIS rests on a Newsweek report and successive and validating news coverage coming out of the Syrian Conflict and Tragedy.

In the following video clip, President Putin notes, “That if you would like to stop the flow of migrants into Europe, if you want for them to live in their own countries, then you must return sovereignty to those countries where it has been taken away.”

Think about that.

Under whose sovereign command were Syrian children arrested and tortured in 2011?

Whose sovereign air force “barrel bombed” Syrian noncombatants?

Because of the incubating of ISIS as useful tool, BackChannels has long regarded the “Syrian Conflict and Tragedy” as a complete theater of politics and war managed off the post-Soviet Moscow hub, i.e., by Putin, Assad, and Khamenei, and by each to their own advantage but the common cause of sustaining medieval political absolutism in their respective states.

Different Talks?

Same Walk.

Perhaps this is where that “walk” always leads:

Posted to YouTube by RT, January 20, 2016.

Under whose sovereignty were the airplanes flown, the tanks driven?

At time mark 1:44 on President Putin’s April 2016 St. Petersburg address, the President says of western criticism and opprobrium associated with both the incursion in Crimea and the conduct of the Syrian Civil War, “They realised that such destructive behaviour against our country was never going to work but nevertheless they’d like to silence our success.”

With a small nod toward conciliation, one may note of the YouTube video of Homs and the link immediately following that leads to an L.A. Times piece about the city that it had indeed been occupied by rebel forces and would be subject to state assault.  Nonetheless, the intertwined battles for Syria and against the open democracies of the west have not gone so well for Moscow and its clients IF measured by areas of control, community wellbeing, and economic contribution or so many other benchmarks familiar where peace prevails and governments abet development.

Links – 10/22/2015 – 7/13/2016:

“There were families members of Usud a-Sharqiya there,” said spokesman Younis Salama. “But does that justify them bombing the camp?”

Jaysh Usud a-Sharqiya primarily fights the Islamic State in Syria’s eastern desert region.

Last month, Russian aircraft reportedly targeted another FSA group, the New Syrian Army, in Deir e-Zor province. Moscow did not comment on either attack. – 4/26/2011:

The local secret police soon arrested 15 boys between the ages of 10 and 15, detaining them under the control of Gen. Atef Najeeb, a cousin of President Bashar al-Assad.

In a gloomy interrogation room the children were beaten and bloodied, burned and had their fingernails pulled out by grown men working for a regime whose unchecked brutality appears increasingly to be sowing the seeds of its undoing.



Also in Media – “Israel’s Next Hezbollah War” – Philos Project – 8-12-2016


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Shaharabani said that the July 2006 Lebanon War “was the longest Israel had experienced since its War of Independence in 1948,” but any future clash with Hezbollah will make those destructive 34 days pale by comparison. According to his FDD coauthors, the Israeli government estimates that Hezbollah has approximately 150,000 rockets today as opposed to the mere 14,000 it possessed prior to the 2006 conflict. Writing for the Weekly Standard, Vanderbilt University law professor Willy Stern said that this gives Hezbollah a “bigger arsenal than all NATO countries – except the United States – combined.”

Source: Israel’s Next Hezbollah War – Philos Project


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