Category Archives: Middle East

Palestinian Prisoners Enter 21st Day of Hunger Strike

Four Million Muslims Killed In Western Wars: Should We Call It Genocide?

Failed Coup in Turkey, Escalating War in Ukraine, The Battle For Aleppo, Freedom for Saif al-Gaddafi in Libya

Point of No Return

Turkish Supremacy

Once upon a time there were Christians in the Middle East

Arab Days of Shame

Bashar al-Assad Interview: “Eighty Countries Support the Terrorists in Syria”

Syria: The Final Act Begins

War, Conflict and Economic Development in the Arab World

Do We Need a Bigger War? What Next in the War on Syria? The Expulsion of Terrorist and Mercenary Forces

Destroy Syria… Get Others to Pay

After Entering Aleppo With Russia’s Help, The Syrian Army May Set Its Sights On Raqqa

Syria’s lost generation

Syria : Could Turkey be Gambling on an Invasion?

Double Standards: Where Is the West’s Compassion and Condemnation Following Terror Attacks in Middle East?

The Solution is to Eradicate ISIS and Al Qaeda: Syrian Peace Will Be Decided on the Battlefield, Not in Vienna

Video: The Islamic State’s Counter-Offensive Repealed By Syrian Forces

Madaya: “The Kitten Campaign”. Times of London Lights Match to Propaganda Fire?

Israel’s First “Jewish-Only Road”. Palestinians are Banned from Using the Road”

War Crimes: Israeli Planes Spray Crop-killing Chemicals on Gaza Farms

Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”

Non-French War Deaths Matter

Israel Warplanes Strike near Syria Airport: Report

Israel Has Murdered 80 Palestinians Since October 1

Jimmy Carter’s 5 Nation Syria Plan Is the Least Bad Option in Syria

Towards a Reversal of the Situation in the Near East

Towards a reversal of the situation in the Near East

Syria at a Crossroads: Carrying on With the War? “The US and the Saudis are Still Working Together”

Will Putin succeed in the Middle East?


Source: Pravda.Ru photo archive

What is the essence of the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Middle East? What opportunities can Russian diplomats face at the time when the US is losing popularity in the Middle East speedily? Is it possible to cut the knot of Mideastern problems that appeared in the decolonization years from 1945 to 1962?

To understand this, we try to compare two recent speeches by President Vladimir Putin that he delivered on October 22, at a plenary session of Valdai International Discussion Club and on  September 29, at the UN General Assembly.

The two speeches are different, even though they seem to address one and the same topic.

At the UN General Assembly, Vladimir Putin spoke as the head of state. He was calm and balanced, giving priority to principles of neighborly coexistence of states.

At the Valdai club, Putin was much more personal. His Valdai speech can be divided into three parts: political philosophy in general, Russia’s relations with the US and NATO, and Putin’s new initiative in the Middle East, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov put it. Putin spoke about a possibility of resolving the crisis in the Middle East, particularly in Syria.

In his political philosophy, Putin proceeds from realpolitik – the positive (what international relations actually are), but not the normative (what international relations should be ideally) understanding of the art of foreign policy. Putin says that, although war is an act of evil, wars are common in the modern world. To avoid a war, one should ensure a stable balance of power between major powers, as the unipolar world inevitably leads to the destruction of the world order and triggers  multiple local wars.

Russia has been expressing serious concerns about the expansion of NATO lately. The main idea that permeates through Putin’s speeches and public statements is the idea about the irresponsibility of Western politicians of world’s leading powers. This is a very big and serious problem, and the president is clearly concerned about it.

The Russian diplomacy is dealing with the opportunities associated with the period of “interregnum” in the United States. President Obama will soon leave office, but it is not clear yet, who is going to take his place. Russia has taken advantage of the freedom of action in the Middle East without the fear of confrontation on the part of the United States in an attempt to restore peace in the Middle East in general and in Syria in particular.

Putin’s Middle East program consists of four parts. The first task is the destruction of armed terrorists. An important condition for the solution of this problem is the need for all interested parties to unite. It goes about the governments of Syria, Iraq, Iran, the Gulf States, Turkey and so on.

President Putin realizes that there is no military solution to the crisis in Syria. Combat operations create conditions for the start of a political process with the participation of healthy and patriotic forces of the Syrian society. It is only up to Syrians to decide their own fate, Putin believes.

It is important to understand that the Middle East should not, as it often happens in history, become the place, where empires and powers clash without even wondering whether local people need them to interfere.

Furthermore, the Muslim clergy should involve in solving social and political problems of the region. It is important to protect people (especially young people) from the destructive influence of the terrorist ideology. They should see the clear line between true Islam and all the lies and hatred that militants disseminate under pseudo-Islamic slogans.

Finally, the fourth paragraph of Putin’s plan is the need for a collective effort in the reconstruction of economy and, above all, economic and social infrastructure of the regions.

This is what Russia’s position in the Middle East is about. Will Putin succeed? Churchill used to say that ambitious political plans were better than no plans at all.

Said Gafurov

Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru

Jerusalem Chaos is a Warning of Things to Come

Is Instability the Goal of U.S. Mideast Policy?

Intifada Or Not, Something Powerful Is Going On

Israeli Shoot to Kill Policy

Putin is Defeating More than ISIS in Syria

Israel, the Media and the Anatomy of a Sick Society

By Eric Draitser


October 15, 2015 “Information Clearing House” – “Counterpunch”  The video of 13 year old Palestinian Ahmed Manasrah bleeding to death on the pavement of an East Jerusalem neighborhood has been described as “shocking,” “disturbing,” and “painful to watch.” The callous verbal abuse and insults from Israelis watching the child writhe in agony are variously characterized as “heartless” and “cruel”; and indeed they are. “Die you son of a whore. Die! Die!”the Israeli onlookers can be heard shouting in the video which has since gone viral on social media.

While there has been much discussion of this video, and other similar incidents involving the extrajudicial executions of Palestinian youths accused by Israel of having stabbed Israelis (the veracity of some of these claims is disputed), there is decidedly little examination of the sociological implications. Specifically, it has become taboo to interrogate just what sort of ideological and psychological conclusions can be drawn about Israelis society – a society where such behavior is not an outlier; where, rather than being an anomaly, it is indicative of a significant, if not mainstream, attitude. Such undeniably barbaric treatment is not simple hate, and cannot be explained away or justified. But that is precisely what the corporate media does.

Suffice to say that there are many political analysts, activists, and others who are timid about outright condemnations of Israeli society and Israeli attitudes. They are, with much justification, fearful of being demonized as anti-Semitic, terrified that rather than open dialogue and critical examination, they will have their arguments twisted and portrayed as hateful and racist. While such accusations are sometimes warranted – as in the case of fascist bigots and neo-Nazis for whom “Jew” is synonymous with “evil” – more often than not these are willfully deceptive deflections designed to shield Israeli society from the criticism that it so clearly deserves.

But those whose interest is in justice and speaking the truth cannot be silent, cannot allow themselves to become the victims of self-censorship induced by fear. For muted criticism of Israel is in fact a failure to properly defend oppressed people; it is an abdication of the responsibility to speak against injustice, the brutality of colonialism, and the inhumanity of contemporary Zionism. It is equally an abandonment of the duty to deconstruct dominant narratives in the interest of social justice, to challenge the propaganda of corporate media whose primary function is to shield power from the uncomfortable light of criticism. I cannot, and will not, be silent.

Media Propaganda and the Danger of False Equivalence

Reading the New York Times, Washington Post, and other allegedly liberal major media outlets, one could be forgiven for thinking that the nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is tit-for-tat, that it is the product of an ongoing cause-effect-countereffect relationship. That is precisely how the conflict is portrayed in nearly all so-called ‘respectable’ papers.

Take, for instance, an article published in America’s “paper of record,” the New York Times, just hours after the incident with the headline Stabbings, and Deadly Responses, Add to Israel’s Security Challenge. In deconstructing the headline alone, it is clear where the bias and deception lies; the Times imbues the very headline of the article with a presumption of guilt on the part of the Palestinians. According to the syntactic logic of the headline’s construction, it is the “stabbings” (presented first) which are the root of the problem and, therefore, the “deadly responses” are just that, responses. The effect is to justify the murder of Palestinians by portraying them as simply responses to an external factor: violence against Israelis.

But of course anyone who has even a rudimentary understanding of the issues knows that the stabbings are themselves responses to the attacks by Israeli settlers and security forces on Palestinians, as well as the predictable outgrowth of seemingly endless brutality and occupation, poverty and despair. The history of colonialism is replete with such examples.

And yet Israelis, and the Israeli state itself, are presented as the victims. The headline frames the issue as being one of a “security challenge” for Israel, rather than, say, a colonialism problem, or a vicious occupation. So, taken in total then, the headline and accompanying article have the cumulative effect of making the victims into perpetrators, and perpetrators into victims, thereby inverting the oppressor/oppressed relationship. This inversion is absolutely necessary in order to whitewash Israel’s crimes, and absolve the state and its fanatical, fascist far right of guilt.

Even the allegedly even-handed treatment of the issue by a presumably moderate liberal outlet such as NBC News, belies a dishonest treatment of the conflict and the recent violence. In covering the incident, NBC News published a story about the Ahmed Manasrah shooting and subsequent taunting with the headline Viral Video of Shot Ahmed Manasrah Sums Up Israel-Palestinian Conflict. The article purports to present the issue fairly by presenting the events surrounding Ahmed’s heinous shooting as emblematic of the entire conflict. Essentially, NBC News here tries to present the competing narratives of Israeli and Palestinian sources as indicative of the broader struggle for public opinion, trying to convince readers that the ongoing allegations and counter-allegations are just more of the same, and that the truth is simply unknowable; after all, Israeli sources say X, Palestinian sources say Y. I guess we’ll never know.

The reader of the NBC article is left with the utterly dishonest, though politically very useful, conclusion that both sides are equally guilty, equally worthy of blame, and that the conflict itself is beyond critical analysis. Moreover, in presenting the issue in this way, the outlet, in this case NBC, is seen as fair, as having provided a balanced accounting. In reality however, it has simply obscured the true nature of the conflict: one between a colonial oppressor and its victims, displaced and dispossessed systematically for seven decades.

But false equivalence aside, by obscuring the truth of the issue, NBC News here inadvertently reveals something fundamentally true about the conflict; that, indeed, this incident very much “sums up the Israel-Palestine conflict.” Though they didn’t intend it this way, NBC News correctly exposes the fact that the behavior of the Israelis on camera is clearly emblematic of the broader society of Israel, one which sees Palestinian children as “dogs,” and “sons of whores” unfit to breathe, unworthy of living.

The Pathology of Israeli Fascism

What the Ahmed Manasrah video laid bare for the world to see is the inhumanity of Zionism, a Jewish supremacist ideology which necessarily places non-Jews in an inferior relation to Jews, which places less value on the life of the non-Jew. It is not simple hatred that motivated the disgusting comments from the onlookers, it is an ingrained, inter-generational sense of superiority bred of dehumanization of the Palestinian, and the Arab generally.

This fundamental fact is only very rarely discussed, but it lies at the heart of the Palestine conflict. By seeing Arabs as subhuman, many Israelis are able to justify, often on an unconscious level, all forms of brutality, violence, and oppression. It should be said here that there are some Israelis who fight against just such thinking (Gideon Levy is perhaps the most prominent and vocal opponent of such supremacist ideology), but sadly they are drowned out by the rabid barbarism of the Israeli right (and much of the center, it must be said).

And this phenomenon, quick to get you rhetorically tarred and feathered as an anti-Semite, is what underlies all Israeli policies, and the active or passive acceptance of those policies by the Israeli body politic. While Ahmed Manasrah bleeding to death amid a swirl of insults from Israelis may elicit a brief outpouring of shock on social media, it is merely one instance of such violence. Is it really that different from Israeli bulldozers demolishing countless Palestinian homes? Is it somehow more barbaric than the torching of Palestinian homes with babies sleeping inside?

Perhaps it would be best not to express shock and outrage at the video, but rather to see it as the logical outgrowth of the fascist, supremacist ideology espoused by the leaders of the Israeli state. For the Israelis on the video are merely following the example of leaders such as Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked who, at the height of Israel’s criminal war on Gaza in the summer of 2014, infamously wrote:

The Palestinian people has declared war on us, and we must respond with war. Not an operation, not a slow-moving one, not low-intensity, not controlled escalation, no destruction of terror infrastructure, no targeted killings. Enough with the oblique references. This is a war…It is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority…This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people… What’s so horrifying about understanding that the entire Palestinian people is the enemy? Every war is between two peoples, and in every war the people who started the war, that whole people, is the enemy… Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs… They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.

Such rhetoric, with all the attendant dehumanization, is reminiscent of any number of fascist ideologies, from German Nazism of the 1930s to the contemporary Ukrainian politics of Right Sector and Azov Battalion. The notion of “total war” against an entire people, including non-combatant women and children, is really beyond simple war propaganda, it is the advocacy of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

And this is exactly the point: ethnic cleansing as both a concept and military objective has become the political currency of modern Israel. So why should it surprise anyone when young Israelis wish death upon a bleeding Palestinian, calling him a “son of a whore.” After all, isn’t Ahmed Manasrah just another “little snake”?

…And One More Thing

If past history is any indicator, what has been written above will undoubtedly elicit some negative reactions, condemnations, hate mail, and insults of every sort. “Anti-Semite,” “traitor,” and “self-hater” are some of the most common epithets I’ve heard countless times when I’ve written or spoken out about Israel, Zionism, Jewish supremacy, and such issues. Not only do such obloquies not deter me, they motivate me to further speak out because they are an indication that the words are striking a nerve, one that is raw, and desperately in need of exposure.

I equally recognize the privilege with which I write these lines. As an avowed atheist who rejects the ethno-nationalism and tribalism inherent in the political ideology of Zionism, my Jewish background provides me with a modicum of insulation from accusations of anti-Semitism (not that it stops them, of course). Not only does that allow me greater latitude to write and speak freely on these issues, it reminds me that I have a duty to do so.

For those who don’t righteously oppose the crimes of imperialism, colonialism, oppression, and genocide are undoubtedly complicit in them. I, for one, will not be.

Eric Draitser is the founder of and host of CounterPunch Radio. He is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City. You can reach him at


Video embedded by ICH did not appear in the original article

See also

U.S. ‘excessive force’ comment touches nerve in Israel: Israel bristled on Thursday at U.S. suggestions it may have used excessive force to confront Palestinian stabbings, and also published hospital images it said refuted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s allegation a teen suspect had been “executed”.

‘Israel Is A Terrorist State’

US, Russia & Syria: The Problem With Faking It

Why the U.S. Owns the Rise of Islamic State and the Syria Disaster

Week One Of The Russian Military Intervention In Syria

Netanyahu’s War on Palestine. Premeditated State Terror

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