Post-Soviet Palestinian


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Event: “Is a Sovereign Palestine Still Possible?”
Sponsor: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Date: October 11, 2018
Note: Audio starts after 8:30, and the program runs about two hours.

What will the recent changes in U.S. policy—including recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, terminating assistance to Palestinians and UNRWA, and closing the Palestinian representative office in Washington—mean for the future of U.S.-Palestinian relations and the Palestinian national project? Will the accelerated pace of settlement construction and attempts to normalize Israeli control over the occupied Palestinian territory create irreversible realities with long-term ramifications for Palestinian self-determination and regional security?

Host & Panel

Michelle Dunne –

Hanan Ashrawi –

Daniel Levy – &

Andrew Miller –

“The Jews stole your land!”: pure poison.

Palestinian camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Egypt: Arab Apartheid. 

Arab denial of political crimes and violent provocations summoning Israeli and western response: Shameful.

Corruption and political suppression associated with the PLO/PA and Hamas: Heinous.

“Palestinian People”: after 70+ years of Arab / Arab-Russian abuse by crude manipulation: yes, but in situ.

Any other people would both deserve and have obtained better governance for themselves.

At a point early in the program, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, claims the Jewish Israeli and ? Palestinian narratives equal on the basis of belief and absolute truth.  However, the Palestinians have never been of one national or religious background: Christian, Muslim, Jordanian, Egyptian, wandering.  What has fixed them in place and time has been Arab animus toward the (Majority) Jewish State of Israel, and it may be suggested that after 70+ years of punitive separation, the same may well have established themselves as another “people apart” — and perhaps ready to grow into new and better fit and more survivable shoes.  The time has come to step out of what has become a worn out narrative serving only the self-serving.

Related on BackChannels

Suggested Themes

Accusation in a Mirror, Civilizational Narcissism, Denial of Culpability (Transactional Psychology), Malignant Narcissism, and Cultural Locus of Control

Related on the Web

Bergman, Ronen. “The KGB’s Middle East Files: Palestinians in the service of Mother Russia.” YNetNews, April 11, 2016.


FTAC: Judge Kavanaugh and Red-Blue Self-Righteous Loyalty


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The article touted in “conservative” circles:  In Federalist writer Nathaniel Blake’s own words:

This ugly truth about us explains what has happened to Brett Kavanaugh. Initially he was hated for being a Republican nominee for the Supreme Court, but it is still not universally acceptable to abominate someone only for being an originalist judge.

“Originalist judge” may not well explain what the nation saw transpire last week.

Here is this blog’s editor’s take on that.

BackChannels believed Ford, and that he (Kavanaugh) lied because he had the power to deny everything negative about himself. As much may be part of an “ambitious” or malign narcissism, and as much fits with the personality and associates of the man who nominated him.

With Red or Blue Right / Left Flag navigation, political identity may force arguments rather than reason, and that emotion drives the demonizing of the other camp as well as the concept familiar to conflicts worldwide: “accusation in a mirror”. “Witch hunt!

The Left has no need to apologize for defending Blase Ford.

The Right has no need to wonder why professional advisement — all those lawyers! — against the confirmation were ignored and the process will be remembers as forced by the Republicans or blocked by the Democrats: for an answer, the power of identity and loyalty will do.

Related on BackChannels

Related on the Web (cited here for “Accusation in a Mirror”, a political science concept well known to scholars — and here in association with genocide — but also fit with what may be observed in relation to “malignant narcissism”: the malignant narcissist is never wrong.  BackChannels offers this post from 2013 as an example of the type:


FTAC: Kavanaugh and President Trump’s Power — The Equivalent of Two Senate Votes


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I would say about half the country — and the country’s political power — mistrust the President, 50:48.

Democracy is being treated as a religion — a belief we promote perhaps more than the way of life we live — and we are being “feudalized”, driven backward toward a way of life in which more may transpire out of party, personal, and political loyalties than out of the kind of admiration of virtue and reason with which our nation was born.

On the healthy side, President Trump’s presidential victory and subsequent political “wins” have been similarly controversial and marginal. He may be winning as an authoritarian president, but as much seems persistently by the equivalent of two Senate votes.

BackChannels may let the above live as rhetoric rather than get into the around-the-world and the through-the-nation report card.  He has so far been the President that lies to his base — “Fake News!” should be enough for a start — and keeps over his head a cloud of dark associates (e.g., Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort) and near-but-not-quite relationships (as with Felix Sater), with much having to do with the laundering of dirty money through real estate investments.

As the related mistrusting of power deepens — “50:48” — one may expect the street to become more restive and state power brought to bear on the political sidewalk.  We seem to be far from that today, but the divisive politics would seem to move the nation toward further rancor and shouting. Yesterday’s arrested deserved the privilege, no doubt, but that as much took place speaks ill of the health of the nation.

Also Related on BackChannels


FTAC: MEC: A Possible Beginning to the End of the End


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While powerful mercenary, political, and religious forces sustain the Middle East Conflict (MEC), one may hope that nothing evil lasts forever.  That is the one hope that should bridge what most divides Israelis and Palestinians ready to move on with their lives as well as the great wall that exists in time between the region of feudal absolute power and that of the modern democratic distribution of power, rule of law, and responsible and responsive governance.

In the course of a day — and just about every day — the editor of this blog visits the “camps” in which complaint and demonizations prompted by attacks, injuries, and deaths are par for conversation.  Few, however, either side, take in the scope of the conflict in its post-WWII East v West / Moscow v Washington / Feudal v Modern aspect, so BackChannels tries (and tries and tries) to get to thought that is both short but broadening.

Palestinian Incitement –> “Actions” –> IDF Response –> Bereavement, Complaint, Further Incitement –> -/-

For the most part, the angered narrow their vision, speak their own truth, and summon their own choruses when it might prove more helpful to grasp the greater politics and the historic manipulation attending the same.

There are angels and devils in the details.

International Trade Administration. “Qualifying Industrial Zone (QIZ).” Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA).

Related (from the other side): (Bahour, Sam. “Economic Prison Zones”. Middle East Research and Information Program, November 19, 2010).

The end of the Cold War should have produced a Moscow different from the one that groomed Arafat, established the PLO, and introduced the world to airline hijacking (in association with the “Palestinian cause”).

It didn’t.

While the Communist Party Soviet Union (CPSU) found itself diminished and disfavored, the methods, relationships, and rhetoric survived the transition, and I think it’s those phantoms that continue cycling the Palestinians through the same old same old and go nowhere / get nowhere political habits supporting incitement. There’s dirty arms and narcotics money in the conflict also (Barack Obama’s $1 billion cocaine “grant” to Hezbollah — . It has paid “the other side”, which is larger than it first looks, to keep the Palestinians boiling with the Big Lie — “Israel stole your land” .

I don’t know if there’s too much money in war.

What happens beneath the table produces a lot of heat — defense R&D, manufacturing, trade — on the surface. I believe — or would like to believe — that Moscow benefits more from the sustained conflict than Washington. Be the truth as it may be, the “Phantoms of the Soviet” have rather cooked down their own interests: Assad has pretty much destroyed his own state; irksome Hamas appears not to want another war; Abbas with his KGB record has turned into an old man rattling on about “resistance” without any place to take it.

Should the Middle East Conflict remain a reliable focal point for “east-west competition” with feudal structures and criminality on one side and constructive democratic features and the semblance of order on the other?

After 70+ years — and 26 years past the end of the Cold War — the MEC has to come down, but Palestinian political “cadre” and the main base susceptible to last century’s messaging and propaganda need help figuring out how they’ve been used — and they need to wake to the idea that peace would serve them (and everyone else) much, much better than a continued and mindless “resistance” based on the myth of their own myth founded on simple face-saving misdirection.

Related on BackChannels

Funny thing about “the truth”: all the small parts fit — the contributions of events and personalities add up — and the whole right image of the past grows stronger with time.


ALW: Historical Necessities – Humor and Soul


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Recommended to this editor: David Fromkin’s A Peace to End All Peace (Anniversary Edition, 2009).

Now wish-listed in my Amazon account, it would be a good book to own; however, the bookcases have been filled, and there’s even now a box full of books with bookmarks in them, the desktop having become more my platform than the sofa.


The forum for the comment was one of Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi‘s pages on Facebook.  Daoudi, who once took a class of Palestinian students to Auschwitz and had his car torched for the effort, has been a strong advocate for a moderate Islam (Wasatia Movement (Facebook page]) and Israeli-Palestinian co-existence.  As suggested by the lost getabout, such efforts would seem tempered by the politics of the East Jerusalem space from which he prefers to work.

Fromkin’s book would be a good thing to own and read.  However —

I’m overstocked here with books, but if I had house and space, I’d go ahead and expand my library to 4,000 volumes, maybe more.

One thing about the truth in history: when something is true, all the small parts really do fit together.

In that fitting together, however, one may wish to have two essential elements for company: 1) a great sense of humor and 2) a lot of soul.

Previously recommended by yours truly to forum readers: Efraim Karsh’s 2011 volume, Palestine Betrayed.

Purpose: replace strident untrue (Soviet Era malarkey) narratives 🙂 with a broad, common, empathetic, high-integrity telling of history — because history may not be “written by the victors” but in the greater course of time by the decent and earnest among the world’s scholars — that might then provide a firm base of knowledge for all.


FTAC: Middle East Conflict: Harmonizing on One Page


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The issue: the symmetrical treatment of history such that Israelis and Palestinians should teach both “The Holocaust” and “The Nakba”.


Israelis and Palestinians would do well to research and teach history in the direction of nonpartisan and well substantiated truth.

The idea that “history is written by the victors” should be today an artifact of the medieval world, i.e., the world of “absolute power” and thuggish personalities.

In the modern world — and should it wish to be a good one — scholarly integrity should matter most of all (and Muhammad himself is reputed to have said, “One scholar is worth more against the devil than one thousands worshippers”).

The barbarism known to history — medieval rape and rapine, ethnic cleansing, genocide — need not be known to the future, but as much becomes the province of those alive today. If Muslim Fulani gangs and war parties wish to continue their program of razing Christian farming villages — and kidnapping, raping, and slaughtering the residents — that is really up to them, there being no sufficient power (yet) to stop them where they roam, plan, and execute foul deeds.

Integrity, rightness, and righteousness should have qualities that transcend small interests. As often as we may find that not true, we may hope that one day as much will be true.


Nigeria: A Letter Offering Correction to The New York Times Regarding Dionne Searcey’s ‘Nigerian Herders Face Threat From Farmers Competing for Land’, September 22, 2018


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The article features a Gombe State case study that romanticizes the Fulani at peace within their own ethnic and religious community.  My question for you: why not take Taraba, Benue, or even Plateau State in the north central region of Nigeria or the more than 16 states that have experienced horrific violence and see the story through the eyes of the bereaved and dispossessed?

Gombe State, Nigeria-ed

Screen capture of the outline of Gombe State, Nigeria, October 1, 2018.

BackChannels’ editor has been responding to a contact in Nigeria with interest in what this blog has referred to as the “Fulani Land Pirates” — and this has been the year for watching “activity” (brigandage or warfare or both) that has amounted to the ethnic cleansing of Christian villages from the land with either apparent or somewhat implied complicity on the government’s part.

Last month, The New York Times (TYNT) published an overview of the Fulani drifting — in part a response to desertification — and the related conflict, but the journalist chose to paint a romantic view of the Fulani who have indeed lived with the bravado, color, and community known to nomadic herdsmen.  On behalf of Nigeria’s isolated or remote Christian community, the contact took exception to that depiction.

The edited letter was submitted to TNYT last week (October 24), but having not appeared, BackChannels offered to publish it.


I am writing to express my disappointment with “Nigerian Herders Face Threat From Farmers Competing for Land” (September 22, 2018) by Dionne Searcey.

I don’t believe there has been a deliberate attempt to mislead the general public and do injustice to the thousands of people that have been raped, hacked or killed by assaults associated with herdsman, but the numbers in the article have merely hinted at the scale of the violence.  Many attacks have involved marauding “troops” with numbers above one-hundred, and as a consequence today there are thousands of people living in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in states like Benue, Taraba and Plateau.

Herder umbrella groups like Miyetti Allah that have issued threat of violence and followed through with hundreds of people killed were not mentioned in the article.

Moreover, the failure of security under the present government to arrest these killers was also not mentioned.

Portraying the southern part of Nigeria as a Christian majority viewing herders as beheaders, rapists, or Boko Haram may suggest bias in support of the herders. The truth is the southern portion of Nigeria has accommodated all despite differences in culture and religion.

In fact, most herders have lived peacefully with their hosts until turning without warning to run the same off the land.

In the past few years, the continuous influx of herders into Nigeria coupled with ethnic and religious issues and a complete absence of the rule of law have set loose countless raiders against Christian farmers.

Southern Nigeria has been organized into three large geopolitical zones comprised of 17 states, most of which have suffered murders, kidnappings, destroyed property, and the loss of farmland. At times, related arson has been dramatically political.  The burning of a farm owned by Chief Olu Falaye on 21 January 2018 and the burning of former naval chief Afolayan’s 90 hectares of productive land – oranges, cassava, and palm – deliberately beg the public’s conscience and patience in relation to the desire for earnest state defense.

I also disagree with the article’s position that the President has not done much for Fulani herdsmen.

President Buhari has represented Fulni  interests more than those of any other group. In October 13, 2010 he led a protest to the Oyo state government complaining about the treatment of Fulani herders despite that he was acting on a wrong heading.  He also has tried to grab land to give to the Fulani herders but has been impeded only by constitutional arrangements in which lands are not vested with the Federal government but with state governments.

The article features a Gombe state case study that romanticizes the Fulani at peace within its own ethnic and religious community.  My question for you: why not take Taraba, Benue or even Plateau State in the north central region of Nigeria or the more than 16 states that have experienced horrific violence and see the story through the eyes of the bereaved and dispossessed?

Why whitewash this conflict that at the hands of Kalashnikov-armed Fulani herdsman has seen numerous Christian villages burned and ethnically cleansed in the manner of medieval rape and rapine?

One may concede that cattle rustling is a major problem that affects herders, and that rustlers – as bandits often do – cut across ethnic boundaries (as widely reported in Zamfara State where the majority are Hausa-Fulani Muslims), and the police should up their game on bringing to justice those criminals.

For peace for the near future of Nigeria, ranching would be the best solution to pursue through legal political processes.  The frontier for nomadic herding without boundaries may need to be closed.

Plateua State, Nigeria-ed

Screen capture, Plateau State, Nigeria, October 1, 2018.

Related Online

Odunsi, Wale. “Buhari blows hot over renewed Plateau killings.” Daily Post, October 1, 2018.


Abbas at the UN & Ageing Canard


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I24News, September 27, 2018

Mahmoud Abbas has aged.  Approaching 83 come this November 15, he has stood before the United Nations General Assembly repeating himself and inventing anti-Semitic / anti-Zionist invective in the old Orwellian Soviet way.

In Abbas’s surreal world, Israel must return to “four June 1967” borders, Israeli settlers and IDF “blaspheme against the holy sites” of Islam, and the latest “Nation State Law of the Jewish People” is racist.  In the President’s masked away thinking, no blood shed in defensive war bought the expansion; the “Western Wall” must not belong to the Jews who built it; and a mild declaration more than in keeping with the tenets of a dozen European monarchies must be racist yet.

All that: inside of 2.5 minutes.

The familiar canard follow in language’s best known “dark mirror”.  “The Palestinians” — the Arabs of Jordan and Egypt and the laborers who came into the region as Jewish land purchases produced a new agricultural economy — have the history of what today is Israel, not the Hebrews, not the Jews.  The designated and too well known Palestinian Liberation Organization terrorists become the picture of innocents against the tyrannous Israel and United States.

“The Congress comes out of the blue to say the PLO is a terrorist organization.  How come?”

Answer: continuing violence visited on innocents.

Related: &

While Abbas claims Palestinians have been denied the right to self-determination, it would be difficult to overlook the existence of the PLO/PA government and Hamas as the governing power in Gaza.  Which of either government has not been self-determining?

“We reject the idea of militias . . . .”


“We are not redundant . . . .”

After 70 years of Arab abuse and apartheid in camps and through political treatment, BackChannels believes the “Palestinian  People” a body isolated and unique in experience and therefore a “people” but one being born a little upside-down.

Israel most often views the main base of Palestinians as more human than the corrupt “leadership” organizations that plainly exploit them.

Israel-PLO Recognition: Exchange of Letters Between PM Rabin and Chairman Arafat (1993)

Related on BackChannels

“FTAC: Mahmoud Abbas: The Last of the Soviet Era Fixtures in the Middle East Conflict.” September 25, 2018.

“FTAC — “These Too are Palestinians.” September 25, 2016.

“Set: ‘Palestinian KGB’ and Other BackChannel’s Observations Related to the Middle East Conflict.” February 6, 2018.