was once a brave KGB man in service to the Soviet while in East
Germany. He stood off a maddened crowd with a bluff and bought time for
the further destruction of KGB records in that Soviet satellite. He
may be admired for his extraordinary bravado, courage, and wiles.
he moved Russia off the pro-democracy track, he inherited an
effectively lawless state, one that had transferred the wealth of the
Soviet to the Soviet nomenklatura in a fire sale of state assets.
Opposition like Khoderkovsky came out of that transfer that had been
planned in the mid-1980s (reference: Karen Dawisha, RIP). In effect,
Putin inherited the challenges posed by the Vory and assorted
gangsterism on a scale unknown to the west (and western naivette about
that helped waste billions (I think) in capital that would never be
recovered. The mafia state was born.
The Capo de
capos, the Boss of bosses, has now to look inward and consider the
future of the now old Viking state that he has looted. He could retire
to Spain, where he has a house, and watch the cocaine traffic moving up
from Africa — just look out his window and know the ships and smile —
or he could turn around — this would be a good time — and address
Russia’s under-development outside of the Agricultural, Defense, and
Energy sectors. He could revert to rule-of-law in Ukraine and
apologize, at least, for the bombing of so many hospitals –he’s leveled
him — in Syria.
Judging from his behavior, he
appears to believe his mission has been to revive the glories of the
medieval world and the idolatry associated with political absolutism,
i.e., unquestionable authority.
I, not alone, believe he should reconsider that mission.
He has produce what he has promised the world: a “New Nobility”.
he should look around at what now lies at the feet of that circle:
atrocity, mayhem, murder, and the self-inflicted wounding of the image
and global acceptance of Mother Russia.
A change of course would be more helpful to him than his staying with old habits past their expiry.
Has one party or personality or other to always play the “bag guy”? The Bond villain? The head of the worst of the worst?
Vladimir Putin has children who will one day and in the natural course of living will look back on their father with an accuracy and perception beyond the public’s ken and the best of the world’s intelligence agencies. When he’s gone, whatever he was, they will know in ways beyond knowing.
For a glimpse at what his state has done at his behest: Idlib today. Here is some recent background involving Russian participation — missile strikes (got to about 7:15 on that)– in Assad’s scorched earth pursuits.
Aside: what the Assad Regime did to the Yarmouk Palestinian Camp —
Kurdish defense elements may represent an amalgam of Kurdish interests largely beneath the authoritarian semi-socialist umbrella of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). Conceived in the Far Left zeitgeist of the 1970s, an era saturated in and partially shaped by agent provocateur, disinformation, and money pouring off of Russia’s “Active Measures” programs, the PKK appears to have followed the pattern known to other Soviet-associated “liberation fronts” in relation to ruthless consolidations of power, funding through criminal means, and the launching of violent revolutionary actions against forces impeding organizational ambitions, concepts, and ends.
In 2013, Erdogan promised to recognize Kurdish identity and language, and increase Kurdish liberties. A truce followed, but hostilities resumed in 2015. Erdogan said he was responding to PKK terrorism. The PKK claimed Erdogan destroyed the ceasefire by building dams and security stations in Kurdish regions. In either case, a war was on. Erdogan attacked with helicopter gunships, artillery and armored divisions, murdering thousands and displacing 335,000 mainly Kurdish citizens. A UN report described destroyed villages as moonscapes.
The recruitment of mixed Kurdish forces to fight ISIS necessarily involved diplomatic magic as some best trained and experienced in the business of fighting were to become those fighting Assad’s idea of “The Terrorists” — ISIS.
Here’s a section representing one starting point — the American State Department’s continuing designation of the PKK as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” — and both the required finesse to shift popular impression plus an expression of America’s intent to defend its Kurdish allies (and front line) in the effort to defeat Islamic State —
The Department of State has reviewed and maintained the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) designation of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended (8 U.S.C. § 1189). The PKK was originally designated as an FTO in 1997.
. . . .
Today’s actions notify the U.S. public and the international community that the PKK remains a terrorist organization. In addition to its continued status as an FTO, the PKK has also been designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224 since 2001.
BackChannels refers often to the “Phantoms of the Soviet”, a mixture of KGB-Era ideas, methods, personalities, and relationships that have for about 26 years outlived the Soviet Union. Wherever cultivated, the same have fairly suspended geopolitical space in the barbarism and political repression best associated with feudal / medieval political absolutism.
The PKK’s role in potential Turkish-Russian escalation should be viewed through the lens of Moscow’s deep historic ties with the group — and with Damascus. In the 1970s, the PKK was established with Soviet support in the Beqa Valley of Syrian-occupied Lebanon. As one of two NATO countries boasting a land border with the Soviet Union, Turkey was considered Moscow’s soft underbelly during the Cold War, providing Washington with numerous assets such as listening bases capable of intercepting communications across the Black Sea. The Russians saw the PKK as a means of undercutting a key U.S. ally.
The PKK also enjoyed support from Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafiz, who cast his regime as the champion of Turkish Kurds despite oppressing Syria’s own Kurdish community. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan lived in Damascus while his group ran training camps in Lebanon and used Syrian territory to attack Turkey.
Moscow’s support for the PKK eventually dissipated with the end of the Cold War and the emergence of pressing political and economic problems at home. Syria ended its own support in 1998, after Ankara threatened Damascus with war for supporting what had become a terribly destructive PKK campaign throughout Turkey. As part of this abrupt shift, Hafiz al-Assad expelled Ocalan.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) emerged from the radical ferment that swept the Western world in the 1960s. It was founded in 1978 as a Marxist-Leninist organisation infused with Kurdish nationalism and a cult of personality around its leader, Abdullah Ocalan. The PKK spent much of this period attacking other Kurdish and left-wing groups, and its own dissidents – hundreds of whom would be killed over the years – in an attempt to monopolise the support base for its ideas.
While BackChannels happily and humbly defers to The Henry Jackson Society’s wizard of political science, Kyle Orton, it recognizes inherent value in the Kurdish community as singular among the worlds ethnic and tribal cohorts and with that equally inherent rights to autonomous self-determination and dignity — in defense terms: freedom from cultural and religious persecution.
BackChannels, being neither international organization or potent state, however may best demur to an analyst closer to the issues and altogether more experienced — in this instance, Michael Rubin of The American Enterprise Institute:
More importantly, PKK tactics have changed: There remains low-level military insurgency, but gone are the days when the PKK targets Turkish civilians (alas, the reverse is not true with regard to Turkish forces and Kurdish civilians, as the residents of Cizre, Nusaybin, and Sur can attest). Certainly, breakaway factions of the PKK such as the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) have claimed attacks, but such factionalism is common when former terrorists come in from the cold. That was the case with the “ Real IRA ” which emerged after the IRA entered into a peace process in Northern Ireland.
A little more than six months ago, BackChannels published “Moscow as Medusa with All the Snakes Attached” (January 2, 2019), and what it had had in mind was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s leveraging of arrangements involving leadership in several EU / NATO states fit for the flattering of an emperor. He had President Erdogan apologizing to him for shooting down two MIGs overflying Turkish air space (and, lo and behold, the “Turkish Stream” energy project got back on its feet) and, later (about now), purchasing Russian air defense technology suited to knocking NATO air power out of the sky . . . .
So here with the above in mind is reference to “east-west” and “medieval v modern” conflict that continues to validate the idea of the presence of the “Phantoms of the Soviet” and their generally impeding progress toward modern governance in the near and middle east:
The Kurds have historically played an important role in Russian efforts to exert its influence in the Middle East. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union used the Kurds to bypass America’s containment strategy in the region.
Shortly after World War II, Moscow supported the creation of the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad in Iranian Kurdistan to increase its influence in the region. After the Iranian army crushed the Kurdish forces, the fighters led by Mustafa Barzani took refuge in the Soviet Union.
Political analyst Gonul Tol appears in the third video featured in the next section, which presents another set of impressions having to do with the Kurdish struggle for Kurdish autonomy and unification.
Method #1: detect and amplify any present national, racial, or religious suspicion into self-righteous anger and resentment — and crank it up;
Method #2: develop and deploy appropriate agitprop and agent provocateur — and for the Devil’s sake, don’t worry about anything having to do with ethics, ideals, principles, or values: in fact, dispense with the possession of conscience altogether and reduce all complexities — also, all cultural richness and intercultural relations to two essential dimensions: will and survival.
Method #3: Prepare the violence to come: arm convinced militia and move the same toward perceiving slights or promoting provocations, for either will serve the dual purposes necessary for the inhabiting of a renewed medieval world governed by feudal arrangements in support of “absolute power” (to be shared between political criminals and similar life forms).
Method #4: In hybrid, highbrow, and lowest manner, infiltrate target organizations and states for purpose of abetting their destabilization, perpetuating disinformation, and for ultimately exploiting legitimate business and labor for gain leveraged by bribery or extortion / reward for cooperation and threat for independence in either thought or action.
Centrist leaders across Europe hope the fallout from the “Ibiza scandal” will be felt beyond Austria in the European parliament elections this week, in which populist, nationalist and far-right parties have been forecast to make gains.
Strache’s apparent eagerness to embrace corruption is in stark contrast to the “drain the swamp” rhetoric populists routinely deploy in their attempts to portray politics as a battle by decent ordinary people against a venal elite. The FPÖ is a key member of an alliance of European nationalist parties led by Matteo Salvini of Italy’s League.
BackChannels has embedded with many posts the key word or phrase, “medieval v modern”, and that has worked for the editor, but what has emerged in Russia, Turkey, Hungary, and elsewhere also could be called a “Reactionary Conservatism” that fits with the anti-democratic and piratical renewal of feudal absolute power. Where such has succeeded, so far, the same has devolved into patently criminal cronyism.
State of Affairs: Palestinian leaders needs must treat the Palestinian main base as captives to be kept from free and open discourse and research in relation to their own history.
For BackChannels, “The Palestinians” exist, but the idea of the “The People” may exist differently than presumed by the dictatorships and kleptocrats that have chosen to exploit as weapons “the refugees of 1948”, i.e., the many Christians and Muslims abandoned between armies as Arab forces abandoned their mission to annihilate the Jews of Israel.
Genuine peace may have something to do with shared integrity, not my-side-your-side and the wheedled detente that is ever a ceasefire, never a peace.
My argument for the Palestinian People: after 70+ years of comparative isolation associated with Arab Apartheid, the cohort defined by the Arab refugees of 1948 have indeed become a People, but they have been also deeply intellectually poisoned. The big lie as a thought left unaddressed to fester . . . to whip resentment into boiling anger: “The Jews stole your land and God wants to you to seize it back (and annihilate the Jews)”. Never mind the Turkish land registries, the land purchases that began long before WWII, the agricultural industry that drew Arab labor into its economy, or the continuous presence of Jews in Roman-named “Palestine” across millennia.
The myth: Israel was an invasion.
The truth: Israel has been an investment legitimately obtained.
The cruelties to which the Palestinians, in some radicalized part, remain subject: Hitler’s license for the harboring of genocidal ambitions now supported by Hamas, at least; Uncle Joe’s and Father (I guess) Andropov’s reliance on “Information Warfare” and political repression in the ordering of their own delusional worlds.
Today we know what happens to Palestinian dissidents.
Haven’t The Palestinians an inherent right to question their leadership — it has been a long time since the last casting of ballots for them — or to read and discuss, I don’t know, say, Benny Morris, Efraim Karsh, or to engage with Israels as each may see fit without fear?
The Soviet / post-Soviet seduced Left / Far Left — the Corbynites, the Cult BDSWaters of the world — are not for the Palestinians but for those who have enriched themselves championing their misery in service to the corruption of those who most purport to represent them.
Might Russia’s animus with the Jews go all the way back to the Viking encounter with the Khazar Kingdom that received tribute from east-west trade?
That’s possible. The Khazar, representing a Turkic Khaganate, had converted en masse to a Karaite form of Judaism and would have been regarded as Jews by those whose eastern trade they had taxed. The ever expanding-contracting-expanding range of Nordic / Russian power overtook the Kingdom has it would Kiev as well as half of Britain: the Vikings were to hold sway in what is today thought of as “The West”, or one might say the European tribes north of the Roman Empire.
Has anti-Semitic hate traveled forward from that far in the past?
That too is possible, the calendar of the Hebrews dating back 5,779 years this year.
How primary in the life of polities are fundamental beliefs and accompanying attitudes?
Would Great Britain be “British” without the anti-Semitic depictions of Shakespeare’s Shylock and Dickens’ Fagin, both far predating the encouragement of Russia’s Okhrana and later Bolshevik KGB?
Add the thought to conjecture.
Whatever history may tell the scholars, today’s hatred of the Jews, i.e., contemporary anti-Semitic ideation and obsession, seems a part of the medieval world and its views, not the modern one of integrity, reason, and study.
For The Palestinians, living as subject to the capricious and unquestionable power of Fatah (via the PLO / PA) and Hamas (thanks to its financial supporters), their dignity, freedom, and human rights will remain in the hands of their true captors, and that is the present Palestinian “leaders” who have led them into the most absurd and dark of dead ends.
There’s a great deal of material “related online” — and in the libraries — but this happened to cross my desk while the post was still a week or so new, and I though I would recommend its reading:
One might wish that others posting in the world’s open and socially networked web environment would be responsible about it and take the additional 30-seconds it may take using Google search (or Bing, whatever) to check out claims. This particularly vicious sterilization-by-vaccine rumor has been in circulation for decades.
BC’s immediate response to the post follows.
The story may be a good example of Soviet Era “Active Measures” carried forward into the post-Cold War period. It appears this claim has been in circulation for decades, and not only in Kenya but several other developing nations.
I cannot prove my thesis, such has been the nature of manipulation from “behind the curtains” down through the ages, but often enough, it would seem those who most claim to be interested in Justice turn out also to be the most obsessed with acquiring Absolute Power — and that “by any means necessary”.
Whatever the fine points of history may be — and the devils are always in the details — “framing” a medical miracle, whether vaccination for polio or vaccination for tetanus as an evil thing, would seem itself a deed most evil and intended to sow discord and fear. Why? Those who promote malicious perception may then portray themselves as the bearers of hope and order.
Related online and associated with similar partisan religious motivations:
A narrative through which the Palestinians have been lied too for more than 70 years is not something either Israelis or Palestinians need to or should respect. The soul of the conflict sustained by PLO / PA has to do with (genocidal) Palestinian intentions for Israel far more than the history of the place, and those old lies, that propaganda from another age, need to drift into the past and, at some point, be sealed in it.
What was the lie?
It has gone something like this: “The Jews stole your land and God wants you to seize it back!”
As lies may, this whopper apparently sounds true to the disinformed, ill-educated, impressionable, and simple minded, but it is not a true statement — and for that not the kind of thought intended to improve the lives of Palestinians in any meaningful dimension, financial, physical, psychological, or spiritual.
What that lie has done is simply deflect attention from marauding, mediocre, and murderous “leaders” and their sponsors who have used the same to promote worldviews — there have been two or more broad inventions (Pan-Arab Nationalism; Islamic Extremism) — certain to serve their own egos, social standing (in politically disciplined circles), and wallets.
Russia has made an art of amplifying the resentments of their marks — those who will serve them — and enraging them.
For the Palestinian main base there has been no end to subjugation by the PLO/PA and Hamas and related abuse, corruption, and neglect. For Palestinians in the Diaspora — and for the hipsters on the Far Left that endorse counterproductive and misery-sustaining efforts like the “Boycott Divestiture and Sanctions (BDS) Movement” — there hasn’t been a better time to have an independent look into any of the following:
Hamas Human Rights Abuses and Political Repression
Israeli Expansion Via Defensive Arab Wars of Annihilation
Ottoman Administration of the Land Registry of the Region
Palestinian Economic Development and Marketing and Shipping To and Through Israel
Palestinian-Serving Qualified Enterprise Zone Programs
Once inured to suffering associated with Russian arms and will, the liberal democracies of the west risk watching the heat rise — or the surroundings change — while being lazed into unconscious acceptance.
Ukraine’s five-year-old “frozen conflict” has not been forgotten by EU / NATO, which methodically if slowly has focused on containing the irritating Bear now pummeling Mariupol and targets north by northwest along a line of embattled territory on the western edge of Donetsk Oblast. In addition to a vigorous round of military exercises conducted by NATO in 2018, typified perhaps by the 31+ nation Trident Juncture 18, the United States has continued training-related deployments to Ukraine in a “train-the-trainers ” effort to improve Ukraine’s defense against greater incursion by Russian forces.
Not to flack the rah-rah: Ukraine has been made to pay a near daily — or daily — price in injury and death for having become a Russian test bed (no different than Syria) for Moscow’s defense technologies and “hybrid warfare”.
The Russian propaganda mill plies a familiar routine with web videos: the most recent shelling appears to come from Ukrainian forces without cause (I’ll leave the look-up on such as “Donetsk, fighting” to the reader). However, as displayed on any given LiveUAmap, Russia’s military-integrated activity should seem clear enough.
“Together with two other S-300 air defense batteries nearby, Russian land-based air defenses in the region could simultaneously launch as many as 192 surface-to-air missiles. Interestingly, their crews have been training to counter not only hostile aircraft, but also sea-launched cruise missiles, seemingly in preparation for a NATO intervention. Whatever the case, the airspace above Crimea and Donbas has quickly become among the most well-defended in the world.
For cruising through related offerings on YouTube and elsewhere on the web, the open source seems short of up-to-the-minute Ukrainian war reportage but for the Live UA Map, a conflict pin board, and reporting by Michael MacKay via Twitter and through his column in Radio Lemberg.
BackChannels has been seeing the numbers, finding Russian-side videos (in which the fire always comes from Ukraine, not the Russian-backed separatists that provoke it), and finding videos from when the conflict was all bloody new, shocking, and hot. Now it’s still bloody and plenty hot, but it has become a part of the daily fare in the world’s conflict-related horror show.
Perhaps a warning should be issued: once inured to suffering associated with Russian arms and will, the liberal democracies of the west risk watching the heat rise — or the surroundings change — while being lazed into unconscious acceptance.
MacKay’s tweet, much in line with thinking by America’s Democrats and possibly some Republican moderates, begs a few questions about Ukraine’s “frozen conflict” among others: how much “patience” has the west? How much destruction and how many lives lost is acceptable before jawing about Russian barbarism and kleptocracy and posturing about western defense support and strength lose their charm?
Russia has recently claimed victory in Syria. This is what that looks like:
With the winter-is-coming cloud of nuclear warfare hanging over east-west confrontation — and with the incredible billions of dollars laundered out of transnational criminal enterprise spiked into the bloodstreams of states — the way forward for the democratic attenuation of political power and the promotion of faith in rule of law may be difficult to see. While one may hope for hope in that regard, locking related conflicts into one place without limit seems itself dispiriting and on the side of evil.
For how long may Ukraine be expected to endure a Moscow-engineered “status quo”?
Perhaps it’s time that grinds away at religious cohorts and their unity in thought, both dividing communities while also distilling and isolating what will come to consider itself the authentic, core, real, traditional, true community in spirit and behavior.
Here time might beg old questions, lawful, spiritual, practical: who is a Jew?
Who among Jews would the righteous pure evict?
What proportion — as Jews are a small community by numbers, how many Jews would the traditional, the Orthodox, consider . . . Jewish?
The secular principle may encourage religion at each his own expense: we are free to sustain belief and practices as we see fit privately and on our own dime. That’s not going to work in any neo-theocratic or theocratic environment in which the majority-something (all states have a “majority-something” – or a powerful minority) needs must defend a religiously codified image of organizing ethical and moral principles.
Are “true believers” (everywhere) medieval and reformers modern?
Are the believers (everywhere) the good and the reformers irreversibly decadent?
In the end and whatever the ramifications, all of our decisions — taking place in each separated mind — are private and privately reasoned and motivated — and time x God, Nature, and the Universe + Social Surrounds have their influence.
Nature over long time encourages diversity / experimentation; we humans, especially with philosophy and religion, have made a competition out of differentiation (and “experimentation”, God only knows).
Earth’s Living Language Inventory: fewer than 7,000. N Religions Extant: 4,200 estimated.
Our geopolitical boundaries, which may be as small as a community around a single church, mosque, or temple, really do help us be what we consider ourselves as community tradition, experience, God, intuition, learning, practical survival, and reason have made us. In the realm of embraced and enthused believe, the social set may be as small as a band (truly, music), a band (tribal warrior subset), or cult or as large, of course, as a transnational ethnic, political, or religious enterprise.
Inspiration for the post: a defense of traditional male-privileged access to Israel’s holy Western and the intrusion — and degradation of tradition — symbolized by the modern feminist Women of the Wall who intend as Jewish women to do everything that Jewish men have done traditionally by way of the express permit of God, so believed or others given for themselves to do. The patriarchal culture than has it’s “little lady” insult built into it, so from the modern perspective looking backward through time, the closest encounter with God through prayer must be for men (who are clean: free of menstruation) — and, “little lady, don’t you worry your pretty little head about it.”
As evolutionary as the cultivation and transforming of conscience, empathy, and language may be, tribal identities worldwide and their ways have persistence through time even though time — like water — has always its carving, eroding, shaping work busy at changing the face of humanity.
The conversation progressed in the direction of the real-social-politik involved in sustaining Israel’s Jewish-majority state in atmosphere and character. Although not all Jews are perfect (or pure) anywhere — all humanity is imperfect) all in Israel understand the mission of the state as the proverbial “light unto nations”, which it has been, and as THE Jewish Homeland. Herewith a little more comment on the Western Wall; ancient tribal, medieval, and modern cultures; and the latest brought up by the impertinent behavior of the Women of the Wall movement.
Social influence and pressure move in both directions, but each place has its near starting points — the day we’re born (and surrounded in the cradle of family and community) and they day we become aware (psychologically autonomous and decision making).
I’ve give higher value to political equilibrium x place then to absolute (black-or-white) thinking and zealotry that becomes labeled “extreme” even though the “extreme” might be a right extreme. The reason is that the strong humanist umbrella would defend the faith of the faithful in place. Israel’s existence as ancient, medieval, and modern — and “hypermodern” as a progressive democratic open society — creates what is essentially a modern challenge
? |Men Only —————————– | Women’s section | –> |Men Only —- | All Allowed ——————————– | ?
I am going to demur, I hope wisely, from launching arrows for either the sustained ancient world brought forward through identity, belief, and tradition or this new modern portal to a next civilization — that’s what the future leads toward always — that finds its common base as one against harm and threat in the defense of greater equality, inclusion, and respect across a broad cloud of humanity.
The Western Wall is public and the woman want to do as men do as equals with respect, but the same may indeed degrade and diminish the ancient systems that have both informed and sustained Hebrew existence.
Do the women (of the Wall) in their zeal think about that endowment?