Now, the whole rationale Trump put forward for the retreat — to get American troops out of the Mideast and “endless wars” — is in doubt.
Rather than leaving the region, the withdrawing troops will deploy in neighboring Iraq to fight the Islamic State group, which could get new life from the Syrian turmoil. Some U.S. forces are still in eastern Syria, helping Kurdish fighters protect oilfields. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Monday he was discussing keeping them there.
Trump surprised even his own military on the ground when he agreed to remove U.S. soldiers working with Kurdish-led forces near the border in an Oct. 6 phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Three days later, Turkey launched its offensive with heavy bombardment along the border.
Erdoğan says his demand for a safe zone in Syria is rooted in Turkey’s war against terrorism. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Erdoğan says, is as much a threat as the Islamic State. That is of course nonsense . . . .
While those both enamored and fearful of power have always played “both sides of the street”, Turkey’s drift from a freely speaking, open, and vibrant democracy to one far from NATO ethics, interests, and values should be clear to the free world. Through the power of President Erdogan’s feudal imagination and thuggery, Turkey has been transformed into a politically absolute polity driven by the narcissism of its leader
Worse for the Turks and even his fans: President Erdogan’s toadying before Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Erdogan may appear strong standing up to the west, which today cannot levy enough sanctions on his project (probably hurting the Turks more than the Turkish President), but how may he appear doing Putin’s bidding while his equally enamored — or captive to Moscow — neighbor, Bashar al-Assad AKA “Bashar the Butcher”, continues destroying and strangling Syria — in Turkey’s direction too — under cover of destroying Sunni Islamists?
When Turkish air power rightly downed two Russian MIGs overflying Turkey’s airspace while refusing communications with Turkish air defense, Erdogan refused apology. And what for? He and his military had done everything right for the purposes of Turkish Defense.
The Su-24 shootdown took place on November 24, 2015.
Eight months later, widely reported on June 27, 2016, Erdogan apologized to Putin.
That has turned out a fair demonstration of Russian “realpolitik” and maddening absolute power.
For those watching — and those who knew the facts — “Sultan Erdogan” may just as well have knelt before “Emperor Putin”.
Perhaps President Erdogan has had some household bills yet to pay, and, beside, has needed a certain supply of energy to heat the house.
I hope the excerpts and videos that follow prove helpful as windows into the love fest developed between Ankara and Moscow.
The first direct gas pipeline between Russia and Turkey was the Blue Stream, commissioned in 2005. In 2009, Putin proposed a Blue Stream II line parallel to Blue Stream under the Black Sea. The Blue Stream II project did not carry through and the South Stream project took the lead, until it was abandoned in 2014. The TurkStream (then named Turkish Stream) project was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 1 December 2014, during his state visit to Turkey.
The Russia Defence Ministry denied the aircraft ever left Syrian airspace, counter-claiming that their satellite data showed that the Sukhoi was about 1,000 metres (1,100 yd) inside Syrian airspace when it was shot down. The U.S. State Department said that the U.S. independently confirmed that the aircraft’s flight path violated Turkish territory, and that the Turks gave multiple warnings to the pilot, to which they received no response and released audio recordings of the warnings they had broadcast.
MOSCOW — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan apologized Monday for the downing of a Russian warplane in November and called for Russia and Turkey to mend a bilateral relationship that has become openly hostile over the incident.
Gazprom has started to fill the first branch of the offshore section of the Turkish Stream pipeline with natural gas. This is the final stage of testing the pipeline before putting it into operation later this year . . . .
. . . The first line is intended for the supply of Russian gas to Turkish consumers, the second – for gas supply to the countries of southern and southeast Europe.
Erdoğan says his demand for a safe zone in Syria is rooted in Turkey’s war against terrorism. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Erdoğan says, is as much a threat as the Islamic State. That is of course nonsense: The SDF formed to fight Al Qaeda affiliates and the Islamic State at a time when Turkey was passively if not actively supporting them. Nor can Turkish officials credibly point to terrorist attacks from Kurdish-governed portions of Syria. Groups that evolved from the PKK are not monoliths: The SDF is progressive and moderate; any visit to the region makes clear that the group does not embrace the PKK’s Cold War-era Marxism. The PKK itself has long sought peace and does not attack civilians. The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) splinter group continues to engage in terrorism, but they are based nowhere near Syria nor do they have any links to the SDF.
In a recent article in Foreign Policy, my colleague Steven A. Cook argued that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was playing Washington like a fiddle. With a combination of bluffs, threats, and bluster, Erdogan managed to convince the United States to come up with an arrangement in northeastern Syria to prevent a Turkish invasion—an arrangement that comes at the expense of the Kurds, who have carried the brunt of the fighting against the Islamic State. Whatever one thinks of the Kurds, their determination and sacrifice should be treated as an international public good; they have stopped and destroyed one of the most dangerous and homicidal groups the modern world has known. The Turks by contrast have contributed nothing to this endeavor.
If Erdogan has succeeded in manipulating Washington, however, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in turn, has played him to the hilt.
She said the U.S. and other countries privately acknowledged that Kurdistan has legitimate aspirations and some of them even agreed that Baghdad had pushed the region into a corner leading effectively to a point where it needed to have a referendum. But they also advised the regional Kurdistan government that it was not the right time for independence.
“But when we asked them, ‘well when is the right time?’, there wasn’t an answer.”
My general impression has been yours, i.e., PKK fighters accepted some “rebranding” to make their image palatable to the west in their fight for survival against Islamic State. However, here is what the web turned up in related (swift) research:
The PKK launched with Soviet guidance and support in the late 1970s. Wikipedia nailed it in these two sentences: “The PKK was founded in 1978 in the village of Fis (near Lice) by a group of Kurdish students led by Abdullah Öcalan and in 1979 it made its existence known to the public.The PKK’s ideology was originally a fusion of revolutionary socialism and Kurdish nationalism, seeking the foundation of an independent Communist state in the region, which was to be known as Kurdistan.”
The political tone of the community has been in the direction of “democratic confederalism” — inclusion and input have been part of what nascent “Kurdistan” promoted when it played up the Rojava Experiment.
From the New Internationalist —
“There is no doubt that theirs is a shared ideology, one that has been formulated by their joint leader, Abdullah Öcalan, now in his 21st year of incarceration in a Turkish prison. But the PYD’s organizing principle is democratic confederalism: a system of direct democracy, ecological sustainability and ethnic inclusivity, where women have veto powers on new legislation and share all institutional positions with men.”
Within the short time since forming Rojava’s democratic experiment, child marriage, forced marriage, dowry and polygamy were banned; honour killings, violence and discrimination against women were criminalized. It is the only part of Syria where sharia councils have been abolished and religion has been consigned to the private sphere.”
American moderates and progressives would recognize the development of a social democracy — not unlike what we in fact of evolved into, i.e., a modern place with modern laws and cares. That would seem what the Trump Administration has chosen to abandon with a few teary-eyed remarks about America’s soldiery and his (narcissistic paranoid) bent toward American isolationism (after the United States leading the development and defense of democracy in the world since the end of WWII).
Opposed by the PKK and part of the character of Kurdish political incoherence: the Kurdish Democratic Party —
“The KDP has been described as a tribal, feudalistic, and aristocratic party which is controlled by the Barzani tribe.”
America’s top comics are moving on him like a bitch — and with about the same results — but they’re doing it long and hard and with zesty humor, and they won’t stop until . . . .
Don’t think the world isn’t watching and laughing with them.
WASHINGTON — The White House concealed some reconstructed transcripts of delicate calls between President Trump and foreign officials, including President Vladimir V. Putin and the Saudi royal family, in a highly classified computer system after embarrassing leaks of his conversations, according to current and former officials.
The unnamed whistleblower provided the complaint in August to Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who determined that the complaint was of an “urgent concern” and “appeared credible,” although acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire consulted with the Justice Department and determined the complaint fell outside the statutory requirements which would compel him to hand it over to Congress. Hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid that had been delayed by the Trump administration were released to Ukraine earlier in September.
The cast of characters in the Trump-Giuliani-Ukraine saga laid out in the whistleblower complaint is extensive, with more than 20 individuals named.
President Trump’s woes may not ease Joe Biden’s issues with his son’s positioning on the world stage (China and Ukraine most noticeably), but the momentum has reached the point at which the President MAY become doubtful as the nation’s chief negotiator and representative in matters of trade and war. Between America’s engagement in WWII and this Trumpian Era, there never has been a shade of doubt regarding the nation’s commitment to civility, democracy, fair and free elections, fair trade, rule by consent, and rule of law worldwide. With that package has gone the revocation of the power of dictators and tyrants (and “Presidents for Life”). This President, his associates and cronies, starting with the rightly disgraced former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, appear to have believed in power sought for its own sake — for their own sake — and they, perhaps with a lift from Moscow — proved themselves right by winning an American election (by a slim Electoral College margin — some other engagements have been as thinly supported as well).
Republicans Joe Walsh and Bill Weld made the comments as the U.S. House of Representatives planned to launch a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump over reports he sought Ukrainian help to smear Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden.
“The Ukraine caper by the president is some combination of treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors,” said Weld, a former Massachusetts governor. “The one thing that’s absolutely clear is it is grounds for removal from office.”
President Trump told two senior Russian officials in a 2017 Oval Office meeting that he was unconcerned about Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election because the United States did the same in other countries, an assertion that prompted alarmed White House officials to limit access to the remarks to an unusually small number of people, according to three former officials with knowledge of the matter.
Shortly after the story broke, I received a message from a person directly involved with the FBI’s decision to open a counterintelligence and obstruction investigation of President Trump in the immediate aftermath of the firing of FBI Director James Comey. To say this person, who had clearly learned about the matter for the first time from the Post, was angered by the story would be to understate the matter.
The message read in relevant part: “None of us had any idea. Multiple people had opportunity and patriotic reason to tell us. Instead, silence.”
(Sorry, Vince, the Presidency isn’t a football game).
BackChannels admires Bill Weld for standing up to an ignoble (remember, he “moved on her like a bitch” — and she was married) political amateur.
Inspired by the above and passed along with this excerpt:
The State Department issued an export license for the missiles on Dec. 22, and on March 2 the Pentagon announced final approval for the sale of 210 Javelins and 35 launching units. The order to halt investigations into Mr. Manafort came in early April.
Volodymyr Ariev, a member of Parliament who is an ally of President Petro O. Poroshenko, readily acknowledged that the intention in Kiev was to put investigations into Mr. Manafort’s activities “in the long-term box.”
“In every possible way, we will avoid irritating the top American officials,” Mr. Ariev said in an interview. “We shouldn’t spoil relations with the administration.”
At least 40 civilians attending a wedding party were killed in a raid conducted by Afghan government forces and supported by US airstrikes on a Taliban hideout in southern Helmand province, Afghan officials said Monday.
Abdul Majed Akhund, deputy provincial councilman, said that the majority of the dead were women and children. Twelve civilians were also injured.
The Modern West has had little issue investigating and owning up to its own woeful atrocities, including the accidents it may sanitize with the term “collateral damage”.
In fact, it or the liberal democratic populations represented by EU/NATO and assorted coalitions of the willing, may be too good at wearing the mea culpa shawl of self-shaming, but that’s another matter.
For Afghanistan, and for the most part, the damage done has been much less accomplished by the “collateral damage” of the west than by the deliberate design, decision, and application of violence by the Taliban and similar actors bent on the absolute and comprehensive political and social control of targeted states and their resources.
Using Russian-supplied arms and material, Afghanistan’s Taliban have continued a program of bombings and related attacks designed to destroy Afghani civilians without discrimination, forestall peace, discourage and impede elections, and bring general ruin to local economies and lives while proving themselves handsome, protective, strong, and wise.
. . . .
True: a malign narcissism has a great deal to do with the absolute political and social control sought by the Taliban and so many others who at times conflate themselves with God and the work of God’s will on earth.
The Taliban’s demonstrated and backfiring track record in lunacy — and that of other extremist organizations operating in Afghanistan — may finally be reaching them through the mirroring World Wide Web where high-integrity reportage faithfully conveys the character of consistently cruel, crude, and very nearly mindless violence that will in the end have changed nothing but perhaps themselves.
Most who have followed the Afghanistan story in its greater context will recall the story in which Mullah Omar took revenge on a Russian tank crew and its commander — hung from his own tank barrel — for the rape of local village girls. Omar would flee that heroic ending to raise an army to battle back the Soviet invasion of the state — and America’s CIA would step in with the delivery of shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles to the Mujaheddin for the comparatively cheap killing of the Soviet’s brutal and expensive helicopter gunships.
One may tire — and perhaps should — of the medieval contests between too many “kingdoms of heaven” and the repeated conflations — Christian, Jewish, or Muslim — of men with God (although Judaism has been always adamant about the separation of the Divine from the mortal).
In any case, among my acquaintance, one stands out as expert on “civilizational narcissism” — his term — and the Taliban. Here is his book from 2010 —
It may be said that all were warned but with one element missing: Soviet / post-Soviet Moscow / Moscow-Tehran.
The Soviet / post-Soviet Arc of Tears (Crimea, Syria, Yemen, for a start) hews to and encourages the despotism (“political absolutism”) so far expressed by the Taliban in Afghanistan but also well on display elsewhere in the world where the deepest and most criminal representatives of civilizational and political narcissism have either set themselves or prevailed.
BackChannels suggests the Taliban may have been taken in — duped — by Russia via al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden in the shadow of the Cold War and reshaped for revenge on the west with the intent of sustaining a blind and madding authoritarianism in the world, all the better to plunder it.
President Donald Trump says the U.S.-Taliban talks on ending the fighting in Afghanistan are “dead,” deeply unfortunate wording for the Afghan civilians who have been killed by the tens of thousands over almost 18 years. Many fear his cancellation of negotiations will bring more carnage as the U.S. and Taliban, as well as Afghan forces, step up their offensives and everyday people die in the crossfire.
“We just want to go back to our homes. We don’t ask for much, but this war has made our lives impossible and has torn apart our community.” he says. “We cant go home due to the risk of drones, but after so many years of war, our community is now at war with itself – there doesn’t seem to be any end to bloodshed.”
One could argue that the Taliban is increasingly in a position to outlast the United States and claim a decisive military victory. If today’s Taliban were as cohesive as the Taliban that managed to control Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, that might well be true. But it’s not.
This weekend, Afghanistan will hold its fourth presidential election since the Taliban government’s fall in 2001. Since the U.S. and Taliban’s recent breakdown in negotiations, the Taliban have killed more Afghan civilians than at almost any other point since the beginning of 2018, as you can see in the figure below. The Taliban has killed at least 58 civilians in the last eight days alone.
And that may be about to get worse. In earlier presidential elections, the Taliban has tried not to kill civilians when they go to vote. That may change this weekend.
The U.S. envoy’s team would not elaborate Friday on the nature of the resumed discussions in Doha, but they come after a series of deadly Taliban attacks across Afghanistan. As CBS News correspondent Charlie D’Agata reports, while the Taliban may be talking peace with the U.S., they’re still waging a brutal war on Afghan soil.
A security camera captured dramatic video of a car bomb attack in Kabul on Thursday. The blast near the U.S. Embassy killed one American service member and another NATO soldier, as well as at least 10 civilians.
KABUL — Iran and Russia have stepped up challenges to U.S. power in Afghanistan, American and Afghan officials say, seizing on the uncertainty of future U.S. policy to expand ties with the Taliban and weaken the country’s Western-backed government.
The moves come as tensions have flared between the United States, Iran and Russia over the conflict in Syria, and officials worry that the fallout could hurt Afghanistan’s chances for peace. For years, Iran and Russia have pushed for a U.S. withdrawal.
I am tired of the people, the area, the district and the province. When I go to Wardak, I feel so tired. But what to do? I have to go there and visit their graves. It is not only one person — it is 12 family members. My four daughters, three sons, my wife, and four cousins. I lost all in one day when my house was bombed by the Americans.
I can never forgive the Taliban, but if the peace deal can stop the bloodshed, I can accept them to the country. I don’t want other families to go through what I have.
“Yes, we have reached an agreement in principle,” Khalilzad said, according to TOLOnews. “Of course, it is not final until the US president (Donald Trump) agrees on it. So, at the moment, we are at that stage.”
News of the agreement comes as violence has spiked in Afghanistan, with the latest attack occurring just hours after Khalilzad’s interview. A car bomb targeted an Afghan police station in the capital Kabul on Monday, in an area close to the heavily fortified compound where many foreign embassies and international organizations are based,
“He became known for his ability to weave through warring tribal factions and his ability to quickly get senior Afghan officials on the phone or to summon them to his office, including President Hamid Karzai,” The New York Times reported during Khalilzad’s stint as ambassador to Afghanistan — the country of his birth — from 2003 to 2005.
Robin Raphel, a former assistant secretary of state for South Asia, says Khalilzad’s appointment is a sign that the Trump administration is getting serious about a political solution to America’s longest war.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special representative for Afghan reconciliation, is on the verge of an agreement with the Taliban that would pave the way for the withdrawal of some 14,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan in exchange for guarantees that the war-wracked nation would not be used as a haven for international terrorism, according to diplomatic sources.
KABUL, Afghanistan — At first, the man was just walking across the street. Then he was running for his life. He managed four steps before the blast from the car bomb caught him.
Since then, the last few seconds of Akbar Fazelyar’s life, captured on video during a Taliban attack on Sept. 5, have become one of the most scrutinized moments in Afghanistan, slowed down and watched frame by frame on countless mobile phones and computer screens.
The vote, the fourth since the Taliban’s removal from power by a United States-led coalition in 2001, comes as heavy fighting between the armed group and government forces has led to a spike in the number of civilians killed.
The Taliban has already threatened to target election rallies and polling stations, while in recent weeks the US-backed Afghan forces have stepped up air and ground attacks, raising fears of further casualties.
Last week alone, more than 150 people were killed, according to Al Jazeera tally, in Taliban attacks, US drone strikes and raids by Afghan government forces.
The air strike was aimed at destroying a hideout used by Islamic State militants, but it accidentally targeted farmers near a field, Afghan officials were quoted as saying.
“On yet another deadly day in Afghanistan, once again it is civilians who bear the brunt of the violence involving armed groups, the Afghan government, and their backers in the U.S. military,” Amnesty International said in statement.
Our principal failure, in my view, was our refusal to deal with Pakistan’s double game. Even the accelerated drone attacks in western Pakistan under the Obama administration, which were somewhat effective in the fight against al Qaeda, failed to a large extent to target the Taliban, the Haqqani Group, or Hezbe Islami.
The United States also signaled a lack of military resolve. The Pentagon made incautious public statements about the reduction of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan. At one point, the combat power of the United States dropped to a single brigade, even as the insurgent threat was rising. The evident lack of U.S. commitment gave Pakistan a green light to step up the Taliban and insurgent offensive in late 2005 and early 2006.
On 17 September 2019, two suicide bombings killed over 48 people in Charikar and Kabul, Afghanistan. The first attack occurred at a rally for presidentAshraf Ghani which killed over 26 and wounded over 42. Ghani was unharmed in the incident. The second bombing occurred in Kabul near the US embassy. In this incident 22 were killed and another 38 were injured in the explosion. Children and women are among the dead and wounded in both attacks, also multiple soldiers were killed. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks, and said they will commit more attacks to discourage people from voting in the upcoming presidential elections.
After so many years of American investment in trying to build a stable Iraq, the United States has effectively enabled an Iranian takeover of the country. I know, because I was there and saw it with my own eyes. That the Obama administration is not opposing the rising influence of Iran, as the White House prepares a historic deal to leave Iran with nuclear weapons just beyond its fingertips, is especially alarming, and a recipe for increasing regional conflict.
Across the country, Iranian-sponsored militias are hard at work establishing a corridor to move men and guns to proxy forces in Syria and Lebanon. And in the halls of power in Baghdad, even the most senior Iraqi cabinet officials have been blessed, or bounced out, by Iran’s leadership.
An Aside More Front and Center as Regards President Trump’s Now Many “Shake-Ups”
On this day, perhaps especially this one day of the year, September 11, the outside-looking-in assessment of America’s place in the world and its strength becomes of singular interest in light of “East” (Authoritarian-Kleptocratic) v “West” (Democratic and Lawful) rivalry. The departure yesterday of National Security Advisor John Bolton may highlight that issue by leaving in the White House a President surrounded (ah, but perhaps not) by more pliant personalities. Today, the President has in Bolton’s stead yesterday’s “United States Deputy National Security Advisor” who has overnight become the “Acting National Security Advisor” in the figure of Charles Kupperman, a Bolton protege.
Will the political realities — international states of affairs — surrounding President Trump have changed with the exchange of experienced officials?
What may have changed is the gateway given the will of the President to act on his own instincts — coupled with his imagination — less tempered by either the discipline, experience, knowledge, or respect associated with yet another of the nation’s established senior intelligence and security community officials.
Last month —
One of America’s most seasoned intelligence officials is leaving the building. Sue Gordon, who spent more than 25 years in the CIA before becoming second-in-command at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), was confirmed to be departing on Thursday by President Trump.
Gordon was next in line to serve as acting director after current director Dan Coats announced his resignation effective Aug. 15.
Dan Coats, Sue Gordon, John Bolton — who else experienced in standing behind Presidents (in defense of the Constitution of the United States — see “Basic Training” on this blog) is missing from today’s action and diplomacy with Moscow and Tehran as America’s President appears to prefer standing on his own (elected but less experienced) authority?
BackChannels may here thank God for its not having to reinvent any wheels. By title, publication, and date —
While perusing the above three web pages, BackChannels came across this gem of a Wikipedia entry: “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity“. The Presidential Commission charged with investigating voter fraud, i.e., Trump’s claims that millions of illegal immigrants had voted in the 2016 election, opened shop on May 11, 2017 and closed without results on January 3, 2018. The following quotation represents the results of a separate study as relayed by Wikipedia:
In an analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law looked at 42 jurisdictions, focusing on ones with large population of noncitizens. Of 23.5 million votes surveyed, election officials referred an estimated 30 incidents of suspected noncitizen voting for further investigation, or about 0.0001% of votes cast. Douglas Keith, the counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program and co-author of the analysis, said, “President Trump has said repeatedly that millions of people voted illegally in 2016, but our interviews with local election administrators made clear that rampant noncitizen voting simply did not occur. Any claims to the contrary make their job harder and distract from progress toward needed improvements like automatic voter registration.”
We will always remember the lives we lost on this tragic and horrific day. Triumphantly, our nation came together and showed the world the strength of America. #NeverForgetpic.twitter.com/usHqbjpzEZ
America could not and would not — would never — capitulate to Al Qaeda on September 11, 2001, nor would it “work with” their cousins in “Islamist” associated crime and mass murder worldwide. Not eighteen years ago; not today; never.
However, here is a different question: would the United States today bend itself toward authoritarian and totalitarian regimes?
Given one singular elected head of state or another, would the United States embark on the discouragement or encouragement of authoritarianism, confusion, corruption, kleptocracy, and related totalitarian political control from within?
With an authoritarian, nationalist, and populist President in the White House and one moving the bodies and minds in, out, and all around (so we do the national “Hokey Pokey”), that question should become (after this Day of Remembrance) of greater general and public national interest.
“That Which is Distasteful To Thee Do Not Do To Another”
A 2005 expose by the Maariv newspaper of the deals to lease the two hotels, and an additional building, caused uproar among Palestinians both within and outside of the church, and led to the sacking of then-patriarch Irenaios.
Irenaios claimed that the deals had been reached and signed by his finance director, Nikolas Papadimos, without his approval and that Papadimos had misused a power of attorney issued to him to allow him to handle other affairs of the church.
This should be an issue taken up by the Jewish mainstream in Israel and in the Diaspora.
I’ve often disagreed here with Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi, and the basis for much has been always about truth telling (x the Cold War 🙂 ) but here is a story about a “purchase” covertly engineered, plainly involving a questionable subaltern of the Greek Orthodox Church, and also involving an absurdly deep undervaluing of a significant critical historic Jerusalem property, plus an unseemly degree of ruthless and apparently vindictive behavior on the part of the buyers.
I’ve shared the video to the “reading page” I keep on Facebook for Back-Channels and wouldn’t have done that if the framing had been, say, “Palestinians v Jews”, but this would appear from either side to be a story about corruption, questionable dealing, and unchecked ruthlessness.
The corruption of great religious institutions seems a fact of life — have a look into the Russian Orthodox Church under Putin (the Vikings as Varangians adopted Christianity via the Greek Orthodox Church) — but for those who would lay claim to “Integrity” and “Righteousness”, a deal like this one laid out in the open presents a challenge to exactly those two assertions.
The list is bare-bones, chronological, and not comprehensive, but it represents what one will find with a quick look-see into controversy surround the sale of the lease of the Imperial Hotel.