Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ukrainian Crisis and International Security (I)

Pyotr ISKENDEROV | 16.01.2015 | 00:00

2015 will be no less memorable than the previous year. No doubt it will leave a trace in the contemporary history. The crisis in Ukraine testifies to the fact that the world lacks instruments for crisis management while international organizations have so far failed to counter the destabilizing activities of individual states – first of all the United States and its NATO allies. Ahead of Serbia assuming the chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on January 1, 2015 Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said in December that the Ukrainian crisis would be an OSCE priority during Serbia's chairmanship, and more efforts would be applied to stop further violence and make both sides respect an agreed ceasefire. Serbia will be directly responsible for the management of crisis which has many similarities with the events in the Balkans that took place in the 1990s. 
Will the OSCE headed by Serbia succeed as it tries to prevent the further escalation of Ukrainian conflict? It should be noted that this organization has come under less criticism in comparison to the United Nations and the European Union, not to mention NATO. 
As a rule, the OSCE observers, unlike the officials from Brussels and Washington, have tried to be relatively impartial as they prepared their reports. The OSCE monitoring mission has mentioned gross violations of Minsk agreements by Ukrainian government, for instance, the shelling of Donbass by Ukrainian government forces. The OSCE greatly contributed to making Russian humanitarian convoys get to the Donbass. And, finally, the OSCE documents don’t include the «sanctions rhetoric» used to block the cooperation between Russia and the European Union. 
Serbia knows the first thing about interethnic conflicts, civil wars, the contradiction between two basic principles of international law (the right of nations to self-determination and the respect for territorial integrity), the sanctions regimes and the theory and practice of «color revolutions». Besides, Serbia has no choice but look for balance between the two poles of power in the contemporary Europe (Russia and the European Union) trying to protect its own interests without «burning bridges» in its relationship with Russia or Brussels. It can be surmised that as an intermediary the new OSCE chair-country will stick to the policy implemented by «late Slobodan Milosevic» as he was trying to find a narrow path of balance between the West and the East. 
Will it help Serbia and the OSCE use the previously acquired experience and come up with new ways to tackle the Ukrainian crisis? The Russian Foreign Ministry has already stated that it expects Serbia to adopt a balanced policy which would take into consideration the positions of all participants according to the OSCE chair-in-office responsibilities. 
Moscow is sure that under the circumstances the Helsinki+40 process comes to the fore as far as the issues of European security are concerned and the efforts to find a solution to the Ukrainian crisis are intensified. On December 18, 2014 Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in his interview with Rossiya Segodnya devoted to the upcoming visit to Russia by Ivica Dacic, «Our country is determined to maintain close and constructive cooperation with Belgrade on all issues of the OSCE agenda. The most important issues include identifying ways out of the European security crisis in accordance with the Helsinki+40 process, facilitating settlement of the conflict in Ukraine, creating proper conditions for harmonising integration processes and upholding traditional values in the OSCE space». He added, «We expect the Serbian chairmanship to pursue balanced policies that take into account the positions of all member states in accordance with the mandate of the OSCE chairmanship». OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, a politician who has received great experience of crisis management in the Balkans, sounds optimistic about the OSCE role. He expects Serbia to be a constructive factor in tackling the Ukrainian crisis during its OSCE chairmanship. Serbia is a fair mediator and, as such, it will have broad support from OSCE members, Zannier said during a visit to Brussels. Ukraine is not the only challenge for the European security. The smouldering conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh (or Mountainous Karabakh) is teetering on the edge of armed escalation and the situation in Ukraine is closely intertwined with the events in the Trans-Dniester Region. Catalonia and the Basque Country, as well as other potential conflict participants, are closely watching the events unfold in the European crisis-hit spots. Greece with its permanent social and economic crisis has become a soft underbelly of Europe. 
A lot depends on the ability of the OSCE to cope. It has been functioning since the mid-1970s. Actually the organization is the only real podium to bring together all European states plus the United States and Canada. There is little hope other international bodies will do the job. The European Union appears to understand what implications will follow in case the Ukrainian crisis escalates but keeps on dancing to the US tune. There are issues dividing Washington and Europe: the United States strives to block the Russian gas supplies to Europe and make Europeans buy more expensive US-produced energy. For this purpose the United States wants to extract shale gas in the Donbass. 
The United Nations and its UN Security Council may approve a decision previously agreed on, but they cannot work it out. The Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe are not taken seriously. It makes the OSCE the only body which knows how to monitor situations and act as an intermediary. It has accumulated experience of operating in hot spots, for instance the Trans-Dniester Region and Transcaucasia. The Minsk agreements are necessary but they are by far not the only thing needed to handle the problem. A solution presupposes a decision taken by all sides involved and signed by top leaders of conflict participants to be submitted to the United Nations for approval. It’s something Belgrade and Brussels are well familiar with – the 1995 Dayton accords on Bosnia and Herzegovina led to permanent cease-fire and created the basis for the new state. For instance, it said «The Entities shall have the right to establish special parallel relationships with neighboring states consistent with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina». Later they tried to do away with the spirit of Dayton and change its basic provisions. No matter that, the Dayton accords have become, perhaps, the only example of finding a solution to a bloody conflict in the contemporary Europe. And this conflict has similarities with what’s going on in Ukraine. 
Tags: European Union NATO OSCE Russia Ukraine

«Charlie Hebdo» and its Anti-Gentile Allies

Wayne MADSEN | 20.01.2015 | 00:00

In the wake of the terrorist attack against the French satirical newspaper «Charlie Hebdo», it has become apparent that the magazine’s editorial chiefs killed in the attack on its headquarters in Paris and groups such as FEMEN and Pussy Riot are all connected in a campaign to disparage Islam and Christianity. In the aftermath of the terrorist attack, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu used the occasion of the memorial service in Paris attended by a number of world leaders to admonish France’s parliament for having recently recognized the independence of Palestine and urge France’s large Jewish population to emigrate to Israel. 
It was also reported that French President François Hollande specifically did not invite Netanyahu to Paris but that the Israeli Prime Minister appeared nevertheless just so he could insult his French hosts and politicize the memorial service for the 17 victims for his own selfish political purposes. Netanyahu’s antics in Paris were followed by a visit to French Prime Minister Manuel Valls by members of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations, which represents 50 national Jewish groups in the United States, to urge France to withdrawal its recognition of Palestine in the wake of the attacks on the «Charlie Hebdo» offices and the Hyper Cacher Jewish supermarket in Paris.
The entire «Charlie Hebdo» affair has laid bare the inner workings of a newspaper that began as a left-wing counter-culture mocker of the establishment in the aftermath of the Paris Spring uprising of 1968. «Charlie» is a reference to French President Charles De Gaulle who was forced out of office as a result of the Paris student riots of 1968. 
The assassination by two Franco-Algerian brothers, Said and Cherif Kouachi, of «Charlie Hebdo» chief editor Stephane Charbonnier, known as «Charb» to his readers, and three of his top cartoonists, was no surprise to Henri Roussel, the magazine’s founder and original editor whose pen name is Delfeil de Ton. In an interview with «Nouvel Observateur,» Roussel said he warned Charb against provoking Muslims with repeated cartoons, some gratuitously sexual, of the Prophet Mohammed. Roussel said that one of the slain cartoonists feared that the cartoons would come back to «haunt» the newspaper, which suffered an arson attack in 2011. The attack came after the magazine published a Mohammed cartoon on its front cover. Roussel said of the 2011 cartoon: «He [Charb] shouldn’t have done it, but Charb did it again a year later, in September 2012.»
Roussel also accused Charbonnier’s predecessor, Philippe Val, of turning «Charlie Hebdo» into a Zionist and Islamophobic publication. Roussel cited Val’s firing in 2009 of longtime «Charlie Hebdo» cartoonist Maurice Sine for drawing a cartoon lampooning Jean Sarkozy’s marriage to the heiress of a Jewish electronics store chain and his subsequent conversion to Judaism. The cartoon suggested that the son of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy married the heiress of the Darty store chain in order to further his political career. The cartoon bore the notation: «The lad will go far.» Val considered the cartoon to be «anti-Semitic.» Sine told Val that he would «rather cut off [his own] balls» than accede to Val’s demand for an apology to Jewish groups that were offended by the cartoon. Sine began his own publication «Sine Hebdo» with the money he was awarded by a French court for wrongful dismissal by «Charlie Hebdo.» «Hebdo» is the French word for «weekly.»
«Charlie Hebdo’s» new editor, Gérard Biard, told NBC News that «Charlie Hebdo» was an «atheist» publication and that religion should stay out of politics. However, based on the revelations of Roussel and Sine, it appears that «Charlie Hebdo» is far from atheist but a periodical that defames Islam and Christianity while avoiding any real criticism of Judaism. This modus operandi is mirrored by the feminist pressure groups Pussy Riot and FEMEN, the latter largely underwritten before its move from Kiev to Paris by Jed Sunden, the wealthy American Zionist and former publisher of the «Kyiv Post.» While both groups have committed heinous acts at Orthodox Christian and Roman Catholic cathedrals and Islamic mosques they have never conducted protests at misogynistic Orthodox Jewish and Hasidic synagogues. FEMEN and Pussy Riot have never criticized Israel even though domestic Israeli feminist groups have condemned Judaism’s misogynistic practices at Jerusalem’s Western Wall among other locations.
Bare-breasted FEMEN activists have tried to steal the baby Jesus figurine from a Christmas nativity scene at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, urinated on the altar of La Madeleine Catholic church in Paris, masturbated with crucifixes on St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, physically assaulted the Roman Catholic archbishops of Brussels and Madrid, vandalized property inside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and sawed down a Christian cross in a park in Kiev. FEMEN also staged a topless protest at a mosque in Stockholm. Pussy Riot conducted an obscene prayer ceremony at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. Amina Sboui, a Tunisian feminist, quit FEMEN after suggesting the group is financed by Israel. Sara Winter, the Brazilian organizer of FEMEN, later charged that the group was largely corrupt. Through his byzantine network of non-profit organizations and non-governmental fronts, George Soros’s financial largesse eventually ends up in Pussy Riot’s coffers.
Muslims protesters in the main Muslim city of Marawi in the Philippines obviously saw a connection between «Charlie Hebdo» and Israeli interests when they burned posters of «Charlie Hebdo’s» front page bearing a photograph of Netanyahu and the headline of «Zionist Conspiracy.» The first issue of «Charlie Hebdo» after the massacre at its headquarters bore a cartoon of Mohammed with the comment «Je suis Charlie» («I am Charlie») and that «all is forgiven» («Tout est pardonne») .
The aftermath of the «Charlie Hebdo» attack also resulted in another professional casualty within the ranks of the corporate news media, the ever-diminishing ranks that are not beholden to Israeli propaganda and diktats from the Israel Lobby.
A Twitter message from CNN’s longtime international correspondent Jim Clancy about «Charlie Hebdo» depicting the Prophet Mohammed in a manner that was meant to mock those Muslims who distort his teachings resulted in an exchange of tweets between the veteran newscaster and an operative of the neo-conservative and pro-Israeli Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). When Clancy suggested that the operative was a «hasbara» troll, that is, an online Israeli propagandist, the CNN reporter became the subject of a character assassination campaign by the same Israel Lobby career-destroying buzz saw that claimed the careers of CNN’s Octavia Nasr and Rick Sanchez and almost capsized that of CNN’s Middle East correspondent Ben Wedeman. All three journalists were attacked for their critical views of Israel’s policies. The same attack mechanism was used against the doyenne of the White House Press Corps, Helen Thomas, who was fired by Hearst Newspapers for her views on illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. She subsequently lost her senior position in the White House Press Briefing Room.
There is little doubt that what Messrs. Roussel and Sine have called the Zionist editors of «Charlie Hebdo» and the tramps, trollops, and whores of FEMEN and Pussy Riot are working hand-in-glove to attack and mock two of three Abrahamic tradition religions: Christianity and Islam. Meanwhile, the third, Judaism, hides its «anti-Gentilism» behind such facades as «Charlie Hebdo» and FEMEN and other groups while proclaiming the importance of free speech.
Tags: France Middle East Hollande

Brot und Frieden statt Zank und Zerrbilder!

Frieden muss durchgesetzt werden gegen die real stattfindenden Kriege. Papst Franziskus spricht vor dem Hintergrund, dass täglich 57 000 Menschen verhungern, von einem III. Weltkrieg auf Raten. Kriegsursachen sind die ungerechte Verteilung von Armut und Reichtum, Land und Ressourcen, Macht, Wissen, Bildung, Gesundheit. Insofern wird das Spektrum dessen, was Frieden braucht, breiter und bezieht globale Gerechtigkeit ein, Völkerrecht, Abrüstung und eine Art und Weise der Produktion, Reproduktion und Verteilung, die die natürlichen Lebensgrundlagen schützt und menschliche Würde bewahrt. D.h. aus Interesse an Frieden wird die Friedensbewegung immer politischer und „linker“, weil sie auf die Veränderung der Macht- und Herrschaftsverhältnisse zielt. Doch sie ist keine Bewegung der politischen Linken und darf es nicht werden. Denn Frieden als Grundlage für die Sicherung des Überlebens der Menschheit ist eine Gattungsfrage; sie stellt sich klassenübergreifend. In der Friedensbewegung sind auch Unternehmerinnen und Unternehmer willkommen und eine große Breite politischer Richtungen. Die Fragestellung „Wie links ist die Friedensbewegung“ ist genau die falsche. Gemeinsam ist der Friedensbewegung ihr Friedenswille, Antifaschismus, Antirassismus und Gewaltfreiheit als Weg und Ziel. Das ist genug an Trennschärfe und die Plattform für Mitmachen und Zusammenarbeit. Auf ihr kann eine bunte Front des Volkes wachsen. 

Der nachfolgende Text der Linkspolitiker W. Gehrke und C. Rebmann entspricht nicht wirklich den  anti-imperialistischen und anti-kriegs Erfordernissen des Tages. Vor allem an seinen  unfundierten anti-stalinistischen Anwürfen nehmen wir Anstoß. Aber als Versuch zu vermitteln, sei er hier zur Debatte gestellt.

Mit Friedensgrüssen