Dictators may have just two options when challenged: accept safe harbor, if available, step down, and try to appreciate (and survive) the “golden years”. (In BackChannels memory, Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf is the only General and President to have done that, and he today lives in exile — and declining health — in London; Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe has been recently removed from power by his former bodyguard, Emmerson Manangagwa — of course there’s more to that story — who may protect the old man while getting hands and head around the disaster left him by the former dictator).
The other is to suppress the revolution.
Beatings. Secret detention centers. Held without charges. Torture.
The gangs conveyed by white Toyota pick-up trucks as depicted in the above video may be known as “Shadow Battalions”.
The ISS article suggested for any protest to bring about change in Sudan, it would have to dislodge the government’s power base in the army and security apparatus, as well as the ruling coalition and the Islamic movement.
As former vice president Ali Osman Taha has said, “the authorities have full shadow battalions ready to sacrifice their lives to defend the regime”.
Omar al-Bashir must make clear the depths of the sadism he will indulge in his quest to remain in power by intimidating all who oppose his stay.
Aside: one BackChannels source has reported the use of shotgun bird shot aimed at faces to take out eyes.
The same sadism that once served Moscow (and may again serve it) at Lubyanka Prison appears repeated in the Soviet / Post-Soviet sphere of influence. Also infamous for murder and torture: Evin Prison, Iran; Sednaya Prison, Syria.
Now we have the “Ghost Houses” of Sudan.
KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Security forces arrested 14 professors who were gathering to protest outside Khartoum University on Tuesday, witnesses said, as anti-government demonstrations neared the end of their eighth week.
Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has come under intense scrutiny for suspending his country’s Chief Justice just weeks before a general election, a move that critics have attacked as tyrannical and unconstitutional.
Buhari defended his decision on Twitter, saying corruption allegations against Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen — who has been accused of failing to disclose bank accounts in foreign currencies — are “grievous.” But the move was labelled a “coup against democracy” by the President of the Nigerian Senate, and prompted an outcry from the country’s major opposition party, which halted its presidential election campaign temporarily in protest.
In addition to the latest imbroglio involving Nigeria’s chief justice, a matter not overlooked by the U.S. State Department, Buhari has been accused of permitting Fulani gang raids against Christian farming villages (whose firearms have been confiscated in advance by the state — in Nigeria, urban thugs may own arms illegally — who’s to know? — while farmers are made to provide easy targets for burn-and-shoot raiders armed with AK-47s and gasoline) and of packing his highest-level security offices with Muslims, and so in essence channeling power and wealth to the Muslim community while slowly displacing Christian power.
BackChannels asked its Nigerian source for suggestion as to who would make a better — more balanced, higher integrity — politician, now or in the future, for Nigeria’s leadership. The names returned were Fela Durotoye, Jimi Agbaje, Kingsley Moghalu, and Oby Ezekwasili. The Nobel Prize-winning writer Wole Soyinka was mentioned as well, but BackChannels suggested he may well remain Nigeria’s soul in letters and perhaps the natoin’s most influential intellectual. With context, here is what Soyinka had to say (in the Daily Nation) about this month’s Nigerian Presidential Elections (February 16):
Mr Buhari, 76, came to power in 2015 and is seeking a second term in the February 16 vote. His main challenger is 72-year-old Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president.
“For the avoidance of doubt, let me make my position quite clear because I don’t want any ambiguity; I, Wole Soyinka, will not be voting for either,” he was quoted in local media as saying on Thursday at a forum in Lagos.
Herewith some starting reference to good-for-Nigeria political personalities as mentioned by BackChannel’s source. The bolded names have been linked to their respective Wikipedia pages; tweets, news, and news headers remain recent; note: Oby Ezekwasili has dropped out of the Presidential race to help swing her fan base vote to a candidate better positioned, perhaps, to beat the incumbent President Buhari; Omoyele Sowore, not mentioned in casual conversation, has been added by BackChannels for showing up fast on this subject — Nigeria’s upcoming elections — on the web.
In a 2013 interview with The Punch Newspaper, Agbaje talked about how he began in politics: “It had to do with the Moshood Abiola/Bashir Tofa presidential election”, he said. “I saw the annulment as a personal insult and an assault on the Nigerian people. This led to my first entry into what I would call activism, working with other concerned professionals” such as Prof. Pat Utomi, Dr Ayo Ighodaro, Asue Ighodalo, Billy Lawson, Oby Ezekwesili, Tola Mobolurin and Hassan Odukale. Jimi was in one form of resistance group or the other which ultimately led him to join the socio-political organization, Afenifere where he served as national treasurer.
The campaign convoy was on its way out of the palace, when the hoodlums, numbering about 40, chased and threw stones at Agbaje’s vehicles.
There were minor injuries involving shattered vehicle window glass, and tear gas was used to disperse the mob according to the above piece published yesterday in Sahara Reporters. How the hoodlums were organized and by whom? That would be something to know and report. For the time being, the news tells of the tone of elections in a wealthy oil producing nation sadly rife with corruption.
BackChannels has referred here and there to corruption as the cancer of states. Where the Transnational Crime Organizations are strongest and bribes to the powerful would seem to be working, the money gets laundered and into the topside economy, which essentially may make the public unwittingly dependent on a growing criminal sector. Around the world, for better or worse because it’s just a fact of life at this point, public money that may be quietly, surreptitiously pried into private pockets would seem to be moved away from public community development and other services. The only way to get the brakes on nefarious processes — organized crime, embezzlement, and skimming — is to bring to power more modern politicians and their better associates in military and paramilitary services.
In one direction, the state sinks, and the end — or political hell — will look something like Venezuela at this hour, i.e., broken, starving, beneath common dignity and freedom; and in the better direction, the state grows a healthy economy, ordered and with funds available for all ordinary operations and the most helpful of public and social services. One may hope for Nigeria that the personalities who would be most ambitious and competent on the public’s behalf will rise to their occasions and prevail over the unerringly corrupt, nepotistic, and toadying of the breed.
It’s a trope here on BackChannels, and it has an analog:
“Feudal Political Absolutism v Democratic Checked and Distributed Power”
More state of mind than state, “Kurdistan” has already its “Medieval v Modern” civil separation, and perhaps unwittingly, the Soviet-Era PKK, a NATO and U.S. State Department designated terrorist organization, remains mired in the flipped absolutism of the Bolshevik Revolution.
Another BackChannels trope, this one about Russia: “Two major revolutions in one-hundred years (1917-2017), three forms of government, and not one change in the nation’s affections in relation to ‘paternal authoritarianism'”.
For that last label, “paternal authoritarianism”, credit the late scholar Richard Pipes, but BC will not be looking up the specific source at this time.
The affection for strongmen — and perhaps helplessness before their “politically absolute” organizations — has the medieval world clawing the modern one backward.
Of course, the defectors from medieval worlds, those made refugee by them, those left bereft and without defenses, essentially drain the tapped resources of the same, leaving those worlds to become spiritually hollow, absent of conscience, lacking in their own humanity, and burnt out and purposeless.
Moscow, that “Third Rome”, has deals — call it what it is: “leverage” — with everyone: Assad, Khamenei, Hezbollah — low-hanging fruit: the “Syrian Tragedy”, BackChannel’s term, could not have taken place without Moscow’s endorsement and direct military support in arms and occasional actions (like bombing hospitals); Erdogan: “Turkish Stream” – Big Energy project demanding Ankara’s cooperation with Moscow: France – Marine Le Pen and the Newest Nationalism — but France is more brave in its defense of its still revolutionary democracy — Le Pen lost her bid for the presidency; Germany – energy supply dependence; Hungary – Orban’s bromance and narcissism; USA – only Mueller knows . . .
FTAC: From the BackChannels Reading Page on Facebook, January 2, 2019
The Phantoms of the Soviet, a government dissolved in bankruptcy more than 26 years ago, continue to haunt or shadow the Kurdish Community in its bid for survival against the emergent Turkish Sultanate, as BackChannels views it, still supported by NATO, and ISIS, which is “handled” by Damascus as flanked by Moscow and Tehran.
In the ganglion of the Syrian Tragedy, too many threads lead back to Moscow — and Moscow has well demonstrated its peculiar absence of conscience in the general support of Assad the Tyrant, its own repeated bombings of Syrian hospitals, and its defense of Iranian advanced missile manufacturing.
Moscow has also partnered with Ankara on the Turkish Stream energy project.
The true battle is one having to do with time: the medieval world of feudal absolute power — the power known to the world’s dictatorships, none of them responsible to either the Earth or Humanity — wishes to overrun the modern one built on the freedom accompanying democratically checked and distributed power.
According to Gutman, the Kurds appear stuck with both old habits of mind and with the organizational habits that have flowed down from the Soviet Era.
Of late, Kurdish representatives online have taken to pairing the United States and NATO with the backing of Turkey, a state no longer even proto-democratic and one long bent on the cultural annihilation of the Kurds. While the rhetoric may be shrugged away, the character of the PKK, well described by Roy Gutman (as cited) but also by Kyle Orton (as referenced below) may not be so easily covered over or glossed.
What portion of the Kurdish People remain behind or with the PKK?
That’s an open question for BackChannels.
Defectors from the conscripted ranks of the organization apparently (so noted by Gutman) have some options within “Kurdistan”, but the impression made by the Soviet affiliate would today repulse all humanity-, freedom-, and peace-loving advocates of influence in western politics who would otherwise more enthusiastically support a true indigenous people’s striving for autonomy and self-determination.
The flag better known to represent “Kurdistan” in the west (as judged at least by the “Flag of Kurdistan” page on Wikipedia):
During the seven-year course of the KGB Theater’s Production — call it “guided” (most likely) — of “Assad v The Terrorists”, Bashar al-Assad has managed to barrel bomb half his state into rubble and destroy or displace nearly half of his population (as known in 2011). He has won for his efforts the expansion of Russian and Iranian military interests on his formerly sovereign property and through related sadism — reference: Sednaya Prison — lost entirely the respect of the modern world.
As regards Soviet / post-Soviet alignment with Moscow, much less Damascus, the Kurds may not expect to sustain their alignment with the ruthless (who would even provide the useful enemy known as ISIS) while currying the favor of the democratic, humanist, liberal, and deeply socialized west.
The Sudanese have only to look toward Syria to know how bad revolution before a tyrant may become. While the spectacle of the Syrian Tragedy may have been expected to quell enthusiasm for a similarly motivated revolution in Sudan, it appears to BackChannels at this hour that caught between starvation and a tyrant, the Sudanese motivation — and perhaps the motivation of the military as well — may grow the violence and the level of direct threat encountered by President(-for-Life) Omar al-Bashir.
Of particular and peculiar interest in that story may be the bonding expressed between dictatorships
In Ankara, deputy chairperson of the ruling Justice and Development party Cevdet Yilmaz also expressed support for Al-Bashir’s government after a meeting with the Sudanese ambassador on Wednesday
“We support the legitimate government of Sudan. Turkey has faced similar ploys many times,” Yilmaz said, adding that Turkey is confident that the government is sensitive to the demands of the Sudanese people and would avoid violence.
Although Erdogan’s Turkey exploits NATO for its military defense from Russian aggression in that dimension, it has effectively destroyed democracy in the state and bonded with Russia — or leveraged itself — with the “Turkish Stream” energy project. Basically for the Turks, liberal democracy and freedom have died in their homeland, and they have become part of an increasingly family-run business masquerading some as a sultanate.
“In most of Sudan’s almost 170 cities and big towns, someone has been shot. In some of them, more than 15 people have been shot. The shooting is happening through unofficial types of militia that the regime is using,” says Khansaa Al Kaarib, a Sudanese human rights lawyer and activist.
“For 30 years, this is what the Sudanese people have been getting from Bashir: Killing, killing, killing and more killing. People are simply fed up with this and they want to change this regime. They want to get out of the perception of a people lying under an ICC-wanted criminal, as soon as possible.”
The Sudanese story has had a similar start with a modest protest driven by hunger — i.e., economic protest with ecological variables in play — met by escalating means of repression, including live fire that taken or produced martyrs that in turn have become the focus of additional protests.
For Sudanese now active in shutting down Bashir’s goverment and replacing with a government more modern, responsive, and responsible, here is the voice from that other protest against continued (and Russian) feudal political absolutism as once represented by the corrupt and thuggish Viktor Yanukovych:
BackChannels awaits the Sudanese version: “I am Sudanese, and we have tired of the war criminal in Khartoum . . . .
Lebanon deserves better than the war sustaining and warmongering of Moscow and Tehran.
For Israel, Moscow has had to be delicately handled, but BackChannels has over many years relayed some sense of Moscow’s endemic and deeply entrenched history of animus toward the Jews. Credit Stalin with picking up the relationships that Hitler and the Nazis could not hold at the end of World War II; credit Yuri Andropov with the airline hijacking of the 1970s beneath the banner of communist revolution on behalf of the Palestinian Cause; credit successive Soviet Era regimes with the abuse and captivity of Russia’s Jews yearning by the tens of thousands for freedom beyond Russia’s borders; credit Moscow today with the continuing diplomatic defense of Hamas and Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, among others, that appear intent on bringing chaos and death to their own people as well as sustained impoverishment and political repression.
Tehran’s role in the stoking of anti-Semitic / anti-Zionist hate needs little introduction. It’s deadly political rhetoric keeps spilling into related “field operations”. Not only Hamas has been building “terror tunnels”.
However, he said, “the fact that the Lebanese army is doing nothing means that they are either unable, or unwilling, or both. It doesn’t absolve Lebanon’s culpability. Their territory is being used to attack our territory. Therefore, we hold Lebanon accountable.”
Netanyahu spoke immediately after IDF Spokesman Jonathan Conricus announced the discovery of another tunnel.
“There is a clear line of communication between LAF elements and the terrorist organization; those elements help Hezbollah destabilize the region,” Danon said on Tuesday. “Under the Lebanese government’s watch, Hezbollah has created an entire network of tunnels and factories for precision-guided missiles; this is a brazen violation of the U.N. Security Council resolution but also endangers the lives of the residents of southern Lebanon, who are being used as human shields.” Danon vowed that “Israel will act with force against Hezbollah and any other entity that tries to undermine its sovereignty.”
An examination of Security Council Resolution 1701 twelve years later indicates that the key paragraphs, whose objective was to give full sovereignty over the country to the Lebanese government and to prevent the reconstruction of Hezbollah’s military infrastructure, were not enforced by the Lebanese government and army. To replace the infrastructure damaged during the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah has constructed an upgraded, improved, more extensive infrastructure, centering around an arsenal of more than 130,000 rockets and dozens of precise missiles. Hezbollah’s arsenal threatens Israeli population centers and strategic sites. Hezbollah built its military infrastructure in the region south of the Litani River, embedded within the local Shi’ite population. Hezbollah’s weapons were smuggled from Iran through Syria to Lebanon, in direct violation of Security Council Resolution 1701.
After 70+ years of Arab apartheid — separation in camps; separate diminished treatment — deep political control and suppression (from Human Rights Watch: https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/10/23/palestine-authorities-crush-dissent), this may be the beginning for the Palestinian People. No longer Jordanian; no longer Egyptian; no longer Ottoman; no longer anything that has been before but a part of everything that has crossed through the middle east, there’s definitely a population that has been in modern times isolated in time and space, i.e., A People!
Flip the baby over and let it be born and breath refreshed and new.
The Palestinian People may be so only as consequence of more than 70 years of Arab Apartheid, i.e., separation in the camps of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. They will learn that they have been duped as well by the PLO and, later, Hamas — and ultimately by Moscow.
The real revolution in the Middle East may be normalization — peaceful Palestinian democracy in Gaza and the West Bank; citizenship and inclusion with full return of state rights in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt, albeit slowly to fade the Soviet Era’s poison from the system.
When I spoke with a warlord ‘General’ about why he recruited children he said, ‘Children are abundant, stupid, they obey orders, don’t ask questions, and cost nothing. They are very cheap! They never desert, cannot go home and I can get as many as I want immediately.
Eid also criticized the education provided in UNRWA schools. “I worked in several UNRWA schools in the territories and in Jordan, and children aged 9-10 want to be killed and kill Jews and to release their people. “Who taught you that?” I asked. They said that was what they were learning in schools, and I asked teachers at UNRWA schools in Jordan if children were taught to blow themselves up and be killed. They said “of course. How else will they liberate the land from the Israeli occupation? ” UNRWA is aware of this, and the international community knows that all UNRWA studies are full of hate and incitement. The international community continues to inject funds because it is against Israel.”
According to the army, the young girl was spotted by soldiers as she approached the security fence. The troops, who were on the Israeli side, met the girl as she reached the fence, an army spokesperson said.
“When the IDF troops realized it was a girl, they picked her up and made sure that she could get back to her parents safely,” the army said. It did not say how it coordinated with girl’s parents on the Gaza side.
For some reason, we never hear any discussion of child soldiers in Palestine, but we all very clearly know they exist and that it is nothing new. The PLO, Fatah and the Palestinian Authority have for decades used children as fodder to throw rocks, fireworks and explosives at soldiers, as bombers, as lookouts and couriers. Hamas has been even more brazen, publicizing its recruitment of an army of child soldiers. In the current wave of terrorism in Israel and Palestine, we have seen attackers as young as 13 years old. These child soldiers have been called to action by Abu Mazen, The PA, and Hamas who then glorify them to encourage more children to commit attacks.
The curriculum also promotes the century-old paradigm of a ceaseless effort to destroy Israel in stages. A new generation of Palestinian children is methodically being educated in the spirit of the Ten-Point Program adopted by the Palestinian National Council ([PNC] (the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], at its twelfth meeting in Cairo June 8, 1974). The plan called for the establishment of a national authority “over every part of Palestinian territory that is liberated” with the aim of “completing the liberation of all Palestinian territory”. The curriculum includes an uncompromising rejection of Israel and a combination of violence and international community pressure to accommodate Palestinian demands. What used to be the strategy of one extremist guerilla movement has now become the standard for all Palestinians students.
“We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us” — Golda Meir, n.d.
Prompt: “How can we constantly ask to be accepted and understood without giving the same???”
The problem is the false Palestinian narrative, and the more sympathetic the attention given to it, the more the Palestinians suffer — and most of all at the hands of their own leaders (plus their “handlers” in Moscow and Tehran).
The Middle East Conflict is part of the hangover from WWII, and the only way it’s going to lose energy is to be honest with the Palestinians about what really happened, i.e., about what was done to them by the Soviets and the Arab dictators who had thought the refugees better off stuffed into camps and intellectually weaponized with the biggest lie of all: “The Jews stole YOUR land.” That idea was not true then; it is not true today; and it will never be true.
One thing that may be true today is that the Arab Apartheid demonstrated in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria (have a look at Yarmouk for how the Arab and Muslim worlds have actually regarded Palestinians), and Egypt has after 70+ years of consistent separation and abuse actually formed a new people — but they need to get out of the womb in hell — or be brought out of that suffocated space — and turned right-side up, and that starts with recognizing exactly the evil that set them up for misery.
We should never be kind to the cruel.
We should never be sympathetic with the misguided but rather firm with the western insistence on great integrity in support of bedrock truth.